By Andy Alexander
Discouragement is one of the fiery darts the devil has in his arsenal of weapons. The cause upon which most of this discouragement rests is sin. Those who are living a righteous life, trying to please God, and teach their friends and neighbors the benefits of believing and obeying God become discouraged at the nonchalant attitude that some Christians take towards sin and the horrible end to which sinners are headed. Christians need to have the same concern for souls that Christ and his apostles had. Jesus wept as he thought about the many souls that would be lost in the destruction of Jerusalem and Paul was stirred up or provoked as he viewed the city of Athens wholly given to idolatry (Lk. 19:41; Acts 17:16). These men cared enough for their fellow man to preach the word of God in its entirety (Acts 20:27).
Some churches or denominations wink at sin and turn their back hoping that it will go away, while others actively promote and condone sin. Many have turned “the works of the flesh” into the works of the church by sponsoring dances where lasciviousness is promoted, by ignoring God’s marriage law, by accepting practicing homosexuals into their fellowship, and by condoning the drunkard (Gal. 5:19-2 1). This is done in many groups by not preaching God’s will on these matters. Silence condones sin. Had Paul remained silent when Peter and several other disciples withdrew and would not eat with the Gentiles in Antioch, his silence would have been an indication of his approval (Gal. 2:11-21; Lev. 5:1). Paul’s love and concern for the souls of his brethren drove him to rebuke and admonish them.
The church should be an assembly of Christians who are dedicated to the cause of Christ. They will not be perfect people, but they will be people who are trying to live as God would have them live (1 Jn. 5:3). Their assembling together should be a spiritual feast and produce a lift to carry them through the world until their next time of meeting (Heb. 10:23-25). But, sad to say, there is so much world in the church that it is hard to distinguish the church from the world. Many Christians are not living a sanctified life for God as they profess to be and this is a great discouragement for those who are (Rom. 12:1-2).
Are you now attending a church where bodily exercise is given precedence over spiritual exercise (1 Tim. 4:7-8)? Where cheerleader and twirler costumes are considered modest and young ladies are commended for reaching this “worthy” goal, instead of being taught by older women the importance of rearing godly children and being good homemakers (Tit. 2:3-5)? Where adulterers, fornicators, and homosexuals are never rebuked or disciplined (1 Cor. 6:8-10)? If so, then why not turn to God and his word for the answer.
Those adulterers and fornicators in Corinth had their sins washed away and became sanctified by obedience to Christ (1 Cor. 6:11). They were taught to worship God and purge ungodly and immoral members from their midst (1 Cor. 5). Allowing the immoral brother to remain among them would cause discouragement and influence others in a negative way (1 Cor. 5:7; 15:33).
The church of Christ strives to worship God in Spirit and truth, teaching and observing the complete will of God (Jn. 4:24). His word is perfect and provides us with all we need to live and worship him acceptably (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:3). We need not change, alter, or ignore any part of his will – just trust and obey!
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 9, p. 264
May 3, 1990