VIDEO Why Are Many Christians Avoiding Hard Topics

A recent firestorm began when Lauren Daigle made the following statement regarding if homosexuality is a sin: “I can’t honestly answer on that,” Daigle responded. “In a sense, I have too many people that I love and they are homosexual. I don’t know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it. I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God. So when people ask questions like that . . . that’s what my go to is.  I just say, ‘Read the Bible and find out for yourself. And when you find out let me know, because I’m learning too,’” she continued.

She also caught heat for an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. In my opinion, we have two different issues here. We also have a plethora of people chiming in, from modern-day Pharisees to lukewarm Christians, and many in between. The issue of sin and homosexuality is not going away, and many prominent pastors have endorsed it. But what is really going on?

First, let’s tackle the appearance on Ellen. These things aren’t always cut-and-dried. For example, if I was asked to appear on Ellen to share my faith in God via repentance from sin to millions of people, I would jump at the opportunity. But if I was told I cannot talk about difficult things, then I may need to turn it down. The former would be an incredible opportunity; the latter would appear as an endorsement if I was muzzled. People will have different convictions, not unlike when John MacArthur turned down an opportunity to speak at the Mormon Tabernacle, but Ravi Zacharias embraced it. In this case, would the speaker be allowed to lovingly yet boldly speak about the massive difference in Mormonism and Christianity, or would they be muzzled?

Now let’s tackle the wavering of many prominent leaders. This trend to embrace homosexuality is actually not surprising. Yes, some are not true believers, but that’s not always the case. Many have not fully surrendered their life to the work of the Spirit. Acts 1:8 identifies this experience: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses.” The power of the Spirit is like dynamite that ignites a hunger for God so intense that every aspect of life is changed—we become bold not passive, stable not fanatical, and committed not wavering. A witness must share the whole story.

When a person truly experiences this infilling of the Spirit, there is a transformed life resulting in a love for God, His Word, and His Truth. We’d rather please God than man. I too know people who struggle with homosexuality, but that should not shape my theology. To truly offer hope we must speak the truth in love. Sadly, we often pray on the run, scurry through a quick devotional, and rarely read through God’s Word, yet we devote hours to television, movies, and the internet, and we wonder why we know little of the Spirit’s power. We are filled with the world more than the Spirit of God. I sincerely believe the greatest need in the church today is to confess our sins, pray often, obey the Word, and be filled with the Spirit.

Am I saying that many who waiver on the difficult truths are not mightily filled with the Spirit? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Some are not genuinely converted, and others default to passiveness in moments of weakness, but what we are seeing today is a lack of spiritual power, a quenching and grieving of the Spirit. Many pastors and worship leaders have an incredible gift from God, but ability will only take them so far. When a person is filled with God’s Spirit they will be extremely loving but also extremely bold. The anointing of God will be apparent on their life; more here.

This is not a letter of rebuke (I’m in no position to do that); it’s a tear-stained plea that we return to full surrender. People, especially young adults, have questions about the Bible. We should allow that and lovingly encourage them in their walk. I love Lauren’s songs and so appreciate her heart, but because Lauren (and others) go public, we have a responsibility to respond publicly. Churches will have to consider if her songs, and songs led by other worship leaders who waiver, will be promoted at services. It’s one thing to listen in the privacy of your home, but it’s a whole new ballgame when promotion comes across as endorsement.

If uncertain about what the Bible says on very important issues, take time and study before sharing what you believe God said. The cost is too great and the price is too high to lead people astray. I wish she had simply said, “The Bible appears to be clear on this issue. I’m learning too, but I don’t want to minimize God’s truth. I love people enough to tell them the truth.” Here is what Jesus and the Bible say about this important issue.

I also don’t believe that some of these sincerely wrong people are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Modern-day Pharisees need to be very careful in their language. They too need a mighty filling of the Spirit via brokenness and humility. But this discussion does beg the question: Where are the Tyndales and Husses who were burned at the stake for simply declaring the truth? Where are the Luthers who, when asked to recant or face possible execution, said, “Here I stand; I can do no other”? Where are the John Knoxes who cried, “Give me Scotland for the cause of Christ or I die”? Where are the Whitefields who shook continents with their boldness?

As the church falls deeper into self-reliance and further from reliance on God, our need for bold, Spirit-filled leadership has never been greater. Change in our nation will only occur when there is a strong conviction of sin, genuine faith, humility, and sincere repentance, beginning in the pulpits and on the worship stage. May God grant us the wisdom and strength to proclaim these truths. We must stop confusing God’s patience with His approval and lead with conviction—as dying men to dying men.

For more, check out my interview on Fox News here and the hour-long audio here, where I debated a pastor who embraces the homosexual lifestyle. Find more sermons at WCFAV.org.

https://barbwire.com/why-are-many-christians-avoiding-hard-topics-lauren-daigle-for-example/

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Don’t Be Afraid!

The kingdom of God has come near. Mark 1:15

Nearly every time an angel appears in the Bible, the first words he says are “Don’t be afraid!” Little wonder. When the supernatural makes contact with planet Earth, it usually leaves the human observers flat on their faces in fear. But Luke tells of God making an appearance in a form that doesn’t frighten. In Jesus, born with the animals and laid in a feeding trough, God takes an approach that we need not fear. What could be less scary than a newborn baby?

On Earth Jesus is both God and man. As God, He can work miracles, forgive sins, conquer death, and predict the future. But for Jews accustomed to images of God as a bright cloud or pillar of fire, Jesus also causes much confusion. How could a baby in Bethlehem, a carpenter’s son, a man from Nazareth, be the Messiah from God?

Why does God take on human form? The scene of twelve-year-old Jesus debating rabbis in the temple gives one clue. “Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers,” Luke tells us (2:47). For the first time, ordinary people could hold a conversation with God in visible form.

Jesus can talk to anyone—His parents, a rabbi, a poor widow—without first having to announce, “Don’t be afraid!” In Jesus, God draws near.

Heavenly Father, we pause at Christmas to remember how Your Son came to us in the form of a helpless baby . . . and we worship in amazement and wonder that God came near to us.

Jesus was God and man in one person, that God and man might be happy together again. George Whitefield

By Philip Yancey 

INSIGHT

The Feast of the Passover Jesus and His family attended was one of three annual feasts that Israelite males were required to attend (see Exodus 23:14–17). It’s estimated that 100,000 or more visitors would make their way to Jerusalem for this special occasion. At twelve years of age, Jesus was one year away from His entrance into Israelite manhood when He would become fully responsible for keeping the law. Today’s reading records Jesus’s unexplained absence from His family (Luke 2:43–45), but He was well aware of His mission (v. 49). This early scene in the temple where people were amazed at His teaching (v. 47) contrasts sharply with a later account where they would not be amazed but would try to kill Him (19:45–47).

Arthur Jackson

Your Godly Testimony

Acts 8:26-40

Many Christians define the word testimony too narrowly. Sharing Jesus is much more than just telling our conversion story or talking about God’s work in our lives, although those things are important. We need to be prepared to meet unbelievers at the point of their spiritual need, even if our own story is very different.

We can learn a lot from Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch. While young Israelites had friends and family to disciple them in their faith, a foreign convert often had to work alone to discern the meaning of the Scriptures. So by asking, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip showed that he understood the Ethiopian’s disadvantage. That one question enabled him to discover that the man had a genuine thirst for God’s truth but did not know of the Messiah.

Philip used that information to tailor a gospel testimony for his particular listener. Consider how easily the man could have become confused or frustrated if Philip—whose Jewish background was so different from the Ethiopian’s—had told only his own conversion story. The evangelist wisely relied on the text at hand and the power of God’s Word to introduce the man to Jesus Christ.

Philip’s testimony began with the passage the Ethiopian was reading. He effectively spoke to the man’s spiritual interest in general while specifically answering his questions about Isaiah 53. We, too, must be sensitive to unbelievers’ concerns so we can explain how God will meet their needs.

Pride Does Go Before Destruction

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) 

This is the middle verse of the entire book of Proverbs, and, in view of the obviously structured original verse divisions throughout the book, it may well have been divinely designed as such. In any case, the sin of pride is so deadly, it is appropriate that a solemn warning concerning it should be placed here right at the heart of God’s book of true wisdom.

The sin of pride was the primeval sin of Satan: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Ezekiel 28:17). It was the sin by which Satan led Adam and Eve to fall. “Ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5), he had said. It is always the “easily besetting” sin of Christian leaders, especially those who have assumed such leadership prematurely. “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6). Even Jesus was 30 years old before He began to teach.

Though pride is not named as such in the Ten Commandments, in reality it is implied in the very first one. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). The essence of all false religion is evolutionary humanism—worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator (Romans 1:25). Pride and unbelief are two sides of the same coin. When men and women refuse the word of their Creator, it is fundamentally because they want to be their own “gods,” as did Adam and Eve. Human pride is the hidden root of humanism, and of evolutionism, and of “every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). It is the very essence of the sin nature which we have inherited from our first parents. How carefully we need to guard against this secret sin of pride. If we do not, it will inevitably lead to humiliation and defeat. HMM

As many as I love, I do rebuke and chasten

Revelation 3:7-22

Revelation 3:7, 8

Sometimes the weakest may be the best. We shall not be called to account for the strength which we do not possess, but the Lord will commend us if we are faithful in that which is least.

Revelation 3:9

Those whom God loves, their bitterest foes shall be compelled to honour.

Revelation 3:10, 11

You have the crown of being found faithful, never lose it.

Revelation 3:12

The faithful will hold forth to wondering ages the records of divine love, even as pillars bear inscriptions. Happy souls to be thus devoted for ever to their Lord’s glory.

Revelation 3:14-16

Lukewarmness is nauseous to the Lord. The bad may be reclaimed, but those who are neither one thing nor the other are in a hopeless condition, for they are too full of conceit to be led to repentance.

Revelation 3:17-19

When counsel is not sufficient, the Lord uses sharper means with his chosen, for he will not let them slumber on in indifference.

Revelation 3:20

Jesus seeks fellowship with the church as the best means of restoring her. Communion with Jesus makes the heart burn with love, and effectually chases away the lukewarm spirit.

Revelation 3:21, 22

If we are growing chill, let us listen to this solemn rebuke. It will be terrible for us if we ever come to be loathed by our Lord on account of lukewarmness. This sin is common all around us, and we are very liable to it; let us pray for more grace, and, above all, let us open wide our hearts for Jesus to come in. One spiritual feast with him will be of more service to us than all the groaning and moaning in the world. Come, Lord Jesus, and sup with us even now!

 

When wilt thou come unto me, Lord?

Oh, come, my Lord most dear!

Come near, come nearer, nearer still;

I’m blest when thou art near.

 

Come spread thy savour on my frame,

No sweetness is so sweet;

Till I get up to sing thy name,

Where all thy singers meet.

 

If Jesus Did Come Today

We will not have this man to reign over us. (Luke 19:14)

People have asked me if our present generation would gladly accept Jesus if He came at this time, instead of 2,000 years ago. I have to believe that history does repeat itself!

In our own day, many who want to follow the Christian traditions still balk and reject a thorough-going spiritual housecleaning within their own lives.

When Jesus came, many realized that it would mean probable financial loss for them to step out and follow Christ. Also, many of those men and women who considered the claims of Christ in His day knew that following Him would call for abrupt and drastic changes in their patterns of living. The proud and selfish aspects of their lives would have been disturbed.

Beyond that, there was an almost complete disdain for the inward spiritual life which Jesus taught as a necessity for mankind; that it is the pure in heart who will see God!

I am afraid that humanity’s choice would still be the same today. People are still more in love with money and pride and pleasure than they are with God and His salvation!

 

From Anger to Love

“He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19

God never turns from His love, but He soon turns from His wrath. His love to His chosen is according to His nature, His anger is only according to His office: He loves because He is love, He frowns because it is necessary for our good. He will come back to the place in which His heart rests, namely, His love to His own, and then He will take pity upon our griefs and end them.

What a choice promise is this — “He will subdue our iniquities”! He will conquer them. They cry to enslave us, but the Lord will give us victory over them by His own right hand. Like the Canaanites, they shall be beaten, put under the yoke, and ultimately slain.

As for the guilt of our sins, how gloriously is that removed! “All their sins,” — yes, the whole host of them; “thou wilt cast” — only an almighty arm could perform such a wonder; ‘into the depths of the sea” -where Pharaoh and his chariots went down. Not into the shallows out of which they might be washed up by the tide, but into the “depths” shall our sins be hurled. They are all gone. They sank into the bottom like a stone. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

 

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