Josh. 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
I recently heard a powerful message from my Pastor Dr. Mark T. Barclay, a message every believer should listen to. In this series he has been preaching on he has been dealing with things that are enemies of the church, the very things that are at work trying to tear down the body of Christ. In this particular message of this series he dealt with what he calls the number one enemy of the church of Jesus Christ, liberalism. There is no doubt based on what we are seeing in America and other parts of the world how this is without a doubt doing major damage to the body of Christ. It made me think of this verse out of Joshua, and I want to share some on this line of thought this week.
First of all realize that when we talk about liberalism we are not talking about a political party, but in fact a belief or system of belief. Let’s take a look at the definition of liberalism. It is defined as: Free to excess; regardless of law or moral restraint; licentious, independent in opinion. You see liberals don’t allow morality to determine their beliefs. They live a life free from moral restraint. They are independent in their opinion. What is so dangerous about that? Simple, man’s ways are not God’s ways, for God’s ways are higher. Man should be governed by the morality that comes from the God of the scriptures. Man should not live independent of God and what He says. This is what has gotten man in trouble all throughout history.
Nothing new under the sun as they say, for this is exactly what Joshua was speaking about in Joshua chapter 24. Joshua was coming to the end of his life and dealing once again with the rebellion of the children of Israel, which was an all to common occurrence in his day. As he is preparing to depart he tells them if they were unwilling to serve the Lord but instead wanted to serve the gods of their fathers, it was in fact their choice. But Joshua finishes with that powerful declaration, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
That same question is posed to every generation on the planet by the choices they make. It is easy to see how the liberal view has crept back into this so-called “modern day” church. A part of liberalism and its beliefs is founded upon the fact that it is the culture that determines what we are to live by. As culture changes so do the views by which liberals change. The culture as it supposedly matures determines the beliefs by which man should live. But this is nothing new. It is what has gotten every generation that was unwilling to serve God in a position where they no longer received the grace God offered. The modern day church and even America want all of God’s grace, but they don’t want the God of that grace.
James 4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
You hear a lot of talk today among Christians that we should not deal with nor even talk about sin. I grant you the focus of the believer should in fact be who we are in Christ. The more the church learns who they are the better they can address the old nature and overcome that nature. But yet we clearly see that if we want to experience more of God’s grace there is something we must do. James even tells us this in the scriptures above.
He tells us that God gives more grace (heaven’s help), but he goes on to say that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. So who are the humble in the eyes of God? James tells us in the following verses. The humble are those who: 1. Submit to God. 2. Resist the devil. 3. Draw near to God. 4. Cleanse themselves from sin. 5. Purify theirs hearts from being double-minded.
What do I mean when I stated that America and many Christians want God’s grace, but not the God of that grace? They want God’s help, but they don’t want the God who provides that help. If they did they would humble themselves just as James states in these verses. The thing that most people don’t understand is that God and His grace go together. You don’t get God’s grace and yet reject God. This is why liberalism is having such a devastating effect on the church. Let me give some examples.
There are many Christians who see nothing wrong with what they call a women’s right to choose when it comes to abortion. But God’s Word is clearly against it. Abortion in the eyes of God is murder, plan and simple. But our modern day society including many who are born again see nothing wrong with abortion, but God does. There are many in the church that don’t see anything wrong with homosexuality, and even the redefining of marriage as our Supreme Court has even recently ruled upon, but God’s Word is against it. Scripture clearly tells us that homosexuality is an abomination to God.
Realize I have nothing wrong with a person who is in such sin, no more than I do of someone who is living in sexual sin with someone of the opposite sex. It is the sin that God is against and if you serve God so are you. Before becoming born again we are all sinners. No believer who is serving God is against the sinner, but they are opposed to the sin because God is opposed to the sin. Remember, humility James said is when we submit to God. If you submit to God you submit to His Word.
How can you be submitted to God and oppose God’s Word? You can’t, just like you cannot be wet or dry, cold or hot, etc. You are one or the other, not both. Liberalism causes people to begin to cast off restraint, the Word of God, intended to protect our life from that which will only bring hurt and pain. When we allow culture, or our own individual views to determine what we believe we have begun to allow liberalism to enter our life. Even recently I heard a local newscast where they were talking about a pastor who had stood up to speak against abortion as a guest speaker at the capital. They called him a “controversial pastor” all because he believes in and teaches the Word of God.
God’s Word will never change, because the God of the Word does not change. Believers should never allow the culture of the day nor independent opinions to determine their beliefs. If we want God’s grace on every part of our life, the help of God, we must have the God of that grace with it. Submit to Him, draw near to Him, and He with His grace will draw near to us. Choose whom you will serve.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker