Sunday, August 5, 2012

Considering Our Associations

The belief of many homosexuals today - a belief encouraged by those with a liberal agenda - is that Christians are anti-gay. This should not be true, and the Bible says so!

Peter was anti-Gentile (as were all Jews), until God granted him a vision. "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean" (Acts 10:28).

How will I save sinners if I have no association with them? I do not have to participate in their deeds, but I do have to participate in their lives.This was the pattern of Jesus, and the world saw it. "This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2). What was Jesus' response? "There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance" (Luke 15:7). Jesus shared in the lives of sinners, but we know He did not share in their deeds.

So Jesus participated in the lives of sinners. Peter associated with the sinners. What about us? How can any Christian - in light of the Biblical evidence - refuse to associate with sinners? The Lord is "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

In fact, the apostle Paul gives the church clear instruction as to our associations ... and it's far different from what most people believe or practice. Listen! "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one" (1 Corinthians 5:9-11).

Yes, I must consider my associations, for the sake of Christ. I WILL associate with the world - with fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, drunkards and swindlers (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) ... because I want to save their souls!

But I will NOT associate with false Christians. I will NOT labor beside "deceitful workers" who "disguise themselves as servants of righteousness" (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). I will NOT give a greeting to "false brethren" who want nothing more than "to bring us into bondage" (Galatians 2:4). I will NOT give ear to "false teachers" who "secretly introduce destructive heresies" (2 Peter 2:1). I will eat with the sinners, but not with "so-called" saints. If you say you're a Christian, then act like a Christian ... otherwise, stay away from me and mine.

There is no language in the Bible that speaks of being anti-gay or anti-"any other sin." There is only one "anti-" in the Bible, and that is antichrist ... a term which is very specifically aimed, not at those who oppose Christ in the world (They're sinners! What else would they do? Duh!) but at those who oppose Christ in the church. "... even now many antichrists have come ... They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us" ( 1 John 2:18-19, NIV).

When considering your associations, remember that it was the supposed people of God and their religious leaders who crucified Jesus (Luke 23:13). Pilate, the worldly pagan, tried everything he could to get Jesus released (Luke 23:14-15, 22). Even to this day, the greatest obstacle to salvation is the hypocrisy of false Christians ... and the harshest persecution against God's chosen servants will be from those called "brothers."

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