IMMORALITY IN TODAY’S CHURCHES
I have had contacts over the years with those who have traveled the country visiting churches to promote certain ministries. These contacts have reported to me about a horrifying level of sin and corruption in many churches, especially in the leadership and pastors. If the leadership in such churches has a morality problem what then becomes of the people under their leadership? This information has troubled me deeply; therefore I need to address this issue as the Lord has laid it upon my heart.
The apostle Paul gave a stern warning of conditions that would be experienced in churches before the return of Jesus Christ. He even described these specific grievous conditions for us:
2 Timothy 3:1-4 - This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
You may question, “How do you know Paul was talking about conditions in some of the churches in the last days”? Paul identifies this in the last part of verse four where he identifies them as lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Then he continues in verse 5 where he says: “ having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:” My question to you is, “Where do you see a form of godliness”; certainly not in the world, or on TV, or in the movies, or in the streets; or out in public. You only see a form of godliness in many of today’s churches. And what did Paul instruct you to do in such a church, “from such turn away”.
Why would Paul instruct us to get away from such a church? Because all the behavior traits he identified will lead you into sinful acts and a godless, selfish, fleshly lifestyle; which is totally contrary to the Life of Christ that should be evident in every believer.
The following is another warning that Paul gave to the church at Galatia about sinful lifestyles:
Galatians 5:19-21 – Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: …….
In order to more fully understand what is considered sinful behavior that Paul addressed, the following detail is provided:
Adultery – cheating on your spouse or any affair outside of your marriage
Fornication – all sexual sins and impropriety, including sex before marriage
Uncleanness - impure acts, including sexual thoughts, imaginations and fantasies
Lasciviousness – debauchery, immorality, including pornography
Idolatry – Idolizing personalities or objects, spending time, money or devotion to
Witchcraft – involvement in the occult and tampering with evil powers, Satanism
Hatred – being ill disposed toward others by actions, attitude and language
Variance – selfishly disagreeable, a troublemaker, unaccommodating
Emulations – to exalt self above others by putting them down
Wrath – intense anger, rage, taking vengeance
Strife – fighting, quarrelling
Seditions – stirring up trouble, rebellion against recognized authority
Heresies – espousing false teachings
Envyings – covetous of what others have
Murders – killing of innocent victims for selfish reasons, abortions
Drunkenness – intoxication (from either alcohol or drugs), getting high, losing inhabitions
Revellings – excessive partying (clubbing) or marry-making,
Paul was so concerned about these behaviors that he repeatedly declared these things to this church in the past, and as he goes on to say in the rest of verse 21: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past,
Now here, in the rest of verse 21, is the severe warning Paul gave: that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Everyone needs to understand that sinful behavior is not allowed in the Kingdom of God. And if you are still doing any of these sinful behaviors it shows that the Spirit of Christ is NOT in you; and you are deceived if you think you are going to heaven while living a life motivated by and pleasing to Satan. This matter is so important that this same warning is referred to several times in the New Testament as follows:
Matthew 7:21 – Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 18:3 – and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as (innocent and faithful) little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
1 Corinthians 6:9 – Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Revelation 22:14-15 – (Jesus, speaking of those who enter into the Holy City, the Heavenly Jerusalem), Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Paul then goes on to instruct what it is that God is looking for in each of us in order to become a true Christian and living a godly lifestyle:
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
It is important to understand that “The Fruit of the Spirit” is the character and nature of God. It was this nature that man was created with – in His Image and likeness, and that it was all lost when sin entered mankind in the Garden in Eden. Upon accepting and acknowledging Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for all sins, you become “born again of the spirit” , and this fruit of the Spirit is the evidence that Christ is living in you and you have repented of sin and have put away your old sinful ways, referred to as “the flesh, the old man and the old nature”. Paul identifies this in verse 24:
Galatians 5:24 - And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
And he says a similar thing to the Romans and Ephesians:
Romans 13:14 – But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Ephesians 4:22-24 - that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
This fruit is also spoken of by Jesus who said that it is only available by being intimately associated with him. He used the example of a branch being intimately tied to a tree (vine) so that the life of that tree can flow through to that branch and produce the desired fruit.
John 15:1-5 – I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
The fruit referred to here is the Fruit of the Spirit which is the character and nature of God which was fully present in Jesus Christ. It is definitely not referring to man’s works or efforts because Jesus said that the branch cannot bear fruit by itself.
Here it is also revealed that there are testings and trials that we experience in order to prune us (the branches) to trim off what does not belong, and to allow the fruit to grow and increase with the hindrances removed. Please recognize that those that do not produce any fruit are cut off and burned because the life of the vine is not in them.
John 15:6 - If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
This speaks of the very issue that this article is presenting which is SIN and IMMORALITY in many of today’s churches. Please understand, just because you go to church does not mean you are going to heaven. Just because you go through the religious routines and rituals does not mean you are going to heaven. Just because you have a position in your church does not mean you will go to heaven. God is looking to bring those unto Himself that are truly His Sons and Daughters; those in whom Christ is seen; those whose lives have been changed from worldly to Godly; those who have the Fruit of the Spirit; those who have truly repented and fled from sinful behavior and asked for forgiveness.
In Matthew is another illustration that Jesus used to make a similar point about those who do not get to go in when the Bridegroom comes.
Matthew 25:1-12 – Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Please note why the five foolish virgins were not allowed in: Their light went out. In the Book of Matthew Jesus said we are to be the light of the world which means to have His light shining in us so others can see. This also speaks of the Fruit of the Spirit; His life in us. If it is not in us we are not fit to be with Him in heaven.
John 9:5 – As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
Matthew 5:14 – Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Perhaps it is time for you to do some soul searching and make sure Christ is evident in you and seen by the way you live. Are you qualified to go to heaven? Remember, Jesus also said:
Matthew 7:13-14 - Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Living a godly life WILL put you at odds with this world, as Jesus said. Living as the light does attract attention, but you need to stand firm so you can reap the eternal reward that God has planned for you.
One possibility regarding the five foolish virgins is that they knew of Jesus and that He is to return, however they didn’t really know Him. To know of Him is not the same as actually knowing Him and having a relationship with Him. Consider what Jesus said about a certain category of preachers:
Matthew 7:21-23 – Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
This refers to those who could be among the foolish whose light went out because they were doing their own thing, called iniquity.