A Time To Step Up and Speak Up

It is important for parents to communicate with their children about the world we live in, especially in the area of morality and values. Parents need to speak regularly with their children and have frank discussions about matters of right and wrong because there are, unfortunately, ongoing conflicting voices and opinions that are prevalent from media sources, network programming, and even Hollywood and its celebrities. Today, to counter these messages that are in conflict with our values, we must have the courage to speak up for what is truth. We must take a stand for righteousness and be clear in our opposition to sin and deviant behavior. Taking such a declarative stand, of course, has a cost, and we should be prepared for such a cost and fallout for speaking the truth according to God’s Word.

This stance will require courage and strength from the presence of the Holy Spirit. We have to come to a place where we, as a people, have to be prepared to speak up and declare the truth about sin, sexuality outside of God’s intent within marriage, and the gay lifestyle. There are many people who are openly proclaiming that open sexuality and the gay lifestyle is acceptable behavior. Their opposition to any discussion about such behavior is that they should be free to make the choices to live as they do, and that they love everyone, and challenge others to be more open-minded. On the surface, this may be a valid argument until you compare this reasoning with God’s Word, His standards, and its true authority in our lives. The reality is that sin, which is contrary to God’s Word, can have a significant negative impact on your relationship, if any, with God, on your life, and even the lives of others.

For those who believe and trust in God’s Word, are you ashamed of what the Bible teaches? “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). “But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. And who is competent for this? For we are not like the many who market God’s message for profit. On the contrary, we speak with sincerity in Christ, as from God and before God” (2 Corinthians 2:14-17). When a believer in Jesus Christ goes from place to place, he or she should be presenting a “fragrance” of the knowledge and wisdom of Christ before anyone and everyone in which they make contact. The reality is that there are two different groups of people that you will encounter–those that will have the desire to know Christ, and those who will reject the message of the gospel. Do you realize that your choice to receive salvation is an agreement with God? For those who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, they are in agreement with God about His message of truth. If one does not accept the gospel, then God is in agreement with the choice to reject Him, and He will allow that person to go his or her own way–to be eternally separated from Him. The truth of the gospel is inherent in the message that needs to be communicated in how sin and a sinful lifestyle separates us from God.

There are things that should never occur amongst the people of God. “Now Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was 41 years old when he became king; he reigned 17 years in Jerusalem, the city where Yahweh had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put His name. Rehoboam’s mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. Judah did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes. They provoked Him to jealous anger more than all that their ancestors had done with the sins they committed. They also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree; there were even male cult prostitutes in the land. They imitated all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites” (1 Kings 14:21-24). What God had driven out previously that was against Him and His instruction was being brought back in. Was this practice much different than what is occurring today? Hardly. As a people, those who profess to follow Christ have become accustomed to outside influences that have compromised God’s Word within the church and within the body of Christ. The minds of those who practice sexuality in the form of prostitution have to be trained to do what they practice. These are willful acts that are contrary to God’s Word. “No Israelite woman is to be a cult prostitute, and no Israelite man is to be a cult prostitute. Do not bring a female prostitute’s wages or a male prostitute’s earnings into the house of the Lord your God to fulfill any vow, because both are detestable to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 23:17-18). God’s Word makes it clear that money earned through prostitution should not be shared with the church.

The people of God are the army of God that combats against sin (Judges 20:1-2). There is an urgent need for a counter-response to those who sin and practice sinful behaviors (Judges 19:20-26). How much of an effect can sin have on a multitude of people? In the book of Judges chapters 19 and 20, note that one incident of a sexual act resulted in the death of 100,130 people. A tribe of Israel was destroyed because of what it allowed to occur within their midst. Note that the men who participate in this grievous event were evil and perverted. The thought process of that time was to not necessarily abstain from deviant sexual behavior, but to allow for this type of behavior to be perpetrated against the under a different outlet women, or in this case, a female concubine of the house guest (Judges 19:25-27). The result of this travesty was noted in the verses that followed in Judges 20:5-7.

How does this relate to today? We need to make a decision as a group with one voice that deviant sexual behavior, with its roots in sinful behavior, is morally wrong. Unfortunately, the body of Christ has been deeply divided in its communication of this message to the world, and even amongst its own people. As individuals, we have to make a decision–is it a sin to have sex outside of marriage? Is it sinful to participate in gay sex? Is this behavior right or wrong? In order to even begin to come together as a group, we have to make these decisions as individuals and take a stand for God’s Word and righteousness.

Do you know that, while there is suffering in your decision to speak the truth, God will protect you? “For this gospel I was appointed a herald, apostle, and teacher, and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day” (2 Timothy 1:11-12).

The body of Christ must come together and be united as one voice for the truth of the gospel and God’s Word…He never intended for the church to be divided. “Knowing their thoughts, He told them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and no city or house divided against itself will stand‘” (Matthew 12:25). “Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause dissensions and obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Avoid them, for such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words” (Romans 16:17). See also Judges 20:11, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, and 1 Corinthians 12:25.

Who are to be have one voice against? Sometimes the audience is right in front of us–it may be the members of our own families or someone very close to us that is involved in the ongoing practice of sinful behavior (Judges 20:13; Genesis 46:21, 49:27). Yet, it is vital to speak the truth about sin and its ultimate destruction and devastation in the lives of people.

Conquering sin and those who oppose the message of truth will not be swift. While it will not come quickly, victory will eventually come to pass. Until that time, we must continue to encourage each other in the combat and struggle (Judges 20:17-36). When you are taking a stand for truth in the battle against sin, there will ultimately be conflict. We are to encourage, and pray, for one another. Sometimes God has to allow for us to be in a state of brokenness in order to best use us for His glory and His purpose. There are times we need to give of ourselves in fasting, prayer, and sacrifice of ourselves to bring us to a place where we are relying on God’s energy and strength to accomplish His will and purpose (Judges 20:28). When we see God in the way that He wants us to see Him, and we have the proper reverence of Him, He will give you victory (Romans 8:37-39).

In this combat against sin, as we speak to those who need to hear the truth about sin, we need to remember that it starts with an individual decision, and that we work in unity with others for the common goal of proclaiming the gospel. We are to grieve when someone is caught up in sin (Judges 20:6), and we need to not make light of sin and what is occurring in our lives. We are to pray for the Lord’s guidance in addressing these issues in reverence for God and His Word. We need to trust Him that He will give us the victory as we remain obedient to His Word and trust in Him.

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