Live and Let Die – The Cost of Compromise – Purity 715
Purity 715 04/26/2022 Purity 715 Podcast
Today’s photo of sunset over the Florida Everglades comes to us from a friend who is traveling in the sunshine state and sharing some of their “views” on social media. Don’t worry our friend’s sharing isn’t likely to cause offense as the views they are sharing are visual rather than religious or political.
I, as someone who has come to understand the great a importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ don’t have that luxury. While I share magnificent views of God’s creation to encourage people to consider something bigger than themselves and to ponder the meaning of our lives, I do so to lead people to seek God and to find Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
I more than anyone else know the truth that you can bring a “horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” but I also know that God can use anyone and anything to start the process to bring people to be reconciled to Him. In my experience, my long and winding road of searching for meaning after the loss of my infant son eventual lead to a moment of clarity as the Lord used a gospel radio message to open my eyes and to bring me to Him.
In all those years of being lost, I was looking. I was looking for love in all the wrong places as the song goes, but I was looking. And even on that faithful day when I made Christ my Lord and Savior, my willingness to listen, my curiosity, was all the faith that the Lord needed to work with. So it is my deep hope, not to offend, and that my encouragements to “seek the Lord” or “keep walking and talking with God” will lead others to find their salvation, and their freedom in Christ.
The problem with the concept of freedom is that we really are deceived in terms of what we think freedom is. My idea of freedom before being set free by Jesus was very simple. Freedom for me, and undoubtedly for many others, was the simple idea that I could “do whatever I want” or to “do whatever I choose.”
Unfortunately, without God in our lives, the things that man tend to “want” are selfish, short sighted, and lead to the opposite of freedom: bondage.
The simplest example of “freedom” that is bondage are addictions. We are “free” to do whatever we want, right?, but somehow if we keep exercising our freedom to do the same things over and over again we seem less free to say no to those impulses and cravings to “feed the beast” be it alcohol, drugs, shopping, eating, relationships, sex, gathering possessions, or earning recognition in the eyes of others.
Freedom turned to bondage usually reveals itself when our “wants to” turns into “have to” or “needs to”, as in “I have to do this!” Or “I need this!”
In America, we are bid believers in the pursuit of happiness and the freedom to choose and as we have developed as a society in this current post-Christian era, there seems to be only one standard of restraint of our ‘freedoms’, which is “as long as it doesn’t harm others.” But even that has slipped, as I have heard the implication of “unless the other person is okay with it” showing us that it’s okay to victimize someone as long as they are complicit with it. The battered wife or husband isn’t battered if they are “into it.”
It's a dark, dark world out there and it hasn’ gotten so dark that I have seen the light so to speak. I like many other Americans, believe in freedom. I believe that people are free to do whatever they want, because in reality they are: they have free will. Whether it’s healthy or harmful, legal or illegal, wise or foolish, people are going to do what they are going to do.
Because of this fact of life, I used to hold the view that if it didn’t hurt anyone, who was I to tell anyone what they were doing was wrong. I could disagree with what they did but I had problems and issue of my own and I wouldn’t want anyone to try to tell me to change my behavior so I took on the philosophy of “live and let live” and wouldn’t say a negative word about anyone’s lifestyle choices because I knew I didn’t want anyone telling me that my lifestyle choices were wrong, even if they were causing me to suffer.
I think our society has had “the live and let live” motto for years and years and somehow we are surprised that things seem to be getting worse and worse. The world seems to increasingly abandoned their standards for morality that would align with the wisdom of God’s word as we have all been doing what seems ‘right in our own sight.”
I once thought that “the world could do what it wants, that’s freedom” and somehow my family and I would be wise and unaffected by the foolishness out there. I hadn’t always been the best at making wise choice but I tried to instill in my children the basic tenants of right and wrong and when I became a Christian I brought them to church with me every week. At several times through the years, I was encouraged from things that my children said to me that indicated that they had made Christ their savior and although they weren’t perfect they somehow learned from the mistakes of their father as they are living drug and alcohol free.
But although I thought I was clear about our faith and what was right and wrong, I also taught them to accept others for who they are and I taught them that we are all free to choose our path in life.
I know you can bring a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. So instead of demanding mandatory church attendance, after my kids were old enough to have cars and drive, I allowed them to choose how often they attended church. And it may be no surprise to you that, they stopped going.
I knew from my life’s journey that you can’t “make someone believe” so I decided to give them liberty in their walk of faith. But the world, the flesh, and devil have other options out there. And whether it was laziness or cold hearts of apathy or hot hearts of rebellion, the kids exercised their freedom of choice that a lot of people choose to “do nothing”.
I let my kids decide that for themselves and figured as long as they weren’t doing drugs and alcohol and keeping their sex lives a mystery to me everything was “good”. “Good but not great” right?
But now I think differently. As the John Piper’s book that I am sharing on the blog currently is tells us – a life without Christ is a wasted life. A life that is not lived according to the Lord’s wisdom and for His purposes is a life of bondage, not freedom and it’s not “good”.
So as much as I have previously let “bygones be bygones” and to “live and let live”, I realize the errors of my ways and that as Christians we need to let people know what the word of God indicates about the choices they are making with their lives.
What’s wrong is wrong, no matter how free you are to choose and do it.
A life without peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ is a life that is lost and that is headed for destruction. Our supposed freedoms will lead to consequences of suffering.
Sportsbook gambling – which is advertised all over the place has the potential to lead to financial instability, people losing their homes, and families being broken in the aftermath.
The legalization of drugs and the development of less bitter alcoholic options – leads to the bondage of addiction, loss of income, physical, emotional and mental suffering. Ask me how I know.
The legitimization of loose sexual ethics, both hetero and other, lead to loss intimacy, shame, the erosion of the family, divorce, bondage to sex addiction, and gender role confusion.
The proliferation of “food culture” – with its instance on prescribing “comfort” – leads to obesity, health problems, and death.
Everyone seeking their own happiness with their own personal recipe of all of the above leads to a society of self-interest that results is division and strife where fear and hatred increases and no one has peace. Without the Lord all these paths, no matter how “right they seem in our own eyes” or how they “work for us”, will lead to death and separation from God’s kingdom in eternity.
None of the things of this world can give lasting peace. No matter how free we are to pursue them and indulge our desires, the things of this world, because of their impermanent and imperfect attributes, will fail to satisfy. True peace can only come from God and when we let people “live and let die” we are being complicit in their destruction.
While we can’t save anyone, we need to warn people that while they are free to choose whatever they like, they are not free from the consequence of their choices.
If they choose to ignore the fact that their “freedom” is bondage and is slowly killing their bodies, and destroying their minds and souls, they will die.
If they choose to ignore the implications of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, they choose to reject the life that He came to give them and they will perish.
So be kind, be loving, and don’t be a jerk. But let’s not be silent in our concerns for our fellow man and let’s try to be clear to point out the consequences that their “freedom and moral compromises will bring. Let’s point to what God’s word says about sexual immorality, drunkenness, gluttony, and worshipping things other than the One True God, that reveals Himself in the holy scriptures contained in the Bible and that came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ.
While we can’t make the horse drink, we can try to show them the life giving properties of the living waters that Jesus Christ has to offer by showing our care, concern, and love for them by saying the difficult things, by telling people that their freedom isn’t freedom, it’s sin. And while they are free to sin, they are also free to suffer from their choice to sin.
The Lord told us to love our neighbors as ourselves and that may require us to have difficult conversations that may cause others to revile us. Jesus said that the world would hate us. Have you ever wondered why? In Christ, we are the light of the world and Jesus told us in
John 3:19 (NKJV)
19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
So men may hate us for telling them that the darkness they love is evil but Christ so loved the world that He died to save them from their darkness and He called us to share good news even if the world doesn’t want to hear it.
So keep walking and talking with God. Listen to His voice and if the Holy Spirit moves you to speak to help bring someone out of their darkness and to invite them into the light, say what needs to be said. Make it clear that your words come from care and concern and are based on the word of God and the peace and joy that you received when you entered into His Kingdom through Christ the Lord.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Corinthians 2:12 (NLT2)
12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
Today’s Bible verse reminds us we have received the Holy Spirit to know all the wonderful things that God has freely given us.
Life and Life more abundantly is what Christ wanted us to have. Spiritual life. Eternal Life. A life set free from sin and death re all given to us when we put our faith in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit confirms this by revealing these truths when we read God’s word and when we choose to live our lives in obedience to the Lord’s will. The realization of who we are in Christ and the wonderful promises draws us close to God, wiping away our fears and giving us the assurance of our salvation and the Lord’s love for us.
So seek to know what you have received and what has been promised to you and live in the hope that you can know more of these promises in your life here and now and will one day inherit the rest when you see the Lord face to face,.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.
Dying, Living, and Boasting in the Cross
Now let’s take all that over to Galatians 6:14, and we will see how we come to live totally for the glory of Christ crucified. “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” That is, don’t boast in anything except in the cross. How shall we become so radically cross-exalting? How can we become the kind of people who trace all our joy back to joy in Christ and him crucified? Answer: The old self that loves to boast and exult and rejoice in other things died. By faith we are united to Christ. His death becomes the death of our self-exalting life. We are raised with him to newness of life. What lives is a new creature whose single passion is to exalt Christ and his cross.
To put it another way, when you put your trust in Christ, your bondage to the world and its overpowering lure is broken. You are a corpse to the world, and the world is a corpse to you. Or to put it positively, according to verse 15, you are a “new creation.” The old “you” is dead. A new “you” is alive. And the new you is the you of faith. And what faith does is boast not in the world, but in Christ, especially Christ crucified.
This is how you become so cross-centered that you say with Paul, “I will not boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The world is no longer our treasure. It’s not the source of our life or our satisfaction or our joy. Christ is.
Shall We Prize What He Presents or What It Portrays of Him?
But what about safety in the car accident? What about the insurance payment we received? Didn’t I say I was happy about that? Isn’t that worldly? So am I really dead to the world? Dead to insurance payments and new cars?
I pray that I am dead in the right way. I believe that I am. Not perfectly, I am sure, but in a real sense. How can this be? If I feel glad about safety or health or any good thing, and if these things are things of the world (which they are), then am I dead to the world? Yes, because being dead to the world does not mean having no feelings about the world (see 1 John 2:15; 1 Timothy 4:3). It means that every legitimate pleasure in the world becomes a blood-bought evidence of Christ’s love, and an occasion of boasting in the cross. We are dead to insurance payments when the money is not what satisfies, but Christ crucified, the Giver, satisfies.
C. S. Lewis illustrates what I mean by an experience he had in a toolshed.
I was standing today in the dark toolshed. The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door there came a sunbeam. From where I stood that beam of light, with the specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place. Everything else was almost pitch-black. I was seeing the beam, not seeing things by it.
Then I moved, so that the beam fell on my eyes. Instantly the whole previous picture vanished. I saw no toolshed, and (above all) no beam. Instead I saw, framed in the irregular cranny at the top of the door, green leaves moving on the branches of a tree outside and beyond that, ninety-odd million miles away, the sun. Looking along the beam, and looking at the beam are very different experiences.
The sunbeams of blessing in our lives are bright in and of themselves. They also give light to the ground where we walk. But there is a higher purpose for these blessings. God means for us to do more than stand outside them and admire them for what they are. Even more, he means for us to walk into them and see the sun from which they come. If the beams are beautiful, the sun is even more beautiful. God’s aim is not that we merely admire his gifts, but, even more, his glory.
We Die to the Innocent World in the Blaze of Christ’s Glory
Now the point is that the glory of Christ, manifest especially in his death and resurrection, is the glory above and behind every blessing we enjoy. He purchased everything that is good for us. His glory is where the quest of our affections must end. Everything else is a pointer—a parable of this beauty. When our hearts run back up along the beam of blessing to the source in the blazing glory of the cross, then the worldliness of the blessing is dead, and Christ crucified is everything.
The Only God-Glorifying Life
This is no different than the goal of magnifying the glory of God that we saw in Chapter 2. Christ is the glory of God. His blood-soaked cross is the blazing center of that glory. By it he bought for us every blessing—temporal and eternal. And we don’t deserve any. He bought them all. Because of Christ’s cross, God’s elect are destined to be sons of God. Because of his cross, the wrath of God is taken away. Because of his cross all guilt is removed, and sins are forgiven, and perfect righteousness is imputed to us, and the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are being conformed to the image of Christ.
Therefore every enjoyment in this life and the next that is not idolatry is a tribute to the infinite value of the cross of Christ—the burning center of the glory of God. And thus a cross-centered, cross-exalting, cross-saturated life is a God-glorifying life—the only God-glorifying life. All others are wasted.
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