Last Sunday, I (Pastor Justin), issued a challenge to consider the lost as we come to another Halloween night (less than a week away!). The challenge was to take a step in the direction of communicating the gospel more than we have before. For some, I encouraged to simply turn the lights on, open the door, and give candy away with a tract containing the gospel message. For others, I encouraged to go out and try to engage parents and/or kids in conversation about the gospel.
I respect the reality that, for Christians, there are a variety of approaches towards Halloween, but my goal is to move each one of us closer to always being ready to share the gospel. This is just one night, but it is a night that many people will be out, and some will not be in a hurry so it is a great opportunity to engage some in conversation.
If you are uncomfortable in your conscience before the Lord of being a part of Halloween night like I've encouraged, that is okay - please do not violate your conscience before God. But, let me challenge you to spend at least an hour in prayer (perhaps with some others) for those who will be out sharing the gospel that night.
But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Romans 14:23 – NIV84
Let me also add that in areas like this one where we have many differing opinions about the acceptability of a practice let us offer each other grace. There are some areas in Scripture that do not prescribe for us a clear course of action or inaction. Often, we find a direction or a principle to live by. When we deal with principles, the application individually can vary significantly. So, let’s not be each other’s judges by determining what is right and wrong on areas of application of principle, but let us live in the freedom God has purchased for us at a very high and precious price.
So, how should this play out? Well, if God has moved you to be bold then do not look down on your timid brother or sister and accuse them of being disobedient. Instead encourage them to be faithful to God in the areas where they conscience is not troubled. On the other hand, if your conscience troubles you so as not to enter a dangerous situation, then do not judge or look down on those who are comfortable doing so. We are both believers in Jesus Christ! Let us both set our sights on bringing the gospel to those who do not know Jesus personally as their King.
1If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. 3 Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:1-4 – HCSB
Warning: parental approval is a must before children or youth should read this article or book. Content should be read carefully by parent(s) before children read. It could be a good subject to read together and discuss.
Sam Alberry addresses one of the great questions asked today regarding the morality of homosexual unions provided that they are faithful and committed relationships. The excerpt is entitled, “Surely a same-sex partnership is OK if it’s committed and faithful?” I don’t think I could say it better so check this out:
One of the arguments commonly made today in favour of same-sex partnerships is that what must surely count above all else is faithfulness and commitment. Shouldn’t faithfulness within a relationship be what determines its moral goodness rather than the gender of those involved in it? A promiscuous gay lifestyle with multiple partners and one-night stands might be wrong, but two people who love each other and are faithful to whatever promises they have made—surely that’s OK?
It can seem a compelling argument, and it is increasingly common to find Christians allowing for this kind of expression of homosexual practice. But a number of important things need to be said in response.
In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul rebukes the Corinthian church for its acceptance of an illicit relationship. A man is in a relationship with his father’s wife, most likely his stepmother, an arrangement expressly forbidden in Leviticus 18. Paul is dismayed. Even the pagans in Corinthian society would not allow such a thing (1 Corinthians 5 v 1), and yet here it is going on in plain sight among God’s people.
Paul’s response to this situation is instructive, as much for what he doesn’t say as for what he does say. There is no question about whether the couple in question loves each other. Paul does not ask about their level of commitment or whether they are being faithful. That is not the issue. Whether or not they are in a long-term committee relationship is beside the point; the fact remains that it is wrong and should not be happening.
Paul does not distinguish between faithful illicit relationships and profligate illicit relationships, as if the latter are out of bounds but the former might just squeak in by virtue of their faithfulness. Consistency and faithfulness while sinning in no way diminish the sin. Paul calls for the church member in question to be expelled from the fellowship, and for the whole church to express remorse at what has happened (I Corinthians 5 v 2). Faithfulness demonstrated in an otherwise prohibited relationship does not make it less sinful.
In many areas of life it is possible to demonstrate good qualities while doing something wrong. A thief in a gang may demonstrate impeccable loyalty to his fellow criminals during the act of stealing; looking out for them, protecting them from danger, being sure to give them a generous proportion of the takings. None of this in any way lessens the immorality of the act; it just means he is being a “good” thief rather than a “bad” thief. As we have seen, Scripture is clear in its prohibition of any homosexual activity. Activity that is faithful and committed is no more permissible than activity that’s promiscuous and unfaithful.
Justin began serving as the pastor at Faith in February of 2013. He is passionate about people having the opportunity to hear the good news about eternal life through Jesus Christ.