What a Weird Church – Morally


Breaking the Chains of Slavery to Sin

The moral choices making the church salt and light

Are you a slave? Are you enslaved? Is there anything you can’t free yourself from? Americans are crazy about freedom, but often find themselves enslaved to something. What are the most addicting habits of Americans? What are we addicted to? Alcohol, tobacco, gambling, sex, pornography, our job, high-risk behaviors, some specific food, shopping, illegal and prescription drugs, painkillers, marijuana, sleeping pills, internet gaming, smart phones and video games.

These addictions can reach into the lives of born again Christians. But even if those are not your problems, most Christians find themselves battling with addictions to coffee, sugar, snacks, fast foods, movies, theme parks, sports, video games or hobbies. Even neutral behavior can slowly become an idol in competition to Christ. Over time, our preferences can rob us of our freedom and enslave us to the point where we love them more than we love Christ. We exalt an event, a place, a person, a moment more than Christ and His work on our behalf.

Sin can put you in chains. Sin has an addiction to it. And sin will make you a slave. Everyone without Christ is a slave to sin–they can’t help it. But often, believers allow themselves to be enslaved to the lesser. In John 8:34 to 36, Jesus affirmed it this way. “’Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’”

Only Christ can free you from the slavery of sin. And lest you think sin is no big deal, beware of sin slowly enslaving you, Christian, resulting in you being ineffective for Christ, useless in His work and ruined as a tool for His glory. Oh wretched men and women that we are. Jesus warns you with a stick, and motivates you with a carrot in John 10:10. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Even though believers are freed from the penalty of sin and the power of sin, we are not yet free from the presence and peskiness of sin. We are still in a battle against Satan, the world and especially our own flesh. In fact, our rank as a spiritual soldier is most evidenced by small victories over sin’s hampering and a lifestyle of holiness. This is seen in how we flee sin, confess sin, repent of sin, get help over sin and long to be freed from sin. Even at the end of his life, Paul still called himself the chief of sinners.

Because our Master and Savior is holy, sinless, righteous, and perfect, any sin and all sin is an attack against His character and a violation of His law–which is why Peter says in 1 Peter 1:15 and 16, “Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” Part of holiness is living different and living uniquely. Holiness is part of our witness to the watching world. Holiness is the brightness of the light we shine. Living holy proves to those enslaved to sin that they can be free if they turn to Christ.

So, genuine believers, in authentic church communities live morally different than the world. Not because we are conservatives, or Republicans or political–but because we have been transformed in heart, filled with His love, and desire to obey His Word. The indwelling Holy Spirit and our new born-again nature moves you and empowers you to make choices to live morally different and biblically holy.

We are light and salt and a bit weird from our culture, because we will make different moral choices than those who are still enslaved to sin. Because we are freed from the penalty and power of sin, we determine to follow the teaching of Scripture on the moral issues of our day, and to not follow trendy thinking. What does that mean? Well today, in the midst of our series on what makes the Church a little bit weird, you will discover several moral differences–here are a few . . .

#1  Christians are not confused about GENDER

This has been brewing in our cultural coffee pot for decades. Fully dressed women reporters in locker rooms with naked men. Feminism demanding unisex women. The same pay–yes, same jobs–they can, but should they? Same look–no! Michael Jackson and Boy George acting more like women than men–all leading up to today.

Culture now says gender is a choice, so instead of pursuing God’s creative design and submitting to Gods sovereign will already predetermined from before time, we now tell children they’re not made male or female by their Creator, but they can choose what they will be. The result is a disaster. This wave of satanic attack not only destroys the image of God in men and women–it is enslaving and annihilating our youth.

Recently a Junior High teacher said to two girls fighting, “Stop fighting, girls!” to which one of them looked up at the teacher and said, “I am not a girl!” Even though she was. Other teachers find students, who are normally prone to trying on different hats anyway, daily floating from male to female, and other options–Monday a guy in jeans, Tuesday a girl in a dress, Wednesday some incomprehensible combo or blend.

So turn to Genesis 1 and look at what God says. Friends, God is the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and God is the Creator of male and female. Only two genders–different, yet made in God’s image—complementary but unique. In Genesis 1:26 and 27 God says, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

The image of God in male and female makes each sex unique in that we give the world a picture or image of God. We are not God, but we are like God–a picture. We are God’s picture on this planet–we show off His image to this world. And with that image, both male and female display God’s character with equal brilliance. God said let them rule, meaning equal value and purpose.

Though you might struggle with this truth, husbands and wives are both equally human. (Yes, he might act like a beast, and yes she might act like a mama bear–but both are unique, and in their uniqueness both are designed to bear God’s image.) We are to be one, like God is one–our identity is with Him and with each other. I am to serve my spouse, think about my spouse, more than I do myself. Like the Trinity–each are different, yet one. Yet I am male and she is female.

There’s no choice here–God determines your gender. In the original blueprint, male and female are different, and those differences were designed to complement and function like a team. God did not design each gender to do the same things. Like a doubles team in tennis, they each take care of their side of the court. In Matthew 19:4 Jesus said, “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female.”

Healthy marriages complement each another–like a pilot and a co-pilot, each doing their distinct job to keep the plane airborne and safe. You play different instruments in God’s orchestra, but in harmony. You play different notes, but make music together. Believing God’s Word means there are only two genders, and that makes you unique (weird). But it keeps us holy, and prevents us from being enslaved and destroyed.

To destroy the two clear genders is an attack against God and a violation of His Word. To deny only two genders is sin, which will enslave and destroy. God is sovereign in choosing your gender and making you a male or a female. Men who surgically alter themselves are merely mutilated men before God–they are not women, they’re not she. Caitlyn Jenner is still a man–he’s still Bruce. Those women who surgically alter themselves are mutilated women—not men. You don’t choose your gender–God already did.

#2  Christians view ABORTION as murder

Abortion is not a political issue, it’s a people issue–a love your neighbor issue. Combatting abortion does not aim at making women more moral–it is simply seeking to save the lives of innocent unborn children. Christians are not trying to force a biblical morality on an unbelieving world. The world already intrinsically knows it’s wrong to kill a baby. They’re just not fully aware that this is exactly what abortion is doing.

70% of aborting women in the U.S. identify as Christians, which means there is a lot of confusion in the Church about abortion. The world tells us it’s not a baby–just a mass of tissue, that the fetus is not a person yet, that abortion is my choice because this is my body. But the Word teaches your body belongs to God, God creates life, and abortion is murder–because life begins at conception. God Himself personally creates every life.

Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a gift of the Lord.” Children come from God’s hand. Children are God’s unique creation. God opens the womb and Genesis 20:18 says He can also close the womb. Creating the life of a human being is the sovereign work of God. In fact Job 12:10 says in God’s hand is the life of every living thing.

Turn to Psalm 139:13 to 16, one of the clearest passages in the Bible describing God’s active involvement in the womb. “For You formed my inward parts [my heart, my lungs, my kidneys, liver, and other vital organs]. You wove me in my mother’s womb [Literally stitched me together]. 14I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from You, [bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons] when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth [The “depths of the earth” is a euphemism for the womb, the hidden place, secret place]. 16Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” This is God, intimately involved in a child’s development in the womb.

You gotta love Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” Dr. Jerome Lejeune, who discovered the genetic link to Down syndrome, said, “After fertilization has taken place, a new human being has come into being. This is no longer a matter of taste or opinion.” Each person has an incredible beginning.

A baby’s heart starts beating 21 days after conception. Four days later, it will be pumping blood throughout the embryo’s tiny body–beating approximately 54 million times before birth. During week four, the brain begins dividing into its three primary sections and the arms and legs take shape. Hands and feet emerge after four weeks. After six weeks, the brain emits brain impulses, and the embryo responds to stimulus. This is about the time a woman discovers she is pregnant.

After seven weeks, distinct leg movements and hiccups have been observed and even in the womb, the embryo develops the ability to smell. After eight weeks, every organ is present and in place. At nine weeks, fetuses are capable of sucking their thumb, grasping objects, responding to touch, and doing somersaults. By week ten, the child squints, swallows and frowns. By week twelve, the child is kicking, curling his toes, making a fist, moving his thumbs and opening his mouth. All of this in the first trimester.

In the remaining trimesters, nothing new develops or begins functioning. The fully intact child only grows and matures. It is an indisputable fact–every surgical abortion stops a beating heart and stops already measurable brain waves. Abortion is not just a procedure that terminates a pregnancy–it is the murder of an innocent and defenseless human life.

Christians, we stand for life because Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. God is the author of life–God oversees life. Each infant is specially designed by our Creator, made in His image and here for His glory. Those who support abortion are in defiant rebellion against the Creator of life. Abortion is the murder of a person who cannot defend themselves.

Forgiveness in Christ covers abortion–and many women have come to Christ because of an abortion. And in Christ, they have been washed whiter than snow. But no born again, new-natured, indwelt with the Holy Spirit Christian will support abortion. Nor will they knowingly support (vote for) those who encourage abortion.

#3  Christians reject HOMOSEXUALITY

Leviticus 18:22 says God finds homosexual behavior detestable. “You must not lie with a man as with a woman; that is an abomination.” Homosexuality is a sexual perversion. It’s against God’s design, against God’s will, and against God’s Word. When God chooses to punish the human race with sin, Romans 1 says God gives them over to homosexuality–He punishes them with homosexuality. It is not an alternative lifestyle, it’s an aberrant sin, violating God’s character which brings about horrific enslavement and terrifying consequences.

The Gospel is so powerful, the good news is homosexuals can be freed from their sin–but only if they repent of the sin of homosexuality and all their other sin, and turn to Christ alone in dependent faith. But few sins are as enslaving as homosexuality. It binds people in the chains of aberrant lust. The vast majority of homosexuals have an unending number of partners, participating in repeated, perverted and bizarre sexual practices. They’re consumed by their passions, and so filled with guilt, they will do anything and everything to gain legitimacy.

Someday soon, an employer, a teacher, or government official may say to you, “You are a bigot, a racist–even call you a criminal because of your hate speech. You say, ‘Gays are sinners, that homosexuality is a sin.’ You’re just like the Nazis with the Jews–you’re evil in what you say, and unloving to not affirm the lifestyle.”

You can respond, “Every person alive is a sinner and God loves all sinners—and so do I.” You can say, “You don’t have to be a homosexual to be a sinner–we are all sinners. You don’t have to be gay to go to Hell, you will go to Hell even if you are nice, without Christ.” But after they press you, you will need to turn to Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6 and show them it is God and His Word who call homosexuality a sin. Turn there now.

In Romans 1, Paul describes three steps of active judgment today as God is giving people over. The first step is to immoral lust. The second step is to lesbian and homosexual behavior described in verses 26 and 27, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Romans 1 clearly calls homosexual behavior, not an alternate lifestyle, not gay, but degrading passions, unnatural, lustful desire, indecent acts, resulting in penalizing consequences.

Turn to 1 Corinthians 6:9 to 11. On the heels of condemning those who sue their brothers in a court of law, Paul gives this clear warning to all believers. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

Those who live unrighteously as a way of life, those who are known for a pattern of sin, those who are in ongoing unrepentant sin even though they claim to be Christians, are not believers. They are not saved, not going to Heaven, not living under God’s rule and will not inherit His Kingdom. Paul clearly states that along with ongoing adulterers, continual fornicators, unrepentant thieves, repeating drunkards–that those in the continual practice of unrepentant homosexuality are clearly unsaved.

The effeminate–men who want to act or live like a woman—and those who practice the sin of homosexuality are not born again, because they must repent of that sin and turn to Christ for salvation. Again, can they? Yes! Paul adds in verse 11, “Such were [past tense] some of you.” It can be part of your past. When you are genuinely saved, you are internally washed and set apart to serve Christ, justified by the work of Christ in salvation by the Spirit of God. Homosexuality is enslavement to the sin of lust. It destroys lives! Biology teaches you it’s aberrant, and the Bible teaches you it’s sin against God. You’ve been freed from sin, Christian—delivered to live by God’s design, by God’s Word, holy and unique.

#4  Christians hate DIVORCE

How do you make a marriage work? Ricky, age 10, has the answer. “Tell your wife that she looks pretty; even if she looks like a truck.” God made marriage, divorce breaks marriage, so God hates divorce. Yet about 1 in 4 marriages ends in divorce. In order to understand divorce, you have to know what marriage is. Marriage is a permanent relationship of one man and one woman before God, consisting of a vow to God which is witnessed by people, and a consummated union, meaning physical intimacy.

When you marry, you make an unbreakable vow before God–one life, one wife. The wedding is not the marriage, it’s the beginning of the marriage. The wedding is for the purpose of making a public vow to God. And the honeymoon is to consummate the union of two becoming one—it’s more than a physical act, but the permanent joining of a man and a woman. Marriage before God is begun by a vow and a physical union. Write this down–marriage is the vow and the union.

By making this clear, it will help you understand what genuinely breaks a marriage. What could justify a divorce, and biblically what dissolves a marriage? Ready? Only two major ways–you break the marriage vow, or you violate the marriage union. You break the vow through abandonment described in 1 Corinthians 7:15, or you break the consummated union through adultery found in Matthew 5:32.

Now God is really clear–God hates divorce–He hates it! He makes his hatred for divorce really clear in Malachi 2:14 to 16, “The Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant [defining marriage here as a promise, a vow]. 15Let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. 16‘For I hate divorce,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel.”

Christians never counsel or encourage divorce, because God hates it. God, in His mercy, allows divorce for the breaking of the vow because of abandonment and the breaking of the unique union of oneness because of adultery. But God hates divorce—why? It destroys His purpose. Divorce maligns His character, divorce slanders His Word, and divorce violates His law. Divorce is another attack on God’s design–an attack on God’s plan for the family, an attack on God’s method for putting Himself on display in this world.

Marriage is oneness and distinct persons, and so is our Triune God. When that union is broken, it damages people–especially any children involved. Healthy marriages glorify God through the power of the Spirit when couples function as one, even though they are male and female–even though they are two very different individuals. God is glorified and people take notice.

I remember putting young couples on our campus studies at UCLA and CSUN, and was amazed how students from broken homes all over the world reacted when they saw what Christ, His Spirit and His Word could do in the life of a young couple in marriage. Many Collegians came to Christ because they would watch these couples, then say, “I don’t know what makes that marriage work, but whatever it is, I want it.”

#5  Christians flee IMMORALITY–adultery and fornication

Immorality should have no place among Christians, but sadly it does. What Christians forget is this–it is small, internal, unconfessed compromises which lead to immorality. All sin is bad, but sex outside marriage carries a mark. First Corinthians 6:18, “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.”

Sexual intimacy was meant for marriage and to remain in marriage, between a husband and a wife. The day you get married is the day you give your spouse your body–it is no longer yours, it is theirs. It belongs to them. You gave it to them. And you are to obey the repeated four times command (of 1 Corinthians 7:1 to 4) to practice intimacy in marriage. Schedule it, plan it, be impromptu–but fulfill your responsibility to be intimate in marriage.

One couple I knew planned intimacy each day of the week that began with the letter T. Yes, the young husband said, “Tuesday, Thursday—and TADERDAY and TUNDAY.” Sexual intimacy inside marriage is God’s design for His glory and your joy. The purpose of intimacy is propagation, pleasure, provision, protection and God’s praise. But sexual intimacy outside of marriage is against God’s will, God’s Word and God’s perfect design. It is a sin against your own body and a sin against others–your spouse, your future spouse, their future spouse and so on. It is not merely two people.

People sin sexually when they are vulnerable–life is full of stress, they lack friendship, they’re distant from the Lord, they allow fantasies in their minds, they’re lonely, life didn’t turn out like they thought, they think they won’t get caught, they have unfulfilled expectations, or they don’t realize just how strong physical desire is when you are young. Like jet engines on the Volkswagen body–then they’re ripe for sexual compromise.

But remaining pure is not done by keeping a list of rules, but keep a heart relationship. Seek Christ first–you stay pure by focusing on the only true pure one. First John 3:3, “Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Supervise your heart. Mark 7:21, “It is within, out of the heart, where fornication comes.” Purity is a heart attitude which seeks to please Christ first—internally.

Stay sensible in life. Remaining pure requires proper thinking and biblical behavior. Prepare for situations, like Joseph did with Potipher’s wife. Plan your environment–make no provision for the flesh (late at night rendezvous in the dark, alone). Stay public. Ponder your appearance–pursue modesty and be aware of what your clothing choices communicate. Pounce on thoughts of lust and media visuals of lust. Pursue righteousness–don’t just avoid sin, but make your passion pursuing Christ. Become like him.

And couples, maintain your marriage–take care of each other. Invest in the relationship God has given you. The grass is not greener on the other side, the grass is greener where you water it. Focus on your spouse. Stay sensible. Flee lust, flee immorality. Stay away from any potential compromise. Yes, you will appear different, maybe even weird–but living holy in all your behavior is how we put Christ on display, how we remain free from slavery, and how we glorify God. Are you willing to be weird for Christ.

Take Home

A  Never forget what you WERE before Christ saved you!

I love Titus 3:3, “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, …enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, … spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.” We used to be enslaved, but Christ freed us. Don’t go bashing your friends who are confused, enslaved to perversion, compromising and ruining their lives in the pursuit of lust and pleasure. That was you.

Do what Paul says to Titus in 3:4 and 5, “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” Christ alone can forgive all these moral sins and make you brand new. Remember what he did for you, so you will have compassion for those still enslaved.

B  Avoid political rhetoric, and make God’s character and Word the ISSUE

Better government doesn’t make better people, only the gospel can transform a life. Winning an argument will not change a heart, but God’s Word can save and sanctify. Embracing a political position will not get you to Heaven, but embracing the work of Christ by faith can. Stopping a moral compromise will not forgive you, but turning from your sins and embracing the work of Christ in dying for sins can forgive you.

Make certain your focus is on God and His Word. Share the Gospel which alone can save.

C  Without SANCTIFICATION, you will not see Christ

Hebrews 12:14 says, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” Friends, living holy is not an option for genuine Christians. God gives us a heart to flee sin and pursue righteousness–never perfect, but always progressing. If there is no sanctification in your life . . . if you are not more like Christ in some measure than from a year ago, it is time for you to pray, search your heart, talk to friends and ask the Lord to test your heart for genuine salvation. Do that today. Let’s pray.

About Chris Mueller

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.

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