This is my fourth (and last) post regarding the condition of Christ’s vineyard – his local churches. The other three were posted Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
BUT SEE THE LITTLE FOXES dancing around in the shadows where the foxes are feeding. Foxes of compromise and rational thinking. Ruining the fruit. When does love become jealousy? When is joy only laughter? Human worry is only natural, but peace is disappearing. Impatience and harsh words have “bullied” out our longsuffering and gentleness. Goodness and meekness are giving way to greed and power. Faith is strong only when or if health and bank accounts flourish. Compulsions have replaced temperance.
BEWARE THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS foxes of criticism, selfishness, pride, and hypocrisy. And watch out for the foxes of laziness, lethargy, and isolation. Pride is often the biggest fox of all. I had a friend who was a lawyer who quit going to a large church. He said it was because the pastor liked to recognize him in the church congregation, but when he met the pastor at Walmart, the pastor did not know him.
TOO OFTEN THERE ARE foxes of immorality hiding among the congregation. Foxes of pornography, adultery, even murder! True. Believe me, we were bowled over when one of our dear ladies was convicted of murdering her husband. She is in prison.
THE BIBLE SUPPORTS the Church welcoming and loving all these kinds of people. It is where they need to come to get help and they should find an abundance of acceptance and love. However, it does not support ignoring or accepting these sins among those who claim to be Christians. Paul was quit harsh with the Corinthians church who were ignoring an immoral brother in their midst. (1 Cor. 5)
I’M SURE THERE ARE more foxes, but my purpose is not to name foxes. My purpose is to bring awareness to them and say they must be killed (or neutralized at least).
WHETHER THEY CAN BE KILLED by an all-out assault on them by the blood of Jesus or whether you are going to let them live but neutralize them every day, I will leave to the theologians, but something has to be done with them if we are going to live holy. “Without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” (Heb 12:14 NIV)) That is only possible when we are in Jesus. The righteousness of Jesus is our holiness. But that does not absolve us from living holy lives. “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” (I Thes. 4:7) And only true Christians can claim His righteousness. Those who have been born again – who are new creatures in Christ Jesus.
NOTE: There was some question about what church I have based these remarks and conclusions. It was an amalgamation from several different churches. If I remember correctly it involved seven Pentecostal, one Baptist, and one Church of Christ. Several years ago (15 or more) I went on what I called a “Jesus Quest” during which I wrote a manuscript. One chapter was called “The Vineyard.”