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Wednesday, August 20


Are Christians, Today, Too Quick to Compromise?
"Well, Jesus drank wine!"

 "WHAT IS SIN?? When most people hear the word ‘sin’ they think ‘substance abuse, illicit sex, murder, stealing, and the like.’  The Truth goes much deeper than that! The word 'sin' is used to identify anything that separates us from God." - Keith

No matter how long we have been a Christian, we can always count on spirits of temptation doing anything and everything they can to try to lure us away from God and into the jaws of compromising situations, situations whose “reward” is always death or separation from God. This is, after all, the true definition of death itself! “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:14)

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  Anyone who is in pursuit of an intimate relationship with God will be presented at times with opportunities to compromise that relationship. Much like Esau sold his entire birthright to his brother Jacob for a piece of bread, a bowl of beans, and something to drink, we have all had times in our lives when we have been enticed away from both God and our own inheritance in Him to pursue idols or little “g” gods. You know who and what they are: relationships with the wrong people; the selfish pursuit of prominence in the eyes of those around us; escapisms like drugs, shopping, pornography, TV, alcohol, etc. No matter how long we have been a Christian, we can always count on spirits of temptation doing anything and everything they can to try to lure us away from God and into the jaws of compromising situations, situations whose “reward” is always death or separation from God. This is, after all, the true definition of death itself! “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:14)
     As Christians, it is of the utmost importance that we understand what sin really is. When most people hear the word sin mentioned, their first thought or impression is usually substance abuse, illicit sex, murder, stealing, and the like. It really goes so much deeper than that! Although these offenses are referred to as sins, they are only referred to as such because of their individual or collective abilities to, if committed, drive a wedge between us and God. I like to call “sin” what it really is, anything that separates us from our Heavenly Father! It really is that simple! If we truly cherish God and want to grow in our relationship with Him, we must learn that temptation is satan’s primary weapon in the war to lure us away from God. Did you know that one of the very first things that a new recruit in the Armed Forces is taught is how to recognize both his enemy and their tactics? The reason they do this is so that our troops in the field will have an advantage over their adversaries. This information not only gives our soldiers an edge in defending themselves, but it also gives them a strategic advantage when preparing to launch an offensive. Without this crucial information, our soldiers in harm’s way will most likely be defeated before they even hit the battlefield. It works the same way with those of us who are in God’s army. If we are going to be victorious in defeating satan’s attempts at separating us from God, then we must first equip ourselves with a “heart knowledge” of God’s Word, and then we must familiarize ourselves with what satan has in his divisive arsenal. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)
Please don’t take that statement out of context! The truth is, if we spend more time chasing demons around than we spend pursuing and spending time with God, we will eventually find ourselves in a “world of hurt!” On the other hand, if we passionately pursue God, learn His word, and obey His Word, everything else will take care of itself! If we do not, we will be easy prey when tempting spirits come a knockin’! “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Here is how Webster’s Dictionary defines “tempt”, “1) to entice or induce, as to something immoral, 2) to be inviting to; attract, 3) to provoke or risk provoking, 4) to incline strongly.” Tempting spirits work to manipulate each one of us into compromising situations. Just like certain species of snakes travel in pairs, wherever temptation is present, the opportunity to compromise our relationship with God will always be somewhere close by. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:14-15)
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12) Simply put, temptation is what satan uses to present us with opportunities for compromise.
Now that we have laid some groundwork, let’s take a look at the main topic in the title of our message, the word “compromise.” Webster’s defines “compromise” as “1) a settlement in which each side makes concessions, 2) something midway, 3) to adjust by compromise, 4) to lay open to suspicion, disrepute, etc.”
The word “disrepute” is defined as “bad reputation; disgrace.” Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary edition defines “compromise” as “To put to hazard.” However, my personal definition of compromise is, “the act of trading or exchanging one’s relationship with God and His promises for a person or anything else that they feel is more valuable to them than He is.”
There are many potentially dangerous distractions in the world today. With lawlessness increasing in the earth at a staggering rate, we are seeing, as a result, compromise becoming a regular way of life for many who claim to be Christians; and frankly, the present condition of the Church confirms it. Things that were unheard of in the Church just two decades ago are now being practiced without remorse.
While Timothy was overseeing the Church in Ephesus, Paul wrote warning him that this would happen. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
When we compromise our relationship with God in any way, what we are doing is turning our backs on Him. We are actually saying that something or someone else is more important to us than He is. Not only does this hurt His heart deeply, but it also says to those who have heard you profess to be a Christian that God must not really be who you or His Word says He is.
“Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” (2 Samuel 12:14) I would like to share with you one such situation that I experienced, and will follow it up with a brief teaching on a related subject that for years has been a major stronghold in the lives of thousands of people in the Church.
One evening I was invited to dinner by the pastor of a local church who had heard a few of my songs at some point, and said that he would like to get to know me. I had met this person on several occasions in passing, and had heard through some friends that he was doing a good work in the community. Based on that information, I accepted his offer. Once we had arrived at the restaurant, we were seated for what I thought was going to be a very nice evening. We were about half way through the meal when he flagged our waiter back to the table. Much to my astonishment, he then leaned back in his chair, acquired a rather sheepish looking grin and proceeded to order a pitcher of beer. Knowing what I had heard about this person, I have to say that I was stunned. I found myself headlong in the presence of yet another professing Christian who was “too quick to compromise!”
I fought to maintain my composure as best I could and continued eating my meal. Within seconds righteous indignation began welling up in me to the point that my self control was being tested. As my Momma would have said, “I felt like I was gonna pop if I didn’t say something.”
I did the best I could to remain cool while all the time listening for the Lord’s approval to confront him. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
It was not until two days later that I felt a release in my spirit to talk with him about it. I then called him and asked if he would join me for lunch.
As soon as the Holy Spirit gave me the nod, I gently asked him this question. “As a Christian, and especially as a self-professed minister of the Gospel, why do feel that it is all right for you to drink alcohol?” As soon as those words left my mouth, I found myself on the receiving end of a bitter attack. Much like praying water on a wasps’ nest I very quickly realized that I had touched an area of compromise in this fellow’s life that he was not really interested in turning loose of any time soon.
Almost without stopping to breathe, he began hurling scriptures at me attempting to justify his actions. I sat there quietly and let him state his case.
When he had finished, with all of the love I could muster, I simply asked if he would be open to hearing my point of view concerning Christians and alcohol use. “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
Taking the defensive posture of crossing his arms, tightening his brow, and setting his jaw, he slid back in his seat obviously hunkering down for what he thought was going to be a major offensive. I then referenced several scriptures and asked him to share with me how he felt they could in any way be used to justify his or any other Christian’s consumption of alcohol.
After a brief period of time, it became increasingly clear that he could not Biblically justify his or any other Christian’s drinking of alcoholic beverages. Apparently frustrated, he then pulled out what I believe he thought would settle the matter — he said, “well Jesus drank wine.”
I knew at that very moment that I had been divinely presented with a wonderful opportunity to help him understand what has become a major point of deception, confusion and compromise for thousands of people who claim to be born-again Christians. What I shared with him is what I would like to share with you.
During the time when Jesus physically walked the earth, they had no way of purifying their drinking water. Because of this, they relied heavily on fruit juice as their primary means of safe and nourishing hydration. They also had no way of refrigerating or preserving juices that had been derived from their fruit harvest.
When they would extract the fresh juice from the fruit, they would store it in small leather sacks called wine skins. This “fresh” juice was referred to as “wine.” This is where many people in the Church today have been and are being terribly deceived.
In Christ’s day, the best wine was always the freshest fruit juice. For example, the first miracle that Jesus performed was actually turning water into wine or fresh fruit juice. Here is how John recorded the event:
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. (This statement is a whole other story.) His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. (A firkin was about nine gallons.) Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. (All told there was about 162 gallons.) And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. (They poured him a drink and gave it to him.) When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and  knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.” (John 2:1-10)
In other words, the governor of the feast was totally amazed at the fact that the juice was so fresh! It was as if it had just been picked and squeezed all within that same hour – when in a matter of speaking – it HAD been!
The society back then was for the most part very moral and would never even think of bringing strong drink or “the old stuff ” to such a sacred event. That would have been a devastating insult to all in attendance! Believe it or not, anyone who drank “old wine” or fermented drink was viewed by society much like we view someone who eats out of a dumpster.
On the other hand, today, in our present culture, things have become so turned around that wine is the name given to fruit juice that has gone bad through the process of fermentation. It is this fermentation process that produces the alcohol in it. It is of the utmost importance that we realize that there were varying stages of fermentation. In other words, each week that the wine sat in the bottles it would ferment more and more.
Due to the lack of refrigeration, the fermentation process literally began taking place during the first week that the juice was stored in the wine skins. The time that it took to ferment was in great part determined by the temperature at which it was stored.
Because the fruit harvest was done in the warmer part of the season, the wine skins would have naturally been stored in warm conditions. The longer the juice sat in warm climates, the stronger, or more fermented, it became. That is why the word wine was a blanket term used to describe the juice at each of its various stages of fermentation. For instance, wine that was three weeks old, would have developed a little bite to it; wine that was seven weeks old would have a bigger bite; and so on. Once it had come to full age, however, it was not to be consumed. When it reached that point, it was no longer referred to as wine, but was referred to as strong or fermented drink, and was to be thrown out! “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last (meaning when it has fermented) it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” (Proverbs 23:31-32) That scripture was a warning to stay away from the juice once it had sat around too long and had fermented or “gone bad.”
Unless you are on your deathbed, the Bible does not, never has, and never will condone the consumption of strong or fermented drink for the purpose of becoming, even in the slightest bit, mentally impaired! As a matter of fact, the only place in the scriptures where the consumption of strong or fermented drink was justifiably permitted at all was in Proverbs 31:6 where King Lemuel had recited a prophecy that his mother taught him. He said, “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.” The heavy hearted were never permitted to drink strong or fermented drink; only the dying were! And that was simply for the purpose of relieving them of any pain they might suffer in the final days before they expired. Strong or fermented drink was NEVER intended to be used for any other reason!
Can you see how satan has been able to take advantage of the Church’s lack of knowledge concerning the consumption of alcoholic beverages. By keeping this a “gray” issue as he has, he has been able to corral untold millions of church-goers into a lukewarm life of compromise, hence destroying any ability they might have to conduct a pure and close personal relationship with God. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:6)
It is time to wake up and realize that this is simply another ploy of our enemy to separate God’s people from God and all of the wonderful things that He has for them. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1)
 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:15-21)
Compromise in any form will always serve to ultimately cost us in our relationship with God! Whether it is alcohol, the abuse of street or prescription drugs, food, television, or anything else, satan is constantly working to get his foot in the door of our lives to ultimately impair our ability to hear the voice of our loving Heavenly Father. We must come to the place in our hearts where we know without a shadow of a doubt that, “there is nobody or nothing worth our relationship with Jesus!”

For more on this message, and many others, get your copy of our book "Letters From TheFront" and also see "TTM Teaching Index" on our website at TowardTheMark.com.   

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