Jason Silver | Pastor and Author
1 John 4:1-6
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
There has been great pressure upon the Church in the past few years to change the message we speak, to change the way we get the message across, and to change the moral stance that we take in society. We even see it in the media a lot lately. We see Church Leader’s endorsing it publicly. These agents of this so-called “needed change” say that the Church has become irrelevant and for us to become relevant again there must be a change. It seems to center around the ideas of “tolerance” and “presentability”. It is subtly suggesting that we should become more tolerant of certain types of behavior or attitudes. It says that the church should become more presentable to society, to be more accepted by society.
Many are saying we need to be more tolerant or more non judgmental. To many being non judgmental means, never saying anything is outright wrong, because that may offend someone… especially those who are doing the wrong. Their view voiced this way… “…well if they want to do that, it’s right for them, it’s just not right for me.” These change seekers call themselves Christians. Yet this philosophy does not sound like anything Jesus taught.
What is a Christian? According to the Bible, in Antioch, where the word was first used… it meant to be like Jesus.
So Was Jesus Tolerant?
In Matthew 23:15 Jesus said… “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you only make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.”
That doesn’t sound too tolerant to me… that doesn’t sound like Jesus was okay with what the Pharisees believed and taught. Him speaking out this way didn’t win Jesus any popularity contests. As matter fact they put Him on a cross for it. Now we could look at that and say, “Well Jesus was speaking out to a corrupt church government system… we can understand that.” After all, a corrupt government we all would agree cannot be tolerated. But Jesus’ intolerance is not just towards the actions of corrupt leadership, but to towards all people’s sinful actions in general. After He ministered to someone, He would often say , “Now go and sin no more.”
2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 says, “He will punish those who did not know God and did not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you about Christ.”
Jesus will not be tolerant on the day He returns to those who did not receive Him. But until that day, the Spirit of God calls out through us His Church, to raise Jesus up that all would come unto Him to receive mercy, and grace! Not tolerance…. there’s a difference. Mercy is given to those who admit and recognize that they are sinners, lost, and in need of being found. Tolerance says, “Oh you’re fine just the way you are, you don’t have to change.” With God there is incredible mercy and grace extended towards the sinner, but there is absolute intolerance towards the sin itself.
2 Peter 3:9 says, ” The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. But He is being patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but wanting everyone to come to repentance.”
Jesus did not and still does not tolerate sin. Neither does the rest of scripture contradict Jesus.
1 Timothy 5:20 says, “Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.”
1 John 3:8 says “…the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.”
Jesus Speaking of the Holy Spirit said, “And when He comes, he will convict the world concerning its sin, righteousness and judgment; concerning their sin, because they did not believe in Me…
A theologian by the name of Dennis Francis said this:
“The Church is not to be like a politician who takes polls to see what way the winds of popularity are blowing, and then go in that direction to gain the favor of the followers. The church is to be governed by the principles set forth by Christ Himself… eternal principles. If that pleases men, good; if it does not, too bad for those who are displeased. But the Church must not waver. The Church is often counter-cultural, and that very fact is what makes her a “city upon the hill… a light in the darkness.”
The idea of tolerance is very much based on a feel good theology, if it feels good do it, and that makes it right. Christianity says obeying God is right and will give you real peace…. And that will ultimately make you feel good.
Dennis Francis also once said…
“Some advocates of the “feel good theology” say, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” That may be true, but we seek the lost souls of people, not flies.”
Should the Church change the message to become more tolerant of this change? Jesus hasn’t changed. Hebrews 3:8 says “He’s the same: Yesterday , today, and forever!” The Bible has not changed, people’s need for God has not changed, therefore the message of the Church does not need to change.
Tolerance also says that there are many ways to God. And we need to accept them. Yet it’s the “wide road that leads to destruction”. Christianity says there is only way to God who is Jesus!! And we need to accept Him. It’s the “narrow path” that leads to life”. However those who are supposedly tolerant of all faiths cannot tolerate this statement. The Bible speaks very clearly about a spirit of error in the world in the last days before Christ returns, a false and perverted doctrine of men and demons. And there are many passages in scripture dedicated to warning God’s people to avoid all these things like the plague. And this was my intention… to warn you. Don’t be tempted to tolerate sin. Sin is sin, treat it that way; we do not excuse it, coddle it, or condone it.
I leave you with this passage from the Bible:
No longer be as infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. 17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
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