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The snake pit

2 Timothy 3:12-13 NASB Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (13) But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

This is the kind of post that one can get a lot of flak over. As you may have seen from my previous posts “rebelling against religion” and “exegesis vs repentance” it is fruitless to try and improve a church if the people are unwilling to repent and grow and mature in the Lord. There are people that claim we shouldn’t talk about any issues that are not salvational For some reason repentance is a dirty word today, at least in some circles. If you show them what is sin, in the scriptures, they will generally call you a legalist. However, I am reminded of what A W Tozer related in one of his booklets. That there is a difference between keeping the oral or Mosaic law and being obedient to the Holy Spirit.

Now I am not advocating that we need to point out other peoples sins all the time and when it is done it should be done in love. However a religious person will turn around and spit poison at you with their tongue, much like that of a snake.

(Matthew 3:7 NASB) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

(Matthew 12:34 NASB) “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

(Matthew 23:33 NASB) “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

(Luke 3:7 NASB) So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

We all like fellowship and it is written:

Hebrews 10:25 KJV Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

However, one of the biggest abuses is religious abuse. People who claim to be Christians yet their allegiance is doubtful. This can taint whole fellowships because note that it is written:

Hebrews 12:15 KJV Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

So see that someone with a root of bitterness can poison those around them and affect their spiritual effectiveness. Anything that defiles us affects our spiritual effectiveness.

Notice the following:

1 Corinthians 5:7-11 NASB (7) Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. (8) Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (9) I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; (10) I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. (11) But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one.

Have you noticed that some “Christians” are full of reviling? Full of what they call “contending for the faith” but all that they speak is condemnation. Yet we are told not to associate with these.

In fact I believe its more important to have a good conscience before God than to have all your doctrines with their i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Unless any correction is done in love, then, in my opinion, its valueless. Does our heavenly Father want us to hate on people who don’t agree with us or does he want us to pray for them. (I don’t believe that we are called to force doctrine down people’s throat).

No, we are not called to associate with, so called, abusive “Christians”. Rather if we let them, they will fill us with their venom.

2 Peter 2:12-14 NASB But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, (13) suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, (14) having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children;

Yes, they appear righteous on the outside. They make the right sounds during praise and worship music sessions and often they are good at speaking eloquent prayers.  They may even be good at sounding really sympathetic when praying for others.  However, watch what comes out of their mouths at other times. Is it poison or is it life? Is their humor barbed or at the expense of someone else?

Proverbs 14:6-7 NASB A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding. (7) Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.

Psalms 1:1 NASB How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

Oh, how we love religion in this day and age. However, God is not looking for a good worship presentation. He is looking for a heart that earnestly seeks Him. We should learn to recognize the difference between the true fellowship and the snake pit. If we play with the snakes we will only end up getting bit.

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