Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Bad Company Corrupts Good Character

"Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals.'" 1 Corinthians 15:33

There is a huge difference between reaching the lost, as Jesus did, and hanging out with them so much that you become exactly like they are. The people with whom you associate with will have an adverse influence upon you. It is critical that you be careful with whom you form relationships, especially those outside of the church. Unbelievers can cause even the strongest, most faithful Christians to waver in their faith, adversely affecting their walk with Christ Jesus and their witness to the world. Hence why Paul says, "Do not be deceived." Interestingly enough, this is not the first time in this letter that Paul warns with these words (6:9). We are not to take up the lifestyles of corrupt people—those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. If not checked from the very start, it is extremely easy for people to be influenced by adverse teachings and begin to adopt such perverted ideas and behaviours.

When you associate with people who have worldly morals, you greatly risk imitating their behaviour, their language, and their habits. Before you know it, you are no longer of Christ Jesus, but are of the world. You will be well on your way to denying absolute authority, rejecting the Bible as the Word of God, and accepting the ideology of relative morality. This is especially true of those who are desperate for approval and easily influenced by their peers. There is an old adage that says, "Show me who your friends are and I will show you who you are." The kind of people you choose to hang out with on a regular basis are the kind of people you will become like. If you want to become more Christ-like, you need to hang around Christ-like people.

If you start your Christian walk without using cuss words, and then start hanging around those who cuss often, watch as you start to utilize cussing in your every day conversations. It is easy to start but more difficult to stop. If you are standing on a step stool and you think that you can grab the lost and pull them up to your level, you are sorely mistaken. Every single time, they will pull you down to their level. Scripture warns us against the kind of people and behaviours that we should not associate:  lying (Proverbs 12:22), greed (Proverbs 15:27), gossip and division (Proverbs 16:28), anger and violence (Proverbs 16:29), and lack of compassion (Proverbs 29:7). Paul added to this: "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 slanderer, or a drunkard, or a swindlernot even to eat with such a one." (1 Cor. 5:11).

There are so-called professing "Christians" who try to justify their sinful actions and behaviours by saying ridiculous and foolish things such as, "Jesus ate, drank, and hung out with sinners." But these people rip the biblical passages entirely out of their context and pervert them to mean whatever they desire them to mean. They do the same thing with Paul's words. But here are the facts, and here is the truth. Jesus said, "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17). Jesus came to save the lost (Luke 19:10). In order for Him to reach the lost, He had to have some contact with them. He went to where the need was because “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick” (v. 17). He looked beyond culture and societal taboos to the person's heart. He addressed them as they were, spoke the truth to them (Mark 7; Luke 5, 7, 19; John 4; etc.), and loved them.

Jesus did not hang out with sinners, nor did He allow Himself to be influenced by them. Those with whom Jesus hung out and spent vast amounts of time with were the twelve disciples, and His inner circle of three within those twelve. You do not find Jesus hanging out with the woman at the well on a regular basis for five years or ten years. These so-called professing "Christians" go to where the sinners are, meet them on their level, speak nothing to them (because either the sinners do not want to hear anything or the "Christians" do not want to say anything for fear of "offending" someone [Guess what? The Gospel is offensive. Get used to it!]), and get pulled further down to the sinner's level.

As I said earlier, these so-called professing "Christians" also pervert the words of Paul, making them to say something he never intended them to say or to mean: "I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some" (1 Cor. 9:22). They misinterpret and pervert the entire passage from verse 19 to verse 23. Christians have no place being in a bar, a night club, or a strip joint. If you want to reach the sinners who go to such places, you meet them when before they enter or when they come out of such places. You do not go into these places!!! Do they honestly think Jesus would have walked into a strip club, ordered some alcohol, and proceeded to witness to the lost while watching the strippers? That is utter blasphemy! These people clearly do not know the God whom they profess to believe in. They are guilty of idolatry, making a god in their own image to suit their own perverse thinking and desires. It is truly amazing how these so-called professing "Christians" will twist the words of Scripture in order to justify their perverse actions and behaviours.