April 2014 Congregational Letter

Jesus prayed for his disciples that They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17:16,18.

The great danger we have as a Church and as believers is that as we are in the world we start to become desensitized to the impact of the world on us and the church. When you have been immersed in something for your whole life it can be hard to spot the areas of life and our culture which are really damaging to our faith in Christ. Lot is an example of this. When you read Genesis you will see a progression – Lot leaves Abraham and moves TO the plains – then he camps outside the city of Sodom and then he lives IN the city of Sodom. Lot is gradually sucked into culture around him and finds himself in the midst of it. The Bible tells us that Lot HATED what he saw in Sodom – 2 Peter 2:7 says, Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless .What Peter reveals through the Holy Spirit is that Lot struggled in Sodom – he knew they were wicked – but because he had allowed himself to be sucked in he got himself into trouble.

As an aside, although I find it fascinating, In the Hebrew language each letter has a meaning of its own as well as a picture. This is called Hebrew Picture Language. Interestingly Lot’s name in Hebrew is made up of the letters ל lamad (control) – ו vav – (nail) – ט tet (snake). In rabbinic tradition Lot gave control to the snake.

And this is something we have to be very careful about in the church because it can happen very subtly. Satan can distract us and while we are focused on one thing, Satan gets in through another door and before long a church can give it’s authority to the serpent.

Let me explain.

What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? Most of us would answer debauchery. Interestingly, the Bible actually tells us the exact sin of Sodom.

Ez 16:49-50 Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

So, Sodom’s sin(s) was not just debauchery – it was also arrogance, being over fed, unconcerned, stingy by not helping the poor and those in need and they were haughty (which means arrogantly superior and disdainful)

Now, look at Proverbs 6:16-19. This passage tells us what God hates. The Lord hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: arrogant eyes [pride], a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers.

Is pride, arrogance, a lying tongue, spreading false rumors or stirring up trouble in the church as bad as sexual sin? Yes it is. And here is the point – we cannot think that just because we are not committing the BIG sins we are OK.

Because we live in a world and are immersed in a culture where pride, discord, division, unforgiveness, anger and bitterness are so prevalent be it in the schools we study in or in the offices we work in or even in the homes we live in, we can too easily let it creep into the church unawares and before we know it has created havoc amongst us.

Friends, we need to ask the Holy Spirit, individually and corporately to minister to us, to free us and to protect us from pride, discord, division, unforgiveness, anger or bitterness. Only then will we be able to be what the Lord prayed we should be later on in John 17:

May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.



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