Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Sin of Harboring Sin in the Church

When a local New Testament church has secret sin amongst its people, or known sin that is being ignored, tolerated and not being dealt with biblically, there can be no question that there will be turmoil, unrest and a real lack of the power of God's Spirit upon the work. There are far too many churches today that harbor known sin in their midst, and then wonder why God's hand of blessing is not upon them. God cannot tolerate sin in a church and be consistent with His Word. If sin in a church is left unaddressed and unresolved, eventually God must write "Ichabod" over the doors of that local assembly. Sad, is it not? But please let me remind you that God's people who allow sin to live and fester in the local church bring this upon themselves.

The longer I live, and the more revival meetings I preach, the more convinced I have become that many of our Bible-preaching Baptist churches are full of secret sin. Preaching on Achan and the "accursed thing" in recent revival meetings, God has reminded me that His hand will come off of any church where the accursed thing of hidden, covered-up sin is permitted to exist. Though it was but one man who had sinned against God in disobeying His command to not take any spoil for self at the defeat of Jericho (Joshua 6:17-19), yet God held the entire nation accountable and responsible for that one man's sinful disobedience. "BUT the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel" (Joshua 7:1). Achan had covered up what he had done in clandestinely taking "a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight." He intentionally stole from God that which was designated to go into the treasury of the Lord alone (Joshua 6:19), and then set out to cover up his treachery and his sin. In doing so, he not only troubled himself and his family, but the entire nation of Israel as well. One man's sin set off a chain of catastrophic events to include the death of about thirty-six good men who went up to war against Ai fresh from victory over a much greater opponent at Jericho, and yet could not stand in battle. God's hand had clearly come off the nation, and their enemies were allowed of the Lord to master them. Read here the chilling pronouncement of God regarding this cancerous secret sin within the camp.

Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed thing among you. Joshua 7:11-12

Again, though but one man from amongst so many had committed the trespass, yet God held the entire nation accountable for it. His declaration that "neither will I be with you any more" ought to strike fear into the heart of every Blood-bought believer! God is serious about this thing of secret sin, and He is serious about how we should deal with it. We will not experience revival until it is ferreted out in our assemblies, dealt with biblically in love, confessed and forsaken, and those given over to it come clean with God. And consider that God could have dealt with Achan directly and left the rest of the people out of the equation. He could have just ended Achan's life, and that would have been that, but He did not. He required that Joshua investigate and find who was the guilty party in this matter, then carry out His prescribed discipline and punishment.

These are strange and confusing times, and we are seeing more and more of the "accursed thing" and secret sin finding a home in our assemblies just like a malignant tumor finds a home in the human body. The healthy churches are those that are chaste and purged of sin. They are churches where the pastor knows the sheep and spends time in the sheepfold with them. He knows them so well he can sense when they become sin-sick, and will rush to them to admonish, exhort, rebuke, correct and restore them. The need of the hour is preaching that first awakens and convicts, then calls to confession and repentance of sin, and then encourages and challenges God's people to live a godly and separated life for the glory of the King.

In the final analysis, sin, secret sin, open sin; all are robbing many of our local church assemblies from the power of God and the mighty manifestation of the Spirit of God upon them. Rather than come clean with God, totally clean, it is often easier for folks to strive to counterfeit the true presence of God through a never-ending, frenetic list of programs and methods whereby there is a modicum of "success" that creates a comfort-zone and an allusion that "all is well" in the camp when it isn't. This is self-deception at its worst, and we need to beware of its insidious nature.

We will never see revival until we come clean with God. When we purge ourselves of the "accursed thing" of secret sin, open sin, and sin of all descriptions, then, and not before then, we can see God move in our midst, and on our behalf in a mighty way.

BLESSED is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit is no quile (or COVER-UP). When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found . . . . Psalm 32:1-6a

By Evangelist Paul Mershon from Revival Thoughts - 10/25/07

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Blogger Jerry Bouey said...

Thanks, Bro. Jim, for this excellent reminder to keep sin our of our lives and out of our churches. I know from experience that God won't bless our compromises or bless our lives when we deliberately tolerate or embrace sin. This verse always comes to mind:

Song of Solomon 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

We are to deal with even the "little" sins and compromises when the Holy Spirit brings them to our attention.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Bro. Jerry,

Excellent comment... thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my blog.

A "little" sin is still SIN!!!

7:17 PM  
Blogger Bro Tim said...

Bro Jim how true this is. God power never rests on a church that is in sin. Until we turn from sin like Chronicles tells us we will never have revival in the church. Good Post.

Bro TIm

8:02 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Bro. Tim,

I pray that things are still going well in your new church there in FL....

9:01 AM  

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