"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Some people keep their domicile scrupulously clean. One will never enter their home, only to discover dust atop the china cabinet or have some offensive odor assault his senses.
      But then there are those people whose homes one must simply never enter at all. Their living space needs a thorough cleaning from top to bottom before those of us with sensibilities would even consider visiting. 
      Too often, however, the most persistent offenses are found in ones Church home, and even a thorough dousing with Clorox cannot eradicate that kind of nastiness. Christ’s Apostle Paul wrote in chapter five of his letter to the Galatian church:
Now the actions of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that. I am telling you now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
      Of course, your congregation would never be guilty of the really bad stuff, but what about the attitudinal sins, like rivalry, jealousy, quarrels, conflicts, factions and envy? While no self-respecting church would advertise such things, the “saints” too easily find themselves consumed by the carnal nature’s power struggles.
      You say your church never falls into such sins of attitude? Paul added one more offense to the list in 1 Timothy 5:13b Not only this, but they even become gossips and keep busy by interfering in other people's lives, saying things they should not say. Now what honest gossip would admit to such a thing? To clear up the subject just a bit, let’s take a little quiz:

  1. Do we share our speculations about others’ motives?
  2. Do we ever participate church leadership roasts?
  3. Do we encourage friends to share tidbits of information about others?
  4. Are we that friend, volunteering information about others?

      Then there’s good old Colossians 3:8 But now you must also get rid of anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene speech, and all such sins. Of course, we church folks would never do such things. Right? In case anyone wants further Scriptural commentary on attitudinal sins, Mark 7:22, Matthew 15:19, Ephesians 4:31, 1 Peter 2:1, James 4:11, and Titus 3:2 get pretty explicit about them. While these aren’t the obvious sins of the flesh, such as listed in 1 Timothy 1:9-11, they are still the product of our carnal nature that is supposed to have been crucified with Christ. Perhaps you think sins of the tongue are no big deal? If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. (James 1:26 ESV)

      Philippians 2(audio)clearly states the standard by which we who are in Christ Jesus must live, but here are a couple of specifics:
Philippians 2:3-4 ESV
(3) Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
(4) Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Philippians 2:14 ESV
(14) Do all things without grumbling or disputing,

      Obviously, gross sin is a grave problem in this corrupt world, but not so much in God’s church. The Scripture passages above, however, detail the historically thorny issues within the church that have earned us the reputation of haters, rather than lovers. Statistics have proven that it takes twenty positive reports to offset the effect of one negative report, and regardless how private we think our backbiting is, news of it spreads like wildfire.
      Is getting our own way worth the dirt we smear on our Savior’s name? Not even a boatload of Clorox will clean that kind of filth.

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