Come, follow Jesus!
(the real Jesus)

ONLINE EDITION
The Gospel
in simple terms
for nonbelievers
and new believers

view/save as PDF
also available as a
paperback book

Come Follow Jesus - the real Jesus
Buy printed book from publisher
Buy from Amazon.com

Home
Jesus said, "Come, follow me."
How can you follow Jesus?
"But I'm a sinful person, not fit to be a follower of Jesus!"
Your new life as a follower of Jesus
Find fellowship with other followers of Jesus
Your prayer life
Know your Bible
Your service to God
"Jezebel" in the churches
"If we deliberately keep on sinning . . ."
Why believe the Bible?
Who is Jesus?
What did Jesus teach?
What is life really all about
Angels and demons
Gray areas, mysteries and religious authorities
What Jesus revealed about life after death
'But my relatives won't like it if I follow Jesus!'
Watching for Christ's return
How I came to follow Jesus: the testimony of David A. Reed
Why this book?
Dedication, copyright, ISBN & Scripture references
Contact

Come, follow Jesus! (the real Jesus)
online edition of the book by David A. Reed
The Gospel in simple terms for nonbelievers and new believers.
How to become a follower of Jesus Christ, and live as Jesus commanded

Home  |   Jesus said, "Come, follow me."  |   How can you follow Jesus?  |   "But I'm a sinful person, not fit to be a follower of Jesus!"  |   Your new life as a follower of Jesus  |   Find fellowship with other followers of Jesus  |   Your prayer life  |   Know your Bible  |   Your service to God  |   "Jezebel" in the churches  |   "If we deliberately keep on sinning . . ."  |   Why believe the Bible?  |   Who is Jesus?  |   What did Jesus teach?  |   What is life really all about  |   Angels and demons  |   Gray areas, mysteries and religious authorities  |   What Jesus revealed about life after death  |   'But my relatives won't like it if I follow Jesus!'  |   Watching for Christ's return  |   How I came to follow Jesus: the testimony of David A. Reed  |   Why this book?  |   Dedication, copyright, ISBN & Scripture references

<   PREVIOUS         NEXT   >

“Jezebel” in the churches

 


To the Christian church in the ancient city of Thyatira the resurrected and risen Christ sent this message:

“I have this against you:  You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.  By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.  I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.  So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.  I will strike her children dead.  Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” —Revelation 2:20-23 NIV


Similarly, the early disciple Jude said that he wanted to write a letter about the salvation Christians share, but instead he had to write a warning about false teachers who were bringing sexual immorality and all sorts of other wrong practices into the churches:

“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

“For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”                                                      —Jude 3-4


Although Jude wanted to write to the churches about the salvation we share as believers, he felt led by God's Spirit to write instead a warning against certain men who had slipped into the churches to mislead them into sin.


Similarly, I would prefer to write a positive message here about the joy of following Jesus and the good things found in Christian churches, but I am forced to include also a strong warning against the modern acceptance of sexual sin and other pagan practices in many churches.  The modern Jezebels who have brought such things into today’s churches are just as unacceptable to Jesus as the Jezebel he condemned in his message to the church in Thyatira.


That message in the book of Revelation condemned Jezebel for misleading Christians “into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.”  Has anyone actually introduced anything comparable to eating food sacrificed to idols in today’s churches?


Yes—through the practice of meditation associated with non-Christian religions from the East.  Although the actual idols found in Hindu temples may not have been brought into Christian churches, the practices Hindus employ to worship those idols have been brought in.


Several decades ago the promoters of Hinduism in India saw that their religion was not very appealing to people in the West, so they came up with some ways to disguise it, and to get Hindu religious practices to be accepted by Europeans and Americans—without calling it Hinduism.


They came up with two ways to disguise their worship and get Western Christians to accept it: by presenting Hindu religious practices as physical exercises and as relaxing meditation. 


Hindu meditation was introduced to America several decades ago by a south Asian who used the title “Yogi” after his name.  He presented it, not as religion, but as a “relaxation technique.”  People would be taught to relax by repeating some meaningless sounds called Mantras—emptying their minds, and relaxing, repeating the Mantras over and over again, thinking about nothing but the Mantra.  The campaign to introduce this practice was successful.  The result was that this form of meditation was adopted everywhere, from large business corporations that wanted to make their workers more productive, to Christian churches.


But the problem is that Mantras are not just meaningless sounds; they are elements of Hindu prayer.  And a Yogi is not just a teacher of relaxation techniques.  As of this writing, the article on “Mantra” in the Wikipedia (the free online encyclopedia found on the web at wikipedia.org) says mantras “originated in the Vedic tradition of India, later becoming an essential part of the Hindu tradition and a customary practice within Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. The use of mantras is now widespread throughout various spiritual movements which are based on, or off-shoots of, the practices in the earlier Eastern traditions and religions. . . . For the authors of the Hindu scriptures of the Upanishads, the syllable Aum, itself constituting a mantra, represents Brahman, the godhead, as well as the whole of creation. . . . While praying by reciting this mantra, the devotee bows with respect to Arihantas, Siddhas, spiritual leaders (Acharyas), teachers (Upadyayas) and all the monks.” 


The Wikipedia says this concerning the title Yogi, “the word Yogi is also generically used to refer to both male and female practitioners of yoga and related meditative practices in Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism etc. . . . In Hinduism the term refers to an adherent of Yoga. As an Urdu term, yogi . . . is mostly used to refer to wandering Sufi saints and ascetics. The word is also often used in the Buddhist context to describe Buddhist monks or a householder devoted to meditation.”  The article then concludes with a “List of Yogis . . . List of Hindu gurus and saints.”


So, Eastern meditation—particularly when a mantra is recited—is clearly an element of non-Christian religion.  It has no place in the lives of Christians.  For some people, the practice of Eastern meditation does not go beyond repeating Hindu prayers, but for others it leads to personality changes and deeper involvement in forms of worship of other gods—false worship that is hostile to Jesus Christ and condemned in the Bible.


But I mentioned that there were two ways that Hindus found to disguise their worship and get Westerners to practice it.  Hindu meditation under a different name was one of the disguises.  The other disguise that Hindu worship adopted was Yoga.  And this disguised form of Eastern religion, too, has been widely adopted by many people in the West.  Large business corporations commonly invite employees to take Yoga classes.  And Yoga classes are found in many churches, sometimes taught by the pastor or his wife.


But, according to any dictionary or encyclopedia, the word Yoga is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism.  The major branches of Yoga within the Hindu religion are Ra-ja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga, and someone who practices Yoga to a high level of attainment is called a Yogi.   


Some try to claim that Yoga is just stretching exercises, nothing more.  But many of the postures assumed during those exercises are positions of worship for various Hindu gods.  The goal of Yoga is not just to affect the body, but also to affect the mind.  People who become serious about Yoga may easily pass beyond stretching their body and find themselves taking on the teachings of the Hindu religion—a polytheistic, idol-worshipping religion which is hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Another element of idolatry or pagan religion brought into Christian churches by modern Jezebels (male and female) involves the practice of spiritism, witchcraft or sorcery.


The society we live in today uses all the media at its disposal to teach us to view sorcerers or practicers of witchcraft as harmless, or even as good.  Sorcerers are even presented as heroes we should want to imitate.  This has been going on for decades, but has reached a new peak in this generation.  I recall as a youngster seeing the Walt Disney movie The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  It seemed harmless enough, but served as a wedge to open the door to more serious endeavors.  Today's young people have been bombarded with a series of Harry Potter books and movies promoting sorcery in a way never seen before. 


Witchcraft and spiritism used to hide out in dark places, but today they have exploded into the open.  We see palm readers and tarot card readers everywhere.  Instead of just a physical massage, massage parlors are offering Reiki, a Buddhist spiritual practice that claims to transfer spiritual energy through the hands of the practitioner.  Many people are decorating their front yards for Halloween the way they used to decorate only for Christmas.


What does God Almighty say about sorcery, witchcraft and spiritism?  It’s God's opinion that counts in these matters, not our opinion or our neighbor’s opinion.  And it’s in the inspired Word of God, the Bible, that we find God’s viewpoint expressed.


Notice what God said about sorcerers, as recorded by the Hebrew prophet Malachi:

“‘So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud labourers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,’ says the LORD Almighty.”   —Malachi 3:5 NIV


So, God groups sorcery in with adultery, perjury, fraud and injustice.  Now, turning from the Old Testament to the New Testament, notice what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia about those who practice witchcraft:

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like,  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” —Galatians 5:19-21 NIV


The Bible book of Revelation contains similar strong warnings against those who practice magic arts:

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practise magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.”                                                                     —Revelation 21:8 NIV

“Outside are the dogs, those who practise magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practises falsehood.”   —Revelation 22:15 NIV


So, people who “practice magic arts” end up receiving the same judgment from God as murderers and worshipers of idols.  What if you have been involved in such practices?  Is there any hope for you?  Yes, by putting faith in Jesus Christ, you can be set free, and can be forgiven for all your sins.  Jesus will help you put the sin of sorcery behind you, and will help you learn His righteous ways of living.  When the first century Apostles of Christ went preaching the Gospel throughout pre-Christian Europe and Asia, they encountered many pagans who practiced magic, witchcraft and sorcery.  Acts 19:19-20 tells us what these people did when they became Christian believers:

“A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly.  When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.  In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.” —Acts 19:19-20


When people who used to practice sorcery learned about Jesus and put faith in him, they quit practicing magic, witchcraft and sorcery.  In fact, they publicly burned their books on sorcery.  Sorcery, witchcraft and magic are not acceptable among true Christians.  Those who have been involved in such practices need to follow the example just quoted from the Bible book of Acts—not bring such practices into the church, no matter how well accepted they may be in the surrounding community.


Besides things related to pagan idolatry, the book of Revelation says Jezebel also brought sexual immorality into the church.  She was living up to the behavior of her namesake in ancient Israel, the pagan mother of king Joram,

“‘And when Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” He answered, “What peace can there be, so long as the whorings and the sorceries of your mother Jezebel are so many?’” —2 Kings 9:22 English Standard Version


(To better understand why Revelation uses the name Jezebel, you may wish to read about that original Jezebel in the Old Testament in 1Kings chapter 16 through 2 Kings chapter 9.) 


The men condemned in the opening verses of Jude’s letter likewise brought sexual misconduct into the church, changing “the grace of our God into a license for immorality.”  (Jude 4)  Do we see something similar in churches today?


Over the course of the past hundred years or so, there has been a dramatic change in the popular view of sexual morality and what is considered right and wrong.  Behavior that was once viewed as sinful and bad is now accepted as normal and good.  People who once would have been shunned as gross sinners are now held up before the public as role models and heroes.  Whereas people who practiced what the Bible classifies as sexual misconduct used to be condemned in the public media, today the media treat such people as celebrities.  Christians who uphold the Bible’s standards of right and wrong are often presented today as old fashioned, out of step with the times, intolerant, homophobic or guilty of ‘hate speech’ or ‘hate crimes.’   


Pressured to conform to this new popular trend to view all sorts of sexual misconduct as morally acceptable, many churches have made a similar about-face, now accepting into membership and even ordaining as clergy, people whose behavior would have disqualified them in past generations. 


Has God really changed his mind on sexual morality?  How should you view churches that welcome as members and clergy people whose behavior is condemned by the Bible?


The ancient pre-Christian pagan world often tolerated and accepted conduct that did not meet with God’s approval, and so back in the first century there was a danger that the community’s attitudes might be carried into the newly formed churches as pagans were converted and embraced Christianity.  To keep that from happening, the Apostle Paul wrote this to the church in ancient Rome:

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” —Romans 12:2

Paul’s words “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world” are rendered with this paraphrase in the J. B. Phillips translation:

“Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould.”


So, even though today’s new non-biblical views and attitudes may be widely accepted in our community and our nation, we need to struggle not to let the world around us squeeze us into its mold.


And the world is actively trying to do that.  No matter where we turn in the media today—radio, television, newspapers and magazines, the internet—we are bombarded with images and messages saying that all sorts of expressions of sexuality are okay, good and acceptable, and that those who uphold the Bible’s standards of morality are the ones who are wrong.  It is clear that the world around us is trying as hard as it can to squeeze everyone into this mold.


What does the Bible actually say on these matters?


The Bible begins talking about sexual morality way back in the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, and it keeps referring to this subject all the way through the Revelation or Apocalypse, the last book of the New Testament.


In its second chapter, the book of Genesis states,

“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper who is right for him.’”                                                                                     —Genesis 2:18 NCV


So, God created the first woman and gave her to the first man in marriage:

“So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body.”                                                                                     —Genesis 2:24 NCV


This was meant to serve as a pattern for all mankind, and it did indeed serve as a pattern that people have followed down through history.  But many men, even those whose lives are recorded in the Bible, chose to take multiple wives. The Bible record shows how polygamy brought conflict, grief and unhappiness to those who practiced it.  (Gen. 30:1-2, 14-16; 1 Sam. 1:3-8) When God gave the nation of Israel more than six hundred laws through Moses, he regulated the practices of divorce and polygamy—limiting them at that time, without putting a stop to them.  Jesus explained it this way when Jewish religious leaders asked him about men divorcing their wives: “Why then did Moses command us to give her a bill of divorce, and divorce her?”  Jesus replied:

‘“Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been so.  I tell you that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries her when she is divorced commits adultery.’” —Matthew 19:8-9


Jesus referred back to the first marriage in Genesis as the pattern God intended for mankind to follow: 

“‘Haven’t you read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall join to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?”  So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, don’t let man tear apart.’”                                                                    —Matthew 19:4-6 


And when Christian churches were being established in a world that still practiced polygamy and divorce, the higher standard of monogamous marriage was held up as the example to follow, and a requirement for church leaders: 

This is a faithful saying: if a man seeks the office of an overseer, he desires a good work.  The overseer therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife” 1 Timothy 3:1-2


But most of mankind has been in rebellion against God throughout the history of this planet.  An outstanding case was recorded in the book of Genesis:

 “Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.” —Genesis 13:13 NIV


“Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave,” God considered destroying those cities.  But first he sent two angels in the form of men to investigate, and he discussed the matter with Abraham.  Abraham begged God not to “destroy the righteous with the wicked,” and God agreed that he would spare the whole city of Sodom if he found ten good people there.  (Gen. 18:17-32 NKJV) 


Part of Abraham’s concern must have been due to the fact that his nephew Lot was then living in Sodom.  In fact, when the investigating angels arrived that evening, Lot invited them to spend the night at his house. 

“But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter.  They called to Lot, and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came in to you this night?  Bring them out to us, that we may have sex with them.’”    —Genesis 19:4-5


The angels did not find ten righteous people in the city.  Instead they led out Lot and his immediate family, so that God could destroy the place, and

“Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.”                                               —Genesis 19:24-25 KJV


Our modern English words ‘sodomy’ and ‘sodomize’ come from the name of that ancient city of Sodom that God destroyed as punishment for its inhabitants’ sins.


Several centuries later when God led the people of Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land and gave them laws to live by, these laws included many that spelled out what God declared to be right and wrong in regard to sexual relations.

“‘You must never have sexual relations with your close relatives . . .   You must not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife . . .   You must not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife . . .  You must not have sexual relations with a man as you would a woman.  That is a hateful sin.  You must not have sexual relations with an animal; it is not natural.’”     —Leviticus 18:6, 16, 20, 22-23 NCV


These moral laws given through Moses in the Old Testament were for the Jewish nation:  ‘These rules are for the citizens of Israel and for the people who live with you.’”  (Leviticus 18:26 NCV)  Although Christians are not under the ceremonial law that required animal sacrifices pointing forward to Jesus’ sacrificial death, and that required Jews to follow a special kosher diet and to dress differently to keep them separate from non-Jews, we can still learn God’s will from the moral law that expresses God’s unchangeable declarations of what is right and wrong.  Notice how the Apostle Paul points this out:

“But we know that the law is good, if a man uses it lawfully, as knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for the sexually immoral, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and for any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine; according to the Good News of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

“And I thank him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he counted me faithful, appointing me to service; although I was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and insolent. However, I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” —1 Timothy 1: 8-13


Like Paul, we too may have sinned “ignorantly in unbelief,” but we too can obtain God’s mercy when we repent and choose to follow Jesus in these matters.  Like Paul, we too can change our conduct, abandoning practices that God condemns.  Jesus is alive and active in the lives of those who accept him not only as their Savior, but also as their Lord—to save them from their sins and to lead them through life from now on.  God’s Holy Spirit can empower believers to make changes in their conduct that would have been impossible on their own.  As ancient king David wrote, we can pray,

“LORD . . . Take away my desire to do evil or to join others in doing wrong.  Don’t let me eat tasty food with those who do evil.” —Psalm 141:4 NCV


As we read the New Testament, we find that the Apostles and disciples of Jesus uphold God’s same moral standard as expressed in the moral law given to the Jews, and they warn us that God will execute the same sort of punishment again against those who persist in practicing sexual immorality, as he did in the Old Testament—even referring back to God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as an example.  The Apostle Peter writes that God

condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly.”                   —2 Peter 2:6 NIV


The disciple Jude writes similarly at Jude 7, pointing out clearly the sexual nature of their sins:

“In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” —Jude 7 NIV


Like the Old Testament, the Christian New Testament plainly spells out the conduct God condemns: 

“Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

“For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions.  For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature.

“Likewise also the men, leaving the natural function of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error.

“Even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness . . . who, knowing the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them.” —Romans 1:24-32


Notice that this passage closes by condemning, not only those who practice such things, but also those who “approve of those who practice them.” 


But what about the popular notion today that people who practice these things are ‘born that way’—that God even made them that way—and so it is okay for them to behave that way?  Yes, people are born with the desire to sin, but that does not make it okay to act out those desires.  The Bible explains where these sinful desires really come from:

sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned.   . . . death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those whose sins weren't like Adam's disobedience.”                                               —Romans 5:12-14


As a result of our sinful inheritance from the first man Adam,

the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” —Genesis 8:21


So, the Bible explains that the first man Adam brought sin into the world, and Adam passed on to all of his offspring a tendency to sin:  For some people it is a tendency to steal.  Other people inherited a tendency toward violence.  For some men, it is a very strong desire to be a womanizer; they have a sexual inclination toward multiple women, instead of just one wife. Some have a strong inclination toward homosexual relations.  Some people inherited a tendency toward dependence on alcohol or drugs.


Does that mean we should all feel free to act out our sinful inclinations?  Of course not.  We all need to struggle against inherited sin, no matter what sinful inclination is strongest in our particular case.  The Apostle Paul explains it this way:

 “No temptation has taken you except what is common to man.  God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”                                                   —1 Corinthians 10:13


So, if you’re struggling with sexual desires—desires to behave in ways that God declares unacceptable—you should not feel condemned.  All of us have inherited strong tendencies to sin in one way or another.  Rather, you should feel encouraged to keep up the battle against temptation.


We all have struggles against temptations to sin in one form or another.  Even the Apostle Paul wrote concerning himself:

“I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” —1 Corinthians 9:27 NIV


So, even the Apostle Paul struggled against the tendency to sin in his own body.  And the Christians that Paul addressed his letters to back in the first century had similar struggles.  They, too, like all of us, had inherited sinful tendencies, and many of them had been in the habit of acting out those tendencies through sinful conduct before coming to Jesus for forgiveness of their sins and changing their conduct to obey him as his followers.  They stopped their sinful practices and they were washed clean from their sins in the blood of Jesus Christ.  Notice what Paul wrote about the particular sins that members of the Corinthian congregation had been practicing before they repented and began following Jesus:

“Or don't you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?  Don't be deceived.  Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit the Kingdom of God.

“Such were some of you, but you were washed.  But you were sanctified.  But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.” —1 Corinthians 6:9-11


Yes, when Paul lists the former sins of the Corinthians, he includes adulterers and male prostitutes and homosexuals, and he confirms that this is what some of them were—not still are, but were, in the past.  They had put their sins behind them and were washed clean through their faith in Jesus.


That is quite different from continuing in sin, and bringing that sin into the Church.   “Don’t be deceived,” Paul wrote above.  In many churches there are false teachers like Jezebel who deceive their listeners into thinking it is okay to persist in sinful sexual behavior while calling oneself a Christian.  That is why Paul listed the above sins and added, “Do not be deceived.”


When Jesus healed a man at the pool of Bethesda, he told the man,

“Stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you.” —John 5:14 NIV


The Apostle Paul elaborated on the need to stop sinning in his letter to the congregation in Rome:

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

“ . . . For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  . . .

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”            —Romans 6:1-14 NIV


But today, there are those who teach that sexual misconduct is not sin at all, but that it’s okay to practice it.  This is again reminiscent of the woman Jezebel in the book of Revelation.  The risen Christ says to the church in Thyatira,

“I have this against you:  You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.  By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality.”  —Revelation 2:20


Yes, this is a teaching in many churches today—that the sexual practices labeled as sin in the Bible have somehow now become acceptable to God.  Some of these churches hang a banner on the walls of the church saying, “God is still speaking.”  And what they mean is that God is now speaking something contrary to what he says throughout the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  Obviously it is not the God of the Bible that they are listening to.  Obviously they are not following the real Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible.


Of course, much of the world around us today openly dismisses both God and the Bible.


As the Apostle Peter writes,

in the last days there will come men who scoff at religion and live self-indulgent lives”        —2 Peter 3:3 NEB


And then Peter added, 

 “But the Day of the Lord will come . . .”                        —2 Peter 3:10


Yes, the day of the Lord will come.  Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!


Meanwhile, followers of Jesus must heed the message he gave to the church in Thyatira

“I have this against you:  You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.  By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.  I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.  So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.  I will strike her children dead.  Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” —Revelation 2:20-23 NIV


<   PREVIOUS         NEXT   >