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SCRIPTURE -2 COR 6:14                            DECEMBER, 1998

        Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

SUBJECT - COMMON GROUND

In our society today, there is a lot of talk about what we should be doing, in order to help bring about peace between each other.

As we prepare to enter a new millennium, we need to be able to get along with our fellow man. There are problems that we all face. Among them are racism, bigotry, political and philosophical differences, discrimination and a myriad of others, that are keeping us from being united, so that all of us can be at peace and prosper.

These problems have plagued us, since this nation's beginning just about, and at one time they seemed to be going away. But now, they are surfacing again, and seem to be worse than ever.

Because of these problems, people, both young and old, have been hurt or killed. Many suffer economically, and mentally because they are different. We are a society of have's and have not's. Those that have, want to keep what they have, while those that have not, are striving to achieve something, that they can pass on to their children.

In the midst of all of this, a man, whose name I won't mention, but who is popular in the African American community, has come up with the idea of uniting all of us. His idea, is to find 'common ground' between all of us, and to begin building from there.

Now, while this seems like a good idea on the surface, there are problems with it, if we look at just what 'common ground' means.

Taking it, the way most people mean it, means to find something that we all can agree on, so that we can start from there, and go forward. What we all want, is to see peace and prosperity for all of us, in our lifetimes. We especially want to leave our children, and their kids, a legacy that will be free from anyone having to suffer because of another's dislike of them because of who or what they are.

And, I don't have a problem with this at all, as far as the concept goes. After all, Jesus said, speaking on the commandment of love, (Mr 12:31)        And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. No one, and I mean, no one, can say they are a follower of Christ, and not love his or her neighbor. Jesus even went so far as to say that we should (Mt 5:44) .... Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. So doing whatever it takes to bring about peace, and tranquillity, as well as helping them to prosper, is a goal that I can live with.

However, the way that goal is to be reached, is where the problems begin. For, in achieving this goal, many have said that there needs to be a change in the way many people think, and act. That usually means compromise. And depending on just what it is, I am asked to compromise on, I may not do it.

While I may agree with the goal, I will not compromise any part of my belief in Jesus Christ, and the bible. And that, my friends, is what some preachers, and groups, expect many of us to do. Of course, they don't come out and say it, they just harp on the idea that, 'any thing that we [Christians] do, that makes it seem like we, are trying to keep someone down, is not showing the love of God.'

But, in many instances, compromising on some things, like some say we should, is not showing the love of God. In fact, it will ultimately cause many to suffer, even more.

You see, just like any thing, especially a building, has to have a firm, sure, foundation to build on, so does our goal of peace and prosperity. The only way this nation, and even the world, can ever expect to rise to the levels that we (Christians), say God expects, as far as the love for our fellow man, will only come about with His help. Therefore, it is how we go about pleasing Him, that will determine how much of this goal will be realized.

However, today, people tend to think that they can achieve what they want by means that God does not support, and will actually turn against.

Since it is the church, that is supposed to be the main force that God has put here, to direct people on how to get in a position to receive from God, all things that pertain to life and godliness, then we must set the standard, by the things we say and do. And one of the main things that God says is, as the subject verse says, is to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.

You see, the ways of man, are the ways of destruction. (Pr 14:12, 16:25) There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. The reason is, that the ways of man, are built on a foundation, that is in total opposition to God. Man is the enemy of God, while those in the Church are the children of God. They build their hopes and lives on (Mt 4:4)But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, meaning that they always make decisions in their lives based on what God has to say about it.

And it seems that this preacher, the one espousing compromise, is saying, that in order to achieve what we need to, we will have to change our ways of thinking concerning those that are suffering.

Well, the question comes up, just what exactly is it, that I am supposed to compromise on???

Am I supposed to compromise on what God has to say about the gay community??? (LE 18 : 22) Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. What about those that want to say, that because of the color of their skin, they should receive special treatment from those that offer jobs, promotions, housing and the like??? (Jas 2:1) My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons (this means discrimination and affirmative action). Maybe I should compromise on my stand against abortion, and say it is all up to the woman as to whether she wants to keep the baby or not (Is 44:2) Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; (Ps 127:3) Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. Or maybe I should be more concerned for those that can't find a decent job to pay them more than minimum wage, so they want government to support them until they can (2Th 3:10)For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. On and on I could go. Which part of the Word of God should I say, "it's O.K. to put this to the side, for the sake of getting along???
The reason we are in the mess we are in, is that there is too much compromise, and it is with the wrong people. Everybody wants the Church, to compromise on things that the bible says are wrong.

The apostle Paul, is instructing the Church, no less, not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Why??? Because we have nothing in common with them. To compromise with them, means we have to give up something, and drop down to their level. That's right, I said drop down to their level, meaning when you are in right standing with God, (Eph 2:6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in [or with] Christ Jesus: (Col 3:2-3) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Eph 1:20-21) Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
        
These scriptures make one thing very clear. The believer, is sitting together in Christ, and our affections or allegiance should be toward Heavenly things. Now, if we are in Christ, and He is seated at God's right hand, in those places, and is far above every earthly thing, then that means, in order to find common ground with the ungodly, I would have to lower my affections from Heavenly things, to ungodly, or earthly things. That, my friends, I am not going to do. Call me a 'religious bigot', call me part of the 'religious right', say that I have a 'holier than thou' attitude. You know what I'll say??? Thanks for the compliment!!! Now I know that might sound strange, but, any time someone is standing up for Christ, in this dark and dying generation, where sin is abounding everywhere, and refusing to budge from their stance on sin, then they will be called one of these or worse.

There is an old saying that I like to use, and it goes like this. 'If every one in this world, is always speaking good about you, and you are a Christian, then you better check yourself, and ask God to show you what you are doing wrong. Jesus, came here, and He was persecuted (for doing good), and He said, (Jo 15:20) Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. This persecution, comes about because the unbelievers (ungodly, sinners, the world), do not accept what God says. They always try to find a loophole in what you are telling them, to make you doubt what God says. That way, they can get you to come down a little to their level, thus making you compromise with them, while they stay the same.

If you read all the gospels, you will see how every thing that Jesus did, was challenged. And most of these challenges, came, not from the sinners, but from the religious leaders of His day. These men, had a completely worldly view on what Jesus was doing. They had set up their own way of doing things, and when Jesus showed them the error of their ways, they began to seek ways to trip Him up, or get rid of Him. The things they were doing to Him, is what the world is doing today.

The only way for any one to prosper, and I mean really prosper, is for them to abandon their ways, and accept what Jesus says is right and wrong.

Here are some cold, hard facts. There will never be total peace and prosperity in this world, unless Jesus brings it. As long as man thinks he can bring it about, he is doomed to failure. All the religions in this world, are merely man's attempt to pacify his own desire to build something that he can say serves, or was created by, him. But, when he puts it up against Jesus, he sees how pitifully inadequate it is, and cries, foul. He begins to see how those that serve Jesus, not only in word, but in deed, have all of their basic needs met, and always seem to be getting the best that life has to offer. And they want it. But, when you tell them they must forsake their ways, then they want to have a 'hissy fit.' They say, 'you are playing God', and all that stuff. Then they try to put a guilt trip on you, hoping to make you compromise with them. If that doesn't work, then they go to the politicians, and get them to pass laws, to make you a criminal if you say any thing against what they believe.

(Jas 4:1- 4) From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

But, that's the way it is. If I am going to seek 'common ground' with any one, they will have to have Jesus, as their foundation.

You see, having Jesus as their foundation, makes them family. They are blood relatives. And just like family members do not always agree, they still stick together, when something happens to one of them. If someone comes against one of them, they are coming against all of them, and usually, even when they are wrong.

However, backing someone, in their wrong doing, will prove to cause more problems for them, as well as the family.

PART 2

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