A wise man once said, “When a person who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he then ceases to be mistaken or he ceases to be honest.” James said something comparable:
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17
One may spend hours looking for loopholes in God’s orders and directions; one may supply a multitude of excuses; one may justify his actions to attract more converts, but whatever the case…if one knows to do something and doesn’t do it, it is SIN! On the flip side, if one knows he should not do something and does it, it is SIN!
A Christian knows whether he is conforming to the world or keeping himself from the world.
“I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-13
In this world, one will rub shoulders with all kinds of sinners, but God has set a higher standard for His children than He has for the world. There is definitely a different standard for the Christian versus the lost man when it comes to fellowship. How one makes his living, who one marries and what one believes is the criteria on which we base fellowship.
Paul said not to even eat with a person who claimed to be a Christian if they continued living a sinful life. A Christian who owns a liquor store, lives with a person out of wedlock, engages in homosexual relationships, marries an atheist or cultist, cheats people out of money, is a drunk or one that scoffs at believers is “off limits” to the dedicated Christian. Paul said plainly that we are not to fellowship with them on the same basis as we do faithful, dedicated Christians.
The favorite scripture of all backslidden, worldly Christians is Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” You will notice that Paul orders us to “judge” them that are guilty of these things. The truth of the matter is that God informs us of what is right and what is wrong. We don’t have to judge that, God has already judged it!
Worldly Christians have a habit of sitting around and discussing what they think, instead of what God says. We hear, “I don’t think a loving God would do this or do that. It doesn’t make any difference what we think. God put in writing what He will and will not do. You and I don’t have to think about it…He has already told us. God’s entire program has been based on separation, not unity:
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34
We have a whole generation of backslidden pastors telling us what won’t work anymore. We have religious professors and teachers claiming more insight on the mind of God than the Bible reveals. Actually, they haven’t progressed any farther than the philosophers on Mars Hill who wasted their time either hearing or telling some “new thing.” (Acts 17:18-21)
Have you ever wondered why Paul didn’t address the importance of reaching the young people and that we should make it appealing to them? Have you ever wondered why the New Testament church ordained “elders” (Acts 14:23) and made no mention of the youth movement? God has always established priorities. He wants the weak to grow strong, the young to gain maturity and the novice to become a veteran.
“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:11-14
Some have not grown at all; spiritual runts, if you will! They either didn’t pay any attention to the teaching or they didn’t practice what they were taught. Either way, they are not growing. In the physical world, this condition would bring much sorrow and anxiety, but it seems to be accepted as the norm in the spiritual realm.
Paul’s instructions were:
“…speaking the truth in love…” Ephesians 4:15
Notice the sequence, truth precedes love and it always will. If it is not the truth, then it cannot possibly be spoken “in love.”
If I knew you were in extreme danger, but would not tell you because I thought it might hurt your feelings, I am not your friend.
Remember: “When a person who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he then ceases to be mistaken or he ceases to be honest.”
Keep Looking Up!