All-Bible Exhortation and Warnings on Sexual Temptation and Sexual Sin

All-Bible Exhortations and Warnings on Sexual Temptation and Sexual Sin

I appeal to you, brothers, bear with this word of exhortation (Hebrews 13:22). Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin? (Proverbs 20:9)  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:8). Everything in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John 2:16) The works of the flesh are evident: sexual immoralityimpurity, sensuality, idolatry, carousing, and things like these, of which I have forewarned you, those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). Among you there must not be even a hint of any kind of impurity (Ephesians 5:3). Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity (1 Timothy 5:2). Because whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:28). Will you commit adultery and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, "We are safe"--safe to do all these detestable things? I have been watching! declares the Lord (Jeremiah 7:9-10).  Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known (Luke 12:22). Do not fall into deception: again I say, those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, and men who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God! (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). Flee from sexual immorality. Whoever sins sexually sins against their own body (1 Corinthians 6:18). Don't you know that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit? (1 Corinthians 6:19) What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? (2 Corinthians 6:16). So honor God with your bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20) and avoid sexual immorality. Control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable  (1 Thessalonians 4:4), not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God (1 Thessalonians 4:5). For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry (1 Peter 4:3). Come out from them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30). 


Wisdom cries out and raises her voice! (Proverbs 1:20) - Listen to me; pay attention to what I say! (Proverbs 7:24). Do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” (1 Corinthians 6:16). Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! (1 Corinthians 6:15) What fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14). Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. (Proverbs 5:5). You were bought with a price, so glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:20). Come out of her, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues (Revelation 18:4).
Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God (1 John 3:10). No one who lives in him keeps on sinning, and neither anyone who is born of God continues to sin (1 John 5:18). No one who sins has either seen him or known him (1 John 4:6), and is of the devil (1 John 3:8).  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons (1 Corinthians 10:21). We have died to sin; how can we live any longer in it? (Romans 6:2). Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning! Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5). For to your shame I say that some of you don't even know God. (1 Corinthians 15:34). Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24). So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:17). It is God's will that you should be sanctified (1 Thessalonians 4:3). In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood (Hebrews 12:24). So do not merely listen to the word, and so deceiving yourselves. Do what it says (James 1:22).


What shall we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may increase? (Romans 6:1). By no means! (Romans 6:2). Consider the distance you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first! Do not be stiff-necked any longer (Deuteronomy 10:16). Fear the LORD and turn away from evil (Proverbs 3:17). I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you (1 Corinthians 4:14). If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place. (Revelation 2:5) My pleasure is that the wicked repent from their behavior and live. Turn back! Turn back, all of you, from your wicked behavior! (Ezekiel 33:11)  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! (Romans 6:21). Produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8). The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire (Matthew 3:10). Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5).

Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16). Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. (Ephesians 5:14). Repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19) that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9) Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom (James 4:9). Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10). The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18). You were once darkness, but now you are as light in the Lord. So live as children of light! (Ephesians 5:8) Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways (Proverbs 4:26).


Be alert and with a sober mind, because your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes (Ephesians 6:11). Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16). For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
Behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality (Romans 13:13). But rather, clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and don't think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh (Romans 13:14).  Instead have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them (Ephesians 5:11). And be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48). Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:6).  Brothers, keep yourself pure (1 Timothy 5:22), for without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

Live as free men, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but as a living servant of God. (1 Peter 2:16).  For He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of your heart (1 Corinthians 4:5). Fear God and keep his commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Confess your sins to the Lord; for He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).


Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25) so that you will not be hardened by sin's deceitfulness (Hebrews 3:13)If you hide your sins you will not prosper, but if you confess and renounce them you will find mercy (Proverbs 28:13).  Confess your sins to one other and pray for each other so that you may be healed, because the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16). 


The stronger brother ought to bear with the failings of the weaker brother (Romans 15:1). You who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted (Galatians 6:1). Love one another with brotherly affection. Out-do one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10). Be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, being compassionate and humble (1 Peter 3:8). Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5). Humility goes before honor (Proverbs 18:12).  So do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil (Proverbs 3:7). Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things (Philippians 4:8). For we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 10:16). Peace to all of you who are in Christ (1 Peter 5:14). Amen! (Psalm 89:52).

Note: Words in italics were added to serve as transitions between passages.  Some passages were shortened to narrow in on the sexual sin theme.

More Christian Leaders Succumb To 'Pride' As the Church Buckles Under the Gay Agenda

The LGBT community's relentless drive to push an anti-biblical agenda is damaging an already weakening pastoral leadership.  Could this be the beginning of an unstoppable "Slide of Compromise" for the Church?

The LGBT agenda has been driving on full force in recent months.  Since this June's (2019) celebration of "Pride Month", the movement has literally dominated social media trends, department store themes, parades, commercials, and celebrity endorsements in what appears to be a strategic move for a massive campaign for its total normalization by a demoralized society. In the United States, the White House was allowed to be illuminated in rainbow colors.  Storefronts now fly colors proudly with accompanying statements such as "All Are Welcome Here" (as if the identifying LGBT community wasn't before).  Public schools have been forcing their students to question their sexual identities with mandatory classes.  Online news outlets strategically sprinkle rainbow-themed pride "stories" across their platforms. The list goes on.  And, meanwhile, while the world is increasingly celebrating this false sense of freedom to do whatever feels right to it, Christians are coexisting in zombie-like fashion exercising their own right to stand on the sidelines - or in many cases, simply joining them.  

While believers are failing to put on true biblical love, which is to love one's neighbor as yourself and to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30-31), real love is never approving of sinful behavior or lifestyles despite of anyone's natural, carnal tendencies.  Rather, it is based on God's standards of holiness, and a proper understanding of grace. "Acceptance" and "tolerance", as defined by society, has become a stumbling block for Christians who have either lost, or have never had, a proper understanding of scripture. 

But whether the Christian agrees with the movement or not, one thing is true: The rapidly evolving LGBT movement is a strategically planned attack by our enemy, Satan, and he is after the Christian's foundation of biblical truth.  Unfortunately, an increasing number of Christians are embracing the enemy's lies in what appears to be in utter submission.  

For many people, this single issue is a deal-breaker when it comes to with what the Book says that supposedly guides their faith. The reality is, homosexuality is a spiritual issue and not merely just a social one. It has now become the most crucial social stigma of our time.  More than ever, Christians have the pressure on them to make a decision: Is the Bible to be taken literally as it pertains to the subject of homosexuality or is it not?  Should passages that specifically mention sexual sin be altogether ignored?  

The bible actually addresses the sin of homosexuality quite specifically:

...Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality...will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 - abbreviated)

For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. Likewise, the men abandoned natural relations with women and burned with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error...since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, He gave them up to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. (Romans 1:26-28)

In an age of relativism, and the belief that we have somehow evolved from having to adhere to moral standards as reinforced by the bible, the public affirmation of its text can and will get you into a lot of trouble today (as we have seen with bakeries refusing to serve gay couple's weddings). And it will only intensify as the pressure to conform with the societal "tolerance" code increases. 

In the United States, the implications of reading or quoting the bible are relatively low in comparison to places like China, where practicing one's faith - speaking of or owning a bible - could mean fines and/or imprisonment. In many other countries today it could mean death. But the atmosphere is quickly changing here.  California is one of those states leading the charge which will certainly be helping in the fulfillment of prophetic scripture.  It's recently-passed AB 2943 bill would prohibit 'conversion therapy' - the practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.  California would be first in the nation to prohibit conversion therapy on anyone, and would include Pastors counseling people struggling with same-sex attraction.  In other words, church leaders would no longer to be able to safely advise a person to abstain from this particular kind of sexual immorality.  

Hillsong New York Pastor Carl Lentz
For many churches, keeping silent on addressing homosexuality may be an easy transition. Hillsong NY, which is part of arguably the most popular, and compromised, movement in our day, downplays the gay lifestyle. Pastor Carl Lentz says his church is "gay welcoming" and welcomes "conversations" on the subject, but that's as far as it goes as far as addressing it as a sin. When asked in a CNN interview if gay men and women are welcome he said, "Absolutely.  We have a lot of gay men and women in our church and I pray we always do."  His wife Laura complemented him by adding: "It is not our place to tell anyone how they should live, that's their journey."  As the world looks on, truth is again being misaligned with lies.  Coupled with the filthy rich empire Hillsong is building, they do not represent the gospel well, or arguably not in the least.  Perhaps that could be a reason why Hillsong songwriter Marty Samson recently abandoned his faith having admitted that his former devotion to Christianity has changed.  Christianity, he said, "just seems to me like another religion at this point", and that his departure was "genuine".

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. (Ephesians 4:17-19)

While the true church is views this sin as a dangerous way to live your life (as is any other practiced sin), Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur, who is in misalignment with his faith-based opponents, says the opposite. "We look forward to the day when all LGBTQ Californians are protected from these dangerous, fraudulent practices." he said, speaking of the proposal.  At the same time, children are being terribly mistreated from the same kind of liberal agendas that government officials don't find to be so dangerous.  Recently, controversy has surrounded the parents of their 11-year-old son, whom they have allowed to perform in drag at a New York gay bar for men to salivate over.  After complaints were made, several agencies, including Child Protective Services (CPS), investigated the parents, but then cleared them of any wrongdoing. 

In light of the increasingly immoral world we live in, Christian leaders ought to doubling down by standing up for what God has to say about sexual sin as to not indirectly support this kind of wickedness against vulnerable children.

Christian leaders show their true "colors"

While the church as a whole is showing clear evidence of being softer on hard biblical truths - and increasingly impartial to issues related to sin in general - they are easily swayed by the aggressive culture that surrounds them. One by one, professing Christian believers are being exposed for who they are and what they really believe about God, truth, and the Bible, and their beliefs on LGBT 'rights' are exposing them.

Joel Osteen, arguably the most influential pastor or our day, when questioned on his position on homosexuality on a Larry King appearance in 2014, affirmed that the Bible is clear regarding homosexuality being a sin, but said "I just don't want to preach on it."  In another interview, when asked if homosexuality was 'against the rules', he said: "It would be...but I don't really focus on a lot of those things...I try to stay in my lane of what I feel called to do."    

It is clear that Osteen's 'calling' so far does not include calling out sin and rebellion to God, which are absolutely central to understanding grace and the reason for the cross of Jesus Christ.  Such a view can be considered antichrist in light of scripture.

Rick Warren flipped his stance on gay marriage a few years ago by backing away from his statements opposing prop 8, which would allow gay and lesbian marriages to be legally recognized in the state of California.  Recanting his previous statements, he admitted on Larry King that gay marriage was in fact "very low" on his priority list.  It is in fact not only low on his, but on a lot of others' as well.  

Joshua Harris (center) at the 2019 Vancouver Pride Parade 
Joshua Harris, author of the popular book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, recently resigned as pastor of Covenant Life Church which he founded in 2004.  Subsequently, Joshua did an about-face by departing from his faith as a result of his changing views. According to his own testimony, he had always opposed homosexual relationships, but now embraces them. Joshua has been reported to have left his wife and children over the issue of his changing stance.  He now claims to not only agree with it, but shockingly no longer even considers himself to be a Christian at all!  Writing in an Instagram post in July of 2019:  "to the LGBTQ+ community, I want to say that I am sorry for the views that I taught in my books, and as a pastor regarding sexuality. I regret standing against marriage equality, for not affirming you and your place in the church, and for any ways that my writing and speaking contributed to a culture of exclusion and bigotry. I hope you can forgive me."  His plea for forgiveness from the gay community needs to instead be a turn in repentance toward his Creator as the church prays.

While Joshua Harris gives in to pop culture, another prominent figure, Matthew Vines, has become the face of gay-affirming Christians using the bible to back their views. Claiming himself to be both Christian and gay, he wrote God and the Gay Christian, a book that challenges traditional Christian views on homosexuality.  In it, he doesn’t just advocate his opinions by using traditional social justice arguments, but he is actually arguing his position by using the very passages as those who oppose same-sex relationships, such as Genesis 2:18: 'It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him'.  Adam's 'helper', he says in his viral video The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality, was a only a female because of the fact that Adam was into women and not men. 
He argues that heeding the traditional teachings of Scriptures, such as Leviticus 18:22 (You shall not lie with a male as with a woman), have resulted in "spiritual devastation", and to "the loss of self-esteem and self-worth" for gay people, and that scriptures such as these "have not borne good fruit in their lives", which has subsequently resulted in "incalculable pain and suffering".  According to Mr. Vines, this also applies to gays who identify as Christian.

Matthew represents millions of like-minded Christians who believe exactly the same thing - many silently, some openly.  Interestingly, his liberal views on homosexuality nearly parallel those of the atheistic, gay-affirming crowds' that that Christians and Christian leaders are supposedly delivering the gospel to. 

What's Next?

The blending of Christianity and the gay culture can and will only lead to further apostasy. 

Since the real truth of what people really believe is being manifest, and as Christian leaders who give in to cultural deception are becoming more popular, the scripture that prophesied about the future is being fulfilled:

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3)

It is yet another evidence that we are in the last days.  How the church handles the LGBT topic is one tell-tale sign of what else is to come. Since Christianity is not sticking to its guns on biblical truths, expect to see the church falling in many other areas.  Soon, there will be little to no disparity between most people identifying as Christian and those who claim to not believe in God at all - if it hasn't already happened. 

Christian believers must take the LGBT movement a lot more seriously than they have. They must prepare for the backlash from its supporters, which may at some point even turn violent towards those who remain faithful to the gospel. Franklin Graham, in his response to the 2015 Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, said that Christians "better be ready and better be prepared - it's coming.  There will be persecution of Christians for our stand." While the worst of persecution is yet to come, Christians should in fact be ready for that day. Since we are in the fight that we are in, certain passages that point to end-time events need to be taken more seriously than ever:

"They will deliver you over to be persecuted and killed, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray and hate one another, and many false prophets will arise and mislead many. Because of the multiplication of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved."  - Jesus in Matthew 34:9-13

In spite of this, Christians must love the LGBT community by showing them the truth in love, praying for the lost, and recognize that it is by grace that any one person can be saved. Each one of us has "fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). This, friends, is the gospel message. Let us go forward by believing God's word, and by walking in the love of Jesus.

Article by Greg Cooper:

Tauren Wells' Known Among Slew of Growing Number of Unbiblical Christian Songs

by Greg Cooper   Originally posted on 8/15/2018

“I’m fully known and loved by you; You won’t let go no matter what I do, sings Christian artist Tauren Wells in his latest popular song, Known
Tauren Wells
Peaking at #12 in the August 2018 Billboard charts, the song follows a questionably themed 2017 hit Reckless Love by Cory Asbury, which placed in three notable #1 spots in three categories within the Christian genre on Billboard charts last year. That song describes God’s love as just that — reckless, a word strictly used as a dire negative in the Bible (it literally means, ‘without concern’). Asbury defends its use by saying, “When I use the phrase, ‘the reckless love of God,’ I’m not saying that God Himself is reckless. I am, however, saying that the way He loves is, in many regards, quite so.” His word choices in one interview make this statement even more questionable. He suggested that Jesus' birth and subsequent death on the cross was "the most foolish thing you can possibly imagine".
Reckless Love, as released by Bethel Church (accused as being heretical by many), is just one of countless songs that are blurring the lines as to what is deemed acceptable lyrics — and theology — within the Christian culture.  
While much of Christian music communicates biblical truths that are very much needed in the truth-starved culture in which we live, the absence of essential truths related to the faith can lead to the idea that, as a Christian, you can do whatever you want and still be saved.  While this concept is not found in the Bible, the church at large is increasingly leaning toward this ‘once-saved always-saved’ (or, 'forever safe') theology. Our modern Christian music is an indication of its major influence.
Chris Quilalaas part of the band from Jesus Culture, reinforces this false doctrine in the song Fierce.  He sings that God’s love is an ‘inescapable tidal wave’ that ‘can’t be outrun’, describing God's love as 'fierce'.  While God's love is very often alluded to this way, the Bible describes God as one whose "face is against those who do evil" (Psalm 34:16), having "fierce wrath", and "fierce anger' toward the disobedient, as found in Jeremiah 25:38, John 3:9 and Revelation 19:15, among several others. Jesus Culture has also been criticized as being unbiblical and even heretical.  One site writes, ‘Jesus Culture is not just a band; it is a movement that promotes false teaching and teachers, is built not on the Bible but on the supposed visions and prophecies of its leaders, teaches a false view of physical healing and prosperity, and has a tragically low view of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.’ Because of this, their lyrics may often be misleading.

A Blending With Pop Culture

Cory Asbury of Jesus Culture
The popularity of today’s theologically-off music is reason for concern.  Polls have indicated that just 19% of church-going Christians read the bible regularly, and just a slim 3% of the overall teenage population in the United States. With such small numbers of people reading the Bible and many others not attending church regularly, mainstream Christian artists are playing an overly significant role in 'teaching' Christianity through 'expressive art' rather than from biblical text. 
Christianity has been negatively influenced by the sways of pop culture with its dominating “it’s all about love” ideology which embraces immorality, and licentious living which is guided by the deceptive power of Satan. Naturally, it is a world seeking an increasing freedom from moral decency as guided by sacred Scripture.  Christians’ blending in with the culture around them has resulted in a literal redefining of who the Jesus of the Bible is — by Christians themselves.
Like many other messages found in this musical genre, Tauren Wells’ ‘You won’t let go no matter what I do’ line along with calling God's grace "ridiculous", and saying, "it's so like me to go astray" in Known, summarizes a morphed worldview.  It flies directly in the face of the Biblical truth to which it seems to be eluding. Repentant faith and a turning from sin is an essential component of salvation, which, as a part of the Christian life, is missing from too much of Christian music.  The culmination of its absence can lead a weaker and uninformed Christian onto a slippery slope of marginalized Truth and, ultimately, an induced state of blissful naiveness in regards to the serious person of Jesus Christ. It was Jesus that said, "...unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3b), and, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17).  Hebrews 12:14 says that “Without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” Each of these passages are to be taken quite seriously.  
A False Kind of Freedom 

Christians today have a tendency to think of God solely as a God of all-accepting love, as indicated in its music and teaching from the pulpit, which is an abuse of Scripture.  Francesca Battistelli sings in one song, “I’m Free to be me, and you’re free to be you.”  She explains"God loves us just the way we are, dents in our fenders and all, and extends His grace to stand on His shoulders and be free!" 1 Peter 2:16, however, describes what true freedom looks like: Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” 

Tauren Wells’ preluding statement in his song, “I’m fully known and loved by you”, may deceptively reinforce that a believer is loved and fully accepted despite the sins that may be enslaving them.  It reinforces a common theme of the “freedom” so often heard in music, which can be misunderstood as freedom to sin rather than a freedom from sin. The Bible says,Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16), and,For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin…. and since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. Consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6) 

“I’m Free to be me, and you’re free to be you.”

-Francesca Battistelli in Free to Be Me 

There is a danger in that people who don’t heed or know Scripture will do as they please — no matter how sinful or how often — and still be named a true follower of Christ.  Galatians 5:13 says,You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh.” In vs 19-21, The acts of the flesh 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.” It continues with a harsh warning to every person, “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” 
Christians and non-believers alike are not getting the full counsel of God by listening to artists like these, who otherwise appear to be holding to a high moral standard by reaching the lost and encouraging believers. Regarding the culture we are living in, Wells says that it is "visionlessness" as far as getting a true glimpse of who Jesus is and what He’s about. He stated, “If we can give people a vision of who Jesus is and who they are, then we can effectively create change in the world.”  As do so many other artists of his genre, Wells likely prefers to share his "vision" of Christ through self-expression: “Everything that we do is geared towards showing people who Jesus is and who they are in Him and inspiring them to connect the dots between the two so that they can be an effective world changer for the cause of Christ in their own unique way," he says“They can use expressive art or science or whatever they want to communicate Christ to the culture.”
The problem with this approach is that it negates the Word of God, which the Bible says is "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 12:4) 

License to ‘Run Away?'

Rap-Rock stylist MANAFEST (spelled using a curiously upside-down 'A") professes in his song Every Time You Run,“Every time you run, every time you hide, every time you run away, I’m right here with you."  According to Scripture, however, believers do not casually 'run away' and remain unconditionally accepted by God while in a persistent state of rebellion toward Him, if that happens to be the case.
Jordan Feliz indicates in a song that you can run from God all you want:You can never outrun My love” he sings in Never Too Far Gone.  Interestingly, in speaking of the beginnings of his career in music, he said,“God kept giving me revelations and ideas for songs.”  It could be argued that this song wasn’t given by divine revelation. 
Disappointingly, the most popular of artists seem to be caught up in the same questionable theology.  Like so many others, Dove Award winner Lauren Daigle, who contributed to the The Shack's soundtrack, does profess in her song Loyal“I’m forever safe in your arms… I can’t outrun your love.”  It is questionable why a loyal follower of Christ would want to outrun God in the first place.

The Takeaway

While Christian music is oftentimes very biblical and uplifting, it also consistently holds to deceptive ‘truths’ whose aim is solely on God’s love and unconditional acceptance.  This can lead unsuspecting believers to conclude that they can live a life free from repentance, and having a license to run from Him and doing whatever they please. The repercussions of this could one to a false sense of security and a falling away from Christ, the very Person that Christian music is singing about.  We are warned about this in regards to the coming Great Apostasy, the 'falling away' of the Church: 'At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate one another, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.' (Matthew 24:10-11) 
In Colossians 2:8, we find this pertinent message: 
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ" (The ‘Christ’ to whom Paul is referring is the One who is ready to judge the living and the dead, hates sin, and those who distort the truth of the gospel).  

In these last days, it is becoming more evident than ever that we need to test the messages we are hearing from professing Christians against the Word of God  including the music being generated.  It is important to understand that in order to be fully embraced in God's love, we must continually repent, believe, and obediently follow Him until the end.

Has Traditional Santa Duped Us Into Being Liars?

By Greg Cooper

Nearly every child in the West believes in Santa Claus today - a fictional character slowly transformed over time to appeal to children's imaginations all around the globe.  Santa has slowly evolved into a fantasized version of the real deal: Saint Nick, a persecuted 
Christian in the third century devoted to following Jesus, whose motto was to "sell what you own and give it to the poor", a man with a deep love for children and for the truth."
And yet, many of us Christians have largely disregarded the true meaning of Christmas and have convinced our kids that Santa and the made-up stories that come with him are the more important items of focus.

Most of our children, having such precious faith, have been misguided to "believe" in fictional Santa. During this precious window time of their innocence, they have a natural, simple belief in the supernatural.  With all the lies that are influencing culture and our vulnerable children who are a part of it year-round, should professing Christians be solely pointing them to God during Christmas or include something that is blatantly untrue? 

While parents are certainly not intending to purposefully deceive their children with ill-will, the tradition of how Christmas is celebrated has deceptively - and effectively - whisked away much of our spiritual discernment.  Parents and other well-meaning adults are far-too-often negligently withholding the true meaning of Christmas (and other Christian perspectives in light of an unbelieving world), and what ought to be the sole focus of the true and historical figure of Christianity: Jesus Christ.  

While the fascination of Santa and tradition of the stories that encompass it can be fun and heartwarming, we who sincerely want to follow Christ should be promoting Truth instead of what we feel as being the "innocent" things we do based on family tradition.  From a Biblical perspective, our children should hear nothing but truth from us, especially when it involves spiritual realities.  Since it is Christmas season, they especially need this joyous celebration of Jesus’ birth to revolve around belief in the prophesied birth of the Savior of the world in the Old Testament:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

To those who vehemently disagree (and sometimes quite firmly), the argument is often made: “What’s the harm in Santa?”  
I could answer, let's face it, a child's childhood won't be ruined because they know Santa isn't
real.  But their eternal destiny may be shattered if parents fail to point them to Christ in every situation and in every holiday, especially during the Christmas season.  Proverbs 22:6 says, "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it."  

One lie begets another, and to them, they may question what else you may say is "real", including Jesus. So what can be gained by convincing a child to believe in the existence Santa Claus? 

It is important to heed Scripture for guidance.  Lying to children is one of the worst things you can do.  Jesus said, "If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea" (Matthew 18:6).  
When we lie in any way, we are inadvertently siding with Satan, a relentless enemy of God.  Jesus described him:  "He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44).

This holiday season, let’s not make our children stumble.  Let’s speak truthfully to them, and stop deceiving them for the sake of family tradition.  Jesus warned: "'You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.' And he continued, 'You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!'"

Simply put, there is no substitute for Jesus Christ, the god-man who sacrificed himself for us all, the one who offers the ultimate free gift of salvation. 

Sure, keep the tree and the dancing Santa and nativity scene, but I challenge you, if you haven't already been practicing this, resolve to speak truthfully to your children by turning Christmas into a celebration of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ the newborn King, rather than a fictional character bringing only temporal, vain gifts hidden in a bag stuffed full of untruths.  Saint Nick would bid fair to heartily agree!

For Christians, TV Viewing Habits and Halloween Participation May Go Hand-in-Hand

By Greg Cooper

Today, it is reported that over three-quarters of professing Christians celebrate Halloween (Source).  Of the 323 million people living in the United States, the vast majority identify themselves as being Christian (Source). This means that there are literally millions of professing believers actively participating in and endorsing Halloween, the day on which Satanists, witches, and occultists prefer to sacrifice animals and children to the devil (Source). Could this also be linked to what Christians are ingesting through television and movies? 

Christians Swayed By Media?

Christians may in fact be more easily swayed to accept Halloween, with all its evils, by what they watch.  It is a sad fact that there are believers today who have immersed themselves in the entertainment media culture which surrounds us.  
Instead of heeding God’s warning to “come out of them [temples of idolatry] and being separate,” as the Bible urges us (2 Corinthians 6:17), some have instead embraced it. Mainstream shows such as Supernatural, Twilight, Charmed, The Walking Dead, True Blood, Ghost Whisperer, Medium, Witches of East End, and even America’s Got Talent, and movies like Harry Potter and the classic The Wizard of Oz – to just scratch the surface of the immense amount of material out there – has been relentlessly flooding the entertainment industry market with an anti-Christ agenda. 

Satan has been figuratively having a “field day” with vulnerable eyeballs, which he is using to desensitize mainstream culture…right along with Christians!  One poll found that Christians average 3.1 hours of television a day (that’s 21.7 hours a week!), even more than Atheists who clock in at 2.7 hours (Source). 

Certainly, most of this material does not edify the professing believer, not does it spur them on to put down the remote and pick up their Bible.  In fact, less than 20% of church-goers read their Bible on a daily basis (Source).  A shocking low number, less than 20% percent, even go to church (Source), making the number of actual Bible readers relatively few and far between.  Among our Christian youth, who are the most desired targets by the enemy, also seem to be moving away from the Bible as well. According to one poll, a majority (57%) of those age 18-28 read their Bibles less than three times a year, if they pick it up at all (Source).

The Blurring of Lines

The television shows we Christians watch may actually be helping to blur the cultural line between what is morally acceptable and what is not.  What was once sacred in television – the family unit – has now overwhelmingly become a welcome agent to an evil agenda as well.  With the “world” running the show, and with so many Christian families sitting on their couches as a willing audience, the fact that 99% of shows about the family violate Christian morality (Source) is a horrifying thought, and is certainly not helping Christians to cling to traditional family values. 

For the 2016-2017 season, it was expected that 4.8% of the characters would be presented as LGBQT (Source).  No doubt we can conclude that this is likely due to a rising acceptance of homosexuality across the broad spectrum of American Christianity (Source).

With Christians subjected to mass amounts of material increasingly promoting family disunity, divorce, sex, drug use, same-sex agendas, violence, and the rampant mocking of moral living in general, Halloween may seem like just another day.  With the help of demonic influences, our culture has taken us further and further deeper into moral depravity. 

The Halloween costumes out there are a reflection of what is popular in culture: Women and even young girls, for example, can choose to be a witch, a sexy nurse, the Grim Reaper, or a male-conquering female superhero (or a bunny in their midst).  The “shock value” is lessening, and the uniforms chosen for Halloween may well simply be a visual display of what is actually lurking about deep within the souls of parents and children.

Taking a Stand

As genuine Christians, we should be seeking the Lord, what He has to say, and avoid participating in what the world does.  The Bible instructs us to 'abstain from all appearance of evil' (1 Thessalonians 5:22) and, 'The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.' (Romans 3:12).  The Bible tells us to 'put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:12), and to 'clothe ourselves with humility' (Colossians 3:12).

The grim reality is that the enemy is winning the hearts, souls, and minds of our culture through media, and it is only reaffirmed through the dark holiday of Halloween.  

If you plan to celebrate Halloween this year, or want to enamor yourself with a horror movie, consider being obedient to what the Bible has to say: “have nothing to do with evil”.  Resolve to 'have nothing to do with the fruitless deed of darkness' (Ephesians 5:11).  Let us instead lead our children by the hand to the Lord, and not down dark sidewalks, alleyways, and haunted houses…which can only lead them towards evil.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand - Ephesians 6:13

A special thank you to Tony Palacio for his contribution to this article.

Girl in a jacket