Summary: In the pages of the Old Testament in the book of Joshua we find a story – a rather frightening story – about how worldliness and compromise really hurt the people of God and brought on God’s judgement.
Which of God’s red lights are you most likely to run? Certainly, His top ten red lights are found in the Old Testament book of Exodus, chapter 20 – the Ten Commandments.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” When you consider not just the surface understanding of the command but the richer meaning of it, this red light exists to stop us from making a god out of our career or our family or our church or our athletics or our reputation or anything else.
God’s red light.
“You shall not steal.” When you consider not just a shallow reading of this standard but the deeper approach to it, this red light is designed to keep us from failing to give the Lord what is due Him – our tithes and offerings, from wasting money on frivolous pursuits, from padding our expense accounts, and from cheating on our taxes.
God’s red light.
“You shall not commit adultery.” When you consider not just the letter of the law but the spirit of it, this red light also forbids viewing pornography, developing an emotional attachment to someone of the opposite sex other than your spouse, and having sex before marriage.
God’s red light.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” When you consider not just a simplistic interpretation of the demand but the fuller intent of it, this red light prohibits spreading gossip, passing along rumors, and having a critical spirit toward others.
God’s red lights. Which of God’s red lights are you most tempted to run?
Last summer and fall we studied the book of Daniel. In chapter 9, we learned that Daniel used seven different Hebrew words for sin. We defined each word and then asked you to call out the sins of our church that came to your mind as you thought about each of those seven definitions of sin.
We recorded your answers. And that has become the basis for this new series: Hunger for Holiness. Some one summed up our problem well by saying, “As a church, we are not pursuing holiness.” Another person said that as a church we are “ ‘dumbing down’ sin and pretending that our sin isn’t as bad as it really is.”
For the next few weeks, we are going to see what God’s Word has to say about how we can overcome these sins you’ve identified as problems in our church. Last fall…
We asked: “How have we missed the way?”
You said: “We have turned to worldly pleasures to meet our needs.”
We asked: “How have we behaved in a bent/distorted/crooked way?”
You said: “We are guilty of worldliness and compromise.”
We asked: “How have we failed to live righteously?”
You said: “We are too conformed to the world.”
We asked: “How have we “gotten off track” and failed to follow God?
You said: “We compromise God with worldly priorities.”
We asked: “How have we passed beyond the line God has drawn?
You said: “We compromise His commands.”
Is there any doubt that worldliness and compromise are problems for us? There’s a lot of red light running going on! In the pages of the Old Testament in the book of Joshua we find a story – a rather frightening story – about how worldliness and compromise really hurt the people of God and brought on God’s judgement.
Let me set the stage. Then we’ll pray and begin our study.
God’s people were entering into the Promised Land after the Exodus from Egypt. But first they had to fight for the land. The first battle west of the Jordan River was at Jericho. To display His power, God asked the people not to fight, but to march around the city walls and watch God win the battle.
So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city.
Now God had given them very strict instructions to leave the possessions of the conquered people alone. He set up a red light.
The city shall be under the ban, it and all that is in it belongs to the LORD… Keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it. But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD."
Don’t take anything. That was clear. But worldliness and compromise caused one man to run God’s red light.