Darkness Around Us (3) – Eccumenism

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See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019

Darkness Around Us (3) – Eccumenism

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Philippians 2:15


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Sunday, April 21, 2019 am,                

LIGHTS IN A DARK WORLD (14)

We have been examining the darkness around us.   Thus far we have noted who Satan is, discussed the wisdom of this world and the works of this world (works of the flesh).   Today, as we continue our examination of the darkness around us, we want to talk about ecumenism, or the pursuit of unity without regard to truth.

Many, if not the majority, have no problem with one believing in God or some standard, as long as they don’t bind it or try to indoctrinate others. What they do have a problem with is “imposing your morality” or “legalism” or “thinking you’re better than everyone else”, etc.      And herein is why this is darkness.   As we shall see in this lesson, God is not the author of confusion, and He does NOT tolerate false religion or beliefs.

I.    Ecumenism

  1. Defined – the efforts and aim of promoting unity among all churches (e.g.. denominations, or in some cases as broad as saying if you believe in Jesus) and/or religions of the world.
  2. The concept of ecumenism is very prevalent today.   It is part of the politically correct movement (even though it is NOT consistently advocated), which means you should not do or say anything to offends others (especially if they espouse the popular and politically correct view).
    We are living in a time where the majority espouses, at least to some degree, that truth is subjective (open to interpretation and varies from one situation to another – i.e. situation ethics) and thus we are to be tolerant (their definition) of others who differ with us.
    But why is this part of the darkness?   We should believe that unity is a good thing and we ought to do what we can to get along with others (cf. Ephesians 4:1-3, Philippians 2:1-2, etc.). While both of these concepts are true, we CANNOT achieve them by setting aside what God actually teaches. That is why it is darkness.
  3. The darkness of ecumenism – some of its consequences include:
    1. It is a work of Satan – he seeks to divide us and separate us from God.  Ecumenism is undermining the word of God. That is what Satan does and has always done.   From the first sin – when he lied to Eve, he was undermining God.
      The following list of actions are the devil at work.
    2. It promotes ignorance – we are called upon to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18). Ignorance is not pleasing to God (Acts 17:30-31).   Much of scripture is written to dispel ignorance – cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13, etc.     Eph. 4:11-16, a list of “functionaries” who ground us in the word so that we are not tossed to and fro…
      Ecumenism by its very nature implies that accuracy of understanding is not important. Therefore, the need to study and learn is optional.   In fact, too much study and learning can be detrimental as it cause you to genuinely question those who believe what you have learned to be wrong. This promotes ignorance.
    3. It promotes immorality and selfish living – we have often talked about how many want to come to God on their terms. Ecumenism accommodates that. Just go find the place that says you’re ok doing what you want.
      This is one of the detriments of most mega churches (a church with weekly attendance that exceeds 2000) and community churches, which are typically INTER-denominational.
      Ecumenism does not permit you to take action against or disapprove of those whose lifestyles are contrary to your convictions.
      Contrast this with Ephesians 5:11, Galatians 2:4-5, 2 Corinthians 6:14ff, etc.
      That is why the ecumenical movement typically seeks to exclude churches that they deem “dogmatic” or “legalistic”.
      BUT consider that in so doing, they are not TRULY ecumenical.
    4. It promotes compromise – we are not addressing yielding in matters of liberties (e.g. Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8:7-13, etc.) here.   We are speaking of compromising God’s word.
      Just as Satan sought to get Jesus to compromise when he tempted Him (and Jesus answered by using scripture correctly).
      Ecumenism demands that you set aside your convictions and tolerate those that you disagree with. BUT consider Galatians 1:6-9 and 2 John 9-11.
    5. It twists the Biblical concept of love – Sometimes the ecumenist will quote Matthew 22:37-39 and say that this is all there is. If promoting ecumenism is the goal, that is totally twisting what Jesus meant. He was emphasizing that when you love God, you will KEEP ALL of His commandments (e.g. for them, all of the 10 commandments for starters).
      While love is important and foundational (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a), we have instructions about HOW we are to love.   Consider 1 John 5:1-3 and John 14:15.
    6. It often promotes intolerance of those who do not accept their views – this is a consequence, whether intended or not, for advocates of ecumenism. They might state we can disagree, but we should not be disagreeable.
      But for those who question their ecumenism, they are often avoided, marked or even condemned, sometimes intolerantly.
      We, as we teach the Biblical plan of salvation (including baptism – Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16) are often the victims of this attitude.   Those who advocate faith only condemn churches of Christ as teaching works based salvation, water salvation, etc.   They might be “ecumenical” to all   who subscribe to their core set of beliefs, but they exclude all others.
      Often this movement abandons those who would dare to stand for an absolute standard of truth.
    7. It gives a false sense of security – like the devil, ecumenism deceives. Think of Satan’s first lie, “You shall not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4-5)   Eve thought that she would be ok to eat of that fruit and gave it Adam. They were so wrong and because of that sin, here we are today!
      Romans 6:23 warns that the wages of sin is death.   1 Corinthians 10:12 warns, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
      Ecumenism by saying it doesn’t matter what you believe deceives you into thinking you are ok, even though you are lost because you are in sin.
      Consider how the Jews thought they were doing the right thing in persecuting Christians and rejecting God – Romans 10:1-3, John 16:2 – Jesus warned His apostles they would suffer by those who thought they were offering service to God.
      It’s amazing how men rationalize today to think they are ok, when they are not.
    8. It leads to one’s souls facing spiritual danger.   If there is a God whose laws we are to follow (as we have seen), then ecumenism is a danger and dark.
      Acts 17:30-31 – the mantra of Paul still applies – God commands all men everywhere to repent. Jesus in Luke 13:3 & 5 said the same thing.
    9. Summarized, it is an assault against the truth of God’s word.

(To be continued )   This is the world in which we are to let our lights shine.   Lights in a dark world.   Let us resolve that we are going to submit to His will rather than the ways of the world – ways which are in darkness and lead to eternal separation from God.     So is your light shining consistently?