Read part one or you will miss a bunch, because I am not really reiterating anything!
Jesus taught that lawlessness would increase as His coming draws near, but that should be for the world and not the church! (Matthew 24:12, 37-30) Jesus is not coming back for a morally corrupt church! No!
He has given Himself so that He can present the church as His radiant bride, unstained, unwrinkled, and unblemished—completely free from all impurity—holy and innocent before Him. (Ephesians 5:27 The Voice)
Four things are required for moral purity:
- The desire and willingness to obey moral commands to please the Lord.
- A consistent overdose of the Word of God in your life.
- The anointing or fire of the Spirit that purges immoral trash from the heart and mind.
- Hang out with other people that practice moral purity because “bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NET)
This anointing and fire of the Spirit isn’t yet found everywhere because many churches have never experienced it or deny it completely. One good thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has done for the Body of Christ is to point out the difference between weak and gutless churches, and those that will go on for God in the power of the Spirit, regardless of circumstance or the attempt of governments to shut down churches. Right now, and since about April of 2020, a purging and a sifting has been going on! After this whole mess blows over completely, watch what happens. Many churches will never again reopen their doors even though some of them had thousands of people attending their services. They were dead (or nearly dead) before the so-called pandemic (non-pandemic) broke out and they are completely dead now. Only those that mean business with God, even unto death if necessary (Revelation 12:11), will be the ones that that overcome and will show and demonstrate the presence and power of God. Yes, it clear in the book of Revelation, and we are fast approaching the fulfilment of all things written there. There is a whole lot of sifting and shaking going on! Frankly, it will only increase from here on out till the coming of the Lord. A distinct difference will be seen between the righteous and unrighteous, between the holy and profane. (Malachi 3:16-18; Ezekiel 44:23) Get used to it!
Is the Church supposed to ignore behavioral problems and only deal with heart issues? Let us dive back into this important and timely subject. Let’s settle this once and for all.
The apostle Peter taught:
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth” (1 Peter 1:14-17 NASB).
According to Peter, external conduct and behavior are essential for all that call God their Father. Holy behavior is demanded and required! God will impartially judge everyone’s work. “You shall be holy for I am holy” refers to holy behavior. It does not refer to positional or received holiness, but to one’s external lifestyle. “Be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy,” should answer this forever, but there is much more in the New Testament on this subject.
Does the New Testament exalt “heart issues” and minimize external lifestyle? Only someone that has not read the New Testament, or is blinded by a doctrine of demons, could come to that conclusion.
Behavioral issues are discussed in every book of the New Testament! Let’s look at a few representative examples from First Corinthians.
- Chapter 5 addresses the incestuous relationship a man was having with his father’s wife (5:1-5). That is behavioral any way you slice it!
- Chapter 6 addresses lawsuits against fellow believers, fornication, and gives us an entire list of unrighteous behaviors (6:1-8, 9, 10, 13-19). Again, all these have to do with external behaviors and lifestyle.
- Chapter 7:1-40 addresses Christian behavior relating to marital sex, marriage, divorce, and virginity. This chapter is loaded with behavioral issues in these areas.
- Chapter 8:1-13 discusses not eating food offered to idols so as not to be a stumbling block that may cause your brethren to sin. This chapter discusses an idolatrous eating disorder behavior!
- In Chapter 10:1-11, Paul instructs the Corinthians not to do the things that the Israelites did in the wilderness and judgment came upon them. Specifically, Paul mentions craving evil things, immorality, grumbling, and testing the Lord. Thousands were judged and died because of those evil behaviors.
- I hesitated to include First Corinthians 11:1-17 because it deals with hair length, male and female roles, specifically relating to the married couple, and also eating food and drinking alcohol. This portion has been the source of a lot of controversies over the years, but I am pointing it out because something as natural as “hair” and eating and drinking are mentioned. Again, these are behavioral issues that Paul had to deal with in the churches. Paul discusses your haircut, how you stuff your mouth with food, and getting drunk! These are probably as mundane (external) as you can get!
Then, after discussing hair, Paul shifts the conversation to a rebuke against people causing divisions in the church of Corinth by eating and others getting drunk (1 Corinthians 11:21, 22)! Could you imagine some people coming to church to stuff their faces and get stumbling, bumbling drunk? Sorry, but you don’t get drunk on grape juice. Do you mean to tell me that alcohol was allowed in the church services? That will blow some traditional, religious, evangelical circuits! Read the text and note that Paul says if you are going to drink (not get drunk because drunkenness is a sin), do it at home for goodness sake! So, drinking fermented grape juice at home was OK in Paul’s view as long you did not get drunk! See also Galatians 5:19-21 where the practice of drunkenness is mentioned as keeping a person from inheriting the kingdom of God. Paul never condemned drinking a fermented beverage with alcohol content at home.
Do you think Jesus ate the Passover with grape juice and not fermented wine? Think again. According to Jewish tradition, the Passover Seder (order of service and retelling of the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt- (Haggadah) was celebrated with 4 cups of wine (not grape juice), each with at least 3.3 oz. of, you guessed it, fermented, alcohol containing, WINE! I don’t keep wine at home, so don’t get bent out of shape here, though I could, and it would be fine, but I don’t, but I could, but, it is really none of your business! I just had to throw that in there! Haha!
The first miracle was Jesus turning water into wine (not grape juice) for a wedding feast! God’s miracle-working power made fermented wine containing alcohol!
I understand many are intolerant of anything fermented or with alcohol content in evangelical Christianity. I also understand that if someone had substance abuse problems (or demons) because of alcohol then they should always and forever abstain from it. My issue against most evangelical thoughts and beliefs on the subject is when they make it a sin if someone has a cold beer with their pizza, and THAT is not right. Personally, I like a cold soda with my pizza! For Christians, honestly, if you must do it, refrain from doing it in public so as not to offend other believers that are weak or even to give the appearance of evil before anybody saved or unsaved. (Romans 14:21, 1Thesaalonians 5:22)
Anyway, enough of that, but I enjoy busting silly traditional views on the subject. Sometimes, I wonder if some people can even read. Quit judging those that do and those that do not! Read Romans 14 and get over it!
Behavior, oh behavior, you continue to appear, and we were just looking at one of the books of the New Testament! Behavior and behavioral issues are found in EVERY New Testament book!
How readest thou? That is good, centuries old, KJV!
- Chapter 14:40 summarizes Paul’s correction of abuses in spiritual manifestations that were happening at this church. All things were to be done decently and in order. That is behavior baby!
Ephesians chapters 4 through 6 deal with behaviors or what you do in your body.
Colossians chapter 3 deals with behaviors, and so does First Thessalonians 4 and 5!
The apostle Peter deals with behaving right in First Peter 1:14-17, as we saw above. He teaches the correct behavior for husband and wife in First Peter 3:1-7. He again deals with behaviors in 3:10-12, 16, 4:1-5, and Second Peter 2:6-9.
What about the apostle John? Read these short five chapters and identify all the places he refers to your behavior. He deals with the confession of sins, the lust of the flesh and eyes, the pride of life, practice of sin or righteousness, a love demonstrated in deed and truth, keeping the commandments, etc. All of these, and more deal with moral behavior.
Jude 1:7, 8, 15, and 16 deals with, yep, behaviors!
How about the book of Revelation, penned by John, the apostle? Read chapters 2 and 3 and see how many things come up in the words of Jesus concerning behavior. At no time does Jesus say, “I know your heart issues, motivations, intentions, or desires!” No! He repeatedly says, “I know your works.” Of course, the Lord knows everything about a human being because nothing can be hidden from Him, whether in the thoughts or our actions (Hebrews 4:11-14). He has and will address evil thoughts on certain occasions (Matthew 9:4; 12:25).
The focus of Jesus in Revelation was on: “I know your works” (Rev. 2:2, 19; 3:1, 8, 15), “you need to repent of her (Jezebel’s) works” (Rev. 2:22), and “I will give to each one according to your works” (Rev. 2:23). He addressed their works (actions or deeds) continuously in those chapters, but that is not all. See also Rev. 2:26; 3:2. If you study the rest of the book, you will see works mentioned. (Rev. 14:13; 16:11; 18:6; 20:12, 13). Behaviors or works are mentioned fourteen times! 
Need I go on? Behavior issues are dealt with in every epistle! Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and John all deal with behavioral issues.
It is too bad Paul didn't know that he only needed to deal with the heart issues and not all that behavioral stuff! Sarcasm here! Yes, it is necessary at this point for the benefit of those that still cannot see the abundant emphasis on behavioral issues in the New Testament.
So, should we now think that dealing with behaviors is to be minimized? Should we deal only with "heart issues" as a priority?
Disobedience to God’s moral commandments is at the root of all behavioral issues. We must impose, require, demand, and teach obedience to God and His moral commandments as the standard we are to follow in our churches. Period!
It is tragic. Many churches concentrate on being blessed, delivered, redeemed, dealing with bad circumstances, your self-esteem and vision, healing, giving, gifts and fruit of the Spirit, end time prophecy, etc. Some teach about resisting worry, but what about fleeing from fornication? Teaching on kindness is good, but what about training to live a holy life? Some want to be motivated into success as Christian business owners, but what about encouraging people into strong moral principles? That is a real “life” coach! Some teach on forgiveness and faith, but what about teaching on resisting covetousness, idolatry, adultery, lying, and theft? The way things are happening in Christianity, and the perversions we are seeing proliferating among churches, we need a major shift to an emphasis on Biblical moral principles. What about the subjects of dedication, faithfulness, consecration, obedience and loyalty to God and His moral commandments, humility, repentance, and the fear of the Lord?
To concentrate only on the redemptive work of Jesus and its benefits, without also teaching about the moral conduct required by the Lord, will severely weaken a church. A church that learns about their “rights and privileges in Christ,” but doesn’t hear much (if at all) about moral responsibilities, will consistently experience immorality in its ranks. Churches that preach the benefits without the emphasis of moral requirements are severely curtailing spiritual growth. We are seeing the fruits of decades of this kind of teaching and preaching sweeping through the Church right now! Sin, darkness, perversion, and all kinds of evil are constantly seen and reported from many sectors of the Christian church. Many emphasize a “bless me” gospel with little to no importance given to moral behavior according to God’s Word. Christian morality has been relegated to a backburner, and in some churches, morality equals bondage! That has to change, or the vicious cycle of the practice of sin and wickedness will continue and even increase.
I believe in and preach and teach often on the redemptive work of Jesus and all its mighty benefits, BUT I also emphasize the moral side of the covenant! We cannot preach redemption without also teaching the moral responsibility of the saints!
For the world preaching is different. We should only preach redemption to them in the Blood and sacrifice of Jesus. Moral principles are useless for the ungodly as far as making it into the kingdom of God and going to heaven! The ungodly must first receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. For the believer both are absolutely essential. Let's get our doctrine straight!
 Drinking of wine symbolized gladness and joy, and the four cups were sort of a “toast” corresponding to the four deliverance statements of Exodus 6:6-7. See “To Be A Jew,” page 231, by Hayim Halevy Donin. This book is a good resource for getting a handle on Jewish practice. What many don’t understand is that Jewish orthodox and conservative practice has changed little in 2000 years. Most of what Jews practice in their feast and festivals today was already practiced before the initial compendium of Jewish oral law was written down in Mishnah (c. 200 A. D.) and later discussed among the rabbis in the Talmud (c. 500 A. D.). That is an amazing revelation because we don’t have to go far to sit with Jesus during the Passover meal. We know what they ate, drank, and the story they read of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, and the blessings spoken as they retold the story. We know about the 5th cup left un-drunk at the head of the table. It was called the cup of Elijah reserved for the Messiah because Elijah was to come before the Messiah showed up. “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:20 NET) There is no question in my mind that this final cup Jesus raised was the cup reserved for Messiah! It was a miracle that no one wound up in the floor overwhelmed by it all!
 According to Matthew 15:19, “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts,” and so on. Peter rebuked the new convert named Simon (Acts 8:13) because he allowed wickedness, bitterness, and the bondage of iniquity to reenter his heart. It caused his heart not to be right before the Lord! Do you mean that it is possible to have your spirit defiled by wickedness after you are birthed of the Spirit or “born again?” See Acts 8:20-23. Peter rebuked Simon for the wickedness he displayed with the ungodly offer to pay money for the authority to lay hands on people, so they receive the Holy Spirit. Peter called it the evil “intention of your (Simon’s) heart.” The intention of his heart was displayed by his action. Peter called the wickedness displayed, the intention of the heart. There is a close parallel between intention, thought, and desire of the heart and the action. These cannot be separated too far because what you intend is what you will do, and what you do is what you intended. The only thing that interferes with this connection is when a person that intends to do evil stops the process by repentance. This verse tells us what to do when the spirit or body are defiled by sin: “Therefore, since we have these promises (see 2 Cor. 6:14-18), dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that could defile the body and the spirit, and thus accomplish holiness out of reverence for God (2 Corinthians 7:1).
 Based, again, on Matthew 15:19, it would be foolish to say that Jesus rarely dealt with behavioral issues. What does, “do not sin anymore” (John 5:14), and “from now on sin no more” (John 8:11) mean? Jesus instructed them that they keep their behavior according to God’s commandments. Jesus mentioned the commandments “you shall not murder;” “you shall not commit adultery;” “you shall not steal;” “you shall not bear false witness;” “honor your father and mother;” and “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:18, 19 NASB). That all started with a question and the answer of the Master concerning what to do if you want to enter into (eternal) life. Jesus responds with that it was necessary to keep (obey) the commandments. To be complete, Jesus said that the questioner had to walk away from possessions that possessed him, selling them, and giving the proceeds to the poor, and following Jesus! That is what we are taught in shortened form in Revelation 14:12 and 12:17. What about the teaching of Jesus on adultery, murder, fornication, and divorce? (See Matthew 5:21-32.) There are other references in the words of Jesus, but these should suffice.