“…Daniel resolved not to defile himself” (Dan. 1:8). Defile means “to make filth; to tarnish, as reputation; to dishonor.” I am reminded of the following passages: “Since we have these promises dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates (filthiness) body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Cor. 7:1-2). “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (Jam. 1:21).
We defile ourselves, tarnish our reputations, and bring dishonor on the Lord and his church when we give ourselves over to the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21). The same apostle said the following in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolators nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
I want to emphasize the phrase: “Do not be deceived.” In our day an age, many are deceived into thinking that they can commit these sins and be teachers and preachers and God will usher them right into heaven. But Paul said “and that is what some of you were, ” not “what some of you are”! One could not be washed, sanctified, and justified from his defilement and continue to commit such acts. Let us resolve not to defile ourselves, but to keep ourselves pure and holy even as our Lord did before us.
I Resolve To Preach Christ To A Lost World
As Paul proclaimed the testimony of God, he said: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). Like Paul, we need to determine now that we will preach Christ (Matt. 28:19 f; Mk. 16:15). “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord” (2 Cor. 4:5).
Many have the idea that to preach Christ, is to preach only the facts about him and not his doctrine or teaching. But preaching Christ is the same as preaching the word or the gospel. This is made clear in Acts 8:4-5: “Therefore, those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip, went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.” Philip preached the same thing those who were scattered preached! In verse 35 of the same chapter, it says, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” You cannot preach Jesus independent of the Word! Also we note that, involved in “preaching Jesus,” was preaching water baptism. Since Philip was doing the preaching on this occasion, it stands to reason that he introduced the matter of baptism, because the Ethiopian asked about being baptized as soon as they came to sufficient water. Preaching Jesus, a part of which, is preaching water baptism, is preaching salvation to lost souls. This is true because Jesus died to save lost souls, shedding his precious blood on a Roman cross, and we contact that blood in baptism (Rom. 6:3-4). Also, it was Jesus himself who commanded baptism in order to be saved (Mk. 16:15-16; Lk. 24:46-47; Acts 2:5,38).
The only way the church will grow numerically or spiritually is for you and me to get busy preaching Christ. People will not come to our buildings unless we first go to them! The Lord said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” He didn’t say “build a building and sit down and wait for the people to come to you that you may then preach to them.” Let each of us resolve now to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2).
I Resolve To Press On Toward Heaven
” . . . forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God, in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).
We must not dwell on the past. We must put it behind and move on in our service to God. I don’t mean that we are just to forget sin – no, we must correct sin. But we can’t allow the past to hold up our progress for the Lord.
It is so easy to allow church problems of the past to hinder us in our service in the Lord’s work. They can warp our concept of faithful brethren and make us bitter and cynical, if we will allow it. Personal sin can hold us up. We need always to repent when we sin, asking God’s forgiveness, and then move on in his service. Perhaps we have received mistreatment from brethren. Will we allow such to cloud our thinking and hinder us from faithfulness to him?
In many ways the Christian life is like a foot race. We sometimes encounter adverse track conditions. Competitors may occasionally jostle us as we run. At times we might even trip and fall. No doubt, all of us have probably stumbled a time or two along the way. We have said something we should not have said, we have failed to do things we know we should have and could have done. Instead of heading toward the goal, we find ourselves flat on our face! Brethren, this will happen. It happened to the best of God’s servants. But, when it does, what will we do? Do we stay down? Do we bemoan our situation, or do we get up and double our efforts? If you have fallen down in the past, get up and dust yourself off and get back into the race. Forget the failures of the past – God does – if you will repent and confess them (1 Jn. 1:7,9).