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Don’t disguise compromise as evangelism

Don't disguise compromise as evangelismSometimes when believers are engaging in ungodly activities or relationships they’ll disguise their compromise as evangelism:

  • “Jesus hung out with tax collectors and sinners!” Please see this post: Jesus was a physician, not a close friend.
  • “I am going to this place because I want to share the Gospel with people.” Is that true, or is it feeding the flesh?
  • “I’m close friends with these people because I want to see them become Christians.” Is that true, or is it because the Old Man loves the relationship?
  • “I engage in this activity, because I want to be able to witness to those doing it with me.” Is that true, or is it a way to give in to temptation?

We need to make sure we’re not “using our liberty to indulge the flesh” or “as a cloak for vice.” (Gal 5:13, 1 Pet 2:16).

What’s the danger of disguising compromise as evangelism?

A previous post discussed the “contagiousness” of unholiness. People connect regarding their commonalities. When Christians and non-Christians are unequally yoked, what do they have in common and what do they not have in common?

  • They don’t have the Holy Spirit, the New Man, or a love for Christ in common.
  • They do have the flesh, and the Old Man in common.

Believers and unbelievers are not going to connect spiritually. They’re going to connect along the basest level: the flesh.

Consider these quotes:

  • Budziszewski said, “God wants you to rub off on non-Christians friends, but Satan wants them to rub off on you. So remember: you can have friends outside the faith, but for your deepest comrades you should look to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Hang out with the holy. Get in with the godly. Spend time with the saved. Know who your real family is – the one where the Father is God.”
  • Thomas Brooks said, “Let your closest companions be those who have made Christ their closest companion.”

This isn’t to say believers don’t have relationships with unbelievers

As believers, we need to have unbelievers in our lives or evangelism will never take place. The spiritually healthy should seek out the spiritually sick, whether unbelievers or backslidden believers:

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass (spiritually sick), you who are spiritual (spiritually healthy) restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted (lest you become sick too).

With evangelism there’s a need for intentionality.

James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

True religion reaches out to the world, but without letting the world rub off on us.

C.H. Spurgeon said, “Lord, grant that whenever I am found in the company of sinners, it may be with the design of healing them, and may I never become myself infected with their disease!

What’s the solution?

We can learn from Jesus’ example. He sought to see spiritual healing take place, but He didn’t engage in compromising activities or relationships in the process.

We should have unbelievers in our lives, but instead of being close friends we direct them to the Great Physician. The relationship should be deliberate. You look for an opportunity to share the Gospel. We point people to Jesus, because He can take away their unholiness and replace it with holiness.

By God’s grace, one of the greatest blessings in my life took place in my early twenties. I had some Christian friends that were deliberate in their relationship with me. Their greatest desire was sharing the Gospel and directing me to Jesus. I hope we can be as intentional with others as these believers were with me.

Discuss

How have you handled your relationships with unbelievers? Can you share about a time you found yourself developing a close relationship with an unbeliever? Were you able to share the Gospel with that person?

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7 thoughts on “Don’t disguise compromise as evangelism

  1. So well put. I have long felt this, but have been unable to articulate this so well. When we hang around unbelievers or believers that could have a negative impact on us, we should take Jesus’ example and point them to Jesus.

  2. This is great! Mind if I reblog? Part one and two together are so clear and helpful in an area so many have trouble with (friendships, and of course once in the relationship, the activities that go along with it).

    1. Of course Dawn! Please reblog away! Thanks!

  3. Thanks for your reply Scott.
    I recognize you didn’t say “only” but it seemed implied in your statement. So I guess I read into it.

    Oh my, that quote from Charles Spurgeon makes me shudder. I’m so glad Jesus never said that. I know Spurgeon means he prays that he won’t succumb to temptations, but his imagery would offend an unbeliever. It seems arrogant.

    I know the verses you listed and quite agree with them, but I don’t see my non believing friends as either evil or foolish, no more so than my Christian friends. (But you are right -I did not go back to part 1. Somehow I thought it was all together on the one page. )

    Few people share their areas of neediness with someone who is not a close friend. Hence my question “how can I be a physician”. Certainly God can and does use the words and actions of strangers and acquaintances to convict and cause spiritual growth. But a lot of healing and opportunities come through relationship, being with people.

    Jesus certainly was a close friend of sinners -he poured 3 years of his life into 12 men in particular and one of them betrayed him while another denied him and the others simply disappeared when he was arrested. Few of them really believed or understood until He was raised from the dead and appeared to them in person. None of them had much courage or spiritual fortitude until Pentecost.

    So I still think refusing to have close friendships with unbelievers is cutting us off from possible blessings to both us and them. I guess we’re looking at this from very different perspectives.

    Thank you for your prayers! That is very encouraging to us. We eagerly wait to see what He will do. May God continue to bless you and the Woodland church.

    Warmly, Tammy

    1. Thanks Tammy! I enjoyed the communication.

      I think like you said we look at this from different perspectives…and that’s fine with me!

      Scott

  4. Scott, I agree with most of what you write until the conclusion. Imagine if you found out one of your friends was only your friend because he wanted to change you, because he wanted to convert you to another religion. i have friends because i share some commonality with them which draws us together and makes us appreciate each other. Certainly i’m concerned about their spiritual health and pray for them and will talk about Jesus as opportunity is presented, but to say that the only reason i have them in my life is to change them – that makes me very uncomfortable. All of us need spiritual healing, whether believers or not. Is that our only or highest purpose in our friendships? Can i not be a close friend and a ‘physician’? Can i even be an effective ‘physician’ if i am not a close friend? I find your title and conclusion very disturbing. In fact, I am not posting this on facebook because I would cringe if my nonbelieveing friends would see and read this. They might question whether I was really their friend! They might question the motives of any Christian who tried to befriend them. My 2 cents worth Scott. I suspect it was not your intent to have your words understood this way, but some will get this meaning.

    1. Hi Tammy,
      Thanks for the comment, but I think you read some things into my post. For example, I didn’t say “the only reason I have [unbelievers] in my life is to change them.” I simply said if we have unbelievers in our lives, it should be with the desire to see their spiritual sickness healed, or in other words, see them saved.

      I’ll try to answer your questions in order…

      “Is that our only or highest purpose in our friendships?”

      No it’s not our only purpose, but yes it is our highest purpose. Spurgeon said, “Lord, grant that whenever I am found in the company of sinners, it may be with the design of healing them, and may I never become myself infected with their disease!”

      Can “I not be a close friend and a ‘physician’?

      If you check out Part I of this post (which I suspect maybe you didn’t based on this question), you’ll see me discuss this. Here’s part of what I wrote…

      The Bible is very clear about the dangers of having close relationships with the wrong people:

      Proverbs 13:20 The companion of fools will be destroyed.
      Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man.
      1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
      2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.

      So yes you can – and should – be friends with unbelievers, but not “close” friends.

      Can I even be an effective ‘physician’ if I am not a close friend?

      I’m surprised you asked this; of course you can be an effective ‘physician’ w/o being a close friend! Look at Jesus’ example! He was “a friend of sinners”, but I wouldn’t say He was a “close friend” of sinners.

      Thanks again for your comment Tammy; hope you and David are doing well.

      In Christ,
      Scott

      P.S. Carl forwarded me the e-mail you sent out on September 19th titled, “Need for prayer” regarding the opposition you’ve been facing and I wanted you to know I prayed for you and your ministry.

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