Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spiritual Exam # 3 -- Do I keep good company?

This last summer I got a call on the church phone from “Simon.” I had never met him before. Simon had just gotten out of jail on bond after spending a month behind bars. While in the county lock-up he had been given a Bible. He read through the whole Gospel of Matthew. He called me because he wanted to be baptized.
I gladly met with Simon and explained the gospel message to him more clearly. He put his faith in Jesus Christ to save him from sin and to give him eternal life. He started coming to our church and I baptized him a couple weeks later. I encouraged him to be a part of a Christian fellowship where he could learn more about Christ and living for Him.
Before he was saved Simon had problems with drugs, alcohol, and anger (it was due to alcohol and anger that he was arrested). Most of Simon’s friends had the same problems. The Lord helped Simon be strong and turn away from drugs and alcohol. He told me that about a week after he had been saved one of his friends offered to let him in on a drug deal that would net him thousands of dollars. Simon was so glad to realize that Jesus could enable him to say no to that deal. He said, “If he had offered that to me last week I would have jumped at it.”
Simon found that he had to cut close ties with some of his former “friends” because he would no longer do what they were doing. They tended to separate from him when he began to tell them the reason he would not do those things anymore was Jesus. Still, I wish that we could have reached some of his friends. There is certainly a tension between being in the world, but not of the world. Is it possible to maintain relationships with ungodly unbelievers while keeping yourself unstained by the world?
We do have to be careful about our relationships with unbelievers, especially ones that are doing sins that might drag us down with them.
David speaks about this in Psalm 26. He says that he is careful about his relationships with the ungodly.
I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, Nor will I go in with hypocrites. I have hated the assembly of evildoers, And will not sit with the wicked.”    (Psa 26:4-5 NKJV)
So here is our spiritual health exam test # 3:
God’s People – Do I keep good company? (vs. 4-5)
David tells us he has not "sat with idolatrous mortals." He does not hang out or fellowship with them. “Idolatrous mortals” is literally “false, deceptive, vain, empty” persons. The KJV calls them “vain persons.” They are people who cannot contribute to our spiritual growth because they are spiritually empty.
Nor does he “go with hypocrites” A hypocrite is someone with something to hide. They pretend to be something they are not. We are not to “go” with those who call themselves Christians but do not live like it.
Third, he says he has “hated the assembly of evildoers.” Evil doers are those who knowingly continue in sin. David calls them an “assembly.” They sound like those that Paul wrote about, “Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Rom 1:32 NIV).
Fourth, David says he does not sit with the wicked ones – those who are guilty without repentance. They remain in their sin without turning from it.
As you can see, avoiding these kinds of people may require us not associating ourselves with some who call themselves Christians but who are really unrepentantly living in rebellion and sin against God. We need to be those who do repent, turn from our sin and turn to God for forgiveness and strength.
If you have not read Spiritual Exam #1 and #2 please go back and read them as well.
What do you think about “keeping good company”?


  1. I know what it's like to lose "associates". When I heard God's call in my life, I lost about half of the "friends" I used to have. Being a cowboy and a rancher, everything revolved around drinkin' beer. When I stopped drinkin' and gave my life to God, I stopped gettin' invited on the gatherin's.

    On the other hand, some of the so called "Christians" in church sure don't like it when they are approached in love about the way they are living their lives.

    I am a firm proponent of repentance. But I think it's misunderstood. People think that it means they will never make a mistake again and that's just not true. Repentance to me means that you're tryin' to live like God wants us to.

    If God wants you to rope a bucket and you try your best 100 times and miss 99, he will tell you good job and to keep tryin'. It's all in the motive. Are you really tryin' or just going through the motions.

  2. Kevin,
    I agree with you on repentance. Repentance does not mean perfection. It means turning your back on your sin and turning toward God again.
    When we slip up and sin again, we repent again--not making excuses for our sin or rationalizing it, but confessing it and receiving God's cleansing.


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