The Essentials

"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell." Acts 15:28-29

The Essentials are essentially, very simple.
#1. Always agree with the Holy Spirit.
#2. Avoid associating with questionable practices that cast doubt on your new association with Jesus.
#3. Abstain from fornication.

Many believers feel more comfortable with the world, than they feel convicted to share The Gospel with the world. They need to go back to the point, in their walk with God, where they abandoned these three essentials.

Agreeing with the Holy Spirit is the key to a walk with God that provides a believer with His direction, protection and correction. Praying people are agreeing people, nor perfect people. They are not agreeable to what the world tells them is right. They are only interested in what God says is right. They filter everything the world says to them, through The Word of God, and The Holy Spirit. They are not interested in coming down on the right side of history, but they are consumed with HIS story. When in doubt, read the directions.

Note to self: Your walk with God is the next 20 seconds. The moment The Spirit of God convicts you of sin, you must confess it to God, ask forgiveness for it from Jesus, turn from it to Jesus, and be filled with The Spirit. Like breathing, repeat as needed.

The temples of the Gentile world offered sacrifices to their gods. After the worst part of the animal was burned up on their altars, they sold the best of the meat on the street to provide for the expenses of the their system. The early church leaders encouraged their new brothers and sisters to avoid associating with any enterprise that sustained and supported the opposition, and gave the impression that they had not changed teams. Good advice.

Long before Miley Cyrus strutted her stuff on stage, at a recent awards ceremony, she had wandered from a personal walk with God. As a good Southern Baptist girl, she had been taken to church, baptized as a youth into the fellowship of the church, and then taken back to a home, by her parents, where apparently absolutely nothing had changed.

The parents of this young lady sacrificed her on the altar of celebrity and ignored God's direction, protection and correction. The parents were encouraged to do this by the ample financial support of believers who tune into such awards shows to keep in touch with the real world, and worship their idols. No wonder the Sunday night worship service seems so dull, and on its way to extinction. But I digress.

Abstain from fornication. ABSTINENCE! The very word has been turned into a joke by TV talking heads, and advocates of early sex education. God's Word encourages it, but His people are embarrassed by it. This is one of the reasons "Christian" marriages end in divorce, as often as the marriages of those who hold no belief in God. Apparently, even in the church, most marriages are made in heat, not in Heaven.

Fornication includes it all. Sexual impurity of any kind is to be avoided. The question is this. Whose values are going to reign supreme? The world says, "Nothing wrong here. Move along." God says, "Avoid it." HMMMM. Answer: Get with God and agree with the Holy Spirit.

As the message of The Gospel was shared, it transformed the pagan culture, one life at a time. The church was an open door to people who were fleeing from the world, not those who were trying to drag it to church with them. The church has always been the last, great hope for people, who are sick and tired of being lied to by the world.

Listen to Paul's words to the Church at Corinth. This city was at the crossroads of the world, a cesspool of the ancient world, and a repository of every known perversion. The early church was like a gardenia in a garbage can. It had an aroma so different from the odor of the flesh that it attracted the worst of the world to the best that God had to offer, JESUS.

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, not idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, not thieves, not the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Corinthians 6:9

This is quite a laundry list!. The blood of Jesus is able to transform everything on it into a believer conformed to His character. This is the message of the church, and when anything but THE ESSENTIALS is heard coming from the church, the message is lost in the sound of billions of voices giving the world a piece of their mind. The result? There is no peace of mind, and no peace with God, in the world or in the church.

Praying people are led by praying pastors to become praying churches, always agreeing with the Holy Spirit. This close walk with the Spirit of God provides them with God's direction, protection and correction, not perfection. Praying leads to obeying, and obeying sustains praying. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!