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THE PROBLEMS OF CORRUPT COMPANIONSHIPS

By Eddie Whitten adapted By Toby Soechting

SUBJECT:      Joshua

TITLE:        THE PROBLEMS OF CORRUPT COMPANIONSHIPS

PROPOSITION:  Corrupt influences bring with them problems if we submit to their influence.

OBJECTIVE:    Exhort hearer to learn from our text to resist corruptive influences.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1. Read the text Joshua 16:10.

2. Regarding the text:

   (1) The events of Joshua 16 reflect a problem that is by no means unique to the children of Israel.  God’s children have wrestled with the problem since the days when a mist hung over the newly created earth.

        A. Eve was corrupted by the influence of Satan when he influenced her to rebel against God’s will.

        B. Satan gained control (of sorts) over mankind. 

        C. If God had not intervened through the person of His Son we would be completely helpless at the hands of the “despicable one.”

   (2) In their short history the children of Israel had multiple examples of just what effect corrupt influences had upon the people.

        A. Aaron gave in to the desires of the people and built for them a golden calf while Moses was on Mt. Sinai and lied about its origin (Ex. 32:1-7).

           a. There had to be a starting point for the movement in that direction.

           b. Someone with an evil heart started the evil idea of departing form Jehovah who had brought them up out of Egypt.

           c. As a result 3,000 men died.

        B. Twelve spies went into the land of Canaan to “spy out the land” which God gave to the children of Israel (Num. 13:2)

           a. Ten spies returned with an evil report and influenced the entire nation to go against God.

           b. As a result the nation of Israel wandered in the wilderness until that generation died out.

           c. Ten faithless spies changed the course of history for millions of souls.

        C. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Num. 16) influenced “two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly” to rebel against the authority of Moses.

           a. They lost their lives.

           b. It cost their families their lives as well.

   (3) The parcel of land for Ephraim contained Canaanites.  Apparently Ephraim grew slack and  maybe somewhat apathetic in his God given duty.

3. Rebellion, displeasure, and discontentment are not restricted solely to the days of Moses and the prophets.

   (1) We could think of numerous Bible examples.

   (2) We can think of as many worldly examples.

4. The forces of the bitter and the discontent damage or destroy the beauty of peace and harmony.  Problems arise when we subject ourselves to worldly influences.

5. Reference to STPO: There are lessons to be learned from the failure of Ephraim to drive out the Canaanites from the land.  We hope to point out some of them in this lesson entitled “The Problem Of Corrupt Companions.”

DISCUSSION:

I.   CORRUPT COMPANIONS THWART GOD’S WILL FOR US.

     1. I want to be absolutely clear here that the overall purpose of God’s will cannot be thwarted by men.

         (1)  However, God’s will can be and is hampered in the lives of individual men and women.

         (2)  The reality is that corrupt influence will lead most of mankind to destruction (Cf. Mt. 7:13).

     2. The book of Hosea gives us a classic example.  Warns of corrupt influences.

         (1)  The children of Israel rebelled against God and asked for a king (1 Sam. 8:5-7).

         (2)  One hundred and twenty years later (after kings Saul, David, and Solomon) the kingdom divided.

              A. 10 tribes under Jeroboam go to the North and become a wicked kingdom (Not one good king).

                 a. 253 years of wickedness.  The moral condition of the nation was deplorable

                 b. Notice Hosea 1:2.

                    i.  Israel is described by the word - whoredom.

                    ii. She is the adulterous abandoned wife of God.

              B. Hosea refers to Israel as Ephraim.  They received their inheritance but because of corrupt companions they stand to lose it all.

     3. 300 years later in the time recorded by the book of Malachi notice God’s rebuke to the nation of Judah.  Warning of corrupt influences.

         (1)  The people were robbing God (Read Mal. 3:8) by not giving their tithes.

         (2)  They were divorcing and intermarrying with pagan nations (Read Mal. 2:11).

         (3)  Their priesthood was so corrupt they were offering garbage to God (Read Mal. 1:6-8).

         (4)  This is the very nation through which Christ is to come and they did not learn from the example of Israel.  They were corrupted by pagan influences.

     4. In the times of the New Testament Paul foretold of the time when men in the church would depart from the will of God (Read 2 Tim. 4:1-5).

         (1)  The church had been in existence for sometime now.

         (2)  Churches had been established by Paul and others throughout Asia Minor, Europe, Asia, Macedonia and Greece.

         (3)  Elders had been appointed in many of the congregations.

         (4)  Paul warned the elders of the Ephesian church (at Miletus) that there was a danger of corrupt influences (cf. Acts 20:28).

         (5)  Paul was so concerned he wrote the previously mentioned things to Timothy.

     5. The church today has more than her fair share of corrupt influences and they are taking their toll just as surely as did others have throughout history.

         (1)  We  need to beware of corrupt companions in the world.

              A. 100% of our companions will not be 100% Christians, 100% of the time.

              B. The lure of the world is strong.

                 a. Temptations tug at our eye, flesh, and pride.

                 b. The pressure is militant and constant.

              C. Most must work in the secular world that does not feel the restraints it felt thirty years ago.

                 a. Filthy language is commonplace.

                 b. Dirty jokes are fair game for mixed audiences.

                 c. Sexual innuendoes and immorality are thrown in our face.

                 d. Unmarried couples living together are as common a thing as marriage.

                 e. “One-night stands” or “sleeping together” is socially acceptable (even expected).  Virginity is an oddity.

                 f. Teenage pregnancy does not surprise us even in the church.

             D. Alcohol, abortion, wholescale divorce for any reason, gross immodesty have their foot in the door of the church and memberships are busy rationalizing and justifying such practices.

              E. Materialism is smothering many of us.

                 a. We have more than we need, but we still want more than we have.

                 b. We must fight to keep God on the throne of our lives (Cf. Mt. 6:24).

                 c. When the lake, the golf course, or your recreational hobby becomes paramount in your life...LOOKOUT!!!

              F. We need to be examining our companions.  Are we influencing them... OR are they influencing us?

         (2)  There can even be corrupt companions in the church.

              A. The greatest people in the world are in the Lord’s church.

              B. It is a privilege and honor to be a member of the church.

              C. Yet there are some in the church who do not appreciate the blessing and privilege they have of a sacred relationship with God!

                 a. The church came into the world at the cost of great pain to Jesus.

                 b. All the apostles except one died as martyrs’.

                 c. Persecution raged against the early church for 300 years.

                 d. Many great men and women contributed to the restoration of New Testament Christianity.

                 e. Many great men and women lived faithful live before us, taught us, and died in the Lord as examples to us.

              D. There are some who would not think a thing about doing away with the Lord’s church or atleast changing it to suit their tastes.

                 a. Fellowshiping denominations at a religious level.

                 b. Seeking the praises of men instead of God.

              E. Then there are those who just don’t take it too serious never realizing that our children are watching, their children are watching, and weaker brethren are watching.

 

II.  CORRUPT COMPANIONS DESTROY A CHRISTIAN’S INFLUENCE.

     1. We readily admit that we cannot ISOLATE ourselves from the world, but at the same time we need to realize that we can only insulate ourselves to a certain point.  Sooner or later the elements creep through.

     2. In the days following Joshua 16 the people would become infected by the idolatrous influences of the heathen nations.

     3. Political, social, and even marital alliances were made between God’s people and the nations. Guess whose influence was diluted more?

     4. One of the greatest charges made by the world against the Lord’s church is the hypocrisy of its members.

         (1)  Sadly the charge has substance.

         (2)  A person expects to encounter such in the world, but when it is encountered in the church it is devastating to a persons influence.

              A. Other people know it and scoff or do not listen.

              B. You know it and do not do some things you should.

         (3)  It can even cause the apostasy of another precious soul.

     5. When a Christian seeks association with corrupt companions it creates the necessity of a double standard of life.  To adopt a double standard means you reject the true standard of God’s word.

III. CORRUPT COMPANIONS LEAD TO CORRUPT CONCEPTS.  Ultimately the Children of Israel tried to rationalize their behavior instead of repenting of it.  The best course, quickest course, surest course would be to “buy the truth and sell it not” but they were influenced away from the truth.

     1. Three modern day parallels.

         (1)  Marriage and divorce.

              A. A family’s daughter or son falls in love with a person who has been divorced.

              B. Through the normal course of events or the parents curiosity it is discovered that this person did not have a scriptural reason for divorcing their mate.

              C. The son or daughter is counseled about the relationship and instructed from God’s word what is acceptable.

              D. Then the son or daughter marries the person anyway.

                 a. Family love is strong.

                 b. Soon the relationship becomes less and less offensive.

                 c. The Unscriptural spouse is a nice person.

                 d. Then the focus shifts from the relationship which “just has to be O.K.” over to the word of God.  Maybe it doesn’t mean what it says in Mt. 19:3-12.

                 e. The word of God is questioned and eventually compromised as “opinion.”

         (2)  Modesty Versus Immodesty.

              A. The Bible teaching is clear on the subjects of modesty, lewdness, and lasciviousness (1 Tim. 2:9; Gal. 5:19-21).

              B. When warmer weather comes men and women begin to wear less and less clothing.

                 a. Shorts have a habit of becoming shorter and shorter.

                 b. As if they are not short enough some split them up the sides.

                 c. Swimsuits leave little or nothing to the imagination.

                 d. Then people want to engage in mixed activities thus clad.

                 e. Suddenly whatever people want to wear is O.K. and you are the one with the problem if you identify their inconsistency.

                 f. Not uncommon that behavior foreign to the Bible is rationalized or justified.

              C. Fashion and peer pressure causes a woman to show more and more of her thigh in the dresses she wears.  Such behavior is rationalized.

              D. Men dress in less than modest apparel to show their “muscles.”  Such behavior is rationalized away.

              E. Then there the cases where for the sake of school spirit boys and girls put on revealing uniforms/immodest uniforms/ sometimes lewd uniforms.  Their response (and often times it is a parent supported response)....So! So what!

                 a. Well you may think that type of brilliant logic would confound the most brilliant minds on earth.

                 b. But imagine this scene -- standing before God, a righteous judge -- who will use His word (Jn. 12:48) to judge -- when He asks you about the issue of immodesty---- And your response will be So!... So what!  I don’t see anything wrong with it!

              F. Our concept of what is immodest apparel today...Is it from the word of God or could our concept be the result of corruptive influences?

         (3)  Whether or not the church can fellowship denominational bodies?

              A. A few years ago such a question would not have been entertained by members of the Lord’s church.  They would considered it utter nonsense.

              B. Today there are men who teach not only that we can accept denominational teaching but they classify the church as nothing more than a denomination!

         “And so it is clear that according to the most complete and unabridged authorities, the church of Christ is a denomination...We have resorted to euphemisms to keep from using the word denomination.  We speak of the Church of Christ denomination as either the “brotherhood” or the “fellowship.”  This sounds a little quaint and odd to other people but when one has heard these terms used since childhood they don’t sound too bad.  They work quite nicely when we are talking among ourselves.  We just plug in “brotherhood” or “fellowship” where others would use the word denominations...So I would like to suggest to all our brethren that we perhaps begin to phase out the use of two odd terms that we use (brotherhood and fellowship) and start calling ourselves what we really are, a denomination.  Try it.  It hurts a little at first, I’ll admit but before long, with diligent practice, the pain starts to subside.  And then, lo and behold, after a while it even starts to feel good. (Quoted from a book pg. 167, 169, 171 Endangered Heritage by Walt Yancey a member of the Highland Oaks church of Christ in Dallas.

              C. Is this a reflection of serious Biblical study, meditation, and application?  Or is it a corrupt concept which resulted from corrupt companions.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

1. We need to face up to the reality that is as old as the days of Joshua.

   (1) When the church - the people of God -- do not drive out of their lives the influences of corrupt companions we place ourselves in danger.

   (2) When the church - the people of God does not look to the Bible and the Bible alone as the standard for its principles and practice we place ourselves in danger of apostasy.

   (3) When the church - the people of God ignore God and seek compromise with the world they are in sharp contention with the glory of God.

2. In our lesson we looked at three points:

   (1) Corrupt companions hinder God’s will for us.

   (2) Corrupt companions destroy our own influence (community & church).

   (3) Corrupt companions lead to corrupt concepts.

3. Joshua did not drive out the heathen people and they caused problems in the nation of Israel.  May we humbly pray for God to help us drive out our lives and hearts the influence of corrupt companions.

4. May we pray that we will live in harmony with the gospel and grace of God.  If we don’t we will be plagued with problems.

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