Be careful who you call Friend

by Dr. Ken Matto

(1 Cor 15:33 KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

When we look at the above verse, we see the word “communications.” This word in the Greek carries two basic significant meanings. The word is “homilia.“ The first meaning is that of “speech or sermon.” We have all been in church and heard the sermon called the “homily.” The second meaning is that of “companionship or association.” It is the second definition which the Bible has in view here, that of companionship. The word “homilia” is used only once in the Bible and that usage is here in this verse. Can evil companionship really have a negative influence on the Christian? Let me give an analogy of someone who was not a Christian but lost his life associating with the criminal element.

Does the name Reinhart Schwimmer mean anything to you? If not, it will, after I tell you the story. It was February 14, 1929, a cold day in Chicago. Six members of the infamous North Side Gang were waiting at their headquarters on 2122 North Clark Street for a shipment of hijacked whiskey. A person phoned “Bugs” Moran and told him that he hijacked a truck of Old Log Cabin Whiskey from the Capone organization. That whiskey was to be delivered at 11:00 AM the next morning. At about 10:30 AM three men entered the garage dressed as police officers. They lined up all seven men against the wall and frisked them and took their guns away. The gangsters did not concern themselves with it because they thought it was just another roust for a quick pay off. After the North Siders were disarmed, two men then entered into the garage with Thompson Machine guns and sawed off shotguns. They began to fire until they brutally massacred all seven men in the worst gangland slaying in history. It came to be known as the St. Valentines Day Massacre which was engineered by Al Capone and associates. Reinhart Schwimmer was one of the seven that died that day. You see, he was not a gangster, but an Optometrist who enjoyed the company of gangsters. He befriended Bugs Moran and that association led to his death.

The St. Valentines Day Massacre happened on a Thursday morning. As an Optometrist, shouldn’t Dr. Schwimmer have been in his office treating patients? Now do you get the gist of the story? If Dr. Schwimmer did not associate with gangsters, he would not have been there and probably would have lived many years with a good income being an Optometrist. A major principle emerges in this story, whenever we enter the world of evil, there will always be serious consequences and that includes Christians. The doctor entered their world and their world was vicious and evil. Christians must know that whenever we build an association with unsaved people, we are entering their world, they are not entering ours. For them to enter our world, they must become saved. This is why God warns us in our opening verse that if we associate with evil, we will be affected by that association.

Many people like to be brazen and claim that Jesus ate with sinners. This is true, but He changed the sinners, they did not change Him, and that is the difference. Whenever a Christian forms an association with evil, they are not there to change the evil people, they are there to try and see how close to evil they can play without losing their Christian edge. When we look at the history of ancient Israel, especially in the times of the Judges, we see them making evil alliances by entering the world of the heathen. The heathen did not enter their world, they entered the heathen world and that can only be done by setting aside the laws of God for purity.

Is there a parallel today? There sure is. We see many Christians entering the world of skimpy fashions so they may entice the opposite sex, both men and women are guilty of this. Many Christians are entering the world of gambling by means of the lottery. I wonder how many believers bought tickets for that $200+ million dollar lottery last week? Many Christians are entering the world of sexual encounters, whether they are doing it in their minds or going to motel rooms does not matter, it is still entering the world of evil. Many Christians are entering the world of alcohol. They see nothing wrong with drinking alcohol, their lame claim is that Christ drank wine. Why don’t these same people volunteer to be nailed to a cross, after all, Christ did that too. There are so many things that God has delivered Christians from, yet, they still desire to go back to those things. When Israel came out of Egypt, they complained that they ate very well in Egypt but they forgot they were slaves. Christians today must realize that the things that they enjoyed in the old life enslaved them too.

It grieves the heart of God when He sees His children desiring the evil things of the world more than Him. There is a principle of exchange at work here. If you desire the things of the world then you are exchanging the things of God for it. If you desire the things of God, then you are exchanging the things of the world. “Can two walk together unless they be agreed,” asked Amos. God cannot walk in agreement with His children if they desire to maintain evil relationships in the world and neither can we walk with God. I am not speaking about buying things from a store owned by an unbeliever but rather forming a close friendship with those in the world. (James 4:4 KJV) Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Let those who are the redeemed of God remain detached from the evil systems of the world. The fact that we must live in this world and rub shoulders with the unsaved does not mean that we are to allow them to influence us. We must never form any evil alliances in our lives which can cause us to lose our testimony.

Go out drinking with the guys or gals from work, get caught with porno on your computer at work, make an off color comment about a woman or man at work, and see if you can ever regain your Christian testimony. You will be branded a hypocrite! Whenever we make an evil alliance with evil, even for a one time event, you are really making a covenant with evil. (Exo 23:32 KJV) Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. Guess who the god of the unbeliever is? Satan! When you form an alliance of evil, then you are making a covenant with the god of the unbelieving world and that is called being a traitor. Now an evil alliance is not only done on a secular basis but it is also done on a religious basis. If you belong to a church that accepts every false doctrine because it sounds good, then they are making an evil alliance. What about you? Do you personally accept false teachings because they sound good? Many have sold themselves out in the ecumenical movement and became traitors to Christ by holding hands with Rome. Whenever we join hands with the enemies of Christ, then we are also guilty of an evil alliance. As Christians it is our responsibility to watch where we walk and we better assess where our priorities are or else we too will be corrupted by evil communication. He who has ears to hear!  (2/27/04)

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