“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
In his article in Decision Magazine, a publication of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Franklin Graham writes:
Like the church in Thyatira that tolerated immorality in its midst, the evangelical church today has grown all too accepting of sin. The church is ducking the vital moral issues of our age. Rather than influencing our culture by being Gospel salt and light, the church has itself become influenced by the permissive culture in which we live.
The holy, blood-bought church of the Lord Jesus Christ is far more accommodating of sin than ever before. In many churches across America, homosexuals, adulterers and sexually active youth can sit in the church pew and rarely be confronted by the convicting Word of God.
Men and women who habitually and consistently practice sin should experience the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. There are far too many churches that tolerate members who deliberately pursue a sinful lifestyle in an open and unrepentant manner. Unfortunately, when that occurs—and it does all too often—the purity and holiness of the Bride of Christ is sullied, and the witness of the church in a corrupt culture is compromised.
I do not believe this is simply a culture war, or a battle between conservative and liberal elements of our society. It is much more than a drift away from the moral underpinnings that helped found and guide our nation for centuries.
This is a full-scale assault against Christianity and the followers of Christ. When prayer is banned from the public square, when our President fails to defend biblically defined marriage, and he openly and zealously advocates for gay rights; when legislators rush to overrule existing laws to promote gay marriage; when schools and courts consistently suppress religious freedoms; we know we are locked in a war against the Christian faith, not culture.
We are certain that we are of God,
but all the world is in the power of the Evil One.
1 John 5:19 (BBE)
Atheism-separation-of-church-and-state (Photo credit: AlphaBetaUnlimited)
The worldly systems of politics, courts, entertainment and education have almost entirely been stripped of the influence of Christian precepts and principles.
For too long Christian leaders have discouraged believers from entering into the arena of ideas. They have taught that we are to be separate from the world to such an extent that we see very little Christian influence in societal institutions. Too many Christians have remained inactive in political issues as well as societal issues, they choose instead to congregate with like-minded individuals, and do not take the call of Jesus to heart to go into all the world to teach them and disciple them, turning their darkness into light. What we see is a separated group which fears an engagement in societal matters, they are more like a bless me club, but fail miserably on the command to fight against evil and make disciples of all nations and as such bring a blessing to all nations, and people, and tongues.
Where is the evangelistic zeal of the Apostles who dared to defy lawmakers and stood in the public arena proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and with that proclamation denounced the ways of the Pharisees and Publicans. They had a Holy, righteous fire burning within their bosoms to confront evil with a heartfelt desire to see the whole world saved from the bondage of sin.
This is a critical hour for the church. The world is seeking for answers. The oppressed everywhere are crying out for help and deliverance. We cannot duck our responsibilities as Christ’s representatives to a lost and dying world. We must take a bold stand for the truth in every arena of our lives, deal ruthlessly with sin in our own heart and be men and women of uncompromising holiness. We need to be the ‘salt and light’ of the world and not hide under a bushel of fear somewhere waiting until Jesus returns.
Now is the time to “be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).
Martin Niemöller was a German church leader who stood with Dietrich Bonhoeffer against Hitler’s control of the church before and during WWII. That resistance, which landed Niemöller in the Dachau concentration camp and resulted in Bonhoeffer’s execution two weeks before the end of the war, contrasted with others in the church who cowered before the evil of the Third Reich. Many credit Niemöller with these words:
“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Secularists, humanists, atheists and all the other enemies of truth are very bold and brazen about declaring what they believe. They roar around like lions seeking whomever they can devour with their lies and deceptions. We, who have the power of God working within and through us, should be just as bold if not more so. The opposition spares no expense, and wastes no time in making sure their messages are heard. But when the world is seeking a Word from the Lord, we hear the silence of the lambs. Nary a peep is heard, hardly a word is said, let alone proclaimed with power and confidence.
The word tells us that greater is He who is in us that he that is in the world. If God be for us who can be against us? In the words of Martin Luther the great reformer of old who penned the majestic hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” we read these words:
And though this world,
with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear,
for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.
We have been entrusted with the truth of God’s word, we are empowered by the Spirit of the Living God, and we are equipped with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and yet we cower in fear because of the persecution that is sure to come because of Christ. We are to boldly go into all the world, and that includes the world’s institutions, to preach and teach and make them disciples of Christ. We are to take the truth of God’s world and challenge the wisdom of this age, and proclaim the release of the captives and sight to the blind.
Christ challenged His first disciples to go change the world, and they did. We are expected to do the same thing. Are we?
This is a view from the nest. What say you?
But those who are waiting for the Lord will have new strength; they will get wings like eagles: running, they will not be tired, and walking, they will have no weariness. Isaiah 40:31 (BBE)
Along for the journey
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