Bible Mike Wonders

Good News That Isn’t Good Enough

January 4, 2010
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Each year over ten thousand Christians are killed for their faith. According to statistics from Voice of the Martyrs, that is a minimum number. That does not include the thousands who are sold into slavery and die there. These figures are incredible to our minds. Why were they killed? They died because their faith was seen as a threat to the status quo. Christians have always been killed because they were perceived as a threat or because they lived lives that showed they were different in a way that reflected badly on how others were living. If one person in this country were murdered for the faith, it would produce outrage from coast to coast. It would shake up the people of God. Within weeks someone would be making a movie about it. 

What’s the difference between America and Iran (where converts can be executed on the spot) or between our country and Sudan (where slavery of Christians is common) or Albania (where Christians have been sealed in barrels and cast into the sea)? Why is there virtually no persecution here? There are those who would point to the constitution and its assurance of religious liberty as the reason, but that is insufficient to explain why individuals don’t act on their own as they do in other areas where there is legal protection such as racial, gender and sexual preference discrimination. When people disagree or feel threatened it doesn’t matter what the law says, they will generally take matters into their own hands. Remember it is not so much communism or Islam that stands against the Gospel, but the world and America is part of the world! We can evangelize and preach as much as we want. We have some Godly people in our government, but is the United States a “Christian” nation? Well it is closer than any other, but it’s values and the rules of law prove that it is not.   

We have the highest incidence of drug abuse of any industrialized nation. We are the world’s largest producer and consumer of alcoholic beverages. “Christian” America has the most liberal abortion laws in the world. We have murdered more than thirty million babies since 1973. There is no prayer in our schools and the teachers are predominately liberal thinking humanists who use text books which honor Buddha and Mohammed but deny Christ. Magazines that were hard to find just a few years ago are now found on supermarket shelves where children can see them. We are not a “Christian” nation! We should thank God for America where we have more freedom to preach the Gospel than any other country in the world, but America is still part of the world.   

Why is it God’s people suffer virtually no persecution here? Because our Gospel has no teeth! There is no threat to the ways of the world. We’re buying tickets to the same movies, wearing the same clothes (or not wearing them), voting for the same politicians and denying by our actions that we or anyone else needs Jesus in their lives. We offer nothing new or different and we tolerate instead of rebuke. We hardly expose sin in the body, much less in the world. How are we shining the light? How are we confronting the world with the righteousness of God or His justice? How are we shaking up society? Why don’t we make anyone uncomfortable any more? Maybe its because we’re too comfortable with ourselves. Maybe its because we have become too comfortable with the world. 

Satan isn’t worried about the church in America, because the church in America isn’t worried about him anymore. As Christians in America we have spent millions of dollars on our own edification, on comfortable churches. Foreign workers could have evangelized millions of their own unreached countrymen with the crumbs from our tables. To make matters worse, despite all our efforts, our ministry to ourselves has left the church inactive, passive and incredibly uncomfortable with sharing Christ in our dying society.   

If Peter and Paul were alive today would they be persecuted? Of course they would. They would be a threat to the devil’s work. They would be disturbing to the ungodly who enjoy living in sin. Look at the book of Acts. They were beaten, stoned and imprisoned. Eventually they were killed. Their message had an adverse affect on the devil’s business and they had to be stopped at all costs. The church in America is simply not enough of a threat to cause Satan to act out against us.   

The word is perfectly clear:   

Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12)   

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: “No servant is greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. (John 15:18-20)   

There is no denying it. If we were living godly lives in the biblical sense of the word, we would be persecuted. The people of the world today are still rejecting Christ. Why aren’t they rejecting us as well?   

In times past, the church went out into the world and converted the lost to the Lord. Today, the world has entered the church and diluted the word of God. Two thousand years ago the world was amazed by the courage of the Christians. Today the world is amused by our carnality. Once we evangelized the lost. Today we entertain them. We have more of a soap opera gospel than a sold out gospel. And here is the greatest tragedy of all. We have adjusted our standards to the declining standards of our society for so long that we do not even realize how far we have fallen. We dress like the world. We watch the same movies and television shows. Too often we tell the same jokes.   

Listen to the standard of God:   

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:3-4)   

Religion that God our Father accepts is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)   

Since we have these promises [of being sons and daughters of God], let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)   

Paul wrote to the Philippians to “do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God, without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life (Philippians 2:14-16). That must be our goal, to put no stumbling block before the world by our foolish actions, to shine forth and stand out because of our purity and holiness, and to clearly, boldly and uncompromisingly proclaim the word of God. As long as we try to win the world by conforming to its ways, our only battle will be for our own spiritual survival.   

It is time for the church in America to change its ways. We must reorder our lives. We must begin on our knees with open Bibles and broken hearts. Before we can rebuke the sin that is in our land, we must rebuke the sin that is in our own lives. Before we can call for truth and justice, we must disavow untruth and injustice of all types. We must look carefully at ourselves in full light of the Word and ask God to open our hearts. We must not close our eyes and live in complacency. We need to feel the shame of our failure to follow Him, as we should, our failure to keep separate from the world while wandering in it, our failure to be a beacon of light for the lost. We need revival in the church to have revival in the land.   

We have been like the proverbial frog being boiled alive in water. As the temperature rose the frog’s temperature rose right along with it. By the time he realizes what is happening it is too late. The water is hot, but it is not too late for us to get out of it and to call from the shore to the others who are still out there. How can we lead the world to a place of safety, when we are swimming in the same pool they are? What are we showing them that is different than what they already have? Unless we are different, we offer nothing for them to desire. It is not the words we say that will lead them to their Savior, but the lives we lead that will light the way.   

America needs revival. America needs another great awakening. If revival does not come, if the churches continue to adjust to the desires of the world, America will reap the whirlwind. God’s judgment of this nation is on the horizon. We can prevent it from occurring. Revival begins on our knees. Revival begins within the church. We must return to being a holy and separate people. We must return to following God. We must stop adjusting to the ways of the world. We must stop trying to give the world something they want and show them something they need. If we don’t look different or act differently, then we give the lost nothing to desire and we offer them no place to turn. We don’t need to be perfect, but we do need to be seeking perfection. If we aren’t striving to live Christ-like lives, how will they see Christ in our lives? Like someone once said, if Christianity were outlawed to day, would there be enough evidence to convict you?   

O.K. that’s my rant for today. I have been reading some good stuff about the failure of the church in America and I find that it is right on. Only in America would one of the largest Christian denominations ordain a practicing homosexual as bishop. I do not agree with the hate speech being used by some religious leaders toward homosexuals, but an active homosexual is no different than a pastor who is living with a woman to whom he is not married or one who is having sex with anyone to whom he is not married.   

 While thousands of Christians are being tortured, imprisoned or killed around the world every day, American Christians are being ignored. We are seen as foolish and harmless. We are no threat to the status quo. I love Jesus and it breaks my heart to see that we are behaving more like Israel in the time of Isaiah than the apostles in the days after Christ’s ascension into heaven. It doesn’t have to be that way. Pray with me for the next great awakening. Let us glorify God with our hearts, our minds and our lives.   

I am adding a postscript because of something I just heard on the radio. France recently passed a series of laws which outlaw any form of “religious indoctrination.” The definition of indoctrination includes classroom teaching of any kind focused on a specific group, especially children or senior citizens. Any and all religious teaching that excludes other views from the teaching may be considered indoctrination. If such teaching is geared toward children, it is considered child abuse. If it is geared toward seniors, it is considered fraud. Names included in the definition are Sunday School, Bible study, Discipleship training and others all focused on evangelical Christianity. Other countries in Europe are talking of following suit. How long before this idea reaches America? Will we be ready to stand up and be counted? Will we be wiling to face prison or worse for our faith? It looks like some of us may live to find out.   

Thank you for your prayers and support,   

Michael   

  

   

   

  

 

 

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