A World Lost!

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“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

A dear Christian brother has often expressed to me how, although he was a believer, his kids grew up without him as their spiritual leader. Today, they are all adults, beset by strange ideas and poor choices. Their “liberal pastors” and “liberal college professors” educated them. In other words, they are the product of the very evil world system from which their father should have protected them! Such error will soon spread to his young grandchildren.

I can recall hearing one religious mother, years ago, panicking at the thought of the vile society in which her children would be growing up. A Christian man attempted to console her: “Teach the Gospel and the rest of the Bible to your kids.” She grew quiet—stunned! All these years later, it is evident she has done little to heed his advice.

Long ago, a pastor friend spoke about his visiting prisons and preaching to inmates. In talking with them through many years, he learned the vast majority of these incarcerated men had an extremely poor to no relationship with their father! Read the biographies of famous disreputable people—dictators, prostitutes, murderers, drunkards, thieves, drug abusers, rapists, gang members, and so on. I have done so. A commonality among a great many is an unpleasant childhood: the patriarch of the family was either abusive or absent.

Why is society declining? As Bible believers, is there anything we can do? Or, should we just sit back and watch the world destroy itself? Let us see what the Bible says.

To understand the dire situation in which our society finds itself, let us consider a simple illustration. Suppose a homeowner notices some minor structural damage. Maybe it was due to water… or perhaps it was insect infestation. Whatever the cause, he does nothing to prevent further destruction, remarking, “Well, it does not look that bad. It could be worse, you know!”

As time passes, though, the destruction becomes more obvious. Again, instead of taking steps to deal with the problem—applying poison, removing and replacing the unstable material, waterproofing the area, et cetera—he now decides to paint over it. While not as convenient as his prior “do-nothing” approach, this “appears” to have worked. As the structure increasingly crumbles, he just takes a brush to mask it with more paint. One day, his house totally collapses… and great was the fall of it!

Simply put, friends, we can fake it for only so long. It is absolutely impossible to turn a “blind eye” forever to a problem. While we can live in a “fantasy world,” eventually, reality will catch up with us. The matter, if not promptly and fully addressed, will expand and become a monstrous nightmare. Now, think of an untreated bodily illness. To deal with the symptoms of the disease, and not the disease itself, is medical carelessness. Remember, what started off as a “minor” coughing fit may very well turn into an early grave! So it is with the nations of the world.

The Prophet Stephen, led by the Holy Spirit, spoke in Acts chapter 7: “[51] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: [53] Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.” How will Israel respond?

“[54] When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. [55] But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, [56] And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. [57] Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, [58] And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. [59] And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. [60] And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep [died physically!].”

This is the result of nations who reject the one true God.

Upon first glance, we marvel at Stephen’s graphic death in Acts chapter 7. His Jewish nation picked up rocks and murdered him in cold blood! However, the experienced Bible student expected this. Draw your attention to the verses that immediately preceded his demise: “[51] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: [53] Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”

Firstly, Israel had just demanded Jesus Christ’s death by crucifixion a year prior (verse 52). Secondly, they had previously permitted King Herod Antipas to execute Christ’s forerunner, John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12). Therefore, Stephen’s homicide was absolutely predictable. Re-read Acts 7:51,52. Stephen indicts his Jewish nation for repeating the sins of their patriarchs. “As your fathers did, so do ye.” “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?” “…[A]nd they have slain them [the prophets]….” In other words, prior to those three deaths (John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, Stephen), the nation Israel had an anti-God attitude throughout the Old Testament. The Jews mercilessly mistreated or killed every preacher the LORD God sent to them—and, as Stephen said, “like fathers, like sons.” Despite her beautiful religious outward appearance, Israel could not hide her internal sickness of sin….

In 2 Kings chapter 2, we read of a strange event that occurred circa 900 B.C. The Prophet Elijah has just gone up into Heaven, and the Prophet Elisha is now functioning as his successor. Notice: “[23] And he [Elisha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. [24] And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. [25] And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.”

Regarding the bears consuming these youth, see Moses’ warning concerning the third course of chastisement (Leviticus 26:21,22). The “little children”—not necessarily toddlers or preschoolers—could have been as old as teenagers. Whatever their age, they unashamedly ridiculed God’s spokesman. Such an attitude was learned at home, where Jewish parents failed to obey Moses’ instructions in today’s Scripture. Those mothers and fathers taught their children to have, not faith in the LORD, but patent unbelief! By the time of the murders of John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and Stephen many centuries later, the nation Israel had already long forgotten the covenant they made with JEHOVAH God at Mount Sinai.

The Holy Spirit afforded Moses the ability to look at the nation Israel millennia into the future: “Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee” (Deuteronomy 32:18). Circa 750 years before Christ, halfway between Moses and Calvary, we observe the Jews’ divided kingdom—Israel up north, Judah down south. “For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof” (Hosea 8:14).

Israel’s land abounded with temples, places of worship. She appeared religious. Yet, the fact of the matter was they had taken their eyes off the LORD God. Outwardly, she looked alive. Internally and spiritually, however, she had already perished. As for Judah, that kingdom relied on military might instead of the LORD—seemingly strong, it was really weak.

Fast-forward to Christ’s earthly ministry, Matthew chapter 21: “[18] Now in the morning as he [Jesus] returned into the city [Jerusalem], he hungered. [19] And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. [20] And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!” Again, “religious” Israel was promising on the outside, but barren on the inside.

The fig tree of Matthew chapter 21 symbolizes Israel’s religion. Displaying attractive leaves, it had a pleasant appearance—and seemed to be alive. However, upon closer inspection, the observer would peel back the leaves and realize it had no fruit. It was a worthless tree with false advertisement!

In connection to the barren fig tree, we find the Lord Jesus lamenting in chapter 23: “[37] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! [38] Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” This “house” is the Jerusalem Temple—and God has vacated it because they do not want Him! Yet, it is a gorgeous structure, decorated with enormous limestone blocks and golden plates. See Luke 21:5,6: “And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Also worthless, it would be demolished!

The culmination of Israel’s apostasy was when she demanded her Messiah’s crucifixion just a few days after He cursed the fig tree. With Jesus hanging on Calvary’s cross, Israel could no longer hide her unbelief. She was spiritually and nationally dead. Even now, we can no longer suppress the anti-God and anti-Bible attitude pervading our society today….

The United States of America has long been considered a “Christian” nation. Down through the centuries, many other countries have been labeled “Bible-believing” as well. Actually, these nations have overwhelmingly had but a mere façade of righteousness—and that is why anti-Christian voices are rising up at an unprecedented rate.

Religious leaders have forced people to walk aisles, make professions, attend church services, get water baptized, become members of local assemblies, recite “sinner’s prayers,” listen to “feel-good” messages, and so on. There was no clear Gospel of Grace and, thus, no life in Christ. Now, there is such backlash concerning “religion.” People—having grown up with such “hypocrisy,” “half-heartedness,” and “shallowness”—are hellbent on destroying anything even partly resembling morality and order.

Indeed, for centuries, we have faithfully founded denominations, local churches, organizations, and ministries. Like ancient Israel, we have been busy in religion. Yet, all it was… was the energy of the flesh. Sound Bible doctrine was not our priority. Where there is no sound Bible doctrine, there is no Holy Spirit working, and, thus, neither light nor life. Instead of seeking Bible truth, we have pursued religious experiences, and emphasized rites, rituals, and ceremonies. Now that it is too late, we recognize just how far we have “slipped” over the years. The house, almost fully submerged, nearly an entire insect nest itself, can no longer be painted over! We have let the damage become too extensive. The structure is not yet fallen, but it is irreversibly decomposing! Can we do anything as Christians? Let’s see.

Regardless of the nation, a society bitterly opposed to Scripture is the result of people failing to appreciate and faithfully pass those truths to the next generation (today’s Scripture). What is done is permanent; the damage will not be reversed. As members of the Church the Body of Christ, our best course of action is three-fold.

Firstly, we must realize the basic problem. It is not negative thinking. Thus, inspirational and motivational messages will not solve the dilemma! It is not racism. Therefore, reparations and apologies will not improve the situation! It is not ignorance. So, education and degrees will not make the circumstances better! It is not poverty. Consequently, jobs and money will not improve the situation! Sin is the fundamental problem. Sin is the fundamental problem. Sin is the fundamental problem. Sin is the fundamental problem.

Secondly, we must recognize the solution. It is not raising our hands, dancing to “contemporary Christian music,” praying, eating Communion wafers and sipping Communion wine, joining local churches, getting water baptized, or forcing people to kneel and “feel really sorry.” The answer is “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Here is payment for sin in full. Here is life. The answer to sin is righteousness. The answer to death is Christ bringing life.

Finally, we must understand we absolutely will not prevent the house’s fall. However, being mindful of the first two points, we can slow down the collapse so more souls can escape the inevitable ruin….

World Lost! #10

For centuries, church members have constructed buildings, lit candles, walked aisles, distributed religious literature, donned choir robes, knocked on doors, held “revivals,” organized concerts, and raised money for “missions.” Our leaders have wasted decades and billions of dollars on seminary and Bible college, having learned nothing but man’s speculations and traditions. Spreading their error to the congregations, the Body of Christ—lacking God’s wisdom and power—is rendered impotent and unable to withstand the deceitful cultural revolution already begun.

The formalism was but a veneer. All its gold and silver cannot hide the spiritual poverty of the professing church. Neither can all the water in every baptistery fount wash away its hypocrisy. All the professions of “faith” cannot mask the unbelief that pervades it. Simply put, people have been “playing church”—and the “actors” have finally taken off their masks! In the Apostle Paul’s time, the challenge was preaching the newly-revealed Gospel of Grace so the nations would trust it and abandon their paganism. Now, having gone through 20 centuries of individuals rejecting that Good News, we are witnessing a reverse. Light refused becomes darkness. Today, the nations know the Gospel of Grace—and are returning to heathenism anyway!

Jesus Christ’s return will right everything wrong. Until then, we Christians need to believe and proclaim a clear Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), and then believe teach sound Bible doctrine (the Word of God rightly divided—especially Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). Brethren, let us faithfully pass that to future generations, so we may say, “We are not responsible for the world lost!”

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