Dear friends, the winds of cultural pressure and change have been blowing very hard against Christianity and The Bible for the last several decades, but never harder than today! You can feel it, hear it, see it and even read about it almost daily. And I want to exhort and encourage you brethren, but also warn you, that the testing of our faith and the cultural pressure to compromise and give in will become stronger and stronger!. And its only going to increase, because sadly, I believe we have now passed from being a Christian nation to what many are calling, and I must agree, a post- Christian nation. And I say that with great sadness friends, because I love America, but how can you call a nation that has murdered over 60 million unborn, innocent babies, and now has legalized same-sex marriage, and where evil is now called good and good is called evil; folks, how can you justify calling any nation like that a Christian nation? And If you don’t believe me, consider just four of many recent Supreme Court rulings that have been major set-backs against Christianity and the Bible in our nation: 1960’s-the banning of prayer from our schools; 1973-(Roe vs Wade) abortion legalized in all 50 states, 1980-banning of the 10 Commandments and 2015 – the legalizing of same-sex marriage.
Now as Christians, we really shouldn’t be surprised at this, because the Bible clearly has told us already that this would happen. Jesus himself said that it wouldn’t always be easy to be a Christian, that we would have tribulation and persecution in this world. In 2nd Tim.3:1-5 the Apostle Paul prophesied that in the last days perilous times would come. In the Greek, the word perilous means dangerous, unsafe and treacherous times, and friends, I believe they are here now!
So let’s read verses 1-5 together: “In the last days perilous times shall come, for people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness but denying its power, avoid such people”. And with astonishing accuracy, i believe those verses describe the times in which we live very, very well! Amen
And friends, we simply must understand a hard truth, but a truth we must not close our eyes to anymore. We no longer live in a culture and a nation that is friendly or accepting of our Christian beliefs and values anymore! Rather, it’s growing more and more antagonistic and hostile toward what we believe and what we preach and proclaim and try to live our lives by! And folks listen, it’s only going to continue to get worse, so we must be prepared to stand firm in the Word of God, as never before! Listen, we are living in a culture today where evil is called good and good is called evil, and we cannot afford to crumble or give in or compromise with this ungodly, Christ-rejecting world and culture. And we can’t remain silent or retreat into our safe-haven church buildings with like-minded people. If so, how will we ever reach the lost or be the salt and light we were called to be by our Lord Jesus?
Friends listen, those verses in 2nd Timothy: 1-5, are here right now. We are truly living in perilous and dangerous times as never before, and we need to be prepared as never before! So how can we not only survive but thrive and make a difference in such a pagan-like culture in America today? Well, l’d like give you what I believe is some sound biblical advice on what we can do, , ok? First of all, don’t give in to the culture, but draw the line when it comes to what God’s Word says! Yes, we are to obey the laws of the land, with one huge exception,: when it requires us to break God’s law- then Acts 5:33 says “we must obey God rather than men.” The pressure is enormous to compromise and tragically, we are seeing many churches and Christians today giving in to cultural norms that are clearly against what the Bible teaches. I believe that is a big reason why, instead of influencing our culture, sadly, the culture has been influencing the church for decades now! So we must not give in, even if it may mean losing our job or our business, and we’ve already seen that happening. So we must have the courage to stand firm and unwavering on God’s Word!
Secondly, we must have the courage to be governed by our inner Christian principles and not outward cultural pressure. Listen friends, the peer pressure and fear pressure is immense and the easy thing to do is to just go along to get along, to give in to fit in. Compromise seems to have replaced conviction in too many Christian circles today. But beloved, have courage in knowing that your faithfulness will be greatly rewarded one day soon when our Lord Jesus returns for His Bride-the Church! You know, there are lot of people who can stand tall and strong on the mountain tops of life, but few who can stand tall and fearless in the dark valleys and storms of life. So friends, when the test of your faith comes, as it surely will, remember the words of this old hymn: ”must I be carried to heaven on flowery beds of ease, while others fought to win the prize, and sailed through bloody seas. Never Lord, but I must fight if I would reign with Thee, so give me courage to bear the toil & the pain, so that one day, your Glory I might see”. Beloved, my prayer is that your life may always be governed by inner principle rather than outer pressure?
Third, expect to be rejected by this culture, and prepare to face persecution and testing for being a faithful Christian and follower of Jesus Christ! Listen, the Gospel message has never been popular because it convicts and condemns the sinful desires and lifestyles of mankind! A.W.Tozer once said “ to be right with God is often to be in trouble with men”. And over the centuries the church has never been stronger and had more influence on the culture than when it was the most counter-cultural. Folks, the Christian world-view is almost completely upside-down from this secular culture and world system! And we need to wake-up and realize we are living in a culture that is hostile to Christianity and trying to push us to the far margins of society, in order to silence us. And we simply cannot cave and allow our voice to be silenced in the public square, and it is!
Folks, Jesus never said the Calvary Road would be smooth and easy and comfortable. The Apostle Peter wrote: Beloved, don’t be surprised by the fiery trial that has come upon you to try you, as though some strange thing were happening to you, but rejoice in as much as you are partakers in Christ’s suffering, so that you might be overjoyed when His glory is revealed”.(1 Peter 4) And Jesus said: “you will be hated by all because of my name but the one who endures to the end who will be saved”.(Mt.24:13) And in Hebrews 12:1,the writer says “therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that does so easily beset us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”. Beloved, Jesus never said the culture would merely misunderstand us or be disinterested in our beliefs and values, He said they would hate us, just like the world hated Him. Look at Luke 6: 22 and follow this progression here: “blessed are you when people hate you (that assumes that they will) and when they exclude you, and revile you and spurn your name as evil on account of the Son of Man, rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for behold your reward is great in heaven for so they did to the prophets before you.” And beloved, listen to these amazing words from the Apostle Paul if you don’t think suffering for Christ is worth the reward : ” I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us one day.” And need I remnd you brethren, that the reward is out of this world! Amen!
4th– don’t panic because our God is in control of history and he is still on his throne and He will soon judge all evil and all nations! Listen, the Supreme Court will one day stand before the Supreme Court of Heaven, because God is sovereign over rulers and God is sovereign over nations, and listen, God isn’t panicking this morning! He’s waiting because of His mercy and longsuffering but there’s coming a day, sooner than most people think, and then he will pour out his righteous judgment upon this world. And the only way to escape His wrath is to believe upon Jesus Christ, who died on the cross in order to take all of God’s wrath that we deserved; but mercifully, Christ died in our place and took the wrath of God upon himself. Friends, Jesus took our hell so we could have His heaven, and to set us free from our sins and give us a glorious, peaceful and joyful relationship with God almighty, forever and ever. Amen!
In conclusion, Jesus Rules and Jesus Reigns, and we must never lose sight of that friends. Listen, nations rise and nations fall, but our King Reigns over all! Why do nations rise? Because God raises ’em up. Why do nations fall? Because God puts them down. He is the one raising up and He is the one putting down – because our God! Reigns. Amen! And listen, our hope is not in this world or in this nation or in the White House – our hope is in the One who is making a new world and a new nation and a new city called the New Jerusalem, where there will be no more tears or death, no more sorrow or crying or pain. Oh what a glorious future awaits God’s children one day soon!
But until that day brethren, we must be about doing the work he’s given us to do as sojourners and pilgrims and His watchmen in an ungodly and dark world! He left us here for such a time as this beloved, to be holy evangelists to our families and friends, in our neighborhoods and work places and communities – letting our light shine brightly and our lives reflecting the love of Jesus in our hearts! Amen! Well, God bless and my hope and prayer is that I’ll see you in Heaven one day!
REVEREND RON SAYING: MARANATHA-COME LORD JESUS!