Keeping the Faith

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Joshua 2:7-15 (NKJV) So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel… 10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. 11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; 12 and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. 13 They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. 15 Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed.

Joshua and those that entered the land that God had promised experienced the power of God in mighty demonstration, as the walls of Jericho tumbled down and God routed their enemies. Yet their grandchildren grew up in prosperity and for the most part peaceful times. What they had was handed to them by those who had believed God and fought by the sweat of their brow to gain it.

I believe that we can draw a striking comparison between the generation that followed Joshua and what we see taking place in the United States today. Americans have become apathetic and oblivious to the price that was paid to obtain our freedoms, especially our religious freedoms. Like the generation that followed Joshua this generation has also forsaken the God of our fathers, and turned to the gods of our day. As a result the enemies of God, and the cross of Christ are filling the land with every ungodly practice imaginable.

I have put forth what I see as some of the most prevalent reasons for this dilemma that we are facing.

Ignorance of the Word of God:  People don’t know what they believe, or why. In the United States people have absolutely no excuse for being ignorant of the Scriptures. I am often left nearly speechless by the utter lack of understanding that so many professing Christians have of the basic fundamental teachings of the Bible. With all the amazing resources that are readily available today people are without excuse.

I also blame a great deal of this on the influence of liberal theology that has crept into many Bible Schools, where ungodly teachers undermine the authority of Scripture rather than admonish people to adhere to the teachings of the Bible.

If we are going to profess to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we had better adhere to what He actually taught, instead of simply disregarding those portions of Scripture that challenge our lifestyle. Today many people have embraced a salad bar type of belief. They have placed their faith in a false god of their deceived minds who agrees with whatever they agree with. If they are into pornography, then their god is just fine with that. If they are gay, then their god endorses their lifestyle. If they enjoy getting drunk then god understands. Actually these people are deceived, and will be in horror when they meet Christ face to face only to find that they are not heading to heaven but are going to be cast into hell.

Matthew 7:22-24 (NLT) On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

Compromise with the World: “The invasion of the Church by the world is a menace to the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. In all ages conformity to the world by Christians has resulted in lack of spiritual life and a consequent lack of spiritual vision and enterprise. A secularized or self-centred Church can never evangelize the world.” John R. Mott

Whenever the church has compromised the integrity of the word of God, and become like the world we lose our ability to change the world. Luke 14:34-35 (NLT) “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? 35 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”

Salt was primarily used as a preservative in this day. Therefore Jesus was saying that if the believer does not follow Christ and His commandments he or she will no longer be distinguished from the rest of the world. They have then become worthless for God’s purposes, just as flavorless salt is worthless.

Gullibility: Many Christians professing Christians will believe anything. As Christians we need to be thinkers, not mindless followers. We are responsible to search the Scriptures ourselves to make sure that what people declare agrees with the clear teachings of the Bible.

Galatians 1:8-9 (NKJV)  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. {9} As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

I can’t imagine any stronger words than what the apostle Paul declared to these Believers at Galatia. This certainly sounds a great deal more forceful than the emasculated message that the so-called seeker friendly church has proclaimed doesn’t it?

Colossians 2:8 (NLT)  Don’t let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and highsounding nonsense that comes from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and not from Christ.

If we ever needed to take heed to this admonition it is today! One of the signs of the last days would be a rise of false teachers. These are people who turn people away from following Christ, and embrace strange doctrines, and heresies.

2 Peter 2:1-2 (NLT) But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered.

This certainly reminds me of what is happening with the issue of gay marriage, Chrislam, Universalism and a number of false teachings that are gaining popularity among Christians.

God expects us to become mature believers who are skilled in handling the word of truth. One of the sure signs of maturity is resolve in our faith in Christ. We are single-minded about who Christ is, what He accomplished, and that salvation is found in non other than Christ alone.

Ephesians 4:14 (NLT)…that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ. Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.

If we constantly have to go over the elementary basic teachings of our faith in Christ then we are not maturing. Some churches I am sad to say are constantly preaching a basic salvation message to their people. While this may be fine on occasion, Believers need to grow up so that they can eat the strong meat of the word of God, and go forth with the gospel to their world of influence.

I am convinced that a great deal of what we call discipleship today is nothing more than chasing unconverted people around to try to get them to follow God. This is exhausting to say the least.

Hebrews 6:1-3 (NLT)  So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start all over again with the importance of turning away from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. {2} You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. {3} And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.

Wimpy: Afraid to stand up and defend their faith. They run from the battle and not too it. The fear of man is ungodly. Revelation 21:8 (NLT) But cowards who turn away from me, and unbelievers, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the immoral, and those who practice witchcraft, and idol worshipers, and all liars–their doom is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.”

“Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone – except God.” Billy Graham

The very nature of the gospel itself is going to offend people.  Matthew 1:34-39 (NKJV) “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

Pacifism: Christians withdrawing from any areas that can bring Christianity into the public arena.  I do not believe that pacifism is a biblical concept. Matthew 5:13 (NKJV) “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

The moral climate of the both Europe, and the United states has deteriorated primarily because Christians have reused to live by a biblical worldview, and have stood by while secularists and every other group have run them out of education, politics. As a result evil and every sort of ungodliness has filled that void.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke

The Cross Religious Stock Photo

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus by George Duffield, Jr., 1818-1888

Stand up, stand up for Jesus! ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss:
From victory unto victory, His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus! The trumpet call obey:
Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day;
Ye that are men now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus! Stand in His strength alone,
The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own;
Put on the gospel armor, and watching unto prayer,
Where calls the voice of duty, be never wanting there.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus! the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song;
To him that overcometh a crown of life shall be;
He with the King of glory shall reign eternally.

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