In 21st century America, the vast majority of people are largely out of touch with the labor-intensive lifestyle of an agrarian culture; a culture that is dependent upon sowing, cultivating, and reaping to survive. As a result of our present mammon-driven, on-demand lifestyle of mass production, the common everyday person is completely removed from the strenuous work of harvesting; and yet it is the work of sowing and reaping that is the common illustration used throughout Scripture to demonstrate God’s plan and purpose for His people during the present age. For instance, Jesus instructs His disciples by stating “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” He also states in John’s gospel, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” In other words, the work of the Church in the present age, is the work of harvesting, the work of sowing seeds by declaring the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the work of cultivating the crop by making disciples through teaching the authoritative Word of God. The Christian life is marked by fruitful labor. The Lord Jesus declares in Luke 9:62, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Sadly, many professed believers in Christ assume that God simply wants to bless them abundantly with worldly gain. They act as if He wants nothing more than for them to live lives of health, wealth, and prosperity until the day that they die and enter the glory of Heaven where they will remain forever in eternal bliss. This presumptuous belief fails to grasp the weightiness of the Christian life and what God demands of His Church. Our lives are not meant to be comfortable, we are to sacrifice worldly comforts for the advancement of Christ. Jesus declares to His disciples in Matthew 16:24-26:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
As God’s people, we are all sent on mission, we are to be harvest workers sowing the seed of the gospel. We are not responsible for whether or not the seed takes root, we simply continue to work while there is work to be done. Jesus states in the parable of the sower:
“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”
When asked to explain this parable Jesus stated:
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.
The sower is the one who declares the Word of God, for the Word of God is the seed that is being sown. Anytime the gospel of Jesus Christ is presented to people it is a seed being sown. Sometimes that seed takes root and produces fruit, and other times, most of the time actually, fruit is not produced. In an agrarian culture, such as first-century Israel, far more seed was scattered than that which took root and produced fruit.
To those whom Christ has called to be His undershepherds He declares:
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes
And to the flock, the apostle Paul states in Galatians 6:6-10
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
All of this to say that the present age in which we live is one of constant and consistent harvest work. Genesis 8:22 states, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” While the earth remains there will be much work for mankind to do, and even greater work for that of the church to commit itself to. We need to understand that the earth will not remain forever, at least not in its present condition. The apostle Peter declares in 2 Peter 3:1-7:
…I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
While there exist many mockers today of which insist that Jesus’ coming is merely a fable, the Word of God declares that such statements would be the norm as the day draws near. However, we know with absolute certainty that Christ is coming back and that one day this earth, which was once flooded and destroyed with water, will likewise be consumed by fire in the coming judgment. So again, going back to understanding the present age as a harvest, we are to due the work of sowing seed, cultivating the crop, and looking forward to the great harvest. Jesus declares in Matthew 13:24-30:
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
While we endeavor to diligently do the work that Christ has called us to, we must be aware that there has and will arise weeds amongst the wheat. But let this not distract us from continuing to sow the seed of the gospel, for God will one day remove the weeds and cast them into the fire. Our work is not in pulling the weeds but in seeking to cultivate the wheat. May we continue to praise and glorify God amidst the laborious work of the harvest until the day the King returns for His bride.
It is passion week, which normally is a week marked by church pageantry and festivities to commemorate the final week of Christ’s earthly ministry leading up to the crucifixion. However, here in the year 2020, or potentially what will one day be known as the year of the Coronavirus, things have been anything but normal. Seeing as how the nation (along with much of the world) is presently experiencing government-mandated lock-downs, as a means of mitigating the spread of this life-threatening sickness, many things are not as they once were. Along with the stay-at-home mandates, there inevitably comes a rise in depression, which sadly leads to an increase in suicide rates. A recent article in Scientific American entitled COVID-19 Is Likely to Lead to an Increase in Suicides, demonstrates this very fact. The article states, “Historically, disease pandemics have been associated with grave psychological consequences,” psychological issues which develop from an overwhelming sense of fear, grief, and anxiety. As the church prepares to celebrate the resurrection of Christ Jesus, these difficult days will likely cause us to consider more carefully the implications of the cross. For the message of the gospel (which means “good news”) is one that brings hope to the hopeless and peace to those enslaved to fear. The reason for which Jesus would go to the cross was to restore that which was lost, to heal that which was broken, to save that which was damned. There is no greater message in all the world than the message of the cross. But for the world to be able to receive the gospel, they must first be exposed to the judgment of God which inevitably awaits all of humanity that does not by faith believe in the risen Savior. As a result of the sins of Adam and Eve, the entire human race has fallen and is inherently sinful. Every person will individually be held accountable and responsible for their own sinfulness. This is bad news for the human race, as the Bible declares that “the wages of sin is death.” When one who is gripped by fear and anxiety considers death as a means of escaping the worries of this world, they reveal their ignorance of the events which transpire once one has passed from this life. For those who die outside of Christ, there is no hope, there is no rescue, there is no relief, there is no comfort, and there is no escape. The wrath of God is poured out on unrepentant sinners in the flames of the lake of eternal fire.
John 3:36 states:
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
Revelation 20:15 clearly states:
“And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
2 Thessalonians 1:9 states:
“They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”
In other words, the torments of this life pale in comparison to that which awaits the unrepentant sinner in hell. Every human being deserves hell, we are all by nature wicked and deserving of God’s righteous wrath. However, God is a merciful God, and He sent His Son to die on the cross in our place. The apostle Paul states in Ephesians 2:1-10:
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
The message of the cross is necessary for all of mankind to hear and heed. It is the most precious truth and the most important declaration anyone could ever receive. It is vital to genuine life and it is how the fallen world is restored unto God. Furthermore, it is the Church’s responsibility to carry the message of the cross and proclaim it to the world. It ought not to be sugarcoated nor should anything be added to it. It is not a message produced by the wisdom of man, but it is simple and bears the power of almighty God. For this reason, the apostle Paul declared to the church in Corinth:
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” -2 Corinthians 2:1-5
If you or someone you know is gripped with fear, please do not consider suicide an option. Taking your life will only serve to thrust you into the condemnation that awaits those whose names are not found in the Lamb’s book of life. The only way to receive true and lasting peace is in the salvation made possible through the atoning blood of Christ Jesus. His blood was shed to rescue sinners from the wrath of God to come. For when we by faith repent of our sins and believe on the name of Christ Jesus, we are forgiven and clothed in the perfect peace of Christ.
1 John 1:9 declares:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
This passion week, while the church is unable to gather in person, I hope and pray that it gives us the time we need to reflect on own our lives, on how faithful we have been to live for Christ and to proclaim the message of the cross. May we not act as though we are ignorant of the judgment that awaits unbelievers. Many are in need of being led to the cross. May we be a people that love others and see them, though living in sin, as those crying out “lead me to the cross” and faithfully carry out that plea. In all things may God be praised!
During these trying days it is quite easy for people to succumb to fear and anxiety. For those that are presently without work, perhaps it is the fear of financial-loss, for those that are alone, perhaps it is the fear of loneliness, for some it is the fear of getting sick, and for those that are sick, perhaps it is the fear losing their lives. Each of these fears, and a myriad of others, can be debilitating. The only effective way to combat them is through faith in the risen savior. Only through genuine belief in Christ is there hope for the hopeless. For those who are in Christ, we have the hope of resurrection, the hope of restoration, and the hope of eternal life. For those who are in Christ, we have the Word of God, and the Word of God is a bright and shining lamp allowing us to navigate the darkness of the world. God’s Word is a treasure-trove of truth that brings comfort to those who are consumed by fear.
I once heard it said that fear is to the devil, what worship is to God. Which is to say that the devil is most pleased when we are living in fear. 1 Peter 5:6-9 states:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
Fear is a tool of the enemy, which is to say that it does not come from God. God’s Word has a lot to say about fear:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”
“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
2 Timothy 1:7
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
1 John 4:18
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
The only effective way to combat the enemy's efforts to keep God’s children in fear is to go to God’s Word for instruction and guidance. So what does God’s Word say about combating the works of Satan? I am glad you asked. Ephesians 6:10-18 states:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints”
We are to be clad with the armor of God. To wield the Word like a warrior wields a two-edged sword. To hold fast to the salvation we have in Christ Jesus. To pray to God in all circumstances.
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The peace of God comes to those who, by faith in Christ, have peace with God. The joy of God is a disposition of which the follower of Christ is to walk in. If today you are experiencing debilitating effects of fear, wash away your fears with the authority of God’s Word and walk in the joy of the Lord. We must remember that the trials we face are a means of testing our faith, and are meant to strengthen our trust in the Lord. As we are comforted by the Lord we then are able to comfort others with the same comfort with which we have been comforted.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
May we all lean into the Word of God and find the comfort to extinguish the fear that the world is promoting.
For as long as we can tell, people have been plagued with the question, why does evil, suffering, pain, sickness, and death exist in the world? This very question is the so-called reason why many insist that the God of the Bible does not exist. Many ponder the question if God exists then why does He not prevent and prohibit all of the seemingly horrendous things that take place day in and day out? Many well-intentioned Christians have sought to answer this question by stating, that evil exists because we live in a fallen and sinful world. While this answer is both true and a seemingly sufficient response to the question, skeptics will still bark back with an argument that goes something like:
A God that allows suffering to continue is either a) not all-powerful and therefore is unable to prevent the suffering; b) not loving because this God has the power to prevent suffering but is unwilling to do so; and/or c) not all-knowing because God only is aware of the suffering after it has already happened and therefore cannot prevent it from taking place.
Christians know full-well that God is loving, for He has sent His Son into the to the world to die so that sinners would be restored unto Him; that He is all-powerful, for He created the universe by speaking it into existence and He presently holds it all together; and that He is all-knowing, for He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, and absolutely nothing is outside of His knowing. So if God is all-powerful, loving, and all-knowing, how do we answer the question concerning the existence of suffering in this world?
Again, suffering exists because of mankind’s sinful rebellion against God. There are consequences for evil behavior, and we all ought to be relieved that due to God’s love He did not determine to utterly destroy His creation at the fall. It would do us well to understand that Mankind is deserving of nothing less than to be sentenced to hell for all eternity. Asking why evil, suffering, pain, sickness, and death exist is not the proper question that we should be concerned with. Instead, we should marvel at the tremendous mercy and grace of God who has not only allowed us to go on living but has sent His Son to bear the punishment that we so richly deserve; while at the same time clothing sinners in His righteousness. It is obvious why suffering and pain exist, our rebellious hearts have brought such calamity upon ourselves. But God being rich in mercy has graciously lavished upon us that which we could never earn, salvation and restoration to our Great God and Savior. So suffering is a result of sin, but it is not as though God does not use our suffering to produce something marvelous. Romans 8:28 declares, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Does this mean that suffering will not befall those who love God? Not at all. But instead, it implies that everything which transpires in the life of a believer, suffering included, is a tool in God’s hands to produce that which is good.
Some of you may be thinking, wait a minute….how can you say that?! How can suffering, sickness, and death produce that which is good? The Word of God declares in James 1:2, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” Suffering, sickness, and death certainly are trials of various kinds that people face while alive here on earth, and James tells us that we are to count those things a joyous occasion in our life. To which you may find yourself responding by thinking, “what?! How can such seemingly disastrous events be considered joyous?!” If we continue reading, James tells us exactly how they are joyous. He states in verses 3-4, “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” In essence, trials are a great way to test how genuine our faith in God is. If we truly view Christ as our rock, our fortress, our greatest treasure, our joy, our peace, our deepest delight, and our anchor amidst the most tumultuous of storms, then the trials we face will aid us in activating our faith more readily and drive us into the arms of our great savior. Trials produce steadfastness, which is to say persistent patience and enduring reliance upon the rock of our salvation, Christ Jesus our Lord. It is for this reason that trials ought to be viewed as a good thing, rather than a hindrance to a life in pursuit of happiness. God ought to be our greatest joy in life and trials force us, if our faith is true, to fall before the throne of grace and cling to the gracious God that pulled us up out of the pit. Trials, again, serve to test our claims that Christ is our greatest treasure. For a trial, like that of being diagnosed with cancer, losing a loved one, or any number of life-altering events, will allow for you to either exercise your faith in the risen savior who purchased your life with His blood, or it will allow you to demonstrate just the opposite. Now, this is not to say that it is always easy to rest in Christ and count it all joy when in the midst of a trying and tumultuous time. However, if we belong to Christ, we will inevitably cling to Him as our only true source of joy and comfort amidst the chaos. If you have never read the book of Job I highly recommend that you do, for this book reveals that God not only preserves His people through the most disastrous of times but that He permits such trials to take place as a means of teaching us to trust in His sovereignty. Job learns an incredibly valuable lesson at the end of the book, and for those who have not read it, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Please go read it and see how Job’s life is drastically changed for the better after having faced more trials than most could bear. It is an excellent book, and as one who has recently traversed a series of difficult trials myself, it helps me to remember that in comparison my trials are minimal. Again, trials which may come in the form of suffering, sickness, pain, and death, ultimately serve to draw us ever closer to our great God and Savior. The greatest reward for the one who remains steadfast in this life is that of eternal glory in the presence of God almighty. As James states in the twelfth verse of the first chapter in his epistle:
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
So as the title of the short blog post states, the best way to traverse the many difficult trials of this life is not through denying God’s existence, but through having a heart fully surrendered to Him and His Holy Word.
To say that our nation is divided today is an understatement. There is a great deal of division with the American people holding to starkly different ideologies and worldviews. Our nation once upheld Christianity as the standard and valued God, His Word, and family above all else. Today, by and large, it is secular humanism, a.k.a. godless individualism, that is promulgated and propagated. As the adage goes, you reap what you sow, and as history reveals, when a nation honors God and upholds His Word it is a blessed nation, but when a nation shifts its focus to honoring the creation above the creator, e.g. worshiping the self rather than the God of universe, it plummets and self-destructs. Our nation certainly appears to be on the path to self-destruction as innocent children are murdered daily, the throwing away of plastic straws is far more of a concern than the rampant disposing of marriages, and America’s sexual debauchery is not far removed from that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Furthermore, our government continues to wage war against itself and places partisan politics above the people, and certainly above God.
So what do we do? Do we simply sit back and watch as the U.S. slowly sinks like the Titanic into the cold icy waters of the North Atlantic? Not at all! We return to our first love. We repent. We pray. We speak up in love. We honor and glorify God.
A couple of months ago I had the blessed opportunity of sitting down and speaking with my district’s state representative Jason Wentworth. Before meeting with him I knew very little about him (I had only lived in Clare for little less than a year). However, I was very pleased to find out that he represented our district as a man of faith and conviction. I am thankful to God for Representative Wentworth. He is a man who loves God, his family, his state, and his nation. It is my endeavor to pray for him regularly, and I would ask that you do the same. As a result of our meeting, Rep. Wentworth’s office reached out to me several weeks ago and asked if I would be willing to give the invocation before the Michigan House session on December 12 (yesterday). I gladly agreed. However, due to the House mostly wrapping things up on Wednesday (12/11) they did not meet yesterday. As a result, I was not able to give the invocation that I wrote for that occasion. While it is likely that I will get another opportunity to do so, I still wanted to share that prayer with you all here in this blog post. For while I have prayed this prayer many times in recent days, I hope that we could all pray it together. That we would pray this prayer for our state and our nation.
O Great and merciful Heavenly Father, blessed Son, and eternal Holy Spirit, we thank You for bestowing upon us Your great grace. Help us O Lord to be humbled by your majesty and directed by Your sovereign hand. We ask O Lord that You would forgive us our transgressions and that You would be glorified in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. Lord, we thank You for Your continued provision and we ask that You would bless both our state and our nation. Please Father, we further request that You would guide and direct our hearts, and lead us in the path of righteousness. May our state’s and our nation’s leaders, recognize, as did our founding fathers, that we are a people in desperate need to die to self and to live as Christ. To recognize that apart from receiving and believing the gospel of Jesus Christ we are hopeless and lost. Lord, may we, as did the United States Congress of 1854, declare that, “The great, vital, and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Father, please forgive us for ever having deviated from Your clear, infallible, inerrant, authoritative, and objective Word. And Lord help us once more to cherish life and to see Your gift of children as being far more important and valuable than one’s personal preferences, comforts, and life ambitions. Father, help us to uphold Your model of marriage and family as revealed in Your Holy Word (the Bible), and Lord may You forgive us for ever having strayed from that clear standard. Lord, Your Word declares that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Father, I pray that our Nation would see just how ubiquitous sin has become in our land, that we would be broken by it and turn from sin, repent of our ways, and fix our hearts and our praise upon the only one who is worthy and deserving of such worship, You: our Holy, righteous, sovereign, and Triune creator. Lord, you declare in Your Word, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Humble our hearts O Lord, may we be a people who rejoice in You always, who pray to You without ceasing, and have a heart of thankfulness in all circumstances. Please God, heal our land, unite our people under You, and be glorified in this place. We pray these things in the precious name of our matchless Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
I would strongly encourage you all to be praying for our state’s and our nation’s legislators. Reach out to them and encourage them in the Lord. Share with them that the Gospel of Jesus Christ matters above all things. That God’s Word matters. That God-honoring marriages matter. That children of all ages and stages of development matter. That family matters. God can stop this ship from sinking if we humble ourselves just as God’s Word says. If we pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, He will be faithful to His Word to hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land.
All Glory and Honor be to our gracious Heavenly Father, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit that guides and directs His people.
Today many people are clamoring (mostly religious leaders) that they regularly hear the voice of God, and that, through their special relationship, He speaks to them intimately. Not only do they claim to have an intimate relationship with God, but they also insist that He verbally instructs them both in difficult life decisions and in the most simple and mundane tasks; such as selecting a turkey for Thanksgiving. As a result, a tremendous amount of ink has been used in the printing of countless books on “how to hear the voice of God.” The vast majority of these books are an incredible waste of time and money, as they endeavor to instruct readers in various ways to listen for God’s voice outside of the pages of Scripture rather than encouraging them to inductively study the Word of God. Which is to say that they believe that God speaks quite regularly today just as He did to individuals like Abraham and Moses. But is this accurate?
Throughout God’s Word we see several individuals that experience God speaking to them. For instance, Adam and Eve heard the voice of God in the Garden of Eden, Cain heard the voice of God while he was allowing his bitterness to ruminate within him, Noah heard the voice of God instructing him to build the ark, Abraham and Moses both had the opportunity to hear the voice of God on multiple occasions, in which they received instruction to leave pagan environments and to trust in God through a series of trying events which enabled them to witness God’s faithfulness. A handful of others also had the blessed opportunity of hearing God verbally speak to them, and yet, there are far more individuals in Scripture that never heard the voice of God. Which is to say that these individuals (Adam, Cain, Noah, etc.) are the exception, not the standard. This is not to say that God does not lead and guide those that do not hear God’s audible voice, of course He does. But the question then becomes, how? The answer simply is through God’s special written revelation a.k.a. the Scriptures.
For instance, in neither of the books of Esther or Nehemiah do we witness God speaking at all. Not once does Esther claim to hear the word of the Lord come to her, in fact God’s name isn’t even mentioned in the book of Esther, and yet she is still guided along by Biblical truth to make God-honoring decisions. Furthermore, the prophet Nehemiah never claims to have heard the voice of God. That’s right, a prophet of God that never once mentions hearing God speak to him. Does that mean that God is not in these books? No, of course God is in these books. God wrote these books through the leading of His Holy Spirit. Does this mean that God does not love Esther, Nehemiah and the countless others that never heard God speak to them as much as those that did hear the voice of God? Does it mean that Esther and Nehemiah did not have the faith of Abraham and Moses? The answer to both of these questions is: absolutely not. The standard way for God’s people to hear His voice is not through His speaking audibly from Heaven, but through the Scriptures; the authoritative Word of God. This is especially true for today, as we have in our possession the complete revelation of the Bible. It is solely through the closed canon of Scripture that God speaks today. There simply is no need for God to verbally speak to anyone when He has given to us all that we need to know in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation God has spoken to His creation and He is presently illuminating the truths therein which serve to guide His people. Hebrews 4:12 states:
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Some will say that what God says today is still important just not as important as the Word of God. But here is the thing, God cannot speak less authoritatively on one matter than another. All of God’s words are equally authoritative. If God tells Moses to go demand that Pharaoh release His people from bondage, and then tells you to go to Walmart to buy a 24 pound turkey, both of those statements are as equally authoritative because God said them. Can you see how ridiculous it is to say that God spoke a word to you? If someone claims that God gave them a word, they are essentially adding to Scripture whether they see it that way or not. To say that God told you something is to claim that there is more to be added to the Word of God. Here’s the problem with that, Revelation 22:18–19 states of God’s Word:
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
Today numerous false teachers want you to believe that God is presently speaking to you things that are outside the Word of God. They want you to believe that God will give you direction for your life, not through the pages of Scripture, but some supernatural, extra-biblical (outside of the bible) revelation. And why? Because they want to fool you into believing that God speaks to them in ways which are contradictory to Scripture. For instance, the health and wealth prosperity preachers are notorious for claiming that God personally speaks to them. Wealth is their idol, and seeing as how there is not a single passage in Scripture which can justify their obsession with material gain, these gnostic self-proclaimed soothsayers have to say that God spoke to them to justify their sinful indulgences. 2 Peter 2:1-3 states:
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep."
The Apostle John also warns against false teachers which promote and propagate their false revelations from God in 1 John 4:1 which states:
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world."
How does one “test the spirits to see whether they are from God?” Through the clear authoritative Word of God. When the Apostle Paul was instructing Timothy, a young Pastor, to shepherd God’s sheep he tells him in 1 Timothy 6:20-21:
"O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith."
Furthermore he states in 2 Timothy 4:1-5:
"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
In a sinful and fallen world, where people are starving for self-worth while battling with depression and anxiety it is easy to be led away from the hard but necessary truths of Scripture. The Word of God declares that the human race is sinfully rebellious, and that it is only through the power of the gospel that life is transformed. It is the gospel message of dying to self and living as Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling in the believer that one can have the peace of God.
The desire of God’s people ought not to be to hear some special revelation from God so that we might feel significant, but our desire ought to be a devotion to bringing Him honor and glory and knowing that our significance is found in that very task.
The prophet Nehemiah did not plead with God to speak to him while he was mourning his captivity, rather he cried out to God in Nehemiah 1:5-11:
“O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
Nehemiah was not looking for some “fresh revelation” from God, he was repenting of sin and standing on the authority of God’s Holy Word. The vast majority of those today that wish to “hear from God” are those that are not satisfied with the Word of God. For instance, one of the most popular Christian books today is a small devotional entitled Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. This book is the result of a woman who was dissatisfied with hearing from God through the Bible and wanted more. In this work Young claims to have received revelations from Jesus through dialogue journaling (something she learned from the authors of a book entitled God Calling). Young states in response to the authors of God Calling, “I began to wonder if I, too, could receive messages during my times of communing with God. I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more…” If you have ever read Jesus Calling then you are well aware that Young writes her book as if Jesus is speaking messages directly to the reader. This is nothing short of blasphemy as she is essentially writing new scripture.
In closing, is God speaking today? Yes, He most certainly is speaking through the pages of His Holy Word. Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, once said, “No one ever outgrows the Scriptures. The Book widens and deepens with our years.” If you want to hear the voice of God, read and study the Bible, for if it cannot be found in the 66 books of the Bible, you can rest assured that God did not say it. In the words of Justin Peters “If you want to hear God speak, read your Bible. If you want to hear God speak audibly, read it out loud.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
Last Tuesday began my favorite month of the year, October. A month that is often associated with things such as the season of autumn, football, doughnuts, apple cider, bonfires, corn mazes, and many other things that I thoroughly enjoy. However, what most often is associated with the month of October is the holiday Halloween. For anyone who is at all familiar with the origins of Halloween, it is not a God-honoring holiday, but much more of a demonic-inspired one. The origins of Halloween date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived roughly 2,000 years ago in the areas which we now know as Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day for them marked the end of the summer months which is associated with light and life, and it likewise marked the beginning of the dark and bitterly cold days of winter, a time that was often associated with death. The Celts believed that on the night before their new year (Halloween) the spirits of the dead returned to earth to cause chaos and torment. To supposedly ward off such spirits, the Celtic druids and priests would build large fires and dress in animal skins, wearing the faces of animals as masks, and attempt to predict the future. While Halloween in America has developed its unique traditions, it is still a night of darkness. Not only are thousands of people roaming the streets dressed in horrific and gruesome costumes, but it has been reported that crimes are up by 17% on Halloween night as opposed to other nights of the year. Needless to say, my wife and I do not celebrate Halloween with our children, instead, we take the opportunity to celebrate something we believe is far more glorifying to God, the Protestant Reformation.
On All Hallows Eve (Halloween) in 1517, an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther shook the world of Christendom by taking a stand against the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther had no intention of rebelling and sparking a revolution but only sought to hold the church accountable for their deviations from the clear teaching of God’s Holy Word. Creating an uprising within the church was the last thing that Luther had on his mind, he simply believed that his 95 Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences would serve to course-correct the church back to fixing its eyes solely upon Jesus and its mission of discipling the nations. Seeing as how the Roman Catholic Church was not fond of being corrected, Luther’s 95 Theses was not well received. Standing on the authority of the Word of God, Luther was also unwilling to back down and as a result, the Protestant Reformation was born. As a result of the Holy Spirit of God working in the hearts of His people, the Five Solas (Sola is Latin for “only” or “alone”) of the Reformation were drafted to keep the focus of Christ’s bride upon Him and fulfilling the Great Commission. The Sola statements are as follows: Sola Gratia (Grace Alone), Sola Fide (Faith Alone), Sola Christus (Christ Alone), Soli Deo Gloria (Glory of God Alone), and Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone). In other words, mankind is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for the glory of God alone, according to the authority of Scripture alone.
Studying and celebrating the Reformation is important for the Church to be reminded that we are capable of erroring and that we ought to desire for the Church to be discerning and for God to be glorified. It could be argued that today the church is in even greater need of being reformed to the Holy Word of God than even those days when the Protestant Reformation began. When we look at the landscape of Christianity in America today, there are far more deviations from the truth, and a greater need to call for renewing our minds and reforming our hearts to the clear and authoritative teaching of God’s Holy Word.
Therefore, I would encourage you all with the words of the Apostle Paul when speaking to the Church in Rome,
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2
And rather than spend the month celebrating a wicked holiday like Halloween, which embraces sin and the world, I would strongly encourage you to research the Protestant Reformation and begin a tradition of celebrating Reformation Day!
Soli Deo Gloria!
On Wednesday evenings here at Colonville Bible Church we have been walking through the book of James verse by verse. Last week, as we were continuing to make our way through chapter 5, we came upon verses 7 and 8 which read,
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Many within the apostle’s audience were experiencing great trials and hardships at the hands of wicked individuals, and as a result, James seeks to encourage them to remain steadfast. As I am sure you are well aware, enduring hardships and trials brought on by the sin-stained world in which we live is not always as easy as we would like it to be. However, the trials that we face ultimately serve to refine us and to make us more like Christ. James in these verses endeavors to strengthen his hearer’s faith by reminding them of the blessed hope, which is to say the imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His calling us home to be with Him. This blessed hope is the next event on God’s prophetic timetable and it is often referred to as the rapture of the church.
Sadly, today there seems to be a decreasing interest in the doctrine of the rapture. Many professing evangelical Christians have even gone so far as to declare that there is no such thing as the rapture of the Church. They insist that it was made up in the 19th century by a man named John Nelson Darby, and therefore, they declare, the church ought not to get caught up in such things. Along with worldly pursuits, an influx in variant eschatological point of views such as that of Amillennialism and Postmillennialism (which reject the snatching away of the Church) are to blame for much of the churches reluctance to cling to the blessed hope of the Lord’s soon return. But if there no such thing as Jesus returning to call home His bride (the Church), as many “Christians” seem to believe, then what is James referring to when he says “Be patient…until the coming of the Lord.”
Postmillennialist David Chilton (along with practically every postmillennialist) believes that James’ words were in reference to the eventual destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70. Such an assumption would imply that Temple Judaism was the sole cause of his audience’s oppression and that after the temple was destroyed their trials and hardships would just fade away. What a nonsensical belief! Even if Temple Judaism somehow had something to do with his audiences present difficulties, what then would his listeners cling to when they faced abuse after the temple was destroyed? Is this what Jesus encouraged His disciples with just before He went to the cross, that they ought not to be troubled because one day He would destroy the temple? No! Instead, He encouraged them by saying:
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. – John 14:1-3
Does Jesus say, “I will come and destroy the temple?” Not at all. He says I will come again and will take you to myself.” The “coming” that James is encouraging his audience with is the rapture and the subsequent judgments to follow (the judgment is a discussion for another blog post). The rapture of the church that James speaks of is the very same event that Jesus Himself encouraged the disciples with just before the crucifixion. The apostles also sought to encourage the saints with such a glorious return of Christ for His Church. The apostle Paul states:
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. - 1 Corinthians 15:50-55
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
What are the words that Paul is seeking to encourage the church with? Is it the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70? Not at all. But of the coming of Christ from heaven to gather His bride to be with Him always, the moment at which we will be transformed from perishable to imperishable. It is a sad reality that many professing Christians today have abandoned a belief in clear teaching of God’s Word regarding the blessed hope of our Lord’s soon return. And what is there justification for assuming such? Simply put…the arguments of skeptics. Unbelievers continue to attack Christianity by saying “Where is Jesus? I thought He said He would return soon.” Some Christians apparently believe this critique is valid, and so to defend their faith they have reinterpreted the Biblical view of Christ’s return. But what does the apostle Peter clearly state? He says:
…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” - 2 Peter 3:3-7
In other words, scoffers are going to continue to question the coming of Christ, but they are ignorant of the truth. Christians should not acquiesce to the complaints and arguments of unbelievers, we should not modify the clear teaching of Scripture because unbelievers like Bertrand Russel have not been able to understand the infallible words of Christ. Instead, we should take to heart the encouragements of James, Paul, and even Jesus to patiently endure and to establish our hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. -Titus 2:11-14
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
This month’s blog post is going to be a bit shorter, as it will be a bit more to the point. The mission of the church is to proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Jesus Himself declared this just prior to ascending back into heaven to be seated at the right-hand of the Father.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a
testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. - Matthew 24:14
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, - Matthew 28:19
The apostle Paul declares in Romans 10:13-14 :
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on
him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have
never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
So the primary mandate and mission of the church is to proclaim the gospel, and yet, this hardly seems to be what the church in America is concerned with. Instead, it has preoccupied itself with matters of political bantering, so-called social injustices, catering to the felt-needs of sinners, not to mention compromising biblical truths while adopting worldly practices. The gospel message has become a taboo topic because it declares that people are in need of repentance and being born again into Christ Jesus, thus implying that people are inherently sinful and set against God. While the world touts the message that “all are inherently good” and that it is an awful thing to declare otherwise, the gospel then becomes incredibly offensive to those who are in desperate need of a savior.
So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the
builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of
offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. -1 Peter
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it
is the power of God. -1 Corinthians 1:18
Because it is offensive and the world is only growing in its hostility towards the gospel message, many professing Christians, being driven by fear, have refrained from participating in sharing it with the lost. In other words, the church is not actively doing what Christ has commissioned it to do. That is a problem! As those bought by the precious blood of Christ, we are His and are to yield our whole being to Him. Christ is Lord, and we are to obey the commands of our Lord. Furthermore, by His grace and love we are capable of loving others, and what greater way is there to demonstrate that love for others than to share with them the gospel that saves and restores? There is no greater way! So let us be reminded of God’s great grace in redeeming us through Christ’s atoning blood, and may it spurn us on in our love and affection for Him and others. May we be filled with a new zeal to share the gospel with those around us!
For those who may be struggling with how to present the gospel, first it is always important to pray for guidance, that God would lead you in saying what you ought to say. Here is a simple acrostic (G.O.S.P.E.L.) with some relevant passages of Scripture to help you as prepare to share the gospel with those around you.
God created us to be with Him
Know that the Lord, He is God! It is he who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and
the sheep of His pasture. - Psalm 100:3
Our sins separate us from God
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God - Romans 3:23
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted
garment. - Isaiah 64:6
Paying the price for our sins, Jesus died on the cross and rose again
…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Romans 5:8
Everyone who trusts in Him alone by faith alone has eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should
not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16
Life with Jesus begins at the moment you are born again and it lasts forever.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my
hand. - John 10:28
If you have any questions about the gospel, how to know that you are redeemed, or anything else really, please feel free to contact me by email or phone. Soli Deo Gloria!
Today is July 4th, the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. On this very day in 1776, the Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer under subjugation nor in subordination to the oppressive monarch of Britain but were now united, free, and independent states. America was a nation forged through biblical convictions and a desire to be governed by the fundamental principles of Christianity. John Adams, our second U.S. president and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, once stated:
“The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the only principles in which that beautiful assembly of young gentlemen could unite… And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those Sects were united—and the general principles of English and American Liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence”
The Constitution of the United States of America was also drafted in accordance with these same general principles of Christianity. Sadly, however, our nation which once endeavored to honor God has since shifted its gaze from the Sovereign designer of the universe (the God of the Bible) and has placed its focus upon worshiping the creature rather than the creator. Romans 1:18-32 explains quite plainly that a nation which does not honor God will experience His judgment, and that which is expressed in those verses clearly demonstrates that America is experiencing such judgment.
Today, America touts a message of acceptance and tolerance, except the people of America, by and large, are no longer accepting of the general principles that this nation was founded upon. Christianity is perhaps the most unwelcome worldview in America, a land which now claims to affirm any and all worldviews. This is not surprising seeing as how all worldly worldviews are in opposition to the one true worldview, the biblical worldview. The Bible reveals that all people are inherently sinful and it calls out the acts of the world for what they are, rebellious actions derived from a wicked and wholly depraved heart. Jesus, when speaking to His then unredeemed brothers, stated:
“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.” – John 7:7
We who are in Christ will also be hated by the world for we too boldly declare that the works of the world are evil. We carry with us the gospel of truth which asserts that while the world is evil there is restoration for sinners and freedom from the bonds of sin, through the precious blood of Jesus the Lamb of God.
One of the primary reasons that America is in its present predicament is due to the fact that the Church has been failing to boldly proclaim the gospel which it has been commissioned to herald. So the obvious question becomes, how do we turn this ship around? Some might even be asking the question, can it be turned around? To answer the second question first, such a task would not be impossible if God so willed it. God declares in 2 Chronicles 7:14:
“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
If our land is to be healed then we must stand against the kingdom of darkness which is presently at work in the world. 1 John 5:19 states:
“We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
James, after having been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, goes on to write a wonderful epistle in which he seeks to call professing believers to action. In chapter 4 James gives ten commands which can be boiled down to three distinct directives for holiness. He states:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” - James 4:7-10
Essentially what James is communicating through the power of the Holy Spirit is: first, we need to be committed: to God, to holy living, and to proclaiming the gospel (v. 7), secondly, to be cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (v.8), and thirdly, through contrition or to repent of our sins including our lack of commitment to holiness (vs. 9-10).
Throughout the history of the church, many creeds, confessions, decrees, statements, and declarations have been made. Many are notable and commendable as they seek to stand upon the authority of the infallible and inerrant Word of God. As of late, another commendable statement has been drafted in light of the many advancements being made by the kingdom of darkness in America; that statement is known as the Othismos Declaration.
One of the goals of this month’s blog post is to inform you of this exceptional declaration. Born out of the hearts of men redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, “the Othismos Declaration is not a document that seeks collision, but rather signals a readiness for it. It bespeaks a collegial willingness among clergy, laity, and citizens, first, to secure the fields of religious liberty, traditional marriage, life, and natural law; and second, if required, to press against and break the lines of those seeking to impose systems of governance that would suppress Christian consciences or betray the original intent of America’s founding documents.” The heartbeat behind this document is that the church of Jesus Christ ought to be vocal and unmoving in regards to the gospel of our Lord and Savior. Just as Peter and John responded to those who commanded that they refrain from preaching the truth in the public square, we with a unified voice should declare:
“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:19-20
Please click on the link below, read the declaration and prayerfully consider signing the document and standing with us!
Glory be to God!
Pastor Justin Myers is an avid student of God's Holy Word and received his M.Div. in biblical studies from Liberty University School of Divinity. Pastor Justin considers himself a family man who loves his wife and children dearly. He has been married for over eight years and has three children.