A message to Bible believing followers of Jesus Christ
In the days of Ezekiel, God spoke through His prophet; “Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?” (Ezekiel 33:10) God’s straight answer to the world’s crookedness was and is; “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (v. 11) Yet even before the coming of Jesus and the Gospel – God spoke repentance and salvation to people. Therefore, how much more must we lift Jesus high and speak His Gospel into an unfaithful world!
Our society and culture has moved so far away from God and His Word that we can scarcely call our country home anymore! The first step to answer the question ‘How then shall we live? is to take stock of the spiritual reality of the world we find ourselves in. Then we’ll look at God’s Word on how to live as individuals, families and in community. We are in the midst of great evil; euthanasia, abortion as birth control, gambling and drugs legalized and made into big government business, aberrant sexual deviance taught in our schools and the list of depravity goes on and on.
We should not be surprised! The Bible tells us these things will happen; “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. for men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Jesus Himself warned us; “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:4-14)
We must also realize that this world, this country, this town isn’t our home. The apostle Peter said; “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:9-12) We can’t change what God’s Word tells will happen but we mustn’t let the world change us or our mission!!!
Respect the worldly authorities (Romans 13) but live loyal to Jesus; “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”(1 Peter 2:15-17) Honor the emperor even if he has no clothes on (as the Hans Christian Andersen tale goes).
What do these instructions look like in our everyday lives – as individuals, in the context of our families – as moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons and daughters, as members of our community? As an individual, I have to check myself every-time I walk in fear. Fear gnaws at my guts. Sometimes I sit alone at night and worry about all the craziness and how my kids will get along – How my wife and I will every make it through these days – to the point my head feels like it’s about to explode. How do you stop that kind of fear -with the Word of God! Jesus told us and His Holy Spirit reminds me that; “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) and with respect to all the things coming against us and the antichrist spirit behind them; “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) Get a grip! Grab a hold of Jesus and remember who you belong to!!!
As we live out the Gospel Good news in our families, I have found the most central issue is trust. Who and what do you trust? As a young man I trusted only myself and my earning power – my great sin as a father was that I didn’t trust God with my family and children. I didn’t trust God for my daily bread – it was all me! And it worked out terrible – Jesus rescued my family and me from the shambles I had made. I trust God now with my kids and my household. For many years I was a church man and going to church on a regular basis but kids see what you do no matter how you say or pretend otherwise. If your actions betray a lack of trust in the Lord – this is what you teach your children. If you or your spouse harbor unfaithfulness to God and His Word you open the door to instability in your home. A shaky household is no place to raise children. Jesus tells us; “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24,25)
What do we teach our children? God’s Word and a deep abiding reverent fear of the Lord and nothing less; “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!” (Matthew 18:6,7) Jesus takes this very personally as He precedes His warning with; “And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (v. 5) Don’t leave the teaching of your child to the school system – public schools aren’t spiritually safe anymore. Even if you have to send your children to public school pray protection over them, teach and model God’s love and a reverence for His Word in your home.
Teaching your kids about God’s Word and Jesus is a family matter first, foremost and always; “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:6,7) And them have faith that the Holy Spirit will mature them; “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
And to conclude what about the community? If you’re thinking about your town or village, Ontario or even this beautiful great country – Canada – stop. You don’t belong to this world. If you believe God’s Word and you’re a follower of Jesus Christ – you don’t even belong to yourself; “. . . know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) And this is the prayer of the One who paid for your life with His Blood; “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:15-17)
What is your community? It is the family of God. Remember what Peter said; “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:17) Forget about making this country better through social change or ‘click activism’. I’m not saying, don’t take part in civic life, but don’t think that your actions will change the direction the world is going. Only God’s Word – Jesus – can change the world – one person at a time. The only way out of wickedness is to follow Jesus – so preach the Gospel in action and speech – be a true light to the world. And do it boldly (Acts 4:31)! That is your whole duty as Christians to a world that desperately needs to hear the Gospel. Remember what Jesus said; “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Trouble’s coming, all worldly things will end badly and Jesus will make all things new; “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:5)
Strengthen and be a regular part of your fellowship of believers; “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25) Remember, your community which is the family of God is the most important group you will ever belong to. Jesus tells us: “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)
And above all remember the apostle Paul’s great exhortation as the world presses in and threatens; “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:13-18)
Praise the Lord!