It Would Be Easy To Be Discouraged
Position Paper By Robert Lewis 2009-05-12
It would be easy to get discouraged in light of the rapid fire decline in our spiritual environment. All you have to do is watch the news to realize that times are changing; changing rapidly, and for the worse. The moral fiber and spiritual character of our society is on the slide. In todayâ€™s environment it is easy to evoke a negative response to a simple invitation to church, never mind a clear gospel witness. Recently I met a 30 year old woman on the street who was on her way to work at McDonaldâ€™s. I invited her to church and she said, â€œYou donâ€™t have to go to church.â€ I offered her some gospel literature and she said, â€œNo, I wonâ€™t read it. Why is everyone so judgmental?â€ My friend and I gave her a ride to work, but she had nothing good to say about church, the Lord, or his preachers; not even a thank you for the ride and she would not accept the literature. There are several other incidents that I could site, but no doubt, you have some of your own by now.
I do not believe we are living in the Tribulation. In fact, the difficulties which we face daily are in no way near to the hostilities which the Antichrist will mete out upon those who will not receive his mark during the Tribulation. But there is a â€œpanic modeâ€ that many people engage when any stress comes to their table. It is possible that the antichrist is alive today. The Bible teaches that there are â€œmany antichristsâ€ already in the world. I am certain that their numbers have increased and that the â€œspiritual wickedness in high placesâ€ is growing daily like a cancer.
1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time . . .
That was two thousand years ago.
The pains and fears that we are now experiencing are the â€œbirth pangsâ€ or the â€œtremorsâ€ that indicate there is a catastrophic event in the (near) future.
We have had it easy for a long time. The gospel has been tolerated, if not received with wide scale acceptance. That is in the past. We must re-tool our thinking about our lot in life. If we are to advance a philosophy which is based upon comfort, pleasure and wide spread acceptance, then we must change our message. The message of the Bible, as Baptists of history have lived it, does not always produce these results. If, however, we are to continue with the historic message, motive and methods, of the people called Baptists, then we will have to accept the results. This is a difficult time. No one wants to be singled out or ostracized. Everyone has a need for acceptance. Following the ways of Christ will not bring acceptance with the world. It has, on the surface, appeared to do so for a time.
John 7:7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
We have never been given a promise from the Bible for world-wide acceptance. Popularity has never been the goal of Christianity. Some have mistakenly thought that to be numbered with Christians, even in a liberal sense, would bring them happiness, prosperity, and acceptance. When a church wants to prosper in the worldâ€™s view, they will first use the worldâ€™s music. Then they will take the name â€œBaptistâ€ off their signs. Then they will demote their men of God to â€œboard membersâ€ and begin to use liberal translations of the Scriptures in their worship services. They may, by these means, be able to hold the crowds better in this modern age. They will certainly feel better about having more people in the services and blending in better with the religious climate on a global scale.
We have been more than adequately warned about the apostasy that is currently sweeping the globe.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
If we continue to ignore the Scriptures which instruct us to be strong in the Lord and a host of other admonitions, for the sake of unity and acceptance, we shall succumb to a soft, non-denominational, internationally flavored, universally accepted, generic, religion which has no character, nor Biblical roots.
2 Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
I believe, and have said on many occasions, that we will not know who the â€œrealâ€ Christians are until they persecuted. I do not want to be persecuted. I do not like rejection, pain, or even slander. But to be honest, I have to make a choice every time I am tempted to â€œdumb it down,â€ or â€œlighten it up,â€ or â€œback off,â€ or not to be so â€œnarrow.â€ In the final analysis I do not want to be numbered with the Christ rejecters, the Bible haters, the compromisers, or the antichrists that are already in the world. I know that when I make choices to continue on the pathway set for me on the day of my salvation, I am getting closer and closer to public rejection, and perhaps, persecution in this world. Knowing that scares me to death. It is not thought of proving myself to a fellowship or a church or a mentor that drives me to consider this situation. I have two others that I must prove myself to daily. Those two others are myself and my Lord.
Luke 9:23 And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
I am hoping this will prevail as I grow older and as times get meaner. I am praying for my contemporaries in the ministry and those who will follow them. Their worth is not in public acceptance, nor in political position, but it is in their ability emulate the Lord Jesus Christ . . . .when the world hates them.