Imagine starting off your day tomorrow however you normally do. Perhaps you have breakfast, get into your car and head off to work. You turn on the radio, ready to listen to the early morning news broadcast. While listening, the broadcaster announces that Jesus will be in town today at such and such location, at such and such time. You’d be stunned. Jesus, coming right here to the city where you live. What an opportunity to see Him, to hear Him speak! But, would you go to see Jesus?
The prophet wrote, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20). These are actually God’s words. He is talking specifically about the nation of Israel. Earlier in the chapter He refers to them as a vineyard that He planted and cultivated, only to have it produce “wild grapes” instead of “good grapes” (vs. 1-7). The allusion is clear. God raised up Israel to be His own people, the people through whom the Savior would come into the world. He gave them His law, taught them, guided them, fought their battles for them, blessed them richly, made them a great nation. Instead of Israel remaining the righteous, faithful people of God, they turned away from God and worshipped idols. They rejected His law and made up their own, followed their own will instead of submitting to His. Ultimately, God allowed their enemies to conquer them and take them into captivity. As a result of their sin they suffered disgrace as a nation.
Often, we feel either inadequate or without sufficient resources to be able to do something that needs to be done. These lines of reasoning are constantly used by individuals and congregations in relation to serving God. In some cases we say we don’t have time to serve God as we would like. Sometimes we state that we just don’t have the ability to do some good work that needs to be done. In other cases we claim to not have sufficient resources to get the job done. While these statements can hold some validity, we must be on guard to not carelessly use them as excuses to simply let ourselves off the hook. If we open our eyes, both our physical eyes and our eyes of faith, we will often find that we have more time and ability and resources than we first imagined.
This series of articles has been extensive. Its theme has centered on the belief that our culture in this nation has been turned Upside Down… The various articles in this series (nineteen of them to this point) have pointed to numerous examples that illustrate this belief to be fact. This article concludes this series with some final thoughts.
In his first letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul sharply rebuked the congregation for tolerating, within the congregation, a degree of sexual immorality so depraved that even the Gentiles would not so much as talk about such a thing. A man had become involved in an affair with his father’s wife, apparently his step-mother (1 Cor. 5:1). The Gentiles were unbelievers and idol worshipers. Immorality seemed to naturally go hand-in-hand with idolatry, yet this was a form of immorality that even they found repulsive. Sadly, what the Gentiles of Paul’s day would not even talk about might well be accepted in our nation today with its present cultural mind-set. We are living in a culture of immorality!
Many people are reluctant to be baptized into Christ because they are uncertain as to exactly what living a Christian life will be like. They’re not sure what all Christianity is about, and they’re not sure they can live the lifestyle of a Christian. A brief overview of Christianity can be seen under the heading “The Grace, The Groan, And The Glory.”
Many parents have advised, in some cases instructed, their children to not associate with certain kids at school or in the neighborhood. Their counsel had nothing to do with prejudice. Rather, from their perspective of experience and wisdom that comes with having lived life longer than their children, they saw serious warning signals in the lives and/or behavior of those other kids. Out of love for their children and trying to live up to their responsibility as parents, they took this step to protect their children from potentially dangerous associations. Associations matter!
As established in the previous four articles in this series, there is a war being waged on Christianity. The reader is encouraged to read those articles. The terms Christian and Christianity are used in this segment of articles to refer to all who would call themselves Christians. The war is real, it is worldwide in scope, and the devil is behind it.
The war on Christianity is real. The world is being turned Upside Down before our very eyes. As previously noted, for the purpose of this segment in this series of articles the terms Christian and Christianity are used in a loose sense, referring to all who would call themselves Christians. The war has turned violent in some parts of the world. In our country it is being waged through legal maneuvers, the media and social pressure. The reader is encouraged to read the three previous articles in this segment.
As noted in the previous article in this series, the war on Christianity is being waged through blatant violence in some parts of the world. Christians are being beaten, mutilated, killed because of their faith. In our nation the battlefronts are laws, media and social pressure. While not yet violent, the enemies of Christianity in this country are relentless and aggressive in their actions. As previously noted, for the purpose of this segment of this series of articles, the terms Christian and Christianity are used in a loose sense to include all who would identify themselves as Christians.
Gary L. Hutchens