How did our nation get into the spiritual, moral and unholy mess we find ourselves in? Was there a revolution, a coup, or war that has led our country to become less responsive to God? No! This did not happen suddenly. It has been a slow process of drifting, of permitting a few people to influence us one sinful step at a time. We gradually have let liberalism infect us with a cultural rot.
Can the mess be cleaned up gradually by drifting back into righteousness? No, it does not work that way. We drift away from God, but we can only return to God in a deliberate set of immediate actions. Either we fix the problems through drastic measures or God will fix the problems by even more drastic events. Recall the world flood as a Day of the Lord. And recall the time of King Josiah when a man took a series of drastic measures to reform the nation of Judah (II Kings 23). Josiah returned to God’s Word, cleansed the temple of idols and astrological symbols, did away with pagan priests, did away with the sexual prostitutes, restored the true religious leaders, desecrated the sites of idol worship, and restored the nation to God. “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses” (II Kings 23:25).
We can continue to drift away from God or we can restore ourselves to God. As a citizen of the Unites States of America, I’m tired of drifting along with the ungodly. I say it’s time to follow King Jesus before a Day of the Lord comes.
Jesus never entered a “church building.” He never spoke over an intercom, never turned on an electric light, never used an indoor bathroom, never used a musical instrument or recording in worship, never used a power-point display, never looked at a clock, never set a thermostat, nor did he ever go to worship in an automobile.
Jesus did walk the country to preach repentance. He did institute the Lord’s supper, set men to be the church’s leaders, sing songs, pray to God, preach and obey God’s Word. He did give money toward the Lord’s work, he helped the sick and the needy, and he rebuked the proud while encouraging the humble. Plus Jesus gave his body and blood as an atonement for man’s sins, even the men who killed him if they responded to his offer of salvation. Also, after he resurrected from the grave, he returned to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to guide his apostles to fully reveal everything Jesus taught, commanded and promised to his eventual followers.
Modern conveniences make us real comfortable, but they do not define us as a church of Christ. What defines us as Christians is our Christ-like conduct and worship. We must imitate Jesus.
In this subjective age of feelings, there is a hungering for substantive preaching. We cannot build our lives, our nation, or the church on what “feels” good. We need the facts of God’s Word, the history of God and man, to be the foundation of our daily lives. Feelings are not a platform for life.
Consider Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7. He was preaching to an elite group of Jews who were opposing Jesus’ teachings. Stephen gave a complete history of the Israelites from Abraham to Moses to Jesus, quoting God’s word from Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Amos and Isaiah. He knew the history of God’s dealings with mankind up to that very moment. He did not discuss his feelings, the Jew’s feelings, or God’s feelings. He told of God’s covenant, God’s providential plans and how the Israelite people before and the Jewish people of late had resisted God all along the way. His sermon was a proper presentation and application of God’s Word, objectively given as God revealed it. It was the perfect sermon for that time and that audience.
Good preachers preach God’s Word! They tell what God tells, they apply what God speaks, without resorting to manipulating people through their feelings. By the way, Stephen was stoned to death for his preaching, to God’s glory. The Jews were all about their feelings.