Fall of Roman Empire Mirrors America Today!

Colosseum in Rome

When many of us were in school, we were taught that the Roman Empire fell, because it was overrun by barbarians from the north. Partly right, but only partly. Consider the constellation of conditions that existed at the time. Compare them with America today. The resemblance is inescapable and alarming:

  • Rome was overrun by illegal immigrants, initially assimilating, but later failing to learn the Roman language (Latin). Sound familiar today?
  • Roman military was widely dispersed throughout the known world and greatly strained. America today?
  • Rome had a trade deficit rooted in outsourcing grain production to North Africa. Rome was unable to protect the area from capture. Contrary to today’s media reports, corporate outsourcing is more a result of government actions than so called corporate “greed.”
  • Attila the Hun committed terrorist attacks. Today’s Global Terrorism Database provides information on 150,000 terrorist attacks
  • Roman welfare gave free bread to citizens. Juvenal (circa A.D. 100) said the Roman politicians pacified the citizens and bought their vote with “bread and circuses.” A contemporary quote proclaimed, “Those who live at the expense of the public funds are more numerous than those who provide them.” Today, people working for the government outnumber those in manufacturing by nearly 2:1. Nearly 100,000,000 people are out of work. Only those still collecting unemployment compensation show up in the unemployment statistics.
  • Citizens feared Roman tax collectors who were, “more terrible than the enemy.” Sound like the IRS?
  • Huge government bureaucracies created monstrous debt. Self-evident today.
  • Court favoritism was common. Self-evident today.
  • Infidelity and sexual immorality became normal. Political correctness says every behavior should be “tolerated.”
  • Perverted bathhouses Transgender restrooms and locker rooms anyone?
  • Gratuitous violence, as in gladiator fights, became common. The Roman violence was real. Today, the violence in video games, television, and the movies is so lifelike, they trigger brain responses very similar to real violence, thus numbing the public to violence that should be repulsive.

Do we ever learn from history? Should we learn from history? What are the risks of not learning from history?

The conditions listed above contributed greatly to the breakdown of the family. No civilization has ever survived the breakdown of the family.

Living for self (Humanism, liberalism, progressivism, Marxism, etc.) always leads to the decline of civilizations and ultimate ruin. Living for others (Judeo-Christian tradition, religious and political conservatism) creates a stable culture that can be passed on to subsequent generations. What are YOU willing to do to save America?

What does it take to wake-up the body of believers?

What does it take to wake-up the clergy?

The Family is God’s First and Most Important Support Group!

Families

It’s been trendy, among churches, in the last two or three decades to create all manner of support groups. There are support groups for people dealing with alcohol addiction; drug addiction; divorce; mentally or physically disabled children; and older people, with various forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other chronic illnesses (caregiver support groups).

However, God created the first and by far the most important support group. It’s called the family. Tragically, as Judeo-Christian believers, we have become professionals as slicing and dicing the family in every imaginable way. Walk into virtually any church and find the family shot gunned into widely dispersed groups based on gender, age, marital status or educational level. Each group is tightly proscribed, narrowly limited, and quickly becomes isolated, especially from the family.

The same situation exists whether the church is traditional (Sunday School) or contemporary (home-base groups). The contemporary church simply scatters the traditional Sunday School around the neighborhood, scattering the family as in the traditional church. The increasingly popular home based groups in some cases exert even more pressure on the family, because they are scheduled at different times and places, during the week.

The result is that the family is forcefully splintered at the very place where they should be reinforced as well as worshiping and learning together. Family members lose a sense of the panorama of time and how they fit into that panorama.

Of course, God views the entire panorama of time from the Garden of Eden to the return of the Messiah. Even with our human limitations, it is extremely important that we understand our debt to the 3-4 generations of ancestors who preceded us and our duty to the 3-4 generations of descendants who follow us.

The usual rationale for slicing and dicing the family at church is that each family member is at a different place in life and has different needs. Balderdash! Every family member has exactly the same need to learn that “God is love” and that His love is manifested through us as humility, forgiveness, mercifulness, longsuffering, and a servant’s spirit. Collectively, they represent the character of God and the lifelong journey to grow in them. Those are lessons the entire family can learn together. Each family member helps the others learn those lessons daily.

 

In modern America, the family is being blown apart. The modern church is structured in a way that facilitates the breakdown of the family. No statistics are necessary. It is self-evident that the family is breaking down among the bodies of believers nearly as fast as it is breaking down in the background secular culture.

The church, whether traditional or contemporary must be restructured to strongly reinforce and build up the family, rather than tearing it apart. Families must meet together, worship together, and learn together as they have for millennia. The devastating slicing and dicing of the family has only been part of the church structure for the last 100 to 150 years.

The family is God’s only support group. It is far more powerful than any other. There are major limitations created by the collapsing American culture. Generations are often separated by long distances. People find themselves single following a divorce that was not of their own choosing. There is also enormous cultural pressure to satisfy self, rather than serve others.

Here is a Biblical remedy. Consider forming numerous family support groups, where groups of families can reinforce each others experiences and learn about high risk activities and how to help family members who fall prey to those risks before the crisis occurs. Thus armed, a family, demonstrating a servant’s spirit, may want to consider informally “adopting” someone in crisis as a means of helping that person. Similarly, when generations are separated by long distances, a family may choose to adopt an older or younger generation family locally.

There is still a place for some of those support groups mentioned in the opening paragraph, but only for those people who don’t have the support of an immediate family.

What does it take to wake up the body of believers?

What does it take to wake up the clergy?

Urgent Message to Pastors!

During the run-up to the American Revolution, the pulpits of America were aflame with righteousness. In contrast, it is not necessary to characterize today’s cultural chaos. Instead,

 shane-idleman

Consider carefully this word to pastors from Shane Idleman, nationally known pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship, in Lancaster, CA.

One of my great concerns is for the pulpits of America. Many are exchanging truth for tolerance, boldness for balance, and conviction for cowardliness…they are not aflame with righteousness. We don’t want to offend; we might lose our audience. We are not to seek the applause of men but the applause of God.

The pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God’s people which affects the nation. A lukewarm, sex-saturated culture (and church) simply reflects the lack of conviction in the pulpit as well as the pew. Pastors, we are not just cheerleaders, we are game changers. We are called to stir and to convict so that change takes place.

Granted, there are many wonderful pastors and churches—I appreciate their ministry, but, as a whole, the church has drifted off course. They have lost the compass of truth.

As the moral and cultural war rages between our shores, the need to be awakened from our spiritual slumber has never been greater. “Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is tested” (Martin Luther). This battle is for the very soul of our nation. It’s our choice—stand or fall.

But there is hope for those who are teachable and humble. The journey with God begins with the first step in the right direction. Simply say, “Lord, I’ve been wrong…remove my carnality, crush my pride, draw me closer to You. I repent of my sin and I turn completely and unconditionally to you. You are my only hope. God help me!”

http://westsidechristianfellowship.org/articles/3-15-14-an-indictment-against-america-pastor-shane-idleman/

What does it take to wake up the body of believers?

What does it take to wake up the clergy?

Five Frightening Election Words!

donald trump

Here are five frightening words for all voters who backed losing candidates in the Republican primaries and who are threatening to sit out the November election because they don’t like Donald Trump:

Supreme Court Justice Barack Obama.

The choice in November is clear – it will be either Donald Trump or

Hillary Clinton, and a no-vote or a third party vote is the same as a vote for Hillary Clinton.

If Hillary Clinton, arguably the most dishonest and corrupt person ever to run for President of the United States, wins, she likely will name President Obama to the Supreme Court for several very good reasons:

  1. he has covered her backside, no easy task that, in the email server scandals and now wants payback;
  2. he claims credentials as a Constitutional lawyer;
  3. he is buying a mansion in Washington D.C. and has made no secret of his desire to stay in the capitol; and
  4. he could complete his “fundamental transformation”  of our Republic during a lifetime on the Supreme Court.

If that’s not enough to scare everyone into voting, I don’t know what will.

What does it take to wake up the body of believers?

What does it take to wake up the clergy?

Greatest Destroyer of Peace is Abortion!

mother-teresa-2

“I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself, and if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?…Please don’t kill the child…give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.”

Mother Teresa

National Prayer Breakfast

February 3, 1994

The Time for Believers to Act is Now—or Perhaps Never!

woman reading the bible in the darkness

The time for believers to act—and to act aggressively is now! There may not be another chance to be a positive and effective ambassador for the Lord until He returns. Generational drift has produce believers who are astonishingly ignorant of the Bible and its application to today most vital issues. Consider God’s own perfect words:

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.” [James 4:1-6 NKJV Emphasis added]

The body of believers has become far too friendly with the world. It is a friendship that has distorted the Biblical worldview as perceived my many believers, especially the younger generations. The worldly-influenced distortions of the Biblical worldview has produced generations of sincere believers who are astonishingly ignorant of the pervasive nature of the Biblical worldview and how it applies to the powerful and devastating issues of our time.

Ponder just a few examples:

  • Abortion—Many have a vague notion that abortion is wrong, but are unable to clearly articulate why it is wrong. They may generally recall a Scripture verse where the Lord says, “I knew you when you were in the womb,” but many believers don’t know where to find it. Tragically, many believers have bought into the commonly held abortion exceptions for conceptions resulting from rape or incest and for protecting the health of the mother. They might even consider abortion when tests indicate that the baby might be born with some physical or mental limitations. Bottom line: Statistically, there is no difference between the rates of abortion among conservative Bible believers and the rate of abortion among atheists/agnostics.
  • Divorce—Today, many believers have essentially accepted serial marriage as a new norm. With unmistakable clarity God proclaims in Malachi, “I hate divorce.” Exactly what part of “I hate divorce” do people not understand? Most readers already know and understand the Biblical passages dealing with marriage and divorce. Nevertheless, the political notion of no-fault divorce that easily swept through most state legislatures greased the skids for believers to follow the world’s concept of divorce. Bottom line: The divorce rate among conservative Bible believers is statistically indistinguishable from the divorce rate among atheist/agnostics. Indeed, the United States, driven by Judeo-Christian tradition for centuries, now has a divorce rate among the top five highest in the world.
  • Same-Sex Marriage—For many believers, there is comfort in the God-given Biblical concept of marriage as one man, one woman, for one lifetime. Yet, they are unable to articulate why. They have gradually accepted alternative lifestyles up to and including so called “same-sex marriage.” Traditional marriage is carpet-bombed daily, by the media, the entertainment industry, liberal/progressive politicians, and the public educational system. Bottom line: Like Lot of old, many believers have long ago pitched their tent toward Sodom and have effectively since moved in. The tragic result is the catastrophic collapse of the American culture.
  • Strangers (largely government employees) raising the children of believers—In a devastating about face, the American culture now reveres career as a higher priority than family. Believers have succumbed to that siren song. There is no way a child can emerge into adulthood with solid soul-deep Biblical values unless the child is raised by his/her biological mom who is a full time homemaker, at least during child rearing years, and biological dad. It will not happen when a child is subjected to an endless round of babysitters, infant child care, nursery schools, before school care, after school care and so on. There is no substitute for a child’s God-given parents. Bottom line: The family is being intentionally obliterated by the myriad of forces that oppose it, while believers effectively roll over and play dead. The American culture, envied by the world since its inception, is rapidly falling into the dust bin of history.
  • Pornography—The explosion of the Internet has brought with it an explosion in pornography. It has become nearly impossible to avoid. While many believers will readily acknowledge that habitually viewing hard core pornography is wrong, they quietly accept the notion that a bit of soft porn is no big deal. Bottom line: Porn in any form is a big deal; it destroys relationships; it destroys marriages; it destroys families, thereby causing lasting damage to children. Yet most believers do not understand why and certainly are unable to articulate it.
  • LGBT adoptions—When they hear about LGBT adoptions, believers my feel a ripple of discontent pass through their heart and mind. Once again, they are unable to clearly articulate the associated problems from the perspective of a Biblical worldview. Bottom line: The rate of LGBT adoptions continues to increase with devastating effects on the American culture, while being tacitly supported by many believers.

Believers have become nearly indistinguishable from the world. If we want our children and grandchildren to experience even a fragment of a remaining free culture, the body of believers must act now, with determination and persistence. There is no time left. An occasional Bible class lesson or sermon on a controversial life-damaging topic will not come anywhere close to overcoming the widespread ignorance among believers.

There must be a very intense, all-out effort lead by the clergy. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Weekly group discussions—There must be intense weekly discussions for at least 8-12 weeks to cover all relevant issues. The discussions could occur within the traditional Sunday School or in home-based groups at any time.
  • Weekly sermons—Throughout the same period, there must be a reinforcing series of sermons on the same topics. People desperately want to hear from their spiritual leaders.
  • Suggested resource—An excellent resource is Dr. James L. Garlow’s book, Well Versed: Biblical Answers to Today’s Tough Issues. His book was just published within recent weeks and addresses many of today’s most vexing issues in 3-5 page bite size chunks. A sampling of topics includes political correctness, school choice and parental authority, marriage, schools universities and the Christian faith, abortion, sexual orientation, the judiciary, social justice, Israel, racism, and many more. All topics are addressed from an uncompromising Biblical world viewpoint.

We cannot fail to arm the believers within our sphere of influence with clear, accurate, easy-to-articulate Biblical information to wage the ongoing spiritual war.

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their intimidation; do not be shaken.” But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to articulate a defense to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But respond with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who slander you will be put to shame by your good behavior in Christ.… [1 Peter 3:14-15 NIV]

What does it take to wake up the body of believers?

What does it take to wake up the clergy?

 

The Gender Unicorn Is Coming To A Middle School Near YOU!

The relentless liberal/progressive effort to blur gender distinctions, invent new “genders,” and create new forms of “gender expression,” is currently invading an ever broadening list of public middle schools. The latest and most insidious wave is the Gender Unicorn:

gender-unicorn

Notice the similarity between the Gender Unicorn and Barney, the purple anthropomorphic tyrannosaurus rex, with whom many children are already familiar. Having already embraced a warm and fuzzy Barney, it becomes a very short step to embracing the Gender Unicorn.

The Gender Unicorn is clearly one of the most powerful and dramatic assaults on God, the Bible, and Judeo-Christian values of our time, just behind the U.S. Supreme Court ruling establishing the Constitutional validity of same-sex marriage

Believers are called upon by God to love everyone, regardless of lifestyle. But sin is still sin; it has never changed. The intimate actions of same sex unions are still an abomination to God. Adoptions be same-sex couples are still sinful. Any blurring of the God-given distinctions between men and women and their God-given roles is inviting the wrath of their Creator!

What does it take to wake up the body of believers?

What does it take to wake up the clergy?

God Warned of America’s Decline in Scripture!

Working together

As America spirals down into a cultural sewer, we are comforted by knowing that we’ve read the end of the Book. We know how it ultimately ends. Meanwhile, we are told to live the life precisely as instructed by Scripture, visible standing for all that is good and actively opposing all that is evil.

Consider God’s ancient warning to a modern America:

“The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God.” Proverbs 9:17 

“When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the las is joyful.” Proverbs 29:18 

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice But when the wicked are in power, they groan.” Proverbs 29:2 

And finally, the familiar verse,

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Proverbs 14:23

It’s up to us as believers to be the “light of the world,” “the salt of the earth,” and positive, loving, ambassadors for God!

 

Presidential Election Demands Attention!

donald trump

The upcoming presidential election is very literally the most important election of our time, perhaps the most important election in the history of our country. The book Wake Up America or Die!—YOU Must Save America and the Family includes two chapters devoted to government. One is in the “Undeniable Crisis” section; the other is in the “Awesome Remedy” section. Although written with abundant clarity, neither mentions any specific political party or living politician or candidate.

However, it is no longer possible to escape such specifics. With Hillary Clinton wearing horns and a forked tail, the ongoing controversy over Donald Trump is troublesome and dangerous.

There is a view often stated among university faculty members that, “We must teach the students we have not the students we wish we had.” Donald Trump was not my first choice for a conservative candidate. Nevertheless, the candidates for President of the United States have apparently been reduced to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Compare the Candidates

Voting is essential. It is an act of worship to protect the God-given freedoms secured by the Declaration of Independence and codified in the United States Constitution. Sitting at home and not voting is absolutely not an option for Judeo-Christian believers. Despite the misgivings of some conservatives and clergy, the bright line contrast between Trump and Clinton could not be greater. Consider as side-by-side comparison:

Donald Trump pledged to restore faith to its level of historical prominence in this country.

Hillary Clinton routinely supports views antagonistic to Judeo-Christian tradition. Her occasional politically correct remarks are overtaken by her actions.

Donald Trump is Prolife. Although he is against abortion, he has supported certain well known exceptions with which many believers, including this writer, would disagree.

Hillary Clinton is pro-death (Prochoice)

Donald Trump supports defunding Planned Parenthood.

Hillary Clinton is demanding substantially even more funding for Planned Parenthood.

Donald Trump pledged to nominated originalist (constitutionalist) justices to the Supreme Court.

Hillary Clinton will nominate the most liberal justices available to the Court.

Donald Trump is committed to aggressively dealing with uncontrolled immigration and border security.

Hillary Clinton is a globalist advocate of a borderless United States and a borderless world.

Donald Trump is committed to aggressively combating terrorism in all forms.

Hillary Clinton is unable to identify the sources of terrorism, beyond perfunctory, politically correct comments following each terrorist attack.

Donald Trump will rebuild the military for the protection of all citizens.

Hillary Clinton will continue to decimate the military.

Donald Trump is committed to “Make America Great Again.”

Hillary Clinton is a globalist committed to taking down America, following Obama’s “fundamental transformation” to make all countries equal.

Donald Trump says, “I refuse to be politically correct.” Political correctness is a movement designed to shut down the Biblical worldview.

Hillary Clinton fully embraces political correctness and all of its nuances.

There are other areas of glaring comparison, but those listed are sufficient for this message.

The greatest American presidents were known for having a noticeably humble spirit, a character trait that often fosters good listening skills. Humility seems to be Donald Trump’s most visible short-coming. But even that attitude is better than Hillary Clinton’s arrogance, sense of supremacy, and infamously harsh treatment of those she encounters and even those within her inner circle.

Judicial Appointments

A vastly overarching sleeper issue is the ability of the President to appoint federal judges. Each President appoints hundreds of federal judges who generally operate under the cloak of media darkness unless the media declares a case to be sufficiently controversial to report.

Many bad judicial decisions stand simply because the resources are not available for successive appeals or the Supreme Court is so avalanched with cases they can only hear a few due to the lack of time. Consequently, a Supreme Court decision not to hear a case can be as important as a decision to hear one.

An out-of-control judiciary was feared by the great Founders of the United States of America. Presidents have the opportunity to greatly influence the federal court system by selecting judges and justices who either support a Originalist view of the Constitution (It is a sacred anchor document that means what it says and can only be changed through the amendment process.) or a post-Constitutional view that claims the Constitution must be treated as a living document, continuously reinterpreted to keep up with the changing times. A so called fluid Constitution is effectively no constitution at all.

Due to political polarization, the power of the president to appoint federal judges has become the most influential and lasting power within the president’s grasp.

Former President Franklin Roosevelt was well known for attempting to pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices. Although he died in 1945, his Supreme Court appointees served until 1975. His appointees, along with liberal justices appointed by Presidents Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and even Dwight Eisenhower handed down a stream of devastating decisions including rulings that:

  • Effectively declared all religions equal and equally subservient to the United States Government. Such a decision effectively replaces God with the federal government.
  • Removed prayer from the public schools
  • Removed Bible reading from the public schools
  • Routinely supported the breakdown of morality in the American Culture.
  • Handed down the infamous Roe v. Wade decision
  • Supported no-fault divorces

Justices nominated by Hillary Clinton, as president, would continue the stream of devastating Supreme Court rulings “lowlighted” by the now infamous ruling sanctifying same-sex “marriage.” Constitutionalist justices appointed by Donald Trump as president would be a powerful restraint on the Supreme Court and possibly tilt the Court in a conservative Biblical direction.

Restoring America is up to YOU!

What does it take to wake up the body of believers?

What does it take to wake up the clergy?

 

Value of a Soul!

Value of a Soul

What is the value of your soul? Don’t miss this 28-minute video! Three lives search for true worth as their worlds crumble. Follow their unexpected journeys as Franklin Graham addresses the real value of the soul. Just click on the link below or copy/paste into the address block on your Internet browser.

http://billygraham.org/video/value-of-a-soul/?utm_source=Patheos&utm_medium=email&utm_content=CTV&utm_campaign=CTV%20November&SOURCE=BT15BYPAE

It’s Shocking That Sin No Longer Shocks!

Shocked screaming woman holding red head with hands

Sin is still sin. It has not gone away. The overarching message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is God’s provision for redemption from the ravages of sin. The utter depravity of sin is the baseline from which we are extracted or redeemed, ultimately to experience the fullness of God’s love. Yet, today we seldom hear much about sin from the pulpits of America.

The low level of preaching about sin tacitly communicates to believers that sin has a low level of priority or is even unimportant among many Biblical messages. The decades-long decline in the apparent importance of sin encourages believers to flirt with, compromise, or participate in sinful thoughts and activities. The believers’ minds rationalize the compromises, in part, by sugar coating their lives with regular attendance at church or synagogue.

Putting distance between us and sin moves us closer to the Lord. While it is important to keep our eye on, “…the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly call in the Messiah Jesus,” [Philippians 3:14 Aramaic Bible in Plain English] we must be fleeing from sin every moment along the way.

Consider one definition of sin. In its simplest form, sin is just doing things my way instead of God’s way. My way is pride-driven, self-indulgent, self-centered and therefore evil, because it is antagonistic to God. God’s way is other-centered and an expression of His infinite love. My way and God’s way are diametrically opposed and cannot co-exist for very long.

In short, sin is a man or woman’s private war with God. It is the equivalent of shaking an angry fist in the face of God, effectively saying, “I don’t care what You want; I’m going to do it my way, anyway.” Does that form a revolting and unacceptable mental image? Good! Then, we’re getting somewhere. Read on.

Sin should always shock, but may not always be surprising. If sin is not shocking, some contemplative self-reflection is in order. We should and must always be shocked by each new disturbing, public revelation about same-sex marriage, abortion, assisted suicide, cohabitation, divorce, or anything else contrary to the plain reading of scripture.

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on homosexual or lesbian marriage should be a huge shock and wake-up call. Although the decision may not have been surprising in today’s culture, a believer must not confuse shock with surprise.

  • Surprise is emotional. Shock is soul-deep
  • Surprise may provoke anger or joy. Shock inspires action, corrective action if sin is involved.
  • Surprise is temporary. Shock is, or should be, enduring.

If you did not understand the difference between surprise and shock, with abundant clarity, before reading this, it may be because many believers (and clergy too) underestimate the depravity of sin, God’s utter revulsion of sin, and impact of sin on every area of life.

Light cannot shine in the daytime. It is over taken by the brilliance of the sun. Similarly, the light of the believer cannot shine while basking in the glory of God. He is infinite light. His light overtakes the light of the believer, when he or she is in God’s particular presence such as in the protected environment of a place of worship. The light of the believer shines in times and places of spiritual darkness. That is when the believer lights the way for the unbeliever.

The clergy and the body must continually sensitize each other to the evil, disgusting, and relentless nature of sin. We have tended to lose sight of even the definition of sin.

The spirit of believers has become numbed by a secular culture that does not believe the spirit exists. Good preaching lights the way for the believers. But preaching about sin has dwindled in recent decades implying God’s approval through the tacit approval of the clergy. Focused, convicting messages have been replaced by feel-good or how-to messages—with an invitation at the end in conservative churches. Of course, the invitation is important, but the new believer needs enormous support to reach spiritual maturity.

A tree can only grow to a height that matches the depth of its root system. Similarly, our sense of the joy of the Lord can only rise to a height that matches the depth of our conviction of sin. Consider the data: After two years of research, George Barna reported:

“What we’re finding is that when we ask them (pastors) about all the key issues of the day [90 percent of them are] telling us, ‘Yes, the Bible speaks to every one of these issues.’ Then we ask them: ‘Well, are you teaching your people what the Bible says about those issues?’ – and the numbers drop … to less than 10 percent of pastors who say they will speak to it.”

Good heavens! Why? If the clergy fail to speak forcefully and convincingly to the issues, the people are without direction. The clergy are the ones primarily responsible for applying Biblical truths to today’s culture, in an uncompromising way.

Not many decades ago cultural pressures encouraged right, moral living. Today, relentless, merciless cultural pressures push people nearly irresistibly toward the lures of all manner of sin. The flocks need the collective support of other believers. They also need the strength of their shepherds constantly contrasting the disgusting, evil nature of even so-called minor sins with the glories of God’s infinite love and redemption. It is the starkness of the contrast and the enormity of the gap that inspires.

One cannot fully experience the mountain top without knowing the depth of the valleys. One cannot experience the fullness of God’s love without understanding the utter depravity of sin at a soul-deep level. An intellectual understanding is not sufficient. A transient emotional impression is not sufficient.

It is not necessary to personally experience sin, though to some extent it is driven naturally by the sin nature. Maturity is the lifelong effort to minimize sin in the life of the believer. The Spirit of God will provide conviction through the Bible. The spiritual energy produced must be regularly harnessed and directed by the clergy.

A soul-deep understanding of sin propels the spread of God’s word by lifestyle example and direct evangelism. Witnessing follows conviction (internal) far more than exhortation (external).

Replace milky messages with meaty ones. “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it…” [1 Corinthians 3:2 KJV] Believers are begging for the meat of the Word. They are ready for it.

Too much preaching today begins at a neutral point, urging people to love God. When neutrality is the starting point there is a reduced perception of a need for God, especially if everything seems to be going well for now. People sense a need for God and experience His love to the extent that they understand the depth and evilness of sin.

God, in His Word, commands us to flee from sin (evil). Various translations of Romans 12:9 order us to:

  • Hate evil
  • Recoil from what is evil
  • Detest evil
  • Abhor evil

We can hate, recoil from, detest, or abhor only those things which God hates, recoils from, detests, or abhors, which of course is sin. 1 Corinthians 6:8 requires us to “flee immorality.” [NAS] 1 Corinthians 10:14 adds the mandate to “flee from idolatry.” [NAS]

We flee only from what we fear. We must fear evil (sin) for its relentless destructive effect on:

  • us,
  • our interpersonal relationships,
  • our children and descendants, and
  • our relationship with God.

Unless believers collectively flee from evil, it will destroy our culture and our nation as well.

Sin always separates. Love unites. Sin or evil is the opposite of love. Sin is self-centered and antagonistic to God’s nature. Sin cannot coexist with God’s love, which is other-centered. “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” [Psalms 5:4-5 KJV]

“Let me never forget that the heinousness of sin lies not so much in the nature of the sin committed, as in the greatness of the Person sinned against.” [Puritan prayer]

What does it take to wake up the believers?

What does it take to wake up the clergy?