Are you too afraid to take action?
"But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses . . . (Exodus 4:10, 11, 14a ESV)
If God was angry with Moses because of his resistance to take action, what do you think that means for Christians who are on this side of the cross, who have the full revelation of the Scriptures? Not only this but all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus (Matthew 28:18), and He tells us to take action and make the nations disciples.
What would you do if an abortion clinic opened across the street from your church or Christian school? If your community were bombarded with a wave of prostitution and pornographic flyers, which institution should step up to the plate and lead a campaign against it? Not too long ago, the church would have risen to the occasion and taken charge. It would have been an instantaneous reaction by the church. Yet overwhelmingly, the church today would respond as one apathetic Pastor in a conservative California church, who said, "We can't get involved in social action projects" . The church shouldn't do anything officially because we'll lose focus of the mission of the church. And what is the mission of the church? Preach the gospel and make disciples, but we can't get involved in any social action, because God's people may forget their purpose.
Since the end of the civil war, the church has been forgetting their purpose and losing their mission. There is a misconception of what is included in the "mission of the church." Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet." And that's exactly what's happening today. The church, God's people, because of their impenitent hearts, are trampled under foot by a secular, Christ-less society. Every area of life belongs to Christ, and the church should feel shame and regret for not occupying the ground that was won for them in previous generations.
How is it that Christians have been losing ground since the civil war? Think about this for a moment, in the 12th and 13th centuries it was the church who came up with the idea of the university. The university is "one of the greatest engines of social advancement and cultural enrichment ever conceived" . And we go back to the future only to find backwoods Bible colleges where students end up having to go to a "secular" university to learn so-called "neutral" subjects from a evolutionary worldview. Subjects like Keynesian economics, Freudian psychology, and evolutionary anthropology. And the sad part is there are professing Christian professors at the Christ-less universities who teach the evolutionary ideas to their students. On the upside, there are some Christian colleges out there who are trying to reverse this trend . Teaching from a Christ centered perspective and ridding evolutionary concepts.
The advent of the reformation challenged a whole culture. God's providential hand (side note: no such thing as the invisible hand that Adam Smith talked about. It's actually God's providential guiding hand) brought about the printing press and with it Martin Luther challenged the foundation of Western Civilization. Meanwhile, Calvin was rebuilding Geneva. Locals in his time were desperate and wanted a city governed by the principles of God's Word. And Knox was up in the north freeing Scotland with the Gospel through pen and sword. Literature by these reformation giants still survives even in secular classrooms because it changed the world. Christian literature set the standard of excellence, nothing has surpassed the King James Bible in this regards. What book in our modern world has come close to reaching this kind of impact? None.
Back in 1974, Gary North sent a manuscript to a Christian publishing firm in Great Britain. The manuscript challenged secular presuppositions dealing with mathematics, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, economics, and education. This manuscript contained essays in all these fields of study by writers with advanced degrees, most having a Ph.D. North got his letter of rejection that explained how the publisher is generally wary about publishing in these types of fields because they do not have any one on staff that is competent in those fields of study. The publisher went on to state that "we see the first concern to address ourselves to the prevailing piety in worship, prayer, and preaching . . ." .
Why is challenging secular culture so scary for Christians? Secular culture has no foundation to stand on. "Has there ever been a culture less sure of its own beliefs, less confident of its own powers, more confused concerning its own destiny?" . Relativism pervades this culture and they have no answers. The media, universities, and governments are grasping at straws and lead people to think nothing more than defeat by putting hope in fallen man. And when a positive, encouraging piece of literature is picked up by the media, secularists are called upon to give their interpretation and wisdom regarding it. Media should be calling on Christian scholars not secularists. Where are all the Christian scholars? Where have they gone? What are they doing? My guess is most are prevailing their piety in worship, prayer, and preaching." When the media wants to get a Christian answer, they'll appeal to a neo-orthodox liberal who discredits the authority of God's law and the Gospel.
When Christian scholarship is contemplated, what do you think of? Do you think of seminaries? But they only focus on biblical languages, church history, theology, evangelism, counselling, visitation, church budgets, etc. "Apart from the Wycliffe translation program, there is hardly a single explicitly Christian endeavor that has impressed the secular world with its competence" . Christians for the most part tend to be second or third rate when it comes to excellence. Why? As North contends, its because of the stubbornness of God's people and their refusal to learn the whole counsel of God, that every area of life belongs to Jesus.
If a book like R.J. Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law had been written 200 hundred years ago a culture would have flowered and we wouldn't be in the mess we are today. A void has been created and left to secularists who are standing in the gap, whom Christians should have filled. God's people today think that they can retreat from culture because "Jesus is coming back soon" and as a result they are socially impotent and therefore socially irresponsible--just like the previous generation and the one before.
Society with its rampant lawlessness, corruption, pornography, murders, abortion, witchcraft, and the like are a product of nihilism and relativism that has eroded the fabric of our nation. And Christians are to blame. The good news is that the gospel can reverse this, and it is being reversed. Society can be restructured according to God's ethical standards. Nothing else will work. Secularism has dug its own pit and is about to be buried. God calls His people to leave the stench of Egypt behind. Don't be like Moses who at first was reluctant and cried, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (Exodus 4:10, 11, ESV) Moses ended up having to do what God told him in the first place. Likewise, God has told us. We Christians have the the full testimony of Scripture for our guidance and the Spirit as our helper. "We are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (Romans 8:37, ESV) We have no excuse.
 "Backward, Christian Soliders? Gary North, p.1
 ibid. p. 2
 ibid. p. 3
 ibid p. 5
 ibid p. 6
Backward, Christian Soldier?
Christians today need a new way of thinking about the world around them. They need an optimistic, more positive way of thinking in regards to engaging the culture.
This new way of thinking is about victory in the life of a regenerate believer, over his or her indwelling sin, and it doesn't just stop with individual sanctification but flows outward into every area of life. Victory not only includes individual sanctification, but it also means societal sanctification. We won't ever be perfectly victorious over sin or its effects, at least not until you die or until the resurrection takes place. This does not mean however that God allows us to stay in our sin. No, God progressively sanctifies his people and reverses the effects of sin in a believer's life and this sanctification flows out and affects society. Society should mirror individual sanctification. Victory is progressive over sin's effects in society. This is what Deuteronomy 8 and 28:1-14 teaches.
I'm not talking about perfectionism or sinless perfection, but the progression of victory over sin and its effects for the individual and society. After the 1870's this optimistic view about society digressed into a pessimistic view of the world. Social sanctification was rejected and replaced with "a vision of defeat, in time and on earth . . . and churches went into hiding, culturally speaking" .
For those who may not have a clear definition of personal or individual sanctification, this simply means that someone who is born-again, progressively conforms their life to biblical standards for ethics. Another way of putting it is being conformed to the image of Christ, that is to say the perfect humanity of Christ. We don't conform to God's divine nature because men do not evolve into God as the Mormons teach. We conform to God's standards as manifested in Christ. Sanctification is a progressive process of God separating yourself from sin (as defined by God's law), not perfectly, but increasingly, in time and on earth.
Social sanctification mirrors personal sanctification. When Christians structure their lives in accordance with what the Bible requires, the world around them begins to reflect that change. It's really a simple concept. Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” . The effects of the Gospel flow from Christian living. The gospel has a leavening effect like yeast in dough. The gospel lived out through God's people progressively sanctifies society--setting society apart for God's glory just as God does for the individual and just as He did for Israel in the Old Covenant.
Until the knowledge of the LORD covers the earth as the waters cover the seas,
 "Backward, Christian Soldiers?" Gary North
 (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)
Is Jesus Coming Soon?
Oh, the world is getting worse and worse. The sky is falling. The world is going to hell in a hand basket. There's no reason to polish the brass on a sinking ship! I'm sure you've heard all this before. Some of you may even believe that there's no hope for this world. But before you shove off and continue thinking that way. I have a question for you to seriously consider.
Is Jesus coming soon?
Why do you think so and what scripture verses are you reading that makes you think the rapture could happen at any moment?
A few more questions to ponder:
Will the great commission fail? Will the nations be discipled? How powerful is the gospel? Is sin stronger than grace? Is there any rock to heavy for God to lift? Atheists love that last one.
Let's hear from the Master for a second from Matthew chapter 28: 18-20:
"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'”
If the rapture happened tomorrow the GREAT COMMISSION would be a GREAT FAILURE. I believe Jesus is pretty serious that the nations will be discipled and trained in righteousness. If your eschatology doesn't make room for the full inclusion of the world to be turned to righteousness then you need a new eschatology.
What of Isaiah 9:11? "They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." On earth as it is in heaven. The LORD's prayer realized. The gospel and it's affections filling the earth through the preaching of the gospel, baptizing and making disciples. If you hold to a view that the church loses in history, you don't hold to a SOVEREIGN LORD who reigns over the earth. It's that simple. Scripture is on the side of victory and optimism, not pessimism and "come get me outta here" type talk.
Remember what Jesus prayed in John chapter 17: 15-18? He said . . . "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world."
So, Jesus isn't planning to rescue the church out of the world, that would be against the very thing He came to do! Read that verse again. He gave His Holy Spirit to empower the church to attack the very gates of hell. Jesus sends His people into the world, not to withdraw from it in bomb shelters waiting to escape it via the rapture. I've had enough of this "come get me outta here" preaching. Jesus sends the church to transform the world. Turning men from darkness to light. From the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of righteousness.
When will Jesus come back? That's the wrong question. You should be asking, "when will the nations be discipled?" If you say the nations will be discipled only when Jesus comes back, you're nullifying the Spirit of God and the power of the gospel to accomplish all that Jehovah has set forth to fulfill. Jesus is on His throne NOW! Read acts chapter 2.
Jesus' influence and power will only increase throughout the world! Don't take my word for it, believe the Scriptures as Isaiah 9:7 declares:
"Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this."
Who will do this? "The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this."
Until the nations are discipled,