Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Realities of America

Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. (Rev 3:2)

The Election results certainly were not good for the free practice of the Christian faith in America to be sure.  A majority of Americans voted in favor of a candidate who is noted for promoting things which people of good will must call evil.  It's a situation where Christians may be forced to choose between their faith and their livelihood – a choice no government has the right to demand of us.

However, now is not the time for recriminations.  Now is not the time for "Obama = Hitler" statements and Secession petitions.  What it requires us to do is to recognize that we cannot assume that America today is the Christian America we had in the past.

This fact requires professing Christians to recognize the realities of America and respond accordingly.  The fact is, a majority of Americans seem to fall into one of these positions:

  1. Christian belief and morality is an aberration and harmful to others.
  2. Christianity is all right for personal life but is not important compared to "real issues."
  3. Not liking what is being done, but does not want to "force their views on others."

In short we have a nation where the truths of reality are dismissed as having no place in America.  It has become an apostate nation.  America is now a mission territory and we have to approach it with this understanding.

The problem is:  Americans have a tendency to think of God as a sort of Santa Claus.  He may want us to be on the "nice" list, but His commands don't really have to be followed.  The mindset is extremely irrational.  You can't even put it into a logical syllogism.  It assumes:

  1. God is good
  2. A good God will not do an evil act
  3. Hell is eternal suffering
  4. Eternal suffering is evil.
  5. Putting people into Eternal Suffering is doing evil
  6. Therefore God will not cast people into Hell.

In other words, under this view, God may want us to act in a certain way, but we won't be sent to Hell for disobeying Him.  Well, maybe if someone is a mass murderer.  But surely not someone who "hooks up" on occasion, right?

The problem is, people overlook the fact that God has given us free will.  To be free to accept God means that one is free to reject God.  If one accepts the belief of life after death, then it is clear that people who do reject God will not be with God after the resurrection.  So where do they go?  Well, Heaven is being with God.  Hell is being apart from God.  Everybody has to go somewhere after all….

Consider what Jesus has said:

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (John 14:15)

"Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.d 8 By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.  As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love." (John 15:4-10)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day,o ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’  Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you.  Depart from me, you evildoers.’ "(Matt 7:21-23)

"Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." (Luke 10:16)

"If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector." (Matthew 18:17)

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 5:17-20)

What we can see is that Jesus has declared that how we act shows whether we accept or reject God.  But this is the teaching that Americans seem to want to ignore.  We see Jesus as a nice guy.  we see Him as a good moral teacher… even though people tend to ignore more and more of His teachings when they are inconvenient.  But we don't actually think that we need to change.

But we do.  The entire concept of repentance is a turning away from evil and turning towards God.  If we will not repent, we will not turn away from sin and we will not turn towards God.  The modern American concept of a relationship with God has been reduced to "Do what you want and then go do Heaven."

America has essentially forgotten the bad news: That all people are sinners living apart from God.  If we ignore that bad news, the Good News of Salvation is devoid of meaning.  If sin is meaningless, then nobody needs a savior.  The Good News is to repent from evil and turn to God, living as He commands.

So it seems clear to me that we need to realize that the missions are not far away in Africa and Asia.  The mission is right here.  Our neighbors, our families are the mission field.  God desires the salvation of His people, and has sent us to carry it out.

Regardless of what government policies may be enacted in the next four years, the next eight years, the next generation… we have a mission to re-evangelize America.

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