It requires deep loyalty to be committed to God in these ungodly times. We face a world devoid of Bible ethics and spiritual standards. Society is filled with compromise and shallow ideals that war against purity, truth and morality. It takes courage to speak out for the Lord against the trends of popularity. We do not see many folk, even in the Lord's church, who are willing to manifest backbone in the quest for righteousness:
Can He depend On you?
His blessed will to do?
Will you be found With the faithful and true?
Can Christ depend on you?
To be accepted by those about us has always been man's desire, and that creates a problem and challenge for humanity. King Saul failed miserably to obey the Will of God, and then tried to excuse himself by saying, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of Jehovah, and Thy words, because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice" (1 Sam. 15:24). He was not the first, nor was he the last, to fall into that trap. The apostle Paul reminds us that this is a constant problem: "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10). James labels such foolish conduct as spiritual adultery (Jas. 4:4). Truth is of pristine character and cannot be compromised. The convictions which truth demands is well worth the effort.
If preachers, parents, elders and Bible teachers had the steady courage of the prophets of the Old Testament, we could solve most of the problems in the church and in the world of our day. Rather than trying to be popular with their children, the parents would always strive to be in accord with the Scriptures in order to turn their offspring toward heaven and away from the carnal appetites and sensual pleasures that never satisfy. Elders and preachers would not be enamored by numbers, cathedrals and money, but rather would be devoted to developing the depth and loyalty of all the members to the soul-searching edification that genuine Christianity produces for time and eternity. As the poet said:
As firm and patient as Gibraltar stands,
So truth, unwearied, waits the era blest,
When men shall turn to it with eager eyes,
Truth never dies.
It takes fortitude to teach and preach the old Jerusalem gospel in an age that clamors for ease and comfort and our image among the so-called elite. But the Lord's admonitions to Laodicea and Sardis ought to tell the object vanity of such putrid emphasis (Rev. 3:1-5). In Gen. 11, we clearly learn what happens to those who strive to make names for themselves!
Let us, like Daniel, "with purpose of heart, cleave to the Lord" (Acts 11:23) as we depart from iniquity. We surely owe to the people of our own day a courageous stand for holiness and godly demeanor. "To the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world" (Ti. 2:12). If we could raise up a generation that put the Lord first absolutely, with approval always upon the more excellent way (Phil. 1:10), we could overcome Satan, self and sin and come over to walk with the Lord. May this be our consuming passion throughout our lives.
Paul reminded the Ephesian elders that he had preached "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). It was the glorious message of the Lord's redeeming love (Rom. 5:8). We have been put in truth with that good news, and we must not hide it from the lost (2 Cor. 4:3). The fundamental elements of the gospel will always be the death, burial and resurrection of the Savior (1 Cor. 15:1-4). In a precise passage, the peerless apostle Paul made three salient and demanding points concerning this matter of the glad tidings of the Lord's salvation. He told the Romans: I am debtor to preach it. I am ready to preach it. I am not ashamed to preach it!
Why? Because Paul clearly proclaimed it as God's "dynamite" to save (Rom. 1:14-16). This powerful and pungent truth blasts sin out of our life-style and replaces it with godliness. It is the divine dynamic that forever transforms our thinking and changes our sojourn upon the earth. Nothing even compares with the Cross of Jesus and its tremendous message of hope:
In The Cross of Christ I glory,
Towering over the wrecks of time,
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.
If you had ten sticks of dynamite, would you keep them near your fireplace or kitchen stove? Certainly not! Should we keep the gospel, God's dynamite, away from sinners who need it, or should we not use it freely where it is needed the most? Let us get the message of truth out where the Lord intended and thus obey the Lord's command: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned" (Mk. 16:15,16). The church in the first century "went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4), and so should we.
"What shall be the end of those who obey not the gospel?" Peter asked (1 Pet. 4:17). Paul answered that burning question in 2 Thes. 1:9, "Who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of His might." Let us destroy sin with God's dynamite (the gospel of the Son of God), lest we and others lose our souls on judgment day. The Bible is the solid rock foundation for the church of the Lord. May we never forget it.
By Johnny Ramsey in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 54, No. 30, July 29, 2005.
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