With all this confusion the Devil has been sowing within the Evangelical church today, parents should dare not forget that their primary role is to teach our children to fear the Lord.

Pray For Persecution?

With the foggy and fuzzy scene of postmodern secularism looming in front of teenage America, muddied even further as it is by an enigmatic Emergent Church attempting to pose as true Christianity as this apostasy grows, it’s little wonder to the discerning eye that it would appear we are basically driving our youth away from Christ on purpose. However, there is a cure for this misstep, and the Lord knows just how to apply the right discipline.

Years ago I was an instructor at a Christian youth camp for a couple of weeks in the summer. While I was there we were visited by a group of young people who served as missionaries to China. As we were talking one day one of them said: “I pray for some persecution to come upon the American Church.”

After I picked myself up off the floor, I said – “What?! You can’t be serious.”

They continued by explaining that it is illegal for Christians to meet openly in China–which has forced the Church underground. Then one of them explained, “This type of persecution has caused Christians to have to put away petty differences and to really have to depend on Jesus as they are forced to truly live out their faith as a part of their very survival. And if you could see for yourself how the Lord’s Church is thriving there–and how God is blessing them–then you’d understand.”

I was reminded of this when the Lord brought me across the following words from Christian leader, Sir William Wilberforce, an English Reformer and anti-slavery crusader around the turn of the 19th century, in one of my daily devotionals. I’ve shared a part of this before, but it bears repeating when you look at the appallingly shallow self-ishness of the purpose driven lives of the emergent church here in postmodern America. Wilberforce says practically the same thing as those teenage missionaries to China:

Christianity has always thrived under persecution. At such times the Church has no lukewarm members, there are no people of whom it is hard to tell if they are Christians or not. The Christian, during times of persecution is reminded at every turn that his Master’s Kingdom is not of this world. When all on earth wear a black and threatening aspect, he looks up to Heaven for consolation; the Christian learns during such times that he really is a pilgrim and a stranger in this life.

However; when Christianity is in a state of outward quiet and prosperity the reverse effect naturally takes place. The soldiers of the cross–in what should be a militant Church–forget that they are in a state of warfare. Their passion slackens, and their zeal fades. Then like a colony that has now been long settled in a strange country, Christians are gradually blended in to the features and lifestyles and language of the native inhabitants until–as the time of peace continues–almost everything that should make Christians a “peculiar” and chosen people–foreigners in this world–gradually dies away” (paraphrased from Nick Harrison, 365 WWJD?, p.75).

Christian writer Nick Harrison then asks us –

Has your [own passion] slackened? Are you still aware that you are in a “state of warfare”? Can you detect signs of [being “blended” in]– that is–are you feeling more at one with the world system, or are you realizing that you’re merely a visitor here, a stranger in a strange land? Jesus lived daily the life of an alien on this planet as an example to us. By doing what He would do, we’re learning how to live in a strange land” (ibid., pp.75,6).

And not only are we aliens in a strange land, but we are also soldiers of the cross in the Army of our King of kings, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and we must understand that our King is at war. Our God is engaged in mortal spiritual combat with a malignant spirit called Satan–the Devil–and mankind has been hurled headlong into the fray.

Know Thine Enemy

In his classic textbook The Kingdom Of The Cults, Dr. Walter Martin shares this insight about our deadly foe:

We are told in the Scriptures that Satan or Lucifer – the ’god of this world,’ was once a mighty and perfect angelic [creation] of God whose dazzling and wondrous countenance earned for him the title ’son of the morning’ and ’cherub that covereth’ (Isaiah 14:12; Ezekiel 28:14). The Scriptures also tell us this powerful angel secretly cherished the desire to usurp the throne of his maker (Isaiah 14:13-14), and upon gathering numerous supporters he rebelled against the sovereignty of [God]. The outcome of this wicked rebellion was the driving from Heaven of Satan and the fallen angels that followed him, and he was subsequently allowed dominion over the celestial universe for reasons best known to God…hence his title ’prince of the power of the air’ (Eph. 2:2). (pp.177,178)

Let’s look at a couple of things that the Bible has to say about the Devil’s origins, and along the way we will also examine some of his strategy, and in particular, what his forces have been doing to attack our young. First we go to Isaiah, chapter 14, beginning with verse 11. We’re going to use this text from the Old Testament as we look a little further into the depraved character of Satan–the very real and present enemy of men’s souls.

All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you. How you have fallen from Heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations ! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to Heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.

This important passage of Holy Scripture comes during Isaiah’s “taunt” of the King of Babylon. And you will see that these words from the Lord have a primary meaning, and a secondary application as well, as the Bible so often does. Remember – the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart – Hebrews 4:12. The more you think about what you are reading–which we refer to as meditating on God’s Word–the more the Holy Spirit will “reveal” to you. This experience for the regenerated in Christ is known as illumination – “making clear” – by the indwelling Holy Spirit of the one true and living God.

This, by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with the twisted “mystical” bent of the Emergent Church Movement, and their extremely dangerous idea of using methods hatched in false religions and the way they “see” God’s Word for a fresh “experience” with God. No, I’m talking here about the conscious, prayerful, seeking of the Lord as to what the text of the Bible you are reading means in the language in which it was written, and what it meant to the people it was originally written to. I’m simply speaking here with the reverent awe of orthodox Jewish Rabbis as they correctly teach–the more we “turn” a verse of Scripture, as we do a fine gem stone, the more “color” we will be able to see. And if we admire the beauty of things such as a precious stone, then how much more should we revere the magnificent Words of the amazing and majestic God Who created it.

Now the primary meaning of the above verses refers to the future time–remember this is also a prophecy–when the Lord will free His chosen people from their exile into Babylonian captivity. A time for Israel, which turned out to be a lot like when they were taken into Egypt. The Egyptians ruthless imposed upon the Israelites the various labors that they made them perform. Ruthlessly they made life bitter for them with harsh labor at mortar and bricks and with all sorts of tasks in the field (Ex. 1:13-14, Tanakh-The Holy Scriptures). And all this was brought on as a consequence of their sin before a holy and righteous God.

When I was a high school varsity football coach, I often instructed the young men whom Christ had left in my care that discipline is a good thing. It’s always good to learn from what we are taught, but at the same time, we can also learn from punishment as well. At least you’d better, unless you happen to enjoy being punished! God knows far better than we do that punishment is a form of correction and it serves to take our focus off of ourselves–and our petty earthly cares–and forces us if necessary to look at what’s really important. If you noticed when we presented our text, it was pride in him-self that caused Satan to foolishly rebel against His own Creator.

Starting in verse 13 the Devil uses “I” a total of five times in just 2 verses! And that’s the root our problem as human beings as well–the stubborn pride in self. And this is exactly why the seeker sensitive Emergent Church, and the Purpose Driven Church will never truly lead people to Christ, because those who follow false prophets like Brian McLaren and Rick Warren will find their aberrant teachings only play right into mankind’s sinful self-centered human nature. And you can see it even in newborn babies, as they awaken in the wee hours of the night crying for attention, caring only for their own needs. You say: Well at that age it doesn’t know any better. Granted, but how do you then explain that teen who persistently interrupts you while you are busy because you just have to help them find that “special” piece of clothing? Or what about the husband who insists that he must play golf with his buddies every Saturday?

Giving In To Selfish Pride Is To Be Like Satan Himself

Exactly when do we grow out of this self-ishness–this devilish pride? The absolute truth is, that on our own we don’t. Only by completely surrendering our lives to our Creator, Jesus of Nazareth, as our Lord and Savior will our prideful and sinful human nature ever be broken–a nature I might add that is just like Satan himself. Now do you understand what Jesus meant when He said – If God were your father, you would love Me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on My own; but He sent Me. Why is My language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil – John 8:42-44.

Many Christians have used this to foster anti-Semitic beliefs, and yes, historically Jesus is speaking to Jewish religious leaders here as He says these chilling words. But remember the double-edged sword? The Master Teacher is also talking to us as mankind in general. The Lord is speaking to you, and to me. You must understand that the life Jesus calls the true Christian to live runs against all that human nature is. It is a life where we must be self-less–and not self-ish. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). And further, Jesus said – the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life – Matthew 20:28.

So the next time you find yourself doing something simply because its what you feel like doing, and the next time you find yourself making wise-cracks when someone speaks of the importance of self-discipline–ask yourself–which “father” are you acting the most like. Friend, whom will you serve? In the prophetic words of that sage old philosopher Bob Dylan, from the Church of Somebody Buy Me A Clue: “You gotta serve somebody. Now, it might be the devil, or it may be the Lord; But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”

And this captivity that Israel would find themselves in was indeed God’s loving punishment for their sin. The Bible says – Lord our God, You answered them; You were to Israel a forgiving God, though You punished their misdeeds – Psalm 99:8. Do you want to know why so many of our young people act the way they do today? It goes right straight back to our human nature–self-ish pride. Holy Scripture says – Folly – [lack of morality–self-ishness] – is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him – Proverbs 22:15. The “rod” spoken of here is more than just “corporal” punishment. It also refers to a measuring line of correction–a standard–as well. This verse is talking about the duty of a parent, whose child is actually a gift from God in the first place, to teach and correct their children as they grow. The Bible further says – He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him – Proverbs 13:24.

This same chapter of God’s Word says to the young – He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame (verse 18). Herein lies what has become such a pitiful shame and such a poor example to our young with all the seeker sensitive sappy sentimental “love” of the Emergent Church and the Purpose Driven Church. And this would be the appalling lack of discipline for our children, out of a misplaced fear that we may offend them and possibly “turn them off” from church. I’m guessing here, that if they were to end up spending an eternity in Hell because we didn’t love our Lord enough to trust Him at His Word and then to tell these kids His truth, there’s just the slightest chance that they will be offended alright–forever! And, Mr. PDL and EMC pastor, when will you finally get your heads out of the wishful musings of man-centered books like The Purpose Driven Life and A Generous Orthodoxy and remember THE Book. For in there you will quickly come to realize that it is God Who grows His Church, and not pride-ful mankind!

We Must Tell Our Youth The Truth

One Sunday morning a number of my former players had come to our service at Connecticut River Baptist Church for a special message I had for both the church and the football team. Taking this opportunity that the Lord had graciously provided for me to speak to them on His behalf, from the pulpit I asked them:

How many of your friends have flunked off this team, or have been arrested, and already have Police Records that will make their lives much harder than any of the work we will ever do for football? Use your head guys, you drink; you drug; you break the Law–you lose! And together men, this football program–which is about more than football–together through the Lord’s discipline–we are winners. And God’s Word says – whoever – [follows this discipline and learns from] – correction is honored – Proverbs 13:18. Did you get that? This is God’s plan for you–to give you a life worthy of honor– a real reason to live as you come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. But you must repent of your sin before God–that is to turn your back on a lifestyle that unfortunately, you will see too many of your friends living.

Further I told them, as well as the rest of the church in attendance that day:

These guys in this room know that I love them because I do take the time to discipline them–and we as a Coaching Staff do correct them. In our team huddle after all the hard work done at practice, they’ve often heard me tell them that it isn’t easy for this us to watch how we have to push them so far physically. But this is the key to our success–the special bond of love God has given each of us for the other. This love for–and trust in–each other comes from the high level of discipline that we reach for together.

In fact, that’s what a family is all about–and that’s what a team is all about–togetherness. The letters of team should stand for: “Together – Each – Accomplishes – More.” And this unique group of people that Jesus has assembled–this little church that “wouldn’t go away,” and this special group of kids, now has the chance to show Claremont what happens when someone fully places his faith totally in God. For it written: It is God Who arms me with strength (Psalm 18:32). And then again – The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6, NKJV).

And, finally in this section of my sermon that day I taught them:

Fellas, think of just how special our team huddle is, where we know that we have earned this incredible feeling of the brotherhood of soldiers. You guys miss that in the off-season don’t you? Well, we have that here every day at Connecticut River Baptist Church–we are soldiers of the cross of Jesus Christ–the noblest call that you can possibly have in this life! That men and women, is a true high that no drug could ever give you–and it also answers the questions all of us have in this world; “Why am I here?” – and – “What am I going to do with my life?” We invite you to join with us in serving–here on His team Christian–for only in Christ is where you will find the love, peace, and rest that your soul is missing.

You know what I mean, that kind of “empty” feeling that you notice when all is quiet, and you are all alone. You see this is the place that God has created within you to come and live–if you’re man enough to turn around and ask Him to come into you. And you need to know that none of this came about by “coincidence” – whether my being your coach, or your being here this morning. Consider this from God’s Word – Acts 17:26 –because the Lord determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. You must understand that you are not here by accident. And those of you who are honest with yourselves can even point to a series of events that just kind of “fell” into place so that you could get here today. Well, the truth is that Jesus put them into place for you to be here.

As we return to our topic proper, let me just say that I shared the above–not to draw attention to myself–but to show the difference between loving someone enough to challenge them with the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and this odious attempt in the seeker sensitive purpose driven emerging church to water down the Gospel so as not to offend people. The Bible says – See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ (Colossians 2:8, NASB). When all the time this truth remains, all that is actually accomplished through this kind of man-centered compromise is to deny the Lord they profess to represent, and equally as tragic, those who have been entrapped by the user-friendly doctrine of the Church Growth Movement actually end up denying those they talk to a chance to hear the only Gospel that can save anyone.

Parasites Within The Wheat Field

It is vitally important in this, one of the most insipid generations in the entire history of the Christian Church, that we correct one of the biggest lies that Satan has sown into God’s wheat field as yet another parasite. This would be, that if you “set the bar high,” and challenge kids to live up to a higher standard of morals and discipline that you’ll only “scare” them away and they won’t even try because they will think it’s too hard. What utter rubbish! And what an insult to the character and strength of our young people! We need to teach them exactly what Christ Jesus has told us His followers must do, and then He will certainly honor His Word.

It is imperative today to let people know we are Christians, and that we will stand for our Lord no matter what anyone else may think of it. Like the Apostle Paul, the true Christian must be able to say: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in [Jesus of Nazareth] the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me – Galatians 2:20. I tell you in the Lord that if the Church will repent of its pragmatic psycho-philosophical “gospel,” and if we will re-dedicate ourselves to preaching His true Gospel, then we will once again see His power manifested in His Church. Let us challenge those we share His Gospel with to – Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed [happy] is the man who takes refuge in Him – (Psalm 34:8).

One important way for us to come to understand that we are Driving Our Youth Away On Purpose is to recognize when we are beginning to think and act as our mortal enemy Satan does. You need to remember that the Devil is the ultimate deceiver – as shrewd as a serpent – and he’s had centuries of slithering into people’s lives unaware. Yet another reason to read the chapter of Proverbs for a given day so as to let the Lord train you to think as God thinks. But here’s the dilemma we face in this pagan nation–and sadly–even within more and more of the Evangelical church! The fact is, the majority of parents and authority figures in most young people’s lives today do not know Christ. And then, on top of this, we have too many of the ones who would claim to know the Lord buying into such a worldly way of raising kids–largely derived from the occultic philosophies of secular psychologists–that frankly we are losing the battle for our young right now.

As each succeeding class comes in to our local High Schools each year, they arrive even worse than the one before. But consider this, young people 15, 16, 17, 18 years old are looking for purpose–they’re looking to experience something worth giving their lives to. And instead of instructing them to experience God through some Buddhist-type contemplative prayer in the Emergent Church, or teaching them their purpose is to live a self-centered “abundant life,” we need to challenge them with the true Gospel of Jesus Christ! Now, before you are tempted to get upset with me, this concept of challenging youth for Christ was expressed by Billy Graham–who is hardly someone we could call a radical–back in the early 70’s. Do seriously think things are better now?

Let me ask you: Are these new ways of raising our kids and this so-called reaching young people through the purpose driven “gospel” actually working? Are the individualistic methods of seeking God where you find Him in the postmodern Emergent Church truly working? No! The lifestyles of so many of today’s “Christian” youth have about as much affinity with the actual life of a true self-sacrificing Christian as I do with Richard Abanes. Trust me, we’re not likely to be having lunch together anytime soon. And do you realize that those teens Graham was talking about back in the early 70’s already have grand children? Babies who have been raised by babies are now themselves raising babies, and that is the sorry state we find this dying nation today.

The fact is teens in this juvenile generation are bored–for the most part–because they have been given too much. As a result, so many of them have little to no respect for anything, or anyone–least of all, it seems, for themselves–degrading themselves as they do. Nor do many of our youth even seem to know how to work and earn something. So, they seem content to just continue to under-achieve–and this new type of child abuse–this not teaching them any kind of a real work ethic causes them to fall apart at the least bit of adversity. That is, whenever they can actually be motivated to even seriously try and accomplish something. And, am I being unloving to point these things out? I wish you to know that I chose to stay in the little city of Claremont to show these young people a better way, and until the Lord called me into this ministry of Apprising Ministries fulltime, I have been directly involved with kids in my city for years now. So I ask: How much more love could I have shown to them?

Discipline Is The Key To Knowledge

I can tell you from personal experience that so many of our precious young people today quickly fall apart when adversity comes because of a lack of self-discipline. If we really do love them, we need to help them to understand that hard work and difficult situations produce the mental toughness required to overcome life’s problems and to become successful. In the Book of Hebrews God tells us something that is so painfully overlooked by too many of today’s lukewarm self-centered purpose driven Christians:

And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.

What we need in the Evangelical church today is a true reformation, and strong leaders who will turn their backs on the self-centered seeker sensitive Emergent Church and its evil stepsister the Purpose Driven Church. If you listen you will hear the Spirit calling for men and women who will once again set out to walk with God with rugged determination to place their faith entirely in Christ Jesus–and in God’s Word–the Bible. We need to tell our young people that the goal of a life of ease, which is held out by the satanically controlled world around them, is in actuality a deadly parasite that will only eat them alive from the inside. Those of us who love the Lord must tell these cherished young souls for whom Christ died that in the Bible–Almighty God says – Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid – Proverbs 12:1. And what is more, God the Holy Spirit tells us, that by giving oneself fully to Jesus, and being careful to do everything written in [the Bible]. Then you will be prosperous and successful – Joshua 1:8.

Men and women, a return to biblical disciplines, and the raising our children with the principles of God’s Word is our only hope to stop this horrific slide into sin and depravity that America is no doubt in. Even unbelievers can see this country is destroying itself, and I must tell you in the Spirit, that the Lord will let it continue–if we don’t humble [our]selves and pray and seek [God’s] face – [His favor] – and turn from [our] wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14). While this is not a specific promise for every nation, it is a secondary biblical principle that the wise people in any given country should live by. Despite the whining to the contrary of the Rick Warrens and the Brian McLarens of the ill-fated user-friendly Church Growth Movement, the truth of this matter is, we don’t do anyone any good by refusing to confront sin. I’ll tell you what we are doing; we are simply standing by as people who don’t know any better debase themselves and their families.

Let the true Church of Jesus Christ be forewarned, standing on the promises of God is the only real way to keep these kids from spending an eternity in Hell! That is Satan’s plan for them you know. In the short time he has left, you can count on his powers and principalities to mount major offensives in an attempt to even divide true Christians. And the enemy of men’s souls has already convinced millions of fools that by soft-peddling discipline and having little to no consequences for rebellion is the way to keep kids happy. Well, I challenge you to go and actually talk with young people the way I have for the past five years–and let them tell you themselves just how bored and disillusioned with life they are becoming. We are told time and time again in this nation that we must be tolerant of everyone’s view, and no matter how ignorant or dim-witted this “view” might be. Well, I tell you in the Lord– that Christ’s true followers can not afford to tolerate any more of this new type of child abuse.

Let Us Love Our Young Enough To Discipline Them Properly

What all this confusion the Devil has sown in the Evangelical church has to do with the subject had to do with driving our youth away on purpose will now become obvious. For too long now Satan’s minions have tricked parents into treating their teens as if they are their “buddies.” And I know for an absolute fact from working with troubled teens in Stevens High School–that here in Claremont–this all too often extends to making excuses for their disrespectful behavior. And, even more shamefully, it has even lead to using their kids as drinking and drugging buddies–someone to abuse substances with. And for those who commit this despicable sin, God the Holy Spirit will have you know that there will be Hell to pay. For this is what the Lord says – Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through who they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin – Luke 17:1-2.

Please listen carefully; there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a close relationship with your children, this is supposed to happen. However, as a parent, you dare not forget that your primary role is to teach your children to fear the Lord. We’ve all heard this Scripture – Train your child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it – Proverbs 22:6. That’s because it’s all too often quoted to parents who grieve because their child is walking in rebellion before God. This Scripture is then offered as comfort to the struggling parent, but this is only a secondary meaning. So the way it is normally read makes it sound as if this passage is saying: “Don’t worry, parents, if you happen to train a child in the way…” When in fact, in the original Hebrew, this verse of Holy Scripture is instead a command to parents: “You are to train your child in the Way.” It is tied to the following command to God’s people by the Lord – Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength – Deuteronomy 6:4-5. In other words–your allegiance is to be in total submission to the Lord–with every fiber of your being regardless of the cost.

In fact, when the real Christ Jesus–not the namby-pamby seeker sensitive caricature of Him–says in Mark 12:29-30 – “‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,’” it is this passage of Deuteronomy He is actually quoting. And verses 6-9 then go on to tell parents: These commandments that I give you today – [says the LORD] – are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. [Parents, do you get the idea that God the Holy Spirit thinks this is an important task? As the LORD God says] – Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

If we are to have any real hope of reaching this current lost and troubled generation, it will take the true Christ of biblical revelation to help you to recognize what the Devil’s primary strategy is in destroying this country that we profess to love. The truth is, he’s been quite successful in corrupting our nation’s youth–the very future of America–for at least a couple of generations now. And you will need to know that God is going to hold any of us who are not willing to join the battle for our youth–at whatever level you hear Jesus speaking to you–accountable for their blood. Fortunately, it’s not too late, but the task grows ever more difficult as the deepening shadows of this apostasy further encroach upon our Lord’s Church.

Satanic Strategy

To paraphrase an ancient military giant: If I want to conquer a people, the first thing I would do is to infiltrate the country’s arts and music, because it has such an effect on the masses. This is exactly what Satan has done, beginning with birth of secular Rock and Roll music. O, and it all seems quite tame now, doesn’t it? But that’s only because of the way society has been “desensitized” to sin by a relentless onslaught of such blatant and repugnant filth through the years–regularly splashed before us by TV, movies, magazines, and now the internet. Did you know that up until the late 1960’s there was a Christian organization operating within Hollywood with enough clout to actually keep a Christian influence there? Then, as the cancer of the cult of liberal theology ate away at the Body of Christ, the balance of power shifted and the Christian voice was finally silenced. Do you think it was by coincidence that the first major motion picture to come out after that office closed was Rosemary’s Baby with its storyline about a child of the Devil? And this piece of trash even featured an appearance by the late founder of the Church of Satan Anton Levey.

Then, as the drug-numbed 60’s and 70’s gave way to the cocaine-fueled excesses of the 80’s–which elevated self-ishness to a near virtue–American society became even more desensitized and primed for Satan’s next major onslaught. In the early 90’s came a previously obscure obscene inner city music style of ignorance and arrogance known as gangsta rap. This blight on society was vomited into our lives here in rural America straight from the bowels of Hell itself while the Church in this country simply slumbered on. What was once confined to the corrupt and degraded “sleazy street-life” of drug addicts, prostitutes and pimps is now a celebrated lifestyle of mainstream public figures and so-called celebrities. Just look at how perverted this sullied culture has become!

This is what the Lord says: Did I not warn you of Satan’s strategies and of the devastating consequences of following him? For the Bible already said – But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. [Now get ready for today’s headlines.] People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without sel control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. [And Jesus says to us: If you are wise and want to be on the winning team then you’ll] – Have nothing to do with them – 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

This should be a sobering “wake-up call” to what is happening to us right now, and yet it was written nearly two thousand years ago! Now consider this chilling comment on this passage of God’s Word by Bible teacher Alan Nute when he explains that the Apostle Paul:

obviously has in mind the days which will end this present era, days immediately preceding the second advent of Christ… The expression terrible times contains within it the thought ‘of threat and menace, of danger’ (Wm. Barklay, The Daily Study Bible, p.209). The nature of the evils catalogued are certainly those which would produce such conditions for the Christian. They are terrible times [because] their influence is adverse to spiritual life and occasion innumerable dangers for the child of God. The life of the ungodly is frequently corrupt, and the pressures exerted upon the believer are [like] a floodtide which runs strongly against him. There follows in vv. 2-5 a list of vices which constitutes a frightful picture of a world which has turned its back upon God. In a sense the first two, lovers of themselves and lovers of money, are the parent sins that from which all the rest of the wretched brood are begotten (New International Bible Commentary, p.1489, bold in original).

God Will Turn Away From Spiritual Adultery

Christian don’t you see; we cannot afford to keep on playing purpose driven “patty cake” with lost sinners all the while submerging further into ourselves within some alleged emergent church. NO! The Church of Jesus Christ must warn these people that when they turn their backs on God–in these perilous times–He will also turn His back on them. For it is written:

When she [Jerusalem] carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her nakedness, I [the LORD] turned away from her in disgust (Ezekiel 23:18) – and then again – But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: “‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? – Acts 7:42) In the above verses, it is quite plain that God’s patience with sin has a limit. And men and women please understand that we aren’t doing our youth any favors with false platitudes and condescending compliments, because in the end, it only masks a shallow patronizing spirit that they can see right through.

Please permit me to share with you one other short passage from the sermon I was talking about earlier as an example of true Christian love:

I believe in these young men in this room, and it is a testimony to their strength of character to see so many of them here this morning. And these guys know that I love them dearly. I am man enough to admit it, and I sacrifice my life for theirs. Donna and I consider them as our own children–as does this church body now. I also believe that these soldiers know that no one will be more happy than I to watch them succeed in life, and to go on to have a deep, intimate, fulfilling personal relationship with their Lord. And you must remember that, Jesus of Nazareth is Lord and Savior of His universe whether you acknowledge Him or not.

But I would be failing as a pastor and coach if I didn’t love them enough to tell them the absolute truth. They know that I will be the first to offer them encouragement and praise, but they also know that when they make wrong choices, love will compel me to point that out to them. Under no circumstances am I going to just stand there and watch them hurt themselves. They know I’ll be speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) to them even if they get angry with me. This doesn’t stunt their growth as young members of society, or prayerfully as Christians, for those who are not yet in Christ. Quite the contrary, this builds trust, because they know that when I praise them for an accomplishment–whether in Christ–in school–or on the field–they will know it is from my heart. And they can depend on me to tell them the truth–no matter how much it might hurt either one of us for the moment. You see men and women; pain is temporary, the accomplishments in this world are temporary, but a well-lived life in Christ Jesus–is–forever.

And this is the message that Satan doesn’t want our young to hear. As I have followed what my Lord Jesus teaches me–as a good soldier of the cross–each of these young men can recall special moments that only we share. Most of these are good times, and a couple of them bad, but these are moments that God uses to form a bond that the Devil cannot penetrate–as it should be with any family. And this same will happen with each of us in this church for as long as Donna and I are here. We all need each other, and all the more now, as we are about to enter a difficult time of warfare by the enemy. But I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation – 2 Corinthians 6:2. We need to have faith, and we must follow what God tells us to do–no matter what–to the end. For God the Holy Spirit says – “if we stand firm – [united as one and believe, you will watch and see as] – the Sovereign Lord comes with power (Isaiah 40:10) over Claremont.” Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! (1 Samuel 12:16).

Raising A Church Full Of Almost Christians

Preaching during the First Great Awakening, George Whitefield, a man mighty in Christ talked about what he called the “almost Christian.” Talking with the average professing Christian today, you get the distinct impression that this is exactly what they are content to be. However, popular movements such the purpose driven church, and the emergent church become popular for a reason–and these aberrant forms of Christianity are nothing more than the latest fad–here today–and by God’s mercy gone tomorrow. These fads become popular, because they allow for the almost Christian–content in their Laodicean spirit–to have one foot firmly in the world, with the toes of the other barely over the line of the very outskirts of the boundary of the Church.

But the spiritual carnage left in the ruinous wake of each passing fad inevitably further injures God, and our Lord’s Church in this country. And, it is particularly destructive to each generation of young people, left confused and hopeless by the contradiction of the almost Christian with what the Bible clearly says to anyone who will even bother to read anymore what God’s Word actually says. Whitefield describes this perverse imitation of a true disciple of Jesus Christ of Nazareth:

An almost Christian is one of the most hurtful creatures in the world; he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing: he is one of those false prophets, our blessed Lord bids us beware of in his sermon on the mount, who would persuade men, that the way to heaven is broader than it really is; and thereby, as it was observed before, “enter not into the kingdom of God themselves, and those that are entering in they hinder.” These, these are the men that turn the world into a lukewarm Laodicean spirit; that hang out false lights, and so shipwreck unthinking benighted souls in their voyage to the haven of eternity. These are they who are greater enemies to the cross of Christ, than infidels themselves: for of an unbeliever every one will be aware; but an almost Christian, through his subtle hypocrisy, draws away many after him; and therefore must expect to receive the greater damnation.

But,…[a]s it is most prejudicial to ourselves and hurtful to others, so it is the greatest instance of ingratitude we can express towards our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. For did he come down from heaven, and shed his precious blood, to purchase these hearts of ours, and shall we only give him half of them? O how can we say we love him, when our hearts are not wholly with him? How can we call him our Savior, when we will not endeavor sincerely to approve ourselves to him, and so let him see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied! (http://www.txdirect.net/~tgarner/whit6.htm)

So, do you still think that its ok to “play” at being a Christian, seeking some soft Purpose Driven pillow to sleep on, or submerging within yourself to discover the Emerging Church of the spiritually comatose? We have now arrived at the point in this country where things are so out of whack and so upside down morally–and even inside the Church Jesus of Nazareth, the glorious Lord of all lords and the King of all kings, that it nearly beyond repair. And all the while, as the Body of Christ sleeps, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) devouring our young through the kind of religious confusion we read about in the following article from Newsweek:

Beliefnet, the religious Web site, sends out more than 8 million daily e-mails of spiritual wisdom in various flavors to more than 5 million subscribers. Generic “inspiration” is most popular (2.4 million), followed by the Bible (1.6 million), but there are 460,000 subscribers to the Buddhist thought of the day, 313,000 Torah devotees, 268,000 subscribers to Daily Muslim Wisdom (and 236,000 who get the Spiritual Weight Loss message). Even nature-worshiping Pagans are divided into a mind-boggling panoply of sects, including Wicca, Druidism, Pantheism, Animism, Teutonic Paganism, the God of Spirituality Folk and, in case you can’t find one to suit you on that list, Eclectic Paganism (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9024914/site/newsweek/).

You see, we have arrived at this state of spiritual lunacy as almost Christian parents, themselves raised by almost Christian parents, have ignored the biblical mandates of Proverbs 22:6 – Train your child in the way he should go – and – Mark 12:30 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” And the devastating results on this current defiant younger generation are obvious to those with eyes to see; but so also is our compassion for them, as in some ways they never had a chance to hear the real Gospel–not yet. But, Hallelujah, it is not to late – Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).

And brother Whitefield points us to the only way we can ever recover our languishing zeal within the evaporating Evangelical church here in pitiful postmodern America:

Let me therefore, to conclude, exhort you, my brethren, to have always before you the unspeakable happiness of enjoying God. And think withal, that every degree of holiness you neglect, every act of piety you omit, is a jewel taken out of your crown, a degree of blessedness lost in the vision of God. O! do but always think and act thus, and you will no longer be laboring to compound matters between God and the world; but, on the contrary, be daily endeavoring to give up yourselves more and more unto him; you will be always watching, always praying, always aspiring after farther degrees of purity and love, and consequently always preparing yourselves for a fuller sight and enjoyment of that God, in whose presence there is fullness of joy, and at whose right-hand there are pleasures for ever more. Amen! Amen! (ibid.)

For those with ears to hear…the Spirit says…Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our Faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him Who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart… Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:1-3; 28-29).