C.S. Lewis once aptly said, “As Christians when living in this world, we are living behind enemy lines.” We live in a world that is hostile to our Biblical world view. The Churches in our culture have been failing. Churches big and small are not passing on the faith. Many Churches have turned to the culture for the answers on how to engage the world, rather than turn to the Word of God. Today we have entertainment as a regular part of our worship services.
You can go to a church and watch a Christian wrap about a football game, and some of these same churches will not even sing a Christian song, or open a Bible for weeks as to not offend the non-Christian public they wish to attract. The truth is if you’re going to preach the truth, you’re going to offend the world. In 1st Corinthians 1:21-24 says, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For the Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” In the book of Romans 1:17 Paul tells us, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'” Notice Paul said, “I am not ashamed” We must likewise be bold in our confession of faith. Preach the Word. Live the Word. And you will be shamed by the world. They will hate you for it!
Jesus said in John 15:20, “Remember the word I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” They persecuted Jesus, so what make us think we are above persecution for our faith in this world? What makes us think the world will want to hear the truth? They persecuted Paul for speaking the truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul was imprisoned, chased out of town, smuggled out of the city, laughed at, regarded as a fool and stoned. And after all that what did he do? He was empowered by the Gospel and he went to the center of political power and pagan religion for the ancient world. He went to Rome. He was not ashamed. He lived in the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit. He was embolden by the power of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Today many churches want to be relevant in a world that has labeled them the problem. Many pastors look more like CEO’s of big corporations, and less like Shepherds over their flocks. As they look to inspire their congregations with motivational talks that include testimonial videos, drama and music to capture the emotions of their audience. But all that will not change a heart. It is the Gospel that brings the dead back to life! Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Without the power of the Word, I believe churches will continue to decline in our time. And here we stand. Like Esther, “As such a time as this.” What will we do to defend the faith?
Jesus defended the truth. He showed us how to live. He was bold. Remember when He chased the money changers out of the temple? He was not the timid Jesus that so many paintings portray. Do you remember what He said to them? Matthew 21:13 tells us what Jesus said, “And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye are making it a den of thieves.” And then He turned their tables upside down as He protected His house! We need to take the House of God back as a house of prayer, but we have gotten comfortable. We have become cozy with the culture. Today you can’t tell the difference between the culture and many churches and Christians. Unfortunately, I believe many churches are failing. Failing to make disciples. The big and the small churches a like. We’ve forgotten what a Titus 2 church looks like, where the older women are teaching the young women and the older men our mentoring the young men. Charles Spurgeon once said, “A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, you will have clowns entertaining the goats.” Why have we fallen so far as a culture and in the churches? I believe we have we neglected the Word of God. We have failed to make disciples not only in our churches, but in our families. We have failed to disciple our children. Failed to pass down our faith in the homes. We have left it up to the children’s church, the Sunday school and the youth group to educated our children and grandchildren in the faith. If they are brought to church at all. Sometimes making church attendance optional.
These dedicated people in the church die their best, but it’s not enough. We go to church maybe one day per week and our children and grandchildren are overwhelmed by the culture in school, TV and entertainment the other six days per week as they are influenced by the world. Many fathers have failed to shepherd their own families. So what’s the solution? Pastor Voddie Baucham Jr. says, “I am convinced that holding men accountable for the evangelism and discipleship of their families does more to motivate and engage them than any weekly Bible study ever could. Telling a man to show up to a weekly meeting is not a challenge worth attaining…But unleash him to eveangelize and disciple his family, and he will have found his mountain.” Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:4 that it is the father’s responsibility, not the pastor’s, to bring up his child, “In the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” I find it interesting that this same chapter of Ephesians 6 concludes with the Spiritual armor. I believe it is a given that all true believers will be engaged in spiritual battle. Paul says, “Finally my brethern be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” We must put on the whole armor. The armor is not optional. It’s the armor that the father is equipping his children with when it says in Ephesians to, “bring them up in the nuture and admonition of the Lord.” Why? So they can stand! Ephesians 6:13 tells us, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
This is nothing new. Paul reminds father’s of their responsibility to their children’s discipleship as Moses reminded the Children of Israel in the book of Deuteronomy. It’s the family where disciples are made. The church is to be an extension of support for the family. The family is under attack right now in our culture. Why? I believe because it’s God’s blue print and His original design to grow His church. God uses the family to pass down the faith. Deuteronomy 6:7 reminds us of the importance of living the Word of God in our homes when it tells us, “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.” A.W. Tozer said, “What’s closest to your heart is what you talk about, and if God is close to your heart, you’ll talk about him.” We must step up and take responsibility for our families. Fathers and grandfathers must take a stand! And where there is a widow, or a single mom, the church should step in to help her.
Pastor Voddie Baucham Jr. once said, “We are not called to convert our kids, but we are called to disciple them.” Conversion is the work of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Discipleship is the parent and more specifically the father’s responsibility. In Mathew 28:19 Jesus tells us, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The people we should be teaching most, I believe, sit right across from us at the morning breakfast table. We see them at birthday parties and family events. John Bunyan said, “If you want to be a godly head of a family, you must ensure that there is Christian harmony among those under you, appropriate for a house where the leader fears God.” We need more fathers in the home who fear God. Fathers who follow the command of Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” When you love God with your all, there’s not room for anything else to come in and take His place. He is your all in all. The challenge for us today in a hostile culture and in a world that wants our children and grandchildren is, are we going to love God with are all and pass that love through discipleship down the next generation? Will we be like Paul, who was not ashamed of the power of the Gospel? Will we share it and live it with our families on a daily basis and not just on Sundays? Are we going to pass on our faith, “from faith to faith” as the scriptures tell us? The time is here. The time is now. May we begin making disciples and may it begin in our homes.
“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson