The days are dark and the sounds of distant battles sound,
A rumor of a fallen saint send chills up and down my spine,
The enemy is opening his pursuit and tales of desertion abound,
But, a trust has been given me to deliver in full what is Thine.
The days are dark and the sounds of battle from other nations now ring,
These are the days we have waited for, our yearning long awaited:
To tear down and root up and lay bear ancient foundations,
The faithful being faithful, the children serving their King.
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Tim 6:12
Have you ever wondered why you’re here, what you’re supposed to be doing? I have, and you probably have also, most people do. In other times and countries the answer is much easier, there is an urgency that presses the matter upon them. When the idea of survival is always before you it has a way of clearing the air and making choices simpler and words have meaning. If you wanted to eat you planted seeds that produced food, and raised livestock. If the government was oppressive and knocking at your door you took measures to survive. These people didn’t sit around and wonder what it was they were supposed to do, they knew what to do and the times and circumstances demanded that they get understanding and do it.
In prolonged times of peace and plenty we lose perspective and meanings change. Staying alive and providing for the needs of ourselves and others doesn’t dictate our actions any longer; we commence taking life as an established fact; life has been contracted to us and we take it for granted. After one or two generations pass so does the memory of what it was like to experience genuine need. Survival, now, has become the latest action game or television program and a mockery of that contracted life and the reason we were put here. So, what were we put here for, to merely survive and move on to prosperity, and create entertainment for ourselves?
Today, answers are beginning to take shape. Lines are being drawn and sides chosen. A mysterious feeling is in the air that we are about to discover our purpose full force, and it’s all about survival, eternal survival, and fulfilling God’s purpose on earth. For some the answer of “purpose” will be simple, but for most, the blind and deaf, it will be about maintaining the status quo, not showing their hand, going along to get along, and choosing the path of least resistance. For some it will be about being the “Resistance,” and abandoning themselves to the Lord, and following a very old and narrow road to a place that can be entered only by obedience to an ancient call from a world that bids us come and die. For most it is about holding onto life in this world at any cost. For a few it is about delivering to the rightful Owner a divine trust that has been entrusted to an elect remnant who will deliver it in abundance and multiplied and lay it at the feet of their Savior. The answer, to that question of purpose, is that we have been called into a war, to fight a good warfare, to fight the good fight, and to survive. The answer is in perseverance, endurance, and standing rooted in the truth, insuring that the ancient boundary markers are not moved, and staying vigilant during our watch.
For most Christians the idea of confrontation is a scary ordeal much less to purposely ponder the idea and the possible effects of open warfare. Conflict has always been a test of true loyalty and courage and so it will be, and is now, a separating of men from men. It is no secret that the disciple and follower of our Lord, Chief Shepherd, and Supreme Commander have a number of enemies. These enemies war with the Christian as long as he occupies enemy territory. The good soldier must always be encouraged, reminded, and keep ever before him his pledge of fidelity to be a good soldier under the Captain of the Lord’s host. If you and I let up, let go, yield, surrender, or say to ourselves that there is no use trying to go on, we will probably, not only lose out ourselves, but deprive others who are held captive, of freedom, if we had just fought on to the last breath.
But, there are first battles to be fought, small victories to be won, that will build confidence and perseverance; fear and inaction must be overcome decisively. The very first battle is to determine in whose camp you reside. The Bible is specific about where we pitch our tents. Once we conclude, and we must at some point make a conclusion, that we are in the enemy’s camp then our Leader commands us to “come out from among them.” The times we are living in are dangerous for the true members of the Body of Christ as we see the end of this age of Grace. There is before us the almost irresistible attraction of the seeker sensitive Church Growth Movement, fueled by the false teaching of Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven Life and Brian McLaren’s misplaced mysticism of the Emergent Church, joining hands on an ecumenical road to hell. If we can not determine the difference between the Lord’s camp and the enemy’s camp we are in serious trouble and that is itself a sign of great danger. This is the first battle you must win, and it must be decisive. For me it was straightforward, I simply could not see the Church of our Lord being exhibited behind the walls of the organized, institutional church of today. It took thirty years, but now I see. It is very important that you win that first battle or there may not be opportunity to win others.
I am tempted to mince my words, but those days are fast coming to an end. It is becoming ever so important to be direct and name names and demand answers of those who are soft peddling the Word of God to win favor with the world and man, who throw more light on the magnificence of men than or the Glory and Fame of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To stand in the pulpit and throw your arms open wide and declare that “only God could do this” (referring to the big building, and all the programs inside) is an obvious appeal to the ignorance of a congregation and a gross limiting of the power of God. If you look up at the sky at night and meditate on the vastness of the Universe, that statement itself would be an understatement, but to build a building, any man could do it and has done it, many, many, times over and they reach to the sky and declare, “we are great,” when they are not, they are nothing. We can build all the big stuff and big things we want, and we can say, “Only God could do this,” but it doesn’t make it so, it is only an attempt to make the congregation complicit to his scheme. The truth is that any true Christian that is part of a congregation where the leadership endorses or supports Rick Warren, Bill Hybell, Brian McLaren, or a hundred others like them, should come out from among them, they are false teacher, wolves in sheep clothing. The facts are there for any who seek truth.
So, because of the terrific lack of judgment shown by more and more of our Evangelical leaders there is a ton of confusion in the Church today. There is an unforgivable lack of attention to discerning what the Bible itself says concerning the issues the Church faces today. A related problem is that people have just gotten plain lazy. Christians don’t read their Bibles for themselves nor believe what it says, and instead make themselves depend on others to tell them what they should believe by reading books about the Bible. If we would read our Bibles prayerfully and in the Spirit then we would be able to discern; the Spirit would throw up red flags when we hear mere men’s words. With all the theological gymnastics going on in the Church today more and more true Christians are coming out. Let them be confused, the Bible is still the simple Word of God for those who accept it at face value, for those who dare trust it.
As I have talked to others who preach and teach God’s Holy Word there is a real feeling that things have now gotten so bad in America that it can be rightly called a pagan nation. The true Church in America is in a foreign mission field and we must face the fact that the people are hostile to Christianity in its unadulterated state. So-called Christians in America are actively living life styles that are almost the exact opposite of the way set out in Scripture. Rampant sexual immorality should be enough for any Christian to see how depraved this nation has become and all the while Christians just go home and watch another rerun of their favorite fantasy on cable television. The average Christian has been listening to secular music and T.V., and has had the world’s immoral value system preached to them on a consistent basis and they have become “used” to it and like it and even defend its use.
I have been involved with three Churches that have had leadership caught in the act of perversion or adultery: Speedway Baptist, Gray Road Baptist, Bethesda Baptist, two were homosexual and one was caught sleeping with a member of the congregation, this not to mention all the vast problems that exist within the membership. Isn’t it time for sincere Christians to realize that something is wrong?
In Rev 2:5 we read “Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” This is a call to return to first century Christianity, but first we must discover what it is. Do you suppose that God required the Early Church to obey what He has said in the Bible, that is the Old Bible, the Old Testament, but some how Christ Jesus the Lord, with His coming, has exempted, has excused, us from this now? Why don’t we get serious and start asking The Master what He thinks about all this horsing around with non-Christian cults, and welcoming the fruit of false prophets into His Church? In Acts 2:42 it says “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The apostles’ teaching is the Bible, Old and New, all of it. They were devoted, which means they lived out what it said and they were actively involved in practicing faith in God; they didn’t just talk about it and go home for a week. Scripture shows that they were steadfast in their belief and practice. The early Church recognized that to follow Christ is to turn your back on what the world is doing. And they also knew that the true Christian faith separates from those who profess to know God – 2 John 10-11 says “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.” With true Christians the filth that is paraded before them by the apostate church becomes more and more sickening and will demand that they come out. The word “koinonia” that we use for fellowship has a deeper meaning; it also includes the idea of sharing in common all of our earthly goods, and this is where a lot of so-called Christians will part company, but a true Church cannot exist without this key component, it never has and never will.
I love that word “first things” in Rev. 2:5 it so tears down our entire preconception of what and how the Church should be like. The “first things” takes us back, all the way back to the beginning, all the way back to the foundation. But, to do that it means taking a first step and that takes faith, real faith, and dependence, on a real living God, who is faithful. To go back and do your first works over again means to get it right, to pay attention, to start something from the very foundation. It is God that works in us to do His good pleasure, and all we have to do is let Him, He knows what is best for us, even if it doesn’t make sense. He will take your hand and lead you out of the darkness into the light, the light of His love in Holy Communion with all the saints unto that perfect day.
The night is well spent, the day is coming, are you where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to be doing? Do you know what you are here for? I do, and you can too. Read John 7:17 and strengthen your self because we haven’t seen anything yet.