Monday, November 19, 2012

The Church in America, Part 3: Let the Light Shine! (video)

What does the future hold for America?
What does it hold for the Church in America?

In part one of this blog series (see below), I wrote about how Our Society has moved away from its willingness to be influenced by the Word of God, and that this move has made things worse for our society.

It will get worse.

As our culture increasingly 'thumbs its nose' at God, He will begin removing His hand of protection and blessing. (See Part #2 of this series.)

Yet, I believe the real problem is that the Church in America has been compromising with society so much that we have lost any 'salt' and 'light' function that we once had. Remember what Jesus had said of His Followers: 

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (Matthew 5:13-16)

The Church in America has forgotten this.

Unless THIS changes, we are in real trouble!

After all, part of the reason that America started off on such a strong foundation was the role the Church played in its founding. Many of the founders were Christians, some were even Pastors! They attended church together on George Washington's first inauguration day, praying for the blessings of God on this country for two solid hours! 

In their minds, there was no mistake: They had prevailed because God was with them and was blessing them.

The Church, historically, continued to have enormous influence over the life of this country, exerting cultural influence, for a couple of hundred years.

However, just as the 'fatal sequence' (see part 2 of this series) seems to indicate, a people in a powerful nation tend to get selfish and apathetic...which leads to dependence and bondage. 

Our society has, since approximately the early 1960's, rejected the Lord as primary influence. We are too 'enlightened' for our own good, and have tried to be so 'inclusive' that we've ended up confused. 

As the saying goes "Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything."

However, that is all to be expected. After all, this is not (and never was) a 'theocracy' where God was directly leading our leaders. Rather, it was an influence...the Church, the Gospel and the Bible all had influence over culture and it's leaders for the first 200 years (approximately) of our history.

The Church in America, however, has lost much of its influence over this culture--including, but not limited to--our leaders.


There are undoubtedly many reasons, but I think the primary one is this: We have compromised with the world.

That is, we--the individual believers who make up "The Church" have become so enamored with this world's system, values, power structure, and 'stuff' that we have lost our "salt" (preserving) and "light" (illuminating) properties over this culture. 

In fact, just the opposite has happened. Our culture has influences US!

Remember the lessons from Israel's history: The Lord promised to bless them, prosper them and protect them as long as they acknowledged and followed Him. If they ever stopped, however--especially because of compromise with the nations around them--He would remove His hand of blessing and allow them to experience the chastisement that would bring them back.

God would spank them!

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

“But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!" (Deuteronomy 30:15-19)

In the same way that the people of Israel had a choice to make--continually--and would experience 'blessings' or 'curses', so the Church in America has had a choice to make. 

I believe that we have compromised with the world around us, and therefore, God is removing His hand of blessing and protection over the U.S.

Unless something changes to correct course, I believe the world will get more chaotic, and we (the U.S.) will fade into history--whether literally, or in influence I don't yet know. I do know, it would be bad for the entire world for that to happen!

So, what are we to do?

We can learn from ancient Israel's correction course as well! 

"If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land". (2 Chronicles 7:14)

America's hope for restoration does not primarily rest on policies or elections. 

It rests on a purified, bold, and influential Church--genuine, committed followers of Jesus Christ!

WE must repent of our sins of compromise and return to a holy reverence for the Lord, and submission to Him! 

WE must commit to taking His love and influence into our society again!

WE must "Let the Light Shine"!

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