WHAT TO DO?

Unbeknownst to the vast majority of people in the world today, Christ is what life is all about. In Ephesians 1:10-23, the Apostle Paul teaches us that God the Father is summing up everything in this life in His Son, Jesus Christ. He is doing so, Paul explains, so that in the end He can place Christ over it all. It all adds up to Christ, who is what life is all about.

In biblical times, unlike today, when figures were added up, their sum was not placed on the bottom, but on the top. This is the picture of life being drawn by the divinely inspired pen of the Apostle Paul in the first chapter of Ephesians. He is showing us how everything in this universe is adding up to Christ and how Christ in the end will be placed over it all. Therefore, my friend, if you don’t have Christ, you have nothing, since Christ is the sum of everything!

WHAT TO DO?

Perhaps, the most astounding words Jesus ever spoke in the Scripture are found in Luke 10:42. Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, is busy as a bee serving Jesus. Her sister Mary, however, is just sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to His words. When Martha complains that Mary is not helping her with all that needs to be done, Jesus says to Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about too many things” (v.41). Then, Christ commends Mary rather than chastens her for choosing to sit at His feet and commune with Him. According to Jesus, Mary had chosen “the one thing needed.” Did you get that? The only thing we need in life is to live our lives in communion with Christ!

All we need to do in this life is what Mary did, namely, live our lives in communion with Christ. Everything else in life flows from this, including our service of Christ. Contrary to popular opinion, our relationship with Christ does not result from our service of Christ, but our service of Christ results from our relationship with Christ.

It is only those who stay at Jesus’ feet who will know what service Jesus needs rendered. For instance, in John 12:1-9, we are told how Mary anointed Jesus for His burial. Although Martha was still busy as a bee in the service of Christ (v. 2), it was only her sister Mary who knew what Jesus really needed. How did Mary know? She knew because she had been at His feet. Only those who live at the Master’s feet will know how to perform the ministry that most magnifies the Master!

All the advice you will ever need to live the rest of your Christian life is found in the last recorded words in Scripture of another Mary. In John 2:5, Mary, the mother of Jesus, says to the servants at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, “Whatever He says, do it.” If you will spend the rest of your Christian life at the Savior’s feet and only get up to do what He tells you to do, you will do all that you need to do.

Permit me to point out that Jesus also said that what Mary had chosen would never be taken away from her (Luke 10:42). Think about it; the one thing in this life that can never be taken away from you is your relationship with Jesus Christ. Whereas you can lose everything else, you can never lose this. It will last forever! So just how important is it for you to focus in this fleeting life on the one for sure and forever thing you possess?

WHAT TO DO?

The Apostle Paul’s great fear for his fellow-Christians was that they would be deceived by Satan from simple lives of devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3). This explains why he taught us to focus on invisible, spiritual and eternal things rather than on visible, worldly and temporal things (2 Corinthians 4:18). In these biblically predicted perilous times of the last days, it is more important than ever for the Christian to avoid being distracted from things of eternal consequence by things without lasting spiritual significance.

When it comes to spiritual things, nothing is of more eternal consequence or comparable in importance to one’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us that eternal life is only found in knowing “the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He] has sent” (John 17:3). As the Apostle John puts it in 1 John 5:12, “He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has no life.” The Apostle Paul even went as far as to say that all who live their lives to please themselves rather than Christ are “dead” while they “live” (1 Timothy 5:6).

Regardless of what you may think or believe, without a personal and life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ, which results in a lifelong relationship to be daily cultivated with Christ, you have no life in the here-and-now. Furthermore, you have no hope of eternal life hereafter. How important then is it for you to come to know Christ and to spend the rest of your life daily cultivating an intimate relationship with Him? Nothing in all of life is more important, since life itself emanates from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul teaches in Colossians 3:4, Christ “is our life.”

It is here that the uniqueness of Christianity is clearly seen. Whereas other faiths are mere religions whose founders are dead or dying, Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. It is a relationship with its Founder, Jesus Christ, who is not dead, but risen from the dead and living in the world today. Moreover, as the Conqueror of death, Christ is able to give eternal life to all who come to Him. Consequently, our relationship with the resurrected Christ, which is initiated at our conversion, will continue forever, since we will live forever in the presence of the ever-living Christ.

WHAT TO DO?

This past September 11th marked the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack upon our nation. The day after the attack, September 12, 2001, Tom Daschal, the Senate Majority Leader at the time, addressed a joint session of Congress, in which he said: “America will emerge from this tragedy as we have emerged from all adversity—united and strong. Nothing can replace the losses of those who have suffered. I know there is only the smallest measure of inspiration that can be taken from this devastation. But there is a passage in the Bible from Isaiah that speaks to all of us at times like this.” He then went on to read Isaiah 9:10: “The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.”

On the third anniversary of the 9/11/01 attack, Senator John Edwards, who was running for vice president at the time, also invoked Isaiah 9:10 in a campaign speech, promising those in attendance that America was doing exactly what the “Lord’s Word” instructs, namely, “rebuilding with hewn stone and planting cedars.”

In the summer of 2012, while visiting the new World Trade Center building site at Ground Zero in New York City, President Barack Obama scrawled a message on a steel girder that read: “We remember, We rebuild, We come back stronger!”

The problem with these biblically illiterate politicians invoking Isaiah 9:10 as an appropriate response to the 9/11 terrorist attack upon our nation is that this verse is actually the arrogant and defiant response of an unrepentant Israel to God’s warning of impending judgment. To prove Israel’s vulnerability and to warn them of His coming judgment upon them at the hands of their enemies, God allowed an enemy attack upon Israel in hopes of humbling the nation and leading it to repent and return to Him. However, instead of being humbled and repenting, Israel was disdainful and defiant. They insisted upon their invulnerability and dismissed any possibility of impending judgment. Furthermore, they bragged that they could rebuild and recover stronger than ever before from any occurrence of divine retribution suffered over their rebellion against God.

I’ve studied the subject of revival for years, both revival in the Bible and the great revivals of history. Although there is much I still don’t understand about revival, there is one thing I know for sure: ALL REVIVAL IS BORN IN DESPERATION!

As long as we believe we can solve our problems through the political process, there will be no revival in America. As long as we believe our country is only one election away from being turned around, there will be no revival in America. As long America’s preachers refuse to preach sure and certain judgment, there will be no revival in America. As long as the church remains at ease in Zion over its hope of revival in America, instead of covered with sackcloth over the hopelessness of our present situation, there will be no revival in America.

On the other hand, if we ever face up to the helplessness and hopelessness of America’s present situation and turn to God in utter desperation, who knows what God may do? It’s time for us to get serious about prayer and to get desperate on our knees before God in our personal prayer closets and church prayer meetings. After all, these are desperate times calling for desperate measures!

WHAT TO DO?

For years I preached that America’s only hope of survival was revival. However, for the past few years, I’ve preached that America has no hope of survival, since it no longer has any hope of revival.

The Bible teaches that those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord will be saved and that those who refuse to do so are lost (Romans 10:9-10). If this is so, then how hopelessly lost is a nation that not only refuses to acknowledge Jesus Christ, but outlaws its acknowledge of Him?

The Bible teaches that the sure sign of spiritual reprobation is the acceptance and advocacy of homosexuality (Romans 1:18-32). If this is so, then how hopelessly reprobate is a nation that has enshrined in its law the redefinition of the divinely ordained institution of matrimony to include same-sex marriage.

As a result of my recent preaching I’ve been roundly condemned by my fellow-evangelicals for being an unpatriotic pessimist whose faith is proven sorely lacking by my denial that all things are possible with God. Furthermore, in refutation of my contention, many of my detractors point to the book of Jonah to prove the possibility of revival in today’s America. They point to the revival that took place in ancient Nineveh as proof of the possibility of revival in modern-day America. However, my detractors fail to point out a couple of critical points.

First, the revival in Nineveh was instigated by a preacher like me, one who preached nothing but certain and imminent judgement— “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4).

Second, the revival in Nineveh was only made possible because “the people of Nineveh” were different from my detractors, as well as today’s American evangelicals, in that they “believed God”; that is, the Ninevites believed that their situation was hopeless and that God’s judgement was imminent (Jonah 3:5).

I once heard a prominent preacher say, “You won’t trust God until you have to!” I initially balked at his startling statement, but after reflecting upon it, came to realize the truth of it. As long as we think we can solve our problems we will look to ourselves to do so. Likewise, as long as we think someone or something else can solve our problems we will look to them or it to do so. However, if we ever get to the place where we realize our situation is hopeless, that no one or nothing can help us but God, then, and then only, will we turn to God in utter desperation.

It is when God sees this, as He did in Nineveh—“God saw their works”— that revival is possible (Jonah 3:10). It is only a nation whose leaders are willing to come down “from” their “thrones” and whose people are willing to “cover themselves with sackcloth and cry mightily unto God” who are fitting recipients of revival (Jonah 3:6-9).

WHAT TO DO?

The only hope for America is for the American people to get right with God. And the only way the American people will ever get right with God is if the church preaches the Gospel in America. Unfortunately, as we’ve written about in previous devotions in this series, the church in America has swapped the preaching of the Gospel for the political stump speech. Rather than simply fishing in the pond, as fishers of men and preachers of the Gospel, the church has decided to attempt to clean up the pond through its political activism. As a result, the church has forfeited its means of transforming our culture in order to participate in a corrupt political process that only serves to further muddy the waters of today’s politically correct society.

As we’ve pointed out in previous devotions in this series, there is no way for the church to involve itself in modern-day politics without compromising the Gospel. Whereas compromise is considered a great virtue in politics, it is a great vice when it comes to preaching the Gospel. As Christ’s stewards of the Gospel in the world today, the church’s commission is not only to preach the Gospel, but also to protect and preserve its purity. If we fail to do so, man’s hope of salvation will be lost to the next generation, since we’ll be passing off to it a compromised rather than pure Gospel.

Understanding what was at stake, the loss of the next generation’s hope of salvation, the Apostle Paul refused to give an inch or to compromise the Gospel for an instant, lest the Gospel passed down from his generation to the next be robbed of its power to save (Galatians 2:5). Likewise, as Christians today, you and I need to protect and preserve the purity of the Gospel by refusing to give an inch or to compromise the Gospel anywhere, at anytime, with anybody, for any reason!

WHAT TO DO?

So far in our devotions we’ve talked about something we shouldn’t do and something we should do. What we shouldn’t do is fall for the Americanized Christianity that is passing for true Christianity in America today. What we should do is preach repentance, despite the fact that it is as unpopular a message as could possibly be preached in these politically correct times. In this devotion, we’ll talk about a second thing we should do as Christians in these biblically predicted perilous times of the last days.

The only way America will ever change is if the American people change. The only way the American people will ever change is if Christ changes them. And the only way Christ can change the American people is if the church will do what Christ commissioned us to do in Mark 16:15, namely, preach the Gospel. As Christians, there is nothing more important we can do for our world and fellowman or for our country and countrymen than preach the Gospel!

WHAT TO DO?

Make no mistake about it; there is no more unpopular or politically incorrect message that can be preached in today’s America than the message of repentance—that all men are sinners who need to turn from their sin with a broken heart and turn to the Savior, Jesus Christ, with all of their heart. For instance, to preach repentance to a homosexual; that is, to preach that he/she is a sinner that needs to turn from their sin of homosexuality to Christ, is to assure oneself of being readily and roundly condemned in today’s America as an intolerant homophobe.

In light of incurring such protest, as well as suffering such persecution over the least little peep of repentance in today’s politically correct America, the contemporary church has ceased to preach repentance. As a result, we are actually eliminating all possibility of repentance in America and of America’s return to God.

As a Christian in today’s America, you must ask yourself whether or not you are willing to do what Christ has commissioned you to do, preach repentance, regardless of how unpopular it makes you and of how much persecution you’ll have to suffer for doing so. Now that you know what to do, the question becomes whether or not you have the courage and commitment to do it.

WHAT TO DO?

So far in these timely devotions on What To Do, we’ve talked about what we shouldn’t do. We shouldn’t fall for the Americanized Christianity that is passing for true Christianity in America today. If we do, we’ll exchange the preaching of the Gospel, the only hope of changing America, for political activism, something incontrovertibly proven over the last several years to be totally ineffectual at changing anything.

Today, we’re talk about the first thing we should do as Christians in these biblically predicted perilous times of the last days. We should preach repentance! The only way America will ever repent of its sin and return to God is if the American people repent of their sin and turn to God. The only way the American people will ever repent of their sin and turn to God is if the church will do what Christ commissioned us to do in Luke 24:47, namely, preach repentance in our land.

What was the message of the Old Testament prophets? Repentance! What was the message of John the Baptist? Repentance! What was the message of Jesus? Repentance! What was the message Jesus commissioned His disciples to preach to “all nations”? Repentance! What is the message the church is to be preaching in the world today? Repentance! The message has never changed. Repentance is the message of the Bible.

WHAT TO DO?

The big lie that keeps the American electorate monopolized by today’s two-party political system is that the only way to effect change in America is to win elections. Since there is little chance of elections being won by anyone but a Democrat or Republican, voters feel obligated to vote for one or the other, lest they throw their vote away. While voters may have to wade through all kinds of trash to get to the polls in these days and times, many still prefer going to the polls to staying at home. While voters may have to hold their noses to vote for today’s Republicans or Democrats, many voters still prefer putting their vote in a ballot box to perceivably tossing it into the trash can. As a result, our political monopolizers continue to sit in the catbird seat and grin like Cheshire Cats.

My argument with the political activism of today’s evangelicals is that it is based on the false proposition that winning elections is the only way to effect change in America. One of the last events in the life of our Lord was His losing of a public election by a landslide (Matthew 27:15-26). Yet, our Lord changed the world! How? By His uncompromising stand for the truth, which is also the reason He lost a public election to a common criminal by a landslide. As our Lord clearly demonstrated, it’s the truth, not winning public elections that changes the world.

As long as today’s evangelicals compromise the truth in order to continue voting for truth-spurning politicians, we’ll effect no change in America. Neither is there any hope of us ever doing so as long as we refuse to opt out of today’s two-party political monopoly. What we must do is serve notice to both political parties that we will no longer violate our Christian convictions to punch a ballot for their candidates. Furthermore, if knowing they can no longer take our votes for granted fails to force them to nominate candidates who will fulfill their campaign promises to do the right things once elected to office, then, I would propose that we start a third political party, regardless of whether or not any of our candidates ever wins a public election. At least we’ll be able to go to the polls for the real good of our country and punch a ballot without violating our Christian convictions or compromising Christ’s Gospel! Win or lose, such an uncompromising stand for the truth is the only way we can hope to change America.