Repent Or Perish
By S.J. Black
Over the last several weeks, I have been working on painting the interior of my house and have become prone to turning on the evening news, while I paint.
Ordinarily, I keep up with the current news for the most part, however, I watch the news if for no other reason than for the fact that I also study Bible prophecy. And as a prophecy student, I have noticed that one does not have to watch the news for very long these days to find the end-times prophecy beginning to come to pass.
As a routine, after the kids go to bed; I am in my study reading, writing or studying Scripture. When I am in my study the television is a major distraction, so for the most part I rarely turn it on.
But, since I have been painting in the evenings lately, I have been more prone to have one of the news channels ON so that I can listen while I work. I seem to find the news these days is often filled with liberal spin and is not worth watching.
Listening to the news over the last several weeks has confirmed my personal belief that if we do not turn the moral tide back towards God in our country, then we are in some serious trouble.
The Holy Spirit seems to have been whispering in my ear (ok, more like screaming) for a couple of years now that America needs to hear a message very loud and clear.
This message is simply, "Repent or perish."
It frankly shocks me that we are in a time of war against an enemy that would like nothing more than to kill us. Don't believe me? Ask Nick Berg or Daniel Pearl. Yet to listen to the majority of the media, they and their leftist politicians are more concerned with putting personal political gain above the safety of the American people.
To argue that some of the accusations and dogma they put forth is anything but useful as a recruiting tool for the radical Moslems frankly denies the facts of the situation.
However, here is something that I have been thinking about for those of us who are Christians to consider. This line of logic may sound strange at first but stick with me for a moment and I will explain.
The liberals on the left I can somewhat understand. Like I said, stick with me for a moment.
Paul tells us in Romans 1:28 that, "…since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done."
Paul goes on in the following passages to give a 'laundry-list' of traits to identify those given "over to a depraved mind."
The list includes greed, envy, strife, deceit, malice, slanderers, God-haters, and arrogant. In addition, Paul tells us in verse thirty "they invent ways of doing evil."
To me these passages of Scripture give a very clear picture of those on the radical left in this day and age.
Therefore, while I by no means agree with them, at least I can understand where they are coming from.
However, as the moral decay continues in this country I am more concerned with a much more critically important question; why is the church not able to put a stop to this insanity?
Or to put it another way, why doesn't the church as a body of believers find some way to turn the moral tide back to the way God would have it?
I personally believe that the events of September 11, 2001 were a wake up call from God. It appears to me that He removed His hand of protection from our great land for only a brief moment.
If we do not find a way to turn the tide, I fear there are much worse events and some very scary times ahead in our collective future.
Even just this evening there are new terror warnings out.
In addition, I just read a story that in the last several days there was something in the neighborhood of 92 tornadoes that hit the Midwest in one day.
Does anyone else think that perhaps God is getting a little angry?
The answer to why the church is not making more of a difference in today's world I believe is because we all know too many "Christians" in this day and age that can also be described by the verses from Romans chapter one mentioned above.
This often is due to people who do not take their faith very seriously.
However, there is also a huge problem in "the church" today of false teachers and they are tragically misleading many well-intended people.
A close friend of mine e-mailed me the other day and called my attention to Isaiah chapter 29.
Quoting my friend: "The Lord gave me Chapter 29 in Isaiah to share with you today… It could be a word for what we are discussing concerning the state of the world right now."
How sad but true it is, that my friend appears to be completely correct in her assessment of the situation in the world.
The thirteenth verse of Isaiah 29 really jumped out at me regarding some insight into what is wrong with the church today. See if you do not agree?
"The Lord says:
These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is made up only of rules taught by men."
It is truly sad that we can all probably think of someone who is a "Christian" that this verse describes to a tee.
In Matthew chapter five, Jesus taught the parable of Salt and Light.
Jesus teaches in verse thirteen, "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."
The footnote in my Ryrie study Bible notes for verse thirteen that, "salt preserves, creates thirst and cleanses."
Somehow the Church today is missing the mark, even the Church that is staying true to the word and not falling under the deception of false teachers and false prophets.
We are not preserving our national heritage of honoring God and we are not cleansing our land.
"So what can I do about it?" You might ask.
A good place to start would be taking to heart Matthew chapter five verses 14 to 16:
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
It has occurred to me lately that many are not shining their light out into the world.
They may go to church on Sunday, but what about the rest of the week?
Even worse is the fact that some in "the Church" would appear not having any light to shine, in the first place.
Many are "too busy" with their career, kids, and hobbies to be troubled with sharing the Gospel. Not to mention, heaven forbid should we offend someone in our politically correct world today with the truth of God's word.
We do not appear to think the lost or the deceived might be slightly offended by arriving in hell to remain there for eternity?
It would seem well worth it to take the risk of offending them now if you look at things from the eternal perspective.
It does not matter if you are the CEO of a corporation or an all-night store clerk earning the minimum wage. No matter where you are or who you are, God has put you where you are for a reason.
Have you taken an inventory of those around you lately?
Are you looking for ways to share the Gospel with them?
If those around you are saved but not living their lives in a very Christ like manner, are you looking for ways to share a message of discipleship with them?
Do you work with someone who is being deceived by a false teacher?
I firmly believe that the only way we are going to take back our country is one soul at a time.
Personally, I do not even dream of having the success of Billy Graham in reaching the lost for Jesus. But, what if I found a way to share the Gospel with my next-door neighbor and you were to share the Gospel with your co-worker?
The church that I attend has a membership of roughly ten thousand.
What if every member reached a neighbor or co-worker with the Gospel?
One soul at a time, I believe we could make a huge difference for the moral condition in our country.
One soul at a time, as the Holy Spirit leads we should make every effort to reach both the lost and those who are being deceived.
The Holy Spirit is always whispering, but are we listening?
However, this idea would require each and every believer to stop looking at the daily trials of the here and now.
This idea would require believers to begin looking at things from an eternal perspective and realize that everyone you come into contact with has an eternal destiny.
God may have brought them across your path so that you can influence where they will spend eternity.
Each time you go out to eat diner, to the grocery store or to get a hair cut, does it occur to you that the person serving you has an eternal destiny?
Let's face it, by sharing the Gospel with them you will not convert all of those you meet.
It may be that God wants you to share the message of hope to plant a seed. If this is the case, do the best you can knowing that God will bring someone else along later to water that seed.
If you work at a company that would really frown upon sharing the Gospel, the very least you can do is refrain from being a bad witness by the way you act and live.
Years ago a manager I worked with and I were discussing church issues in the break room at lunch. One of our partners came in and overheard us talking.
He quickly said something to the effect of: " 'O' I know how you Christian guys are, you talk nice on Sunday but you are just as bad as or worse than the rest of us the other six days of the week."
I have scratched my head for years since wondering what sort of pathetic witness some so called Christian had been to this particular partner.
The moral decay in America is a battle that must be won by the Church.
I believe this battle is of much greater importance to our country than our war on terror.
We have all heard the historical fact before but it is well worth repeating that Rome was never defeated militarily.
The Roman Empire came to an end when the empire disintegrated from within primarily from moral decay and an atmosphere of decadence.
Could the same thing happen to the United States of America?
If we do not change our ways and turn the moral tide in our country, then yes I believe it could certainly happen here.