Why Has America Lost Its Soul?
Posted by Job on April 5, 2009
MSNBC.com asks Has America become numb to tragedy?. (And this article actually only focuses on gun crimes, so it leaves out things like a brother stabbing his two sisters to death.) Well, I say turn to Matthew 24, the prophecy of the last days of Jesus Christ, and pay attention to verse 12: And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. That means that as the time of the return of Jesus Christ draws nearer, the sinful conditions of the world is going to become so pronounced that people will simply not care about even heinous crimes committed against large numbers of innocent people on a routine basis.
I suppose now would be a good time to run through the usual laundry list of social and cultural ills: economic problems, political and corporate corruption, capricious wars, disrespect of parents and authority, rampant fornication and homosexuality, violence in the media, and abortion. And yes, I am certain that dark powers, evil spirits, are afoot. But the root cause of this is a church in America that no longer stands for the Jesus Christ of the Bible.
This is not a problem of a lack of values. It is a lack of the gospel being preached, and the gospel being lived by so many of the professed Christians in this country. Refer to the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:13: Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Now is not the time to point the finger at the other guy. No talking about the problems with this pastor over here or the doctrinal problems of this movement over there. No, this starts with the man in the mirror. Point the finger at yourself. How does YOUR life measure up against the standards of holy living set forth in the Sermon on the Mount, 1 Corinthians 15, the book of Ephesians, and elsewhere in scripture? I am not talking about religious standards or cultural/moral standards, but the actual requirements of scripture.
It measures up pretty well? OK, if you say so, fine. That is between you and God, and He will be the judge of that. But that’s you. What about everyone else? When was the last time you told someone else about Jesus Christ? I have to say that if I look at you as a number and judge you based on statistics, chances are it has been quite awhile, because studies show that over 95% of “evangelical Christians” never actually evangelize anybody. Based on Barna, Pew, and the other folks who put out these studies on religious behaviors and attitudes, 9 out of 10 Christians don’t even tell their friends, neighbors, and coworkers about Jesus Christ, let alone go door to door or stand out on street corners handing out tracts.
This is no surprise. 97% of Christians, including evangelicals, don’t even regularly serve in their local congregations. In virtually every church in America, no matter how large or small, the work is done by 3% to 10% of the congregation. The teaching, preaching, worship, administration, edification etc. is done by those few. The rest just show up as if they are going to a movie, baseball game, or super market or something. Now much attention is given to the crisis that the vast majority of children raised in evangelical Christian homes leave those churches never to return once they reach adulthood and leave these homes, but since 90% to 97% of the people in these homes never brings the gospel of Jesus Christ to sinners and never even serves their fellow believers in their local fellowship halls, were the homes that these children are leaving ever Christian to begin with? How can you lose something that you never had? How you leave something behind that you were never actually in to begin with?
Oh, you might take your kids to church every Sunday, buy them the merchandise from the Christian bookstores, send them to the camps and trips, get them the purity rings and have them sign the pledges, but if you aren’t spreading the gospel or serving in your local congregation, what evidence is there that you are really in the faith, and therefore have a Christian home for your child to leave? This isn’t about your culture and values, this is about your standing before a holy righteous God that demands obedience to the plan of salvation and the plan for worship and living that He left recorded in the Bible! When James wrote not once but three times (James 2:17, James 2:20, James 2:26) who do you think that he was talking to? Atheists? Mormons? Muslims? Hindus? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Jews? No … James wasn’t talking to THEM. He was talking to ME.
That’s right. I didn’t say YOU. I said ME. Why? Because as I said earlier, this isn’t about talking about the speck in the other guy’s eye. It is about the log in the eye of the guy looking at YOU in the MIRROR. If 90%, 95%, 97% or what have you depending on the survey do not share the gospel and do not serve in their local churches, why do we expect anything else but a nation filled with perversion, hate and violence? Who do you expect the blame to fall on? Sinners? Come on! How else do you expect them to act? They’re sinners and they are going to sin! The sinners are not the salt of the earth, the ones who have the light of Jesus Christ that is supposed to shine and overcome the darkness. That is the job of Christians! That is the job of ME!
The blame is on Christians. It is the Christians that are supposed to be out there turning the other cheek, helping the poor, taking care of the orphans, showing mercy to prostitutes and adulterous women (well if we care so much about abortion, who do you think is getting them?), befriending tax collectors, visiting the prisoners and all the things that Jesus Christ did and commanded. Those are the sick people that need a doctor, remember? It is Christians that are supposed to go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. It is Christians who are supposed to know better because of Jesus Christ and are supposed to be empowered to do better because of the Holy Spirit and supposed to want to do better because of a burning zeal to glorify God the Father. It is Christians that are supposed to be rising early, staying up late, and getting up in the middle of the night praying, fasting, interceding so that this cloud of evil, violence, and wickedness passes from this land.
Christians need to get reacquainted with the Apocalypse of John, better known as the Book of Revelation. That book is all about judgment, the wrath of God that falls upon the hard hearted, the stiff – necked, the proud, and the disobedient. And guess what? This judgment doesn’t start with the world, the sinners. No, this judgment starts in the church. So many of us like to read Revelation 1 about the glorious awesome Jesus Christ, skip on over to Revelation 4 and thereafter where it begins to talk about how the wicked rulers, nations, and people of the world are going to be judged, and in the process completely ignore Revelation 2 and 3, as if that isn’t talking about US.
It is US, people in the church, that Jesus Christ tells “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” It is US that Jesus Christ warns “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” It is US that Jesus Christ warns “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” It is US that Jesus Christ warns “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” It is US that Jesus Christ warns “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
All those warnings of judgment. All of those calls to repent. Not a single one was directed towards the world. ALL were directed towards the church. You know what else is traditionally regarded as being aimed at the world that is actually towards the church? The famous Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” That is taken to be a classic evangelism verse. Why? Because it is out of context. Jesus Christ wasn’t addressing sinners ignorant of His gospel at any point in Revelation 2 and 3. That entire section is directed towards those who know the gospel and are in the church. The reference to Jesus Christ standing at the door and knocking wanting to enter someone’s heart is not a reference to His wanting to save a sinner. No, it is His commanding a member of the church to meet His requirements of obedience. Jesus Christ references the heart, which indicates love. Jesus Christ wants the Christian church to love Him. And how does one love Jesus Christ? The answer: John 14:15. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
So in the actual meaning, the true context of Revelation 3:20, Jesus Christ IS NOT knocking at the door of the heart of some lost sinner asking to be let in so that He can save Him. No, Jesus Christ is standing at the door of the 90+% of Christians who never share the gospel, the 90+% of Christians who never serve in their local churches, the percentage of Christians who do not heed His instructions in the gospels and Revelation, who do not heed the instructions of Paul, Peter, James, John, the unknown writer of Hebrews etc. in the epistles by obeying His Word. Jesus Christ is talking to the foolish Christians who do not build their houses on the rock because they hear Jesus Christ’s words and do not obey them, Matthew 7:23-27! It is the Christians that obey the commandments of Jesus Christ that Jesus Christ will enter in and have dinner with. It is those Christians who will endure to the end and attend the marriage supper of the Lamb, counted among those considered the bride of Jesus Christ and the body of Jesus Christ, adopted into God’s sonship through Jesus Christ. And it is only obedient Christians that are capable of effectively standing against the wickedness that has gripped America and the world at this present evil hour.
So, professing Christian, I ask of you right now, take a look at yourself in the mirror. Are you an obedient Christian? Has your salt lost its savor? Is your light hid under a bushel? Is Jesus Christ standing at your door knocking? You are known by the fruit that you bear (Matthew 7:16, Matthew 7:20, Matthew 12:33, Luke 6:44). Christian, now it is judgment time, time for you to test and try yourself as the Bible commands you (2 Corinthians 13:5). Here’s the test: look at yourself in the mirror, and ask yourself: “Where is my fruit, and what kind of fruit is it?”