America is in very bad shape……….I have said that one of the greatest failures of Christians is to carry out THE GREAT COMMISSION! We are paying a deep price for that failure. Too much preaching to the choir! Way too many high school pep rallies! Not enough mature Christians. The majority of the American Church lost the salt shaker and replaced it with the candy dish. The Prosperity Gospel is one of the worst things that has ever happened in history! So many Pastors have deviated from the Word of God.
“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 underfoot. Matthew 5:13
One of my heroes of Faith Dr. Jim Denison reports:
Not everyone can give life to a child, serve in our military, or develop life-saving vaccines and therapies. But every Christian can offer every person we know the gift of eternal life.
Here’s the problem: unlike treatments for COVID-19 and cancer, many in our culture do not believe they need what the gospel offers.
According to LifeWay Research, only 54 percent of Americans believe hell is a real place where certain people will be punished forever. This despite the fact that hell is mentioned twenty-three times in the New Testament, fifteen of these times by Jesus. The Bible describes it as the “punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 7), “outer darkness” (Matthew 22:13), and permanent separation from God (Luke 16:26) as the “second death” (Revelation 20:14).
Why, then, are so many Americans convinced that hell is not real? Because our culture believes the lie that biblical facts are a matter of personal opinion.
As biblical scholar Jonathan Pennington notes in Jesus the Great Philosopher: Rediscovering the Wisdom Needed for the Good Life, we have built our lives as a “chest of drawers” with distinct compartments for health, relationships, money, education, leisure, and religion. We have decided that the contents of the religion “drawer” are subjective, much like our opinions about music and art. Just as no one is “right” or “wrong” about a Jackson Pollock painting or Mozart concerto, no one is “right” or “wrong” about God, heaven, and hell. We are each entitled to our opinion, or so we’re told. (For more, see my new video, “What does the Bible say about truth?“)
“I don’t believe in Nazi Germany”
This thinking is an example of a “category mistake” such as claiming that “the number two is blue” or “green ideas sleep furiously.” The existence of a place is not subject to subjective opinion. Brazil either exists or it does not.
For me to say “I don’t believe in hell” and then ignore the threat of eternal separation from God would be like a European in 1939 saying “I don’t believe in Nazi Germany” and therefore ignoring the threat of Hitler.
It is not surprising that lost people think this way, since “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). But it is deeply tragic when Christians agree.
I’m confident that you would say you believe in the existence of hell. But let me ask you: Do you truly believe that the non-Christians you know will spend eternity there? Are you convinced that your neighbors who seem to be living moral lives but do not follow Jesus are in peril of eternal separation from God?
If you do, what are you doing to help them choose salvation in Christ?
Only 10 percent of Christian churchgoers say they share their faith with a lost person at least once a month. When last did you?
The urgent question of the moment
There are many reasons for the decline in evangelism in our day. Some have delegated this biblical responsibility (Acts 1:8) to the “clergy.” Others hope that “seeker sensitive” worship services will bring the lost to the church so we don’t have to go to them. In a culture that prizes tolerance and punishes intolerance, many are afraid of offending others.
I agree that the clergy should share their faith and hope that engaging and relevant services will attract people to Jesus. I don’t want to offend people any more than you do.
But I also know that every lost person I know needs to know Jesus. I need to pray for them by name, build relationships as a bridge to the gospel, and share my faith with compassion and passion. So do you.
After lamenting the decline in evangelism in our day, Gerald Harris quoted the great preacher, Junior Hill: “Jesus declared to his disciples, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ And I would say to you, ‘If you are not fishing, you are not following.'”
Will you follow Jesus today?
Open Mind; I Think Not
In the years just prior to my salvation experience and new life in Christ Jesus, Satanism was my “religion” of choice. I was pursuing him, the evil one, to teach me things that I was so hastily seeking to know. I desired him to fill my mind with knowledge to do supernatural things in one particular grave yard. He was more than willing to oblige.
Satan’s greatest goal and achievement in man is mind control. If he can control your mind he has your body for action. It is all about lies, deceptions, and destruction. I am telling you this first of all as a warning, and the reason I am so set against any substance, be it alcohol or any mind altering drug, even some approved drugs.
When a substance has altered, or clouded my thinking, I have just opened the door to my mind and the demonic strolls in and takes charge. (Some forms of music have this ability to control mind and emotion as well. Ask natives of superstitious cults in remote areas who have come out, what they would do to call out demons. It was music/drums/chanting and natural mind altering drugs).
I have enough trouble keeping satanic influence out of my natural mind and emotions. I will not help him by numbing my mind from truth.
Secondly, to the believer, you need to understand that Satan does not need to possess your total body to control your life. All he needs is to plant his thoughts, suggestions, temptations, lies and deceptions into your mind. He then watches to see if you naively act on those things. If he sees you are prone to believe or accept these influences as being truth for you in the moment, he will feed you with more. Very soon, he is controlling your mind and you act accordingly, by your choosing. You believe you are right in what you are thinking, speaking and acting. Why do you think so many churches are struggling within their own membership?
When Jesus was incarnate, by choice because of His never ending love for you, He deliberately laid aside all the prerogatives of being God, and chose to be as we are. All of His wisdom, strength, and determination came through the Spirit by prayer with the Father.
When the Spirit led Him into the wilderness for 40 days of fasting and prayer, the enemy approached Him in His physical weakness from hunger thinking He would be an easy target for his deceptive traps. Satan thought that if the body was weak, so too the mind. (Luke 4:1-13)
What the devil did not realize was that Jesus’ spirit and mind had been fully nourished and strengthened by every Word from God. He answered each tempting challenge with the Father’s Word brought to mind by the Spirit to overcome the lies and false promises.
“Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.” (Luke 4:13-14)
Notice that after Jesus’ baptism and being filled with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit led Him into the wilderness, but after a season of fasting and prayer, Jesus came back in the power of the Holy Spirit, which had defeated the evil one’s advances toward His mind.
American churches are so divided today because of fear, panic, anger, political fervor, and depression, all of which have weakened our spiritual concentration to recognize the onslaughts and deceptions of the evil one in our midst. What is needful right now is for believers to fast and pray for extended periods; even fasting from media influences about the things that cloud our best judgments.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5)
Church, take your mind into the silence of a wilderness journey led by the Spirit for a season of fasting and prayer, leaving behind all anxiousness and personal agendas. Solitude; simply and powerfully, only you and the Spirit of God, seeking together His face and you will find His agenda; follow that faithfully!
Church, Wake Up; Come Alive! Pray On!