Summary: We are only one generation from extinction. It is vitally important to pass along our faith to the next leaders of the church.
March 2, 2003
23In those days I also saw that the Jews had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. 24As for their children, half spoke in the language of Ashdod, and none of them was able to speak the language of Judah, but the language of his own people. 25So I contended with them and cursed them and struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, "You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take of their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26"Did not Solomon king of Israel sin regarding these things? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin. 27"Do we then hear about you that you have committed all this great evil by acting unfaithfully against our God by marrying foreign women?" 28Even one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was a son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite, so I drove him away from me. 29Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.
30Thus I purified them from everything foreign and appointed duties for the priests and the Levites, each in his task, 31and I arranged for the supply of wood at appointed times and for the first fruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.
Nehemiah 13: 23 - 31 (NASB)
We stand today one generation from extinction. Of course with Sadaam Hussein in the news I could be talking about nuclear annihilation of the human race. (We have enough bombs to render earth a ghost planet many times over).
However, I am not addressing a small thing like atomic bombs and radioactive wastelands. Sadaam Hussein is just a blip on the screen of history. To fear what he can or cannot do is like rearranging the pictures in the living room while the house burns down around us. Rather, we should fear God who is in charge of time and eternity.
28"Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10.28
The topic today is much more urgent than war with Iraq - and eternal; we are one generation from becoming the "whore of Babylon". We are one generation from becoming religious in form without righteousness as our force. We are one generation from piousness without true prayer. We are one generation from being a congregation without Christ.
Unless the next generation picks up the challenge to be the body of Jesus Christ, proclaiming the powerful gospel of salvation by grace, bought by the atoning blood of Calvary’s cross, the church will be irrelevant, impotent, a wadded-up pile of useless pomp and ceremony on a Sunday morning spiritual scrap heap! There is urgency today for faithfulness to the faith.
Today in Southern Baptist churches across the land we are slipping - and yet we are doing better than most in terms of giving, going and growing. Second only to the Assemblies of God, the SBC leads the way in growth of attendance, budgets, missions and programs; yet we are not keeping pace with the population increase.
You may ask why - what is the reason we lag behind? The answer is that there is an anemia in the blood of our salvation. In too many churches culture has replaced Christianity. I am not referring to culture as music, manners or art appreciation. I am talking about Americanism, patriotism, tribalism, and all the other "isms" that take the edge off of our loyalty to the King of Kings. Anemia in the blood of the Lamb takes the heat out of Hell, and the disgrace out of sin. It turns churches into social clubs that worship a good time, when we should be training camps for soldiers of the cross.
When culture replaces Christianity we lift high the banner of political correctness, moral relativism and multi-culturalism. We begin to identify what we used to call sin as simply "the expedient thing" or "it works for me at this time in my life."
In the name of that current most sacred cow called "tolerance" we have adopted a big sigh, and allowed for the fact that "anything goes." Sadly, when "anything goes" infects the church, what is "going" is the church - straight into oblivion, irrelevance and total uselessness in the Kingdom of God. Saddest of all is that many in the church do not recognize the signs, and even some who do see really don’t care.
That lack of vision or care can be seen in most churches. Even in our very loving congregation you can see the signs. Fifty or more will gather for chili suppers - a hundred if it’s a picnic! But when it comes time to train for reaching out to the lost for Jesus we consider it a victory if a half-dozen show. Why this anemia in the blood? It is a shortfall of faithfulness to the faith!