Summary: This is the 1st sermon in the series "Living In Times Of Spiritual Decay".
Series: Living In Times Of Spiritual Decay[#1]
THE START OF DECAY
As many times as I have been to doctors, had shots, etc…; I have never disliked those things worse than having to go to the dentist. A couple of years ago, our family dentist hired a dental hygienist and things changed dramatically. Every 6 months we go and get our teeth checked and cleaned and this dental hygienist seemed to always find very small areas of decay. At first I would get mad at her because she was always wanting to cut that decay out and put in fillings; but I then realized that the longer you allow that decay to stay there, the worse it would be in the future. Because of the way I had handled tooth decay in the past, I ended up having to have a tooth capped.
In this new series, we are going to look at a different type of decay that is happening. We are living right now in a time of spiritual decay and if something doesn’t change quickly there is not going to be anything left.
We live in a nation that 50 years ago was conservative. What is “normal” now was obscene then. The idea of acceptable “profanity” on t.v. or gay rights was not even considered. The teaching of evolution as fact in our schools and creation as religious fanaticism was unheard of. Parents being criticized and punished for disciplining their children would have been laughed at.
God was in our schools, our homes, our cities, and our churches. We must even question if God’s Spirit is moving in our nation’s churches in 2005. We have went from a “Leave It To Beaver” mentality to a “Sex In The City” mentality.
This afternoon I want us to see where and how this decay begins.
Joshua had died and now the Nation of Israel was seeking direction. Now they did go to the right place- God; but no one was seemingly stepping up as the leader. When a leader can’t be found, the people begin to take on habits and actions of those around them and that is what the Israelites had done.
I want to use our church as an example. Through the years there has been notable leaders in our church, such as Estelle South or the Ables, etc… When these people move or go to be with the Lord what happens? Our church has been in the midst of a transition for the last year. We have seen many younger families come into our church and we have seen many of our older members either go to be with the Lord or not be able to do what they used to because of their health. This is something I have really been concerned about as pastor; because although our numbers are about the same, finances are fine, etc…; the “shoes” of the Estelle South’s of the world are not being filled.
Now, I am not trying to be an alarmist, because the truth is many of our younger folks are stepping up and learning how to serve in those areas God has called them to; but if we as church don’t continue to do our part as individuals we are going to be in trouble. When we get ourselves in situations where just a few people are doing all the work we then watch a handful of people get frustrated to the point of quitting while everyone else sits back and watches.
Here we find a compromise in attitude. Israel was supposed to go in and destroy the enemy. They were to not leave any of the enemy alive. We see that they did go in and destroy the Canaanites and Perizzites at Bezek; but instead of just killing Adoni-Bezek they cut off his thumbs and big toes. This was an act to humiliate the enemy and it was something that many other nations did. Since when did God want His people to take on the actions of other nations?
As God’s children, we struggle with this temptation of compromising our attitudes. Comments like, “There was only 2 “cuss words” in that movie”; are good examples. Notice how small of a thing this is. Those small things grow bigger and bigger. All the devil needs is a small foothold.
Here we see some very slight compromises within Caleb’s family. Othniel won Acsah’s hand in marriage and Acsah quickly began to work her charm on her husband and her daddy. In verse 14 it says that Acsah urged her husband to talk to her dad about getting some property. The word used here in the Hebrew actually means “to nag”. She was “nagging” her husband to get this field for her and instead of leading his family, Othniel quickly gave in.