Summary: God is calling the Body of Christ in 2014 and beyond to (i) Be the WATCHMEN for the DYING NATION (ii) Be the PROPHETS to the DYING GENERATION and (iii) Be the PREACHERS/MESSENGERS to the DYING WORLD.
Opening illustration: Many of us appreciate the Robertson family’s strong commitment to biblical principles and their refusal to back down under intense media pressure over Phil Robertson’s comments in a recent interview on moral values. As the Robertson controversy winds down - at least for now - I have been amazed at how many churches have apparently “ducked” out on the issue (sin). Some were even quick to condemn Phil Robertson. By refusing to back down and sticking to the Biblical moral standards, the Robertson’s became the unofficial symbol of courage and resolve in a moral battle that the media wanted Americans to believe they'd already lost.
If we Christians banded together and took a stand, perhaps we wouldn’t be losing so much ground in what the media is calling the “cultural war.” However, it is not a cultural war - it is a religious war against Christians and the biblical truths we stand for. In fact there are a number of anti-Christian groups in our country who want to silence anyone who dares challenge the idea that homosexual behavior should be celebrated. We've seen these vicious tactics used against wedding florists, bakers, photographers, sports journalists, students, and teachers, who've been fired, hauled into court, fined, suspended, and ordered to violate their religious/faith beliefs. Sad to say, some churches have fallen into the trap of being politically correct, under the disguise of tolerance. God is not “politically correct,” and He is certainly not tolerant of sin. The Bible tells us that He is going to judge all sin one day; and anyone who is not found under the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, will face an eternity in hell separated from God.
Scripture says, “So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:49-50). But today God is willing to forgive anyone who truly repents (is willing to turn from their sin), asks for His forgiveness, and believes on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (“For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” Romans 10:13).
If you believe in Christ, say it loud and clear for the world to hear! Jesus tells us “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. "But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:31-33) We can so easily deny Christ not only through our words but more with our actions and beliefs. Contemporary stalwarts like Phil Robertson, CEOs of Chick-fil-a and Hobby Lobby have set the standards and example for us all in being good Christian watchmen for our country. They have kept the torch burning brightly. It is a time for us to stand up for our faith in Christ and not just stand on the sidelines as passive lukewarm Christians.
What is our vision for 2014 and beyond?
1. Be the WATCHMEN for the DYING NATION (Jeremiah 6:16-19)
Introduction: The days of Jeremiah's ministry to the people of Israel were days of deep spiritual wickedness. The people had sinned against God to the point where He was ready to give them up and send them into captivity. And, in fact, they did go into captivity in just a few short years after this was written because they failed to hearken to His instructions. Yet, the Lord never gives up even while they perched on the edge of judgment; He desires to see them turn back to Him. You notice in the Bible that God always uses simple common everyday things to express His truths. In this verse, we are given the image of a traveler who comes to a fork in the road. He has the opportunity to go anyway he desires, but God tells him to ask for the "old paths, where is the good way."
(i) Ask for the old paths
Notice the term “Ask”; instead of just traveling blindly on down the road, the traveler is told to stop and ask directions. We men traditionally don’t do that. We think we can get to where we want to go without asking anybody. Many a times our shortcuts turn out to be long cuts, but we keep on doing it for some reason or another. Maybe it’s within the nature of man. Perhaps God had men like us in mind when he gave this Scripture to Jeremiah. Just maybe He wanted us men to listen closer to His words and warning.
(ii) Follow the old paths
The problem Israel faced is a problem people have faced down through the ages; they get the wrong directions and follow them. Moving just one road sign created a dangerous situation that possibly even caused serious accidents or even death. I afraid that many of our religious leaders of today are changing some of the road signs of the faith, in doing so are causing confusion among the Christian community, and keeping many from ever finding the road - way to life. You will surely find rest in the paths that have already been laid down by God through those who have gone before us.