Summary: The desperate times in which we live provides some of the greatest opportunities to advance the Faith. Now is the time for the faithful to seize the initiative and push back against the night.

“I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” [1]

“X-rays will prove to be a hoax!” So said Lord Kelvin, president of the Royal Society, in 1883. “Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction,” was the contribution of Pierre Pachet, professor of physiology at Toulouse, in 1872. Charles H. Duell, commissioner of the US Office of Patents, in 1899 boldly proclaimed, “Everything that can be invented, has been invented.” Even Albert Einstein proved to be a stunning failure as a prognosticator. In 1932 he stated, “There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.”

We are poised on the cusp of a new year. News sites are replete with a new spate of predictions, just as they are every year. People speculate about which party will be in control of the government in the coming year, which team will win the Grey Cup, what the markets will do. I am not a prognosticator; I’m not a seer or one of the ubiquitous charlatans that predict the future during the days leading up to the transition of the years. Nevertheless, I can speak with a measure of certainty about what the new year holds for followers of the Christ. Our world is experiencing a transition from historical Christian morality to strange, startling and novel standards that really are as old as sin itself. Society’s transformation is dizzying—the old order is being abandoned and the new moral order is quickly becoming evident. Cultural Christians and religious adherents are discomforted, though they are often willing to join in with a full-throated cry for censure of any who dare stand athwart the mad rush to jettison the old order while embracing a new, controversial social order.

We live in challenging days. Society is being transformed at a bewildering clip; activities and attitudes that were once universally abhorred are now approved and even celebrated, while what was once thought to be good is condemned. The Faith of our Lord Jesus is being tested; and the testing will grow more intense in days to come. Events are unfolding at a dramatic pace as evil brazenly dares the righteous to object; adherents of this dying world challenge followers of the Master to defend the Faith once delivered. Increasingly believers are openly confronted as the wicked demand an apologia for what is believed; yet, the prevalent tone implies that most inhabitants wish we would just go away. In such a hostile environment, the model for Christian life and service is provided in the words of the Apostle as he was poised on the edge of eternity.

Verse twelve of the first chapter of Paul’s final missive to Timothy is arguably among the best known of all the verses Paul penned in this missive. The assertion readily suggests three significant affirmations that will provide the outline for our message this day. First, Paul speaks of his boldness in the service of Christ when he says, “I am not ashamed.” The Apostle then asserts the reason underlying his bold testimony, “I know whom I have believed.” Finally, Paul testifies to the confidence that he, and assuredly all Christians, should possess when he pens the words, “I am convinced that He is able.” “I am not ashamed.” “I know Whom I have believed.” “I am convinced that He is able.” In three stirring affirmations we have the essence of Christian life and service.

ASHAMED? NEVER! Not so long ago, things that were done in darkness were concealed because those doing such deeds were ashamed of what they did. Those things were once universally recognised as “unfruitful works of darkness” [EPHESIANS 5:11]. At that time, people readily recognised that “It is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret” [EPHESIANS 5:12]. However, that day has passed; this is a new day—wickedness is in ascendency and righteousness appears to be in retreat. Wickedness has burst forth out of the closet where it once lurked. Today, the Faith is being shoved into the closet. Christians are being forced into the closet, as though faith in the Living Son of God is something for which we should be ashamed.

Maybe it is time for us Christians to be in a closet—the prayer closet. In a recent radio broadcast, a well-known pastor said, “Sin which used to hide in the shadows has now come out into the light. I heard it said a few years ago that when some people get out of their closets, it's time for Christians to get into theirs and pray. We need to pray in our closets and to pray openly as we're doing today… God doesn't need America. It's a great nation. God has given us our life and our liberty. But God doesn't need America to do what God will do in the world. But America desperately needs God and we need Him today.” [2] Doctor Jack Graham’s words apply with equal validity to our beloved Canada.

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