‘ For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:3 KJV.
Just as birth pangs increase in frequency and intensity the nearer the baby comes to being born, so these ‘pangs’ are increasing in our age. This is no less true in the area of morality and the generally accepted standards of civilised behaviour –what is right and what is wrong. In New Zealand our laws and social norms are, and have been dramatically changed over the last few years. Society has allowed permissiveness, lewdness, foul language, blasphemy and swearing to become commonplace. It is considered perfectly normal to emphasise your remarks by swearing and using foul language without any concern whatsoever. Since the late sixties and seventies TV and Hollywood have steadily lowered the standard until most movies are, for Bible believing followers of Jesus Christ, unwatchable. The tragedy is, many in the ‘Christian’ community have no concerns about watching them at all. I have mentioned this before, and I’m saying it again, this is blasphemy. I commonly hear those who claim to be followers of Christ using the ‘OMG’ expression. Any use of the name of God carelessly, casually or frivolously, violates Exodus 20:7 which tells us,
‘You shall not make wrongful (take...in vain, KJV, misuse, NIV) use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.’ NRSV
If there is any doubt about this, the Lord Jesus makes it abundantly clear in Matthew 5:37,
‘Let your Yes be simply Yes, and your No be simply No; anything more than that comes from the evil one.’ AMP
For the believer our conversation should be simple and straightforward. Free of exaggeration, over emphasis, honest and truthful. I am constantly, in my own life, personally challenged by Proverbs 10:19,
‘When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but the prudent are restrained in speech.’ NRSV
This current slide into apostasy is an intensely moral issue. Further, it is likely to affect everyone of us as time goes by. Just expressing the thoughts I am doing in this email could, very soon, land me in jail. Simply quoting an ‘uncensored’ and ‘unsanitised’ version of the Bible might very soon, be a criminal offence. Ray Comfort, whom I used to know many years ago, and who has remained ‘true blue’ in his proclamation of truth, has produced yet another remarkable movie called ‘Audacity’ in which he takes on homosexuality head on. Interestingly, YouTube has refused to screen the trailer, which you can watch here: www.audacitymovie.com/. If you haven’t watched ‘180’ which argues against abortion and for life, you can visit Living Waters and check that out as well: www.livingwaters.com. The primary purpose of both movies is to proclaim the gospel and the truth of God’s Word.
Ray was interviewed by the Christian Examiner, (the full interview may be read here: Interview), and in that interview, titled, ‘Same-sex marriage issue is 'purifying the church' & 'doing us good', Ray said some excellent things which I thought I’d include here:
‘"This is a polarizing subject," Comfort told Christian Examiner. "You've got pastors who are supporting homosexuality. How much of a denial of Scripture is that? Doesn't that show a wolf among the sheep? This issue is purifying the church. It's doing us good. It's like when Saul of Tarsus created havoc within the church, and those who were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the Gospel. That's what we should be doing as the church in the last days."...
Homosexuality in the early 1960s was a criminal activity in all 50 states. How this has changed in the past 40 years to the point where it’s glorified, it’s celebrated. However, where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. There’s nothing too hard for God. The Gospel transforms the human heart. We’re past the “sign-the-petition” stage. When you look at all the big companies such as Nike and Microsoft and Apple and Target—all these companies that are supporting homosexuality, I believe we’re even past the boycotting stage. What are we going to boycott next—oxygen? We’ve got to go back and say, “What did the church do in the book of Acts?” They didn’t have their hope in politics, in signing petitions, in boycotting. Their hope was in the Gospel, because if you want a nation to be righteous, you don’t do it politically–even though it’s great that we vote and we elect godly leaders—but our hope is to transform the human heart. And that’s what we want to see: people saved from God’s wrath on Judgment Day.. We’re not really out as Christians to clean up America and get it back the way it was in the early 1950s...’
Amen! I’m not against signing petitions to parliament, and neither is Ray, as I believe it is a simple way to express ourselves as Bible believing followers of Christ in the democracy we still, at least for the present, are able to enjoy in New Zealand. We must not become ‘dumb dogs who will not bark’, Isaiah 56:10. I recommend you read the passage from verse 10-12 in light of the topic in this email. However, the primary way in which to respond is to preach and proclaim the unchanging gospel and the truths of God’s Word.
We, as believers, must not allow ourselves to be lulled into complacency –and silence. We must be alert, watch and pray,
‘Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.’ Luke 12:35-36.
Again, the Lord’s words in the Garden of Gethsemane are very, very relevant, ‘Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation...’ Luke 26:41.
We are all constantly being tempted and tested, the crucial thing is that we don’t ‘enter into temptation’. We are called to be men and women of the Word. The unchanging Word of God is the standard and measure of our beliefs and behaviour. Isaiah said,
‘The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.’ Isaiah 40: 6-8, KJV
Our lives are brief and transient. We have only one, short, brief opportunity to live boldly and consistently for Christ. So, we must ‘speak up’ by being faithful witnesses of the gospel and the timeless truths of the Word of God and live lives that are consistent with the truths we proclaim.
‘That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.’
Philippians 2:15-16, KJV.