Monday, March 25, 2013

Doing God’s Work in a Post-Christian America - David Curry

      God’s Word is the only answer to those who call evil good.  It is only through His Word that lost sinners may come to know God’s saving grace.  Yet, as we take God’s Word forth, we face an increasingly resistant and determined foe. 
      Unlike any other nation in the world, America was founded upon Christ and His Word.  In His sovereign providence, God established this land of America – a nation unique in the history of the world – the first nation to have freedom of religion.  At the time of our founding, religious tyranny prevailed all over the globe.  Only in America was full religious freedom granted for the very first time.   Here God established a nation founded by the Pilgrims and the Puritans who came with evangelical Christianity.  Here the Bible was believed and the gospel was preached. 
      Today our Christian foundation is under assault.  Some in our country gnash their teeth at the idea that this is a Christian nation and will not be satisfied until they have removed every vestige of our Christian heritage from this nation.  America has become a nation that glorifies violence, illicit sex, and rebellion.  She has forgotten its true founder. 
      The founders of this country had many reasons to believe the LORD God was establishing them here and scattering their enemies from before them.  The sovereign God declares about Himself through Isaiah the prophet:    
I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things. (Isaiah 45:5-7 ESV)
      To achieve His sovereign purposes, God gave His people victory over His enemies, especially in circumstances that here humanly impossible.  We see this over and over again in the Bible.  The early Americans believed that God helped them repeatedly.  Without His help, they could not have settled their colonies or even survived in the difficult conditions in this initially hostile land.  They certainly could not have defeated the greatest military power in the world with a ragtag army of farmers. 
      In 1778 George Washington wrote a letter to a fellow patriot, Thomas Nelson Jr., in which he marveled at how much the Lord was helping the American cause.  General Washington said that God has helped us so much that anyone who can’t see that and can’t thank Him must be worse than an unbeliever. 
Today, it is difficult to say we are still a Christian nation.
      The Pew Research Center recently reported that the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew research polling.
      In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics, as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation. 
      Current research by the Barna Group revealed that only 9% of all American adults have a biblical worldview.
      A “biblical worldview” is defined as believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or by doing good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
      The Barna Group also observed that less than one out of every five adults who profess to be born-again Christians have a biblical worldview.
      The research data showed that one pattern emerged loud and clear: young adults rarely possess a biblical worldview. The current study found that less than one-half of one percent of young adults, those aged 18 to 23, have a biblical worldview, compared to about one out of every nine older adults.
If God is sovereign, declaring the end from the beginning – how is it that it seems the world is flying apart?  Habakkuk cried out to God:
O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. (Habakkuk 1:2-4 ESV)
      Lately, offending Christians is what passes for entertainment these days on major television network programs and motion pictures.  And this is happening as America continues in an economic malaise that has shrunk household wealth to levels not seen since the early 1990’s.  Yet, the LORD has entrusted to us his resources needed to take his Gospel to the ends of the world.  By His providential grace, we are not standing on a dusty dirt road in Namibia or Kenya or Tanzania waiting for someone to bring us the good news of Christ Jesus. 
      God is sovereign – but we have a responsibilityHear God’s Word in Acts 13:
 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.
The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,
 “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”  
And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.   (Acts 13:42-48 ESV)
      Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Luke affirms the sovereignty of God over all of life while at the same time affirming the significance of human activity, as evidenced by the remarkable human effort and sacrifice involved in proclaiming the gospel.  Again, God is sovereign – but we have a responsibility to take His Word to the ends of the earth. 
      Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).”  Our LORD grieves over the destruction of the lost, “…for I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord GOD. “Therefore turn and live! (Ezekiel 18:32)”
      Our Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Jeremiah 17:15:  Behold, they say to me, “Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come!” 
Are we doing EVERYTHING we can to send the Word?
      We cannot give up – we cannot quit.  The LORD God called us to walk in this work of reaching His lost.  We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand.  Hear God’s word in 2 Timothy:   “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
      There is much more work to be done, and the urgency increases with each passing day.  I appeal to you by the mercies of God:  be a good soldier; pleasing Him who enlisted you.  May God bless you as you continue to serve Him.

      David Curry is a Ruling Elder at Center Grove Presbyterian Church and former State President of the Gideon's ministry.


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