Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Fierce Society: Part 3

This article is meant to be a discussion of current times, not end times. I don’t want to get into theological debates around eschatology. Some emphasize the great falling away while others argue that the Gospel will conquer. There is often an element of paradox in spiritual truth. The Bible speaks of great evil and darkness while also speaking of the glory of God and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Regardless of a person’s perspective on end times, it is indisputable that we are currently in a time of world-wide intensity, as seen in nature, politics, economics and sociological dynamics. Nations are filled with conflict and distress. Those that seem to be at peace are better described as being in a malaise (that vague sense of ill-being and debility that accompanies the onset of an illness). Even people who lack spiritual perception can sense the urgency of the times.
We are moving into an era of troubled people and troubled times, a time when the devil will be active and angry, but also a time when the glory of God will be upon His people. In the days that are coming, Christians should be spiritually alert, in prayer, and boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.  –Billy Long

The Fierce Society: Part 3
The following quote from “Minute Man News” gives a current example of the thin line between civilized and savage in its comments on the behavior of passengers on the cruise ship that recently lost power on the Gulf of Mexico.
“But what is interesting and terrifying...is how quickly this situation started looking like the Lord of the Flies. Just like what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. People started acting like wild animals. And this will keep happening. The ready availability of abundant resources has given all of us the illusion that we are in fact civilized. But the reality is that the civilization we’ve undergone has been largely superficial. Most of us are still savages at heart.”  -(a quote from MINUTE MAN NEWS).

By laying aside God, the Bible, and Judeo-Christian values our society is deliberately or unwittingly destroying the under-girding foundation necessary for a peaceful, stable, and prosperous society, and in turn is laying the grounds for an intellectually inferior, undisciplined, morally depraved, lawless, and fierce society.
2 Timothy 3: 1-3, and Romans 1: 28-32 describe the ultimate characteristics of a culture that rejects God and which is "given over" to itself and its sin. Paul says that the times will be “perilous.”   The Greek word is also translated “fierce” and is the same word used to describe the demoniac (Matthew 8:28) out of whom Jesus cast a legion of demons. This man was exceedingly “fierce,” living among the tombs, naked, cutting himself, breaking chains used to bind him, and producing fear in all who came near. It is quite disturbing that the word used to describe this man is also used to describe times and the people that “will come.”

 “This Generation”
Jesus, grieved at the society around him, gave three descriptions of “this generation.”  In Matthew 11: 16-19 He refers to “this generation” as sitting in the “marketplace” of reality, irrelevant and playing games while the real issues of the day transpire all around them. It is a picture of the church sitting inside its four walls and failing in its responsibility to be salt and light in the world.
In Matthew 11:20-24 he speaks of “this generation” that had access to grace, truth, and the presence of God like no other generation and yet rejected it.
In Matthew 12: 38-42 He speaks of “this generation” that wanted proof but rejected the very proof that was standing right in front of them.
In Matthew 12: 43-45 He warns us of “this generation” that knew God, like the man who was freed from the demon, but failed to follow-through in his walk with God. The demon came back with seven other demons more wicked than himself, and entered the man causing the last state of the man to be worse than the first. Jesus said, “So shall it be with ‘this wicked generation.’”

Serious Consequences
We should not take lightly the moral and social issues of the day and their consequences on our society. We should not think that the laws of the land are set apart into some neutral territory for which God is not concerned. More and more as we move into the ends of the age we will see an intensification in the spiritual warfare in the heavens. And it will affect our daily lives. Government will not just simply be the benevolent force that facilitates peace and order, but will become an instrument of godlessness that tries to control our lives and take away our prosperity and freedom, and at some point persecute those who follow Jesus and the God of the Bible. As we remove Judeo-Christian values from our laws, institutions, and daily lives, we will experience more and more troubles. A society that forgets God and turns to its various idols will become the “fierce” society that the Apostle Paul describes, a disintegrating society filled with selfishness, violence, immorality, unrest, and conflict.

A Fierce People
In the two paragraphs quoted below, we see the Apostle Paul’s description of a culture that turns its back on God, a society which God has “given over” to itself. He describes what we can look forward to if our nation continues its move away from God and His word.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come; For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such turn away…[they are] always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” -(2 Timothy 3: 1-5).

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife deceit, evil-mindedness, they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful, who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. - (Romans 1:28-32).

“Arise, cry out in the night.”
 Regardless of a person’s eschatology (study of end times) it is not difficult to see that our nation is entering difficult times. Christians will agree, regardless of their theological perspective, that it is time to call on God.
It must start with the individual, with each one of us. The challenges of today also bring great opportunity for God's people to know Him and touch Him as they never have before. Christians may have been comfortable being lukewarm and complacent in the past. But I don't think that is an option for us in the days ahead. Peter, James, and John slept in the Garden of Gethsemane while Jesus agonized in prayer.They did not realize the hour that was approaching. I believe that we are facing an hour in which we must prepare ourselves by genuine commitment to the Lord, and by calling on the Lord. One of my prayers these days is that the Lord will prepare me and my household for the days that are coming. I also pray this for my neighbors.

 “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children…” (Lamentations 2:19).

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  (2 Chronicles 7:14).

“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.”  (Isaiah 60: 1-2).

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