If you are not aware that in our nation today, there are bold, brazen attempts to silence the voice of the Christ-followers, then I am not sure you care or are concerned.
Recently, Dr. Robert Jeffress discovered several books he considered inappropriate in the children’s section of the local library. He called the library, expressed his concerns and asked them to remove these books. They refused, so he went and checked out the books, held them up to his people at Dallas First Baptist and said, “I will not return these books until I am assured, they will no longer be placed in the children’s section.”
Jesus said that Christians are to be “salt and light.” (Matthew 5:13-14) Light reveals and exposes. Salt preserves and even a few grains can greatly enhance or release the flavor.
David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons published a book in 2016, titled “Good Faith.” The by-line is “Being a Christian when society thinks you are irrelevant and extreme.” It is a very important read for the times we live in. (Much of what I will share next is from the book.)
The book is based on an enormous amount of research. It reveals that for the most part, Christians today are viewed as “extremists” and “irrelevant.” For example —
“Do you believe Jesus is the only way to heaven?” Extremist. Do you believe marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman? – Extremist.
Do you believe Christians have a responsibility to talk to non-Christians about Jesus? Extremist.
Many Christians are feeling overwhelmed, sidelined, and misunderstood. They feel typecast as bigoted, judgmental, and hypocritical. The sense for many believers is that society is hostile to faith in general and to Christianity in particular.
One third of college-aged adults want nothing to do with religion. Fifty-nine percent of Christian young-adults drop out of church at some point in their twenties.
More than two out of five Americans believe that, when it comes to what happens in the country today, “people of faith” (42%) and “religion” (46%) are part of the problem. They don’t believe Christians could be part of the solution.
Eight out of ten practicing Christians say religious freedom has become more restricted because some groups are trying to move society away from traditional Christian values.
The public’s perception of the clergy has also changed. Fifty years ago, clergy was commonly viewed among the most important leaders of society. They were trusted sources of wisdom across a wide spectrum of issues. BUT, the public’s respect for pastors, priests and other faith leaders has declined significantly. Today, only one-fifth of U.S. adults strongly believe that clergy are a credible source of wisdom and insight when it comes to the most important issues of our day.”
I thank the LORD for Franklin Graham. He is frequently interviewed and never fails to give a clear word about the necessity of people knowing personally Jesus Christ as their LORD and SAVIOR. Of course, there are many more like him that are faithfully declaring the whole counsel of God.
In Acts 4:17-18, we have the authorities telling Peter and John not to talk further about Jesus. In verses 19-20, we have the response of Peter and John – “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than God, you decide, for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
In my mind, one of the greatest miracles any of us can ever witness is the thrill of being born again and becoming spiritually alive. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesian Christians said, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins …” (2:1) Then, in 2:4-5, he wrote, “But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!” How can we possibly be silent about such an incredible transformation?
One of my favorite times of the year is right around Thanksgiving when we have the Teen Challenge Ladies’ Choir with us. These ladies, through faith in Christ, have been born again and given victory over drug and alcohol addiction. Their joy in the LORD is powerful and positive. No wonder that the Teen Challenge Program is so effective. There isn’t another drug and alcohol rehab program in the country that even comes close in seeing broken lives restored – the reason – it’s all about Jesus.
So, what do we do as Christians in this day of counter-culture?
1. We need to be sure we are truly born-again by faith in Jesus Christ.
2. We need to take a stand like Daniel in a foreign land.
3. We need to speak up like his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. “We will not bow down.”
4. We will live in such a manner that there is no doubt as to whom we love and whom we serve.
The Apostle Peter (1 Peter 2:11-12) wrote, “Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which was against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”
Come on my brothers and sisters — let’s make a difference for Christ in this world.
In Christ alone,