Do you worry about the future of our country?
Do recent events challenge your understanding of who we are as a nation? Our we still a Christian nation? Were we ever?
Many Christians feel that we were founded as a Christian nation but have fallen away but will be again. Others believe we were a Christian nation and still are.
Hoping In The Wrong Thing
I think that these and many American Christians have their hope in the wrong thing.
Their hopes are in the temporal, the government, the laws that are passed, the culture. They see the decline in our society and begin to worry. They lose sight of the future and can only see the problems we face here and now.
Many American Christians are missing the point of why we are here. We are not here to change governments, change laws, or to change cultures.
We are here to be witnesses of and for God. Through the preaching of the Gospel, we are to make disciples of the Lord Jesus.
We are to do the good works that God has prepared for us to do (see Ephesians 2:10).
Where is the hope? I meet millions who tell me that they feel demoralized by the decay around us. Where is the hope? The hope that each of us has is not in who governs us or what laws are passed or what great things we do as a Nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people. And that’s where our hope is in this country. That’s where our hope is in life. ~Chuck Swindoll [emphasis added]
When we know the love of Christ, we will be filled with the fullness of God (see Ephesians 3:19).
We can then change the world from the bottom up, one person at a time. We can’t expect non-believers to act as believers should. And we can’t expect believers to act as disciples should.
Believers or Disciples?
There is a difference between being a believer and being a disciple.
Believers know about God and except the truth about Him. But they shouldn’t rest of that. In James 2:19 we are reminded and warned that “even the demons believe and shudder!”
In Matthew 8:28-29, Jesus encounters two demon possessed men. The demons cried out in verse 29 “What have you to do with us, O Son of God?”
Belief (head knowledge) of Jesus is not enough. Belief that leads to trust in Jesus is the faith that we need.
Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
We put our faith and hope into action like Matthew 8:5-13, like the faith of the Centurion. The centurion had belief in Jesus. He had head knowledge in Jesus, It was when he put his faith and hope in Jesus that his servant was healed by Jesus.
It is the personal encounter with Jesus Christ that changes lives.
We see this played out with Zacchaeus, and Saul/Paul. We see this when people internalize the message of the Gospel- even in large crowds (see Peter’s sermon in Acts 3 and 4 where 5000 came to believe and trust).
How are we working in the world?
Are we waiting for pastors, preachers, evangelists to spread the Gospel?
Are we hoping our country will turn around with laws and court decisions? If you are, you are doomed.
It won’t work.
There are plenty of hurting people around us. They are trying to cope through a myriad of vices. Some medicate with alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, etc. They are confused about where to find hope and true love.
There are hungry and thirsty for something to fill the void that they feel.
Jesus Christ is the Bread and Water. We need to share this with others, but do it in love.
There is a lot of hurt and anger out there.
We are reminded in Proverbs 15:1 that a gentle word turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.
We need to be soft (yet firm) when dealing with sin. Sin is sin, but we must love the sinner.
How we do this is important
If we are harsh, we will just stir up anger. When some one is angry, they stop listening.
When people stop listing, we’ve lost them. They won’t hear us.
Romans 10:14 “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
We need to pray like in Psalm 19:14:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Don’t go into an argument wanting to win or score points.
Go into a conversation with a person in hopes of them seeing the love of Christ in you and through you.
Let them see how you love them and want the best for them.
Let them hear the unadulterated Gospel that Jesus is the Son of God. He died for them and us, to save us from our sins so that those that put their hope and trust in Him would be eternally saved and have a more abundant life, now.
The Holy Spirit will come into their lives with power to make them a new creation and will start the process of making them more like Jesus.
This process will take a life time and won’t be complete until we are at home with Jesus Christ in heaven.
We will continue to battle sin, but Jesus has won the war (see 1 Cor. 15:54-57).