Ducking the Issue: The Church and Today’s Permissive Culture

Phil Robertson

By Franklin Graham January 31, 2014

When a leading cable network decided to suspend the patriarch of America’s Top-rated cable program, the resulting firestorm exposed a clear divide on the moral landscape of our country.

In an interview with GQ magazine, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson referenced the Bible’s authoritative teaching on immoral behavior: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Robertson’s orthodox, biblical view on the sin of homosexuality was immediately met with disdain from the intolerant gay community and its vast network of immoral, liberal allies.

Robertson was suspended and eventually reinstated by the network after several days of intense national debate. An elder in his Louisiana church, he never backed down from his biblical stance.

Many were offended by the Bible’s uncompromising teaching on morality. Others were offended by Robertson’s frank depiction of the homosexual act, which some called crude but was really an accurate description of the degradation of sin. I have heard our own vice president use crude, foul language in the President’s hearing. His vile remarks were met with laughter, not indignation. That was crude speech by our country’s second highest elected official, and a flippant dismissal by the commander in chief.

But perhaps the real reason people were offended by Robertson was because the Scripture he quoted brought them face to face with their sinful state and the fact that God hates evil. The Bible says that the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be an offense to many. You see, we must face the bad news of our sin and depravity before we can receive the Good News of forgiveness through repentance and faith in Christ. Jesus is a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (1 Peter 2:8) to those who walk in the darkness of sin and pride.

As I have reflected on this event and the rising tide of evil and iniquity that threatens to engulf our nation, I have come to several conclusions.

Like the church in Thyatira that tolerated immorality in its midst, the evangelical church today has grown all too accepting of sin. The church is ducking the vital moral issues of our age. Rather than influencing our culture by being Gospel salt and light, the church has itself become influenced by the permissive culture in which we live.

The holy, blood-bought church of the Lord Jesus Christ is far more accommodating of sin than ever before. In many churches across America, homosexuals, adulterers and sexually active youth can sit in the church pew and rarely be confronted by the convicting Word of God.

Of course, the grace of God that leads to salvation through genuine faith and repentance should always be declared. It is God’s love for sinners that the Bible proclaims, yet that is always in the context of satisfying the wrath and justice of God through the death of His Son. Grace isn’t cheap. It cost the Father the death of His beloved Son.

Men and women who habitually and consistently practice sin should experience the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. There are far too many churches that tolerate members who deliberately pursue a sinful lifestyle in an open and unrepentant manner. Unfortunately, when that occurs—and it does all too often—the purity and holiness of the Bride of Christ is sullied, and the witness of the church in a corrupt culture is compromised.

A low view of sin grows when the church loses sight of the majestic holiness of God. Sin brings death. Sin corrupts. Sin destroys. Sin is so evil that the Son of God had to humble Himself and come to die on a Roman cross so that we might be forgiven and justified before a holy God. The more we focus on God’s absolute holiness, the less we will tolerate sin of any kind. We will never be sinless on this earth, but we can sin less and less as we reverence and fear our holy Savior who loved us and gave Himself for us.

I do not believe this is simply a culture war, or a battle between conservative and liberal elements of our society. It is much more than a drift away from the moral underpinnings that helped found and guide our nation for centuries.

This is a full-scale assault against Christianity and the followers of Christ. When prayer is banned from the public square, when our President fails to defend biblically defined marriage, and he openly and zealously advocates for gay rights; when legislators rush to overrule existing laws to promote gay marriage; when schools and courts consistently suppress religious freedoms; we know we are locked in a war against the Christian faith, not culture.

The architect behind this offensive is none other than Satan himself. The Scripture says that the devil, our archenemy, is bent on as much destruction as possible. “But woe to you O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short” (Revelation 12:12).

Satan knows that one day very soon, he will be cast into the lake of fire and sulfur in hell (Revelation 20:10). As that day draws near, his malicious, hellish activity is intensifying. He has already been decisively defeated on the cross by the Lord Jesus Christ, who took away his ultimate weapons of death and condemnation. For now, however, he still has power to work woe on earth.

“The whole world” the Apostle John wrote, “lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Behind the well-orchestrated attacks on the church is the evil one who hates the Name of Christ as well as believers who have been rescued from his sinful grip.

The worldly systems of politics, courts, entertainment and education can be instruments of devilish harm unless they are under the influence of Christian precepts and principles.

This is why we see Christians and the Christian faith under such intense attack today. The enemy of our souls is working his wicked schemes that seek to suppress and oppress believers. We know that in the end, he will miserably fail, for Christ is the Victor. The Bible says in 1 John 5:18 that Jesus, who was born of God, protects believers, and Satan cannot touch them. Satan’s power is always restricted by our sovereign God, and the rule and reign of God’s Kingdom cannot be stopped. The Apostle Paul said: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20).

This is a critical hour for the church. We cannot duck the moral issues of our day, because the clear aim of our adversary is the church itself. We must take a bold stand for the truth in every arena of our lives, deal ruthlessly with sin in our own heart and be men and women of uncompromising holiness.

I encourage you to examine yourself. If there is ongoing sin in your heart, repent quickly and turn to the Lord, where you will find forgiveness and help in the battle against the power of sin—a sure and certain help and hope. Be zealous to repent, as Christ exhorted the lukewarm church in Laodicea.

Now is the time to “be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).
Martin Niemöller was a German church leader who stood with Dietrich Bonhoeffer against Hitler’s control of the church before and during the second World War. That resistance, which landed Niemöller in the Dachau concentration camp and resulted in Bonhoeffer’s execution two weeks before the end of the war, contrasted with others in the church who cowered before the evil of the Third Reich. Many credit Niemöller with these words:

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Live holy. Resist the devil. Be a bold, evangelical witness for the Savior wherever you are. As the great reformer Martin Luther wrote in his famous hymn A Mighty Fortress is our God:

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us, We will not fear,
for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.

©2014 BGEA Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Scripture quotations taken by permission from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version.

http://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/february-2014/ducking-the-issue/

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Blue Disease: What is the Gospel?

Christ we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.   (Colossians 1:28-29)

The goal of this article is to warn about the oversimplification of the gospel.  In a rush to get as many people saved as possible, it is easy to just say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.  Pray this prayer after me and you will receive eternal life.”  Many people may pray the prayer and have no idea who Jesus is and what they are saved from.

When my goal was to get people to pray the prayer, I realized I could get anyone from a small group of children to over 50 men to pray the prayer by asking them in about eight sentences.   Almost 100% would pray the prayer.  I was thrilled.  The surprise came when I got feedback about what they thought they had done.

Many people looked at it as though they had got a measles or chicken pox shot, and they were set for life.  They had no idea what chicken pox or measles were, but they knew they could now have a happy life and never think about measles or chicken pox again.  If I started to bring up going to church or turning from sin, then they became angry.  They thought they were all done.  They had done what I wanted; they prayed the prayer.  Now God owed them eternal life.

What were the eight sentences that they heard?

I have some bad news.  You have blue disease.  Blue disease is very bad and causes death.  I have some good news.  A doctor gave us the cure to blue disease.  The cure is really easy.  Just bow your head and the doctor will magically give you the cure for blue disease.  Once you have been cured of blue disease, you will never die.

I am not trying to make light of the gospel or set a benchmark that you have to spend a minimum number of hours with a person before inviting them to repent and turn to Jesus.  My goal is to prevent the lie that praying a prayer is all we need to know and all God wants.  Praying to Jesus is an act of turning to God and marks a person’s understanding that they need to turn to God.

Turning to Jesus is the beginning of a relationship, not the end.  The relationship starts on earth and continues into eternity.  The foundation for the relationship is everything God has said in the Bible.  Every book of the Bible helps you understand God more and will bring you into deeper relationship with Him.

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Hello My Name Is – Child of the One True King

Hello My Name Is
by Matthew West

Verse 1: Hello, my name is Regret
I’m pretty sure we have met
Every single day of your life
I’m the whisper inside
That won’t let you forget

Hello, my name is Defeat
I know you recognize me
Just when you think you can win
I’ll drag you right back down again
‘Til you’ve lost all belief

These are the voices,
these are the lies
And I have believed them,
for the very last time

Chorus: Hello, my name is Child of the One True King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed,
and I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is Child of the One True King

Verse 2: I am no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The One who makes all things new
Has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life

Bridge: What love the Father has lavished upon us
That we should be called His children
I am a child of the One True King
What love the Father has lavished upon us
That we should be called His children

**********

Alcoholics Anonymous was a Christian program, when the goal was to introduce people to the One True God who could set them free and give them a new identity in Christ. Over the years, the goal changed to helping addicts control alcohol and the program lost sight of the One True Healer who makes all things new.

Yes, we need to repent of whatever sin has been allowed to control us. It is okay for someone new to the program to say, “Hello my name is ______ and I’m an alcoholic.” But once the person repents and turns to Jesus, it is not appropriate to continue to be owned by the addiction.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.   (2 Corinthians 5:17)

A Christian will get drunk by choice, not because they are owned by the addiction.  A Christian’s new owner, the Holy Spirit, will work in their life to convict of sin, bring repentance, and the power to make them new.

Instead of “Hello my name is ______ and I’m an alcoholic.” This implies that the person is still owned by the addiction but trying not to practice it.
Consider … “My name is ______ and I’m a Child of the One True King.” This proclaims the truth that I have been set free, and I am no longer owned by the addiction. I have a new identity and I am part of a new family. God will do His good work and replace the cravings with a new craving for truth, love and desire for relationship with the One True King.

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REDEEMED PARENTS INSTRUCTIONS FOR TRAINING THEIR GODLY CHILDREN

From Reverend Ralph Porter

1. THE REDEEMED TRAIN THEIR CHILDREN IN THE WORD OF GOD

Hosea 4: osea6 (Lord‘s warning for neglecting to train your children in the Word of God) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to me: because you have forgotten the law of your God, I WILL ALSO FORGET YOUR CHILDREN.

Isaiah 59: 21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, says the LORD; My spirit that is upon you, and MY WORDS which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your descendants, nor out of the mouth of your descendant’s descendants, says the LORD, from this time forth and forever.

Isaiah 38: 19 the living, he shall praise you, as I do this day: the FATHER TO THE CHILDREN SHALL MAKE KNOWN YOUR TRUTH. (Moses in the desert teaching the Israelites)

Deuteronomy 6: 1, 2  Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you go to possess it: 2 That you might fear the LORD your God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, you, and your son, and your son’s son, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged.

Isaiah 59: 21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, says the LORD; My spirit that is upon you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your descendants, nor out of the mouth of your descendant’s descendants, says the LORD, from this time forth and forever.

Deuteronomy 6: 4 – 9 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your  might.

6 And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart: 7 And you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house, and on your gates. (Moses instruction of the Ten Commandments to the nation Israel)

Deuteronomy 6: 20 – 25 (Redeemed parents instruct their children on the commands and blessings of our Lord) And when your son asks you in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God has commanded you? 21 Then you shall say unto your son, We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: 22 And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he swore unto our fathers. 24 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. 25 And it shall be righteousness for us, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.

Psalm 78: 5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children who should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: 7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: 8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.

THE REDEEMED ENTER THEIR FAMILY INTO A COVENANT WITH OUR LORD

Nehemiah 10: 28 – 31 And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the Nethinim, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding; 29 They joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his ordinances and his statutes; 30 And that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons: 31 And if the people of the land bring in wares or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would forego the crops of the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.

THE TEN COMMANDMENT COVENANT WITH HIS REDEEMED

Deuteronomy 4: 9- 19; 23 – 26 Only take heed to yourself, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life: but teach them to your sons, and your sons’ sons; 10 Especially the day that you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.  11 And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. 12 And the LORD spoke unto you out of the midst of the fire: you heard the voice of the words, but saw no form; only you heard a voice. 13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. 14 And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might do them in the land where you go over to possess it. 15 Take therefore good heed unto yourselves; for you saw no manner of form on the day that the LORD spoke unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: 16 Lest you corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 The likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flies in the air, 18 The likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: 19 And lest you lift up your eyes unto heaven, and when you see the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, should be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD your God has apportioned unto all nations under the whole heaven.  23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of anything, which the LORD your God has forbidden you. 24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. 25 When you shall beget children, and children’s children, and you shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of anything, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD your God, to provoke him to anger: 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you shall soon utterly perish from off the land which you go over Jordan to possess; you shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.  (Moses in the desert teaching the Israelites)

2. REDEEMED PRAY FOR THE GENERATIONAL BLESSINGS IN THEIR CHILDREN

I Chronicles 28: 9 (David’s prayer for his son, Solomon) And you, Solomon my son, know you the God of your father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if you seek him, he will be found of you; but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. 10 Take heed now; for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.

II Chronicles 22: 11, 12 Now, my son, the LORD be with you; and prosper you, and build the house of the LORD your God, as he has said of you. 12 Only the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. 13 Then shall you prosper, if you take heed to fulfill the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.

Job 1: 5 (Redeemed father confesses the sins and the Blood of Christ Jesus cleansing and protection over his children) And it was so, when the days of their feasting were finished, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

Job 1: 10 (Redeemed father prays for a hedge of protection around his children from the attacks of Satan) have not you made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions are increased in the land

3. REDEEMED SHARE THE TESTIMONY OF OUR LORD WITH THEIR CHILDREN

Psalm 78: 4 We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he has done.

Isaiah 38: 19 The living  he shall praise you, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known your truth.

4. REDEEMED PARENT AND CHILDREN RELATIONSHIP BEFORE OUR LORD

Ephesians 6: 1 – 3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3 That it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth. 4 And, you fathers provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

I Chronicles 28: 20 (Encourage your children in their callings in our Lord) And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with you; he will not fail you, nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.

II Chronicles 22: 5 (Father assists his son in His callings in our Lord Jesus)  And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.

THE REDEEMED IMPART THEIR FAITH TO THEIR REDEEMED CHILDREN

Jeremiah 32: 38, 39 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: 39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:

Deuteronomy 5: 29 O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!

Psalm 25: 12 – 14 What man is he that fears the LORD?  Him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. 13 His soul shall dwell at ease; and his descendants shall inherit the earth. 14 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.

Psalm 112: 1 – 5 Praise you the LORD. Blessed is the man that fears the LORD that delights greatly in his commandments. 2 His descendants shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endures forever. 4 Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. 5 A good man shows favor, and lends: he will guide his affairs with discretion.

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