Posts Tagged ‘apathy’

If Jesus rebuked many of the early churches for straying, leaving their first love, putting up with false doctrine, or for being lukewarm, how could we, American Christians, think He wouldn’t harshly rebuke many of our seeker-sensitive, shallow, lukewarm churches today?

Some might claim the Church is thriving here in the United States of Entertainment. I would ask them why then doesn’t it translate out into society. Who is driving culture today, Christians or atheists and secular progressives? Biblical morality or godlessness?

The truth is too many professing believers have generally conformed to the world and have failed to defend and preserve culture through Judeo-Christian values. We are to be salt in society: to not only flavor and enhance culture but to influence it as well. Salt is a preservative, but it can also irritate, especially if it touches an exposed wound. Paul told believers at Ephesus to walk as children of light and,

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; (Eph. 5:11)

Too many in American churches do just the opposite! We accommodate popular sins (abortion and homosexuality). Why? Because the Supreme Court ruled they are legal, of course. But just because something is legal does not make it moral. Has the Supreme Ruler and Judge changed His mind on certain sins? Not at all!

We have watered down the Word of God and have lost our saltiness and power to transform society for good. Some larger churches have a reputation for being alive, but their discipleship and doctrine is rather ineffective. I attended a megachurch for several years and kept running into unregenerate and unconverted people, many of whom thought they were saved. 

God woke me up at 3 AM recently and this message is the result. My heart was heavy; we were wrapping up our Bible study on the book of Colossians – a church Paul commended for their faith and love, by the way – and we were examining the geography of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and many cities that had Christian churches in the first several centuries.

*The following is a partial transcript to the sermon from video:

In Revelation chapter two and three, Jesus harshly rebuked five out the seven churches within the same area. I couldn’t help but wonder what He would think of churches in America today. It’s a sobering thought.

Would Jesus rebuke us, Christians in the United States of Entertainment, the way He did several churches in Asia Minor? 

Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. Revelation 3:2-3

This quote has been attributed to several people, one of whom is Dwight L. Moody:

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.”

We will all stand before the Lord one day and be judged for how we spent our time. Your husband or wife won’t be there, neither will your children, coworkers, or friends on social media. It will be you alone before Jesus. And that should sober up every one of us in this room.

Here are some important QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

  1. Is your life bearing fruit for the Lord Jesus Christ? JN 15:8
  2. Are we passionate about eternal and spiritual things? COL 3:2
  3. Who or what is our first love? What’s our main focus? 6:33
  4. Have you conformed to our culture – or to Christ? ROM 12:2
  5. Do we love this world more than we love God, His Word? 1 JN 2:15-17
  6. Are you prepared for persecution when it comes? 5:11-12

Are we, individual believers in Jesus who make up the church in America, succeeding at what’s most important? Are we loving the Lord God, loving our neighbors, preaching the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ alone, making disciples, raising godly children, impacting culture, and encouraging the faith of other believers?

Or are we just giving God lip service?

American churches, especially many of the larger, higher profile mega-churches, often have a good reputation simply due to their popularity, numbers or size (quantity). But this is often a very inaccurate picture of the overall health, discipleship, and maturity (quality) of a church. Is the body of Christ being built up in faith and equipped for ministry? (Eph. 4:11-12)

According to Barna research and several other studies and surveys, it appears American Christianity is producing the most biblically illiterate church members in history, confused about what the Bible teaches, unable to fully understand let alone explain and defend the essentials of the faith. What ever happened to discipleship? We can learn from the earliest Christian churches that it doesn’t take long to stray from truth.

Revelation 3:1  “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.

Wake-up! Repent! Notice what Jesus also says to the church in Sardis:

5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

*We all have ears – but – are we listening? What is Jesus saying to the churches in America who have grown comfortable and complacent? What is He saying to individual believers? Do YOU have ears to hear from God?

Is your life bearing fruit for the Lord Jesus Christ?

We just finished the book of Colossians in our weekly Bible study and looking at the geography at that time, we talked about the many early Christian churches in Asia Minor which is modern day Turkey.

…The Colossian church was just 12 miles from the church of Laodicea and about 95 miles from Ephesus, a booming city at the time. Laodicea was also prospering and growing, located next to a new trade route, they had it made.

But that’s what lots of people would say about America, which is why we’re making this comparison today. We are prosperous, proud, and self-sufficient. Look at our big and many churches!

May we take to heart the warnings to the early churches:

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked; …19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

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chipped flag on brick wallMore sobering polls have emerged recently further proving America’s downward spiral. Our decline has been so gradual many of us did not notice – or did not want to notice – how the lines of acceptable behavior have shifted and the standards of morality have plummeted – even among professing Christians.

A friend of mine who works on several farms came over recently to help me get a nice garden started. He emphasized the importance of tilling the ground, fertilizing and possibly erecting a small fence to protect the garden. But even before starting the work, he evaluated the land in order to find the best location and soil.

Not only have we failed to protect our spiritual and national heritage, but due to a generally lukewarm church, America has been easy, fertile ground for enemies of God to cultivate, plant and water seeds of immorality. They have taken root and produced an abundance of what the Bible considers sin.

Barna’s new research shows 41% of “practicing Christians” think cohabitation is a good idea, and 48% live with or have previously lived with their boyfriend/girlfriend. Let that sink in a moment.

According to Gallup’s recent poll on what is morally acceptable to Americans, cohabitation is up to 65% approval. Next, divorce is at 72%, and birth control is up to 89%. If we think like liberals, that abortion is another form of birth control, this latter number is not at all surprising. As Matt Walsh stated after the Supreme Court ruled against Texas abortion restrictions, “if leftists believe abortion mills are medical clinics, why don’t they want them to be treated that way?”

Jesus stated in Luke 18:20:

You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’

Sadly, truth and moral absolutes are now based on feelings, opinion, and what’s popular in culture rather than a fixed moral and ethical standard.

Those who think sex between an unmarried man and woman (fornication) is acceptable is now at 67%, and not surprisingly, homosexual sex is up to 60%.

In addition, the number of Americans who think it’s fine to have a baby out of wedlock has risen, from 45% in 2001 to 62% today. To me, this is a double-edged sword because sexual promiscuity is rampant, but at least more women seem willing to choose life over abortion. It has been proven that as truth and medical facts about abortion are promoted, many more lives are saved!

Though there has been a radical LGBT agenda since at least the 1970s, Christians have helped pave the way by minimizing God’s covenant of marriage between one man and one woman through no-fault divorce, adultery, pornography, and fornication. God abhors all sexual sin.

How can Christians preach the gospel and shine in darkness when we have had so much sin in our own camp?

No wonder homosexuality is now accepted by a majority of citizens (up 20 points since 2001) and by some in the church. The problem is we have gone from loving our neighbor (which is biblical) to accepting their lifestyle (which is unbiblical) to flat out celebrating sin (sinning with them). What major city or state does not have a gay pride parade or similar event?

The LGBT hijacked rainbow is everywhere; but the current estimate of LGBT adults is around 3.9% pf the U.S. population and less than 0.4% are married to a same-sex spouse. This proves the left is definitely winning the war of words, gaining ground and swaying popular opinion.

One year after the SCOTUS decided to rebel against and redefine God-ordained natural marriage, less than ten percent (123,000 couples) have married a same-sex spouse. The way the media portrayed their plight you’d think the majority of LGBT people would have flocked to the courthouses and wedding chapels in America.

Apparently, marriage wasn’t the end goal after all; and the Left’s appetite for evil cannot be satisfied.

Truth be told, we all need our sins forgiven and I hope you’ve trusted Jesus Christ for salvation. He is Lord and the Bible is true whether we believe or not!

Reflecting on the anniversary of last year’s SCOTUS decision, apologist, Alex McFarland stated:

God has the ultimate veto power. As an evangelist, I don’t want any of those 123,000 couples to be surprised by this fact. All same-sex couples should realize that what they’ve entered into will never be recognized by God. As an evangelist, I want to tell every person that they should turn to God now and be saved.

I believe God is also calling a lukewarm church to turn back to Him and repent. Jesus is standing at the door!

Is our faith strong enough to survive the massive tides of moral relativism, humanism, and secularism? It is vital we wake as many soldiers of Christ as we can before time runs out. In order for us to be more influential in our culture, let’s get back to the basics of speaking God’s eternal truth and of course, living it ourselves.

 

cardiogram

Most of us can see the writing on the wall: our nation will either return to God and He will heal our land, or we will do nothing and remain on the present path to destruction. It depends on the course individual Christians choose and sadly, too many profess to believe, but fail to live according to the Bible. Only the Lord knows if they were truly saved in the first place.

I have never seen so much moral and spiritual confusion even among Christians. If we are not established in the Word of God and a preserving influence on culture, how can we expect it to improve? Proverbs 14:34 states,

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

Many of America’s founders promoted or supported the idea that our nation will only advance, be blessed, and prosper if we the people continue in the things of God and if we actively and intentionally influence every aspect of society – including politics – for Christ.

This country began with sure footing on the eternal Rock of Jesus Christ and His teachings, but the question is raised in Scripture,

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3

As some chip away at America’s foundation, are we forgetting the God who once made us an exceptional nation?

Al Whittinghill of Ambassadors for Christ, International, pointed out that twenty-one of the last great empires on earth all showed the same common signs of decline just before they dissolved and disappeared from world history.

The Social Symptoms: 1. An increase in lawlessness and promotion of the wrong people. 2. A loss of economic discipline and self-restraint; greed. 3) Rising government taxes and regulations, and a growing bureaucracy. 4. A decline in the relevance and quality of education.

The Cultural Symptoms: 1. An increase in materialism and selfish luxury. 2. The weakening of the foundational principles that built the nation and made it great. 3. Policies based on feelings and not moral discipline. 4. A loss of respect for established authority.

The Spiritual Symptoms: 1. A rise in immorality and perversion. 2. The lure of alien gods and the exaltation of man. 3. A decline in the value placed on human life as evidenced by abortion, brutality, loss of natural affection, and lack of care for the elderly.

The de-valuing of life is just one heartbreaking symptom. Research reveals that twenty percent of women who have had an abortion, a staggering 200,000 a year, identify as Christian. Sadly, though they are hurting, most of them will never reveal their secret pain.

Sins often beget other sins. Adultery, coveting, promiscuity, and pornography can all lead to pregnancy which too often results in abortion. In our culture of death, over 57 million lives have been eliminated since 1973. We are out-sinning nations long gone.

America has been corrupted and compromised by minions within the usual suspects: Government, the media, Hollywood, the education system, and practically anything with “Federal” in its name. Moreover, the minions: anarchists, atheists, communists, progressives, and socialists, are not even trying to hide their agenda any longer.

Enemies within have been grinding America down, and we have allowed deadly symptoms including moral decay to metastasize. How many more warnings do we need before we drop to our knees, turn from our wicked ways, and live as if the Bible were true? Will it take a major terror attack, an economic collapse, or perhaps government tyranny? Let’s not give up hope or merely pray from a distance.

With backs up against the wall, more citizens seem to be returning to God, fighting for truth and freedom, and working to raise awareness. The gospel must be preached. You and I are here for this time in history and in order to be on the winning side, God’s, we need to fully commit to and engage in the battle for righteousness because the clock is ticking.

David Fiorazo’s new book, The Cost of Our Silence, is available from Aneko Press!

path-of-least-resistance-sign

What are the consequences when Christians back out of culture and take the path of least resistance? Many of us do not recognize America as the shining city on a hill we once were, but what can we do about it now?

As the church goes – so goes America. One reason we are seeing an increase of godlessness in our society today is because many of us have become too busy or comfortable, forgetting God’s purpose for our lives. As a result, we are having less influence on morality.

Revelation 3:2 says,

It’s time to wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die…”

It is true God is doing some great things in lots of churches, but America is suffering the effects of decades of sin and Christian apathy. In addition, our religious freedoms are being threatened more every day. Are we failing to learn from history?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said,

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless…”

But too often we find ourselves backing down from the slightest opposition and ducking the issue of sin. Rather than accommodating sin in culture, we should be confronting and exposing it (Ephesians 5:11). What are we so afraid of?

Even when Peter and the Apostles were ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus, they refused and said:

We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)

And in Galatians 1:10, Paul said,

If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

The early church understood this important truth: silence never saved anyone.

If we really love others, wouldn’t we tell them the truth that sin separates us from God? Sure it’s unpopular. Why do you think Christians who do preach the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ alone are often called hateful, intolerant, or judgmental?

This is exactly the environment our silent indifference has helped create, but there’s more to it than that. What happened to the salt and light? We also need to live what we claim to believe because when Christians blend in with the world, it weakens our witness and our credibility.

Rather than retreat and hide the influence of Jesus, we need to know the word of God and then stand up for what is right! 1 Peter 3:15 says we always need to be ready to defend the gospel and give an answer to others for the hope we have. Are we ready to have these debates about God, the Bible, truth, sin, eternity, and who Jesus is?

Look around. People are seeking answers and it is up to you and me to lovingly direct them to the only God who can save their lives! Some will refuse to believe no matter what, but as culture becomes more dark and people more hopeless, others will be open to hearing the truth.

If most Christians remain silent, fewer people will be saved, society will continue to collapse, and history will show that we were part of the problem. It is indisputable: there is a cost to our silence.

God is still working in a remnant of truth defenders and proclaimers. However, it is also obvious Christianity is not having the impact He desires and our founders intended. The question is – what are we doing about it?

Learn more and get involved! Please go to: DavidFiorazo.com

cracked ten-commandments

A recent Gallup poll reveals 74% of Americans think morals and ethics in society are getting worse. Not that we need another poll to announce what most of us already know, but it does make me wonder what the other 26% believe. A society’s moral decay and decline doesn’t just suddenly happen; it takes decades.

I’ll let you decide if America can be saved, but it is apparent many folks are either too busy or just don’t care. Apathy is killing us. If we were truly aware and concerned about the direction of the country, we’d be engaging in the battle. Instead, we’ve retreated. America’s founders knew it was vital for Christians to be the light leading the way and the salt preserving our society. As the church goes, so goes the nation.

This new poll is another cultural indicator proving we’ve become more tolerant of things we should not tolerate, such as sin. It is yet another reminder of how far we’ve declined and how we’ve chosen to look the other way. Moreover, progressives in America have taken things a step further. They’re not content with our growing acceptance of immorality; they’d like us to look at sin as normal and even good.

It’s no mistake as I was preparing to write this morning, I came across the same Scripture verse twice in five minutes. It is exactly what we see in America. Written as a warning sometime around 700 B.C., Isaiah 5:20 states:

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

We have gone from the acceptance of evil to approval, and now to accommodation. Americans tolerate more immorality today than anytime in our history.

It shouldn’t surprise us unbelievers in a secular culture would have an appetite for sin, whether by approval or participation, but we’re seeing professing believers jump on the bandwagon as well. When Christians are not strong enough to resist the lies and lures of this age, we’re in trouble.

The poll shows different levels of tolerance and acceptance of premarital sex, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, homosexuality, polygamy, divorce, and having a child out of wedlock. Naturally, people are pretty much divided along spiritual lines (Christians and non-Christians), but this poll asked people their political affiliation. The survey found:

• 78% of Democrats approve of divorce while 60% of Republicans approve
• 77% of Dems approve of premarital sex as do 54% of Republicans
• 72% of Democrats approve of having a baby outside of wedlock; Repubs, 40%
• 71% of Democrats approve of homosexuality; 39% of Republicans approve
• 63% of Democrats approve of doctor-assisted suicide while 40% of Republicans do

And though acceptance of abortion is generally much higher for Democrats, in this poll;
• 59% approve of abortion while 28% of Republicans approve

One comparison I found interesting is more Democrats (51%) oppose buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur than opposing the murder of a baby in a mother’s womb (41%).

Why mention the political aspect? We need to understand though our system is imperfect, there is a clear contrast between the two main parties in America and our vote is our voice. Placing either political party over God and the Bible is idolatry and we need to return to voting biblically and responsibly for godliness over godlessness, and for character over compromise. Politics and laws also affect free speech and our ability to publicly preach the gospel.

Since we no longer resemble a Christian nation, what influenced people to practically support every sin in the Book? Is it simply because they want to avoid being called names? Perhaps in some cases, yes; but I believe there’s more. Let’s look at homosexuality for example.

A Pew Forum survey on media coverage a few years ago exposed in their reporting the media supported same-sex marriage 5 to 1, hoping perhaps the public would soon think it inevitable. This is not accidental bias, but purposeful. Surveys reveal the majority of journalists favor changing marriage laws in America compared to only 28% of the general public. More citizens today do support gays, lesbians, and even same-sex unions, but not reversing laws and marriage amendments.

For over two decades Hollywood and the media have executed a very effective PR campaign resulting in Americans completely overestimating how many homosexuals there are in the country. In 2011, Gallup asked people to guess the percent of gays and lesbians in the U.S. population. Ready? Young adults and women think the gay population is 30%, and a quarter of all Americans guessed upwards of 25% of the population are gay. The truth is gays and lesbians make up approximately three percent (that’s 3%) of the population.

Finally, most disappointing is the fact only 6% of Americans said the moral decline in America is the country’s most important problem. This reveals we’re in denial, apathetic, or living for the moment and for selfish ambitions rather than eternal things. You and I must return to Jesus Christ and live our faith accordingly before we can ever hope to impact our culture. It’s ironic; people spending time storing up treasures on an earth that is deteriorating.

God is patient with us, but His judgment is approaching whether we believe it or not, and His patience won’t last much longer.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10-13)

David Fiorazo is the author of  ERADICATE: BLOTTING OUT GOD IN AMERICA