Posts Tagged ‘the gospel’

Over fifty years ago, American culture was being prepped for a new era of sexual behavior and expression. People began accepting things that used to be called “sins.” The increase of adultery and abortion came first, which helped set the stage for pornography, homosexuality, and transgenderism.

…When moral anchors and norms are removed from culture, just about anything goes. Some say the next step is pedophilia. But they wouldn’t go that far…would they?

On June 28, 1969, New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, an underground venue for homosexuals, who responded with a violent riot. This event was one of the catalysts propelling the LGBTQ movement from the closet to America’s streets. Hoping to garner campaign support, Democrat Joe Biden visited the historic Inn just last week.

We can debate about how this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and when the moral decline accelerated to the point we are no longer a godly, moral people as a whole. The fact is things that used to be talked about in whispers are now proudly proclaimed and celebrated.

With the ongoing efforts of Hollywood, media, government, public schools, and corporations, we are being bombarded by sexual ideas and images. In this open rebellion against the one true God, the left has effectively dumbed-down our values. So now, if marriage, morality, life in the womb, and gender no longer matter, why should age matter? ‘Love is love,’ they say. There is nothing new under the sun, and pedophilia has been around for thousands of years.

…As for many on the left, they say they just want to “live and let live,” but we are no longer naive enough to think it stops there.

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Short version – 6 minute video:

Courtesy of Freedom Project Media

Many of us began preparing for Christmas and the five ‘F’s a month ago: festivities, family, food, fellowship, and fun. It’s easy to forget one of the most important aspects of the season: forgiveness – and renewed hope. Christmas is the celebration of an actual historical event that forever changed the world, as the God who never changes carried out His plan to change the hearts of mankind.

No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done or what kind of past you’ve had, there’s always hope – if you open up your heart and receive the greatest gift of all. As the song says:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing…

Through the centuries before Christ, the prophets predicted the promised Messiah would come – and from where He would come. Micah 5:2 states:

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”

According to God’s preordained plan, when the perfect religious, cultural, and political conditions were in place, Jesus Christ left the Father’s presence and entered this world to become one of us. Isaiah 7:14 states:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel,”

Three of the most astounding words in history are, “God with us.”

Most people don’t have a problem with a baby in a manger, but the same baby we sing about during Christmas grew up and preached repentance to all people only to be killed by hypocritical religious leaders.

An infant in a feeding trough isn’t too confrontational or threatening. But Jesus declared that He is the Truth and the only way to God the Father (John 14:6). This claim is something to seriously consider. Why? Because evidence backed by archaeology, eye-witnesses, and history suggests it’s true.

So what is the meaning of Christmas? At the perfect time, Jesus was born for the purpose of dying for our sins. He lived a sinless life and sacrificed Himself so that we might believe in Him and live eternally. This really is good news! The gospel is the greatest gift God has given the church – because the message about Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the greatest treasure God has given the world…

Read the full post by David Fiorazo

*Originally published by Freedom Project Media

Celebrated by most media, by Hollywood, the National Education Association, People Magazine, and a vast number of other publications, transgender TV star and teen role model, Jazz Jennings is preparing to undergo what is being called, “gender confirmation surgery” next week on June 26. Jazz is a seventeen year-old male – and surgeons are creating female parts for him.

This is the wacky world kids are growing up in today, and activists are pushing to make it the new normal. In fact, things are quite upside down. For instance, I do believe that too many kids are obsessed with video games, but the World Health Organization now says being transgender is no longer a mental disorder – but playing video games is! Wow.

So with full support from his parents, Jazz Jennings started using hormone blockers at age 11 so he never went through puberty. The blocker was an implant in his arm preventing testosterone in order to avoid further development of male characteristics such as facial hair and a deep voice.

They used to call it a sex change. Then, in blatant rebellion against God, the Creator it was sexual reassignment surgery. But the latest is being touted as “gender confirmation surgery.” The procedures are said to help transgender people have an outward appearance that matches how they feel inside.

To most of us, this is tragic and heartbreaking! Jazz said, “This is something I’ve wanted my entire life…” Jennings explained he’ll be undergoing a new experimental procedure where doctors will take tissue from his stomach to form the inside of a vagina.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), this surgery gives “transgender individuals the physical appearance and functional abilities of the gender they know themselves to be;”

For a male-to-female transition, that may include facial surgery, top surgery (for breasts) and/or bottom surgery, to reconstruct male genitalia to female genitalia. In 2016, 3,200 gender reassignment surgeries were performed in the US, an increase of 20% from the previous year.

I hope you’re not shocked we’re talking about this. Children as young as six years-old are now hearing about it at school. Just like homosexuality, gender identity and transgender individuals are being normalized. In a recent interview, Jazz proudly exclaimed, “I’m going to have a vagina!”

But wait a minute. Let’s set aside biology, chromosomes, DNA, science and of course, the Bible for a minute. They’re now blaming those who disagree with this twisted ideology for increasing suicide attempt rates.

Adults who undergo sex reassignment—even in Sweden, which is among the most LGBT-affirming countries—have a suicide rate nearly 20 times greater than that of the general population. Clearly, sex reassignment is not the solution to gender dysphoria.

The promoters of this agenda have people referring to males such as Jazz Jennings as “she.” Surgery is going to remove part of his male anatomy in order to construct a part of the female anatomy. If she is already a she, why would there need to be such a serious cosmetic procedure to make her into who she already insists she is?

Often left out of this discussion are parents. Some impose this dangerous ideology on their children while others allow their child to choose whatever he or she wants to be. These are life-changing, destructive decisions so what is the parent’s role in this? Professionals including the American College of Pediatricians have strongly warned that “transition-affirming protocol is child abuse.”

Its president, Michelle Cretella, M.D. stated:

I have witnessed an upending of the medical consensus on the nature of gender identity. What doctors once treated as a mental illness, the medical community now largely affirms and even promotes as normal.

A person’s sex is an objective biological fact determined genetically at conception in the womb by the allocation of X and Y chromosomes. This is permanent – throughout a person’s lifetime – and not a social construct.

Next, the Christian Medical and Dental Association states:

“Among those who identify as transgender, use cross-sex hormones, and undergo sex reassignment surgery, there is well-documented increased incidence of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, and risky sexual behaviors.”

Confused? So are those who have forgotten what the Bible teaches about how God designed us, about marriage, procreation, and the distinctions between male and female.

Is there any hope? Always; but it depends on what you place your hope in!

Former transgender, Walt Heyer talks about his painful past including a lost childhood, failed marriage, a family ripped apart, and a ruined career not to mention health and physical issues due to cosmetic surgeries.

Take not that TV shows, magazines, and media fail to interview any of the scores of people who left the homosexual or transgender lifestyles. Truth is not good for LGBTQ business. Heyer said decades of gender confusion persisted even after his sex transition. We rarely hear about those suffering long-term consequences of transgenderism.

Fortunately, Walt Heyer found freedom and peace in Jesus.

“I turned to Christ and away from transgenderism. …I had to stop living in defiance of God and stop demanding that the church, God, and everyone else make accommodations for my delusions. Demanding that people use my preferred female pronoun name was childish.”

The transgender “T” in LGBTQ was custom built into the agenda decades ago, patiently waiting for the right time to be rolled out. That time is now; a time in which truth is being redefined.

We need to respond with compassion to those who are struggling with gender dysphoria and anyone immersed in sinful lifestyles, but know the facts, and be prepared to offer the hope of Jesus Christ to those who are lost.

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Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Is. 40:31 

Two famous people took their own lives last week, and the same week, 850 others committed suicide in the U.S. alone. Every human being is equally valuable and created by God for a purpose, so how many more deaths will it take for us to admit we have an epidemic of hopelessness? Maybe it’s time we address it in a different way.

In less than twenty years, suicide rates in America have increased more than thirty percent in half the country; it’s on the rise in almost every state. Nearly 45,000 Americans died by suicide in 2016, and unlike the rich and famous, you will never know their names. 

TV personality Anthony Bourdain and designer Kate Spade took their own lives, and both were famous and wealthy. Why are we surprised when things of this world fail to satisfy?

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. – and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s one of only three causes of death (Alzheimer’s, drug overdoses) that are increasing. Worldwide, someone dies by suicide every forty seconds! This is beyond tragic.

A recent CDC study suggests more than half of those who commit suicide did nothave a mental health condition. Over half. Some had problems involving relationships, finances, health, or substance abuse while others didn’t have any of these. But the end result was the same.

Books and articles have been written, studies done, articles published. I don’t mean to over simplify a very serious and complicated issue here, but as important as it is to diagnose and treat (counseling, meds, etc.) mental illness, it’s even more important to acknowledge the often ignored spiritual aspect.

There’s a reason we can be in a room full of people and still feel lonely. We’re just passing through this life, and our true citizenship is in Heaven (Philippians 3:20).

C.S. Lewis once stated:

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

…In a culture that has embraced narcissism and moral relativism in which there are no fixed absolutes, we end up seeking our own happiness and meaning. Most of us end up living by a morality of shallow self-fulfillment and temporary pleasure.

From the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly to the addict, the jobless, homeless, or hopeless, every human being is worthy of dignity and respect. It’s time we address the problem God’s way…

Read full post at DavidFiorazo.com

Just a week ago I was in the hospital after having a procedure on my heart and guess what? Here I am, thank God! But not everybody makes it through surgery. In fact, not everybody makes it home from work.

It brings up the question of the ages: What happens to us after we die? Well, that depends.

What if I died on the operating table? First of all, this video wouldn’t exist. My body would’ve been prepared for a funeral, and my spirit would be on its way to be with my Master and Savior in Heaven; the One who created us all.

You may be thinking, ‘how can I be so sure?’ Faith. The Bible offers assurance of eternal life with Christ in Heaven for those who believe.

I realize most people would rather not think about it, but ten out of ten people die. Life comes to an end for people from every country, of all different ages, for various reasons. No one is exempt.

It’s just a matter of time.

Almost everyone has heard the Bible verse, John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Jesus died on the cross to bridge the gap between us and a holy God. Every one of us has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, and when Jesus returns, He will judge those still living as well as those who have died.

For better context, let’s keep reading. Here’s John 3:17 and 18:

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”

Faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ can save us from our sins.

Prior to my surgery last week, I had to sign a consent form. Even before that, I was told of all the possible risks and complications including a torn heart muscle, punctured lung, torn artery, partial paralysis, stroke during the operation or even death.

The list of possible risks was long, but the absolute greatest risk we can take in this life is denying God by refusing to believe in His Son, Jesus, and not accepting the free offer of the forgiveness of our sins.

Acts 4:12 states: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

And Philippians 2:9-11 says:

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

One day, even those who refused to believe will bow before the King of Kings upon His return.

I was at peace going in to surgery because I trusted Jesus with my life years ago, and knew regardless of the result, it would be a win win. This life is a vapor and for the Christian, we live for Him and to die is gain!

Forgiveness for our sins is mankind’s greatest need. In America, we’ve heard so much about a loving God and rarely hear about His coming judgment. It’s true God is loving, but He is not tolerant of sin in any form.

We’ve also heard the man-made idea God just wants us to be happy, problem-free, and give us favor so that every day’s a Friday and we can live our best life now.

Do you really believe the Bible teaches about personal gain and happiness rather than about denying ourselves and holiness? In addition, if every day were a Friday, let’s just party like it’s 2099. Finally, if we could live our best lives now, here on earth, then why would we need God and what’s Heaven for anyway?

Now, plenty of people think all it takes to go to Heaven is to be a good person, but the question is, ‘good’ by whose standards? Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18:19)

Sure, we can do good things, but can we truly be good without God?

The Bible teaches there is nothing we can possibly do to earn salvation. If we could do it on our own, then Jesus didn’t have to be die for our sins and be raised from the dead. In Ephesians chapter 2 it says,

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

Open your hands and receive the free gift of life. Salvation is not a result of good deeds – but of faith. It’s true God prepared good things for us to do, but – what we do doesn’t save us; it’s who we believe in and why.

So repent of your sins, confess them to God. Trust in Jesus Christ, and tell others this good news, the gospel, the power of God to save us (Romans 1:16). He will be faithful to complete the work He began in us and then, take us to glory when our time here is done.

*Originally published at Freedom Project Media

You might call this troubling, concerning, disturbing or alarming, but to those who have studied the Bible and understand the times, this trend of silencing Christians is mostly disappointing.

We should not be surprised. 

On the other hand, though our culture and country seems to be heading for destruction at breakneck speed, believers know this means we are getting closer to more fulfilled prophecy and ultimately, the promised return of Jesus Christ.

One of the more eye-opening things I read this week was the fact that even with all the cases of discrimination against Christians in recent years from the public square to social media, many Americans do not support the basic religious freedom of Christians.

I’m sure you know many of the stories.

  • A Christian florist who had served homosexual customers on countless occasions refused to provide floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding, and she was sued by two homosexual activists. Baronelle Stutzman might lose everything. The Washington Supreme Court has punished her for peacefully operating her business consistently with her faith. 
  • Colorado baker, Jack Phillips, was sued for the same reason even though Phillips has also turned down cake requests for bachelor parties, anything profane, occult-related, violent, or perverse. In many states, bakers can refuse to write a Bible verse on a cake but are not allowed to decline to make a gay-wedding cake. This pivotal case is headed to the Supreme Court.
  • Christian geologist and believer in God as Creator, Andrew Snelling, was denied access and opportunity to study the Grand Canyon for three years until the National Park Service finally relented and accepted his application.
  • Donald Vander Boon’s meatpacking center in Michigan was targeted by the the federal government for having marriage brochures on the employee break room table. The Christian family proudly says on their website the company “seeks to glorify and honor God in all we do,” and were shocked to find out during a visit by the USDA that it wasn’t their beef that was being inspected — but their faith! The inspector took offense to the literature and told Don they’d call off the inspection if the material wasn’t removed. Within hours, he was threatened with the closure of his business.
  • An Ohio library banned a Christian group from meeting to discuss natural marriage unless the group also included supporters of same-sex marriage.
  • Christian farmers, Steve and Bridgett Tennes, were refused to participate in the East Lansing, MI farmer’s market because of their Christian beliefs. Country Mill Orchards was kicked out of the sellers group last August after a post on Steve’s Facebook page revealed his beliefs supporting natural, God-ordained marriage.

Both of them military veterans who understand the cost of religious freedom in America, Tennes stated,

“My wife and I both volunteered to serve in the military to protect freedom. Now we come home and the freedom that we worked to protect, we have to defend in our own backyard.”

…The U.S. Department of Education held a panel discussion on fatherhood and LGBT groups protested, demanding conservative viewpoints not even be allowed. 

If culture is downstream from the church, and politics (government and policy) is downstream from culture, it’s easy to see how this nation is no longer unified as one nation, under God, or indivisible. Why?

On a recent Stand Up for the Truth radio program, we discussed some dangerous and influential voices impacting the church. It is disappointing how many followers these people have. One example if you haven’t heard the latest, is Christian author, Jen Hatmaker. She not only endorses same-sex marriage, she now goes so far as to say (ready?) she believes gays and lesbians who are married should receive counseling from the Christian church – to strengthen their marriages if they want to be part of the Christian community.

She previously said same-sex relationships can be “holy,” after which her books were pulled from LifeWay Christian Store. More recently, Hatmaker said she dreams of a day when church is safe for the LGBT community. Okay, define ‘safe.’ 

When liberal Christians, the left, progressives, or the emergent church preach “unity,” what they often mean is uniformity. They are fine if we conform to their watering down the true gospel. They love the idea of diversity as long as we unite around their progressive worldview that distorts the truth and deity of Christ.

Since we are commanded to love our neighbor, do we love others enough to tell them the truth even when it is not popular?

In a Gospel Herald article on this topic, Rosaria Butterfield, a FORMER lesbian is quoted. Concerned that by affirming the gay community, Jen Hatmaker is damaging them, not helping them. Butterfield shares this story:

“A few years ago, I was speaking at a large church. An older woman waited until the end of the evening and approached me. She told me that she was 75 years old, that she had been married to a woman for 50 years, and that she and her partner had children and grandchildren. Then she said something chilling. In a hushed voice, she whispered, “I have heard the gospel, and I understand that I may lose everything. Why didn’t anyone tell me this before? Why did people I love not tell me that I would one day have to choose like this?”

That’s a good question. We cannot have it both ways with one foot in the world and one in the Bible. Everyone must choose for themselves.

God or man? Justification or judgment? Repentance or rebellion? Christ or culture? The questions remain.

Read the full post at DavidFiorazo.com

Open pages of bible isolated on white backgroundNow after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”  Mark 1:14-15

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

In 1965 the epic religious movie The Greatest Story Ever Told was released, retelling the story of Jesus Christ from His humble birth and His teachings through the crucifixion and resurrection. The media and critics at the time gave it excellent reviews and some even raved about the brilliant and inspiring, Bible-based production. Times have changed; but the gospel has not.

The gospel, aka the “good news,” is the greatest gift God has given the church, because its message is about Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the greatest treasure God has given the world. Like the apostle Paul, we are to deliver to others what we also received, because people’s salvation depends on it. No one would keep the best news in the universe to themselves – would they?

As committed Christians, our priority in this life must be to consistently believe, live, and deliver to others the message about Jesus Christ and the truth about His life, teachings, death, resurrection, and ascension. For those who have believed and have confessed Jesus as Lord, our ticket is punched and our place in God’s presence is reserved for eternity! Our faith is in Him and our hope is in heaven.

Every person alive today and who has ever lived will stand on one side of eternity or the other. The universe revolves around the most pivotal event in the history of the world: The resurrection of Jesus Christ; the eternal Son, one with the Father and the Spirit, and the exact representation of God’s nature.

… The gospel is not some formula or a simple “sinner’s prayer.” It encompasses the entire Bible as its framework with plenty of background setting the stage. Its truth can transform our lives and its power can save the worst of sinners.

With the increasing attacks on free speech and religious expression in America today, do you see how important it is for us to be able to preach the gospel? This basic freedom is affected by politics, laws, and government. Enemies of Christianity will not relent in their agenda to squelch the mention of sins they endorse, but when push comes to shove, we must obey God rather than man. Speak the truth and leave the results to Him.

Since we have received and accepted the gospel, we must reject the world because the two are in opposition to each other. This can present a problem for many of us. If we love Jesus, we will obey Him (John 14:15), but if we love the world, we will end up following anything else except Him. Because this temporary earth is passing away and we are faced with an eternity that will not wait, the choice should be clear…

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).

Where does Jesus get such authority? It bears repeating Jesus Christ overcame death and the grave and is seated at the right hand of the Father. His tomb is famous for what it does not contain. Even the Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus acknowledged His tomb was empty when they made up lies to try and conceal the resurrection.

Isn’t it interesting in their attempted cover-up, the religious leaders testified to the empty tomb? The story gets even more bizarre, because their lie included instructing the soldiers to say they were asleep instead of guarding the tomb of Jesus. This was not some small conspiracy, because in those days a Roman soldier caught sleeping on duty would have been executed.

Moreover, all other gods or religious leaders who have lived on the earth have burial sites or memorials where their bones remain. We can easily understand how some of their followers hate Jesus, because He is the only true, living God; other gods people worship are false, dead gods.

… The disciples did not have all the resources and technology we have today, and yet the early church grew in numbers day by day even in the midst of threats and persecution.

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20

Please understand regardless of whether or not you have placed your trust in Jesus and bowed before Him acknowledging His majesty, a day is coming in which every human being will bow down before Him and confess this truth – Jesus is Lord.

… Charles H. Spurgeon once stated:

My hope is not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died. My trust is not that I am holy, but that, being unholy, Christ died for me. My rest is, here, not in what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is and must be, – in what Christ did, and is still doing as He stands before yonder throne of glory.

Are we willing to preach this gospel in an increasingly rebellious culture and risk being called intolerant, narrow-minded, or worse? Are we willing to be criticized and misunderstood for delivering the truth Jesus commanded us to speak? Do we love others enough to live what we believe, expose the darkness of sin, and when necessary, confront wayward Christians?

… God’s foreordained solution (Acts 2:23) was to send His only Son, Jesus, to give His life as a ransom for us. By believing, confessing Jesus is Lord, and repenting of our sins, we are saved and have everlasting life with God. May we not muddy up the message that we are saved by grace through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8).

If the Bible is true, then this is why you and I live: To make sure the greatest story ever is told!

 

*This a book excerpt from The Cost of Our Silence. To read the entire chapter, click here:

spiritual warfareHe said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. Matthew 16:15-18
 
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:3-4

Why does it seem Christians are almost always on the defensive rather than preaching the gospel, influencing culture, and standing up for Christ and His truth? Jesus Christ enlisted us in active service, and we are to make it our goal to obey and please Him (2 Corinthians 5:9). As soldiers of an eternal army, we cannot afford to be indifferent or ignorant about the intensifying battle all around us. When we are silent and fail to engage in warfare, we become ineffective for God’s kingdom including the important work of making disciples.

Here’s an excerpt from The Cost of Our Silence (chapter 14).

This epic battle between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of darkness is real whether you believe the Bible or not. Jesus came to earth to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), and when He returned to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to help us fight (John 14:12).

The leaders of the armies are Jesus Christ whom God has exalted forever far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come (Ephesians 1:21); and Satan, the temporary ruler of this world (John 12:31) whose time is short (Revelation 12:12).

God allows us to choose what part we will play in advancing His kingdom. We can choose to do nothing or we can respond to His call and fight the good fight of faith (2 Tim. 4:7). Yes, it is risky, certainly unpopular, and potentially dangerous, but without risk, we experience little reward and we often suffer repercussions for not taking action.

Lord of the Rings’ fans will remember the scene in The Two Towers in which the massive, evil army of Mordor was on the move toward Gondor in their quest to wipe mankind off the face of the earth. After being warned about the enemy advancing, Aragorn encouraged the king to ride out and face the enemy. Théoden, King of Rohan, declared, “I will not risk open war.”

Aragorn replied with truth,

“Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not.”

Instead, the king ordered the city to evacuate and retreat to Helm’s Deep, a fortress that had kept them safe in the past… As a result of not staying to fight, many more lives were lost.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:10-12).

Do we avoid conflict and run away when life gets difficult or when we are faced with opposition?
For some, their security is money; for others, that security comes from family, a job, a relationship, the Internet, or even church activity. Some escape to entertainment; others to whatever provides immediate gratification. Our culture will only get worse if we continue to seek comfort, worldly things, or our own happiness while avoiding the battle for souls and ignoring our mission in Christ.

…And what if people in our own church say the Bible is not inerrant, there are no moral absolutes, and we are taking our faith too seriously? Press on!

We’re not to be overcome by evil; we are supposed to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Today’s remnant of committed believers must not follow the pattern of the [lukewarm] church in the last hundred years.

I agree with Charles Spurgeon and others who believe we are foolish to expect to serve God without opposition. In fact, Spurgeon stated, “the more zealous we are, the more sure are we to be assailed …” But he always kept the victory in sight:

Glory be to God, we know the end of the war. The great dragon shall be cast out and forever destroyed, while Jesus and they who are with him shall receive the crown. Let us sharpen our swords tonight, and pray the Holy Spirit to nerve our arms for the conflict. Never battle so important, never crown so glorious. Every man to his post, ye warriors of the cross, and may the Lord tread Satan under your feet shortly!

…Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18). Think about what gates are used for. Christians will overpower the enemy’s gates in the end. Did you get that? Though Satan constantly attacks believers, the Bible never refers to the enemy storming the gates of heaven!

One of the keys to our success in spiritual warfare is this pearl of truth: Gates are defensive!

All hell should be on guard, and a strong, armor-wearing, battle-tested church should be on offense, attacking the enemy with God’s Word. Preaching the gospel is one way to stay on offense and help rescue people from the camp of the enemy.

Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Too many of us leave our swords at home on a dusty shelf. We forget Satan is a defeated foe…

Read the entire book excerpt:

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?

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