Last weekend our senior pastor, Tim Liston, began a new series entitled “Thriving in Babylon”. We are living in an upside down world. As we study the original Babylon in Daniel, as well as the Babylon described in Revelation, we see this place as the worst and most evil of all nations. Is it possible for a Christian to thrive even in a world that doesn’t honor God? YES! (At the end of this article, I will post the sermon video. I encourage you to listen to this powerful message.) This message has encouraged me to further study where we are in our society, and how Christians are supposed to live during these times. I’ve put together below an article from several sources intermingled (sources given below the article). I am so grateful to have a pastor who teaches the WHOLE Word of God.
“This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:10-14)
Pastors today face a tremendous amount of pressure to do everything but preach the Word. Church growth experts tell them they must address people’s “felt needs.” They are encouraged to be storytellers, comedians, psychologists, and motivational speakers. They are warned to steer clear of topics that people find unpleasant. Many have given up biblical preaching in favor of devotional homilies designed to make people feel good.
But the pastor whose passion is biblical has only one option: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). When Paul wrote those words to Timothy, he added this prophetic warning: “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (vv. 3-4).
Clearly there was no room in Paul’s philosophy of ministry for the give-people-what-they-want theory that is so prevalent today. He did not urge Timothy to conduct a survey to find out what his people wanted. He commanded him to preach the Word—faithfully, reprovingly, and patiently.
In fact, far from urging Timothy to devise a ministry that would garner accolades from the world, Paul warned the young pastor about suffering and hardship! Paul was not telling Timothy how to be “successful,” he was encouraging him to follow the divine standard. He was not advising him to pursue prosperity, power, prominence, popularity, or any of the otherworldly notions of success. He was urging the young pastor to be biblical—regardless of the consequences.
An appetite for ear-tickling preaching has a terrible end. 2 Timothy 4:4 says these people will ultimately “turn away their ears from the truth and will be turned aside to myths.” They become the victims of their own refusal to hear the truth. Having turned from the truth, they become victims of deception. As soon as they turn away from the truth, they become pawns of Satan.
The message we are required to proclaim is often offensive. Christ Himself is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense (Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8). The message of the cross is a stumbling block to some (Galatians 5:11), mere foolishness to others (1 Corinthians 1:23).
But we are never permitted to trim the message or tailor it to people’s preferences. Paul made this clear to Timothy at the end of 2 Timothy 3: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (v. 16, emphasis added). This is the Word to be preached: the whole counsel of God (cf. Acts 20:27) “For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.”
“The progressive left under Obama,” writes (David) Kupelian (in “The Snapping of the American Mind”), “is accomplishing much more than just enlarging government, redistributing wealth, and de-Christianizing the culture. With its wild celebration of sexual anarchy, its intimidating culture of political correctness, and its incomprehension of the fundamental sacredness of human life, it is also, whether intentionally or not, promoting widespread dependency, debauchery, family breakdown, crime, corruption, depression and addiction.”
Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.” Prov. 17:15 says, “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them are an abomination to the Lord.”
“At the very nucleus of the myriad assaults on traditional America is the rejection – at least by society’s elites – of God and the repudiation of the Judeo-Christian values that have long undergirded our civilization. This in turn has led to pervasive societal disintegration and a Pandora’s box of endless and unimaginable problems. What we’re about to discover is that not only are we undergoing a “fundamental transformation of America,” but another transformation even more profound, that of Americans themselves. And that, it turns out, was the real object all along.” — David Kupelian
Peter warned us to remain faithful and challenged us to live above the world. He said, “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles – when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. THEY WILL give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (1 Pet. 4:3-5).
Perhaps what is being advocated IS “the new normal”, but where does that put us as Christians? If it is, that doesn’t change what God’s word says. And as such, we must continue to obey God’s will instead of what man thinks is right.
When we stand before God we will give an accounting for our lives (Rom. 14:12, 2 Cor. 5:9-10. 1 Pet. 1:17). Whether or not we have submitted to His plan for us WILL have an impact on our eternal destiny (Matt. 25:31-46). Therefore, we better ensure that what we do is what God determines for us to do rather than man, even if “times have changed.” God doesn’t change (Heb. 13:8, James 1:17)! While we live in the world, we must live above the standard of the world serving God.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)