THE STORMS OF CHANGE

 

Sometimes change can be good and others time it is bad. There have been many changes in the last 50 years that have made things better for our environment and our health. Our technological advances in medicine and communication has made things much safer and more convenient for every day lives. But, along with these positive changes in our nation we have also experienced some negative changes because our nation is moving farther and farther away from God and his word.

 

When you study the history of our nation you will find out that our forefathers believed in God and they kept him in mind as our nation was being formed and established.

 

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.

 

We have seen this statement proven over and over again throughout the Bible. When a nation is righteous it abounds and has the favor of God but when its people begin to move away from righteousness then it begin lose God favor and many times that nation will crumble. In the last 50 years our nation has slowly headed down the sinful path that leads away from God. We can see this in the fact that our nation has listened to those who oppose God and have done their best to remove God from our government and public places.

 

We can see this in court systems where many of them no longer swear a person in with the Bible asking them to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. We can see this in the fact that many of these God haters have been successful at making governmental place take down any statues or emblems that have anything to do with God. Now I know that Christmas and Easter are manmade holidays but many associate these holidays with God and because of this many of the retailers have been influenced by these change agents and instead of calling these holidays by their original name the simply say Happy holidays.

 

We can also see the many changes have happened in our society in regards to immoral behavior. For instance abortion was made legal and about 4400 babies are aborted everyday. We have been told that baby is not a human but just a blob while it is being formed in the womb so therefore there is nothing wrong with removing it. However, we have seen some amazing videos of the baby being formed in the womb and how it cries and feels pain long before it is born. We also know that its heart beat is detectable at 6.2 weeks. Yet that doesnít stop us from murdering these unborn children.

 

The Bible teaches us that God formed us in the womb and that he knows us. Both David and Jeremiah state this in Psalm 139:13-16, Jer. 1:4-5. David also say,

 

Psalm 22:10 Ö From My mother's womb You have been My God.

 

Even under the old Law God had a law for the unborn child and the mother.

 

Exodus 21:22 " If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman's husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.23 "But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life,

 

Here is the implication, if this women and her child donít suffer any problems because of the premature labor then only a fine will be given but if the mother or the child die than the punishment is death. Notice the statement life for life is calling both the mother and the unborn child a life. So, there is no doubt the scriptures show that an unborn child is a human being and to abort it is murder.

 

The reason why our society is going down hill is because they donít hold to a moral value based upon Godís Word. Their value system is based on their thinking or lack there of. This is why so many sinful practices have been eating away at our nation without people being able to recognize what is going on. Many are allowing their moral compass to be guided by the media and movies that they watch which is why so many are morally bankrupt.

 

Another big problem that has changed in our nation is the tendency to gamble. It used to be that you would have to travel a long ways to gamble but now gambling in one form or another can be found in just about every state. Everyone wants to make a quick buck without having to work for it. But, what happens is, is that gambling destroys families and people lives. All you have to do is look at the studies that have been done. Every state that has voted in gambling has negative effects from it. Sure the state might get a little bit more revenue from the people but then they end up losing money and moral values from the increased crime rates, the broken homes and the various gambling council programs they have to put into place to deal with addicted gamblers.

 

In the Bible gambling is associated with sin of covetousness because you are desiring something that doesnít really belong to you because you want to become rich.

 

Proverbs 28:22 A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, And does not consider that poverty will come upon him.

 

Even those who get lucky enough to win a great deal of money find out that there are a lot problems that come with it. Some end up on drugs or even dead. Others have tried to kill them so that they could get their money. While these things donít happen to ever single person that wins it does happen to many of them. But, Solomon of the Bible understood very well that all the riches in the world wont truly make you happy because he had it all and still wasnít happy. Only true happiness can come from believing in God and put your treasury in hope in heaven.

 

Matthew 6:19 " Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

Another area we area we are becoming morally bankrupt in is in our sexuality. We like to rename or redefine things that are sinful. Its like if you call something a different name it somehow makes it less sinful. For instance the Bible condemns fornication and it call it a work of the flesh in Gal. 5:19. But what do we do as a nation, we redefine what fornication is. Instead of it being a sinful act between people outside the bonding of marriage they simply say that a person is just sowing their wild oats. They make it to be just some physical thing that is fun and causes no harm.

 

It shouldnít surprise us that many are engaging in fornication because our media makes it very popular and they make it seem like it is the thing to do. Many of our sitcoms on TV make light of it and so do many of our movies and again we need to remember that the media is the moral compass for many. What they donít tell you about are the diseases that one can get and how many of these women end up pregnant out of wedlock and all the struggles that go along with this.

 

The same has happened with Adultery which is when a man or women has sexual relations outside their marriage. Again this called a work of the flesh in Gal. 5:19. Yet once again our society like to rename to a an affair and many times they will say that this affair is just purely physical without any love or emotion involved so it should not be considered a big thing. No matter how our society tries to redefine this sinful act and make light of it, the truth is, is that is destroys marriages and families and it can also introduce diseases and yes more unplanned pregnancies.

 

We can also see this with Homosexuality. The Bible very clearly condemns the act of Homosexuality.

 

1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Yet once again our society has redefined homosexuality as alternate lifestyle. Making out to be something we should tolerate and accept. They also try to tell us that some people are born that way and they cant help the way they feel. But there have been studies that show that this simply is not true and God did not make us to desire the same sex but instead he gave us a free will to choice what we want to be and do. This is another area where the media is working on us and children because just about every movie and every sitcom has had a homosexual couple or have sympathized with their life style. This is being done to dumb us down and try and make us overlook their sin and simply tolerate their behavior but this should not be the case. You know there is something wrong when we start tolerating sin.

 

Another thing that is corrupting our society is pornography. This something that has always been around but it last 10 years it has become a huge problem mainly because of the internet. Now the internet can be a wonderful thing but it can also be used in very sinful way and many feel safe as they sit behind their computer screen thinking no one is looking and knows what I am doing and so they will begin to search for pornography and it everywhere on the web. Now I will say this, they have been improving the search engines so that the default safe searches which are suppose to not show you pornographic sites or images but even these fail. From time to time when I searching for a Biblical picture to use in my power point presentation it not uncommon for an inappropriate picture pop up that has absolutely nothing to do with what I was searching for.

 

There are many people who get hooked on trying to view these sinful images but our society will say oh it ok because they are not causing anybody harm. Yet the Bible makes it clear that this to is sin that we as Christians must stay away from.

 

Matthew 5:28 "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

 

So a person can try and say that viewing pornography doesnít cause any harm but its not true because it is a sin and many of those who view this stuff will eventually act out what they are viewing which will lead fornication, adultery or even homosexuality.

 

Since our nation is pushing us to change the way we look at things and to redefine what is moral or immoral this type of thinking has also caused major changes within the church.

The scriptures tells us this,

 

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

 

John 4:24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

 

It should be easy to see from the scriptures that we are worship God in spirit which means from our heart and we are worship in truth which is from the word of God. Anything more than this or less than this will not be pleasing to God. This is very simply principle unfortunately we are seeing many of the bigger congregation are starting to be effected by the storm of change. Many are dropping the truth from their worship and instead they are only worshiping from their heart and what it desires.

 

Some of these congregation are no longer looking for preachers who are speaking the truth. Instead they are looking for dynamic speakers that will draw a large crowd. Many have forgotten that our worship to God is not entertainment service for us because we are here to worship God and be pleasing to him. But these congregation that are changing are looking for ways that can appeal to masses because numbers more important to them than the truth.

 

This is why you see some congregation starting to use praise teams because they want these groups to appeal to the young people to entertain them and keep them interested in church. Some congregation even have 2 services. One they label the tradition service and the other is a more modern service to appeal the younger folks. When we do these type of things it obvious we are making the worship service into a social gathering where we come to be entertained instead of truly worshiping God.

 

Another change that is happening is the type of preaching that is being done. It used to be that preachers proclaimed the word of God and used lots of scriptures. But, thatís not the case anymore. Now there are many preachers that simply tell cute little stories or they use philosophy or some other manmade writings. They will use scripture here and there but not very often. In fact there was lady that attended our congregation at one time who told me that the reason why she left the congregation she was going to was because the preaching spent about the first 15 min talking about himself or what happened to him that week and then he might use a few scriptures here and there but the rest was just a bunch of talk. Friends that is sad but its more common than you think. The Bible teaches us that a minister job is to preaching the word of God to the people. Notice what Paul tells Timothy in,

 

1 Timothy 1:3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia -- remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

 

1 Timothy 4:6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.

 

2 Timothy 4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

 

Whenever preachers fail to preach the truth from Godís word it opens the door for more change to take place. This is why see some of these congregation moving away from Godís truth in other areas.

 

This is why is the congregation that Max Lacado preaches at decided to add musical instruments to their worship service. This was done to appeal to the masses and to increase their numbers. I promise you one thing. The use of musical instruments in our worship service is for entertainment only and it only for the people because God has asked us to sing to him and he named the instrument as being our heart.

 

Ephesians 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

 

You see that is what God wants from us as we worship him. There is not one scripture in the N.T. the commands or imply the use of an mechanical instrument in worship to God and history teaches us this same thing as well. So when we add an instrument to our worship to God we have added to his truth and he will not be pleased with. So adding an instrument is only for the people because they want it or because they like how it sounds.

 

Richland Hills in the Dallas area has done the same thing. They have a separate worship service on Saturday which uses musical instruments and they also partake of Lordís Supper that day. Now some 700 to 800 people left that congregation because of this blat ten disregard to Godís Word but they probably will gain more than that back now that they have opened up the door to those who want to be entertained by the use of musical instruments.

 

Again these congregation have lost site of the fact that we come together to worship God according to pattern he given us and we are not here to please ourselves or anybody else. When we sing to God he doesnít care if we canít carry a tune, He doesnít care if we sing a song to slow or to fast all he cares about is that the words we are singing are coming from our heart and the words we are singing will teach and admonish us.

 

Another change this is happening in the church is how we are willing to fellowship with those who are living in sin and who are teaching error. Look at the following verses.

 

2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

 

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

 

2 John 1:9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

 

Do these verses sound like we are to tolerate sin by fellowshipping with those who live in sin or teach it? No we should not be. Yet we find many congregations today that are participating in the Tulsa workshop where they have denominational speakers working with the preachers of the church. This is wrong and yet these congregations have decided to tolerate these false teachers so they can teach a message to the Christians there.

 

Another form of fellowship that is being tolerated in the congregations is allowing those who are living in sin to have a leading role in the congregation such as leading prayer or serving on the Lord ís Table. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about.

 

Matthew 19:9 "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."

 

Jesus make it clear for us to understand that if someone divorces for some other reason than fornication and remarries then the commit adultery and live in adultery as long as they are in that relationship. Yet some congregations will overlook this and they will welcome these couples with open arms and allow them to lead in congregation but that should not be the case.

 

There are certainly more changes that have taken place that we could talk about but I will stop here. I hope this lesson has shown what the storm of change has brought about in our nation. We have seen it with our own eyes how our nation is becoming morally bankrupt. We have seen how our media has influenced and changed our society and finally have also seen how this has brought about change within the church. Friends if we donít start getting serious about Godís word and seeking him first it wonít be long until we end up like the children of Israel in the OT when they turn their back on God.

 

In this lesson all have really established is that condition of our nation and how it is affecting the church but if you come back tonight I will offer some solutions on how we as Christians can survive the storms of change.