Monday, November 26, 2012
The Consequences Of Idols In The Church - Part I
As I read these words today from the Prophet Jeremiah written to the people of Judah thousands of years ago, I could not help but see confirmed in these words what has happened and is happening in the church today, which has a direct effect on our nation. We somehow live and go on with our lives as if the sins committed in our own lives and in the lives of others in our nation really do not affect us and have no consequence.
Notice the words of Jeremiah to Judah in verse 1, “People of Judah, your sins cannot be erased. . . they are written on your hearts.” The sins that have been committed have an “engraving” effect upon our hearts and carry with them serious generational consequences. Jeremiah continues by saying, “One generation after another has set up pagan altars and worshipped the goddess Asherah. . .”
The results of the Presidential election across our nation confirmed what many in the body of Christ have been sensing, talking about and preaching for many years: that a people who turn away from God and fail to teach their children (the next generation) to fear the Lord, is a people who will reap a godless generation who will in turn not only follow in the footsteps of their parents but will reproduce an even greater godlessness among their children.
In the book of Judges we see this clearly in the generation that came after Joshua.
“After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the Lord to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. In his anger against Israel the Lord handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress” (Judges 2:10-15).
The result of turning away from God in one generation resulted in a generation “who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel.” Today we have a generation within “the church” that does not know God and His ways. This is made clear in how they reason and make choices. These choices are not made from a true biblical perspective rooted in biblical principles but rather with a worldly perspective rooted in the ways of the world – love of self and the worship of idols.
The results of the Presidential election can be directly traced to the fact that the godliness in our nation has shrunk. Ron Luce from Teen Mania Ministries said years ago (based on studies he conducted) that our nation was in danger of going from 35% born again believers within the baby boomer generation to 4% born again believers in Generation X to the present. Our present course will lead us the way of the Netherlands and Europe and other godless countries that have become bankrupt wastelands spiritually and in every other way.
Why is godliness shrinking in our nation? Because the church has turned away from God to idols and instead of passing on a Godly heritage to the next generation we are reaping what our sins have produced – a godless generation who does not know the Lord. Think about it: We elect our leaders in America, which means our leaders reflect who we are!
The reason I believe the church is most accountable is because the church is the only people group who have the Light of Christ and the message of the Gospel (1 Peter 4:17).
My thoughts are bombarded with questions today like:
· How can people who call themselves “Christians” ignore what is obviously clear in Scripture?
· How can we justify voting and choosing a president who, though claiming he is a Christian, believes the complete opposite of what the scriptures clearly say concerning the sanctity of God-given life? (There are 3,000 abortions each day in the US, and we give money to other countries to support their abortions.)
· How are Christians able to align themselves with and vote for a political party and a president that embrace and endorse same sex marriage? (3 more states approved same sex marriage in this election - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/gay-marriage-results_n_2074188.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular - and the first Lesbian Senator in our history was voted in - http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/07/democrat-tammy-baldwin-wins-wisconsin-senate-seat-becoming-first-openly-gay-us/?test=latestnews .)
· How can a Christian stand with a party who voted to remove “God” from its platform and stand opposed to Israel? (Gen. 12:3 states, “I will bless those who bless you [Israel] and whoever curses you [Israel] I will curse?)
· How do people who call themselves Christians stand with and elect people who will continue to bind our nation with enormous debt that will cripple generations to come? (“..the borrower is slave to the lender” – Prov. 22:7).
There are idols present in our camp.
In Jeremiah chapter 16, Judah asked, “What sin have we committed against the Lord our God? The Lord said to Jeremiah, tell them, “It is because your fathers forsook me. . .and followed other gods (idols) and served and worshiped them” (Jer. 16:10-11). The sin of the church is that it has exchanged the One true God for idols (Jer. 2:13). If the church cannot rightfully discern what is righteous and what is not, then it cannot affect the world around it as the salt and light it has been called to be.
What are we to do?
Join us tomorrow for Part II as Pastor Mike discusses strategies for the Christian to combat idols in the church and in our hearts.
Mike Gonzalez is the senior pastor at Columbia World Outreach Church in South Carolina. He is a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.