“The chief dangers that confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.” ― William Booth (1829-1912)
Today, we live in the midst of the dangers William Booth described. We are drowning in danger, yet too many people are sitting or sleeping, complacent; shielding their ignorance with overconfidence.
Those who should be leading by example within churches are aiding and abetting the enemy. They take the Holy Spirit, the Holy Bible, God the Father, and/or Jesus completely out of the equation. They proclaim forgiveness for all, but do not call for repentance. They tell people that they are saved if they recite certain words, yet they never talk about putting on the new man, and how salvation brings the dead to life. They say that God is not allowed in politics instead of teaching that the laws we live by should be founded on God’s unchanging ways, not in mortal man’s changing whims. They preach that everyone will go to heaven, no matter their religion, and that hell is a lie… These are broken cisterns that cannot hold water; springs that have dried up; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. They are blind leaders of the blind; dragging children down to the pit with them. It would be better for them that a millstone were hung about their necks and they be thrown into the sea. (Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2, Matthew 18:6)
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind, to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, and ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)
Ultimately, too many people blindly follow the leaders of this age, without taking the time to read God’s Word for themselves. Just like in the dark ages, they can be easily led on the whims of corrupt and debased leaders. But those who have a strong moral compass, who know the Word of God and love Jesus with all their heart, they are the greatest threat against those who seek power and defend sin. They think for themselves, are not easily led astray, and trust in a Rock that is higher than every leader, throne, and dominion. They answer first to God and secondly to man. Their hearts and hands have the power to build a nation and bring it up from the ashes. They are not the ones firing the guns or setting off the bombs; they are the ones being murdered, burned, beheaded, and imprisoned for the cause of Christ.
Throughout the world, soldiers of the cross are being persecuted for their faith and for their desire to see slaves set free from the power of death and sin. Their sufferings do not make them perfect human beings, but their sufferings work to refine them, and God has promised them an eternal reward in heaven if they patiently endure through trials.
However, here in the United States, our trials are not so blatant and life-threatening. Of course, if you are a teacher in a public school, and you read your Bible out loud to your students, then you may be arrested. But if those children, along with their parents, decided to meet at your house to study the Bible, then you would be completely free to proclaim your faith. People who assemble in home churches in the United States to read God’s Word, worship Him, and discover His purpose for their lives do not have to fear the government coming in and threatening to kill them if they continue to believe as they do. In choosing God’s way, we may lose those things or people most precious to us: our friends, family, church, job, home, school, scholarship. Yet, if we should lose any of those things for the cause of Christ, we are promised one hundredfold more in eternity. (Matthew 19:29, Mark 10:30)
Though so many “Christian” leaders have fallen astray and led others in the same direction, do not let that knowledge make you lose heart. Though you risk being an outsider for following Jesus, do not let that stop your pursuit of Him.
I have seen Christian leaders sacrifice themselves for the sake of those whom God has given them to shepherd. I have heard truth preached, regardless of the political or social consequences. Not all leaders are lost, not all churches are in the dark, and not all those who proclaim to follow Christ are living a lie. We must take heart in the midst of troubling times, realizing that God is able to secure His children for Himself; no matter the congregation they gather in. Not every knee has bowed before the idols of this age.
The common denominator within all of God’s children is their steadfast faith that Jesus is the only Way, Truth, and Life; salvation is only through Him. If a spiritual leader tells you different, walk the other way. If a professed “Christian” brother or sister tells you different, walk the other way. I am not saying that you can’t tell them the truth and point them to the Scriptures they should already know, but if they still do not believe the truth, yet refuse to confess that they are not Christians, then they will only drag you down with them. Separate yourself from them and attend to the great commission. Do not let the influence of the “Christians” in your life tarnish the witness of the Gospel in your life.
In other words, do not let the church or other Christians becomes idols in your life, where you base your salvation on church attendance and participation, or upon the number of Christian friends you have. You need Jesus, fellowship, and a daily study of God’s Word and continuance in prayer, but you do not need a church building or membership. God’s children are everywhere. Some have lost their way and are in desperate need of discipleship. Others need to be challenged more outside of the sphere of their church building.
Do not fear to be a nonconformist. Proclaim that the Holy Spirit still moves and breathes through the sons and daughters of God, reiterating that He is always in agreement with the Words of God. Proclaim that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Call the lost to repentance, that they may find forgiveness at the foot of the cross. And let the forgiveness of God breathe life into those who were dead; reaerating their souls and lives. Let the Word of God be the foundation of your political and social stance. And let the world know that Heaven is real and prepared for the faithful, and that Hell can only be defeated through being washed in the blood of the Lamb.
We still have time to live for Jesus and to teach and preach His truth to the world.
Do not sit silent and complacent.
Rise up, you soldiers of the cross.