ARE YOU HAPPY?


 

Contender Ministries


 

Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."  Luke 22:34

Are you happy?  I sincerely hope so.  Are you content?  I hope not!  I am very happy.  As Christians, we have every right to be happy, as our salvation is assured, having been bought by our Lord.  But content?  How can any Christian look at the world around them, and be content? 

Recently, an atheist organization held a rally in my home state of Washington.  The reason they chose Washington State is because this is statistically the most “godless” state in America.  This area is the most un-churched, and has a higher percentage of the population with no belief in God than any other.  My wife and I love Washington State.  It’s the most beautiful area in which we have ever lived.  To find that we have the highest percentage of disbelievers of any state in the union is very troubling.  There ARE Christians here – I’ve met them.  There are Christian churches here – I’ve been to some.  Is the alarming statistic beyond the ability of Spirit-led Christians to change?  Or have we become lazy in fulfilling the Great Commission.  Unfortunately, the bad news is not limited to my neck of the woods.

A recent news article discussed how witchcraft and paganism are on the rise in Australia.  At the same time, the percentage of Christians in Australia has declined.  Are Australian Christians going quietly, or are they fighting tooth and nail, contending for their faith?  This epidemic is worldwide.  An article in the July 7, 2002, London Telegraph talks about the Church of England being stuck in a state of “exile” in the U.K., as Christianity is becoming “invisible” in that nation.  The Bishop of Rochester, Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali, said Christians were increasingly being excluded from public discourse by a hostile secular culture.  He went on to say, “Our voice is not being allowed to be heard in the way that it used to be.  Sometimes people say: 'Well, we now live in a multi-faith society.'”

Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly. -- Luke 22:60-62

It seems that the move to secularize America is a movement on a global scale.  Christians are deemed to be intolerant and divisive when we contend for our faith – quite politically incorrect.  We must not allow ourselves to be marginalized.  We cannot sound the retreat when others do not want us to speak the truth.  In an interview on the Fox News Channel, Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) was defending the court decision that called our pledge of allegiance “unconstitutional”, because it contained the words, “under God”.  Honda identified himself as a Christian, but said “Christians do not want to push our faith on others.”  In two seconds flat, Representative Honda threw out the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.  He also ignored our instructions to contend for our faith.  While I agree that we are not to hold a gun to someone’s head and force them to repent, we are definitely instructed by our Lord to share the gospel with them. 

So why are we failing in this regard?  Why are Christians falling behind in the battle for the souls of men?  I believe the answer lies in complacency, and an incomplete pass of the buck.  Too many Christians are waiting for their local church to solve the problem.  Too many local churches are too busy financing new pews and organizing members-only activities to do much more than provide some financial support to missionaries abroad.  I realize there are exceptions to this rule, but unfortunately, the exceptions define the rule.  Too many are waiting for someone else to fulfill the Great Commission.  Whether this is a paralysis borne out of fear, or a malaise borne out of complacency, the problem is rising to epidemic proportions.

The answer, I believe, is simple.  Stop waiting for someone else.  I included the scripture passages of Peter’s denial of Christ, because I believe our collective silence is a form of denial.  Just as dishonesty can consist of omission of truth as much as a false statement, so denial of Christ can take the form of failing to communicate the Gospel to the rest of the world.  The Great Commission applies to all Christians, not just a few.  If you want your church to be more active in community-level evangelism, start organizing that.  If your church moves too slowly, be a warrior for Christ on your own.  We are all called to be contenders, but we are getting smacked about rather soundly.  We are weak on our own, but we can do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength.  It’s time to draw on His strength and wisdom, put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), and contend for your faith.

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.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. –Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Contender Ministries

http://contenderministries.org