It should not surprise us, but Jesus warned us about today:
As Jesus left the temple courtyard and was walking away, his disciples came to him. They proudly pointed out to him the temple buildings. Jesus said to them, “You see all these buildings, don’t you? I can guarantee this truth: Not one of these stones will be left on top of another. Each one will be torn down.” [And it has happened].
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will this happen? What will be the sign that you are coming again, and when will the world come to an end?”
Jesus answered them, “Be careful not to let anyone deceive you. Many will come using my name. They will say, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many people.
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Don’t be alarmed! These things must happen, but they don’t mean that the end has come. Nation will fight against nation and kingdom against kingdom. [Yep, it is happening] There will be famines and earthquakes in various places [Sure sounds like it]. All of these are only the beginning pains of the end.
“Then they will hand you over to those who will torture and kill you. All nations will hate you because you are committed to me [That is certainly true!] Then many will lose faith. They will betray and hate each other. Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people (Matthew 24:1-11)
We have read those words over and over, but until the recent years, we did not fully understand what Jesus was saying. Folks, the world hates us. Don’t be surprised about that. But those words, “Then many will lose faith. They will betray and hate each other. Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people,” is indeed happening before our eyes.
The true danger is seen in His words, back in the fifth chapter:
“You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, how will it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people” (Matthew 5:13).
Many misquote that verse by saying that the church is the “Salt of the Earth.” But the text actually reads, “for” the earth. The Church was established for the benefit of the Earth. It was established as the world’s preservative. As you know, salt is a preserving agent and was considered a valuable commodity. What the verse is telling us is that the Church was intended to be a preserving influence on every society. Yet, when they lose their saltiness, as Jesus says they are “no longer good for anything.” Ouch! That is a scary thought.
I believe that the main reason for the devaluation of the Church is that Christians no longer stand for their convictions. They are so concerned about offending someone and are willing to accommodate everyone else’s convictions. We waste our time stomping and snorting our feelings and demands, instead of avoiding the things that distract us for our responsibilities. If you think of it, this is why Muslims can issue demands for prayer rugs, holidays off, wash stations for their feet and other accommodations, and get them, because they have the courage to do so. But not just that, the Muslims have the courage to act on those convictions.
My friends, when churches stopped taking a strong stand against the influence of the world on its convictions, instead of adhering to the Scriptures, they lost their saltiness and the government filled the vacuum. The loss of saltiness has led to the humiliation of our Lord’s Church and his disciples. The Church is no longer willing (or able) to stand for what is just and moral.
The Church no longer holds the standard of morality and righteousness. It has been shot in the back by their religious leaders. But if our churches will begin to take a strong stand on social issues and morality, while also avoiding formalism and having a loving spirit, people will appreciate it because we are holding to the courage of our convictions. When Christians wake up and take the place of salt, as we are called to do, we can once again turn this country back to God.
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