Perilous Times

During my lifetime there has been a steady and relentless decline in moral values and ethics in our nation.  The moral fabric of American society has been shredded as godly behaviors are replaced by hedonistic self-indulgences.

The so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s challenged and eventually replaced godly values such as sexual abstinence among the unmarried and marital fidelity with gross sexual promiscuity as new norms for behavior.  Just a few decades ago drug addiction was exclusively associated with lawless and other marginal elements in society. That also began to change in the 1960s as young people experimented with every thing from marijuana to hallucinogens like LSD and even heroine.  As illegal drug use spread its association with criminal behavior began to fade. Social elites began to refer to drugs taken illegally as “recreational” drug use. Today, some states no longer enforce some of their drug laws and others have made it legal to use so-called recreational drugs. Marriage rates have declined and divorce rates increased. Abortion became legal and increased to epidemic rates.  Unwed pregnancy has gone from being rare, and kept private to a normal social behavior.  Today there are more children in one parent homes, and foster care than ever before. Since 1950 teen suicide rates have more than doubled.

This continual deterioration of the moral fiber of America is not happening in a vacuum. Changes in moral values and behaviors are not products of chance that randomly occur by the machinations of an impersonal material universe. They are products of spiritual wickedness. Ironically, this is good news for we who oppose the decline of godly morality. It is good news because spiritual wickedness can be defeated.

The methods of spiritual wickedness used today against God’s people   are as old as time itself. They were used against Adam and Eve in the garden. Jesus was himself tempted to use them. But today the methods are more refined and subtle.  Spiritual wickedness dresses in robes of academic endeavor and intellectual discovery to hide its evil origin and intentions. It is organized, categorized and has a name.   Today the methods of this spiritual wickedness is called a philosophy.  Its name is Existentialism.

The essay attached to this email entitled “Perilous Times” represents an effort to collect and express my thoughts concerning how we are being destroyed by the effects of existential thinking. It also contains scripturally supported solutions to America’s morality crises. It discusses what is at stake for our children, grandchildren and future generations if we fail to do what God’s word commands. 
 
I am keenly aware of my limitations to adequately express myself in writing.  I beg your indulgence and forgiveness if you find the essay wordy and tedious.  I truly wish I knew how to concisely express myself and with greater clarity.  I beg your prayers in this regard.
 
Thanks and may God bless you.
 
Your unworthy servant and brother in Christ,
Mike Ivey

Perilous Times

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:7

In his second letter to Timothy the Apostle Paul warns of perilous times in the last days. (2 Timothy 3:1) He indicates the cause of danger are opportunistic teachers who are evil seducers that “resist the truth” and deceive others. (2 Timothy 3:8,13, 4:3-4) Paul cites as examples Hymenaeus and Philetus and Jannes and Jambres, who opposed Moses. He wrote they speak vain and profane babblings” and employ foolish and unlearned questions” to undermine the truth of God. (2 Timothy 2:16-23, 3:8, ) He describes the messages and influence of these seducers as a spreading cancer. (2 Timothy 2:17) They deceive others to think and behave in ways that produce a spiraling ignorance of Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2Timothy 3:7)  

We live in the perilous times Paul described, an era full of danger from deceptive false teachers. They entice followers to engage in the cycle of ignorance mentioned by Paul by removing fixed moral values handed down by God and replacing them with man-made values. Using existential moral relativism they deny God’s eternal and immutable truth inventing new and ever changing meanings for good and evil. They indoctrinate the unwitting and the willing to accept new and shifting social values. Cultural leaders in academia, politics, media, entertainment, the legal field and others espouse and promote changes in values throughout society. They use demagoguery, threats and social pressure to intimidate those who resist, especially Christians, to tolerate if not outright celebrate sinful behaviors. Their existential pseudo-truths turn the truth of God into a lie by insisting what is evil according to God’s word is good and what God says is good is evil.

          Why we are in perilous times The simple explanation for our present danger is moral values are being transformed by new meanings for good and evil. The humanist philosophy known as existentialism explains the why-and-how this is occurring. Existentialism is the modern name for a way of thinking that has been around in some form since Satan tempted Eve. Paul alludes to some of its effect in Romans 1:18-32.   Existentialism gained popularity among academics and other cultural elites in America after World War II, and has since been widely applied throughout American society. The works of 19th century philosophers Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrick Nietzsche, and in the 20th century, Jean Paul Sartre in large measure form the basis of the modern version of existentialism.

            Sartre expressed a core principle of modern existentialism with the phrase, “existence precedes essence.”1   He used this phrase to convey the idea that human nature is solely the result of man’s physical existence. Accordingly, all facets of human nature including character, personality, intuition, will, creativity, values, etc. are wholly a product of man and his environment.   This philosophy supposes the essence of one’s self emerges and begins to evolve by continual revisions of one’s preceptions as knowledge and experiences are acquired, considered, and acted upon. This idea is rooted in beliefs that: 1. Only matter and energy exist; and, 2. Man exists as a product of chance that came about by and from the physical universe.

            Built on this humanist principle, is an assertion that each person determines personal reality and truth by his own perceptions of self, others, circumstance and environment that are drawn from one’s knowledge and experiences. New knowledge and experiences are thought to produce some degree of revision to perceptions. With sufficient revision one’s concepts of reality and truth also undergo change. In turn, new concepts of reality and truth can produce changes in moral values. Changes in values are accompanied by shifts in attitudes and eventually changes in behaviors. Over time, and with enough revision, behaviors that were previously morally unacceptable become acceptable and even preferred, which indicates the meanings for good and evil have changed.

            The basic principles of existentialism directly oppose biblical explanations that teach God created man in His image and gave him a spirit that transcends physical existence. Ever changing truth excludes God’s immutable moral identity as the basis of social values; which leaves atheistic moral relativism as the only alternative.

            The term moral relativism refers to a human centered method for making moral judgments based on pragmatic outcome based reasoning. Determinations of good and evil result from expectations of positive and negative outcomes in relation to pleasure or benefit. For instance, using moral relativism the decision to tell a lie is based on whether positive expectations of pleasure or benefit outweigh negative expectations. The guiding principle of moral relativism may be summed up with the cliché, “the end justifies the means.” This method of forming moral and ethical values constantly subjects the meanings of good and evil to continual revision.

Existentialism denies the truth of God by ignoring Him. In his essay Existentialism and Human Emotions2 Jean Paul Sartre wrote,Existentialism isn’t so atheistic that it wears itself out showing that God doesn’t exist. Rather, it declares that even if God did exist, that would change nothing. There you’ve got our point of view. Not that we believe that God exists, but we think that the problem of his existence is not the issue.”

Sartre’s statement makes God irrelevant in human affairs, which serves to remove His unchangeable character and will as the fixed point for defining morality. The obvious result of this is moral values cannot be the prerogative of God. Existentialism substitutes man for God as his own moral authority and agent. This humanist component of existentialism can only produce moral relativism because people are arbitrary. We vary in mental acuity and personality, have different experiences, appetites, and opinions. We are apt to change our minds for any number of reasons, and are subject to error in knowledge and judgment. This makes moral values, meanings for good and evil, pliable and prone to change as new information and experiences influence people to alter perceptions and opinions.            

          Changing Moral Values   The influence of false teachers in promoting moral relativism is seen in changing values throughout society. Recent examples include: Acceptance of increasing violence, vulgar language and sexual behavior in entertainment. We see growing acceptance of pornography. Unbiblical lifestyles have become acceptable and even are celebrated. There is increasing pressure to change the meaning of marriage. Drug use is increasingly tolerated and accepted. Infanticide by abortion has become an accepted method of birth control. Today, many parents disdain the use of corporeal punishment to correct disobedient children. Attacks on Christian religious rights are increasing and gaining in tolerance. In religion, time alotted to hearing the preached word has been reduced or eliminated to allow more time for praise and performance worship. Qualifications for the clergy have been redefined. Churches have adopted new definitions for marriage and changed other long-held church doctrines. In academia we find revisionist history taught to undermine patriotism and our religious beliefs. Some areas of science ignore the scientific method and teach theories as facts. In literature we see the discarding of authors’ original meanings of books, plays, essays and other rhetorical artifacts in favor of new interpretations designed to reflect contemporary philosophies and biases.

            In chapter three of 2 Timothy Paul identifies the general character and specific traits shared by false teachers. Noting their character, he states they shall be lovers of their own selves” and lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:2-4) They are narcissists who disguise themselves with false piety by feigning love and righteousness while they inwardly reject God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.” With false godliness, they entice others to believe good is evil and evil is good. Paul cautions us to avoid them and from such turn away.”(2 Timothy 3:4-5)

Sandwiched between the two general descriptions we find a list of behavioral traits Paul associated with false teachers. They are: covetous (money lovers), boasters (braggarts, pretenders), blasphemers (slanderers), disobedient to parents (rebellious against legitimate authority including God), unthankful (believe they are entitled), unholy (void of piety), without natural affections (inordinate self love as children with no love for parents and parents with no love for children), truce-breakers (untrustworthy), false accusers (disparaging liars), incontinent (without self-control), fierce (easily enraged, violent), dispisers of those that are good (hate the godly), traitors (betrayers of loyalties), heady, (rash and reckless), high-minded (proud, haughty, insolent). Paul unlikely meant that all these traits are present in everyone who is consumed by hedonistic self-love. It is probable he meant they are present in various combinations and manifest in varying degrees according to the personality and circumstance of a given false teacher.

Paul’s mention of Hymenaeus and Philetus indicates his warning addresses false teachers in the church. (2 Timothy 2:16-17) He also included false teachers in society at large by mentioning Jannes and Jambres, who opposed Moses. (2 Timothy 3:8) He describes them as mentally depraved opponents of truth who are without faith. They are said to creep into houses” (2 Timothy 3:6); which indicates they actively work in the general population. They represent the sort of person who preys on the naïve and vulnerable such as Satan did with Eve. They feign sympathy for those who are troubled by the temptations and afflictions of sin. With pretended compassion veiled by emotional appeals to human passions, they offer a counterfeit form of consolation by encouraging their followers to think of themselves as victims of unfairness or injustice. They offer solutions that appeal only to the appetites of lust while falsely promising happiness. Instead, the result is more ungodliness that causes more guilt and despair. (2 Timothy 2:16)

            Ever learning Those Paul has in mind engage in continual learning but are never able to understand the object lesson of their studies. The futility of this mode of learning stems from focusing on one’s self for understanding. A successful search for truth must be God centered. The Bible supplies many accounts and explanations of God’s moral identity in human terms in the person Christ Jesus, who is both man and God. With this knowledge we may rightly consider our values and behaviors to see how they compare to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13)

            Truth comes by understanding who Christ Jesus is, what He did for us and what He has promised to do. With this knowledge, we can understand who we are to God and our responsibility to obey His will on earth as it is obeyed in heaven. We can rightly perceive reality here on earth in light of the sublime eternal reality by experiential understanding of the truth of His definitions of good and evil. To do otherwise is to engage in an endless cycle of self-centered learning that cannot teach us the truth of God.

          Never able to come to the Knowledge of the truth      Our subject text indicates those of whom Paul wrote are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. This is the case for those who rely on existential moral relativism for values and behaviors. They are confronted with an unsolvable dilemma because their meaning of truth is in constant flux. They resist the immutable truth of God. Yet, existential reasoning cannot supply truth with a firm meaning. Because it insists morality is relative, based on pragmatic rationale. This makes the definitions of good and evil pliable and subject to continual change. Each time the meanings of good or evil change the meaning of truth also changes.

In his book The God Who is There, Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer addressed the psychological impact of existentialism’s truth quandary. He likened it to a man “trapped in a large round room with no doors and no windows, nothing but complete darkness.”3 The man searches for an exit by placing his hand on the wall and walking. Because the room is round he can never know when he has made a complete circle. Therefore he can never know there is no door. So he keeps walking. Such is existentialism’s search for the meaning of truth.

Ignorance of what constitutes knowledge can also prevent a person from knowing the truth. The word for knowledge Paul used is epiginosis.   Thayer’s Greek Dictionary defines it as: epi, over or covering and genosis, knowledge; “precise and correct knowledge” of things “ethical and divine.” Paul used this word to convey the idea of overall, or whole concept knowledge. This word signifies comprehensive understanding based on the details, applications and experiences that pertain to the truth of God. Those who neglect any of these three components are never able to come to the knowledge of truth Paul had in mind.

Chapter nine of Mark’s gospel provides an example of the effects of whole concept knowledge of the truth in the account of the father with an afflicted son. The father told Jesus that his disciples had failed to heal his child. Jesus responded, canst thou believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” The father replied Lord I believe; help thou my unbelief.” Jesus then healed the man’s child. (Mark 9:23-24) From his experience with Jesus the man came to know the significance of his responsibility to believe in order to know and experience the truth of God. He realized that his ability to believe came from God; and he experienced the wisdom and power of God that helped him overcome the things that caused his unbelief. He also gained personal knowledge about God’s willingness to act when he believed Christ Jesus. Beyond his son being healed the father learned by experience the truth of God’s love, mercy, power and fidelity. He also learned the truth about the power of faith. Other examples of how the experiential component of the truth of God impacts our knowledge include the accounts of Thomas’ declaration “My Lord and my God” after seeing the resurrected Savior’s nail scars, and Peter’s boldness at Pentecost after he denied Christ during the crucifixion for fear of personal harm. (John 28:20, Luke 22:59-62, Acts 2:14-23)

While existentialism is basically humanistic and even atheistic in some of its principles, elements of this philosophy are found in various religious teachings such as Calvinism’s perseverance in faith doctrine and the Arminian teaching that salvation comes by believing in Christ and by asking Him to save. Calvinism teaches a truly saved person will persevere in faith by remaining steadfast and unshakable in his belief in Christ. Arminianism requires a person to accept Christ and invite Him to give new birth. It also requires repeated examination of the experience to determine if one had sufficient belief when he asked to be saved. Calvinists and most Arminians believe once saved always saved. Never-the-less, both require their followers to repeatedly decide whether they were, in fact, once saved.

With Calvinism, one’s thoughts and behaviors must be constantly measured against perseverance standards for assurance one is not a nominal believer who was never saved. However, present assurance offers little comfort for the future because future transgressions may tip the perseverance scale away from salvation. One lives in fear that in the future he might fail to persevere in faith; which would prove that he was an unsaved nominal believer all the time. In this circumstance, one is ever learning salvation but never experiences the salvation truth of eternal security/preservation in Christ.

Arminianism’s humanistic component teaches sinners are in control of their salvation based on whether they accept or reject Christ. In addition, it teaches that followers must repeatedly examine the experience of their alleged new birth and decide if they truly believed Jesus saved them. Otherwise, they are merely false professors of faith. If they have any doubt they were saved they must again ask Jesus to save them. This process of self-appraising one’s salvation status is on-going. In this way, a person is ever learning about salvation, but like Calvinism’s perseverance doctrine, one never gains by experience a personal knowledge of the truth of eternal security.

Both doctrines employ relativism to construct truth. They both base the meaning of truth on conclusions that a person forms through self-examination. A significant issue with this method of defining truth is humans are fallible and arbitrary. We make mistakes, and we also change our minds. Furthermore, we can be deceived by others and are capable of deceiving ourselves. (Jeremiah 9:5, 17:9)

Under both systems settled truth of salvation is evasive. Both systems frustrate one’s access to the “now salvation” experience of eternal security/preservation. Like recurring stumbling stones, the prospect of repeatedly addressing the question of whether they were ever truly saved hinders disciples of these doctrines from receiving full assurance and strong consolation in their hope of eternal life. (Hebrews 6:11-18)

Despite the influence of existential thinking in some areas of theology, in general Christian teachings affix the meaning of truth to God based on scriptural explanations of His attributes and His having created the material universe. Reality created by God suggests truth is objective and is also knowable in human terms to the extent that God wills. Physical laws of gravity and speed of sound are examples of truth God established in creation and revealed to man. He also defined and revealed truth concerning good and evil in connection with His moral authority as Creator. God’s command relating to the tree of knowledge of good and evil defined the meaning of good as obedience to His will and the meaning of evil as disobedience. He has never changed their meanings. (Genesis 2:17)

How we can know the truth The Bible provides accurate and our most complete explanations of God and reality. It also contains instruction and examples of how to best think about God despite our fundamental inability to wholly understand Him as He is. (Isaiah 55:8-9) It plainly indicates truth, including the truth of reality, originates and proceeds from God. In John 14:6 Christ states, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” He is the ethical way. He is the truth in heaven and truth incarnate. The truth and way of life abides in Him and is conveyed through Him. Being JEHOVAH (The Existing One) God is objective truth. Because God ever exists and also is the Creator God, immutable reality and truth exist in and through Him, including all the reality of man’s existence and the true meanings of good and evil.

God the Word, who is the Creator is all present, powerful and knowing. (John 1:1-14, Daniel 4:35, Psalm 139) He alone is capable of accurately communicating reality. Men may discover something of His truth regarding creation through genuine scientific observation. However, man’s observations regarding good or evil are correct only when they conform to God’s moral identity and authority. God personally reveals the moral qualities of His Being to his children when they are born again and afterwards by his written word and the gospel.

When a person is born again, God immediately and directly communicates His moral identity and authority by placing His moral laws in the heart (soul) and mind. (Romans 2:14-15, Hebrews 8:10-11) He also initiates direct and on-going testimony that bears witness with our spirits as to His moral qualities of love, truth, faith, righteousness, mercy, etc.. (Romans 8:16-17, Galatains 5:22-23, Ephesians 5:8-10) This witnessing originates in the spiritual realm. However its findings are communicated to the mind by the conscience, which transcends spiritual and physical realms. While bearing witness to God’s law in the spiritual realm the conscience also stimulates the mind to produce thoughts that accuse evil and excuse good. (Romans 2:13-15)

            Believers follow the same course to understand and believe the details of the truth contained in God’s written and preached word. (1 Corinthians 2:11-16) By three-fold witness of God’s indwelling Spirit, man’s regenerated spirit and his pure conscience correct understandings of His written word and explanations by the Gospel are confirmed to be true. The conscience then stimulates the mind to form thoughts that produce conviction, which converts one to truth as faith.   Faith is expressed by belief. Believing faith produces an obedient walk based on love for God. An obedient walk constitutes ethical (experiential) acceptance of God’s moral authority concerning good and evil.

            Deception and lies can short-circuit the mind’s ability to correctly distinguish good and evil. When the mind is deceived by lust and one prefers to believe lies, the conscience is seared, sealed off and unable to convict the mind regarding good and evil. (1 Timothy 1:2) In this condition the child of God is in peril of succumbing to bewitching evil influences. It makes him apt to turn away from God in pursuit whatever course of sinning encouraged by the lies of false teachers. (Galatians 3:1)

 

            God’s Judgement when we change the meanings of good and evil  Adam and Eves’ disobedience in the garden is an example of how man uses pragmatic moral relativism to redefine good and evil to suit himself. God indicated eating the fruit was evil and would result in death. Adam and Eve engaged in moral relativism by using pragmatic rationale to decide eating from the tree was good. They reasoned it was good to eat the fruit because the tree: 1. was good for food; 2. looked pleasant; and, 3. would make them godlike. (Genesis 3:5-6) These would have been good reasons to eat the fruit had they been based on God’s truth rather than Satan’s lie. Pragmatic rationalizations can never turn lies into truth. They never change evil into good.

I Samuel 15 provides another example of man’s effort to redefine good to suit one’s self. Rather than destroying an enemy and all his possessions as God commanded, Saul confiscated the best livestock and goods. When Samuel called him out for disobeying God, the king tried to justify his action by saying he had spared the livestock to sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel’s response refutes the notion that obedience to God is optional or that it is somehow adaptable based on self-induced good intentions: Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”(1 Samuel 15: 17-26) Samuel’s statement indicates well-meaning intentions and pleasant feelings about our thoughts are evil when they encourage us to disobey God.

            In the examples just cited God’s judgment was swift and severe. He sentenced Adam and Eve to death. He also banished them from the Garden of Eden and condemned them to labor for food and shelter the rest of their lives. The same judgment was applied to all their descendants. (Genesis 3:16-19) Concerning Saul, God removed him and his lineage from the kingship over Israel and gave it to David. Even worse, God and Samuel departed from Saul leaving him void of truth and spiritual guidance for the rest of his life. (1 Samuel 15:35, 16:14) In both cases, the descendants of the transgressors suffered from their ancestors’ transgressions.

By silently tolerating or else following false teachings in other ways, the righteous man lends his support to the wicked. He does so by failing to provide moral leadership. When this happens the wicked assuredly fill the void and bring with them the perilous times of which Paul warned Timothy, and in which times we are now living. (2 Timothy 3:1) When God’s people impeach His moral authority by tolerating or accepting new meanings of good and evil, God imposes swift and severe judgment and punishments. (Hebrews 10:26-31) One way He punishes is by suffering vain philosophies to run their natural course. He does not intervene while families, institutions, and eventually social order itself deteriorate and collapse as insatiable greed, lust for power and privilege, and hedonism bring about social decay by increasing lawlessness, seemingly endless wars, tyranny and bondage. This scene is played out repeatedly in the Old Testament in the many afflictions, lost wars and captivities Israel suffered because of disobedience.

God promises deliverance when we repent and obey his commandment to be moral leaders The Lord promises deliverance from the full effect of destruction for those who repent from self-centered humanist thinking and stop using moral relativism to transform the meanings of good and evil. If we, who call ourselves God’s people, will turn back to Him as our moral authority and seek only His will for our lives he will heal our sinful land. “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)

True repentance is apparent by conversion to a changed walk in which believers obey God’s mandate to share with others the truth of His moral identity and authority. God commands us to do so in order to establish and maintain social values and order that are consistent with His will. This principle is implied by God’s command that Moses give His Law to Israel as the basis for their social values and order. Jesus also affirmed that God’s children should serve Him as moral leaders as salt (godly example) and light (godly instruction) to the world. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16) The overt Judeo-Christian teachings and values contained in many of the founding documents of America present a modern example of using moral authority from God to establish and maintain social order and values.

            God promises blessings to those who accept their moral duty to lead others by being moral examples and godly instructors to their families, communities and nations. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” (Leviticus26:3-4); and, If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:10-11)

            However, we cannot be godly moral leaders and also follow false teachers who continually change the meanings of good and evil. In Titus 1:10-11 Paul tells us false teachers must be stopped. He also indicates effective preaching of the true gospel diminishes their influence. (2 Timothy 4:1-2, Titus 1:9, 2:1) Pastors are godly examples and serve as teachers of this godly morality when they boldly preach the true gospel while avoiding confrontational disputation, which is to the subverting of the hearers” (2 Timothy 2:14). The influence of false teachers and the downward spiraling effect of the self-opposing behaviors they encourage in God’s children can be defeated through repentance when the true gospel is preached in the right spirit. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” Preaching the truth with a gentle spirit and with all patience by the power of God serves to bring God’s erring children to godly sorrow. Their obstinate hearts are then melted by Divine love. He gives His mourning children a spirit of true repentance. With penitent hearts they convert from willful sinning based on ungodly meanings for good and evil to a walk rooted in godly moral values. (2 Corinthians 7:10, Acts 3:19)

            But preaching to mostly empty pews will not deliver us. God’s people need to awaken and get back in church! The faithful who are already in the pews, already in the trenches of Christian warfare, serve as examples by loving their neighbors . As soldiers of the cross, we all must show our love for God by obeying His commandments. We must love others, including our enemies, by ministering to them. We must prepare to be godly moral leaders by studying God’s word; and share it with others as God opens doors of utterance. We must be examples as committed church members in all love and fellowship with the saints, and by serving God in all our duties. We are God’s salt and light in our homes and communities when we set examples that encourage others to attend church, love our neighbors, minister to others needs, and when we seize every opportunity to share with others our experiences of the goodness and mercies of God according to His word.

            God has promised when we put off vain inclinations to love ourselves more than God, when we repent and turn back to Him, He will defeat this terrible evil that is destroying us and heal our sick and suffering families, churches, communities, and nation.

 

Elder Michael Ivey

Lakewood Village, TX

1    Sartre, Jean Paul, Existentialism is a Humanism, 1946, http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/sartre/works/exist/sartre.htm

2    Satrte, Existentialism and Human Emotion, 1957, Philosophy magazine

http://www.philosophymagazine.com/others/MO_Sartre_Existentialism.html

3    Schaeffer, Francis, Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer, Book One: The God Who is There, vol 1,

p.10, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 1985

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