Lucia's Blog: IT IS TIME FOR THE RIGHTEOUS TO TAKE A STAND!
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Saturday, August 29, 2020

IT IS TIME FOR THE RIGHTEOUS TO TAKE A STAND!

"I am set for the defense of the gospel."
Philippians 1:17



We live in times of turmoil and chaos. These times are the product of a culture of violence and lawlessness. This problem affects every aspect of our present world: ethnic and racial matters, social and educational matters, even things economic and religious. The violence and lawlessness is caused by a great variety of ideologies, and it spreads from place to place and from group to group. Indeed, these are troubling times! Just take a look around you and see how immorality and lawlessness have become the norm in our culture. Immoral lifestyles such as abortion, homosexuality, fornication, and many other such flawed and sinful customs that once brought universal shame are now lived openly without any shame or guilt whatsoever.  Let us consider what we must do in times like these.


I.   STANDING FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS IN A LAWLESS SOCIETY:
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34

Although these words were written for the people of Israel and their neighbors, it is certainly true with all generations, nations, and times until the Lord returns to judge the world in righteousness. It applies to our nation and to us also. This passage is profound, for it speaks of God’s wisdom. It would be wise to understand this message and live by it. Righteous living lifts us up. Those who live righteously are elevated because of the righteous and noble standard by which they strive to live. Those who live in the world of the righteous are blessed by their example. You see, the more our people live by God’s elevated principles of righteousness, the more a nation is elevated or exalted. A nation whose norm is corruption, degradation, depravity, immorality, and lawlessness can never stand strong.

When the righteous of God live in a lawless society of people who reject God and His principles of righteousness, if they take an open stand for righteousness and morality against wickedness, lawlessness, that is, if they especially point out their immorality, they will be verbally harassed and accused of being narrow-minded, ignorant, tyrannical, stupid, and bigoted. In fact, many have an in-your-face way of insulting and scorching us with profanity and name-calling because of our stand for righteousness.  You see, our people no longer know the difference between right and wrong, immorality, and morality. In many cases, it goes unnoticed. Alas, our morals and principles of righteousness have been absolutely turned upside down!!

No one can deny that these are troubling times. Most marriages are falling apart. Our homes are disintegrating and crumbling down. The sad reality is that homes must be the basic unit of any society where children can be raised and prepared to take their place in their society as adults. The fewer the homes that effectively teach their children the principles of righteousness as taught by God in His Sacred Book, the less they are going to become productive adults. So society suffers these consequences. The result of this downward spiral is more dysfunctional homes raising children to become dysfunctional adults. Thus there are fewer godly and good homes raising productive adults.

Indeed, our society is in critical danger! So what is the answer to all this chaos and lawlessness? The Gospel, the Truth of God. The Gospel can change people’s lives and our society as well. As more people turn from their wickedness and their sins and turn to God for guidance, purpose, and direction, there will be peace in their lives. God gave us the Bible, His Truth so that we might believe (develop faith) in Him. Without the Truth, we will be lost, and without hope. So we must keep teaching God’s Word, the Gospel of the kingdom of God, for faith is developed by hearing God’s Word (Romans 10:17). The Gospel offers men vital information about forgiveness, salvation, eternal life, assurance, hope, and peace. But we must teach and heed the Gospel’s teachings to reap its benefits!

Sadly, many will not listen to God’s instructions and teachings communicated in His Word. It is the most important and the most valuable information ever made available to mankind! Many shut their eyes and close their ears to the riches found in God’s Word, even though it can transform their lives and bring peace. They reject the blessing of seeing their lives transformed or changed for the better. What a terrible tragedy it is to refuse to listen to God’s Word!
"This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: 'You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.'  15 For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.'  16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.'"  (Matt. 13:13-17)

When a society no longer cares about righteousness but prefers to live in unrighteousness and lawlessness, rebelling against their Creator, doing whatever they please, they are deceiving themselves, thinking that they can escape the consequences. In fact, they’re in big trouble and on their way to decadence. Why? Because sin becomes their way of life, their frequent mindset, and their character.

When sin rules and righteousness is the exception in any society, sin takes over that society and becomes a reproach, disgrace, and shame. A society that ignores the reproach of sin and lawlessness is a society that has disgraced itself, for it brings shame upon itself whether they realize it or not. When our lawmakers have to lie publicly to cover their lawlessness, when adultery is excused as normal, when one is portrayed as the villain for exposing the fruits of darkness and that which is wrong or lawless, then we must take a hard look at what we are becoming as a society or nation. I must stress that such things cannot be changed by voting for the right politician!!  It has everything to do with the power of God’s Truth and His principles of righteousness and morality that change the hearts of men.

So it is time for the righteous among us to take a stand for righteousness’ sake and glorify our Father in heaven! Let us give a defense and confirmation of the Gospel of Truth; fighting together for the faith of the Gospel, teaching those who are lost in sin the Truth of God that they might turn away from their sins to be saved. The Gospel deserves nothing less than a clear and confident declaration. The Word of God in all of its power is worthy of our courageous defense and advocacy. Therefore, let us share that same Word and confront all evil with the same valor or courage that we read about in the apostles.


II.   SOCIETY'S ETHICS AND GOD'S ABSOLUTE STANDARDS:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The biggest danger for a society whose ethics and morals are confused and mixed is that it may allow its culture to establish the standards of normal and acceptable activity. That is exactly what is happening in our modern culture! Why? Because when a society rejects God’s ethics, morals, and standards of righteousness, their standards become relativistic and changing. That which is the norm is acknowledged as that which is absolute. All absolute standards are then destroyed by such a culture. Thus relativism triumphs over that which must be absolute. Alas, this is where our modern culture is today! 

  • Moral  Decay and The Hope of The Gospel:
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”  (Isaiah 5:20)

Our society’s moral decay is accelerating quickly.  We are painfully aware of how our people call evil good and good evil Bible-speaking people are silenced because of the Truth that they speak and because of their stand for righteousnessAs our pagan culture accepts and embraces all forms of lawlessness, bigger and catastrophic things will confront us.  While we Christians look at the world, believing that evil is defeated when we do good, the world is deceived, thinking that evil is defeated through their acts of “social” justice.  Indeed, they are two distinct worldviews.  Unless we realize that true justice is the righteous Gospel Message and that personal vengeance is not justice, we will never succeed at teaching Jesus Christ to the world.  Nothing in the daily news is as powerful and informative as the "Good News" of the Gospel! (Rom. 1:16; 10:16-17)

Our pagan culture screams at the top of their lungs that “rules don’t matter at all, for there are no rules, and no one has the right to make them.” Where has this mindset taken us today?!  Our godless culture claims that "individual feelings" are the most important thing there is and that each man is a law unto himself. This is known as humanism.  In other words, there is no Almighty God who says what is right or wrong.  But the truth is, there IS right AND wrong according to God’s revealed Word.  It is a terrible thing to see the blind leading the blind!  In every generation, God's Word has determined what is right, wrong, good, and evil and that which is excellent (Phil. 1:10).

Sadly, our culture demands the right to determine that which is right and wrong, the norm for human behavior through statistical studies: behaviors that the Bible condemns, such as adultery, homosexuality, abortion, pornography, fornication, and many dark sins such as these. According to this way of thinking or worldview, since everyone is widely practicing a certain behavior, then it becomes society’s norm, and it is the ethical standard. So as a tragic result, ethics becomes a relative, floating set of patterns that dictate our duty and obligation. Sadly, they think that nothing is absolute, and nothing is forever. But God will have none of this, for He exists and has revealed Himself. He lives in the Bible! That revelation is verbal and propositional and is found in His Word. It contains God’s absolute set of standards rooted in His divine nature and will.

God knows what is best for us because He has created us in His image and has given us a way of redemption through His Son. Therefore, His verbal revelation contains all the absolute standards by which we must live our lives (in the home, the church, and the state). God’s ethics are a set of absolutes rather than a set of fluid standards, for they reflect His character and define our duties and obligations to God and mankind. God has the right to command us to “be holy for I am holy.” And since He is the only Creator, He has the right to set His standards or principles of righteousness by which we must measure all behavior.

Consider abortion where our culture no longer focuses on the rights of the baby (no mercy toward the weak) but instead focuses on the rights of the woman to eliminate the baby’s rights (survival of the fittest, the strong over the weak). The same is true with the issue of euthanasia, which focuses on the right of the person to “die with dignity” (to murder himself). Today, doctor-assisted suicide is sanctioned in some states, abusing “the right of privacy” to justify the person who helps another commit suicide. But we Christians must understand these raging ethical issues in our culture and use the Word of God to attack them. Christians must learn to think from God’s point of view, a Biblical worldview, about any ethical matter.

The Bible is God’s revealed Word and can equip us for every good work, for it is beneficial for correction, for reproof, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy. 3:16-17). Diligent study of the Word of God is vital to ethical decision making, for God’s Word gives us God’s view of life and His absolute standards. We cannot discern God’s mind on any issue and defend His Truth without Bible study and knowledge. The Bible is not irrelevant to ethics; instead, it is the foundation for ethics. The Bible defines ethics as absolute standards for mankind. Alas, today, the philosophy of relativism is pervasive! Why? Because God is rejected, and so is the Christian faith, the Gospel. All absolute Truth is being renounced.

Our pluralistic society avoids the concept of right and wrong (ethics). One evidence of this is our deteriorating judicial system that seems to be having trouble punishing criminals. Our judges cannot even support the public rejection of same-sex marriage, abortion, and so on. We also see this in our entertainment media, which continues to push their immoral and indecent agenda. Another example is our schools, which zealously indoctrinate our people and our children with "evolution" and "social tolerance" of corrupt behavior.

Moreover, this plague of moral relativism is encouraging the acceptance of homosexuality, pornography, voyeurism, fornication, adultery, and a host of other pervasive "sins" enormously.  Sins that were once generally regarded as wrong but are now being accepted and promoted by large segments of our people. It is becoming so pervasive that if one speaks out against such moral relativism and its "anything goes" philosophy, he is labeled as an "intolerant bigot." This, of course, is hypocritical of those who profess that all points of view are true, and yet reject those who profess absolutes in morality. To them, all points of view are true EXCEPT for all those views that teach moral absolutes, an absolute God, or absolute of right and wrong (ethics). (“Nothing is absolutely wrong except the teaching that the laws of God are absolutely right.” “The only behavior that must not be tolerated is intolerance.”)

Thus we must carry the Gospel, the transforming power of Christ, and teach it to our lawless culture, for there is no other hope of escape from the bondage of sin for our godless culture than the transforming power of the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel is the only hope for changing our culture and transforming our neighbors into the image of Christ.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith."' (Romans 1:16-17)
"Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace." (Eph. 6:14-15)

We must continue teaching God's holiness and righteousness to a profane and godless culture.  God’s children must unsheathe the Sword of the Spirit, moving forward to fight against our society's moral decay.  We must cry aloud, lifting our voices like a trumpet, showing all people their transgressions and sinsRemember that the battle is the Lord's, and God is among us to help us fight against all evil!
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"  (Romans 8:31)

Jesus' doctrine is our only standard of moral authority, where all moral rightness is found.  His teachings will be our final judge on that last day.  The Bible addresses every aspect of life and conduct.  Anyone who accepts God’s inspired Word will be able to hold the same ethical conduct and morals: the perfect standard.  The Word of God is our only source of Truth for discerning right and wrong, good and evilThere must be a complete surrender to His will to understand and honor His authority.  We must test all doctrines and practices against that Divine Word.  But when we rebel against that Word, we begin to sin and thus find ourselves condemned.   In His infinite love for us, our God has revealed His plan for our salvation.  And yes, we can know with certainty who is right and wrong, good and evil!  God has given us His absolute, perfect laws that are intended to be used by all men at all times.  It is foolish to disobey them.  His laws are the foundation of the Law of Christ.  We must use them to govern our societies and ourselves lest we perish!  Let us listen to them! (2 Timothy 3:16-17).


CONCLUSION:
We must obey God rather than men!
"And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, 'We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us.' 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, 'We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. 33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them."'  (Acts 5:27-33)

Though the world might rebel at God's Word, divine authority, principles of righteousness, calling evil good and good evil; changing darkness for light and light for darkness, and being wise and clever in their own eyes, God’s Word and divine principles of righteousness will be settled forever in heaven. No matter who our opponents may be, though they readily reject God’s Message that saves all men, we must resolve to strengthen our efforts to speak the Truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

Therefore, let us not compromise our faith and conviction. Let us continue being lights that shine brightly in word and deed, doing all things in the name of the Lord by His authority (Col. 3:17). Remember that only the Gospel can make men free from sin (John 8:32; 4:23-24). So we must continue to take the Sword of the Spirit out of the sheath and move forward to fight against our society’s moral decay. We must keep crying aloud the Message of the Gospel to them and not hold it back! We must lift up our voices like a trumpet, declaring to all people their sins and transgressions that they might come to know God's goodness and grace and repent that He might save sinners from their sins and folly (2 Peter 1:2-4).

Our Father's kingdom shall never be destroyed. He will triumph in the end, even when wrong and wickedness seem so strong. God is still sitting and ruling on His eternal throne, a throne that does not tremble before the threats and darkness of this world. Thus we, His faithful, must fight tooth and nail the good fight of our faith until the end, for the battle is not done, and we must confess Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords through His Gospel.  We must continue proclaiming and living out His Gospel Message even in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. And though God's world rejects God's sovereignty and righteousness and fails to submit to His rule, He is still Lord and King ruling from His mighty throne.

Satan cannot thwart God's victory of righteousness, even though he intends to destroy mankind with deceit and lawlessness. So we must continue being soldiers of the cross to defeat the evil one and his lawlessness with the Sword of God, the Gospel. As long as we continue living on this earth as faithful followers of Christ, our battle is not done, for the righteous must keep fighting the good fight of faith until our last breath. We understand and accept that we have a spiritual war that we must fight with the full armor of God to be victorious. And though our fight seems to be difficult, we must still proclaim the Gospel Truth in love no matter how much resistance we face. Our faith must not waver! We must trust in God to help us fight the good fight of faith, no matter how vigorously we are attacked or persecuted.

We Christians must not compromise our faith and convictions because of pressure and persecution (such as the first century Christians suffered) or out of a desire to conform to this world (Rom. 12:1-2). Jesus warned His disciples, saying,
"For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels" (Luke 9:26). 

We must stand up for the Truth of God's divine Word even if that involves persecution, being scorned and ridiculed, even put to death. We must keep teaching sinners the Gospel even if Satan shuts our mouths. We must not deny our Lord His Lordship and fail to defend the Gospel Message! We cannot afford to be silent about the riches of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. God will not allow us to have a silent faith. We must have a speaking faith!

May the Lord help us to discern right from wrong and good from evil according to His Sacred Word.  May our Lord help us to never be ashamed of His Testimonies, Precepts, and Statutes, which are life to the dying soul. May we proclaim faithfully and boldly the riches of His Gospel, which is His power unto salvation for everyone who believes in Him. To Him be the glory!


Luci

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