The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant.
(Isaiah 24:5 NIV)
by Russell Young
Could the church be in an unrecognized age of crisis? It is prophesied that a time will come when church doctrine is no longer sound (2 Tim 4:3), that the power of the Spirit will be lacking (2 Tim 3:1-5), and that people will seek out teachers who will tell them what they want to hear (2 Tim 4:3). The Lord said that at the end he will destroy the earth and its people because of their disregard for his everlasting covenant, his laws and his statutes. (Isa 24:5) Disregard for his government is the issue that will bring an end to civilization as we know it. The decay of truth is gradual and the practices and attitudes that are so offensive to God will not suddenly appear.
It is easy to dismiss God’s prophesies with the understanding that they do not apply to our churches and that they do not apply to us. Unless Isaiah’s prophecy is wrong, and it cannot be, the time will come when the people who inhabit this earth will have departed so far from the standards acceptable to him that he will bring all life to an end. Does the church recognize the need for compliance to his covenant, laws, and statutes?
Jesus said, “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.” (Lk 16:16─17 NIV) From John’s time and the realization that a hope for a place in the kingdom of God became known people have been devising ways to gain entrance into it. Much philosophizing has allowed departure from the truths of the Word through teachings that are more acceptable to human nature. These philosophies are having an impact. When was the last time that you preached or heard preached the need to satisfy the righteous requirements of the law. (Rom 8:4)
Consider the common message: Confess that you are a sinner and invite Jesus into your heart or simply be baptized and your place in heaven is assured. Such teachings have nothing to do with God’s covenant, laws, and statutes. They make no requirements on the “believer” and offer him or her everything. How could the message be made more attractive to those with “itching ears?” Contemporary gospel music assures humankind that God’s unconditional love and favor rests upon them and much praise is offered to God for his great mercy and blessings. Little is being presented concerning the need for sacrificial or righteous living and of the judgment to come. The destruction that awaits many is seldom heard. The teaching and attitudes portrayed are far from honouring much of the teaching of God’s Word. His everlasting covenant is being broken and current teachings often allow for his laws and his statutes to be disobeyed.
Biblical truths have been abandoned in an effort to appeal to humankind and their wayward nature. Empty promises are being uttered and false hope is being given. The work of the evil one is rampant in this world and his persuasions and lies are too appealing to refute or even, it appears, to desire to refute.
Paul wrote to Timothy: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Tim 4:3 NIV) He also warned that in the last days people would have a form of godliness but denying its power. And cautioned him to have nothing to do with them. (2 Tim 3:1-5) (The power of God comes through the presence and the activity of the Holy Spirit.) Has this time come? Could teachers be scratching itching ears rather than face the rejection that could possibly accompany calls to righteousness? Has the expansiveness of God’s grace replaced teachings about judgment? Is the cost of being a disciple of the Lord being made known or has It has been traded for the offering of “freedom” without commitment? What is the cost of following Christ in the western world?
Should the cry of John the Baptist and the distress of Jeremiah be heard again? Where has courage gone? Paul taught: “Work out your own salvation with fear [terror] and trembling.” (Phil 2:12 NIV) God will not be mocked! (Gal 6:7)
Is there a crisis in the church? How close is time to the fulfilment of God’s prophecies?
Russell Young’s book is available now in print and eBook. The title is Eternal Salvation: “I’m Okay! You’re Okay!” Really? It is available through Westbow Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble; and in Canada through Chapters/Indigo. 9781512757514 $17.99 US