Most of us have found the year 2020 a very disappointing one. Some of us blame events. Others like myself see a serious erosion of values, a failure to love our neighbor. Tragically, because we had a presidential election this year, we made everything political, and we fought each other.
WHEN DO THE PEOPLE STEAL THEIR OWN FREEDOM? is something I wrote in the aftermath of the 2008 election. President Barack Obama was supposed to be a healing figure, but he was not. So, I did a post about John 8:31-38 NIV. Then I observed that to be free we must be freed from sin. To be freed from sin we must accept Jesus, but most of our nation is slowly turning away from Jesus Christ. Why? What does it mean to accept Jesus?
Let’s consider the first two verses of John 8:31-38 more carefully. Here is the NIV version.
Jesus does not walk among us as a man anymore. So, that raises a question. How do we access his teachings? I suppose that is why some translations are a bit different.
The teachings of Jesus are in the Bible. In John 1:1-3 the Apostle John describes Jesus as “The Word”.
(Heb. dabar [r’b’D]; Gk. logos [lovgo”] and rhema [rJh’ma]). The theological meaning of “word” within Scripture spans a wide theological spectrum. From the divine point of view, it consists of God revealing something about himself through his spoken word, which is ultimately and perfectly personified in his Son, Jesus Christ. In a broader sense, it designates Scripture itself. In contrast, the human word mirrors the human condition: it is limited, fallen, and dependent on divine intervention for restoration and sustenance.
The Word of God. The Old Testament. The concept of the word of God is a major Old Testament theme. It points out the absolute uniqueness of Israel’s religion on the basis of personal contact with Yahweh — the transcendent, sovereign, creator God. (continued)Word Definition and Meaning – Bible Dictionary (biblestudytools.com)
If we want to know the Truth and live by the Truth, then we must study and live by the Bible. Jesus was unambiguous about this.
Unfortunately, much of our nation does not take the Bible as seriously as Americans once did. Therefore, we seek other sources for the Truth. What other sources? Sex, stuff, science, state, and self. Instead of looking for a reason why we exist at all, we strive to find meaning in this life. Therefore, we listen to the prophets of:
- Sex: people who tell us how to get the “best” sex, that sex is love, that love is sex, that the purpose of life is pleasure.
- Stuff: people who tell us how to get the most money, that money actually does buy happiness.
- Science: people who tell us how science can solve all our problems, that science is Truth.
- State: people who tell us they will use the government get us whatever we want, that government provides the way, the truth, and the life.
- Self: people who tell me it is okay to care about me first because “I” deserve it, that the world exists for me.
Who are these “people”? They are pervasive in the mass media and our schools and colleges. They talking heads and politicians and sometimes your neighbors and even your pastor. They are people who tell you that for the sake of sex, stuff, science, state, or self that you can sin, that the Bible does not mean what it says. They are people who are willing to tell you whatever you want to hear so that you will buy whatever they want you to buy.
What do we want to hear? Do we want to hear about an infinite God who created everything, including each of us? Do we want to be confronted with a simple truth that we must be blind to not see? Creation is infinite. “I” am finite. Everything is ultimately beyond “my” control. No. Of course not. We want to be told there is a system, a wise man, a government policy, anything — anything that gives us control over our destiny. We want to be told that death doesn’t matter.
So it is that when Democrats told us a bunch of lies this year we listened as usual. We were told that it is good and proper to:
- Support abortion, including forcing people who think it murder to pay for it. We were asked to believe that if mother does not want her baby, what is wrong with killing that baby after it has been born. That baby won’t grow up to be happy, will it?
- Support same-sex marriage, including forcing people who think it fornication to condone same-sex marriage. Supposedly, if we want to believe same-sex marriage is good, all we have to do is get some experts — scientists — to say sex is a choice.
- Support defining some crimes as hate crimes. After all, can’t state approved “experts” can figure out what bigots are thinking? Isn’t that what it means to be an expert?
- Support defining speech we don’t approve as hate speech. Don’t we know the Founding Fathers never intended to use the First Amendment to defend the right of mean people to say hateful things? Surely, those judges in black robes know better.
- Support Socialism. Well, not exactly complete support, but we all know Uncle Joe Biden is not a serious Socialist. So, let’s trust Uncle Joe to figure out when is government big enough.
- Support identity politics. Isn’t bigotry awful? Shouldn’t government label bigots so everyone knows who they are?. Shouldn’t we work for a society where everyone thinks “correctly” like me.
- Support the secularization of our society in the name of “science”. Don’t we know the Bible is mythology? Surely we have the “right” to secularize the education of other people’s children using other people’s money, especially if Socialism is okay.
- And so forth. That government is the arbiter of moral truth.
Were Republicans better than Democrats in 2020? Not by much. Sadly, most Republicans don’t have much fight in them. The so-called mainstream news media has most of them cowed. Still, few Republicans advocate the crazy nonsense Democrats advocate.
So, what is the problem? Why do things seem to have gotten worse instead of better? Well, whether things have gotten worse or better is hard to say. However, most Christians would agree we need a revival.
What would a revival look like? Consider what Jesus said to the Christians in Ephesus.
Oddly, we usually don’t think of it that way, but Jesus actually called for a revival among the Christians in Ephesus. He told them remember how much they first loved Him. He told them to turn back to Him, remembering their first love and to do the works that have done when they first loved Him.
Consider the basic meaning of the word revival (merriam-webster.com). We cannot revive what was never there, and most Americans have never been born again; most have never known Jesus as their personal savior. Therefore, to revive Christianity in America, Christians must first seek a revival within themselves.
Who were the Nicolaitans (biblestudytools.com)? They are now long forgotten. Except for the fact that it is good to hate what Jesus hates, it does not matter much. What is important is to love Jesus. If we love Him, we will read His word, obey His teachings, and do deeds which demonstrate our love.
- Re-Thinking Your Life Complete Audio Series (saddleback.com): I have been listening to this series at pastorrick.com. However, it may prove more efficient at saddleback.com. Anyway, “Re-Thinking Your Life” gave me some of the ideas in this post. Note the focus here is how we renew our minds in Christ, not politics.
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