02 May 5/2/15 “America : Can You Handle The Truth ?” – Pastor Shane Idleman
K.P. Yohannan, in his powerful book, No Longer A Slumdog, seeks to help the people of Asia. He makes a striking comparison between life in America and the slums of developing countries: “After a risky home delivery on the dirt floor of the family shack, you were dried off with a dirty rag or an old newspaper…Your home was made of tarpaulin sheets held up by bamboo sticks. It was pretty crowded with your whole family living in less than 100 square feet of space. The shack was right next to a railroad track, and every 10 minutes a train would come roaring through. Sleep was difficult under these conditions.”
“When you were born, you were already malnourished. The little milk your mother was able to give couldn’t do much to ensure your growth. You might also suffer night-blindness from Vitamin A deficiency. Soon your mom had to resume her day job of cleaning streets with a hand-broom and washing other people’s clothes, because when she didn’t work, the family didn’t eat. So you were left in care of an older sibling.”
“As you started to crawl, you explored on your hands and knees the open sewer trenches running along the alley between neighboring shacks. If you had clothing at all, it was made from rags found in the nearby dump…”.
The truth is always hard to hear but it must be heard. Take, for example, the stories of sex-trafficking thousands of children in Asia as young as six (and younger) to be temple prostitutes. These stories are almost unbearable. But in our pride and arrogance we say, “Those poor third world countries. God help them.” No, God help us. Research is being released on sex trafficking that occurred during the Super Bowl. Nearly 2,000 potential sex trafficking victims were identified, including 84 children. How many went unknown?
The prideful human heart must be convicted and challenged before true change can take place. America’s porn epidemic will continue to pervert with the ultimate goal of destroying. Ariel Castro, who was exposed in 2013 for kidnapping three women and holding them for ten years, admitted that a deep addiction to pornography fed his perversion. He eventually committed suicide in prison. His idol promised pleasure but brought death and destruction.
Please don’t misunderstand, I love my country. My father was from the farms of Oklahoma and my mother from Southern California. God has blessed and sustained our nation, but His justice cannot sleep forever. We have drifted from God and American Christianity has perverted the gospel. Instead of being the light of the world, we look just like the world. Instead of exposing the unfruitful works of darkness, we participate in them.
+Pastors are not CEOs; we are called to lead the people in complete surrender to Christ. He must increase as we decrease.
+We don’t give to receive; we give to kill the god of materialism that has taken over our nation. The recent story of a pastor wanting a 65-million jet proves how far we have drifted. Exposure should have brought repentance, not self defense.
+We will not always be happy and healthy; life is difficult. You will be hated, mocked, and possibly killed for following Christ.
+We don’t come to church to give God His due; we come to church because we desperately need Him.
+We don’t have to apologize for the gospel; we just need to proclaim it in a spirit of love and grace.
+Jesus is not a genie in a bottle; He is the Lord Jesus Christ. Make no mistake: “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord” (cf.Philippians 2:10). You will either bow to Him on this side of eternity or you will wish to God that you had when you stand before Him in judgment.
The fear of God is the basis for wisdom, understanding, and genuine faith…He is our only hope.
A paraphrase that is often attributed to Alexis De Tocqueville—a Frenchman who authored Democracy in America in the early 1800s, helps to bring this point home: “I looked throughout America to find where her greatness originated. I looked for it in her harbors and on her shorelines, in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and in her gold mines and vast world commerce, but it was not there. It was not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her success. America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
One of my great concerns is for the pulpits of America. Many are exchanging truth for tolerance, boldness for balance, and conviction for cowardliness…they are not aflame with righteousness. We don’t want to offend; we might lose our audience. We are not to seek the applause of men but the applause of God.
The pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God’s people which affects the nation. A lukewarm, sex-saturated culture (and church) simply reflects the lack of conviction in the pulpit as well as the pew.
Pastors, we are not just cheerleaders, we are game changers. We are called to stir and to convict so that change takes place. Granted, there are many wonderful pastors and churches—I appreciate their ministry, but, as a whole, the church has drifted off course. They have lost the compass of truth.
As the moral and cultural war rages between our shores, the need to be awakened from our spiritual slumber has never been greater. “Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is tested” (Martin Luther). This battle is for the very soul of our nation. It’s our choice—stand or fall.
But there is hope for those who are teachable and humble. The journey with God begins with the first step in the right direction. Simply say, “Lord, I’ve been wrong…remove my carnality, crush my pride, draw me closer to You. I repent of my sin and I turn completely and unconditionally to you. You are my only hope. God help me!”