Evangelistic Apologetics – The Church Under Attack (Part 24)
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
What happens if unbelievers win more elections than believers do? What happens if more liberals are added to the Supreme Court? What happens if Christians become the minority in our country? What happens if churches lose their tax-exempt status? What happens if Christians lose their freedom to worship publicly in the U.S.? What happens if Christianity becomes illegal and the government closes all church buildings? What happens if the Church in the United States suffers severe persecution and loses millions of members? What will God do then?
I’m sure we all would love to keep the freedoms we have in our nation. Those of us who are older remember fondly the years when Christianity was a dominant force in society, but Christians could sense change was coming as far back as the late 1940s. As an atheist active in opposing Christianity in the 1960s and early 70s, I was part of that change (I am saddened to say) and it’s never been the same since.
Whatever you choose to call it – secularism, humanism, naturalism, materialism – our country is becoming less Christian every year. Unless something happens to change the course we’re on, Christians will be a small minority within one to two generations and possibly have little to no voice in what becomes of our country.
Before we fret too much, however, I think it’s important that we look at things from God’s perspective remembering that “as the heavens are higher than the earth,” so are His ways higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Maybe a quick reminder of history will help.
- God created the heavens and the earth and warned the first human being what would happen if he disobeyed God.
- The first humans sinned against God and God did what He said He would do. He began their death process, explained how things would work under a different administration and put them out of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).
- The first human family discovered how painful the new way of living was going to be and what a challenge they faced. The “righteous” Abel (Matthew 23:35; Hebrews 11:4) was murdered by his “wicked” brother Cain (1 John 3:12).
- God raised up another “seed” for the first parents and from that seed humans began once again to “call on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:25-26).
- The human race disintegrated to the point God “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). The human race had become practical atheists; they lived as if God didn’t exist. God was sorry He made the human race and decided to destroy them. That’s the end of God’s involvement with humans… right? No it wasn’t, because God was gracious and saved Noah and his family. Even though things had become so bad that only one man was left on earth that God would use, God rebuilt the human race from that one man and his wife.
- God started over, but it didn’t take long before everyone on the planet decided to do life their way instead of God’s way.
“Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’ But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And theLord said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.” Genesis 11:1-9
- As we’ve seen the human race became polytheistic and worshiped idols. All is lost again, right? What will God do when every human being on earth worships other gods? God selects an elderly polytheist (Abram) and calls on him to become the “father” of a great nation that will be known for worshipping the Living God (Genesis 12).
Do you see what I see? It’s not about us. It’s not about our plans. God is NOT dependent on us. He is solely dependent upon Himself. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Bottom line is that God does not need us. He loves us and uses us for His purposes, but He does not “need” us. God has demonstrated that He will take the number of human beings on the planet down to almost zero when necessary and start over again. He could do that again “if” he wanted to and still continue to be victorious over all His enemies. What frightens us does not frighten God (we should remember that every day).
I really believe the Church needs to understand the absolute sovereignty of God. I’ve thought a lot about what Christians will think when they get to Heaven and I believe their first thought will be that God is Sovereign. Once we “see” God on His Throne surrounded by the most powerful created beings in the universe singing His praises and bowing before Him in total gratitude and obedience, all of our silly thoughts about what will happen when “this” happens or “that” happens will disappear. How ridiculous that any Christian question God’s ability to take care of what belongs to Him. The only real problem the Church has is itself. If we really believe what we say we believe, what we preach, what we sing, we’ll realize God is sovereign and will accomplish whatever He wills to do.
So, let’s begin by getting over ourselves; over our sense of ‘self-importance.’ We are important, but it’s because God makes us important. How so, you ask?
“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” Ephesians 3:8-12
The importance of the Church is “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” God holds up the Church that has been greatly blessed by His Love and Grace and shows it (the Church) to all the principalities and powers in the heavenly places and by that makes known His manifold wisdom.
That is absolutely brilliant! We, members of the Church, have no power in and of ourselves to save ourselves. There is nothing about ourselves about which we can be proud or boast. Why, you ask? Because of this:
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10
God literally raised us up from the spiritual death He imposed on Adam’s race by His love and grace; not because of something we did, not because we earned or deserved it. We were “dead” (nekros – dead, lifeless) in trespasses and sins, doing what our human nature directed us to do, fulfilling the desires of our flesh, being by that very nature children of wrath, and God raised us up!
God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, raised us up and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus that in the ages to come “He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Christians have received what they do NOT deserve and did not receive what they DO deserve. Now that, my friend, is Grace from Heaven.
In Heaven, the Church will forever demonstrate to every created being the exceeding riches of God’s grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. God will use us, people who were without Christ, having no hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12), to demonstrate to all beings in the universe His manifold wisdom.
That is our purpose, that is why God saved us, and that is why nothing this world can ever do to us will change what God will do for us and through us. We the Church, the Body of Christ, will overcome because that is God’s will … and He will do whatever He wills to do … because He is God.
Take heart, brothers and sisters, take heart.
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:4-5
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”