The mantra of our modern society is that faith is either a dead concept or one that is on old age life support. After all, they say, we have moved beyond the mythology of prehistoric civilizations. The definition of that is “anything before the internet age”. We live in an age which is being seduced by the same falsehood that Satan offered Eve in the Garden. That we can be as smart as God was false then and still false today. So in a day when the leading denominational brand is “no spiritual interest”, how do we communicate that faith is still alive and well and relevant.
First we can face the fact this is not a new phenomena. Faith had reached a very, very low ebb in America just after the War of Independence. Just sixty years after the Great Awakening that had spurred a tremendous national revival, America’s schools once founded to train preachers were almost devoid of any Christian presence. It may seem hard to believe that at the turn of the century between 1700 and 1800 it was considered dangerous to be a professing Christian on American college campuses, but it’s true. The doctrine of humanism had overtaken the thinking of the young and upwardly mobile American. Within in the next ten years, however, America was once again in the grip of a major national revival. So, first, we don’t say the sky is falling and hide in despair.
Secondly we consider how the sky didn’t fall. I think that would be rather important. It didn’t fall because God’s word is true. One man began to preach boldly in the midst of all the opposition and simply preached Christ. Our churches today have abandoned Christ as nearly irrelevant and society has taken notice. We replace Christ with the gospel of prosperity (God wants us all rich and healthy), the gospel of biblical mediocrity (maybe or maybe not the Bible is true), the gospel of biblical irrelevance (the Bible is not true but we should still go to church), the gospel of false expectations (God wants the lost to live better lives than Christians), the gospel of antagonism (God hates your filthy guts and doesn’t want you around) and the gospel of self acceptance (be happy that you are god).
What we have not clearly preached is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the gospel story of sin’s condemnation and God’s forgiveness in Christ. It is the Gospel of hope that was preached by the apostles and resulted in the world being turned upside down. It is the Gospel message of Law and Grace. It has always changed the world and it always will. We don’t need to refine our message for a new day; we need to preach the original message for all days.
Christ is the hope that shines so bright, shines like a beacon in darkest night
Christ is the hope that shouts forgiven, erases the debt that sin has given
Christ is the hope that says, “I care”, to those filled with doubt, false hope, despair
Christ is the hope that is so dear, to the lost and lone o’ercome with fear
Christ is the hope who died for men that trusting hearts may be born again
Christ is the saving hope for all who believing at His feet will fall
The Friday Benediction
Until Monday, my friends, may the good God envelop you with His grace; may you prove the common confession of faith, “I believe in the holy Christian church and in the fellowship of the saints”, and may you be enriched with joy and hope as you exercise that confession this weekend. Amen
You can contact me and find inspiring Christian books at my website: www.davidccraig.net
You may also find some of my selected daily devotions at http://blog.febc.org/
You may also enjoy my new Gospel dog blog, The Gospel According to Molly and my new Alzheimer’s blog, “Taking Care of Joe: An Alzheimer’s Blog” found on my website.