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Is The Church Fighting An Uphill Battle With No End In Sight?

Comedian Bob Hope once quipped, “It’s a wonderful world. It may destroy itself, but you’ll be able to watch it on TV.” I don’t know how wonderful this world is, but Bob Hope was right about one thing. We are witnessing the self-destruction of this sin-stricken world before our very eyes. I hate to be one of those people who bemoans the state of the world by beginning, “When I was a child…,” but I cannot contain myself.

When I was a child, sin was less in-your-face. It was present, to be sure, and no doubt running rampant in certain corridors like it has been for millennia. But in my experience, it was lurking in the shadows, almost as if it was afraid to come out in public. Shame, though already losing its grip by the sixties and seventies, still had a modicum of influence. Certain behaviors were simply not acceptable in public.

What a difference half a century can make! Today, the more offensive, ungodly, immoral, and vile something is the more it is protected, promoted, and praised. The Bible warns, “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). So, I guess we should not be surprised at how bad things have gotten. Yet, I still find myself bewildered at how awash the world has become in wickedness.

It is one thing to comprehend the words of Scripture intellectually and theologically in 1 John 5:19, “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” It is quite another to experience it firsthand. For those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, it is easy to become discouraged and overwhelmed by how rapidly this world is “slouching towards Gomorrah,” as Robert Bork famously put it. Indeed, it seems like the church is fighting an uphill battle with no end in sight.

There is an end, of course, to Satan’s earthly reign, but we have no guarantee Christ’s return to “rescue us from this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4) will occur anytime soon. I feel strongly that it will happen soon, as do many other experts in Bible prophecy. The signs are everywhere. Yet, what if it doesn’t?

What if we must continue to endure for years to come this abject wickedness that is permeating our culture, our country, and yes, even the church? What if our grandchildren are forced to grow up in a world where morality and truth are relegated to the history books and Christians are driven underground? Lately, my thoughts have been consumed with this question, “Can it get any worse?” The answer chills me to the bone and keeps me awake at night.

Discouragement and depression, however, are not the proper response to the heavy weight many Christians are feeling these days. I came across an inspiring anecdote in a book by Charles Swindoll.

A recently retired man was sitting on his porch in Kentucky when the mailman arrived at his curb. He was expecting his Social Security check to be delivered, so he went to the mailbox to retrieve it. As he walked down his sidewalk, he thought to himself, Is this all my life is going to be from now on? Just sitting on the porch waiting for my next Social Security check to arrive? It was a discouraging thought.

Determined to fight the depression that was setting in, the man took out a pad and began writing down all the gifts, all the blessings, all the talents, and everything that he had going for him. He listed them all, even small things. For example, he included the fact that he was the only one in the world who knew his mother’s recipe for fried chicken in which she used eleven different herbs and spices.

This thought prompted him to go down to the local restaurant and ask if he could get a job cooking their chicken. Very soon the chicken became the most popular item on the menu. He opened his own restaurant in Kentucky. Then he opened a string of restaurants and eventually sold the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise to a national organization for millions of dollars. He became their public representative and continued in that role until his death. That man, as you no doubt have figured out, was Colonel Sanders.

The moral of this story? As discouraging as it may be, we must not sit back and watch this world self-destruct, as if we were watching a horror movie on TV. Christians have a job to do, and that job is not over until we either go the way of all flesh or meet the Lord in the air. In God’s divine plan, Christians in this present age are to “shine like lights” in the midst of a “crooked and perverse generation” (Philippians 2:15). We are here to share the good news about eternal salvation with a lost and dying world.

As evil as this world has become, let us never forget the Holy Spirit is still alive and well, drawing people to Christ (John 12:32; 16:8). It is the Gospel that is “the power of God to salvation,” and our job is to share it clearly, accurately, and urgently (Romans 1:16). The Gospel message is simple: Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead to pay your personal penalty for sin. If you will place your faith in Him, and Him alone for eternal life, He will forgive your sin and give you the gift of salvation. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

The next time you feel overwhelmed by this world awash in wickedness, get out a pen and a pad and begin jotting down all the ways you can be a light in an otherwise dark world. Whether the Lord’s return is today, tomorrow, or not for many years, there is an urgency to the hour! It is time for Christians to get off the porch and get busy.

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