One of several primary purposes for this column is to wake up Christians to how we live and our heart/spiritual condition. The column attempts to point out the Laodicean characteristics of today’s church. Apathy, a degree of wealth, decreasing faith, spiritual blindness with Christ outside the church pounding on the door, hoping someone will let Him in (Revelation 3:14-22). More than once, I have compared the modern church service to a high school pep rally – the band plays, the cheerleaders dance, the coach (aka the Pastor) gives a short feel good, go win one for Christ, speech. Everyone goes home rejuvenated only to forget about Christian living by nightfall.
As the church moves farther away from Christ, so does society. As society moves away from Biblical standards, the attacks on the Bible and its teachings will increase.
In May, a Christian group received a denial for non-profit status because it taught the Bible and the Bible, according to the IRS, favors the Republican Party. From the letter:
“The Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the [Republican Party] and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(3).”
On a side note, no one mentions that the IRS is admitting here that the Democratic Party platform is the opposite of Biblical teaching. I digress.
The church is getting weaker, and the attacks on the Bible and Christianity are getting stronger.
The prophet Jeremiah asks God, why do the wicked prosper; why are those that “deal very treacherously” happy? Jeremiah is having a hard time because it seems like evil is winning (Jeremiah 12:1-2).
The response God gives is shocking. Instead of God telling Jeremiah that everything will be okay; that God will win in the end, He asks Jeremiah some questions.
Jeremiah 12:5, “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”
The Bible compares the Christian life to running a race. In that race, we are running against evil footmen. They run alongside us, in front of us, behind us. Some we win the race against with no problem at all. Other footmen give us a challenge, it is difficult, but we persevere.
As we are running along with the footmen, several people on horseback join the race.
“That’s not fair!” we cry, but to no avail. We complain that it is hard enough to win against the footmen. We cannot win against a horse. Our complaints fall on deaf ears.
Next, we look over our shoulder, and a lion is quickly approaching. The recent rains have caused the Jordan to swell over its banks, causing the lions that live near the river to go to the higher ground looking for food.
God paints an excellent example of the Christian life in this one verse. The race against the footmen and horsemen is terrible enough, but now we must face lions. The lions are not racing against us; they want to devour us.
We must outrun the footmen; that alone can take all our energy.
To outrun a horse is impossible, but we must remember Luke 18:27, “And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
We need living faith.
We must outrun and defeat the lions seeking to eat us as we run the race. To outrun the lions, many Christians will need a spiritual maturity they have not yet attained. Matthew 17:21, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
The footmen we face are things we face in everyday life: temptations to sin, ridicule, possibly the loss of a friend, or being shunned by family due to taking a stand for Christ.
Removing prayer and the Bible from schools and forcing businesses to act contrary to their religious beliefs is an example of Horsemen.
Some will say these things will never happen. Well, the footmen have always been with us, the horsemen are already here, it can be only a matter of time before the rain swells the Jordan.
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With houses of worship still under restrictions across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com