Two weeks ago, as the SCOTUS proclamation concerning the legality of so called “same-sex marriages” was handed down, I was in Israel. My purpose? I was there to attend the 25th-anniversary celebration of Israel College of the Bible (ICB), located in Netanya. This was truly a historic event. In fact, it was miraculous. Something happened there that I needed to see with my own eyes and experience in the deepest recesses of my soul.
What I experienced is the kind of unity that only God can produce. It was supernatural. Believing Israeli Jews and Arabs worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob together. Their love for the Lord and for each other was palpable. God was right there with us, accomplishing what so many thought to be impossible. Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, English could be heard together all at once as the people of God sang with one heart, one mind, one voice. There at ICB we were served an appetizer of things to come. We had a taste of the Messianic Kingdom when Messiah Yeshua reigns the world from His throne in Jerusalem.
At the celebration, sixty-six followers of Jesus walked across the stage to receive certificates or diplomas. All of them had completed one of the fully accredited programs available at ICB. More than that, they gave a collective witness to the power of God, reconciling the disparate desires of people who were at one time enemies. Among their number were twenty-four of Israel’s leading pastors. Last fall, these Jewish and Arab pastors assembled to participate in a masters level program in pastoral studies. They set aside their long-held differences and prejudices to search the Scriptures for the keys to becoming the “one new man” God desires for all who proclaim themselves as followers of His only Son. These men, with their graduation, provided a collective challenge and example to believers around the world.
Meanwhile, Back Home…
Against this backdrop are the varied reactions to the SCOTUS decision. No one should be surprised by the celebratory pronouncements of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. They are to be expected. Neither is it a shock to see the sound-bite declarations made by politicians and pundits on both sides of this issue.
Dr. Christopher Cone wrote recently, ”It should come as no surprise or outrage to us when an unbelieving society behaves like an unbelieving society. Of course, it should sadden us, and we should lovingly long for the remedy for each and every individual. But it is vital that we don’t misdiagnose the problem. The problem isn’t simple misbehavior, and it cannot be corrected with judicial controls. Consequently, we need to be very cautious when becoming impassioned about judicial controls.” His thought provoking article may be found here.
For me, the most discouraging comments have been the congratulatory remarks of self-identifying Christians who have fully embraced the “love wins” mantra. Paul told us to expect this kind of behavior in Romans 1:18-32. Paul’s closing remarks are a commentary on these sad days.
And although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. – Romans 1:32.
How To Respond
Let me be very honest. I am angry at what is happening in our country. I am angry that many who wear the name “Christian” approve of and applaud the practices of the LGBT community. I am saddened that many of the representatives we have sent to Washington D.C. are so cowardly in standing strong for the bedrock convictions this country was founded upon.
But, uncontrolled anger is sinful. If, like me, you are a believer in Jesus Christ, let me suggest something. Before you say one more word about what is happening in our country, stop and read James 1. Pay particular attention to James 1:26. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.
Stop reacting in anger. Start responding with wisdom. I am not suggesting that you compromise on biblical truth. I am begging believers to start doing what is truly productive, things that we know please God. They all begin in the home, with parents.
Pray First, pray for the lost souls of this country that they may come to know Jesus, the One who died for their sins according to the Scriptures, was buried and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. There is salvation in no other. There is no hope apart from Him. Second, pray for the leadership of this country. In particular, pray for the individuals that hold offices for which you are able to personally vote. Third, pray for your spiritual leaders, the pastors, teachers, and disciplers that God has placed as encouragers in your own life. Fourth, pray for wisdom and courage for yourselves as you lead your family and others in your sphere of influence towards their own faith and greater maturity in their practice of that faith. Fifth, pray for your children by name (in their presence) each and every day. Ask God to make the arrows in your quiver straight and strong in preparation for the day you will launch them at the enemies of God in this world.
Prepare You have been commanded by Jesus to make disciples. It makes no difference who you are or what you think are valid reasons for not obeying, there is no escape from God’s call on your life. If you are not preparing yourself to make disciples, you are sinning. If you are not looking for people to disciple, you are sinning. If you refuse to disciple those God puts in from of you for this purpose, you are sinning. Most importantly, if you are not discipling your own children, you are sinning. It is that simple. If you have a preparation plan that is biblical, balanced and works then that is great. If you do not, Disciple Daily does. It is available through this website.
The principal battleground Satan has chosen to conduct his rebellion against God in our world is in our own homes, through our children. We must equip them to identify Satan’s attacks and repulse them through their own personal knowledge of God’s Word. It is the responsibility of every parent, particularly men, to teach the Bible to their families.
Once you have prayed and decided to get prepared to engage in the spiritual war erupting all around us, let me suggest some first steps.
Where To Start?
Genesis is where you should start. Adam and Eve had been made in God’s own image, to glorify Him by telling the story of His glory throughout the whole earth. Think about it. The legislated approval of deviant sexual behavior that occurred last week is the result of the spiritual war Satan began waging against the union of the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden. Generally speaking, passive men have followed Adam’s example, abdicating their spiritual responsibility as the leaders and primary teachers of their own families. As a result of the fall, women began desiring the roles men were created to fill in the household. Gender roles designed by God were replaced by dysfunctional perversions that have been amplified through the years. And, now, here we are. Should we be surprised?
The first three chapters of Genesis set the stage for understanding everything that is happening in our world today. Men, start teaching your children the stories of Creation, Adam and Eve, and the Fall, right now. More than that, teach your children to teach these stories to their friends. Do not send your children back to school this fall without ensuring that they both know and can tell the stories of Genesis 1, 2, & 3. Here is an example.
In closing, I want to get back to what I observed at Israel College of the Bible. The kind of oneness on display through the ministry of One For Israel is an example the whole Church can learn from and emulate. If the oneness that the Jewish and Arab graduates of ICB are proclaiming can convince sin hardened non-believing inhabitants of Israel to take a serious look at Messiah Jesus and come to faith, what might be possible here? If we, the Jesus followers of the United States, stopped our angry shouting at sinners who are only doing what sinners do and began discipling others in our homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces… might some who are so desperately lost come to believe as well?