America is in a moral free fall/ Why are things so bad? Well, there’s a clear answer.
WHY THINGS ARE AS THEY ARE
When Serving Isn’t Enough
After reviewing this week’s news, I decided to write a series on why all the disgusting news stories are happening. I think it’s important to figure this out so we can know what we can and must do to change things. We’ll be spending some time in the first few chapters of Romans to get a realistic picture of the entire human race and what Paul meant when he said that God “gave people over” to their shameful and degrading passions and a depraved mind. We’ll look at the present and future wrath of God against the abominations of our day and where God’s children fit into it all.
The sub-title for PART ONE, When Serving Isn’t Enough, may seem disconnected from the issue of God’s wrath, but it’s not. Today’s message is all about our role as Christians in enabling the mess we’re in. This probably isn’t what you want to hear, but it’s what we all need to hear. The simple truth is that lost people act like lost people, and, contrary to popular teaching, the human race is devolving, not improving. Every generation claims that morals are getting looser and things are growing worse (morally) every year. They feel this way because this is exactly what is happening. It’s what the Bible says will happen.
Though man knew of God, for their creator had made Himself known to them, they wouldn’t glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful. Men became godless and thankless. Because their consciences terrified them, they resorted to idolatry, vain speculations and reasonings to escape the thought of God and their duty to Him. Their hearts became dark and wandered blindly in the mazes of folly. This is what we’re seeing today.
One reason for today’s perversion in the LGBTQ “community” (and in society as a whole) is that the forsaking of God is always followed by a parallel growth of immorality which the power of God manifested in them when He gave them over to their shameful lusts and degrading passions (Romans 1:28). The lost human race is plunging even deeper by its own desires. Every week brings a more disgusting display of immorality, un-morality, unashamed and hideous behavior. This is the race we were born into, and the only escape is by being born again. All these things pertain to lost, fallen man, who is a tenant of the earth only by divine grace since the flood.
With this background, let’s look at what serving has to do with it all. If all these disgraceful things being forced on us are the natural result of lost, God-rejecting humans doing only what comes naturally to them, the only solution is to exercise our God-given mandate to bring salvation to them, transferring them from darkness to light. This is our primary mission while we’re still here on earth. Sharing the gospel and discipling people is the only act that the church can perform that is done better on earth than in heaven. Our worship will be better in heaven. Our praise to our Lord will be better in heaven. Our singing will be better in heaven. Not so with evangelism. It’s our primary earthly obligation.
Serving comes into the picture because too many Christians (and churches) see serving as an end in itself. After all, they argue, Jesus modeled a life of serving. That’s true, but it’s not the whole story. Jesus’ mission was to seek and save the lost, to redeem fallen mankind. Jesus never served for service’s sake. His serving simply displayed His heart for the needs of humanity, the greatest of which was for salvation. Everywhere He went, He offered salvation. When He healed people physically, He offered spiritual healing as an even greater gift. Serving was always a doorway to an offer of the real need-salvation.
When we fail to share the gospel when we serve, we are actually doing a great disservice, both to the people we serve and to Christ. We reinforce the erroneous and widely-held view that Christianity is just about being a good person and doing nice things for people. When our “act of service” is completed, the people we have served are just as lost, just as hell-bound as they were before we arrived. We return to our homes or churches feeling good that we did the Lord’s work, when, in fact, we may have done Satan’s work for him.
Many Christians will argue with my claim by pointing out that they invited someone to church and that they planted a seed or opened a door for future salvation. This suggests that it’s the pastor’s job to share the gospel, while it’s their job to invite people to church. (This may be the way it’s done in many churches these days, but it’s not God’s way. People are to be equipped in church to go out and share the gospel themselves.) In the first place, very few people who are invited to church actually come. Secondly, you may never see these people again. You may have been their last opportunity to hear the gospel. Thirdly, we don’t plant a seed just by our acts of service. The only seed God will cause to be watered is the seed of the gospel.
Everywhere Jesus went, He engaged in situational evangelism. Whether talking to a woman at a well, dealing with someone caught in sin, or in bringing healing, He used the situation to present the way of salvation, and we are to learn from Him. While some situations require that a relationship be established first, most of the opportunities God brings our way are a “for this moment” divine appointment-a time when serving isn’t enough.
If you’re not comfortable sharing the gospel, get comfortable! Get the help you need so you can be an obedient servant.