Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Jeannette Haley

Have you ever felt like the proverbial “sitting duck?” You know—sitting there, waiting to be shot out of the water? I have to admit, I have days like that, especially since the 2008 election. Some days I feel like the helpless duckie target for the commies and Feds, while at other times I want to run and hide. (Remember, I am human, just like you!) Usually, when more bad news comes in concerning another out-of-the-ball-park stupid stunt WA D.C. has pulled to suffocate, starve and enslave Americans, I want to stand up and fight back.  Thankfully, however, going to the Lord in prayer, and His Word, brings the proper perspective.

We need to remind ourselves that none of this insanity catches the Lord by surprise. He not only knows all about it, but throughout the entire Bible, He forewarned us of the days in which we live. There is nothing new about the intense battle between Satan and his forces of evil and darkness against the God of heaven and His people. While it may all seem chaotic and out of control, God is still on the throne, He still knows the number of hairs on every head, His eye still sees the little sparrow when it falls, and not one of His promises will ever fail.

While knowing this brings comfort to our hearts, it does not mean that we can yawn, stretch and go back to sleep, ignoring current events. Edmund Burke is quoted as saying, “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.” Regardless of the origin of this famous quote, it is nevertheless true, as our current situation in America testifies. Moreover, “nothing” is what most of the sleepy church in America has done very well over the past half a century. Mark it well, “doing nothing” is the sin of omission. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” James 4:17.

Now that our Constitution and very existence as a nation are being literally dismantled by the hour, what should the Christian “good men” (and women) do? Some vehemently argue that Christians should never get involved “in politics” or in the affairs of a nation because their calling is solely to the spiritual harvest field, and to do otherwise is “idolatry.” Others firmly believe that Christians will not be required to suffer through the terrible times foretold by Jesus, and that He will usher them out of this world before it gets “too dreadful.” I sense in my own spirit, however, that the mainstream churchgoers are so entangled with the affairs of this world, their daily lives, and non-essential trivia that they couldn’t care less one way or the other. While their feathers may be ruffled from time to time by the winds of adversity, they firmly believe that it’ll all work itself out somehow because, after all, God has always blessed America in the past. Right?

I hate to write this, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Our way of life and the freedoms we have enjoyed as a nation since the Declaration of Independence are about to be yanked out from underneath us. The question is, if God knows all about the evil schemes of evil people in high places to destroy and silence conservatives, and Christians in particular, then why is He allowing this to happen? The answer is because He is trying to wake up and prepare the Church.

Wake up to what? Wake up and repent. Wake up to the fact that the professing church has been in bed with the world for decades, and, as such, she is not only guilty of fornication, but of losing her saltiness and light. This Laodicean, apostate church system has prostituted herself in her pursuit of worldly pleasures, riches, goods, and worldly acceptance. Her failure to remain steadfast and separate from the world in righteousness and holiness earns her the title of harlot and apostate. (See Revelation 17:5, 2 Thessalonians 2:3.) Unless the church repents for her lust and self-indulgence, compromise with sin, love for this present world, disobedience to God, and rebellion, America will continue to come under God’s judgment. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)

Suppose the church, as a whole, does come to a place of mourning and repentance. Then what? Will individual Christians truly consecrate their lives to Christ and go on to walk in humility and obedience? On the other hand, will they simply slide back into their comfort zone, living for themselves in vanity and pride?

The second reason God is bringing judgment upon this nation is to prepare His Church for the end days, and the second coming of Christ. God, in His mercy, will not thrust the pampered American church directly into the hot ovens of persecution without preparation. Hence, the great shaking that is taking place on every level. Jesus said,“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:19.) We are also told,“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” 1 Corinthians 16:13. What? You mean I have to be alert, keep the faith no matter what, grow up and be strong? You better believe it! Our battle as soldiers of the cross is both physical, and spiritual as long as Satan is the “god of this world.” He is out to destroy God’s people, both physically and spiritually. Therefore, beware of falling into the trap of thinking that our battle is always limited to one realm or the other.

Oh American Christian! Do you not realize that you are, at this very moment, sitting on a sinking ship? It is important to point out that we cannot save this nation, but we can implore God to spare it. We can stand for what is right in order to bring contrast and create an environment in which God is able to intervene on our behalf in order to confirm the ways of righteousness. Are you going to turn a blind eye, ignore the signs of the times, and continue in your delusion and self-centered, self-serving life? On the other hand, are you one who will justify your refusal to take a stand for what is right and just in defending our Constitution because it’s “not what Christians are called to do?” If you are a Christian indeed, then everything within you should desire to be upright, to stand for what is right. As a Christian, you will choose righteousness. You will instinctively fight for righteousness. You will seek “first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness”. You will choose the righteousness of Christ for your own soul’s sake. You will love what God loves, and hate what God hates. (See Psalm 139:21, 22.)

God loves freedom for people, so that they can freely choose to love Him. God loves life, truth and light. On the other hand, He hates bondage, tyranny, death, wickedness, and all that thrives in darkness. You may protest: “But, Christians are not here to get involved in ‘politics.’ Our job is to preach the Gospel and make disciples.” That is true. However, have we as believers really fulfilled our mission? If so, why is the Church so much like the world as far as sins and statistics? How many Christians possess the attitude that it is the pastor or leadership’s responsibility to preach the Gospel and make disciples? One must also wonder, if the Church was really doing its job as the salt of the earth and the light of the world, would our nation be at such a place of corruption and self-destruction?

This brings us back to our responsibility, not necessarily to our nation, but to righteousness. Is it not true that God calls His people to different positions and places in order to accomplish His work in the earth? Many of His servants have been placed in governmental positions to intercede on behalf of His people. Where does it say in the Bible that we are to be so “heavenly minded” that we are “no earthly good?” After all, we do live in this world, and God does have a plan for it. Even though we know that one day, this physical world will be purged by fire, this is no excuse for us to sit on our duffs and let evil prevail.

Let’s think this through. Didn’t God allow Joseph to be sold into Egypt so that he could rise to power in order to save Jacob and his family? Didn’t God choose Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, followed by Joshua and Caleb? Didn’t God choose Judge Deborah to go out to battle against the enemies of Israel? Didn’t God choose David to be King over Israel? Didn’t God also choose Solomon as David’s successor and give him wisdom? Wasn’t Queen Esther chosen by God to save the nation of Israel? The list is endless of the different places and positions in which God placed His people through whom He could show Himself strong. Were any of them less “spiritual” because they stood and fought for what was right in this world?

Let me ask those who believe it is not a Christian’s place to stand up and fight for what is right this: Is it righteous to expect our military (many of whom are Christians) to lay down their lives for your freedom and mine outside our borders while you refuse to fight for what is right inside our borders? Now, I realize that people on both sides of this argument can use any number of Scriptures taken out of context to prove their point. As I pondered this dilemma over a period of days, the Lord reminded me of Nehemiah.

As you may recall, Nehemiah was King Artaxerxes’ cupbearer in Shushan the palace. One day he received this news: “The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire” Nehemiah 1:3. What did Nehemiah do? Did he brush off this bad news with some pious platitude that exempted him from any concern or responsibility in this matter? Did he cast his eyes up to the sky and declare that it wasn’t his place to get involved with such matters, that God would take care of it by Himself? What would you do? Would you carry on in your comfort zone as so many Christians in America do with the excuse that we are called exclusively to the “harvest field,” so let the chips fall where they may?

I am going to make a statement. You may or may not agree, but here it is. Our response should be the same as Nehemiah’s as recorded in verse 4. Let this sink into your heart: “And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.”Have you stopped, sat down, wept and mourned over the plight of America? Have you fasted and prayed before the God of heaven? Look at how Nehemiah began his prayer: “I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.”

Have you prayed thus for America? Do you even understand how to approach the God of heaven and earth in this manner? God has not changed. He still keeps his covenant and shows mercy for them that love Him and keep His commandments. Yes, commandments. Somehow, an insidious, heretical belief has crept into the church that we don’t have to obey God because we are “New Testament” Christians. Oh really? Show me one verse in the New Testament that declares that we can live any old way we want, hang on to our sins, pamper our moods, fuel our evil dispositions, feed the lusts of the flesh, ignore the holiness of God, do our “own thing” and “tack” Jesus on to our lives, and still make it to heaven. There is no such teaching by word or precept in the entire Bible. God never changes. He is the same God today as He was in the Old Testament. God is still holy, God still hates sin, and God will not forgive or pardon anyone who mocks Him and His Word, lives for self, sin and the devil. Hell is still real, the Day of Judgment is still coming “To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration, because of advantage.” (See Jude 15, 16.) This is a fitting description of certain people in “high places” today don’t you think?

Nehemiah’s prayer continued to outline their sins, followed by declaring God’s promises if they would but repent and obey Him. We then read the events leading up to Nehemiah’s return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. Obviously, walled cities were protected cities. How does that apply to American Christians in these perilous times? First, we need Christian intercessors who will “build the wall” in prayer. America has become an unwalled nation because of her idolatry and fornications (both spiritual and physical), her blood guiltiness (shedding the blood of the innocents), her greed, lust, perversion, pride, self-confidence, pleasure seeking, ungodly dealings with Israel, and much more. There must be genuine repentance!

The wall not only represents protection, but it serves as a dividing line between right and wrong. What this means is that we must “draw the line” as to whom we will serve. There can be no more compromise between that which is holy and that which is profane. There can be no more “mugwumps” if we are to gain the victory. (For those of you who have never heard of a mugwump, it is a person sitting on the fence with their mug on one side, and their wump on the other.) Get off the fence! Choose either life, or choose death, but quit trying to live with one foot in the world, and the other in Christ. You are either in or you are out. You are either saved, sold out to God, or you are unsaved and living for yourself. Either you are dead in your sins, or you are a new creation in Christ. You are either a Christian soldier who will fight for the right, or a “Christian” coward.  You cannot serve two masters!

The wall also serves as a place of identification. If you are building, maintaining and defending the wall against the enemy, then you are making a statement as to with whom you are identified. You are declaring that you are willing to live, and die, for what you believe—for what is right. There are no mugwumps, wimps, and half-hearted workers in this place. This is where the soldiers of the cross are found, men and women who make no apology for rolling up their sleeves and working to defend life and liberty against the evil works of darkness.

This wall is a testimony of faith, love, and hope. Faith because the builders believe in God’s promises to establish His kingdom in the hearts of men, and His future, physical kingdom on earth. Building this wall is an act of faith that regardless of what the enemy throws at us, the victory is ours in Christ. Nehemiah had his enemies, Sanbalat and Tobiah, but try as they might, they could not destroy him or the work God appointed to him.

This wall requires sacrifice, the kind of sacrifice that only love can offer. Love places the well-being of others above self, and pours itself out to insure security and protection. Building the wall for the sake of others is more than a “worldly” pursuit, but is an act of deep devotion and commitment. It is evidence of practical Christianity, which is the example our Lord left for us. (See John 13.)

Finally, the wall represents hope. While the physical wall itself may in time crumble, hope remains. The spirit of those who gave of themselves to build and defend the wall, their faith, love and hope, will remain as a beacon to help guide future generations through the darkness. We have such a beacon today, shining forth from the pages of both Scripture and history, left for us by those brave and righteous souls who have prayed, and fought and died for us that we might follow their example.

Christian, read, study and pray over the Book of Nehemiah and let the Spirit of God reveal His heart to you in this matter. Here is the key: “They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me . . . our God shall fight for us” Nehemiah 4:17, 18, 20b.

       Are you up to the challenge? Will you be a Christian soldier, or will you choose to bear the final reproach of a coward.