Here in my part of New Hampshire it’s still rather chilly, and this spring anyway, frequently stormy. Frankly, this description wouldn’t really be too far off from illustrating the current state of the visible church world-wide. As I shared with Connecticut River Baptist Church in my sermon from last Sunday Satan has been quite successful in making things so confusing spiritually right now that many professing believers are simply throwing up their hands in surrender.
You may believe me when I tell you that as I survey the spiritual scene ahead of us, and when wallowing through spiritual sewers of bad theology, I sometimes wish I could also do likewise. However, I remain thankful that Jesus compels me to go forward even when things appear so uncertain right now. The Internet Front of this spiritual Vietnam continues to become a more fierce battleground because enemy forces know that the Lord is using the Net for His glory; even though too many Christians do not.
As I was saying to one of the pastors on my board yesterday, with more and more evangelical churches heading off the rails, enemy forces continue sending forth their spiritual version of continual annoyances leading many into discouragement within the visible church. Men and women, now is the time when online discernment and apologetics ministries like Apprising Ministries are needed more than ever to try and keep balance in the Body of Christ.
Sadly, there’s been a strong attack on “ODMs” and the way Satan works is to make sure that his offensives do carry enough truth to cause concern. There are websites which are over-the-top but that doesn’t then negate those which are not. AM is one of the few headed by an ordained teaching elder coming out of a local church with an independent board of directors including other male elders in an advisory capacity.
Of course this doesn’t in any way make us perfect, but it does make AM a Bible-based ministry where its primary teacher has 2 Timothy 4:2 as his pastoral mandate. Please keep this in mind when assessing the labors stretching out from Apprising Ministries. Couple the largely much ado about nothing ODM issue with the relentless indoctrination going on within the church concerning “unity” and its easy to see why so many are growing squeamish about anything that sounds “negative.”
But when it concerns matter of theology relating to the very nature of God, and the heart of His Gospel, we cannot afford to set aside doctrinal purity when people’s eternal souls are at stake. I personally couldn’t care less that it’s now considered “divisive” to aggressively promote the exclusivity of the teachings of Jesus Christ. The narrow way of salvation only through the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Sure, like anyone I’d like to be more popular; but I wasn’t called into ministry to enter into some kind of a popularity contest. No, I was given an unspeakable privilege that I could never even begin to be worthy of, to love dead people back to life; just as Jesus did for me. Along this line, Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989) said that the late heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano taught him a very valuable lesson about the Gospel one night at dinner. Martin asked Marciano why he let people hit him so much.
Marciano explained that because many fighters had a longer reach than he did, the only way Marciano could get in close enough was to develop what became known as the “peek-a-boo” style. Marciano would cover his face and then mostly take the punches on his arms and shoulders as he moved in closer to his opponents. He knew that he had the power to knock people out with a single blow so Marciano risked taking their punches en route to his opportunity to win the boxing match.
My brothers and sisters, what we can learn from this in a spiritual sense is that sometimes we have to be ready to be hurt by the very people we’re trying to help and/or reach for Jesus. As I used to tell my football players when I coached high school football, you may not like me right now because I push you to be your best; but one day years from now, when you’re a college graduate or you own your own business, you just might see me in a different light.
Then I’d simply and say, I can live with that. Beloved of God, the time in which we live will be one where trials, as well as 1 Peter 4:17 judgments, will be testing our faith. But remember, God gives us our faith so these tests come as a way for Him to show you that He’s made you string enough to endure. So don’t you quit; look to Jesus as the Author and Finisher of our Faith, and He will do great things with you.
And please remember us in your prayers; may God grant me wisdom to walk through these spiritual minefields in which I labor. Please also pray, as this apostasy continues spreading, that the Lord will raise up the financial standard needed to supply for AM as we assist other pastors by providing valuable information they are often too busy to have time to acquire on their own. For this is a very important facet of this particular labor in the Lord.