Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday, March 11 ~ by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Numbers 21-22, Psalm 50, Luke 6 
Today's scripture focus is 2 John 1:4

"I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father."

When you are a Christian parent, your greatest desire is to see your child or children come to Christ and make a personal commitment to Him. For them to make their decision to follow God their own and not just an extension of what their parents believe is something you want for your child. For them to know the truth for them to know what God has commanded and for our child to not just know but also to obey.

Not doubt, just as we desire that today, John's generation desired the same thing for their next generation. We know that children tend to stray from what their parents would want for them. I looked for some stats regarding people identifying themselves as "Christian" and found this one which said:

America is a less Christian nation than it was 20 years ago, and Christianity is not losing out to other religions, but primarily to a rejection of religion altogether, a survey published Monday found.
Seventy-five percent of Americans call themselves Christian, according to the American Religious Identification Survey from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1990, the figure was 86 percent.
William Donohue, president of the Catholic League said he thinks a radical shift towards individualism over the last quarter-century has a lot to do it.

We do have reason to be concerned about our children walking away from the truth. In a society that preaches the importance of self as number one, it become increasingly difficult for people to submit to Christ. The article says:

"The three most dreaded words are thou shalt not," he told Lou Dobbs. "Notice they are not atheists -- they are saying I don't want to be told what to do with my life." ... 
At the same time there has been an increase in the number of people expressing no religious affiliation.

..."In an earlier time, people who would have been content to say, 'Well, I'm some kind of a Protestant,' now say 'Hell no, I won't go,'" he told CNN."

The influence of society can negatively impact our children and their desire to want to cultivate a relationship with Jesus even when they have been brought up in a Christian home and taught the truth. It's a scary think that our children would choose to live in a "realm of lies" instead of in the truth.

MacArthur says in this sermon:
The unconverted then are called, in Psalm 58:3, "Those who speak lies." They live in a realm of lies. They live in a realm of deception and falsehood. The divine indictment of all of the lost, rendered in Romans chapter 1 and verse 25 says, "They exchanged the truth of God for the lie." That's how people live in the world. That's how all of us lived in the world before God opened our hearts to understand the truth. You heard it again, didn't you, in the testimonies tonight? One deception after another people pursue--one unfulfilling deception after another. Everybody in the world lives in one of these two realms. You either live in the realm of the truth, or you live in the realm of lies. The world then is divided into two groups: those who live in the truth and those who live in lies.

He adds the reason for the rejection of truth:

We have something far worse than being killed for the truth. We might be rejected by our society for the truth. We might be considered as offensive and divisive. We might be looked at as aliens. We might be vilified or even at best treated with indifference. We might be rejected by those around us. And so, in order to avoid that, we compromise or even set the truth aside that offends.

When we consider the sanctity of life and don't support abortion or euthanasia we are looked down on by a society that believes woman should have the right to choose and that some people are better off dead. When we don't support homosexual marriages because it violates God's purpose and design for marriage we are looked down on by a society that believes anything goes as long as it feels right to you. When we believe sex should only be a part of a marriage relationship society laughs calls it old fashioned ideals that do not jive with the real world's desires. (Just do it! is the mentality and the sad consequences are unwanted children, fatherless families, and sexually transmitted diseases) When we don't support a Bill that threatens to violate our religious freedoms based on "hurting people's feelings" we are called out as intolerant and out-dated. This is the society that my kids are being raised in. These issues are on tv, on the news, taught in classrooms, preached from bill boards, and saturated into their daily lives.

And yet, just as John wrote:

"I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father."

We, today, are still seeing that despite the influences on society, some children are still choosing to walk in the truth. It was Youth Sunday at our church yesterday and the entire service (including set up at 7:15 am ---that's 6:15 with the time change!). They lead the music, they played the instruments, they shared, they preached. They are choosing to walk in the truth. When society threatens to sway them, they are choosing to stand firm.

We as parents, as youth leaders, as Sunday school teachers, as day camp counsellors, as prayer warriors need to take the responsibility to support these young people as they begin a personal commitment to the truth.

MacArthur concludes that the message of John 2 is brief but important:

"This is a postcard, it really is. It's a postcard. Compared to Luke it's a postcard, but it isn't a small message. It's a big message. And the dynamite here comes in a small package, but it is dynamite. This is not just a call to recognize the truth; this is an exhortation to live in it, love in it, be loyal to it, look for it, and learn it. This is...this is filled with warnings about what will happen if you don't. And this, my friends, is at the heart of all the issues in the church. If we don't know the truth and we don't live for the truth and we aren't the pillar and ground for the truth, then the church has a deficient immune system. We lack discernment. And if we lack discernment, we'll die from a thousand illnesses. We can't have a low commitment to divine truth. We can't have an open door to those who deceive by misinterpreting and misrepresenting the truth. Of all things to be protected, the truth is most important. You lose the truth, you lose the truth about God, you lose the truth about Christ, the truth about the Holy Spirit, the truth about man, the truth about sin, the truth about salvation, the truth...when you lose the truth, you lose it all. We need to be soldiers for the truth, don't we? Guarding the truth is critical. We don't just preach the truth, we contend for it. We fight for it."

We. fight. for. it.

So important for our children . . . .  for the next generation . . . .  and for us.

Tomorrow's scripture focus2 John 1:5-8
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Numbers 23-24, Psalm 51, Luke 7