Friday 19 July 2013

I have just been listening to Sky News and what a depressing experience. Murder has become a common crime with people doing so for no other reason than vengeance for some perceived person grievance. Rioting and violence for personal gain, members of Parliament fleecing the tax payer, and hospitals falling apart.

As what seems like some sort of joke, the government is telling us crime has fallen to the lowest level for some years. Anyone with even half a brain realises the reason crime figures are low is due to the fact people have lost so much confidence in the police they don’t waste their time reporting for they know little will be done, if anything. It is reliably reported that 45 per cent of all crime reports are binned by the police and you stand a 75% chance of escaping justice in London.

I am reminded of a verse in Psalm 11, ‘when the foundations are being destroyed what can the righteous do?’

There is so much evil. We read and hear of terrible, violent, abuse of children, women and many innocent men for little if any reason. We see pictures of drunken and disorderly young people staggering around our towns and cities, making the places unsafe for normal people, and we live in constant fear of terrorism by people who want to destroy our way of life. In addition to all this, we fear the effects of a recession, and a country out of financial control.

As we look at this country at the present time, we see a nation in moral and spiritual decline. Morally, we have become bankrupt, as the barriers of decency have been swept away so that there are no restraints. Telling lies has become endemic; all attributable to the fact people have abandoned Christian values and have no spiritual belief. The ensuing collapse of Christian values and morality has however, led to an unstable society in which the foundations are crumbling. There is so little respect shown.

The average person has no religious commitment, which is why they live as they do. The Church is considered out of date and the Christian message has no relevance to them. Consequently, you have this general lowering of standards; and in some places no standards at all. What however should concern us very much as Christians, is the sustained and systematic attack on our faith from people who should be supporting the Church..

The country owes much to Christian influence, which has been the faith of the nation over the past 1500 years and the foundation for a stable nation. It brought and kept the country together, but now Christianity is being phased out of public life by politically motivated people, ideologues in the government and public service, who try to place every obstacle and restriction on Christian expression, and who betray the culture which nurtured them.

Let us consider some of those restrictions.
Mentioning God in the workplace is strictly forbidden(unless it is a non Christian god).

No Christian cross or symbol to denote a Christian commitment.

Legislation, such as same sex marriage, enacted which offends Christian teaching and belief.

No comment allowed which suggests lifestyles are immoral.
BBC uses non Christians to be in charge of religious programmes.

Marriage of man/woman, to be of no importance or relevance.

We have a Prime Minister who relentlessly and unscrupulously pursued legislation to destroy the meaning of marriage ignoring proper debate in Committee and refusing to allow amendments permitting public servants from being allowed to be excluded from the provisions on religious and conscience beliefs; and we are told this was largely driven at the behest of his wife.

Teaching of Christianity in schools not insisted upon, but sex education to children of tender age, embracing all manner of relationships, to be compulsory..

As Christians we must regret this. You may have noticed that no such restrictions or obstacles are put on other faiths, but to be fair, other faiths are embarrassed by the patronising of people who look for things to be offended by on behalf of non-Christians.

There are those who are out to destroy a stable society, destroy the country, destroy the faith. in order to establish their own moral, political and social agenda. When you go away from the founding principles which made this nation great, and take away the morality and biblical fundamentals, which are the basis for the freedom we enjoy; if you erode all these, there is no foundation for society, which is a dangerous thing. So what should the righteous do?

If Britain is to defend its values successfully, it must rediscover the Christian faith in which those values are ultimately rooted. We are constantly being reminded by the press as to how people are turning away from the Church, with the blame being placed firmly on the Church. Whilst to some small degree this may be true, the real responsibility rests upon those who fail to attend, and encourage children not to attend. Society was more stable and balanced when people did attend.

Both individually and as a church, there is need for repentance. Collectively the Church has not always spoken out on moral issues as it might, for fear of being accused of some kind of phobia or thought to be narrow-minded.

Ministers are however faced with a dilemma in faithfully teaching Biblical morality in these times. Apart from a lack of consensus within the Church, many of their congregations would find the strain on their consciences too severe. How heartening to hear the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster once saying ‘I am not here to be popular. I’m here to be successful.’

In view of the lack of consensus within the Church at national level on the question of morality and Biblical authority, each local Church must take responsibility for both defending and promoting, the true Christian faith. We need to convince people we have something positive to offer them. We must consider our priorities.

Would Church come before the golf course, a garden centre, a lie in, or even Tesco, on a Sunday morning? What motivates you? There can be no compromise, no trying to accommodate society’s ways. In every Church there are Christians whose relationship is only formal and outward, a case of being associated with Jesus without being united. Sometimes the faith goes cold. There is only one way to remain on course and that is to be close to your Church, not to have a periodic attachment.

We need to let God know we serve Him, which I believe, is what God wants to hear, and try to encourage others to join us. There is a need for examination of our lives to root out those ways which are not worthy of us as Christians. Things which the Bible clearly defines as wrong, yet which are still practised by people who call themselves Christians

I visit village Churches which would once be well attended. It is a pleasure and privilege to do so but I notice the congregations now consist mostly of people in the upper ages. It is a dreadful thought that a time may come when they can no longer maintain a presence. We must earnestly pray that inspiration may come which will turn the situation around.

Each year a Covenant is re-made by Methodists, which many other Churches have adopted. In this members pledge themselves to freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to God, and declare they are no longer their own but His. How faithfully is it kept? Making a promise to God is a serious matter. It means obeying, fearing and faithfully following His Word. God is a jealous God who wants a complete loyalty. We have to take away from our lives all that is unworthy and against His teaching. He gave us guidance in Holy Scripture.

We are all gifted with a conscience, which warns us when we face temptation. Ask yourself, ‘what would Christ do?’ We need to be more positive, even aggressive, in giving people a clear vision of what it means to be a Christian and to have a Christian based society. We now have to proclaim it boldly and challenge those who try to put us down. To convince them we have a message worth hearing, and both the Church and its Ministers are not all as cynically portrayed on television.

So, what for the future of the Church? There is hope and confidence if all members realize there is no future if they are content to sit back and say ethereally, ‘God will provide’. Christ did say ‘I will build my Church’, but He expects a little help.

We urgently need to promote ourselves vigorously, advertise our presence. Let as many people know as we can where we are and what we have to offer. The American Churches do, and they have substantial congregations. Why would major companies spend millions on advertisements if they didn’t produce results?

Above all, let us proclaim the truth however inconvenient.

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