I agree with words expressed recently by national evangelist, Franklin Graham, who said, America is increasingly embracing a “culture of death” that stems from “a sinful worldview that rejects Christ.” When a nation begins to slide down the slippery slopes toward divine judgment, the righteous should always be concerned, and ask, “What can we do?” Long ago, the Psalmist expressed these sentiments when he asked: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3) In this context, the godly were facing a time when the righteous order of their culture had been destroyed by the wicked. Law, justice, order, truth, morality, decency, and integrity were all beginning to disappear. The wicked were attacking the righteous. Consequently, the righteous were so filled with despair, they wanted to run away and hide. Sounds like the world we live in today, doesn’t it?
So, what can we do? We must realize that there is no sudden fix to these problems. Our nation did not arrive at this perilous time in a few years, and any hope to turn the tide toward righteousness will take some time. Let me share with you from the Scriptures what it will take to turn this nation back toward the Lord, and righteous living.
FIRST, WE MUST SEE THE DESPERATE PLIGHT OF OUR NATION!
America is in a state of rapid moral collapse. With great defiance and rebellion against the Lord and His commandments, America is acting as if it no longer has a moral conscience. This is a very serious and deadly matter. Believers have a right to be concerned. If we are not, we are spiritually asleep, or worse – spiritually dead!
Many godly men of the past have recognized the sins of their own nation. And, they were broken, and cried out to God. Read Daniel’s moving prayer in Daniel 9:1-19. The Apostle Paul was broken over the sins of his own people- Israel. Read Romans 9:1-3; 10:1-3. Many of the Old Testament prophets could be added to this list.
In the Old Testament, we read about the Lord using prophets to serve as watchmen and issue warnings to the people. (Read Ezekiel 3:16-21; 33:1-9) Notice that the Lord commanded His servants to warn the wicked to flee from their wicked ways. He declared that if they did not warn the wicked, their blood would be upon them when their judgment day would come. The message is clear. God has given us His Word. He has entrusted us with the duty to set forth the holy standards of God before all people, calling them to repentance. And, we are to warn them of the immediate and eternal consequences if they do not heed God’s warning.
SECOND, WE MUST RECONGIZE THE ONLY SOLUTION THAT MEETS THIS NEED!
The answer to our gravest problems in America will not come from Washington! A better administration, educational system, or economy will not fix our problems. America’s plight requires a spiritual miracle from God. The greatest need in America is a real revival of a remnant of God’s people. God has promised: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”(2 Chronicles 7:14) America needs a spiritual heart change. Only Jesus Christ can do that!
So, what can we do?
First, we need to win people to Christ. People who are not saved don’t have the Holy Spirit living in them, thus they have no hope of being a morally good people. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”(Romans 3:23)“There is none righteous, no, not one. … there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”(Romans 3:10, 12)“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”(Jeremiah 17:9) Jesus said: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies.”(Matthew 15:19) The real hope for America is for Americans to get saved by coming to Christ and repenting of their sins. As believers in Jesus Christ, we must get back to following Christ’s command to carry out the Great Commission. It is imperative that we make disciples for Christ by sharing the gospel with those around us. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Second, we need to pray for a spiritual awakening among our spiritual leaders. God holds the spiritual leadership of a nation accountable for the sins of that nation! While judging the false spiritual leadership in Israel for the sins of the nation, the Lord said: “But if they [the spiritual leadership] had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doing.”(Jeremiah 23:22) I firmly believe that the moral collapse in America is the direct result of the failure of the pastors and churches across this land. Our pastors and churches must faithfully confront people’s sins and unashamedly declare the Word of God. In particular, we need to reach our younger generation. The leaders of the churches in America have drastically failed to set an example of godliness to provide the light that America needs in this time of spiritual darkness. They have failed to sound a warning of the consequences of sin. The words “sin” and “repentance” are rarely mentioned from the pulpits of our churches. This must change if there is to be any hope for revival!
The church needs to teach its people how to discern right from wrong and how to Biblically address the cultural issues that are destroying our families, churches, communities, and nation. We need to equip the church with the truth so they will not fall prey to the deception of these issues in our culture. I really believe that the church is failing in this area. Pastors and teachers in the church are not addressing the cultural sin issues of our day. What does the Bible say about sex outside of a Biblically defined marriage between a man and a woman? Why is abortion a sin? What does the Bible say about pornography, drugs, divorce, mutilation of the body by cutting, cremation, sorcery, etc. Believers need to know what the Bible teaches about these subjects, and why certain things are offensive to God, and are deadly for us. Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Without the sound teaching of the Word of God, there can be no ability to discern right from wrong.
Third, we need to have strong, Biblical marriages, homes, and churches. The home should be the place where spouses hold each other accountable to God. Parents should act as wise and moral guardians of their children’s conscience. Paul told his young disciple, Timothy, that having a good conscience is a very significant goal in the Christian life. (1 Timothy 1:5) The conscience is the part of our inner spirit that acts as a spiritual warning system against the deadly dangers of sin. (Romans 2:14-16) All men have a conscience. It is the conscience that separates man from the animal kingdom. Man was created in the image of God as a moral creature. (Genesis 1:26) Since the fall, man’s conscience has been defiled or weakened, but still functions in a partial and limited sense from the moment of birth. (Titus 1:15)Proverbs 4:23-27 tells us to be on guard and not allow our conscience to be defiled. We experience a defiled conscience when we participate in sinful practices. We are to feed our conscience the Word of God to strengthen it. (Psalm 119:11, 105, 128) It is God’s design for parents to serve as moral guardians for their children. With the help of the church, parents should aim to shape and strengthen the conscience of their children. In doing so, they will teach their children vital lessons as they venture into the world around them. These lessons will also shape their lives as they grow older. If we do not help our children and grandchildren develop a godly conscience, the moral collapse of America will continue to spiral out of control.
I personally believe the church in America is failing our children. Most churches are not taking children’s ministries seriously. The cults all recognize how important it is to indoctrinate their children. However, it seems that the average evangelical church does not understand how significant it is to equip our children with the teaching of the Bible so as to help them have a strong faith and conscience. Most children and youth ministries in churches are nothing more than a play time.
Statistics indicate that the majority of children and youth leave the church when they become young adults. I believe this is the direct result of the failure of the home and the church to equip these children to be able to discern between truth and error, and godliness and wickedness. These are life and death issues for our children and our nation. Most parents are too preoccupied with things of lesser value. Raising our children and grandchildren to know God, and to live godly lives, should be one of the most important pursuits of the home. The Biblical discipleship of our children and youth should be one of the highest priorities of the ministry in every local church. The greatest time to shape the mind and conscience of a person is when they are young. This is why the Holy Spirit directed King Solomon to write: “Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt ay, I have no pleasure in them.”(Ecclesiastes 12:1)
In the community, children are the greatest mission field. Satan and his crowd know this. This is why our children and youth are the target of the godless media and many others who have a wicked agenda. It is imperative that we love, guard, protect, and disciple our children for the glory of God, and to rescue them from eternal damnation.
Please see a suggested overview of a Biblical approach to children’s ministry at the end of this article.
Fourth, we need to seriously pray for those who have authority over us. These leaders make decisions and enforce laws that either promote lawlessness, violence, and immorality, or promote the laws of God. (See 1 Timothy 2:1-2) When governments give people permission to sin by making sin lawful, it always leads to the destruction of the collective conscience of that culture. We need to make this a priority when the church gathers to pray. We complain too much and don't pray enough!
Fifth, we need to contact our political representatives and make our voice heard. We have this privilege in our country and it is our duty to make our voice heard. This is a part of being "salt" in our country. (See Matthew 5:13)
Sixth, we need to vote for those who rule over us. I personally believe that it is a sin for Christians to not vote for our local, state, and national leaders. We need to study the candidates and their political platform, and in some cases we have to decide between the lesser of two evils. These government leaders are called by God to protect and lead us. (See Romans 13:1-7)
Seventh, we need to pray for and support the Christian leaders who are leading the way in confronting and challenging the church and the nation when it comes to dealing with these sinful cultural trends. We need to pray for those whom the Lord has called to be a watchman on the wall of this nation. (See the example of Ezekiel in Ezekiel 3:16-21; 33:1-9)
Eighth, as individual believers we need to use every means available to declare the way of the Lord. We can make an impact by the use of social media. “And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”(Colossians 3:17)
Brethren, we have our work cut out for us. We are living in a pagan culture that is far away from God! I am of the opinion that we will not see a national revival sweep across America. I believe that the collective conscience of our nation is too far gone, and God has given up on many in this nation. (Read Romans 1:18-32) The conscience is where the Holy Spirit strives with sinners to bring them to repentance. When a nation is ripe for the judgment of God, God declares, “My spirit shall not always strive with man.”(Genesis 6:3) When men’s consciences have been “seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2) they are in league with demons and are no longer open to the reception of the light from God’s Word. When this happens, God gives them up and there is no hope for them to be saved! If the Holy Spirit cannot strive with them in their conscience because it has been destroyed by a lifestyle of willful wicked acts of disobedience, then God cannot save them. I fear that many in America have arrived at this spiritual point of no return!
Our best hope is to for a pray for is a revival in some of our churches and communities. This is my prayer and the passion of this ministry!
We must understand that when we attempt to shine the light of the Word of God into the path of those in darkness, it will not be well received. Don’t forget what Jesus taught: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”(John 3:19-20)
Many Americans have been living a lifestyle of wickedness and rebellion for several decades now. They are in love with their sins. Unfortunately, they have lived at a time in America when the church has been very weak. They have experienced very little restraining influence on the part of the church, the culture, or the government. They no longer have any shame or guilt about their sin. Rather, they are flaunting it with great pride! Therefore, we must understand that their resistance to the light of God’s holy standards in the Word of God will be very passionate and strong. This is what we are experiencing, and I fear that it is going to get a lot worse.
Please remember that we are living in “perilous times.”(2 Timothy 3:1) And, during this time, “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”(2 Timothy 3:12)
May our Lord give us grace, strength, and wisdom as we attempt to reach out to America with the only message of hope. That hope is in Jesus Christ, and in Him alone!
An Overview of a Biblical children’s ministry
By Mike Wingfield
An overview of the purpose of this ministry: To connect kids with God, His Word, and world.
Proverbs 22:6- “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Ecclesiastes 12:1- “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…”
3 John 4- “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
(It is not the goal to communicate these Biblical purposes directly to the children. However, every worship activity, Bible lesson, and other activities should be evaluated in light of these overall Biblical prayer goals. What is communicated to and modeled before each child involved in this ministry should be a reflection of these purposes that flow out of the heart of God in His Word.)
WE MUST RECOGNIZE THE BIBLICAL VALUE OF A CHILD
This ministry recognizes that how people value children, treat children, guard children, teach children, and love children is a reflection of their relationship with God, or lack of a relationship with God. God places a very high value upon children. Genesis 1:28; Deuteronomy 6:1-7; Psalm 127-128; Proverbs 17:6; Matthew 18:1-6; 19:13-15; Mark 9:42; 10:13-15; Luke 18:15-17; 3 John 4
WE MUST RECOGNIZE THE GREAT NEED FOR A PASSIONATE FOCUS ON OUR CHILDREN
We are living at a time when marriages and homes are collapsing in our culture. The only answer to this tragedy is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ, who can change the hearts of spouses, parents, children, and grandchildren. The Bible is God’s prescription for renewal of a right relationship with Him and our families.
Malachi 4:6 and Matthew 17:11
When Elijah comes in the last days his ministry of restoration will begin withthe restoration of the relationship the fathers and their children.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
Notice that the sinful focus on self in the last days leads to the disobedience of parents and theloss of the natural love in the home, etc.
Suggestion: It would be great to have a meeting with parents and grandparents of the children that are involved in this ministry and to openly share with them what this ministry is all about. It may be good to do this with the entire church, since the church should have a proper Biblical view and value of children, and the ministry to them in the local church.
1. Connected with God
A. The personal salvation of each child
2 Peter 3:9
B. The spiritual growth of each child
- To know God (Proverbs 9:10)
At the heart of all things, it is vital to build into the minds of our childrena true Biblical view of God. Everything we believe and know that will produce a great faith will grow out of the greatness of our God. This is at the heart of the message of the Bible. God desires to be glorified because of who He is. In a very simple way we need to teach them about the attributes of God.
The goal is to develop a mindful presence of God in the daily lives of the children. This is the practical outworking of Proverbs 3:5-6. We want them to practice the presence of the living God in their lives.
God is holy.
Exodus 3:5; Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8
God is kind, good, gracious, and forgiving.
Matthew 23:34; 1 John 1:9
God loves us.
John 3:16; 1 John 4:7
God cares about us. He understands us. He knows about our joys and hurts.
Matthew 11:29-30; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 5:7
God is always there.
God sees everything we do, hears everything we say, and knows what we think.
Psalm 139 & Proverbs 15:3
- You cannot run and hide from God. He knows everything about us.
- God knows all things.
God is faithful. He never changes.
Malachi 3:6; Hebrew 13:8
- To learn what worship is and to practice in daily.
Worship is the response of the human heart in the power of the Holy Spirit to who God is and all that He has done. Teaching our children to be worshippers is a major priority. They need to learn to see God in the Bible and in their daily lives. Worship must precede service. (Matthew 4:10)
Praise- 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Thanksgiving- 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Prayer- 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Giving- 1 Corinthians 9:7
- To learn the importance of the confession of our sins
1 John 1:5-10- In a simple way, we must teach the children that if they want to walk with God each day and want God to bless them, they must confess their sins to him. Emphasize that this is something everyone needs to do every day because we all sin every day.
- To learn how to serve God
The goal here is to build into their minds that they have been saved to serve God.
- To learn how to live for God- Romans 12:1-2
A. Giving our bodies to Jesus
B. Giving our minds to Jesus
The goal here is to help kids to make good choices in everything that would influence the way they think. What they read, see, hear, etc.
- To establish a solid Biblical foundation of priority doctrines
There are certain Biblical doctrines that must be firmly entrenched in the minds of our children at an early age:
Jesus is God- see John 20:31
Each lesson on an aspect of Jesus’ earthly ministry should always highlight the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ created in all of the heavens and earth by His spoken word in 6 days and rested on the seventh day. We must begin at an early age to foster an unwavering conviction that believes in divine creation. We must begin to prepare them to defend the faith against evolution.
It is important to build into the minds of the children the Biblical story of redemption from the garden of Eden to the Garden Tomb.
Leviticus 3:1-11- The offering of a lamb as a sacrifice to establish peace with God
John 1:29- Jesus as God’s Lamb
It is important to build a foundation of faith in the Bible as the Word of God.
2 Timothy 3:16
2. Connected with family
A. Understanding each person is a special creation of God
B. Understanding God’s plan for the family
- The Biblical role of parents & grandparents
To be a role model for their children & grandchildren
2 Timothy 1:5
To teach their children
To mold, shape, and guard a young child’s conscience.
To discipline their children
- The Biblical responsibility of children
To honor and obey parents- Ephesian 6:1-3
- The model of living with and loving their siblings
1 John 4:20-21- The core problem in sibling rivalry is our sin nature. Love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Sibling rivalry is natural, but wrong. Only the Lord can help a child to deal with their sinful pride and love their sibling(s). Parents should realize this as a spiritual struggle between their child’s sin nature and (if they are saved) the Holy Spirit living in them. Sibling rivalry can be compounded by parents playing favorites among their children. The Bible gives us some powerful examples of how this can add fuel to the sin nature of sibling rivalry.
Examples of sibling in the Bible:
Cain and Abel- Genesis 4:1-8; 1 John 3:11-16
Ishmael and Isaac- Genesis 21:9-11
Esau and Jacob- Genesis 25:21-34; 27:1-46
Joseph and his brothers- Genesis 37-35; 45:1-8; 50:15-21
Moses and Miriam- Exodus 2:1-9
Challenges and Struggles in sibling rivalry
Love vs. hate- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 John 4:7-21
Tattling vs. love covering up sins of others Proverbs 17:9; 1 Peter 4:8
Lying- Proverbs 12:22; Ephesians 4:25
Stealing, coveting- Ephesians 4:28
Kindness- 1 Corinthians 13:4
Jealousy & envy- 1 Corinthians 13:4; Philippians 2:1-11
Quarreling & fighting vs. peace - Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:18; Ephesians 4:26-27
Speaking harshly- Ephesians 4:29, 31
Forgiveness- Matthew 6:12, 14-15; Ephesians 4:32
3. Connected with the church
- To teach the children the Biblical view of the church and how they fit into the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12 -
All believers are a member of a local church. God gives a spiritual gift to each person and each person has a place of service in the body of Christ. It might be good to help children start thinking of how they would like to serve in the church. They may start thinking about what career they want to have when they grow up. Likewise, it is important that they understand that serving in the church has greater eternal value than the choice of a career.
It is important to obey those who lead us in church.
Create opportunities for children to serve each other and reach out to others.
To prepare children to understand the true nature of the church.
To prepare children to corporately worship with the church.
To prepare children to give their tithes and offerings to the Lord.
To prepare children to serve in the church.
4. Connected with peers and other people
A. Evangelism of peers
Build into the heart of every child a desire to see all of their friends come to Christ.
Develop a prayer list of peers that need to be saved.
B. How to choose good friends that will help them walk with God.
Notice that this Psalm was chosen by the Holy Spirit to be the foundation Psalm for worship and service of the believer. So, a child’s choice of friends is very important and vital.
C. Respect of adults, especially the elderly
Leviticus 19:32; Malachi 4:6
This is another problem in our society. This should be built into the minds of our children.