Back to the Basics

Dear Brethren,

America was once known as a Christian nation.  The problem was that we championed the name ‘Christian’ but adhered to only a few of the basics of true Christianity.  God has been removed so far from our standard of morality that our President has declared that the United States is no longer a Christian nation.  That is a sad state of affairs—but it is consistent with the history of our patriarchs who also rejected God and His blessings.  The Old Testament is the history of Israel's failure to obey God.  Over and over Israel tempted and provoked Almighty God.

The Church of God is not sighing and crying too much about the demise of our nation because we all believe that we are the privileged ones that will be spared the mayhem that is descending on our nation.  Strangely, in spite of the evidence to the contrary—our Israelitish patriarchs always believed that they too were the exception to the rule.  They always thought it would happen to someone else.

Could it be that within God’s Church we are in danger of making the same mistake where we speak religious sounding words but in fact exhibit very little Christian substance?  When we measure that which passes for religious practice in many of our congregations today—it is only a pretense of true Godly faith.  It is like we are doing just enough to fool only the most superficial of adherents.  Where is the seriousness, the faith, the urgency, the reconciliation, the mercy, the humility, the zeal, the sacrifice, the honest introspection, the giving, the caring, the integrity, the spirituality, the submission, the yieldedness, the forgiveness, and the crucial concern for our brother and sister with needs?

“The Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.”  (Isaiah 29:13)

What is the basis of our faith anymore?  Where is the spiritual practice of our faith?  By the conceited manner of some, you would have to conclude that they tell themselves that God gives special privilege to an elite number.  There is no favoritism with God, nor is He a respecter of persons.  Knowing that we are God’s holy and chosen ones should not be cause for smugness.

We were once in the world ourselves—in ignorance and darkness.  Through God’s grace and calling we began to learn the basics one by one.  God granted us repentance to be able to turn around and come out of the evil world.  The faith we have toward Him and in His Son was a gift.  He made us His children—brothers and sisters to Jesus Christ.  Have we forgotten what it means to put on Christ and the attributes of Christ?

“He that saith he abides in [Christ] ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.”  (1 John 2:6)

Unless our lives are a reflection of Christ’s life, when it is all said and done He will say to us, “I never knew you.”  There is a big difference between putting on a smile for your friends at Sabbath services and laying down your life, as Christ did, for someone overtaken in a fault.

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  (Galatians 6:1-2)

Time is very short.  We do not want Jesus to spew us out of His mouth.  Can we look in the mirror and see that compared to Christ we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked?  At the time when the Church should be the beacon set on a hill for all to see its light—we have become a willing counterpart of the fraudulent culture of this world.  At this late hour, we are not that much different from this world’s ‘Christianity.’

“Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we [first] believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works [done in] darkness, and let us arm ourselves for the fight of the day.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in lewdness and indecency, not in quarreling and jealousy.  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and put a stop to gratifying the evil desires that lurk in your carnal nature.”  (Romans 13:11-14)

Sermon:  "Back to the Basics"