Galatians 5:9 - A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
Pastor Nathan Heller of the Superstition Foothills Baptist Church told it like it is! Praise God. He talked about the Impact of Spiritual Decline.
Our nation is in a spiritual decline and those of us old enough have seen a lot of it. But as the pastor suggested, it's not just the nation, but the Church, and because we are human, it can affect us also. We have allowed this decline to creep in, almost unnoticed. It takes effort to look back to determine just when it started.
You see above what one scripture says about leaven. A little can do a lot. And what does leaven do? It makes something less serious and often more exciting, according to Webster's dictionary. I had never thought of it that way. Gee, I think I know an evil character who likes to let us to whisper in our ears, what's it going to hurt to do that?
Pastor Nathan focused his message on Abraham's cousin, Lot. Lot left with Abraham when God told him to leave his people and settle in a land He would show him. So, when Lot started out, he was fine. When they came to the land of Canaan it wasn't big enough for both their families with servants and livestock. Abraham told Lot to look over the land where they stood and choose where he wanted to go and he would take the other portion.
Lot allowed his senses to take over. This land over here looked mighty good: And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. (Genesis 13:10)
As you can see, Sodom was part of that land. And while Lot at first didn't live in Sodom, he was edging closer until his desires got the better of him and he lived within the gates of this abomination of a city. He still was not a fallen individual, however, but he was letting his guard down. When you become accustomed to your surroundings you go with the flow, not against it. Once within the city he had to have known what the city was like. He sat at the entrance gate, supposedly to watch for strangers that he might lead them to his house so they would not be subject to the wickedness of the Sodomites.
Two angels arrived. He led them to his house. Still a good thing. But when a knock on the door produced wicked men wanting these two angels, Lot faltered a bit. His initial response was no. Still a good response. But he couldn't stop there. He felt he needed to appease these men from the city by saying he would offer his virgin daughters to them...oops. He compromised.
We are not supposed to compromise when it comes to God. We are not to let our guard down no matter what others might think. I wonder how many times this happens? Pastor Nathan believes that not only the people in this country have compromised, but so has the Church.
Churches today are allowing the things of the world in. Let's not call sin sin. Let's only speak of the love of God and lure them into our churches with only half the story. We'll entertain them. We'll only encourage them. They will stay with us. We'll have ministries up the wazoo; we'll separate the young from the old and teach accordingly. We'll compromise our beliefs a bit and call it being politically correct, so as not to offend.
I don't think Jesus ever sugar coated His words. He called sin a sin...and it put Him on the cross. What happened to the days of fire and brimstone? Hah! Like what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah when God's patience ran out. The truth is, it is a narrow road to this truth. Even the Church is faltering and wandering off that road.
As Pastor Nathan suggested (paraphrasing some more) the decline begins when we can't let go of the world and all it has to offer. When he refers to we here he's talking about all believers. And we make up the Church. We and the Church have failed this nation despite our reason for leaving England for the right to worship God properly. As a consequence, we are in a spiritual decline. Can we recover? Unlikely. It would take such a revival as never seen. It could happen...but time is awfully short.
I believe we all can struggle with some of the things in the world. I have for years told God in specific areas if He wants to take it away, while it may sting for a bit, I know it will be for the better. Less of it, more of Him. Surrender.
Mark 8:15 - Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."