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By Bishop Samuel Smith – Chairman of the AWCF
“Righteousness exhalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34 ).
How long will a just God allow an outlaw spirit to run amok in His world? Lot is not one of my favorite biblical characters for several reasons, but, at least he was “vexed” at the sins of his time. Where is the vexation among the church today? We know deep in our hearts that most of us have become too attached to this world. We preach and sing values, but our fruits, our affections, and our actions say something else.
I am in my 66th year of life, and 45th year of ministry. I have tried to be a scholar, biblically and otherwise. I am becoming more aware everyday, like others in my generation, that I have let some weighty matters slide. We are well able to quote the statistics of the book of Revelation and our doctrinal points. We have “learned the ropes” to cope in a business savvy world, and very few of us in America can say “silver and gold have I none;” but, there is a scripture that keeps coming to me, more an more, written in red, Jesus said, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2).
Apostle Paul counted his accomplishments as “dung,” and declared he was a “debtor.” To whom did Paul owe a debt? He owed the gospel to the Jew, the Greek, the Roman, and the Barbarian. He owed his best to the church; and he owed his very life and soul to God. Can we honestly agree with Paul? “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21 ). I long to share the same heaven with Paul. What an honor to be his peer.
I state the following not as criticism to those who have attained positions of honor and accomplishment; but, only to illustrate the point, that our generation is so title conscious: Reverend, Doctor, Elder, Minister, District/Elder, Pastor, Bishop, (now Archbishop), Prophet, Prophetess, Apostle, Evangelist, and Missionary. Does anyone covet the title, “Martyr?” Will it ever come to that? It certainly has in the history of the church, and even now in some parts of the world. Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35 ). It is apparent that our Lord does not think it exceptional to demand courage, commitment, sacrifice, and selflessness from His followers.
When I was a boy, I remember reading the passage from the diary of one of the five missionaries who were martyred along the Amazon River in the jungles of South America : “One is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep, for that which he cannot lose.” Where are the radical watchmen in this late hour? We must man our posts and cry aloud, not spending our precious allotted time here trying to squeeze out any and all permissible pleasures from an otherwise hell-bound world. Are we competing for a miserly small piece of the pie here, when we are promised to inherit the entire bakery, in the hereafter?
“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”- C.S. Lewis
The sins of America are so obvious, only the willfully blind can ignore them. The idolization of Michael Jackson is just one of the many symptoms of a sick society; no boundaries, indulgent and bent on self-destruction. The days of Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah , and the worst of the Roman Empire are upon us. Pornography, abortion, incest, drugs, drunkenness, the occult, every ungodly excess is growing worldwide, with no signs of abating. Watchman, where are you?
Recently, USA Today newspaper reviewed two of the seasons most popular HBO TV series, “Hung,” and “True Blood.” The latter has a story line of vampires as they interact in society; quoting USA Today, “It is gory, sexy and so entertaining. The vampires are positively portrayed, and about the time you become comfortable, they scare you, and then about time you are scared out of your wits, they win you back as they interact normally with their families and loved ones.”
After the USA Today story, CNN discussed whether the increasing subject of vampires and the occult in entertainment was responsible for the spike in occult related violence across America ? It is not rocket science to answer that question. Why do advertisers spend a million dollars for a 30 second commercial during the Super Bowl? People will reenact what they see; will buy the product, seek the pleasure, and take the risk. Some will act upon their baser instincts, provoked to play out their darker side.
The other hit HBO series, “Hung,” I am embarrassed to say more than it deals with the problems a man faces, coping in real life with the size of a certain part of his anatomy. Are you shocked yet? It is past time for some righteous indignation, and I dare someone to call it self-righteousness!
A culture will seek entertainment compatible with the level of their spirituality. There is no shame, no limits with this generation. All one has to do is wake up and look around! “As it was in the days of Noah… as it was in the days of Lot.” Jesus said, “The night cometh when no man can work.” Watchman, where are you?