Men see the strength of a nation in its wealth, population, armaments, technology, and knowledge. But where does God look? “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34. The Bible reveals that the cause of the rise and fall of nations is moral and spiritual. No nation can rely on its strength, power, human intelligence, social programs, and wealth to save it from the devastating effects of moral decay. Just look at history to see how this has played out relentlessly.
Since Israel had forfeited her privileged status, God promised to destroy her as He destroyed the Amorites and the Egyptians (Amos 2:9-10; 4:10,12). The people of Israel had gone so far that God expected no repentance from them. Israel’s opportunity to repent had faded away. It was too late!
As He had fought their battles for them in the past, now God would fight against them. Whatever their courage or expertise, nothing would go in their favor. The things that had formerly given Israel strength in war would be turned against them.
Most Western nations have been built upon Judaeo Christian principles but are now turning away from God just as the Israelites did and they are already starting to see the judgement of God coming upon them.
To heal a person and to heal a nation requires God’s Solution in His Eternal Word. Both require humility, prayer, seeking His face, and turning from their wicked ways. Itcould not be more clear.
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7: 13-14
The prophesied time when God pours out His wrath upon an unrepentant world with the trumpet and bowl judgements is fast approaching.
“When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”Revelation 6:12-16
Man, apart from God’s grace, is a sinner, not a saint.
To fail to recognize our own inherent corruption and the need for God’s saving grace leads to chaos and lawlessness.
In every generation man’s unconstrained impulse to have faith in his own righteousness and act upon that faith, reemerges. Today we see it in a radical Leftist agenda in America that is fueled by ambiguous intellectual movements which seek not just to find flaws in the American system that might be fixed, but which cry out for the system’s total destruction— to “tear the whole thing down.” Everything that came before must go, not just those ideas or structures that have rightly been judged as cruel or unjust.
The forces that hold to the unconstrained vision, men and women who reject any need for divine aid or help and who really believe a new revolution can solve the problem, are once again at work. Trade-offs are unacceptable for the advocates of the unconstrained view. Only total solutions are acceptable. Perfection is within society’s grasp if we would only reach out and grab it. However, perfection is a high bar. Thus, any identifiable flaw in the fabric of society must inevitably spur on the next revolution. “Perpetual revolution” (not reformation) is the explicit doctrine of the foot soldier for the unconstrained vision of man.
The problem, of course, with this view is that it consciously rejects what it regards as the most detestable doctrines of the Christian faith:original sin and the desperate need for God’s grace.
The truth is the following three realities:
Man is a sinner, prone to war and wickedness, and mutual slaughter.
Any virtue in man is a gift from God. God the Father’s ultimate gift to mankind is the second person of the Trinity, Jesus, who by His death and resurrection made it possible for the Father to send the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer who accepts Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
By living in the power of the Holy Spirit we are liberated from the world’s system, even to the point of welcoming our own persecution, which is to God’s glory and the glory of His Church.
Adapted from article “Trying To Be Good Without God, Or Hoping “We Won’t Get Fooled Again”
God established the nations at Babel to ensure people obeyed His command “to fill the earth”. First, he told Adam and Eve, and then Noah and his sons.
“And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”Genesis 1:28
“And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” Genesis 9:1
God then established from one man, Abraham, his nation Israel. God made it clear from the beginning that He works with individuals: first Adam, then Noah, then Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David to accomplish His purposes which should make each one of us realize that God has a purpose for each of us that we need to discover. Have you found the purpose God has for you?
It is important we study the what, how, and when of God’s purpose and construct for His nation. It will reveal a lot about God and us. The prophetic nature of the Tabernacle and the Feast Days is amazing. You will come to realize what a treasure God has provided for us in all that He has done as revealed in His Word, the Bible.
God has given us His Word, the Bible, to reveal the truth about Himself and His creation. In fact, much of the Bible is prophecy, God has revealed how His story will play out, He even reveals extensive detail on the last seven years before He ends this segment of the history of His Cosmos when He pours out His wrath upon an unrepentant people much as He did with the worldwide flood of Noah’s day. This website’s main function is to get Christians in step with God at this time in His story as revealed in His Word – you and me living eternal now.
Watch the video to find out why the Tabernacle’s components are important for anyone who wants to understand what Jesus has achieved for all those who repent of their sin and accept Him as their Lord and Saviour.
A new study released by the Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated Lifeway Research titled the “State of Theology, found that 60% of U.S. adults believe that religious beliefs are “a matter of personal opinion” and “not about objective truth.”
Scott McConnell, the executive director of Lifeway Research, said in a statement released Monday that he believed the COVID-19 pandemic played a factor in the findings.
“Religious identity, beliefs, and behavior are interrelated,” said McConnell. “When in-person church attendance behaviors were interrupted and habits were broken, it affected some Americans’ beliefs about the need to gather with other believers to worship.”
“Many Americans think about God as if He had only revealed Himself in a vague, nondescript way. They seem to fill in the gaps with whatever they want to believe,” McConnell stated.
“This creates sharp contrasts between what Americans believe about God and how He revealed himself in great detail in the Bible.”
It is interesting that the study revealed that a little over half of U.S. adults (53%) still say sex outside of traditional marriage is a sin, in contrast to 42% who disagree. In fact, it marks an increase in Americans who see non-marital sex as sinful compared to 2016 when 49% said it was sinful which is a hopeful sign.
The study reported that 46% of Americans believe that the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior is not relevant today, while 42% believe that it is still relevant.
“Discussions of sin are inherently theological because they explore whether God set standards and what behaviors miss this mark,” McConnell noted.
“So, those who acknowledge certain behaviors as sin are acknowledging a deity’s standards. This is a different discussion than whether society agrees on an ethical standard of conduct that we determine.”
Just as God’s nation Israel fell away from understanding God as Creator and the one whom they should fear. America a nation founded on knowing and fearing God likewise is falling away fast and opening the nation up to God’s judgment and ultimate wrath.
“Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.” Deuteronomy 10:14
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?” Deuteronomy 12:11-13
Jesus told us beforehand that in the last days before His return that people would no longer believe He exists and to be feared, as a result, lawlessness will increase.
“And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:12-13
Will you be one of those that endure to the end and as a result be saved?
Scripture is clear: “As He who called you is holy, you also must be holy in all your conduct”1 Peter 1:15
Look what A.W.Tozer said:
“I look back and remember a day when it was common for men and women to come to an altar of prayer and kneel there, shake, tremble, and weep in agony of conviction over their iniquity. We do not see it now because the God we preach is not the everlasting, awful Holy One who cannot look upon iniquity. When we get a vision of the Holy One as he desires to reveal himself, this will come back as a mighty power to change us into his likeness.”
Tozer then quotes this hymn by Charles Wesley:
Lord, incline me to repent; Let me now my fall lament, Deeply my revolt deplore, Weep, believe, and sin no more.
Repentance is the lost word in the Christian dictionary. You may want to consider adding the sentiment of Charles Wesley’s words to your next prayer. I am sure you won’t use Wesley’s words exactly.
It is not as if we have to repent and be holy in our own strength. Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to enable us to be holy. He will produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life and enable you to do the ministry that God has called you to do. We just need to submit to His leading day by day and not grieve Him or quench His work in our lives.
This is an extremely good sermon on the evil and suffering that exists in our world. John MacArthur is one of the most eloquent preachers that I have heard and on this subject he does a great job.
One of the most pressing challenges to Christianity is the problem of evil. Unbelievers are quick to ask how Christians can believe in the existence of a good God in the face of so much evil. In this session, Dr. John MacArthur examines what Scripture teaches regarding evil and suffering and why it exists in the world. You need to listen to this and send it to others. God is sovereign and actually has a purpose for evil which for most of us is hard to comprehend but all of us must come to grips with this truth.
“I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me, there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.“Isaiah 45:5-7
“What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory.” Romans 9:22-23
John MacArthur preaches eternal conscious torment as God’s judgement for unbelievers. I do not hold to that position because Jesus taught punishment and second death.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’” Revelation 2:11
“Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6
The following Scripture clearly teaches that the second death occurs in the Lake of Fire: “Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”Revelation 21:8
How many more references do we need to a second death before we believe that it is the eventual judgement of God for sin.
The scourge of abortion is a form of idolatry. It has been considered a human right a woman has by virtue of choice. When humans decide to take life from the womb of a woman for the sake of convenience or personal right as a matter of liberty, they cross the divide between man and God and take to themselves the prerogative only God has—the authority to decide right and wrong. Man puts himself as God. That is idolatry, and for that, all nations, not only America, will suffer the judgment of God when it comes upon the Earth.
Moreover, God has told us beforehand exactly how and when His wrath will be poured out on an unbelieving world.
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:6-13
“And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” Matthew 24:22-25
During the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ on this earth in the not too distant future, abortion will be a mortal sin punished by death. Many in the world will object to God’s laws which is the reason why Jesus and the Saints need to rule with a rod of iron.
“From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron.” Revelation 19:15
“The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.” Revelation 2:26-27
Just as Satan and one-third of the angels rebelled against God in heaven, many humans will rebel against Jesus and the Saint’s reign on this earth. We are told that when Satan is released from the Abyss at the end of Jesus’ Millennial reign he is still able to raise an enormous army to come against Jesus and the Saints.
“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them.” Revelation 20:7-9
Jesus is coming back, and He is warning those who want to be on his side to be ready. God is calling us all to leave behind terrible habits, addictions, and anything that pulls us away from Him. The movie below reveals where sin is headed and why it’s so crucial that we are not slaves to it. It explores how to overcome sinful addictions and the meaning of repentance. This is one to see, share, and watch with a group! Unlimited lawlessness is now possible with augmented reality. We are living in a time when the prophesied apostasy (falling away) in the church is already happening and it will only increase as Satan steps up his demonic activity to destroy mankind. Satan understands his time is short.
I do not agree with their interpretation of the parable Jesus told of the rich man and Lazarus in this video and ask you to consider the following exposition of this parable.
Does the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 teach an eternal hell of conscious torment? No! It is a parable Jesus used to emphasize a certain spiritual lesson. The point of the story is found in verse 31. Parables should not be taken literally—otherwise, we would believe that trees talk! (See Judges 9:8–15.)
The traditional view is to take the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man literally, but I believe as many others do that it is a parable that Jesus told to the Pharisees and Sadducees as it followed other parables that all start with the same intro: “There was a certain man”
The two parables here both have to do with “mammon” (money) and the misuse of it. If the first is clearly a parable, why not the second, for it is in the exact same section of scripture?
The Jewish Rabbis of Jesus’ day commonly used parables as teaching tools. This is in part why Jesus used them to correct the Pharisees (self-righteous religious leaders) who were unjustly criticizing what he taught.
Here are some other facts making it clear that Luke 16:19–31 is a parable: 1. Abraham’s bosom is not heaven or paradise. (Hebrews 11:8–10, 16). 2. Abraham was not in heaven in bodily form so how can Lazarus literally be comforted by Abraham? 3. People in hell cannot talk to those in heaven (Isaiah 65:17). 4. The bodies of the dead are in their graves (Job 17:13; John 5:28, 29). The rich man was in bodily form with eyes, a tongue, etc., yet we know that the body does not go to hell at death but remains in the grave, as the Bible clearly teaches. 5. People are rewarded at Christ’s second coming, not at death (Revelation22:12). 6. The lost are cast into the Lake of Fire (Hell) after the White Throne judgement not when they die (Matthew 13:40–42).
Why did Jesus give this parable here?
In the first thirteen verses of Luke 16, we find Jesus teaching his disciples about being wise stewards and that man cannot serve both God and mammon (money, earthly possessions, etc.). The Pharisees overheard what Jesus said and, knowing it also applied to them, roundly criticized him:
“Now the Pharisees who were also covetous (greedy and lovers of money) heard all these things, and they ridiculed Him.” (Luke 16:14).
Jesus tells the Pharisees that they seek to justify themselves before men and not God. After a few more comments he speaks this parable that is in direct response to their finding fault with what he taught.
The parable begins: “Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, and daily indulged himself in luxury.” The rich man in this parable is a symbol for the Pharisees and Sadducees themselves.
“And there was a certain poor man named Lazarus, who was laid at his porch, full of sores.” (Luke 16:19 – 20). Why did Christ refer to this poor beggar as Lazarus? There are two reasons. One is the meaning of his name. It means ‘whom God helps.’ or ‘assistance of God‘. The Pharisees prided themselves on their righteousness through strict obedience to their interpretation of God’s law. They particularly despised the gentiles. The irony here is that those who honestly believed they served and represented God would not help someone “whom God helps.” They disdained someone whom God accepted.
Lazarus in this parable represents the Gentiles – the world outside of God’s chosen people. God’s people (particularly the Pharisees and Sadducees) treated the Gentiles like dogs who were full of sores (spiritual sickness) and in need of rescue (help from God). The Gentiles like Lazarus were stopped at the gate of the temple (which represents the entrance to God) and were not allowed to go inside (never to have a relationship with God).
In verse 22, we see that something unnatural has occurred. Both die, Lazarus is carried away by the angels into Abraham’s bosom and the rich man ends up in hell. Note what verse 22 does NOT say! It does NOT state that the beggar went to heaven. It also does not say the rich man, immediately upon death, was tossed into some eternal Hell. The verse says the beggar is carried to “Abraham’s bosom.” But what does this phrase mean? What is significant about Lazarus being in the bosom of Abraham? Being in the bosom of someone is a symbol of love and closeness John 13:23 “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” Lazarus (symbol for the Gentile nation) being in Abraham’s bosom (place of spiritual promise to be loved and close to God) illustrates the roles have switched. Galatians 3:14 “so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” Now Lazarus is in the place where the rich man (Pharisees and Sadducees) was. So, what was the cause of such a radical change in the status of God’s chosen people and the Gentiles? Let us see what Jesus had to say about it; Matthew 23:33 “You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of Hell [Gehenna – God’s Judgement]?” The roles switched because of the arrogance, self-righteousness, and disobedience of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They did not see a need to help others, they boasted about having the law of the prophets, and they worshiped themselves, but things just changed
Lazarus is carried into a close relationship with Abraham (who represents faith in God and salvation). He is allowed entrance into God’s kingdom (but it does not state when this occurs).
We now come to the verse that has led countless people who study the Bible to believe in a fiery Hell where sinners suffer forever. However, four times in Revelation we are told of the second death: Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:11, and 21:8. Moreover, the Bible teaches that there will be just punishment of the unrepentant for sins committed on earth which is followed by the second death in the Lake of Fire.
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”Revelation 21:8
We also find proof in verse 23 that this parable is not meant to be taken literally in every detail. Both the rich man and Lazarus are shown to be alive after they died. If we take verses 22 and 23 literally, it would mean the resurrection of the dead has already taken place!
Here is some further proof of why this story should not be taken literally in all details. How could the rich man know who Abraham was when he had been dead for 1,800+ years? Also, it would be difficult for the rich man to recognize Lazarus in a glorified body, as he had been an emaciated pile of bones and flesh and full of sores during his physical life. The difference would have been appalling.
Additionally, Luke 16:24 reiterates how the roles of these two men have changed. The rich man was without need of help when the beggar was in dire straits and now, he is in a dire situation when the beggar is without need. In effect, Christ is giving a warning to the Pharisees that their state in life could quickly change, therefore they should not be so smug and look down on others.
Remember, my son, that in your lifetime you were given all the good things, while Lazarus got all the bad things. But now he is enjoying himself here, while you are in pain. Besides all that, there is a deep pit lying between us . . . (Luke 16: 25 – 26).
Jesus got the immediate attention of the Pharisees by using Abraham as a character in his lesson. Christ is showing that one needs to live his life correctly today, not wait until the next life to make amends.
The last four verses of this parable describe Father Abraham explaining to the rich man that his five brothers (Judah had five brothers) have the prophets (the Old Testament scriptures) as a witness. Jesus knew full well that the arrogant religious leaders boasted about their knowledge of the scriptures, but their hearts were hardened. Despite the many O.T. prophecies about Himself, the Pharisees and Sadducees continued not to believe that Jesus was the Messiah.
The rich man goes on to explain that if one is raised from the dead they will believe (repent). People claim that the story of the rich man and Lazarus is not a parable because Christ identifies a character with a real name as in this case, the name Lazarus. They say that this fact alone is proof because Christ never used a real name in any other parables. Do you think that it is ironic that there is an actual person in the book of John that has the same name, Lazarus who was sick and died but Jesus raised him from the dead which is the same context of the rich man’s inquiry? You see, Christ was spoken of and prophesied about many times in the Old Testament. Jesus makes another prophecy in this parable stating that if they will not hear the words of the prophets; neither will they believe if one is raised from the dead. Jesus used the real name Lazarus because he already knew that he was going to resurrect a real person named Lazarus shortly thereafter from the dead to further prove his point in the parable.
“He said to him, ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead‘”.(Luke 16:31)
Jesus ultimately tells us the meaning of the rich man and Lazarus parable. He was telling the Pharisees (who were self-righteous hypocrites) that since they did not truly believe and follow what Moses and the prophets wrote, no amount of miracles and wonders would be able to change their minds and alter how they lived life. It was the hardness of their hearts that kept them from truly repenting and serving God. Jesus knew that despite adequate proof of His own resurrection these Pharisees and Sadducees would still not believe He was their prophesied Messiah.
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” Psalm 51:1-2
A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet challenged him about his sin with Bathsheba.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12
NOTE: God had given David an understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit in living Christ-like and this is one thousand years before Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell believers as a result of His atoning sacrifice.
But also note what Paul says about living Christ-like, we are to forget those things that are behind us and focus on those things ahead.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” Philippians 3:12-16
John 10:10 says that Jesus came to give us life, freedom, and a relationship with Him. He is our only hope—the only source of true peace. Are you experiencing this peace? If not, that can change if you trust in Him as Lord and Savior, repent, and turn to Him (Romans 10:9).
Gordon Cove once challenged his audience: “You have not sought the Lord with ‘your whole heart’ until you have tried a protracted season of prayer and fasting.”Could a lack of prayer, fasting, and repentance be one of the hindrances to a spiritual awakening? Absolutely! Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Fasting doesn’t twist God’s arm, but it does bend our knee. There is simply too much on the line—a massive spiritual awakening is our only hope.
As G. Campbell Morgan said, “We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from Heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.”
It’s time to break up our fallow ground and seek the Lord while He still may be found (Hosea 10:12).
“We prepare the sacrifice with a humble and contrite heart and God will bring the fire of revival.” shaneiIdelman.com
Keith Green’s voice was silenced in 1982 when he and two of his children perished in an aviation accident.
Green employed a lyrical technique that used to be common in Christian music but is virtually absent today: the Call To Repentance.
Call To Repentance (CTR) songs are designed to convict the listener of his own sin. Here is an example of CTR lyrics, from Keith Green’s Asleep in the Light (1978):
“Oh, bless me, Lord! Bless me, Lord!” You know, it’s all I ever hear! No one aches. No one hurts. No one even sheds one tear. But, He cries, He weeps, He bleeds, and He cares for your needs, and you just lay back, and keep soaking it in. Oh, can’t you see such sin?!‘Cause He brings people to your doorand you turn them away, as you smile and say:“God bless you!Be at peace!”And all Heaven just weeps’cause Jesus came to your door, You left Him out on the streets.
Here are two reasons CTR songs sound so out of place today:
While most contemporary worship songs focus on comfort and assurance, CTR songs point out our shortcomings.
While most of today’s praise songs are sung from the perspective of the disciple, CTR songs are sung from the perspective of God. In praise and worship, we are the speaker, telling God how we feel about him. With CTR, God is the speaker, telling us how he feels about us.
CTR songs are sometimes hard to listen to but there is no question as to their effectiveness. Keith Green’s songs are the slap in the face we all need from time to time. We need to be spurred on toward greater obedience and his songs certainly achieve that purpose,
“I repent of ever having recorded one single song and ever having performed one concert if my music, and more importantly — my life — has not provoked you into godly jealousy, or to sell out more completely to Jesus!”Keith Green
He made audiences squirm by saying, “If you praise and worship Jesus with your mouth, and your life does not praise and worship him, there’s something wrong!”
CTR songs focus on our actions, not our emotions. They demand change. And they challenge rather than comfort.
A decade ago, researcher Christian Smith at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined the religious beliefs of teenagers and coined a new phrase to describe the faith held by many: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, or MTD. Albert Mohler writes:
As described by Smith and his team, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these:
“A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”
“God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”
“The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”
“God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”
“Good people go to heaven when they die.”
With beliefs like these, it’s easy to see why CRT songs seem so out of place in churches today. It’s easy to tell God how wonderful he is. It’s hard to hear how depraved we are.