Points to Ponder: Judgment Begins with the Church

Points to Ponder
Judgment Begins with the Church
by Pastor Dennis Whitmore

Author and family counselor Dr. Joe White recalls a time when his five-year old son, Cooper, asked him for a Bible verse he could memorize. Dr. White said, "How about Ephesians 6:1?" Cooper got his Bible and looked it up. Then he read it aloud: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."
Cooper looked up with a grin and said, "Daaad...that verse isn't there. You just made that up!"
You may laugh at this little boy's selective blindness to what was plainly before him - but don't you do the same thing? I know I have. And I have looked back with regret at those times when I clearly remember seeing or hearing God's plain word on a matter, and I chose to ignore it.
The prophet Hosea said, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," (Hosea 4:6). He spoke of God's judgment of Israel because they had rejected knowledge. It was not because they never heard or knew of it. Their ancient heritage was rooted in a relationship with God and obedience to His word. They chose their own way instead of God's.
This nation's heritage is rooted in a relationship with God and His word. And it will not be the government or the ACLU or any group who will bring it down. It will be the church. As believers one by one reject the Word and go their own way, they will blend in with the surrounding culture. They will have "a form of godliness, but denying its power," (II Timothy 3:5).
Though I always admonish Christians to be part of a local church, I can understand why many are not involved. Often they have found that there was nothing there. In many churches the Word is either watered down for entertainment value or not preached at all. Some clergy do not even believe in the core doctrines of the Christian faith, such as the resurrection. Some are social workers rather than spiritual leaders. And since the members aren't studying the Word themselves, they cannot even tell that they "reject the knowledge" by simply neglecting to learn it and obey it themselves.
Hard words? The Epistle of the First Peter rocks us in our comfort zones.
"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (I Peter 4:17)
People in China, Sudan and other oppressive places literally die trying to get a hold of scripture and to worship God. Meanwhile, many of us can't sacrifice ten minutes a day for a devotional, or an hour for Bible study on Sunday.
It's interesting. We have free and safe access to scripture, study material, and church facilities. And there are millions of people in other lands willing to endure tremendous hardship and risk to get just a little bit of what so many of us have chosen to ignore. As you consider the brokenness of our nation, the disintegration of families, and the craziness of your own life, this is a point to ponder: maybe those people over there are on to something. And shouldn't we be willing to LIVE for the One for whom they are willing to DIE?

This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org and is downloaded for your reading pleasure. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit any material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public domain Web site and encourage all readers to visit this site to enjoy similar material.