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a personal note from Jim

Just yesterday, one of Vice President Bush’s staff took copies of the latest issue of our evangelistic magazine, Potential on Air Force 2 for the Vice President and others on his staff to read. How exciting it is to have “lizards in kings’ palaces”! Oh, it is so wonderful to have Christ and to have His message of life to proclaim to our neighbors and the world.

Do you have, as I do, a desire, a longing, a desperation, that burns hotter every year to see everyone hear the message of Christ in our nation? Do you long to see repentance, lives changed, cities turned “upside down” for Christ?!

Homosexuals have taken over cities. Some cults have taken over towns. Mormons have taken over a whole state and much more. And, unwittingly we have allowed humanists to take over most of our cities, media, judges and … oh, so much more. Can any of us imagine what our children will face in years to come if we do not make greater headway in turning our immoral, unjust society around?

Nothing outrages me much more than to continually see rapists on the news who have brutalized some young girl. Again, on yesterday’s front page, was the story of an 18-year-old high school senior — a sweet-looking Korean girl, and a pianist in the school orchestra. She had gotten off the bus to walk her usual five-minute walk home. She did not make it home yesterday. The next morning she was found behind a grocery store dead … half stripped, sexually molested and literally stomped to death! If that isn’t grieving enough, let me tell you something worse. When the molester is found, tens of thousands of tax dollars will go to his safety, his welfare, his defense, and in many cases, his release within 24 months to go do the same.

According to the civil laws of the Bible, rapists should be put to death. We sit back and are either blind, indifferent or, as I am, outraged. However, this is only one area.

Time does not permit me to talk about a Hinckley who claims insanity after shooting our president, or about abortion, or theft, or media bias. Wait.

Have you ever thought that we, the people of God, the church of God, may need to take the blame? As undercover Pharisees, we can quickly find some scripture to shift the blame on others. But God has put a fear in me that we, first of all, may be to blame.

What about that verse that so many know, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Or what about Nineveh, a heathen nation, a nation prophesied to doom? Yet when Jonah finally repented, humbled himself and obeyed, a heathen nation repented.

What about 1 Peter 4:17, “For judgment must first begin with the household of God.” If it begins first with the church, where will it go second? The world! What could He do in this nation if His church was holy? Polls tell us there are over 50 million in our country who declare they are born again, believe the Bible, and go to Bible studies. Even if the polls are wrong and there are only 25 million, that is way more than enough to have righteousness reign in this country, instead of Humanism, which has far less than a million people worldwide who are propagating its dogma. Is our message or our God weaker, or less powerful? No! The problem is that the Holy Spirit may be hindered in bringing conviction on the world because of an unholy church.

Moses said, “By justice and justice only will you take the land.” In Matthew 23, Jesus said, “You strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.” Just before that, He identified the camel as “justice, mercy and faithfulness.” First on Jesus’s list was justice.

I hear Christians bemoan the injustice of criminals continually being set free to commit more crimes. They complain about the unrighteousness, dishonesty and slanted communication of the media. I feel the Spirit has said, “What you Christians have thought is wrong in the nation is, in essence, the same that you tolerate in the church!” Listen to I Corinthians 5. Are there any so-called brothers that are immoral with you? What about an idolater or a greedy person? What about a drunkard or swindler? Do we condemn the unbelieving judge when he is slack in his justice, and yet, in deluded Christian love, tolerate something similar in the church?

In I Corinthians 5, God condemns all of the above sins with the same intensity. Many Christians think, however, like our unsaved humanistic judges, that all are to be tolerated. But just as the toleration of wickedness is degenerating to our society, so it is death, or at best, stagnation to our churches. A few of the more holy churches now deal with immorality to varying degrees. However, even fewer touch any of the other sins mentioned in I Corinthians 5.

What about the one in the center of the list that I did not mention? It may be the most frequent and the most easily tolerated — slander. Slander and gossip are so common in the Church today that most Christians have learned to live with it like flies at a picnic. Nonetheless, we are all under commandment to not associate with any who call themselves believers if they have this habit (Proverbs 20:19; I Corinthians 5:11).

Most Christians see through the unrighteous media and are upset about it. But the media is only talk! Yet it is rapidly and steadily destroying our country. How we Christians would like to clean it up. Yet, every day in our Christian community we so “lovingly” tolerate what our God hates … gossip, slander, and those who spread strife (Proverbs 6:12-19).

What a travesty when students from one of the largest Christian universities in the guise of “truth” publicly picket Billy Graham crusades … and we tolerate it. When a leading Christian magazine, in the guise of “journalism” defames Bill Gothard … and we tolerate it. When whole groups are organized to attack Jerry Falwell in the guise of “freedom” … and we tolerate it.

We may not agree with every jot or tittle of every Christian’s teachings, but it destroys the progress of Christianity when we “shoot our own.”

Nonetheless, we also seem to receive our share of opposition. Recently, in one place, a so-called Christian meeting was to take place to “destroy” our love and unity and the work that God is doing. Since the 50 Invasion ’85 teams were sent out to preach the gospel in 50 new cities and campuses, there has been heightened opposition in some quarters. Media is usually not favorable, especially college-student media. Our plan is simple — to get the gospel out more. Pray for us. Pray for the different teams. We feel young and inexperienced, compared to the enormous task and opportunity the Lord has given us.

As we increase in getting the gospel out, the devil seems to increase his opposition at about the same speed. I think we are far from the mark if opposition is any sign. The Wesleys had over 200 publications written against them the first three years of that movement. The great evangelist, George Whitefield, had to ride with his fiancee three days before he could find one clergyman favorable enough to marry them.

We are still a far cry from their example. We reach several thousand with the gospel every month. They usually reached that many every day. Most of us have not begun to be aggressive enough for the cause of Christ to experience what some of these men went through. But I, for one, am resolved to do no less for the Savior.

“By justice and justice only we will take the land.” Let us be a holy people. A compassionate people. A faithful people. Let us never slow up in our business — to get the gospel out and make disciples. Love all God’s people, but especially run with everyone who is determined not to slow up until every city in every state in America knows … Jesus Christ is Lord.

To the end,

Jim

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