Responding to the Evils Around Us

 

All around us are all kinds of bizarre behavior, sinful lifestyles, and strange ideas that currently trouble our land. How shall we respond?

Responses that do not help

Some Christians, sad to say, gaze at the evil and are drawn into it. How easy it is to find our resistance gradually being lowered by the constant exposure to sins that once shocked us!  God’s people in the Old Testament were vulnerable to being swallowed up by the sins of their neighbors.  It can so easily happen to us too! (1 Corinthians 10:12; Ephesians 4:17-24; 2 Timothy 4:10).

On the other hand, while we may never indulge in the blatant sins of our society, we may be tempted to look down on those who do. We may forget that we too are in need of the grace of God and that we have something positive to offer those who are mired in sinful lifestyles (Luke 15:1-2, 25-32; 18:9-14).

A third reaction is thinking that the situation is so far gone that there’s little we can do to make a difference. It’s been well said that the darker the world, the brighter our light is.  Let it shine! (Philippians 2:15).

A better way

So how shall we respond to the evils of our day? Not by participating in them, not by reacting self-righteously, and not by withdrawing into inactivity.

So what shall we do?  The letter we call First Peter has much to offer us.  Christians then were struggling to maintain their integrity in a dark world in much the same way we do today.  Peter urges his readers to maintain holy lives (1:14-16; 4:1-4) and live in such a way that unbelievers can’t help but notice the difference (2:11-12; 3:1-2, 16).

By the grace of God let’s hate sin but have enough concern for sinners so that they too will be drawn out of darkness  into God’s marvelous light!

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Finish or Quit?

Two scenarios contrasted

What can we learn from two of Paul’s associates, Mark and Demas? Paul writes, “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers” (Philemon 23-24; see Colossians 4:10, 14).

Later Paul mentions both of them again, but note the change: “. . . Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica . . . . Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service” (2 Timothy 4:10-11).

Years before, Mark had deeply disappointed Paul because he returned home instead of continuing on their missionary journey. On the next trip Paul refused to take him along because he “had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work” (Acts 15:38; see 12:25; 13:5, 13). But now Paul recognizes the positive change in Mark. He who had been a disappointment has become “useful to me for service.”

Both Mark and Demas left Paul in the lurch. Whatever his reasons for leaving, Mark overcame his instability. But the last we hear of Demas is his tragic apostasy. He left because he “loved this present world.”

Learning from their experience

The same sort of scenario continues to play itself out in our day. Sitting perhaps on the same pew are two Christians. At one time Brother A could not be depended on to do his part, but that’s behind him now. Nearby, Brother B participates in the singing and bows his head for the prayers, but his heart is leaning increasingly toward the world. It won’t be long until he leaves the Lord and His church—another of Satan’s statistics.

Demas’ defection should give us pause to examine our own hearts for any indications of misplaced affections drawing us away from the living God (2 Corinthians 13:5; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17). On the other hand, if we have fallen short in our Christian walk, we can take a cue from Mark and become once again “useful . . . for service.”

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Counter-Culture Christ

Jesus was a misfit

“The world . . . hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil” (John 7:7).

He was slandered. He was rejected. He was executed.

Jesus was a misfit. “The world . . . hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil” (John 7:7).

He was slandered. He was rejected. He was executed.

He is still counter-culture. His teaching on greed (Luke 12:13-21) confronts the materialism of our day.

His welcoming children (Mark 10:13-16) stands in sharp contrast to the neglect and abuse of little ones—and the termination of so many pre-born.

His claim to be the only way to God (John 14:6) is politically incorrect.

We also must decide Do we want to be popular with the world or pleasing to God?

Following Him, we too will know what it means to be out of step and out of favor with the world.

But we will hear His “Well done” at the end of the road.

And isn’t that enough?

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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