Psalm 116:15In 2017, we remember the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s gracious and brave stand on October 31st, 1517, when he affixed his 95 theses to the door of All Saints’, the Castle Church at Wittenburg, Germany. Luther stood firm by the grace of God against the false teaching of his day. Let us not simply admire the achievements of brother Martin; but stand in our own day, as did Tyndale and the rest of that great company of martyrs, against the tide of evil sweeping through this once favoured land.
As we look upon our Nation, indeed the whole world, we surely see a larger fulfilment of that Prophecy written by the apostle to Timothy through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” 2 Timothy 3:1.
THE LOSS OF GOD’S FAVOUR
These perilous times are surely reaching their peak among us; when we consider that God and His truth are so blasphemed and despised, along with the sad fading away of the effects of that God given heritage, with which this country was once favoured and blessed. This land so signally saved and preserved in many ways and from many enemies by the direct providence of God.
Now fornication and every form of sexual perversion, is not only practiced openly; but lauded, on the television, radio and in advertising. In this age too, every aspect of the ‘social media’ is now a technological manifestation of an updated, yet more virulent form, of the street mobs of bygone days. Now the mobs operate via the internet in the anonymity of their homes, pouring out bile and lawlessness, rather than gathering in the streets as in previous ages. Do we not tremble for all these things? Who can deny that we now live in a wicked and sinful generation given over to hedonism and every form of excess. In the words of God – “perilous times”. Perhaps pointing to the imminent return of our God and Saviour in the clouds of heaven.
ARE WE LIVING IN THE LAST OF THE LAST DAYS?
Timothy was further told that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Indicating that while the last New Testament days since the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ would include every manifestation of sin; each succeeding generation would be worse than the last one. Although there have been revivals sent in mercy, yet these have been followed by an even greater decline.
We surely see this by just a brief historical comparison with previous times. The pre-reformation age and when George Whitfield began to preach, was marked by dissolution, spiritual ignorance and immorality. Yet, we do have to say that the sin of our times is almost unrestrained in its outward celebration of evil, hatred of God and all righteousness, and the turning of truth upside down. Even in the dark ages of medieval days, God was mainly revered; albeit in superstition and ignorance.
Since the beginning of creation, when was it heard that the gender of the sexes should be denied? In Canada, it is now illegal to define a man and a woman. As I write, it is now proposed in this country that advertising should not depict any difference in the household of the duties of a man or a woman. Also, there are now 400 terms for sexual orientation.
How the Scripture is being so precisely fulfilled today when it states: “The wicked walk on every side when the vilest men are exalted.” Now we have ‘Gay pride marches’ – where men and women glory in their shame and openly flaunt their sin in the face of God.
THE DANGERS IN SUCH TIMES
Such times as we are living through now are described by the apostle as perilous; The puritan John Owen in his excellent work ‘Perilous times’ and remarking on his own 17th century times, points out that such times are dangerous. Dangerous, because such is the prevailing atmosphere of godlessness and all forms of corruption, that as in a time of plague, we are all in danger of infection; i.e. infection of the spiritual man of heart, mind and soul. Just as in a physical plague such as the Bubonic, or more recently Ebola, when many became infected; just so as the spiritual diseases which surround us all, become almost commonplace, in such times the Christian is at the hazard of complacency and accepting such wickedness as the norm and contracting the deadly poisonous effects of it.
While we may be astounded one day by the almost absurd suggestion that our children may choose their own gender, and transvestitism is considered a matter of lifestyle; in a short time, such bizarre absurdities lose their capacity to shock. However, the greatest danger is that believers are being forced into an acceptance of these evils by an active and militant liberal section of society, which dares anyone to speak against this ‘new post- modern morality and relativism’. While what the Scripture describes as sexual immorality, is now on the schools’ curriculum as a subject to be taught. Wickedness is now being openly promoted as ‘good’.
WHEN A NATION IS UNDER THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD.
In truth one of the marks that a nation is in danger of imminent judgment is given in Isaiah 3: 9: “…and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not.” Again, in chapter 5: 20: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”. These chapters also speak of the general breakdown of such a society’s order, when leaders of character, and orators of renown are removed by God in judgement, and replaced by those with weak and inferior qualities, while women and children have a great influence in that nation. So, as we look around us, we see that God’s judgements against sin described in Holy Scripture, being fulfilled in our generation.
As for the professing Church: our Lord also prophesied that in the last days because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will wax cold. Iniquity is abounding now; and the church is in a massive decline. The Bible, the very standard and foundation of faith and morals, has now in our own day been the subject of corruption, doubt and uncertainty. When the standard of God – The Bible- is now subject to the changing whims of men; the foundation of Scripture undermined, and men believe a lie, what shall the righteous do when the government of the day legislates for evil practices, and against the righteous,
WHAT CAN WE DO?
There is, as Owen said in the 17th century, at such times as this, a temptation for many not to resist such evils; but hope that things will get better soon, and to sit down and see how things will turn out!
We should not only raise our hands in shock and horror at such things, but sigh and cry to God for the abomination of the times. Ezekiel 9:4. Sigh, for we all, as sons of Adam bear some responsibility as fallen creatures, and cry out to God that He may preserve us and use us at such a time as this. Let us also consider that if we a tempted to think lightly of the evil that surrounds us; that such sins as these crucified the Lord of Glory, and without repentance will send millions into hell.
Our Lord declared ‘Ye are the salt of the earth’. But, as C.H. Spurgeon once remarked, when a fish goes rotten, it is reputed to rot from the head first. The Church, the Head, which is supposed to point the right way to God, has in the main left its moorings, and having corrupted the Scriptures and grieved the Holy Ghost, is generally weak and ineffectual. Let each one who fears the Lord stand four square in faithfulness to Jesus who loved us and gave Himself for us.
For even once solid, sound, faithful men and churches, are now in panic compromising with the world, in adopting contemporary music, bibles that read like comics, man centred worship and entertainments to try and win the world.
THE IMMINENT RETURN OF CHRIST
It is prophesied in 2 Thessalonians 2 that close to the return of our incarnate God and Saviour and upon the approach of antichrist, many would fall away from the truth and believe a lie. Yet we believe Scripture teaches that a remnant will remain faithful. But how solemn and fearsome those words of the Lord Jesus Christ: “Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
Looking back over what I have written, it seems sad and dark. However, while our times are increasingly becoming evil and truth is being trodden in the dust; there should be the confidence that our Sovereign God will certainly triumph, Christ will appear in clouds of great glory and put all His enemies down, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father; and that which is now at the bottom of the wheel will turn to the top, and we shall be forever with the Lord.
Meanwhile, we remain in this present world as strangers and pilgrims, and may very soon be required to follow the martyrs and suffer for the testimony of Jesus and His Word. O may He give us that so necessary grace to live and die, if needed, for Him.