Those on the rock are the ones who receive the Word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. –Luke 8:13
What is faith? My view is that it is two things:
1. It is a spiritual impression of the reality of the Biblical worldview, and especially of salvation from Hell, through the cross of Christ.
2. It is also a resolute, determined, hanging on to Christ; and a human choice to persevere, and remain “faithful,” or continually committed to trusting in Christ, regardless of what may happen to you.
When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the Earth? (Luke 18:8). I hope that He will find faith in me; I care too much for my soul to go to Hell.
Why is it that we observe so many Christians–friends, family, acquaintances–falling away from the faith? (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Or, at least, stop fellowshipping with you, or reject you, just because you’re trying to be holy, as your Father in Heaven is holy? (Matthew 5:48). Why is it that so many of these Christian church friends pull away, fall away, or reject your friendship, once they get a handle on the idea that you are striving for holiness? This is apostasy! Defection from the faith: which calls us to holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives (Luke 1:75). If Christians think that this life we’re supposed to live does not lead to or require immediate moral and ethical growth, development, and transformation–then I have a very hard time reconciling that view with the teachings of Jesus and the rest of the New Testament.
From top to bottom, churches that were once founded on holiness principles and ideas, are now so soiled by the worldliness of Hollywood, the sexual immorality of women’s fashion, and endless anti-Biblical entertainments. It makes me wonder why God has not given a lot of these denominations over to total bankruptcy, or caused other calamities to come, so to destroy their headquarters off the face of the earth forever. It makes me wonder. The Lord is patient, in waiting for the children of earth to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But when the Son of Man returns, WILL HE FIND FAITH AND HOLINESS ON THE EARTH!? IN THE CHURCH!? Will He?
Sometimes I feel that I am a castaway. Not a castaway from God, as Paul feared (1 Corinthians 9:27); but a castaway from secular society and the evangelical church. I feel often that my kindred spirits are scattered all over the world; and are on that large imaginary thing called the Internet Church. Sure, I believe large amounts of the body of Christ are out there; who also happen to use the internet. But when it actually comes to meeting with people, it is so rarely that you find a physical, church building, with holiness being taught and practiced in a balanced and godly manner. So rare. Everyone in these evangelical churches are so morally lax. The supervisors, administrators, the bishops, the pastors, the church boards, the church members, the youth pastors, everyone. THEY’RE DEAD! Dead in trespasses and sins! (Ephesians 2:1). Not regenerated. I doubt that 90% of them know what the word “regeneration” means; and still less who experience the reality of a regenerated life.
Things in the evangelical churches are very, very bad right now. For this reason, I am writing this “jeremiad,” so to speak. If God’s judgment is coming to the evangelical churches in America and British countries, then it will be because they have ceased to preach LORDSHIP SALVATION and ceased to stress every-day PRACTICAL HOLINESS being lived out in the lives of their congregations. Once our Christian bookstores start carrying more books by The Banner of Truth Trust, Soli Deo Gloria Publications, Francis Asbury Press, Schmul Publishing, Puritans, and old-time Wesleyans–so much of what is now falsely called “the ministry” will be found to be a human conceit; and all these seeker-senstive pastors will die off, as God judges their lives, and the times of refreshing come from the Lord (Acts 3:19). But now is not that time. Today is a desert of the Spirit. Today is a famine of the hearing of the word of the Lord (Amos 8:11). Today the true saints and prophets are in hiding; are on the internet sometimes; or are so off the popular radar, because nobody wants to publish or broadcast their words. These are times of great apostasy and rebellion against the Lord God. These are vexing, saddening times for the righteous; even as the righteous soul of Lot was vexed in the city of Sodom (2 Peter 2:8).
Oh how many times Christ has called to these evangelical churches, by sending prophets and wise men, but they were not willing to listen! (Matthew 23:34, 37). Their hearts are hard, and stubborn, and reprobate; many are beyond the hope of repentance, so long have they grieved the Spirit of God (Hebrews 6:4-6). What is a godly man to do in such conditions?
1. Acknowledge that there is a GREAT APOSTASY going on in the evangelical churches; and don’t pretend it’s not there.
2. REMEMBER HELL; and be thankful that you are not in Hell; and that through the death of Christ, by holding on to your faith in it, you are in the forgiveness of God; and you will try to live right until your dying breath, no matter what the people around you are doing, thinking, and saying. CLING TO CHRIST!
3. Worship God in truly concentrated praise and worship, pray in tongues in the Spirit, spend time in silent prayer, and acquire the presence of God. You must have the witness of the Holy Spirit! YOU MUST FEEL THE HOLY SPIRIT in these times! You need it!