Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How far we have fallen: Romans 1

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
-Romans 1:18-32

We are currently living in an age full of wickedness. There is no more moral standard, no more prestige in integrity or purity, no more respect for those who do what's right. I recently saw a small yet epitomizing example of how far our culture has fallen. I was in a bus when I saw a gas station. I glanced at the price board where something caught my eye....the price of $5.11. I thought, I know gas prices are high, but five bucks? I glanced over to see that this was, in fact, the price of Malboro cigarettes. We have fallen so far that people are just as intrested in the price of cigarettes as the price of gas. I'm left to wonder, how did it come to this?

Need more examples? I was reading my Sports Illustrated recently when I saw an article on the only admittedly gay pro athlete in the world.....and it was praising him for his bravery to admit it! This man practiced homosexuality, cheated on his wife, and was being praised for it. If that wasn't bad enough, a few issues later, in the letters section, there was a letter saying that he should be called SI Sportsman of the Year......for showing the "freedom and joy that comes from shining a light on a darkness that you've held inside of you." Have we really sunk this low?

This is our culture today. No absolute values. As verse 32 of the above chapter says, they not only sin, but they take pleasure in doing it. Abortion, homosexuality and bisexuality, drugs, murder, adultry, lying....you name it, we do it today. In public shools, a teacher may ONLY say the name of Jesus as a curse word. It is cool to destroy your life with drugs, but you must be out of your mind to want to read the Words of life. That is todays message. What do we do?

We aren't going to be able to talk to everyone. Many people won't give us the time of day to briefly mention Jesus, let alone share the Gospel. However, there is a great way we can reach people who way may never be so lucky as to say the word "Jesus" to. You can be a living testimony. Look at Philipians 2:14-15:

"Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"

A living testimony is one of the most fitting mean of sharing the Gospel in these times. The worse the culture is, the more effective a living testimony is because the more set apart Christians are from the world. Think about that example of stars. During the day, the stars are still out, you just can't see them because they are light surrounded by light, but at night, the darkness brings out their light. In the same way, as Christians, our lights shine more when they are put up against the darkness of this world. I know most of my audiance are teens around my age. Little is expected of us, and many people would be happy should they never have to speak a word to us. People look at you based on your age and you are belittled for it. Timothy faced a similar issue, and look what Paul told him:

"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." -I Timothy 4:12

There is no age requirement on example-setting. Even if speaking to people freaks you out, a living testimony is always a great witness. What if sinners got saved because of our testimony of sexual purity? What if a drug addict got saved because he saw that a believer got his satisfaction in Christ, not the next high? What if a backslidden adult recommitted his life because he saw a 16-year-old living for Jesus? Our lives may be the only Bible that someone ever reads. Will they see Jesus in it?