Revelation 2:10-11 - Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Britain has another religious survey out. This one was conducted by the National Centre for Social Research. It's a simple enough survey. Its primary goal was to answer the question, "Do you have a religion or do you not?"
• In the year 1983, 31 percent of the people said they were without any religion.
• Thirty-four years later, in 2017, 53 percent of the respondents said they have no faith. Period.
• When the question was asked of the 18-to-24-year-old crowd, the percentage went screaming up to 71 percent.
One individual, Dr. Richard Land of Southern Evangelical Seminary, has tried to decipher the downward trend. His interpretation is not too hard to understand. He holds that the problem all stems from the leadership of the church constantly questioning Scripture, denying fundamental doctrines, and denying God's truth.
I guess Dr. Land is just sharing some common sense.
It stands to reason: if you've been led to believe that God has lied to you in one area, there's no reason to think He won't do the same somewhere else. And if the Lord cannot be trusted or held to a higher level of accountability than the average conman, well, who needs Him?
Although we can be sure there are other factors which have played a part in this mass desertion, the theory goes far in explaining what has happened in England.
And it can go just as far in warning us what could happen to the church in the U.S. of A.
Right now, there are three things standing between America and Britain's mass exodus. The first is the Holy Spirit. It is He who is the founder, protector, and the strengthener of the church. Without Him, all would be lost.
The second bastion against the church's erosion is a clergy that speaks the Lord's Word in love. These men of the cloth speak when the Lord speaks and are silent when God is silent. They are shepherds when it is time to lead, and they are servants when the flock needs assistance.
The third force for faithfulness is a laity that remains committed to Word and Sacrament. They are gentle to the weak and lovingly call back the wandering. They sing like they mean it at worship, and their witness is powerful, positive, and joyful.
Now I know you can look at my definitions above and come up with something better. You may readily think I have missed the boat altogether. I won't argue; it is possible. If that is how you feel, then, please write down your list of what the church needs to succeed as it proclaims the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that Your church may know how to live and work so that we bring a great and powerful witness to our Savior who has died and risen to redeem us. Keep us from sour faces and sad proclamation. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Steve Jordahl for One News Now on September 6, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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