Limp-wrists are all the rage. Our modern Christian culture, with its skinny-jean clad worship leaders, hawaiian-shirted Pastors, and cigar-smoking small groups has become proficient in the art of ineffectuality. We have bought the bait that tolerance and acceptance is the most important expression of Christian love. We love by accommodating, cow-towing, and placating the culture. I remember hearing about a church that sent out surveys to their community asking: â€œWhat sort of church do you want?â€ Well, whatâ€™ll you know, they wanted a church that gets out in time for the game, allows dad to export his fatherly responsibility to a 28 year old youth pastor with a cool haircut, sermons that include clips from a movie about two dumb guys (one dumber than the other), and a great worship bandâ€“pyrotechnics and all.Â
Instead of consulting the Word of God, our modern generation has become so obsessed with cultural relevancy that we have abandoned loyalty to that which actually is relevant! The soulâ€™s eternity is at stake, and we are concerned with whether our 25 minute sermons are â€œengagingâ€ enough. We donâ€™t want to drive away the seekers, so letâ€™s have a snazzy sermon series, with cool graphics, and cleverly clichÃ©d titles like â€œSwagger Wagon: Tips on Godly Parenting,â€ â€œJust Do It: Join a Small Group,â€ and â€œGot Junk: How to Deal With the Mess of Life!â€ Paul tells us to be clothed with the whole armour of God, that we might withstand the evil of the day, and after doing all to stand, to then, stand firm. The modern church has nice hip movement, but very little firmness of stance.
The need for the hour is men (and women) to stand with a firmness for the unalterable truth of Godâ€™s Word. We need a breed of Christians that know how to stand, not swivel around with a spine-tingling guitar riff. Preachers ought to lean fully upon the Rock of Ages, not upon a trendy stool from IKEA. This generation needs thunder in the pulpit, not another illustration how a Christian family is like a football team.
Our cultureâ€™s head has swollen with pride, if you havenâ€™t noticed, and it seems to be a symptom in every sphereâ€“political, social, entertainment, financial, scientific, and academic. The political realm has persuaded us that it knows what we need better than we do. The scholastic community loves to stick itâ€™s nose in the air and explain that science has proven the impossibility of God. The entertainment industry encourages us to follow our hearts, fulfill our dreams, and look out for olâ€™ number one. All these secular arenas seem to grow giddy with excitement as they press the envelope and take another step towards removing the credibility, relevance and worldview of Biblical Christianity. They love to tower over the Church with the looming shadow of certain victory! They think they will win out. They think they are eternal. They think they are answerable to none.
It might be helpful if they too had Nebuchadnezerâ€™s dream. I recently began reading through Daniel, and in the second chapter we hear Danielâ€™s presentation of the Babylonian Kingâ€™s dream:
Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2:31-35)
The empires of the worldâ€“whether Gold, Silver, Brass, Iron, or Clayâ€“always fool themselves into believing that their rule shall never end. Hereâ€™s some news for them: a Stone has come, and broken the feet of the authority of this worldâ€™s power, and the whole system is going to crumble to dust and be blown away. That Stone is becoming and will become a Great Mountain that will fill the whole earth. The Church must learn to stand, and acknowledge that we are in the Kingdom of the Great Mountain. It may look weak to the world, and all too often our actions do more to belittle it that they do to exalt it. However, the Great Mountain wins. The Statue of Human Pride crumbles.
Before the empires of this world come crashing down, however, I have begun to recognize that there are little shrines of pride in my own soul, which that uncut Stone must bulldoze. May every statue of pride within me be broken to dust, and scattered to the four winds. May the stone of Jesus Christ grow into a Great Mountain within my soul. The thing about Great Mountains is that they fill the whole panorama of sight! No longer ought we to treat the Stone of Jesus as if it were a pebble; He is a Mount Everest of glory and importance. All the pride of this earthâ€™s system will crumble under the weight of the Great Mountain. The earthly principalities have successfully intimidated many Christians and churches in our day and age. Therefore, we must begin to stand, and that firmly, with the realization that the world may seem to have a big, looming shadow that will overwhelm us, but we are positioned upon the foothills of the Great Mountain. Daniel 2:44 sums it all up nicely, â€œAnd in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.â€