Dear Beachside Family and Friends,
After a siege of ten years, the citizens of Troy were weary. It is not surprising that they welcomed the overtures of the Greek army, receiving as a gift what is known today as the Trojan Horse. Ready to put the long season of strife behind them, they listened without hesitation to a supposedly abandoned Greek soldier, who told them the horse was simply an offering to the goddess Athena, whose temple at Troy they had defiled. Although some in their midst warned against receiving the horse, they were ignored, and the horse was brought inside the gates.
Once brought into the city, a secret force of Greeks emerged from the horse, opening the gates of Troy to the entire Greek army. The downfall of Troy was complete, all because they listened to the wrong voice. Although they successfully resisted conquest for a decade, the leaders and citizens of Troy put their trust in an enemy. An enemy who appeared generous and persuasive, but was quickly revealed in true form as deceiver and destroyer.
The Church finds itself in the same position today. There are many voices, even some in Christian leadership, who call for tolerance and acceptance of things that are clearly contrary to God's word. We must accept those who live immoral and ungodly lifestyles they say, and declare their actions sensible, not sinful. We are told that we must not speak the truth revealed in the Bible, because we risk hurting and offending others. They promise us a vision of churches full of people with differing beliefs and orientations living together in the blessing of God. They declare to us their beautiful dream of all inclusive and tolerant heaven on earth.
Like the citizens of Troy, some Christians are growing weary of the struggle. The constant pressure from the secular media and the politically correct tolerance police make it difficult to stand for the truth. After all, wouldn't it be beautiful if everyone could live together in harmony? Does God really mean that people should live according to Scripture the way they did thousands of years ago? They say society has changed, and we must change as well. It can even seem reasonable to the mind, but humans have heard this "voice of reason" before.
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)
Eve and Adam listened to this voice. It sounded so reasonable, and was very persuasive. "Do what you want to do, there won't be any consequences. In fact, you will be better off!", the serpent opined. Believing these words, Adam and Eve threw open the doors of paradise to Satan. How did that work out for them and all of their descendants?
There are those who think that the Church can only reach the world by being "relevant" to today's popular culture. Since manifestations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are offensive or frightening to those in the world, we must eliminate them from our services. Since encouraging people to tithe and give offerings turns people off, we must not preach or teach about money. The weakness of these arguments is this: People can never experience the miraculous power of God in their families, businesses, and finances unless the Holy Spirit is free to manifest himself through the gifts of the Spirit set forth in the Bible. If we do not know that it is always God's will to heal us and walk in divine health, how can we receive these facts into our lives? Paul wrote "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom 10:14,16-17) The gospel is much more than just going to heaven. It is about living a victorious life in this earth and enjoying all the benefits of a relationship with God that Jesus Himself preached about.
Jesus spoke with his followers before his ascension. "He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.(Mark 16:15) Jesus said "go into all the world", not "bring the world into the church." I am not speaking of musical instruments, lights, or multimedia. I speak only of the attitudes and convictions of pop culture, and the teaching of those who deny the authority of the Bible in our lives and church services.
Secular progressives both inside and outside of the church are sounding the same call that the serpent issued in the garden. "God doesn't really mean what He said about sin does He? After all, he loves everyone, and wants all of us to be happy." Accepting these words and this philosophy is welcoming yet another Trojan horse into the church. It didn't work out well for Troy, and it certainly cannot work out well for the church. Just something to think about!