Nearly all Christians understand something is off — way off — and that we can no longer confuse God’s patience with His approval.
America thinks that she is following God, but she is not. We are drowning in a cesspool of moral filth: “The wicked freely parade and prance about while evil is praised throughout the land” (Psalm 12:8).
Recently, I had the privilege of meeting with other Christian leaders at a pivotal event spearheaded by James Robinson in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. In addition to focusing on the absolute necessity of biblical unity, we also discussed the urgent need for God to awaken His church and what that may look like. I’ve listed a few key takeaways below. A sermon by the same title will also be posted here.
Changing the label only strengthens the poison
The Titanic has been struck but God doesn't want us to run, but to rescue — shepherds, for example, must lead the flock, not leave the flock. Our apathy, arrogance, and capitulation have only allowed the culture to change the label, strengthening the poison.
Let me explain with this example from J. Wilburn Chapman from the late 1800s:
“A distinguished Methodist minister preached on sin, and one of his church officers afterwards came into his study to see him. He said to the minister, ‘Mr. Howard, we don't want you to talk as plainly as you do about sin, because if our boys and girls hear you talking so much about sin they will more easily become sinners … do not speak so plainly about sin’.”
“Then my friend took down a small bottle and showed it to the visitor. It was a bottle of strychnine and was marked ‘poison.’ The minister said, ‘I see what you want me to do. You want me to change the label. Suppose I take off this label of poison and put on some mild label, such as the essence of peppermint.”
“Did you see what happened? The milder you make the label, the stronger you make the poison.”
In the same way, we cannot continue poisoning truth, sexuality, the family, justice, and other foundational issues by changing the label. We are engaged in a war of words; we must speak the truth in love.
Have we offended God?
Today many say, “Don’t talk about sin because it offends people.” In our zeal to not offend, have we stopped to consider whether we have offended God? I can assure you that we have.
Like in Israel’s days, an astonishing and horrible thing has happened to America: Bible teachers tickle the ears rather than challenge the heart and Americans love to have it so. But what will we do in the end? (Cf. Jeremiah 5:30-31).
In a day when many cry, “Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isaiah 30:10), we must please God rather than man. This will cost you notoriety and popularity, but the power of the Spirit will rest upon you. My cry to God is, “fill me or kill me.”
Passion must be backed by compassion
Confrontation must come from gentleness and genuine concern — the cry of the prophet must be birthed in the labor room of brokenness. We have no business convicting without loving; preaching without weeping.
So many Christians are defending the truth, but wounding fellow soldiers on the battlefield. I’m alarmed at the arrogance I see as brother shoots brother. They claim they are defending the truth, but they’re actually strengthening the enemy by their arrogance.
Please don’t misunderstand: I’m all for defending the truth and contending for righteousness, but it must come from a humble, loving messenger. Both a thief and a surgeon use a knife — one to harm, the other to help. We must heal the body of Christ, not amputate it!
Focus on God, not the Enemy
To say that we have drifted off course is an understatement — America has completely capitulated. We legalize sin and call it "good." We pervert sexuality and call it "choice." We mock God and call it "freedom." But we should not focus only on what the devil is doing; we must also focus on what God is doing.
God is filling desperate believers with His Spirit. The fires of revival are changing our landscape: Families and marriages are being restored, and sin and addiction are being overcome. People are desperate again for truth and authenticity. The field is ripe for the harvest.
Are you fearful and worried? Then I urge you to drink deeply from the Fountain of Living Water and let Christ refresh and renew your spirit. Jesus will never be defeated and His true church will withstand the gates of hell!
Is this our last stand — our last chance?
Is it our last stand — our last chance? Who knows? I’ll let God answer that question, but as for me and my house and our church, we will serve the Lord and fight the good fight of faith. We will fuel the flames of revival (yes, even in California). We will till the soil of our heart and prepare for the downpour of the Spirit.
We will continue praying that God would rend the heavens, come down, and strengthen His Church. How do we know that He won’t turn and relent from judgment and leave behind a blessing for those who truly know Him (cf. Joel 2:14). The blessing of His presence is the greatest gift ever given.
When it’s over, I want to be found lying exhausted on the battlefield rather than running in fear. How about you? If this is our last stand, will you finish strong?
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, just North of Los Angeles. Shane's sermons, articles, books, and radio program can all be found at shaneidleman.com or wcfav.org. He is the author of Feasting & Fasting, If My People, Desperate for More of God, and Help! I'm Addicted. Follow him on Facebook at: facebook.com/confusedchurch. You can also follow Pastor Shane on the new free speech platform Parler https://parler.com/profile/ShaneIdleman/posts.