Monday, August 15, 2016

Work, For The Night Is Coming

Submitted by Kerry Patton
1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. John 9:1-4
John Was Wrong.  This John…not that one.
On March 4, 1966, Beatle – John Lennon was featured in an article of the London Evening Standard.  In that article, journalist Maureen Cleave recorded Lennon making a statement that would spread far beyond the London paper:
“Christianity will go,” Lennon said. “It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that. I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”
Allow me to just interject here my position on Lennon’s words: John was wrong.  The Bible is very clear; Luke 1:33 tells us that of the Kingdom established by Jesus, the Son of the Living God, there will be no end.  Exodus 15:18 states that “The LORD shall reign forever and ever.”  Revelation 11:15 soundly agrees!
Apparently many others in 1966 agreed with my position today.  The fury generated by Mr. Lennon’s words brought fans in the United States to the point of burning their Beatles records.  Many radio stations banned the Beatles from being played over the air.  The uproar was so severe a continent away that John Lennon was moved to retract and explain in a separate press conference what he was saying in the March 4th interview:
“I’m not anti-Christ or anti-religion or anti-God…I’m not saying we’re better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person, or God as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and was wrong, or was taken wrong, and now it’s all this.”

But he was also right…
…In England, Christianity is shrinking.  An article written by Damian Thompson for The Spectator magazine, an English publication, Thompson says:
“…Every ten years the census spells out the situation in detail: between 2001 and 2011 the number of Christians born in Britain fell by 5.3 million — about 10,000 a week. If that rate of decline continues, the mission of St Augustine to the English, together with that of the Irish saints to the Scots, will come to an end in 2067.”
Can this trend continue?  And is it true of the United States?  According to the Pew Research Center in 2014, the percentage of Americans who identify as Christian has fallen nearly eight percent since 2007.  In the same period, Americans identifying as having no religion grew from 16% to 23%, an increase of seven percent.
In his own misguided and self-centered way John Lennon may have actually been partially right.  Christianity is shrinking in the English and American societies.  And as observed above, if current trends continue, the Faith may statistically vanish altogether in England within the next generation.

So What Does This Mean?
First let me tell you what it DOESN’T mean.  It doesn’t mean that our faith is in any way invalidated, nor that any of the promises of God are not true.  In fact, it completely validates what Jesus said, and what Paul said about the last days! 
Consider Paul’s words to Timothy in 2Timothy 3:1-5:
“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”
Difficult times will come.  As much as we would like to completely convert all of the people of our nation to the faith, it doesn’t appear that we are going to get to see that accomplished.  Rather, it seems to me very much like that window of opportunity…the time we have to spread the Good News of the Gospel may be drawing to a close.  This may be what Jesus was addressing in John 9:4 when he said: 4As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” If the window of time within which the hearts of men will receive the Gospel is closing, then the urgency with which we are commissioned to the task of spreading that Gospel cannot be understated.  Truly, work while it is day…for the night is coming, when no one can work.  We are not to live for ourselves, but we are His workmanship, created for good works in Christ.  It is for his purpose that we live and move, and have our being.

Father God, it is difficult to discern…are we in “the last days?”  Sometimes, it seems we are so far away; and other times, it is as if we are on the threshold of your return.  Help us Father, to run to the harvest…let there not be few workers in the field.  Empower us and embolden us to spread the word of your love, your sacrifice, and your soon return.  Help us to work while there remains light.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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