Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons



I recently read a study that stated that among evangelicals, some 80 percent of their children leave the faith when they leave home. This comes as no surprise for even during the days of the apostles, many left the faith: “I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain” (Galatians 4:11).“You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7), “Some will fall away from the faith” (1 Timothy 4:1), “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:3), “If any among you strays from the truth” (James 5:19), “And many will follow their sensuality” (2 Peter 2:2). And yet it doesn't need to be this way, and I pray we as a congregation will be an exception to this trend. I pray our young people determine to spiritually swim upstream against the drift (Hebrews 2:1-3).

Is it Easier to Sin These Days? Maybe. But Not Always.

Many people have sought to find the reason why so many leave the faith in our times. Some feel that one reason may be that we live in a very wicked era. One could argue:

  • It is easier to commit various sins today, for sin at times is far more accessible. Pornography is now one click away in any home or some cell phones; the Internet has also made it easier to find someone for an illicit affair or one night stand.
  • Many sins in our culture are no longer viewed as being shameful, rather the person who is shamed is the individual who voices opposition to them.
  • There is essentially an unofficial “support group” just waiting to welcome and encourage people in their unbelief and apostasy.
  • Church discipline is lax in many congregations, and one can live in sin, yet still be supported by family and friends. Thus, there doesn’t seem to be any immediate “cost” to leaving the faith.

There have been other wicked eras. Jeremiah spoke of a time when people could no longer blush (Jeremiah 6:15; 8:12); Paul said to the Ephesians that “the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16); yet every generation has spiritual advantages and disadvantages. Technology frees us up from spending every waking hour trying to gather enough food to feed our family; we have more hours for service or other spiritual pursuits. The Internet has also brought outstanding Bible study aids, and church websites. Opting to visit these sites when visiting a pornographic site would be just as easy, shows a self-control and loyalty based not upon lack of opportunity to sin, but profound sincerity.

The Opportunity to be Exceptional

Instead of getting disheartened we need to realize that “evil days”, as society moves farther and farther away from God, are a great opportunity for Christians to shine that much brighter, like diamonds showcased on a black velvet background. Also, churches will only become stronger, because the people who are left will be people who are there not because of convenience, but because of conviction. Thus, such times are great opportunities to grow, and have always produced some of the greatest, most durable believers:

  • “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time” (Genesis 6:9)
  • “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
  • “That you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).

When you think about it, when the moral climate was the most dark for God’s people, some amazing individuals arose and accepted the challenge of the times – including Joseph, Moses, Caleb, Joshua, Samuel, Elijah, Jeremiah, or the apostles and early Christians. Tough times have always produced rugged believers.

Thank God for the White Water

“One should expect that at a certain level of training, in whatever discipline, the tests would become more difficult. No one begins white water rafting on a Level 6 course. The able teacher will start the neophyte on a Level 1 river, placid waters with minor ripples. As the student masters first sporadic choppiness and then larger waves, he will be ready for the rapids. The goal is perfection of skills and the subjugation of the body and mind and will. God leaves no guesswork regarding His goal – ‘This is the will of God, your sanctification’. Let us say a person were to pass God’s piddling baby tests – What kind of tests would follow? How would He ratchet up the course to a level 2, or 3, or 4, or 5? I looked into the pit of despair and, uncharacteristically , I recognized it for what it was – white water for my training in sanctification” (Andree Seu).

Staying Strong: A Lesson From Solomon

Without doubt Solomon started out faithful to God. He started out life with a very clear mind considering right and wrong, good and evil (1 Kings 1:52). He could see through a plot or deception (1 Kings 2:23), and He dealt decisively with the wicked. He starts out humble, and his greatest concern was the ability to discern good from evil, so he could be an effective ruler (1 Kings 3:7-9).

Prepare for the Dangers of Old Age

“For it came about when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been” (1 Kings 11:4).

  • Age only brings wisdom when a person remains grounded in the word of God. When one is not so grounded, age often brings the opposite, that is foolishness, softness, carelessness, and an apathy concerning truth. Guard against this in your own heart.
  • Young people need to be humble and willing to listen to the aged, but at the same time, young people can sometimes see some things more clearly. Solomon had a much clearer view of truth when he was young. We need to be diligent as we grow older to make sure that time does not remove from our lives our ethical edge or clear doctrinal distinctions. 
  • I know that young and energetic preachers have much to learn, but one thing we much never do, that is, discourage them by muddying the water of God’s word. 
  • The Hebrew writer said that mature Christians have their senses exercised to discern good from evil (Hebrews 5:14), the text does not say that mature Christians have their senses trained to discern 100 shades of gray.

Avoid What Happened to Solomon

How could such a wise and godly man end up an avid supporter of idolatry? May I suggest the following:

  • Making exemptions in God’s word will always come back to haunt us. God specifically forbad certain marriages (1 Kings 11:2), and it appears Solomon thought that such were acceptable as long as they were politically expedient. We are not the exception to God's rules.
  • It is so easy to think that it “Won’t happen to me”, and that “I can handle this small departure from the faith”. Circumvent this slippery slope of an attitude.
  • “But they are such nice people”. God has never said that all sinners are mean, in fact, one of the dangers of evil companions is that they can be charming, exciting, fun – while at the same time be a corrupting influence or false teacher. Certainly Solomon found his forbidden and foreign wives to be “fun” (11:2). Let us be contented with fun that that is lawful – and trust God not to withhold from us anything that is good.
  • As long as Solomon stood firm in the worship of the true God, he was not very popular with many of his wives. Eventually, some people fall away because they tire of being “unpopular” with the unfaithful. It gets old being “the bad guy”, the “stick in the mud”, the person who is always insisting on Scripture, or calling sin, sin (Ephesians 5:11). Solomon decided that he would rather be popular with his wives than a true friend of God. Let's be a true friend of God so we can be truly a better friend to others.
  • When you surround yourself with the unfaithful, it just becomes a lot easier to go along. Apostasy is always about following the path of least resistance. Surround yourself with the faithful.
  • There is the temptation in such situations to have “peace” at home, among relatives, or at work, rather than have peace with God. Develop the discretion to know when to be a peacemaker, and when to go to battle for the eternal good of another. It is always tempting to place family and friends before God (Matthew 10:37-38). Put God first always, and everything else will fall into place. 
  • For a while it seems more liberating to opt for a lifestyle where the moral expectations are lower. When you insist upon the truth, everyone around you naturally will expect more of you, but when you depart from the faith, the world is going to get on your case for what you say and do. Yet it is the truth, and only the truth that will emancipate us from low expectations.

The Blessings of Hanging in There

Rather than causing someone to stumble, for one is unfaithful alone (Matthew 18:7), you can clear the way as a living example of victory. Instead of preventing people from coming to the truth and being part of the precious church that Jesus established (Matthew 23:14), you can be good advertising for God and thus save even the generations of children and grandchildren of the future generations of those converted during out time. You will give the Lord what He deserves, your best effort, an unshakable faithfulness and loyalty to Christ (1 Peter 1:21). By your God-centered life, you can express to God your love and appreciation for taking very good care of you, a love that will never be severed (Romans 8:37-39).