Christianity Is Not A Drug It’s Smelling Salts
“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria, the notable men of the first of the nations.” (Amos 6:1)
What the people of Amos’s day wanted to hear wasn’t what they needed to hear; thus the word, “Woe.”
While we cannot shut our ears physically we can shut them spiritually, thus Jesus’ seven warnings in the last of the Bible; “He that has ears to hear let ear.”
Christianity is not the faith of the complacent. It is the faith of believers like John the Baptist, Paul, Livingstone, Wesley, Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer; and the list goes on…
History and experience tell us that the formidable enemy of Christianity is complacency; fat, dumb, happy, lazy comfortable complacency. Complacency is an enemy faced by every generation and every ministry. It is lukewarm, incremental and usually invisible; and like a boa-constrictor stealthily creeps up on its prey and slowly suffocates it to death.
That is why it is necessary to gather your family around believers and leaders who are not at ease in Zion; but to gather around Bible believers who challenge the effectiveness of your faith. Don’t be fooled by complacency, mediocrity, and past glories; for like invisible black-ice of the unexpected is always lingering around the corner. Like a dormant volcano, the unexpected can suddenly blow-up and change everything around it. That is what revivals do; they change the complacent status quo.
Mediocrity is a rut; it is the enemy of the best; and complacency eventually becomes its graveyard. Great cathedrals and vibrant monasteries all over post-Christian Europe have become mere tourist attractions. And in America many historical denominations and seminaries have become cold stone memorials to a once vibrant past. The fruits of success over time made these churches lazy and self-serving. The bright lights of success blinded their church leaders until they become flippant about the sacred scriptures and no longer cared about the people they were called to serve.
Twenty-five years before the fall of northern Israel God gave them a warning. A cap in hand dusty country preacher named Amos pushed his way through the crowd up to the lectern of the majestic temple of Bethel. Standing before king Jeroboam II and the decorated priests who were surrounded by chanters, singers and readers he warned them that in 25 years their land would be as desolate as a burned out forest. Picture the scene, “‘Woe unto you that are at ease in Zion for judgment is coming and this evil nation that once trusted in God is going to be judged by God Himself!’
But they were as spiritually deaf as lampposts. Why their nation was enjoying unprecedented peace and prosperity. Economically, everything was coming up roses. But again, notice the first words of the preacher: “Woe!” That is not what the people wanted to hear. They wanted to keep their religious masks on, they were enjoying their religious masquerade.
They we’re like the church of Sardis of which Jesus said: “You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” They were like the Church of Thyatira which boasted, “We are rich, we are increased with goods and have need of nothing’ – but of which Jesus said, ‘you are wretched, miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!”
It reminds you of Germany where the great Protestant Reformation started and where six million Jews were incinerated. It reminds you of Great Britain who once sent missionaries to evangelize Africa but now needs missionaries coming from Africa to evangelize Great Britain. How the mighty have fallen. Israel did not listen. Europe will not listen. Will America listen? Are you listening?
Let us resolve not to become like northern Israel, nor like the farmer of Luke 12:19 who in his complacency said; “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’
In these last days (which began on the Day of Pentecost when the Church was born) the signs in earth, sea, sky, and history are telling us to be on tip-toe expectancy for Christ’s return.
“In the same manner Christ also was offered in sacrifice once to take away the sins of many. He will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28)
Be Aware of the Invisible Enemy,
Pastor Robert Bryant