I love this time of the year. It is one of two times that the populated world is brought to face some facts about Jesus Christ. The other time is Easter. I am fully aware of all the unspiritual and unscriptural things that surround these times, but they surround every day. Every year for centuries, men are reminded that God came to earth to die for the sins of men. Every year for centuries, men are reminded that Jesus Christ arose from the dead to guarantee the believers in Him a better home in heaven.
In our ministry we have included Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree for twenty years. At this time we have 1007 children in the Midland-Odessa area who have a parent in prison. Each one of those children will have gifts from their incarcerated parent because some believers in this Babe in a manger opened their hearts and pocketbooks for them.
The kids at the Angel Tree parties are aglow with anticipation and joy. They have no problem accepting Jesus as God in the flesh. There hearts are tender to the gospel of Jesus Christ and our mission is to get that gospel to them. The gifts and parties are a way to do so. In our fast moving, high tech world, we celebrate that which occurred two thousand years ago. You would think that mankind would be more attuned to the truth more than any time in the past, but the opposite is so. Paul said that one of signs of the time is:
“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:7
Truth has become relative instead of absolute. There is really no right or wrong. The end justifies the means. Everyone’s opinion is as good as anyone else’s. One must accept everyone’s belief. You would think that more learning would automatically result in learn more truth, but Paul says right the opposite. Things move so fast in our times that an action that was once wrong is now right. If you are an adult, you have seen some changes in your own lifetime that have take 180 degree turn. I am not speaking of technical changes, but changes in morals, beliefs and behaviors. Pilate asked the question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38) Notice that he did not say “the truth.” Man wants a lot of truth to choose from, just like he wants a lot of bibles to refer to. He wants to pick his truth because he wants to be his own god. He can choose to treat sodomy (or covetous, worry or murder) as an abomination to God or he can choose to accept it as an alternate life style. He can try to please God with his choices or he can try to please the populace. Hear me carefully…he cannot please both.
Listen to the words of Jesus Christ:
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
Here is “the truth” that the “ever learning” do not come to the knowledge of. The reason? They have convinced themselves that there is no “the truth.” The same reasoning that religionists use to ridicule separation as being legalism will soon begin rejecting “the truth.” The same reasoning that accepts or tolerates abominable (Leviticus 18:22) practices will soon be rejecting “the truth.”
Our world is filled with religion of some kind. Of course, in America, we are (maybe I should say, “were”) considered a Christian nation. We begin this nation on Bible principles. Those who came on the Mayflower had sewed “In God We Trust” on the sail. The first Bibles printed in America were placed in the public school system. Our nation became the Utopia for foreigners to gain access. What John said to the church at Laodicea is certainly as up to the minute, probably more so that when it was recorded:
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:17-19
Many of today’s religious leaders think that if they have a Christian bumper sticker, invite someone to church or buy toys for a child at Angel Tree that they are practicing Bible Christianity. Do you want a shocker? Ask the leaders, not the nominal membership, but the staff members or active workers how one can know that he or she is saved. Ask them for scriptures on dealing with how to be saved, Christian giving, raising children, etc. Ask them, “What does the Bible say about Christian’s dress, appearance, talk, friends, etc.” Ask them, “How can I know my prayers will be answered every time I pray?”
How many churches teach their people how to win people to Christ? This used to be common training in Bible believing churches. Now we have books on how to ease your conscience because you didn’t win people to Christ. We even want to change the terminology by calling witnessing or soulwinning to sharing our faith. We don’t have enough spiritual sense left to understand why churches are failing and masses are leaving the ministry. Statistics state that of the people who enter into the pastorate, only 5% stay in it. Of the excuses given for leaving the ministry, you do not hear words like “God called me to the wrong place,” “the Holy Spirit really messed up my life,” or “Jesus Christ is not all that I deemed Him to be.”
Our Angel Tree parties are the first step to introducing the gospel of Christ to the children. If we help one child go to heaven we have spent our money wisely. If we give them “stuff” and not the “Saviour” we have failed them miserably and their blood will be on our hands (Ezekiel 3:17-21.)
Keep Looking Up!
(This is a republished blog from Leland Maples during this Christmas season)