I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference (Revelation 3:19).
A few years ago, George Gallup, the renowned pollster, conducted a study to assess the religious climate in America and particularly what some call the born-again movement. At first glance, the results of his survey were very impressive.
Did you know, for instance, that the percentage of our population who attend church on a given Sunday is greater today than during colonial days -- an era we tend to celebrate as Christian? And the number of people today who believe the Bible is the Word of God, who believe in a literal heaven and hell, and the number of people who claim to have had a born-again experience, is higher than ever before?
However, while those statistics sound encouraging, Mr. Gallup's concluding statement cuts to the quick. My heart sank when I heard him say, "Never before in the history of the United States has the gospel made such inroads, while at the same time, made such little difference as to how people live."
That is an incredibly sobering thought. How can this be? How can one have the revelation of who Jesus is and what He has done, and not be radically changed?
There are many possible answers to that question. No doubt one major answer is a condition that plagued the Laodecian church described in Revelation chapter 3, verse 17. Our Lord told them, "You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked" (NIV). Materialism was a problem in that church, and it is a problem with the American church today.
This is the church where He used the stern words, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm -- neither hot nor cold -- I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
He also gave the simple solution to the church's problem: "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent."
While salvation is the free gift of God, and nothing we can do can earn it, there is a sacrifice associated with following Jesus and being His disciple. We will not begin to see the needed and God-desired effect on America and the world until God's people are totally surrendered to our Lord Jesus Christ, who created the universe, and because of His love, died for our sins. Surely it is not too much to ask that we live for Him.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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