John 18:37-38 “’You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’ ‘What is truth?’ Pilate asked.”
We live in a day when issues around the world are becoming very complex. I was reading Stratford’s report on the complexities that we face in today’s world regarding North Korea, the Middle East, China, Russia and realize how we need TRUTH to prevail.
In his day Isaiah made the statement which seems to fit ours as well. “So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.” Isaiah 59:14-15
Pilate asked “What is truth,” a question that begs an answer and Jesus answered that question in John 14:6 with “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
Another question that we can ask is: What happens when truth (Jesus) has been cast aside?
- Words have no meaning. Things made out of words – laws, vows, contracts, etc. have no meaning.
- Values have changed. Sacrifice, loyalty, morality, accountability, etc. have changed to independence, personal happiness, tolerance, comfort, instant gratification and the right to make one’s choice. And we know that our choices are made based upon three things – the 51% (we make our choices based upon what the majority say), or the fad that is popular today, or one’s belief system. Our choices determine our destiny.
- Image becomes more important than substance. How do I look rather than who I am?
- Character is no longer important.
- There is no such thing as evil.
- Follow your own heart is the way many make decisions. (Jeremiah 11:8 But no one knows how wicked their heart is.)
- There is no big story. Nothing makes sense. Everything is in bits and pieces. We do not see the ‘big picture’ of what God is doing.
Jesus said: “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church (ekkleesia), and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18
CT Studd who opened the Belgium Congo to the Gospel said: “Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell. I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell.”
The question is: Where are the gates of hell? Could the gates of hell be the places where influence is being consolidated and affects our society today?
Lance Wallnau brings out seven places where we have influence that are being consolidated today and it is in these seven places that we desperately need truth to prevail.
- The church or religion which would be the case in some nations. For example, I think of India and Hinduism or the Middle East and Islam. These definitely are places of influence. In my situation when I think of the church we need to make sure, like the Apostle Paul said:
2 Corinthians 11:2-3 “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.”
Philippians 2:15-16 “so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.”
We know that the church does have influence whether it is good or bad. How many today are turned off from the church because of what they see and hear. When it comes to religion in other parts of the world we see the tremendous influence or sway over the people keeping them locked into their prison.
- Our educational institutions from kindergarten to university. Some of our great universities, Ivy League institutions were started to train pastors for Christian work and now the word Christian is anathema.
- The family. Keeping the family intact and with the values of the church we can survive. We see this with Israel. Today there is a tremendous attack on the family. However, we see with quick divorce, children out of wedlock, premarital sex, and now new definition of marriage (two men or two women).
I wrote in my series of the Ten Commandments: “It is interesting to note with the Ten Commandments that the first four commandments in the first tablet deal with our relationship to God our Creator. The first Commandment brings out how we need to honor God. In the second tablet the first Commandment is dealing with man’s relationship to man – in the command to honor our father and mother. From this it would seem that in God’s eyes, as in a small child’s eyes as well, a parent stands in the place of God. When you think about it – a parent is the child’s creator, provider, lawgiver, teacher and protector. The child’s response to this relationship will greatly determine the child’s response to society and even his relationship with God Himself. How often we have heard how it has been hard for a child who had a cruel father to relate to the goodness of our Heavenly Father.”
- We have government – laws. This is another place of tremendous influence and how we need men/women in these places to be the influence like Joseph and Daniel in the Old Testament.
- We have the media and oh, how powerful it is! The media is shaping the culture to its likeness. It is forming us according to the opinions of others.
- We have the arts and entertainment and see the impact of this today. Our movies are going out all over the world and influencing many.
- We have business. As business goes so goes the rest, because it takes money to run the rest.
Might God raise up people who are willing to run a rescue shop within these gates of influence!