I worry about this generation of believers in the West. We’ve been brought up with a gospel married with an Americanized version of Christianity that has little resemblance to what Christ taught during His time on earth. Jesus taught we would face persecution and have to endure all kinds of trouble (John 16:33; Mark 13:11-13). Many contemporary churches teach deliverance from trouble through Jesus. A number of popular ministries go even further teaching if you have enough faith, you will be healthy and wealthy.
The Bible teaches those who are in Christ will be a peculiar people, aliens and strangers in their own lands (1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 2:11). Our churches have taught us how to set goals, dream big dreams, and succeed, just like people in the world. We’ve traded the cross of Jesus for a life of comfort and security. What will we do when the world is no longer safe or comfortable for those professing faith in Jesus Christ?
Our brothers and sisters around the world know what it means to count the cost and follow Jesus. Eritrea. Malaysia. India. China. North Korea. Afghanistan. Somalia. Brunei. Iran. And I am leaving out so many other countries where living out your faith in Christ has extreme and terrifying consequences. Meanwhile, we bicker over the style of music in our weekend services, which version of the Bible is correct, and which denomination is most closely aligned with Jesus.
Most of us in the West don’t have a clue what it means to take up our cross daily. We don’t know what it means to be denied healthcare because we profess Jesus as our Lord. Few of us have been kicked out of our neighborhoods or fired from our jobs because of our faith. No one reading this has died for proclaiming the name of Jesus. I doubt many have been beaten, whipped, sexually assaulted, or imprisoned for owning a Bible or sharing Christ with a friend. These are realities for millions of Christians around the globe. Consider that the next time you sit in your comfortable air-conditioned churches.
Keith Green poignantly said, “This generation of believers is responsible for this generation of souls.” We are teaching this generation a gospel that is not true. We are appealing to the desires of the world in order to gain the biggest crowds so we can claim some sort of relevance in our city. For those of us who know the truth, we bear the responsibility of sending countless souls to Hell because we didn’t have the courage and conviction to tell them the truth while they were alive.
I don’t know if it’s too late to save this generation from the malaise in which they live. I still believe all things are possible for God. My fear is we won’t seek His face or His help. My fear is we like our comfort and security too much to care or even notice we’ve abandoned Jesus along the way. Persecution is coming. I know this because Jesus said it will. This generation is not ready for it. I suggest we get ready and do so in a hurry.