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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Lord Is There, continued
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. (Isaiah 61:11—NIV)
The above verse tells what it is all about. God wants the peoples of the earth to learn to behave righteously and to praise the living God rather than to worship the idols they have made with their hands, such as money, material comforts, electronic gadgets, entertainment. The American people worship these things.
Athletics are worshiped in America. Professional sports are "food offered to idols." On a secular program the other day one of the speakers said, "Football is a religion." A couple of months ago a secular columnist wrote that professional football in America is equivalent to one of the old religions of South America where they threw maidens from a cliff as a sacrifice to their gods.
These are statements made by worldly people. We who are Christians are supposed to teach by word and illustrate by our behavior that God requires righteous behavior and worship from all the people whom He has created. Instead we act just like the world. We are not being a true witness.
Do you remember the following words of the Lord?
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16—NIV)
Now, let us pay very careful attention to the above passage for it is the key to the concept of God coming to dwell among the nations.
Something has gone dreadfully wrong with Evangelical teaching in America. We have invented a formula termed "the four steps of salvation." If an individual "believes" in Christ he or she will be saved and go to Heaven.
Meanwhile, Divine grace is regarded as an alternative to righteous behavior. As a result, there is a very, very dim light proceeding from the churches.
We think our testimony consists of "telling others about Jesus." Telling others about Jesus is important when God is directing the work of evangelism. But this is not the witness the world is waiting for.
We tell others about Jesus and then do not reveal righteousness and worship to the nations. We are not bearing witness. We are not being the light of the world. The light of the world is good works. Telling others about Jesus is the necessary work of Evangelism. But if the light of good works is not produced by our evangelistic efforts, then we are not doing the will of the Father; we are not bearing witness.
The Father wants righteousness and praise to spring forth before the nations. Until this happens the work of Christ is not being done.
Our goal is not to retire in Heaven. Our goal is to grow in Christ until the earth can say, "The Lord is here!"
To be continued.