The Altar of Expediency
REV. DR. SAMUEL RODRIGUEZ — Today’s complacency is tomorrow’s captivity. We cannot be complacent in these troubled times. As American followers of Christ in the 21st century, we cannot deny that we live in difficult times; times of moral relativism, cultural decadence, spiritual apathy and ecclesiastical lukewarmness.
For many the obituary of American Bible-believing, Christ-centered Christianity seems for all practical purposes written and ready to be published in the annals of American history.
Yet there exists one fundamental truth poised to thwart any and all premature burials of our faith. The gates of hell cannot, may not, shall not, and will not prevail against the church of Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself has promised us this.
To that point, I stand convicted — and convinced — that our Christian faith, our Judeo-Christian value system, will not only survive these troubled times, but may surprisingly stand at the brink of a “Third Great Awakening.”
Parenthetically, while our Bible-based and Christ-centered values stand under unprecedented assault from culture and legislative initiatives, the No. 1 problem in America may be a lukewarm church — a church willing to sacrifice truth on the altar of political and cultural expediency.
The Truth of Our Identity
First of all, corporately, we stand guilty of sacrificing the truth of our identity — who we are in Christ. Jesus stated in Matthew 5:14-16:
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.
Accordingly the question must be asked: Who are we? Are we just another institution in society? Are we another religious faith narrative competing in the marketplace of ideas? Are we feel-good machinery for the spiritually impaired? Are we an antiquated conduit for a set of irrelevant values no longer applicable in the world of Facebook, iPads, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube?
How this generation responds will determine whether, in this generation, light overcomes darkness.
Who are we? We must respond with clarity, conviction, and courage, and give the following answers:
We are the light of the world. (Matt 5:14)
We are a city on a hill. (Matt 5:14)
We are people of the word. (1 Kings 8:56)
We are salt and light. (Matt 5:13-16)
We are prophetic and not pathetic.
We are disciples, witnesses, and Christ followers. (Matt 28:16-20)
We are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11)
We are children of the cross (Romans 8:17), fruit of the empty tomb (John 12:24) and product of the upper room (Acts 2).
We are the redeemed of The Lord.(Psalm 107:2)
We are the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3)
We are forgiven, free and favored. (Luke 23:24)
We are called and chosen. (1 Peter 2:9)
We are warriors and worshipers. (Psalm 144:1)
We are world changers and history makers. (Mark 16:15)
We are the church of Jesus Christ and the gates of hell shall not prevail against us! Hallelujah! (Matthew 16:18)
If we embrace all the above, then why do we seem to be surrendering? Why do we seem to be hiding under the canopy of despair and acquiescence? Why does the perception exist of the church in America retreating to the margins of irrelevancy?
To put our present plight in the context of Scripture, consider the prophet Elijah. When facing the false prophets sacrificing on the altar of Baal, he did not surrender truth on the altar of expediency — he exposed truth via the convicting power of God. God’s word serves as a prophetic prescription for our time. Jesus, the Truth, reminds us that it takes conviction to repent, courage to speak truth, holiness to see God, faith to move mountains, and love to change the world!
Finally, In order to change the world and erect a firewall of righteousness and justice, let us remind ourselves daily of the following; Truth must never be sacrificed on the altar of expediency.