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This is a letter that was inserted in the bulletin on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at Upland First Church of the Nazarene
Good morning, dear brothers and sisters,
In preparing for this morning’s message, I ran across this letter written by Rev. John MacArthur (Grace to You) dated March of 2014. I found it to be even more relevant than when it was written almost a year ago! Please read it carefully and meditate on the implications for the Body of Christ in attempting to maintain our identity in an increasingly unfriendly environment!
“The world in which the first Christian lived was brutal, totally pagan and openly anti-Christian. There was no affirmation of morality or any sort of cultural Christianity. Early believers were aliens to everything in the culture. What’s more, Christians had no governmental advocacy or special protections. And so unrestrained persecution was happening to them everywhere. Proclaimers of the gospel essentially became martyrs, hence the word marturos became the word for witness. To embrace Christ often meant signing one’s own death warrant.
What was the church doing that caused such resentment, hostile treatment and persecution?
Christians preached the words of Jesus about God becoming incarnate, about the bread of heaven coming down. The message was simple and clear: if you don’t repent and believe in Him you’re going to hell forever. They were confronting sin and calling people to deny themselves and become lifelong slaves to a crucified Jew, and it was a hard sell. They were preaching a gospel that was deeply offensive both to Jews and Gentiles.
I can’t help but think of how much our own culture has changed in recent decades and how rapidly it is becoming Acts chapter 1 and for that matter, Romans chapter 1. Perhaps like me, you grew up in America when there was widespread cultural Christianity, a kind of Christian consensus. To some degree, people understood the church, the Bible and the gospel. They accepted the Judeo-Christian ethic. While most people weren’t genuine Christians there was still superficial acceptance of or at least tolerance of a cultural Christianity in politics, business, education and public life.
Where are we today? Where’s the general acceptance of the tenets of the Bible and Christian values? Where is the influence of the religious right or the Moral Majority? Gone. No more. There is no more cultural Christianity. There is no collective Christian consensus wielding any significant power in this country. In fact, the more biblically true Christians are and the more they speak and live, the more they are going to be labeled as extremists, homophobic, intolerant and guilty of hate crimes. We’re now aliens.
And I think we can all foresee a day when being a faithful Christian could cost our lives. I think we are closer than ever to living in the conditions like the people did in the book of Acts.
So is there any good news? Actually, I believe the current situation is good news. For years I’ve been concerned by the church’s pursuit of cultural change through political and social activities, large swaths of Christians who’ve placed enormous time, energy, money and hope in the wrong places. Hand in glove with that, superficial cultural Christianity has blurred the clear lines between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world and softened the hard demands of the gospel, making professing Christ easy and without cost.
As a result, churches have been filled with highly religious, superficially moral, self-righteous people who don’t understand the gospel and are self-deceived about their true spiritual state. But now with the facade of cultural Christianity crumbling, true Christianity is starting to stand out in a way it hasn't in our lifetime. Scripture teaches and church history confirms that the body of Christ is most potent and most effective when it simply speaks and lives the gospel without equivocation or apology. With the mask of a superficial Christianity gone, I believe the best days for the spread of the true gospel may be ahead of us because the gospel advances by personal witness to Christ one soul at a time.”
A letter to the church from John MacArthur
To which I add a hearty "AMEN!"
Love in Christ,
Listening to the INSPIRED WORD of GOD concerning the disciples activity between the Ascension and the Day of Pentecost, (VIDEO of ACTS 1:12-26) seems to me to be interrupted by an out-of-order gamble done in Jesus' Name! Frank Sinatra's song LADY LUCK came to mind as I listened to the Peter's prayer and then following the "AMEN," grabbing a couple of DISCIPLE's DICE to DECIDE the matter!
And here is the conclusion video to Pastor Eldon's New Year Message God's Keys to Achieving Spiritual Success in 2015!
The preparation of the video sermons that I have been posting on this site is quite time consuming. I have had some feedback that most people do not have the time to watch a 45 minute message. As such, I introduced the concept of SERMON SNIPPETS a few months ago and now I have decided to include manuscripts of my messages along with video SERMON SNIPPETSinstead of the REST OF THE SERMON video montages.
However, I am very willing to continue with the video messages if I hear from enough of you expressing such a desire. If you would like for me to continue the video sermon montages, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for visiting our site!
Who is missing from our church family photo album? U R ! At UFCN, you will also never feel lonely or unloved!
Pastor Timothy Yeh's brother John and sister-in-law Lena Yeh being interviewed at the First Baptist Church of Orlando.
Our very own Dr. Timothy and Dr. Pearl Yeh's written testimony of their time of persecution in China.
On Sunday, September 23, 2012, Pastor Eldon and Dr. Yeh had the wonderful privilege of baptizing three new believers. Every time someone is baptized into the Faith, it is a reason for rejoicing. HOWEVER, this baptismal service was unique in that a precious husband and wife, ages 92 and 88 respectively were baptized!
Dr. Timothy and Dr. Pearl Yeh's Family UFCN Chinese Congregation Coordinators