“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” – Jude 3-4
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4
The Scripture above is unsettling. What should I do?
“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:5
Do you remember the scene from “Jaws” where father and son were sitting at the kitchen table and the son copied the actions of the father? As the old adage goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
When we stand for Christ in our community, the neighbors start watching our actions. Testimony is vitally important. Satan is always trying to shoot holes through it- to point out our shortcomings, to give people an excuse not to believe in Christ.
The West has greater responsibility than we realize. As the East develops, it mimics the West. For example, many in Southeast Asia see our actions on media and copy.
We were recently asked if Christmas is celebrated or even acknowledged in Cambodia / Thailand. Even at a Chinese restaurant in America, you might see a Christmas decoration on the wall and wonder why it is still hanging in June. Generally speaking, many associate Christmas with happiness. Happiness is endorsed. And many identify something that comes from the West as cool.
Like many Americans, many Cambodians also do not have a problem agreeing that, “Jesus is good!” People typically do not even rebuttal the deity of Christ. Then again, even the word for the sun comes with “Preah” before it, which means god. Adding Christ to a multitude of other gods who are worshiped is not a problem. Rejection of the gospel comes at the point where we assert that Jesus is the ONE true God and the ONLY way to heaven (the “exclusivity” of Christ).
Imitation of the West is not limited to popular culture. The church of the East also follows the church of the West. The fall of the American church is having a much greater impact than many of us realize. The world is watching. Since the gospel in recent generations came to much of the world through American missionaries, the tendency is to continue to trust / listen-without-filter whatever is broadcast through that same pipeline today. American false teachers, especially those with a large following, are quickly endorsed.
False teachings manufactured in the West are adopted in the younger, quick-to-follow-without-filtering church of the East. Survival of your brothers and sisters overseas depends in part on what you say and do.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” – Hosea 4:6
Wherever we are, we must be like the Bereans and compare what we are being taught against the inspired Word of God.
“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11
Praise the Lord for His Word.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105