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The Problem

The world is in trouble and where is God?  Has He forgotten His people or have they forgotten Him?  He never forgets anything, so it must be our fault.  Yes, God’s people have forgotten God.  It’s not the first time, weve done it often before.  God’s people today are not too different from the Jews of antiquity who often forgot the One that protected and preserved them from certain extinction, so many times.  

So, it is not God that forgets us but we His people that forget Him, over and over again.  Why?  Why do we keep doing this?  Why can’t we stay on course?  Why do we keep falling away?  It is because we fail to maintain our connection to our Lord.  When things go well with us we all too often drift away and forget the God that made it so. 

We today are very much like those ancient Jews.  When things get bad, we turn to God.  When all seems well, we forget the One that made it so and go our own way.  What is it that keeps us in this yo-yo kind of existence?  Why can’t we learn to stay with God and fix the problem once and for all? 

It is because we are the problem!  It is our own sinful nature, the nature we were born with, that draws us away from the self-discipline God requires of us.  We are all children of Adam and like him are susceptible to the lure of sin.  Satan sees our weakness and lures us away from the study of God’s Word.  He tells us that the Sunday sermon is enough.  “There’s no need to study God’s Word on your own.  There are so many other pleasant ways to spend an evening.  There’s no need for such rigid discipline, no need for study and discussion of the Sunday sermon with others, we keep saying to ourselves.  You went to church and paid good attention, that’s quite enough for a serious Christian like you.”  How many true believers fall into this trap? 

The true church saw its most rapid growth in the first two centuries of its history.  There were no physical churches then.  The apostles and their successors were itinerant ministers that moved from city to city.  God’s people were on their own most of the time.  They lived in small groups of godly families and studied God’s Word together whenever they could.  

God’s Word, the word the apostles gave them was seen as a precious commodity.  It was copied over and over again and circulated widely among the many groups of believers.  God’s people had God’s Word jn their hands.  They treasured it and studied it diligently. 

Yes, those early believers truly believed.  They changed the world they lived in.  Pagan Rome became Christian Rome but it wasn’t all just good news.  The godly communities were no longer persecuted and it became popular to belong to one.  There were very significant advantages.  Members in need of anything were assisted by the community. 

These highly attractive communities grew both in number and in size.  Both believers and unbelievers were attracted to them and they gradually lost their earlier purity.  In time, Rome became Christian Rome but it was a Christianity that lacked much of its earlier character.  What were small groups of serious, born-again believers became larger groups consisting of both true and false believers. 

This failure to maintain true purity has plagued Christianity throughout the Christian era.  It stems from a false idea, a desire to help the unbeliever by drawing him closer rather than waiting for God to change his heart.  It is exactly the wrong thing to do.  It hurts rather than helps him and does damage to the community as a whole. 

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