WE NEED STOP SIGNS!
The apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son Timothy: “…preach the Word…For the time is coming when men will not tolerate wholesome teaching. They will want something to tickle their fancies, and they will collect teachers who will speak what they want to hear. They will no longer listen to the truth…”
(II Tim. 4:2-4 Phillips)
When we lived in Greenville, NC, years ago, I witnessed a car wreck at an intersection. I described to the policeman what I had seen, and he asked if I were willing to say the same things in court. So I did.
Before the case to which I was a witness came up, two young men came up before Judge Charles Whedbee. I had met him when I, like other local pastors, occasionally gave a week of devotions on the local TV station. Judge Whedbee, a committed Christian, was co-host of “Carolina Today” each morning. He was warmly complimentary to this young preacher; and I was humbled and grateful.
The two young fellows had been arrested for removing a stop sign at a crossroads as a prank. Their lackadaisical attitude deeply offended Judge Whedbee. He said, “Don’t you know that you could have caused a wreck and taken a life? I’m going to teach you guys a lesson.” He ordered the bailiff to put them in a cell so they could experience what it was like to be in jail. I don’t know how long he left them in the cell; but when I left the courtroom that afternoon, they were still gone.
Recently Pastor Robert Jeffress, First Baptist Church in Dallas,told of some young men who had committed murder, not with a gun or a knife, but by removing all the stop signs at a four-way stop. Without proper warning, people drove full speed to their death in horrible wrecks.
In 1873, Charles G . Finney wrote, “Such a collapse of conscience in this land could never have existed if the Puritan element in our preaching had not in great measure fallen out. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.”
Recently a pastor from NY appeared on a TV talk show and was asked if he thought abortion is a sin. He danced around the question so successfully that the audience, as well as the very liberal hostesses of the show, applauded him. No wonder some state legislatures are approving abortion right up to—and even past—the very moment of birth. God help us!
Recently the United Methodist Church narrowly defeated a measure allowing ordination of practicing homosexuals as clergy. African bishops, who led conservatives in fighting for Biblical morality, were branded as unloving, divisive, and homophobic. Beloved, the key question for our time is the authority of Scripture. If the Bible is not the eternal Word of God and the only sufficient guide to truth, faith, and conduct, man is left to his own opinions, and anything can be deemed permissible.
In Numbers 21-25, King Balak of Moab hired Balaam the prophet to curse Israel. God put an angel with a drawn sword on the road. Balaam’s donkey saw the angel; Balaam did not; so he angrily struck his beast with his staff for turning aside. God enabled the donkey to speak, and Balaam conversed with his donkey (WOW!) before God let him see the angel. God allowed Balaam only to speak blessing to Israel; but nevertheless he did a lot of harm to God’s people.
Scripture speaks of the: (1) way of Balaam, anxious only to make a market of his gift; (2) error of Balaam: knowing that all have broken God’s laws, he assumed that God must curse Israel; he had no concept of the higher morality of the cross, whereby God can be just and the justifier of believing sinners; (3) the doctrine of Balaam: defiling Israel’s pilgrim separation by encouraging intermarriage with pagans and causing them to become spiritually as well as morally unchaste.
Many modern Balaams are removing stop signs from where God’s Word has erected them. They will not be guiltless! SELAH!
Wayne & Ruth