James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without  thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? (empasis mine)
Most of us would agree that we are living in the last days of mankind’s rule on this earth. But are we living like we believe it? We see the evil around this nation manifested in grotesque shootings of the innocent in our schools, the multitude of sins that are growing exponentially as each day passes and we wonder, “what in the world is going on?” Of course, we know that the last days will become more and more evil as time passes, because the Bible prophesized it would be so.
II Timothy chapter 3:
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away
But is there nothing we can do about it? Are we powerless to stop the flow of evil that is overtaking our nation, our families, and our culture? Maybe. True, the scripture above says that the times would be evil, but is that all there is to it? Is mankind in it’s evil nature the only fault of the nation going into the dark times we see? The evil of man is a given according to scripture. I say that there is a symptom that is growing in this country and has been festering for a long time, probably for the last 50 years. What is that symptom that has coming to a fulfillment? Give up? Let’s look at what scripture says about where we are and why.
THE LAODECIAN CHURCH ERA
If you be a church going believer, and there are many who are not, what was the atmosphere of the service you attended? Sadly, I would wager that most of you have not heard a good ‘ole hell fire and brimstone sermon in years, or for that matter, ever.
Romans 3:23, For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,
Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (sin is death, and death is hell fire or the Lake of Fire, remember those?).
The Gospel according to Jesus Christ has been watered down to the point of the average church service becoming a social club gathering, that is intent on providing the masses the comfort they desire. Sin is no longer a subject discussed or preached on. Your local pastor may be into the social gospel of a feel good “christianity”. We don’t want to feel bad about ourselves, and we sure don’t want to upset that unbeliever that sits in your pews every Sunday. NOOO…that would be impolite and we need the support (AKA money) to build that bigger and better sanctuary or expand our Sunday School classrooms, or the latest buzz project that has the member’s attention. If you upset them, they may take their money elsewhere. Sad, but true.
And what of that member who leaves your churches and goes out into the world to work and play? Do they live their faith, or do they assimilate into the masses of the unbelieving world? Do you see where I’m going with this? The fault of what our generation is experiencing right now, falls into the lap of the one place where morality is taught and implemented into each of our lives. That blame is at the threshold of the “church”. (if you can call them that). I talk of faith, and so does James in the opening scripture, but what of this faith?
CHURCH IS TO TEACH, BUT THE PERSON IS RESPONSIBLE
You’ve heard the old saying, “actions speak louder than words”? In speaking of being a Christian, who has taken on the spirit of redemption, who has mouthed the sinner’s prayer, and believes in his heart that Jesus died for his sins, does our faith stop there? James addresses this in this chapter and following chapters…let’s take a look at some of his admonitions. James chapter 2:
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (I believe James is speaking of faith misplaced in the wrong place or person)
If you neglect the nurturing of others through the application of your faith toward your brother, your fellow human being, then what has this faith accomplished? Faith is the beginning, not the end of our Christian walk. Out of sheer obedience, we are commanded to show fruit worthy of repentance. Let me elaborate, as I can just imagine the questions in your mind concerning this teaching. Let’s take an agricultural product, say a plum tree. When the time to harvest the plums from a producing plum tree arrives, what do we expect to find on the branches? Of course, plums are what we would expect. What if we found rottten apples, or thorns, or some other illegitimate product that is in direct conflict to what this tree was suppose to be? Well, we would have say that we have been cheated by the seller of these trees we planted, or the seed that grew. So it is with the born again Christian. We are to produce good fruit. Let’s not get the cart before the horse now, as many produce good works because, morally, they are good people, but they have not faith in Jesus Christ. Those of us who have faith in Jesus Christ are commanded to walk as He walked. If we truly belong to Jesus Christ, we will produce fruit just as sure as the sun comes up in the east and sets in the west or a plum tree produces that plum. We are commanded to produce fruit worthy of that calling of the Holy Spirit. Collectively, we are to be taught the right teachings according to the Bible, not some feel good gospel, and that’s where the church is failing today. Jesus warned of this in the last days. Revelation 3:
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
The churches of today, including this abomination called the “Emerging Church” relies on everything but the pure, unadulterated Word of God. They are into meditation, self awareness, motivational speaking, and anything and everything that is grounded in this world. They have lost touch with God and His requirements for being a true Christian built upon the Rock, which is Jesus Christ. The majority of the churches today Jesus said that they make Him sick. I went to a church some time back, because my grandsons were being baptized and I was appalled by their service. I saw steel guitars, smoke rising through smoke machines, video cameras focusing in on the musicians on the overhead screen, and music so loud that I couldn’t think. I thought I was at a Led-Zeppelin concert, not a church of the Living God. Is this an example of worship services in America’s churches today? Sadly, it is more prevalent than I would care to admit.
WHAT ABOUT OUR CHILDREN?
This gets down to the brass tacks of this message. Our children are our future. Are we teaching our children according to God’s Word? I would say in the majority, the church is failing miserably. See all the crimes of insanity of young people who have lost hope, or desire suicide to end their sufferings. Of course, they want to take as many people with them as possible, hence the awful shootings of Columbine, The Batman Rising shooter in Colorado, and the Newtown,Connecticutt school killer. Do you know what the #1 single killer of our young people today is? It used to be accidents, as in trauma from motor vehicle accidents, or accidents of dare-devils who think they are immortal, but that has been surpassed in recent years by suicide. Yes, suicide of a generation who have no hope, no anchor in faith in something bigger than themselves. Morality begins in the home, nutured by the church, and guaranteed by our laws of this land called the USA. But the last 50 years have seen morality take a deep six nose dive. We have raised a 2nd generation of unschooled, unbelieving, and godless people who now have kids of their own with no compass in their lives, and pray tell if they get it in the churches of today. The answer would be a hearty “NO”! Most stay away from church, as they have figured out that they meet nothing they need in their lives. Deuteronomy chapter 6:
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
And what is the answer of our elected leaders? Gun control is their answer. You bet your bottom dollar, nothing will change, until the heart of American changes and I don’t see that coming in this life. Our leaders are as clueless about the root cause as the rest of the unbelieving world. The answer was to teach our children the way they should go from the Word of God.
A clear command comes from God to give our children a Christian education. Are we prepared to say that not to do so is sin? After all, God orders it. How are we doing it? What have we provided for our children’s Christian education? How much time are we spending doing it? If we have children, we can be sure these questions will be asked.
Obviously, the church is not doing it’s job. The parents are not doing their job, as they were not taught either. So the problem grows, and grows until we have a lawless society bent on destruction of other human beings because of their own pain and inability to cope.
YOUR FAITH ON TRIAL
Let’s take that evidence of faith and put it into a courtroom setting. The judge has brought you before the high court and the prosecutor reads the charges. If we are asked about our faith, the judge will ask to show us our faith by our actions or evidence for our defense. True enough that works cannot save anyone and we could get into the argument of works based salvation as the Pharisees of Jesus Christ day thought salvation is achieved by. They were wrong, as faith is all that is required, but what of the above verses? Is there anything required or let’s say, expected for the truly converted believer to show this High Court if their faith was in God, or was it misplaced in something else? Maybe that faith was in their church, their denomination, or their parrish priest or pastor. We see people everyday that we see in our churches, and you know, you can’t tell them apart from the sinner down at your local bar. Listen to their speech. James mentions this as well in chapter 3:
3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter  a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course  of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
Understanding we live in a sinful world and evil talk and crude language is all around us. Do we take on the actions of the world? If we are guilty of this sin, what does it say to the unbeliever? Are they impressed with your aura of righteousness? Do you honor God in spirit and in truth? Do you esteem your neighbor above yourself? Are you kind, considerate, careful of your language, and project an aura of a bought and paid for saint for God’s Kingdom? If no, then are they impressed? I think you know that answer to that one. They are not and they see no need for your luke warm religion as it doesn’t speak to them of their lost condition. Many on judgment day will think they are alright. They went to church, they paid their tithes, and they even believed on the person “Jesus Christ”. Remember the portion of the opening verse. “thou doest well. Even the demons believe and tremble” But they are not saints. Let’s examine what Jesus said about these pseudo-christians.
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
If you are familiar with the parable, Jesus separates the true Christians apart from the Pseudo-christians. Both thought they were doing God’s will. The goats on His left, they did what they thought right in their own eyes. Pseudo-christians, or the ones in name only, missed one vital point, they were playing the game, but didn’t have the power within their lives. They relied either on themselves being a good person, or their church, or their pastor/priest, or something else in a religious nature, but missed taking on the likeness of Jesus Christ and into their heart, and their very being. They only had the label, not the power of God. The seed planted by Jesus Christ had been over run with thorns and weeds and they were not really a new creature in Jesus Christ, but play acting. They spoke it, they read it (sometimes), they counted on their priest to get them to heaven, or they just thought being religious was enough. You know what, it was not. As in the court case noted above, the Judge is God the Father, the prosecutor is Satan the devil, and the defense counsel is Jesus Christ. If you are found to be one of the goats who were just going through the motions and had not really taken Jesus Christ into your heart, then Jesus as the defense counselor will have no choice but to say:
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels .
You will have no defense, and Jesus Christ cannot defend you, as you have not taken on His likeness. God the Father will see you in all your sinful nature without being clothed in the righteousness of His Son, the only pardon for your awful condition. The sentence will be passed and you will be condemned for all eternity to separation from God and destruction in the Lake of Fire…Some call it HELL.
TIME RUNNING OUT
Understand one thing my reader, the nation of the United States is sadly going down in flames. How long it will take, I haven’t a clue, as the time table is in God’s hands, but going down she is. The evil nature of men will grow worse and worse. Morality and the love of anyone but yourself will vanish, if it hasn’t already done so. Men will tear each other apart just to get what they think they want or need. If a crisis develops, men will take guns and kill anyone and everyone in their way. This government we have elected (you did, I didn’t) will come down with both feet and declare martial law. The United States of Socialist America will be upon you and despair will be the order of the day.
There is coming a day, and I pray it is soon, where the righteous clothed with the blood of Jesus Christ will make a sudden exit from this earth. Men will be astounded. Men will be confused and looking for a reason for the calamity that has come upon this earth. Only the faithful will be removed. When I say faithful, I mean those who have taken on the likeness of Jesus Christ in all our imperfect attempt at following in His footsteps. Jesus knows each of our hearts and where our treasure lies. Does yours lie in this world, or does it lie in the next life to come? Matthew 6,
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The beginning of this message was asking, “Show us your faith”. Where does your faith lie? Are you acting on that faith? Are you putting Jesus Christ first in your life? Paul said in Galatians chapter 3:
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
What does it mean to put on Jesus Christ? Romans 13,
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly,  as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
We are commanded as believers, true believers to put on Jesus Christ. Emulate what he said, what He taught, and what He lived everyday of His short life and ministry on earth. To do so, is to “Show us your faith.” Nothing else is but playing around and hoping we are not a goat…Don’t take that chance. Your final eternal home depends on it…
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying God’s salvation through faith comes into your life. If you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, email me firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit me online at www.churchofgod-usa.org. God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus Feet.