If God can change you, then God can use you to change some part of this world.
That our fallen world needs changing is beyond question. When our newspapers and films glamourise immorality, undermine traditional family values and encourage selfishness, greed and lust; when criminals escape justice by legal technicalities; when half of the world suffers under totalitarian dictatorships and persecution; when pornography, perversion, abortions, terrorism and the occult are increasing - then we know that this world needs to be changed.
But most Christians have abandoned their moral responsibility to bring the light of the Gospel into heathen darkness. Many Christians are allowing their own children to be brought up by godless humanism in state schools and entertained by occultism and pagan magic through Hollywood films and television.
There are many anti-Christian forces seeking to undermine and destroy the Christian Faith, including: persecution by Muslim and communist governments; secular humanist domination of educational institutions, the entertainment industry and news media; and false gospels and unBiblical heresies within many theological seminaries and all too many churches.
We've also allowed ourselves to become misinformed, brainwashed and intimidated into feeling guilty for the great achievements of Christian missionaries and reformers over the past centuries. Christians who are ignorant of history have ended up apologising for those faithful Christians who converted cannibals, ended inter-tribal genocide, abolished child sacrifices, defeated witchcraft and won whole nations to Christ.
Many Christians have surrendered to the forces of darkness, entered into negotiations and co-operation with idolaters, demythologized the Bible, removed 'offensive' Bible passages from our preaching and lowered standards to allow the unconverted easy access to the church.
In the past the church went out to conquer the world for Christ. Today, in too many churches, Christ is being sold for 30 pieces of silver, or less. Instead of the church changing the world, the world is changing the church.
For decades now many Christians in the West have been turning away from the God-orientated, Bible-based, Christ-centered foundation of the Reformation. Instead, many Christians have been turning to the man-centered humanism of the Renaissance, which has always inevitably led to the extremes of permissiveness or totalitarianism, as seen in the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution.
The results of this apostasy are plain to see in the abortion holocaust, the pornography industry and the political protection of perversions in the West; and the massacres and concentration camps of the East.
The results of abandoning God's eternal standards as revealed in the Bible are: families that fail to nurture, governments that fail to punish the guilty, governments that fail to provide security for the law-abiding, schools that fail to educate and churches that fail to be houses of prayer for all nations, making disciples, teaching obedience.
We're living in an age of guilt manipulation where all too many Christians are being prepared for slavery by the abuse of Scripture and by the manipulation of our emotions. Some of the key phrases in this campaign are: love, unity, equality, tolerance and reconciliation. Nice words. Noble sentiments. However, the slogan of the French Revolution was: "Liberty! Equality! Brotherhood!" (Actually the full, original slogan of the French Revolution was: "Liberty! Equality! Brotherhood! Or Death!"). Yet, despite the apparent good intentions of their slogan, 40 000 heads rolled as the guillotine went into overtime, 300 000 were executed by other means, and Europe was plunged into 25 years of war - with millions killed.
In the same way, we must be aware of the politics of guilt and pity, which seek to manipulate our emotions and make us the willing tools of evil men who know how to disguise their intentions. By observation, we can note that some of the cliches used in this moral revolution have hidden meanings. For example, love - can mean the passive acceptance of evil; by unity is usually meant conformity; equality you can find in the concentration camps in Red China; by tolerance is normally meant tolerance of evil; and by reconciliation is normally meant surrender. (Why should we disagree, argue or fight. Be reasonable. Give in to my way and we'll be reconciled).
What is the solution? What can we do? Firstly, we need to study the Scriptures to learn the objective truth. The Word of God must be the judge and the solid foundation of all our actions. This is where the Reformation started. Until we know the Word of God, we can be easily misled.
Secondly, we must warn our people about the dangers of humanism, immorality, false religions like Islam and Marxist revision of history. We must wake up to what is happening around us and expose the tactics of anti-Christian forces.
Thirdly, we must realise that truth is not determined by majority opinion, but by the Word of God. We must not confuse change with advance. Neither must we allow ourselves to become guilt manipulated. Refuse to apologise for the alleged sins of Christians of another age and place.
Fourthly, we need to encourage our people and direct them to positive Christian action. 'Without a vision, a people perish.' We need to instill courage, hope for the future and build up our faith in God's Word. People overcome by fear and guilt are unable to resist evil. We must turn to God and find forgiveness, freedom and strength through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Elijah dared to stand alone against the 450 false prophets of Baal and the 400 false prophets of Asherah. Elijah challenged their heresy and idolatry. Elijah's faith in God made him strong and bold enough to oppose the majority who were wrong. And Elijah changed history that day on Mount Carmel by exposing falsehood and turning the people of Israel back to God (1 Kings 18).
Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Tyndale and Knox changed the course of human history by daring to study the Bible and by boldly speaking out against the unBiblical teachings and corrupt abuses of the medieval Roman Catholic church.
Missionaries like William Carey changed history by taking the Gospel to India, translating the Bible into numerous local languages, and by ending the Hindu practices of infanticide, child prostitution and the burning alive of widows on the funeral pyres of their deceased husbands.
William Wilberforce launched a life-long campaign to end the slave trade and set the captives free.
Eastern and tribal thought have a cyclical view of history. Repetition and 'the inevitability of history' is so engrained in Animist and Eastern thought that they see themselves as suffering history rather than affecting or making history. Easterners see themselves as caught up in the process of history and at the mercy of the forces of nature, the spirits or the ancestors (all external forces).
This is in contrast to the Christian worldview, which sees a linear development of history which starts at creation, goes through the flood, the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai, the incarnation of Christ, His crucifixion and resurrection, His Ascension, the Day of Pentecost and will culminate in the return of Christ and the Day of Judgement. Hence Christians say: "Only one life, it will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."
Every day is unique, every opportunity must be used. Time is limited in the Christian worldview. The Christian sees himself as significant because he is an individual created by God with a purpose. This emphasis on the individual is unique to Christianity among the major world religions. We must each individually stand before God on the Day of Judgement and give an account of our faith and conduct. Each of us must repent for our own sins and exercise personal faith in Christ for forgiveness for our sins and freedom from the power of sin.
In Christian thought, nature is subject to us, able to be developed and used for God's glory. We are able to change the course of history, because our Sovereign God is Almighty, His Word is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe, and He answers prayer.
The Bible teaches us to have a holy dissatisfaction with second best, a bold faith to trust God for great things, to step out and to change what is wrong and to establish what is right in God's eyes. We must not underestimate the power of praying according to God's Word and stepping out in faith and obedience to His commands. It is this faith that enabled Christians to end child sacrifices, cannibalism, polygamy, slavery, widow burning and other atrocities of heathen religions.
But remember, you cannot have victory without a battle. Sacrifice and risk are essential. We can never win if we keep avoiding problems; we must solve problems by facing them and dealing with them. The future belongs to the brave and the bold.
Are you such a Christian who can claim: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
Christianity calls us to action. Eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism, on the other hand, produce stagnant, backward, non-productive societies obsessed with selfish meditation and fatalism. However, as the West accepts more and more of these Eastern religions and pagan presuppositions of false religions, much of the West is decaying on the inside through secularisation, permissiveness and materialism. By neglecting God's Word, by forgetting those Christian principles which made Western nations the most prosperous and free nations in the world, they are dying on the inside. There is a practical unbelief having the form of Christianity but rejecting its real power. Many times one can hardly tell the difference between the standards of the Christian and the heathen. All too many are obsessed with 'me, myself and I' this exestentialism (self-centered experience orientation) and humanism. All this has bred selfishness, pride and rebellion against God.
One of the results of this 'me generation' obsessed with self-gratification is that the cohesive unity of our communities has vanished. In this age of mobility and prosperity, loyalty is being rejected. Loyalty to family, wife, church, denomination, work and country is evaporating. This is an age of rebellion and self-assertion - doing your own thing. Long-term commitments seem to be no longer acceptable to most of this self-seeking generation.
It is the responsibility of God's people in the Church to offer our confused and searching young people an exciting challenge, a worthwhile cause, a demanding mission and opportunities for action. But we must again teach our people, by word and example, of the need for long-term commitment and uncompromising standards of loyalty to God and country, to church and mission, to duty and honour, to family and friends. Personal, wholehearted commitment to Christ and His cause is at the heart of the Gospel.
We have to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength. Are you committed to Christ? Are you wholehearted committed to His standards of duty, honour and loyalty - no matter what the cost?
By faith and obedience we can turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones, crisis situations into opportunities for ministry, battles into victory. We are 'more than conquerors' (Romans 8:37) and 'overcomers' (1 John 5:4) through Christ.
Dr. Peter Hammond is the author of Putting Feet to Your Faith and The Greatest Century of Missions