Published March 22, 2016

Paul's Epistle
"Where Did They Go?

One aspect of the Holy Week account that has always intrigued me is the difference between two crowds of people who were significant parts of the story.

On Palm Sunday, a "great multitude" of people "took branches of palm trees and went out to meet [Jesus], crying, 'Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel" (John 12:13). Excitement was in the air! This crowd was acknowledging Jesus as their Messiah!

But, as you'll recall, by Friday, a very different crowd — right there in that very same city, Jerusalem — was shouting, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"

Where did that Sunday crowd go? What happened to them?

Apparently, faced with overwhelming social, governmental and even religious pressure, they just sort of faded away into the background. They didn't stand up for what they professed to believe. They no longer made any difference. They chose, simply, to compromise.

This wasn't the first time Jesus lost followers. In John 6, Jesus was teaching at the synagogue in Capernaum. This is where He told His followers He was the "bread of life" which came down from heaven. He told them, "He who eats of this bread will live forever."

Many of His followers just couldn't accept all of this. Scripture tells us, "...many of his disciples went back and walked with Him no more."

"Went back?" Where did they go? They went back to the world. They went back to their friends. They went back to the old way of doing things. They went back to doing things the way they wanted to do them — not the way Christ was telling them to do things.

As we look around today, we see a society that is sliding ever more rapidly away from the truth of God's word. We see a society that is not simply less tolerant of Christianity than we've ever seen before, but is openly hostile to it.

You can probably remember a time when society was at least respectful of Christianity. But today, not so much. Christians used to stand up for such rights. Christians used to assume that such rights would always be honored. They were wrong.

What increasingly bothers me — and probably you — is that so many people who actually profess Christianity are simply turning their backs on the fundamentals of the faith. It's as if they are reinventing what it means to be a Christian. Multiple surveys of Christians in recent years show an alarming lack of awareness of fundamental doctrine. They are "going back" to where they were before.

Liberal theologians are busy discarding what they consider outdated texts in the Bible — simply because they personally disagree with what the Bible says.

And, what is most worrisome to me, is that far too many churches are simply "going along to get along." It is especially sad to see churches affirm positively what God has specifically condemned as an "abomination." I can't believe that the clergy in these churches actually know what it means to be a Christian. Or what it means to take God at His word! You can just imagine how this must grieve the Holy Spirit. God-breathed morals are "out," situational ethics are "in." Don't they realize that affirming sin ... is itself sin?

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, says one of his biggest concerns is the watering-down of Scripture to accommodate our culture's lies: "We're consistently seeing more and more churches compromising on God's Word in order to preach what is perceived by our culture as a loving and tolerant message. But it's really a message that's loving and tolerant of sin but contrary to the Word of God, which should be our standard for morality."

Rather than being the "Bride of Christ," so many churches are "married to the world." They'd rather go along with whatever the world wants. "Tolerance," you know.  In Revelation, Christ, through John, has messages for seven churches. Only two were deemed faithful. The other five were in danger of losing their witness because of worldly compromise. Many say the church at Laodicea, described as "lukewarm," paints an alarmingly accurate picture of the church at large today.

One wonders... Where are those precious Saints of God who once would have been very vocal in opposition to obvious errors in the church? They stood for God's word without equivocation. They championed what was right and rejected what was wrong. And they did it all lovingly.

Where have such people gone? Do they feel overwhelmed by society or, worse, by their liberal apostate church leaders? I hope you're not one who's gone silent – and that you still resolutely take a stand for God's word.

When His disciples started leaving Him because of His teachings, Christ turned to the twelve and said, "Do you also want to go away?" Peter had the right answer: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 6:68).

That, regardless of where everyone else is heading, is always by far the best place to go. Don't let your life be such that Christ would turn to you and say, "Do you also want to go away?"

- Paul

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