A. C. Brown
*Page updated: Please see the note added at the foot of the page.
I. Introduction – Judges 2:10, 17
“…And there arose another generation after them, which knew not Jehovah, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel…they turned quickly out of the way that their fathers had walked in.”
II. Lessons from Samson (Judges 15:11-12), Ezra 3:11-12, and Isaiah 63:18
“Thy holy people have possessed [it] but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. We have become like those over whom never barest rule, those not called by thy name.”
III. Amending, or Considering our Ways – “Becoming” – Jeremiah 7:1-5, Lamentations 1:6-7, 4:1, 3, 12
“Becoming” = the process of being conformed to the world
*Also, see note at foot of the page.
IV. Lessons from Ephraim – Mixed with the People – Hosea 7:8-11
“Ephraim, he mixeth himself with the peoples…”
“…Ephraim is a cake not turned” = half-baked
There’s something worse than declension — not knowing it! Worse than that is to not want to know it!
V. “Former Glory” (Haggai 2:3) – Becoming Insipid (Matthew 5:13) – “Written for Our Admonition” (1 Corinthians 10)
“Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? and how do ye see it now?”
“Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have become insipid, wherewith shall it be salted?…”
“For I would not have you ignorant, brethren…Now all these things happened to them [as] types, and have been written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come.”
VI. The Church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-18)
“I counsel thee to buy of me gold purified by fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white garments, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness may not be made manifest; and eye-salve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see.”
Note on becoming:
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…” (Jeremiah 6:16).
In light of the message contained in this post, it might be helpful to mention that the attempt for modernization, or becoming more contemporary, is as much an issue of concern today as it was when this message was given to those professing to be gathered together to the Lord’s name at that time.
An example of this occurred recently on multiple occasions at a family camp where believers meet yearly. The young gathered there asked the following question during a Q & A session:
“We can all agree that our culture has changed dramatically over the past 150 years. It bothers many of those gathered that the changes in our language seemingly cannot be taken into consideration with regards the translation [of the Bible], as well as our hymnbook. We don’t want to be rebellious, but we just want to worship the Lord according to the language we speak. Is there any way to make this happen?” (2017)
The question asked could very well be a probe into and evidence for what is in the hearts of at least some, young and old, who profess to be gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the surface, it would only seem like an aversion to obsolete pronouns such as thee and thou, but in most cases, it goes further than this. Note the language there. “It bothers many!” “Is there any way to make this happen?” The question had also been asked the previous year (2016), when it was addressed in much detail. There is the ever-present temptation of becoming conformed to the world’s church, and it especially affects the younger generation. The push for modernization often reflects a deep desire to not stand out or to not be different, which leads ultimately to abandoning our set apart position as strangers and pilgrims in the world. It can also be the result of a desire to attract outsiders through appeasement by worldly means. It should rather be the truth testified to by the gathered saints, which attracts the hearts of those on the outside, and not a modern appeal.
If it were an issue of language, let one who is exercised thus, so pray and speak. However, the very Bible and hymnbooks are brought into question, not because of doctrinal issues or accuracy, but because of their seemingly antiquated character. It is a sad testimony if there is no reverence for the intrinsic value that each possesses. If there is a sound resource and product of our own day, then that is very helpful; however, the lukewarm moral character and reputation of this Laodicean period are such that the believer is scarcely able to find trustworthy material in our day. The believer who has a real love for the truth, then, finds a great treasury in the Philadelphian deposit which was left to the Church and came to us through a sure work of the Holy Spirit in servants of God during the 19th century. Who can say that they have themselves gotten to the bottom and exhausted that treasury of sound material, or found a modern resource that surpasses it? Having discernment on this issue is important in our day when deception and lukewarmness are so rampant.
The way of the world is to modernize and update at the cost of truth; however, the Lord begs us as His children to revere those things which adhere to the “old paths, where is the good way” (Jeremiah 6:16). Nehemiah also repaired and preserved “the old gate” (Nehemiah 3:6). This is a word for the conscience.
May we ever resist the process of becoming, which is a gradual but sure course away from truth and godliness. The enemy is subtle and can insert a wedge to pry us away from our separated position in the world. The wedge may have a small end to insert easily, but it grows greater as it increases from one end to the other. May this audio message be a solemn warning to each one of us.