2020 Vision: How then shall we live in 2012?

Filed on 13 February 2012 in Food For Thought category. Print This Page

2020 Vision: How then shall we live in 2012?

Where might we be in the year 2020 and how then shall we live now? (Edited sermon delivered Morley Baptist Church WA 5 February 2012.)

Eph 5:15,16  Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Feeling very unworthy I want to talk today about personal holiness.

But first I want to frighten you into realising how necessary this is.

In the busyness of our ordinary everyday living we seem not to have time for personal holiness and we seem to not realise or we prefer to ignore the serious moral decline in our country. I understand both – particularly the feeling of uselessness that comes with our inability to change things.

So why am I so serious? What is so frightening? Let me introduce by crystallising the three major internal threats to our future and then we will look at where we might be in the year 2020.

What are the threats?

Humanity’s greatest crisis is the rebellion against what it means to be created in the Image of God, a rejection of who God is and what it means to be human.

Society’s greatest risk is the threat to marriage and family, the move to re-define male and female and thus ultimately destroy the fabric of society.

And the third great risk is to freedom of belief, liberty of conscience, and freedom of speech.

(all encapsulated in the 3 great declarations http://www.manhattandeclaration.org/ http://www.westminster2010.org.uk/declaration/ www.canberradeclaration.org.au)

So where are we going? Where might we be in the year 2020?

  • “de-selection” of embryos, mature foetuses and late term unborn babies for reasons of eugenic selection of all disease or defect – Down Syndrome will be no longer (watch for the headlines: “Medical breakthrough! Cures on the way…”)
  • imperfect newborns are “de-selected” before self-awareness up to about 4-6 weeks of age. (The logic is that if infanticide was legal then we could allow the baby to be born and be properly examined before making the decision to terminate it. So there are two reasons for supporting the legalization of infanticide – we can then be sure of the diagnosis and the baby gets the benefit of anaesthetic as we “de-select” it.  And then we can also use good organs for transplant purposes. Perfectly logical. Yeah, right…)
  • mixing of animal genes with human genes for research or reproduction
  • organs are taken from cloned foetuses and mature clones bred for the purpose
  • organs are taken from patients with catastrophic cognitive impairments but not actually dead
  • pro-life pregnancy counselors are no longer available due to strict licensing
  • euthanasia and physician assisted suicide (PAS) is readily available for non-dying people, even for existential distress in teenagers, and extended to the involuntary
  • funding is limited for palliative care treatment in favour of euthanasia and PAS
  • upon reaching a certain age assessments are made of usefulness to society – health funding is limited except for euthanasia
  • doctors are un-insurable by medical defence organizations unless they agree beforehand to participate in euthanasia and PAS
  • doctors are de-registered and unable to practice if they refuse to perform such procedures that become legal
  • specialties of paediatrics, O&G, anaesthesia, geriatrics, and oncology can be accessed only by doctors who compromise on abortion and euthanasia
  • schools that refuse to implement the full detail of the National Curriculum are progressively de-funded, then de-licensed and declared illegal
  • foster parents refusing to allow their children to attend classes teaching homosexuality as a valid option have the children taken away
  • prospective foster parents and adoptive parents are deemed unsuitable if they believe that marriage is for male and female
  • natural parents who instruct their children in Christian values are fined on the grounds they are inciting hate crimes and vilification and if they refuse to comply with court orders have their children taken from them
  • all home schooling is illegal so Christian parents do not “infect” their children with Christian values
  • Christian camp grounds are forced to accept bookings from homosexual groups or penalised and de-licensed
  • all those who have license to marry are forced to do homosexual marriages or be de-licensed
  • students attending Theological colleges – “Approved Training Institutions” – that don’t accept the new standards are not eligible for financial subsidy
  • teaching or preaching that marriage is male and female results in fines or, for repeat offenders, jail

There will be tolerance of all things except Christian belief. There will be total silencing of any Christian expression or opinion which is all regarded as intolerance, hate speech and bigotry, as we have seen with Margaret Court. In certain instances we will be forced to choose between our careers and our convictions. We will not even be able to voice our protest that we protest and do not have a voice. Even prayer for others or our nation – if it is seen – will be regarded as intolerance.We will then have no recourse other than civil disobedience.

You find this hard to believe? It can all be backed up with what is happening already here and where things have got to overseas. Why and where the attacks are coming from is for another time.

(Just this week in England there is a move to shut down pro-life preg counselling and just yesterday a retired general in US was refused permission to speak on the value of prayer for leaders at a prayer breakfast because of his Christian beliefs.)

Can we turn this around? Yes, I believe we can and I’ll talk about that in weeks to come.

Today, in the light of these things, I want to talk about our attitude to God and personal holiness.

We have just celebrated communion. Yes, we need to constantly remind ourselves who God is, what He has done through Jesus Christ, and we need to remind ourselves and each other.

Be Awestruck Every Day…
Jesus, who calls us “brothers”, is our High Priest,
sitting in power and majesty at the right hand of the
throne of God, making intercession for us!!
Every day, remember.
Be awestruck.  Be grateful.  Be humble.
And persevere in the
knowledge of this amazing fact

And then, be desperate. Be desperate in searching to know God more and more and to integrate that attitude into your daily lives. Now I am well aware that for some of you my “be desperate” message is the last thing you want to hear, that your passion is already to love God and that you are plagued with feelings of inadequacy and failure. And the message that I bring out in my counselling for you is

do not
have to

And that also is true.

In repentance and rest is your salvation;
In quietness and confidence is your strength.

I guess if we wrap that up together then it is to have a deep underlying passion to put God first. But some of us at least need to hear the “be desperate” message. We’ll call it “be passionate”

How do we do this?

Be awestruck every day
Be passionate
Time with the Father

How did Jesus do it? Time with His Father. And we must do the same. How do we do it? I have no pat answer for that for a busy family with getting kids off to school – if you need to sleep in on Saturday morning then maybe up an hour earlier on Sunday and spend an hour with God. You don’t know how to spend it? Read OT and NT then go through your church directory. I hope you pray with your kids every night and pray for them again in that special time. But each day there should be a time of committal. For me it’s much easier – I start work later cos I’m the boss and I get up earlier so it’s rare that I miss that time and when I do miss it I also miss it. What will you do this week? (Pause.)

You get tired? Yes, it can be an effort. The disciples fell asleep in the garden when Jesus was in torment. And so our prayer can never be a reflection of our own strength. We must constantly be dependent on God – and that is where God wants us to be.

This coming Sunday a day of prayer has been called 10am-4pm to pray for our country. I hope you may be able to squeeze in a ½ hr for our nation. And, of course, part of the prayer focus is for people to know Jesus and that brings us to the importance of the Great Commission to witness and preach at every opportunity.

Eph 5:15,16  Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Thankyou for the work you do in teaching the children. That is so important a task to safeguard our future. And I know you shroud that work in prayer so I’m conscious that there is a lot of unseen prayer that undergirds our ministries. But sometimes there’s more

In the evening services we have been hearing about heaven – yes, the final of the three is tonight – and so we have been reminded of such verses as Col 3:1,2 (NIV) Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Be awestruck every day
Be passionate
Time with the Father – prayer and listening
Set your minds on things above

And if we are setting our hearts and minds on things above that will give impetus to our evangelism and teaching of the young.

We also must therefore be prepared, ready for Jesus to return today or tomorrow, ready to give an answer to those who ask and be conscious of our responsibility to “preach the Word in season and out of season”.

We need to be continually listening to what God has to say to us. I am reminded once again of the Times Square Church being forewarned of Sept 11th.

“A month before, our leadership was impressed by the Holy Spirit to cancel all special speakers and scheduled meetings.  We cancelled our missions convention and city-wide youth rallies.  We shut things down and called the congregation to prayer. We have experienced an unusual visitation of the Holy Spirit as a result.  On one occasion, we sat in total silence for over one hour.  People speak in hushed tones.  There was soft weeping, with people coming forward and kneeling, reaching out to the Lord.  These are the manifestations of a Holy Ghost visitation: a holy, awesome silence, and weeping and fervent prayer in every service.  The Holy Spirit revealed to us that the divine silence in our meetings was a preparation for the trying times ahead.”

Are we ready for that?  Now of course there are sovereignty of God issues here.  God moves in His people in His time and He knew the target was New York.  But it also means that the church was ready.

Be awestruck every day
Be passionate
Time with the Father – prayer and listening
Set your minds on things above
Are we ready? Are we prepared?

Are we ready? What else apart from having our focus on God, spending time with God, and setting our hearts and minds on heaven do we need to do?

Well, maybe nothing. Because if we really have that right I reckon everything else will fall into place.

However, there’s one thing more. I remembered last night what it was that stimulated me to ask a few months ago if I could preach, and it was the reports of increasing alcohol abuse in teenagers deliberately setting out to get drunk and the concern that this is causing. OK, I don’t need to remind anyone about the dangers of binge drinking but we all play a role in this in education and by example.

Our friend Paul says that all things are free, but not all things are beneficial and we should take care of our weaker brother. Our very practical mate Peter exhorts us to self-control – you’d expect that wouldn’t you?

  • prepare your minds for action, be self-controlled 1 Peter 1:13
  • be clear-minded and self-controlled  why? so that you can pray 1 Peter 4:7
  • be self-controlled and alert  why? so you can resist the devil 1 Peter 5:8

Why?  Why self-Control? Peter is very practical:

  • so you can pray
  • so you can resist the devil
  • so you are prepared for action
  • so you can be holy and
  • so you can be clear-minded in your thinking

Be awestruck every day
Be passionate
Time with the Father – prayer and listening
Set your minds on things above
Are we ready? Are we prepared?
Be clear-minded and self-controlled

Because of the problem that alcohol causes in society, keeping in mind the weaker-brother principle, and acknowledging that even a small amount of alcohol can interfere with clear mindedness and being able to resist the devil, there is a good case to be made for alcohol-free Christian events and even personal abstinence.

I know there will be disagreement on this – even within this fellowship.

However, these are critical times. This is not a time for complacency, self-justification or argument. In the light of what lies ahead – in the light of 2020 – the bar has been raised and we each need to re-examine these things.

Let us not fail to encourage each other. Let’s do that today during morning tea and lunch.

Lachlan Dunjey, February 2012.

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3 Responses to “2020 Vision: How then shall we live in 2012?”

  1. Ian Kilminster 14 February 2012 at 8:54 am Permalink

    I think we need to engage in the debate on various media & with our colleagues & fellow believers- as led by the Spirit of Jesus
    Binding the appropriate strongholds in Jesus all-powerful Name, also as led by the Spirit & in the unity of the brethren, can prize open closed minds to the glorious Gospel of Jesus.
    Man is not as rational as he supposes!
    Blessing in Jesus

  2. Stella 14 February 2012 at 1:44 pm Permalink

    Good stuff and well put. Now for the action. Thanks, Lachlan.

  3. Graham Lawn 14 February 2012 at 9:22 pm Permalink

    Your predictions about how 2020 could be for Christians should inspire us to not tire in the battle for retaining marriage as it is. One reason for the push for same-sex marriage is to silence those who oppose it and restrict freedom of speech.
    This is the greatest challenge facing today’s church which surely will drive us to depend more on God.