Andy Hollifield 4-30-18
Proverbs 24:21 My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change.
Hosea 4:7-8 As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. (8) They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on iniquity.”
Malachi 3:6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
I have heard the statement made that you have to “change with the times.” Actually, that is not according to scripture. Jeremiah 6:16 says, “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. But they said, we will not walk therein.” I saw one of my former pastors, Rusty Rector, recently and we were talking about how much things have changed since we were in church together. My son Tyler was just a young baby, still in a car seat, when we started going to his church. I remember sitting Tyler on my knee during preaching and watching his little head turn like it was on a swivel as Rusty would preach from one side of the church to the other. Every week when I wasn’t preaching or visiting somewhere, that was our normal spot. That was also Tyler’s normal spot, right there on my knee watching intently every move his pastor made. Now, the little baby that I once held on my knee during preaching is 21 years old. But I am glad to report that even though he has grown up and obviously gotten older, some things haven’t changed. Tyler’s three favorite things in the world are gospel music, Holy Ghost preaching, and game shows. The order of which is his favorite may change from day-to-day, depending on his mood, but those three are always the same. I have made a lot of mistakes as a dad but there is one thing we did as parents that I believe God has honored. When Tyler was a baby, we would let anyone hold him that wanted to, unless of course they were sick. That was of course before and after church and in between Sunday School and preaching. During preaching, he was always with us. We did that not to be mean, but so he would get in the habit of that being his normal place. It also prevented a lot of crying and wanting to go to someone else during church. Tyler was a good baby most of the time and he is still one of those people who you may not really know if he is listening or not. At least until he gets home and calls his grandma and nana and tells them book, chapter, and verse that the preacher preached. I believe that the reason his love for preaching developed like it has and hasn’t changed is because he was made to sit and listen as a baby. Not saying that in a boastful way but in a thankful way. Every thing don’t have to change.
As Rusty and I talked about how things had changed in churches and with preachers, there was something I noticed. He has still got that fire and desire for the way things used to be. I am not talking about living in the past but desiring to see God move like he did in the past. It seems though, that we have come to the time that Hosea spoke about in 4:6 and 7. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” He went on to say that God’s people had forgotten his law. Then he told exactly where we are living today. Verse 7, “As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. We have seen our glory disappear and turn to shame. The more God has blessed, the more we have set our hearts on iniquity. I am talking about as individuals, churches, and as a nation. We have all been blessed far beyond what we could have ever hoped for. As we have turned away and forgotten God, so has our glory diminished. The once proud, godly nation, that once feared God and had the fear and respect of the whole world, is now a laughing-stock because we have turned to the pleasures of the world. Isaiah said in 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” That is definitely where things have gotten to and the extent to which we have changed.
Our churches have become, as I heard one preacher put it; social clubs. We have got to the point where there is no reverence for God’s house anymore. We have changed so much that rather than make our children sit and listen during preaching, we entertain them with their toys to keep them quiet. Momma had a different way of doing it. She made us behave in church the same way she made us behave at home; with a switch when necessary. And if that hadn’t of worked, her or dad would have taken us out and made us wish we had of behaved. We respected them and everyone else regardless of where we were. Now, not only will we not spank a youngin’ in church, we might as well put a toy box in the vestibule so kids could pick out their toy on the way in. No, we have changed to the point that a child can slap it’s momma in the face and mom will just laugh it off. We also used to believe the scripture Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:22 “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.” That was what we believed before we started carrying soft drinks and coffee into the sanctuary. We might ought to put a concession stand near the toy box in the vestibule and we could sell all the snacks and drinks to raise money for more snacks and drinks. Of course I am being sarcastic, God help us that we have changed that much!
That brings us up to Malachi 3:6 “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” The good, encouraging part of all of this is that although we have obviously changed; God has not. Many that were once on fire for the Lord have apparently found a place to quit because they no longer come to God’s house. I am thankful that Jesus never found a place to give up on us and quit. The bible warns us about all the change in 2 Timothy 3:1-2 saying, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves…” The next few verses describe in detail the world we live in. Verse 5 says, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” And that brings us to the scripture in Proverbs that said to “meddle not with them that are given to change.” Jesus said in Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Times may be changing but I am glad we still have the old paths that we are to walk in. I am thankful that it is time to look up, and lift up our heads, because our redemption is drawing nigh. Things began to change and come to pass years ago. We don’t have much longer to have to put up with the abuse and mockery of this world. There is another thing that will change that will be good: 1 Corinthians 15:51 “….but we shall all be changed.” Coming soon! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 4-30-18