According to Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, there will be faithful saints living on the earth at the time of Christ’s return (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18). These words were delivered to these brethren to comfort one another about death during a time of persecution and affliction.
Those Christians could have easily given up their faith. When the only prevailing side seems to be the “wrong side”, the inspiration to be faithful fades and people lose their grip on hope. Sometimes people wonder whether the church will die. Will the church drown itself over controversy and strife without the sea of turmoil from the world? God said through Paul, it will not happen! Three reasons can be given why the church will remain, and why devoted Christians will grow in the upcoming New Year.
Society has become totally materialistic. Some would raise their hand immediately and say, “Worldliness is what’s killing the church.” This pampered, pleasure-filled, and pompous generation is learning the real satisfaction in life is not in things you handle or possess. People are learning the lesson of the true proverb, “Money cannot buy happiness.” Therefore, those disciples who put more faith in a Creator and Redeemer, who enjoy life without all the glamour and glitter, are offering the world an alternative whose pleasures and wealth have failed them. Paul said all godly brethren should “Do all things without murmurings and questionings; that ye may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye are seen as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14,15).
Another reason is many denominations are neglecting their religious platform and are involved in social reform programs. This is a direct result of the social gospel. They have rejected the gospel of Christ as the inspired and authoritative guide from God. Coupled with this is the promotion and acceptance of unity among other religious bodies, which has resulted in the compromise of “traditional standards”. This offers the Christian and the church a great opportunity. We can offer those who are spiritually-minded something they cannot find in their denomination - Truth and Righteousness! Which means an acceptance and belief in the gospel as the power to save (Romans 1:16). It entails a plea for men to speak as the Bible speaks (1 Peter 4:11). It will fill all who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). No social programs have ever made man complete (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
Liberalism in the church gives us great opportunities. These people “hold a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5). Liberalism is the substitute of human wisdom for God’s. Its ends justify the means. It leaves faith to be developed from the mind of the individual, not the mind of God. The opportunity today is offering the strength and power of God (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). We need to hold up the word, because it will uphold the church of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15).