If you read the Old Testament, you’ll note Israel had direction. The problem was that it was downhill! Step by step, the culture fell into moral decline.
Second Kings 10:31 summarizes the problem and even the cause, “But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart; for he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin.” Kings who did some good often did not serve God with all their heart. In Chapters 7–10, sin is rampant with little good news to note. The sins of pride, idol worship, anger, immorality, and murder took their toll as God allowed the nation to be carried away into captivity.
How does a person witness to others in the midst of a declining culture? Circumstances vary but the need exists in five areas:
- The need to be prayerful. Where our words cannot penetrate, God’s can. Where our power is limited, God’s is not. Where our resources our insufficient, His are sufficient.
- The need to be a contrast. As light stands out in the midst of darkness, righteousness stands out in the midst of unrighteousness. Those who act like the culture cannot speak to the culture. Non-Christians should not have reason to say, “Being a Christian has not made a difference in that person’s life. Why would it make a difference in mine?”
- The need to be evangelistic. Before there can be a change on the outside, there needs to be a change on the inside. People cannot live for someone they do not know. That means people must hear the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection, and they need to hear it clearly. A messenger of the gospel needs to make it known to unbelievers that God is not saying, “Clean up your life and come to me,” but instead He is saying, “Come to me and I will help you get your life cleaned up.” The greatest favor a believer can do for the culture is in being fervent to share the good news.
- The need to measure faithfulness, not fruitfulness. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” Many may not hear our message or even be willing to listen. Ridicule may be more common than we like. Our concern should never be (in any culture), “How many have I led to Christ?” but instead, “How many have I presented Christ to?” Who knows? Depending on who they are, one person could come to Christ and through their position or influence make a difference in many lives.
- The need to be a responsible citizen. Vote for those you feel will make proper and wise decisions. Uphold those in prayer whom God has allowed to come into office. Obey those who have authority over you. Using every legal means available, voice your concerns and opinions in needed areas. Do not be a “do nothing” citizen, but do what is right and responsible.