This week, we're talking about a world in need of prophets. So we started by looking at how no one really wants to be a prophet, what the gift of prophecy really is, and how we need to start with our own beliefs and be willing to declare - in truth - what is a Christian belief and what isn't. But the world needs to hear more from us than just our beliefs.
The world needs to hear about its own.
This is challenging because we think the heart of Christianity is presenting the Gospel every chance we get, telling others why they ought to believe in Jesus, making the "case for Christ" as convincingly as possible. And while that's important, it doesn't go far enough. Because the world already has a set of beliefs that it's pretty comfortable with, so there's not a lot of motivation to adopt something new. In fact, one of the frustrations we often hear from our friends in church who have tried to evangelize is that they just can't seem to convince anyone that they need Jesus.
That's because we think Jesus is enough to sell Jesus. We think that goodness and grace and eternity ought to be enough. We think that forgiveness, at the very least, should get someone interested. But do you realize there are all kinds of philosophies in the world that don't require forgiveness because you haven't done anything wrong?
This is where prophecy comes in. (It's closely tied to apologetics, but it doesn't have to be.) The world doesn't just need to hear about Jesus, though that's a great place for us to start showing our grasp of what truth really is. The world needs to see its own truth revealed. It needs someone to illuminate the path that it's already on and show where the pitfalls are and where these roads are going to lead. It needs prophets who can stand up and point out the places where the world's truth isn't actually truth at all, but is just pretending.
And we're not even talking about falsities. We're not talking about lies. We're not talking about things that are blatantly untrue, and we're not talking about conspiracy theories. What we're talking about is opinions posing as truths. We're talking about voices speaking outside of their authority. We're talking about the so-called truths being thrown into the world unquestioned because of where they come from, when there's no earthly reason to buy into them that way.
We've seen a lot of this in recent times, particularly as relates to the pandemic. We've seen doctors come out and declare this or that medical truth based on evidence and research and the latest data that they've been able to acquire. But then, they go on to make a recommendation no longer a health issue, but a moral issue. That's outside of science's realm. When the statistics guy or the research guy or the medical guy starts telling you how you ought to act as a decent human being, he's speaking out of turn. It's no longer science. And yet, the world will put its foot down and declare that since a "scientist" said it, it must be fact.
We see it, too, in politics. Whatever the issue is, we somehow always get away from whether the legislation of it is good or bad for the structure and order of society, and it always seems to boil down to whether or not you're a decent human being based on what you believe. Again, politics crosses a line and tries to become about morals, rather than about policy and government, and that is not the realm of politics. And yet, the world buys right into this.
The world needs to hear which of its truths are really truths and which are just posing. They need to hear how, when we let science or politics declare morals and human decency, we are heading down a road that denies both. Actually, denies all four. Why do you think politics so seldom accomplishes anything meaningful? It's because it's stuck speaking out of turn, and now, it has to be something that it was never meant to be or it fears losing something that was never its to gain in the first place. Why do you think it's so contentious to say something so seemingly simple as "follow the science"? It's because science keeps speaking outside of its own authority and trying to take something that doesn't belong to it.
These kinds of roads lead to dangerous places, but we're living in a world that doesn't recognize the difference. The world doesn't know how to discern its own truth, let alone ours. That's why it needs prophets. That's why it needs those who see clearly. That's why it needs those who are able to pick it apart and lay it all out and show them where the lines are being crossed.
That is why we cannot be afraid to speak. Particularly by the grace of God, who gives us vision for such things.