IF THE FOUNDATIONS BE DESTROYED, WHAT CAN THE RIGHTEOUS DO?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Recent reported events in the news have given further evidence of erosion of Biblical values and the foundations on which God raised up this nation. These events include uncontrolled, lavish spending on a GSA "party" in Las Vegas, where subsequent videos have disclosed government employees apparently out of control, and Secret Service employees, assigned to guard the president, reportedly engaged in debauchery, prostitution, and more wild and lavish spending, using taxpayer dollars. In addition, outrageous sums of money are being devoted to promote the homosexual agenda, abortion on demand, contraception for apparently unrestrained fornication, and just sheer waste in spending to support all sorts of socialistic government programs, policies, and regulation. We hear unrestrained praise for those who have continued to "occupy" some particular city, and the so-called leaders of the "Occupy" Movement now actually are advocating destruction of government buildings and other violent acts in order to "rid the world of Capitalism."
If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? Is there anything? When David was confronted with this matter, David clearly and uncategorically answered: "In the Lord put I my trust: How say ye to my soul, flee as a bird to your mountain?" (Psalm 11:1) "For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart." (Verse 2) "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Verse 3) In reply, the great Charles Haddon Spurgeon pointed out that the real answer is: What can they not do in the Lord? Spurgeon pointed out that "when prayer engages God on our side, and when faith secures the fulfillment of promise, what cause can there be for flight, however cruel and mighty our enemies?"
It is true that Western values and Western civilization are indeed under attack and the foundations are being destroyed. Many have failed to realize, forgotten, or do not believe that there are any resources left. The Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God, has created all things for His own good pleasure, and He works all things after the counsel of His own will. For all those who care, there is much that the righteous can do. If you are unsure and anxious about what is going on in America and what is going on around the world, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our hope. When we see the United States apparently headed toward what is being labeled "double-dip recession," and you recognize that we are in seemingly perilous times, do what David did. Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, Jesus actually calls all of those who are laboring and are heavy laden to come to Him. If you feel like you are carrying a heavy burden and the foundations are crumbling, and you do not know what to do, and it's really getting you down, turn to Jesus. Take His yoke upon you and learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly in heart, and will give you rest unto your souls. He is able to make all grace abound toward you so that you, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work. He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we even ask or think. Actually, it is past time for Christians to repent first from their own sin and to seek the Lord's face for healing of this nation and to proclaim the truth of Jesus.
In fact, in the epistle to the Hebrews, the writer calls all of those who are fearful of death and feel like they are in bondage to consider Jesus the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. If you have done that but would like to know more, read on. If you have not done that, do so now.
Who is Jesus?
Jesus, Yeshua Hamashia, is the second person of the Trinity, the Eternal Son of God, who created all things before the foundation of the world and even now upholds all things by the word of His power. He made a covenant with the Father and the Holy Spirit before the foundation of the world that in due time, he would take on flesh and blood. He would be born of a virgin, as we see in Isaiah, and become a man. He did that. The Gospel of John tells us in the very first chapter that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him, and without Him, was not anything made that was made. The Eternal Son of God is the eternal Word of God, and everything that He says is true. Indeed, God is not a man that He can lie. Jesus Himself says that He is truth itself.
The Bible is God's revelation of the historical account of man's disobedience of God and fall into sin. It is God's historical account of His one plan to redeem mankind from the consequences of their sin.
Jesus is identified in scripture as the light of the world. He is also identified as the Lamb of God slain from before the foundation of the world. In fact, Jesus is described as "The Passover Lamb." Jesus came into the world to save His people from their sins. Before the foundation of the world, according to the 6th chapter of the Gospel of John, God the Father gave God the Son an untold specific number of fallen mankind to be His. Jesus says that "all that the Father has given me shall come to me, and of all those who come, I shall lose nothing." (John 6: 37-39)
Why Did He Come?
A. To Save His People From Their Sins
Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. He gave His life a ransom for many. In fact, the Bible tells us that He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. In shorthand version, this is the Great Doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement. Many do not know it, or, do not agree with it, nevertheless, it is true, for Jesus is truth. Another way to put it is that Jesus took our sorry record upon Himself and gave us His perfect record, and His righteousness is accounted or attributed unto us. In the fullness of time, Jesus, who was tempted in all respects, even as you and I, nevertheless, lived a perfect life, "without spot or blemish," and voluntarily gave up His life and went to the cross to purchase our redemption.
Not only did He purchase our redemption, but we are actually made children of the living God, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. We are not sons in the sense that Jesus is the Son. He was begotten. We are adopted. But it's nonetheless precious. Knowing who we are, or, rather, knowing whose we are, helps us to be able to answer the question if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? This is true because Jesus says, "Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. Whatsoever things you ask in My name, it will be done unto you." We are given great and grand promises in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true that we must ask "doubting not," but what reason could there be to doubt when we keep our eyes on the one who created all things, who works all things after the counsel of His own will, and who is described in the 8th chapter of the epistle to the Romans as "He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Romans 8: 32)
B. To Destroy the Works of the Devil
The Apostle John describes the fact in his first epistle that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (I John 3:8) The Fall was the work of the devil. The Holy Scriptures describe the Fall of Mankind in the first three chapters of the book of Genesis, where we read that the serpent, who was the most subtle beast of the field, tempted Eve in the same manner in which the serpent tempts men today by challenging the Word of God. The serpent said to Eve, "Hast God said that though shall not eat of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden because you shall surely die? You shall not surely die." Of course, the Bible records the historical account that Eve disobeyed God, and Adam disobeyed God, and they ate of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden. They believed the serpent's word rather than God's word. This fact has caused men trouble throughout the ages. Indeed, Ken Ham, one of the founders of the Creation Museum, has said that there are only two (2) kinds of people: "Those who believe God's Word (the Bible) and those who believe man's word."
There are those today masquerading as leaders in the Christian church who deny the authenticity and historical account contained in Genesis of the Fall of Man. Many of these so-called leaders also espouse the position that the first twelve chapters of Genesis are not historically accurate. These so-called Christian leaders, who are in reality tools of the devil, also say that "science has shown that the earth and all of creation was not made in six (6) days, therefore Genesis' account of creation is inaccurate." One should reply, as the Apostle Paul in the 9th chapter of Romans, by saying, ". . . oh man, who are you to reply against God?" Many of these same so-called church leaders say that the biblical account of the worldwide flood is not accurate, for it could have only been "a regional flood." They reason with man's logic and man's word rather than God's Word. The Bible is authoritative. The Bible is authentic. The Bible is God's revelation of the truth of the account of the Fall of Man and God's redemptive plan through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The great D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, "The Fall was the work of the devil. How foolish they are who think that you can pick and choose portions of the Bible and reject others at will. The Bible is a whole, and we have no hope of understanding the New Testament Gospel unless we accept the first chapters of the book of Genesis with their account of the Fall of Man into sin."
The Authority and Reliability of the Bible
More than forty (40) years ago, Josh McDowell compiled notes from a lecture series which he had prepared from a series of studies and books prepared by Gleason Archer, F.F. Bruce, Norman L. Geisler, and William E. Nix, Carl Henry, K.A. Kitchen, Paul Little, John Warrick Montgomery, Clark Pennock, Bernard Ramm, Wilbur Smith, Peter Stoner, John Stott, and Griffith Thomas, the research team designed to help him research, compile, and write the Apologetic book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict. The book can still be obtained and is contained in many libraries. It is an anthology that is well researched and easily readable. It sets out the case for the reliability and authoritativeness of the Bible. Of course, the Bible itself is sufficient. Jesus says that God's Word is truth. In the Gospel of John, Chapter 17, Jesus, in his high priestly prayer, requests that the Father sanctify those whom He has given to the Son and says, "Sanctify them in Thy truth. Thy Word is truth."
The great Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who many have called the Prince of Preachers, once said, "Why should I have to defend the Bible? I should not have to defend the Bible anymore than I would have to defend a lion. Simply open the door of the cage and let him out." Read it and study it. It is a unique book.
The Bible is Unique
The Bible was written over a span of fifteen hundred (1,500) years. It was written by forty (40) authors from every walk of life, including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, scholars, and physicians, over forty (40) generations. It was written in many different places, on three (3) continents, in three (3) different languages. Hebrew is the language of the Old Testament, and the New Testament is written mostly in Greek. Its subject matter includes hundreds of controversial subjects. Nevertheless, there is one continuing theme, one unfolding story, which is God's redemption of fallen man.
McDowell confirms, through his research, the reliability and trustworthiness of scripture on the basis of the historical accuracy of the extant manuscripts available to confirm that what was written in its original state is indeed what is written in the present translations. The manuscript accuracy is supported in many different places. It is also supported by extra biblical sources. It is confirmed not only by the historical text, but also by archeology. These confirmations can be seen in McDowell's text from pages 39 through page 74.
The Authority of Jesus
Matthew 28:18 states clearly that all authority in heaven and in earth has been given unto Jesus. That really means that He has all power. Because Jesus has all authority, or, rather, all power in heaven and in earth, He can say as He does in Matthew chapter 11: "All things are delivered unto Me of my Father: And no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and He to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him. Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Verses 27-30) Nevertheless, there are those who will not come as we see in the Gospel of John, Chapter 5, where Jesus is speaking to the crowd, and He says, "You will not come unto me that you might have life." (John 5:40) Jesus urges all who will come, to come to Him. In coming, one must learn of Him. In reality, they take His yoke upon them. When one is "yoked" to Jesus, one is going to go where Jesus goes and not go where Jesus does not go, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Nevertheless, if you are burdened, if you are heavy laden, if you want relief from your burdens and your labor, come to the Lord Jesus Christ and surrender your will to His will. Just tell Him you surrender your will to Him, and place your trust in Him to be your savior. Tell Him that you want to take Him as your Lord and Master and ask Him to give you repentance unto life and saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
A. What Can the Righteous Do?
We are called to be disciple makers. In Matthew 28, after Jesus tells the apostles that he has all authority in heaven and earth, Jesus tells them to:
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
So we are told that because Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth; because Jesus has all power in heaven and in earth, we, therefore, who would be His followers, are commanded to go and make disciples of others. We are to teach others to observe that means to do those things that Jesus has commanded us to do in the Holy Scriptures.
Elsewhere we see that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:16-17)
What we are observing in America at this time is clearly not in accordance with the Holy Scripture. We actually have a government led by individuals who either err because they do not know the scriptures (Matthew 22: 29) or they do not believe the Holy Scriptures. In either case, our political leaders as well as our spiritual leaders do not know the Holy Scriptures. The foundations have been destroyed and are being destroyed. So, what can the righteous do? First, remember that all authority in heaven and in earth is given unto Jesus. Therefore, we have all that we need to be obedient. That's our first call. Obey! We also need to repent from our own sin, our own lack of obedience to the Holy Scriptures. Indeed, that is what sin is disobedience to the Lord's commands, failure to obey, failure to love Him. Indeed, Jesus says, "If you love Me, keep My commandments. He that has My commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves Me. . . . And he shall be loved of My Father. . . And we will come to him and make Our abode with him." (John 14: 15-23)
B. The Purpose of Salvation
Men have been saved in order to be holy and without blame before God in love. Ephesians 1: 3,4) We have been saved in order that we might fulfill the righteousness of the Law. (Romans 8: 4) Jesus has destroyed the works of the devil and thereby reversed the effects of the Fall. (I John 3:8) These are accurate, factual statements. Anyone who would argue with them either does not know the Holy Scripture, or, does not believe it. There are many, of course, who say that the Bible is not God's inspired word. We say that the Bible is God's inspired Word and, moreover, is our only rule of faith and practice. There are many who say that the Bible is only inspired in spots, and they (so they think) are inspired to spot those spots. Not so says the Holy Scripture. For "all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteous . . ." Therefore, be confident. Be bold. Be courageous. Be obedient. Go and make disciples of those to whom you can go. Call on Christian leaders to preach Christ crucified. Call on those who are professing to be Christian leaders but who are espousing untruths concerning the truthfulness, reliability, and authoritativeness of the Holy Scripture, to repent and believe God's Holy Word. God's Word is sufficient for all things. It is sufficient to make all grace abound toward you so that you, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work.
C. Why We Are to Go
We are to go and make disciples because Jesus has all authority, all power, and deserves to be worshipped. We are to go because of the condition of those to whom you go. There are many who are confused, deceived, and disobedient. Some of them occupy positions of leadership in government. Some of them occupy positions of leadership in the Christian Church. We need to go and tell of Jesus, who is mighty to save, because they need to hear. And how shall they hear without a preacher? It is reported that "James Henley Thornwell, a southern Presbyterian theologian of the last century, wrote concerning that need of our fellow man. Thornwell is reported to have said:
"They are perishing, and we have the bread of life; they are famished with thirst, and we have the water of which if a man drink, he shall never thirst; they are dead, and we have the spirit of life. We have but to announce our Savior's name, to spread the story of the cross, and we open the door of hope to the multitudes that are perishing for a lack of knowledge. The secret of their misery is sin, and nothing can do them effectual good but that blood, offered through the eternal spirit, which purges the conscience and destroys the dominion of this monster. We have but to erect the cross, and the millions who are dying from the stings of the fiery serpent may look and live."
Thus, we see these reasons for obedience to the Great Commission. In summary, what is involved is (1) Evangelizing: We are to tell the Good News that although men are doomed sinners, ruined sinners, there is none righteous no not one. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death. Tell them that God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son to pay for man's sin, to give His life as a ransom for many, a full atonement in our stead. God offers full, free salvation as a gift to all who will repent and believe, acknowledging their sin, turning from it, surrendering their will to Christ, and trusting Jesus to forgive them and to be their savior, and to be their Lord and Master. Go tell that Good News evangelize.
We are to (2) Baptize, "baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." We are to (3) Catechize by teaching them to observe all things whatsoever that Jesus has commanded you. Notice that requires that we know what things it is that Jesus has commanded. This really involves a world-life view, or another way to put it might be, a lifestyle of living in accordance with the Gospel of Christ. That's part of teaching them to observe all things whatsoever Jesus has commanded us. Catechize. We are also to (4) Energize. Teach these new disciples to use the resources which they have. They have the Word of God, they have the spirit of God dwelling within them, they need to be taught to walk in the spirit, relying daily on God's Word and the power of the spirit and yielding themselves to the guidance of God's Word and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
These then are just some of the ways by which we can fulfill this Great Commission and do those things that are necessary to bring people to Jesus and to make disciples of all nations.
The Difficulty That We Will Encounter
As we seek to obey the Great Commission, we will encounter opposition. Remember that the man of God should not strive but patiently instruct those who oppose themselves, that God, per chance, would grant them repentance unto life. So we see that we are to be gentle. Indeed, Peter, in his first epistle, says that we should sanctify the Lord God in our hearts, that we would be able to give an answer to any person who asks the reason for the hope that is in us with gentleness and with reverence. Some of the problems that have been identified as existing today are that there are many who see "man's word" as being more authoritative than God's Word. Therefore, they don't believe in the global flood. They don't believe that God has punished mankind for sin. They do not believe in the Fall of Mankind. They do not believe in heaven and hell. They do not believe that there is a real devil and a hierarchy of demons, of principalities and powers, and rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual wickedness in high places. They do err not knowing the scripture. They cannot possibly understand the New Testament Gospel unless they understand the whole of scripture, including the first chapters of the book of Genesis. Tell them the law. Tell them the Ten Commandments. If you do not know the Ten Commandments, look in Exodus chapter 20 and memorize the Ten Commandments. Meditate on the Ten Commandments. Learn them and teach them diligently to your children and to your grandchildren, as we see in Deuteronomy chapter 6, when you lie down and when you rise up, and when you sit in your houses, and when you walk along the way.
Remember that all authority, all power, in heaven and in earth is given unto Jesus. He is the one who can empower you. His promises are yay and amen and are never forfeited. He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
There is Much that the Righteous Can Do.
If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? Do not despair! Do not give up! The very next verse in the 11th Psalm says: "The Lord is in His holy temple. The Lord's throne is in heaven. His eyes behold. His eyelids test the sons of men. The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence, His soul hates." In verse 7: "For the Lord is righteous. He loves righteousness. His countenance beholds the upright." In other words, He affirms in His Holy Word that Jesus is the answer. Jesus is able to make us to be overcomers by the blood of the lamb, by the word of His testimony, and by loving not our lives, unto death. Wherefore, be ye obedient and go and make disciples of all nations.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, or if you're not sure whether you know the Lord Jesus Christ, start there. Come to Him. Ask Him to help you to repent from your known sin and place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone and receive Him as your Savior and as your Lord, and as your Master. Commit your way to Him. Take His yoke upon you and learn of Him. Read His Holy Word. It is reliable, it is trustworthy, it is authoritative, and it is more to be desired than gold, much fine gold.
May the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that Great Shepherd of the Sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.
Your friend and brother in Christ,
 Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, pg. 16.
 From a sermon preached by the Reverend Frank M. Barker, Jr., Pastor Emeritus at Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama, August 1979.
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