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Unredeemable

I fear the United States is hastening towards judgment. Where that line of no return is I do not know, but the nation’s rapid moral and spiritual decline is hurtling us towards that terrifying line at breakneck speed. Only divine intervention can turn us from our self-destructive course. We have forsaken the God which gave us a country immersed in a strong Christian heritage; we have abandoned the ancient paths to become a modern barbaric culture (Jeremiah 6:16).

Just prior to my ministering at an urban church the youth pastor taught his unsaved, street level youth group that homosexuality is sin and those practicing it will spend an eternity in hell. One 14 year old girl replied, “Then everyone in my school is going to hell.” This same young woman responded to an altar call I gave while preaching to that youth group. While my wife was ministering to her she asked a serious question: “How can I be a Christian when all my friends are lesbians and my mother is a drug addict?” Bob Just was right when he stated: “Today’s culture is a child molester.” [1]

How can the Lord hold back his just wrath when we are destroying our nation, beginning with our youth? Law Professor Kelly Howard declared, “According to sworn testimony before the U.S. Senate, experts reveal that by the time a female in this country is 18 years old, 38 percent have been sexually molested. One in eight women will be raped. Fifty percent of women will be sexually harassed on their jobs during their lifetimes. In fact, sexual dysfunction is on such a rampant rise that experts are calling it a sexual holocaust.” [2]

UNREDEEMABLE CULTURES

There are cultures and nations that are simply not redeemable. This means that they have collectively crossed a line in the practice of evil where they refuse to turn from their sin and are therefore left to God’s wrath. Because a culture becomes unredeemable does not imply that individuals within that culture cannot be saved. It just indicates that the culture has become so immersed in wickedness that the only thing left for it is destruction. This happens in part because the nature of evil is not understood to be exceedingly wicked and offensive to a holy God, so the practice of evil becomes culturally acceptable.

The fact that cultures can become unredeemable does not mean that the doctrine of limited atonement is true. The Lord gave mankind an authentic free will and desires every person to be saved. That is why He declared, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11; quoted in 2 Peter 3:9). Though salvation is available to everyone, only those who repent will be saved.

Cultures are made up of individuals who make the conscience moral choices that define the character of a nation or people group. Some cultures become so immersed in evil that they harden themselves against God. Since they reject God’s salvation, He turns them over to their own self-destructive ways (Romans 1:18-32). In essence, they cross a line in their practice of sin where evil is so ingrained into the culture that the only thing left to them is divine wrath.

Examples of unredeemable cultures are abundant in Scripture. The Lord destroyed the world with a flood in Noah’s day. He hailed fire and brimstone down on Sodom. Israel could not conquer the promise land until the evil practices of the Amorites was at its worst (Genesis 15:13-16). King Saul was commanded by God to fully destroy the Amalekites because they had plummeted to the depths of depravity in their pursuit of evil (1 Samuel 15).

The only safe way we can say that a culture was unredeemable is by looking at Scripture. Otherwise we are left to subjective claims that are based upon our small-minded opinions and highfalutin paradigms. Only God knows the hearts of men, therefore, He alone is able to justly judge them and their cultures. Since He is all-knowing and perfect in righteousness He is able determine which nation or people group has crossed the moral and spiritual line becoming unredeemable.

For mere mortals to label people and nations as unredeemable is counterproductive to Christ’s command to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. We must always believe that grace is available to everyone and faithfully strive to present them with the Gospel. Ours is not to decide who is to be saved, but to reach out to everyone no matter their lifestyle or sin.

If all this is true then what is the value of understanding that cultures can become unredeemable? So that we seek God’s face for a national awakening and prepare the way for Him to come to us. In the end, we are either going to experience revival or judgment. Yet even if we had a revival where five million people were genuinely converted, would that deliver the nation from the vile explosion of homosexuality? Would it rescue us from the evils of fornication (which includes people living together outside of marriage)? Do you think that the porn and prostitution trades would cease their practices? Would our state governments and Indian reservations abandon the decadent, yet lucrative business of gambling? Would Hollywood cease propagating the moral and spiritual filth it relentlessly vomits out of its studios?

A JONAH EXAMPLE

My fear is that we are nearing the line of no return. Nevertheless, we must remember that all things are possible with God and the story of Nineveh is the perfect example of mercy being shown to an evil culture. The Lord decreed the judgment of Nineveh “because its wickedness has come up before me” (Jonah 1:2). After Jonah preached, the people repented, so the Lord granted mercy. If the Savior was “concerned about that great city” of 120,000 souls (Jonah 4:11), will He not be concerned about America’s millions?

There are two ways we can respond to our nation’s aggressive pursuit of evil. The first is to run away from our responsibility as Jonah did at first. This is what the majority of professing believers are doing today—hiding in their churches, keeping the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ from the mass of perishing humanity. The second is to follow Jonah’s example and repent. Here lies our only hope—that a deeply repentant church would become a catalyst for an authentic awakening that would transform secular society. The First Great Awakening in America began in the 1730’s. There were approximately 340,000 people in the country, with roughly 100,000 alcoholics. At the end of the awakening 50,000 people were saved. An equivalent awakening today would produce 50 million authentic conversions.

Jesus warned that prior to His second coming the world would become unredeemable like it was in the days of Noah and Sodom (Luke 17:26-30). This is literally being fulfilled before our very eyes. Mankind’s practice of evil will reach a depth unequaled in history. There will come the time when they will literally fight against God at Armageddon, but will suffer a fate similar to Sodom. Then the Lord will make a new heaven and earth “wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

People, cultures and nations that cross the line in the practice of evil have something worse to fear than the destruction of their culture or of creation itself, and that’s the Great White Throne Judgment. Here the Lord will judge the people as individuals who made their own conscience choices. All who refused to own Jesus as Lord while on earth will suffer an eternity without Him in the Lake of Fire. Even the eternal fires of hell will not purge them of their love of evil. In the Lake of Fire they will be unredeemable forever.

 

Glenn Meldrum has been a national evangelist since 1997. Prior to his calling as an evangelist he pastored for 15 years. He is ordained and holds an M.A. in theology and church history from Ashland Theological Seminary. Visit www.ihpministry.com for articles, sermons, books and information on Glenn Meldrum and In His Presence Ministries.


[1] David Kupelian, The Marketing of Evil (Nashville, TN, Cumberland House Publishing, 2005), 78.

[2] David Kupelian, The Marketing of Evil (Nashville, TN, Cumberland House Publishing, 2005), 129.

I Need Thee Every Hour

Like a priceless vase, we all break when dropped. Our frailty is a subject that unsettles us because it reveals just how weak and vulnerable we are. That is why we do not like feeling our neediness, much less admitting it.

Whenever we begin to sense our neediness we can feel like our lives are spiraling out of control. We hate this feeling because we are control fanatics. At times we would rather believe a host of lies about ourselves than to face the raw truth of our frailty and fallenness. As fiercely independent people we fight to retain control of our lives, even when we are self-destructing.

In spite of denying our neediness, we know deep down inside things are otherwise. If only we were honest with ourselves we would cry out with heartfelt passion the old great hymn “I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord.” Unfortunately we can sing this hymn without its truth touching our lives to any great degree.

Through the prophet Isaiah, Lord asked Israel four rhetorical questions which He asks us today. Along with those questions are stated some profound facts. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing” (Isa. 40:21-23).

Today, the Lord is asking the church, “Do you not know? . . . Have you not understood?” We are as ignorant of the magnificent character of God today as Israel was of old. Since Israel did not recognize their gross ignorance about God they became willfully ignorant of the compromise and rebellion that defined their lives. An honest evaluation of the American church will reveal that we are repeating in our own ways the same crimes of idolatry and spiritual prostitution that ancient Israel committed.

In the above verses God’s awe-inspiring perfections are starkly contrasted with mankind’s frailty, neediness and sinfulness. The Almighty is still able to dethrone boasting kings and presidents, topple egotistical politicians, attack the prideful self-will of men, and bring down corrupt nations. In our arrogance we exalt ourselves one over another, ignoring the fact that there is one King and Lord that one day we will all answer to and bow before.

UNDERSTANDING OUR FRAILTY
History can only boast over a few righteous leaders that have graced this planet. King David is one that stands out among that number. His greatness as a man and ruler was rooted in his profound understanding of his frailty and desperate need for God. In one of David’s heartrending prayers he pled, “Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you” (Ps. 39:4, 6-7).

David found true security by trusting in the All-sufficient God. To trust in the Lord David had to understand how foolish it was to trust in man’s faulty and unreliable wisdom and strength. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (Ps. 20:7). Experience taught David that victory does not come through his mighty army or the insight of his advisors, but from the All-wise and All-powerful Lord. The king’s wisdom is seen in his willingness to comprehend his weakness, which in turn caused him to trust in the Lord.

One major reason why we do not overcome sin and the difficulties of life is that we think we can prevail over them if we only have enough information, self-determination and time. Yet whenever we strive to obtain the needed victory through our own strength and abilities the Lord leaves us to be our own self-made saviors. The problem is that we make horrible saviors.

The starting point for overcoming sin and our self-life is to know the wonder of Christ as Lord. From that vantage point we can begin to comprehend our weakness and tremendous neediness. It is actually a great gift to see our neediness since we are not naturally predisposed to recognize it. Such wisdom opens the door for the Savior to stoop down in divine tenderness to show Himself mighty to save. This wisdom also sets us free from our natural inclination towards self-reliance that is a constant source of pain.

RECEIVING A GIFT FROM GOD
One church where I was ministering was suffering under the ravages of lukewarmness. Their lifeless worship and lack of spiritual vitality testified to their deadness. After coming into the pulpit to preach, it would take a little time to begin to sense the moving of the Holy Spirit. After the altar call on the third night of services, I prayed for the worship leader in a special way: “Lord, give my sister a great gift. Show her how desperately needy she actually is.”

Though I did not know it at the time, this woman grew very angry with me over that prayer. Infuriated, she went home complaining, “Who does that preacher think he is to pray such a prayer over me? I’ve been at the altar every service.” The Spirit robbed her of sleep that night as He began revealing to her the depths of her sin and neediness.

When service began on the fourth night, the worship leader opened with a humble confession. “I’ve been at this altar weeping over issues that God has shown me through the preaching. Last night brother Meldrum prayed that God would give me a gift to see my neediness. I was furious with him. But after going home the Spirit began a deep convicting work and showed me how desperately needy I am. O how good Jesus is to me.” The church experienced a marked change as the Holy Spirit was tangibly present in the worship for the first time during those meetings.

When King David was in the agonizing throws of seeing his profound neediness he proclaimed, “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you” (Ps. 39:7). Dependence upon Christ begins by seeing our tremendously needy condition which then causes us to throw ourselves upon the compassion and tender mercies of God. This is the place where true liberty is found and victories are won, where we can know how “wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Eph. 3:18).

An independent spirit is always a sign of spiritual immaturity no matter how spiritual a person may boastfully act (this is a great crime and offense against God). True spiritual maturity produces greater dependency upon God—it cannot be otherwise. This dependency happens when believers mature in the knowledge of God’s magnificence and their own frailty and neediness. Great joy is found when we see our neediness and grow dependent upon an All-sufficient, All-powerful and All-loving God.

Through dependence upon the Savior we grow in sweet fellowship with Him, obtain the victory and become useful in building His kingdom. We were created to be dependent upon God, to need Him every hour; anything else is rebellion.

Glenn Meldrum has been a national evangelist since 1997. Prior to his calling as an evangelist he pastored for 15 years. He is ordained and holds an M.A. in theology and church history from Ashland Theological Seminary. Visit www.ihpministry.com for articles, sermons, books and information on Glenn Meldrum and In His Presence Ministries.