Video: “It is our Time”
BASIC OUTLINE OF MESSAGE:
3. AND HOW
COMPARISON BETWEEN ANCIENT ROME AND MODERN AMERICA
A Defining Moment
Roman Empire – a pagan place – Christian values unknown.
Corruption was pervasive in business.
Morality virtually non-existent.
Divorce was common to the point that marriage was increasingly considered non-existent.
Dirt and filth filled the cities so that disease, plague, and epidemic were frequent.
Life expectancy was half that of US today.
Few families had both parents – few parents ever saw all their children grow to adulthood.
Modern contraception or birth control was unknown, therefore abortion was frequent.
Medical procedures were primitive – germ theory unknown, sanitation non-existent.
Women who underwent abortions often either died in the process or became infertile.
Therefore the primary form of birth control was infanticide.
Determine the gender and then usually keep the male babies and dispose of the female babies – abandonment – take them to seashore or forest and leave to die of exposure.
DISEASE AND EPIDEMIC
Measles, smallpox, or bubonic plague would sweep through a city and kill as much as half the population.
People fled the cities. As a result of depopulation of the cities, then after the epidemic, the government would move tens of thousands of people from different parts of the empire back into the cities. Therefore the cities were a conglomerate of languages and cultures.
A 9/11 EVENT OF THAT DAY:
BURNING OF ROME
Historic date: July 19, 64 A.D. The city of Rome burned.
72 hours the fire was nearly out. Then it burst into flame again. Three more days it burned. Rumors that soldiers stopped firefighters
Nero decided to blame the Christians.
Thus, the Neronian persecution.
Three years later Peter wrote:
How were Christians to live in such a perverse and corrupt society?
HOME AND MARRIAGE
Husbands and wives were faithful. Avoided divorce. Women treated with dignity. Didn’t have abortions. Kept their girl babies. EVEN WENT OUT AND FOUND THE ABANDONED LITTLE GIRLS.
Therefore there were a disproportionate number of women in the churches. Wouldn’t allow women to venture out into the world because of the danger. Church insisted that a young man be a Christian before he could marry a young woman. Single men in the empire by the thousands began coming to church. Result – they converted.
PLAGUES AND DISEASE
Standard health policy – when disease hit, flee the city. Leave behind the disabled, the children, the elderly. But the Christians would not flee. At risk of their own lives, the Christians reached out to those who stayed behind. Loved them and ministered to them. After 3-6 months, when plague had died down, family returned and found their family members still alive and converted to Christianity.
CONSTANTINE AND THE “CONVERSION” OF THE EMPIRE
October 28, 312 A.D. the Battle of the Milvian Bridge
CONQUER BY THIS.
In hoc signo vinces.
Rodney Stark The Rise of Christianity. It wasn’t the Edict of Milan that made Christianity the official religion, it was the rise of a vibrant Church.
Question: Are we winning or are we losing in America?
What happens at the ballot box is certainly important because it determines the health and future of our nation, but the real battle is in terms of THE CHURCH BEING THE CHURCH.
2008 BBC correspondent Justin Webb stationed in Washington, D.C. wrote this about what he sees in America:
My wife and I do not believe in God. In our first posting in
Brussels among the nominal Catholic Belgiums' unbelief was not a
problem. The Bush administration hums to the sound of prayer.
Prayer meetings take place day and night. Before that in London it
was not remotely an issue. With the sole exception of one friend
who is an evangelical Christian, I don't recall a single conversation
with anyone about religious matters in the years I lived and worked
in the capital. Our house in London was right next to a church. We
talked to the tiny congregation about the weather, about the need to
prune the rosebushes and mend the fence, but we never talked
about God. How different it is here on this side of the Atlantic. The
early settlers came here in part to practice their faith as they saw
fit. Since then the right to trumpet your religious affiliations loud
and clear has been part of the warp and weft of American life. And
I'm not talking about the Bible belt or about the loopy folk who
live in log cabins in Idaho and Oregon and worry that the
government is poisoning their water. I'm talking about Mr. and
Mrs. Average in normal town USA.
Mr. and Mrs. Average share an uncomplicated faith with its roots
in the Puritanism of the forbearers. According to that faith there is
such a thing as heaven. Eighty-six percent of Americans, we are
told by the pollsters, believe in heaven. But much more striking for
me and much more pertinent in current world events is that 76
percent, or three out of four people you meet on any American
street, believe in hell and the existence in Satan. They believe that
the devil is out to get you, that evil is a force in the world, a force
to be engaged in battle. Much of the battle takes place in the forms
of prayer. Americans will talk of praying as if it were the most
normal, rational thing to do. The jolly, plump woman who delivers
our mail in the Washington suburbs has a son who is ill. "The
doctors are doing their best," she says, "but she's praying hard,"
and that's what will do the trick.
During the last week a child who has been missing for nine months
has been found safe and well. The event was described routinely
on the news media as a miracle. One broadcast had a caption
reading "the power of prayer. In fact, the child had been abducted
and her abductor was recognized and captured. In rational, old
Britain the media circus following the finding of the child would
have focused on ways of preventing this from happening again, on
police errors in the investigation. But here metaphorically,
sometimes literally, they just sink to their knees.
We are at our best when IN CRISIS.
But why wait until the crisis?
America rises to her true identity when things are at their worst.
Don’t curse the weeds – Grow the wheat!