by Pastor Al Van Geersdaele
The long-awaited day had finally arrived. It was June 6, 1944 . The order to commence Operation Overlord was issued by the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. After many months of preparation, and more than a few postponements, the greatest armada ever assembled set forth from England. A total of 155,000 soldiers, 5,000 ships and landing craft, 50,000 vehicles and 11,000 planes, all headed towards beaches code-named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.
They had a single purpose in mind, to oust the formidable German army from France, and drive Hitler’s forces back to Berlin in defeat. The headline In the New York Times read, “Allied Armies Land in France, the Great Invasion is Under Way”. The day before the invasion, it was a secret. The day after, the whole world was aware of it, as the hopes of the free nations rested on the troops that went ashore.
There have been numerous open conflicts throughout the ages, as men have fought for territory, influence, and power, but not all conflicts are conducted in the open. Right now there is a more dangerous and clandestine invasion going on in the church in America. It is a covert operation, being conducted by principalities, powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, as they work tirelessly to divert the attention of believers away from the Great Commission, to “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.
Instead, the focus of believers in America is on integrating the ‘American Dream’ into the church. The church has been diverted from preaching the uncompromising message of the total depravity of man, who is hopelessly lost and undone, instead, to fulfilling the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. Hence, the great worldly success of “Your Best Life Now”, and “It’s Your Time”, books that appeal to all that is wrong in the church of Jesus Christ in America.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us that we can become enslaved by the desire for money and things. After all, didn’t Jesus put materialism in perspective when He told us; “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”? (Mat 6:33) The secret invasion by the enemy of men’s souls has been a rousing success, albeit a temporary one. The church’s attention has been shifted, and a steady diet of the gospel of greed has been propagated by false teachers. Sadly, it has been received with open arms.
The Christian author, Dave Hunt, wrote a book titled, “Whatever Happened to Heaven”. I would like to ask a question of the church, “Whatever happened to Hell?” There, I said it, I used that word that is so shunned in the church, “Hell”, and I will make no apology for it, nor will I attempt to water down its horrors, of the eternality of its existence.
Studies show that only 2% of American Evangelical Christians share their faith with the lost around them. Is it because we do not believe in the reality of a place of eternal punishment? Has the covert war been so successful in undermining the Word of God that it has cast doubt on the reality of Hell, where “the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched”, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth?
The church is so preoccupied with building and feathering her nests here in this life now, that we have forgotten about the reality of eternal punishment for those who reject, or just neglect the provisions for forgiveness of sin, and the offer of spiritual life that have been provided by Jesus through Calvary’s cross.
There are many Bible parallels for this attitude. One of them is found in the Old Testament book of Amos, who preached to a nation that had largely forgotten about God, and was preoccupied with the here and now. The warning that the Lord gave to Amos for the people of Israel is appropriate and entirely applicable to the church in America. Amos boldly declares; “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11-12)
That is what we have here, now, in the church; a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. We don’t have a famine of the availability of the Word of God, it can be found in Christian bookstores, and in most department stores in every community. There are radio stations throughout the land, and Christian television is broadcast 24 hours a day. The famine is in the “hearing” of the words of the Lord. The covert invasion has succeeded in undermining the confidence of believers in the inspiration of the scriptures, and the absolute authority that demands its acceptance and unquestioned obedience. Because our confidence in the Word of God has been undermined, we have stopped “hearing”, like the little boy who covers his ears when mom is telling him to clean up his room.
What can be done? How do we recover from this dilemma? I believe that the answer lies, just as it did in the D-Day invasion, a direct attack by the forces of righteousness. It is to be led by men of God, empowered by the Spirit of God, preaching the unadulterated and pure Word of God, proclaiming its eternal truth, without compromise or apology. We must . . . “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Tim 4:2) We are not ignorant of the enemy’s devices. The time is now, let the order be given, the invasion is on!
– Pastor Al Van Geersdaele serves at First Assembly of God, Brookfield, CT. as Assistant Pastor – Pastoral Ministries.