The ancient city-state of Sparta was one of the most formidable military powers of its day. There’s a story about a Spartan king who boasted about the walls of Sparta to another king, claiming that his city was invincible because its protective walls couldn’t be breached. When that other king visited Sparta and looked carefully at the city, to his great surprise there were no walls at all. When he asked, “Where are the walls you’ve been boasting about?” The king of Sparta proudly pointed to his soldiers and said, “These are the walls of Sparta, every man a brick.” To him each soldier was a living brick in a protective wall. But the effectiveness and impregnability of the wall depended on each and every member brick in it, not only some or a few but all of them.  Even one defector, one renegade, one careless person, one person derelict or deficient in watchfulness and response to the enemy could precipitate a breach in the wall that could lead to the fall of the city. Could this aspect of Sparta be a metaphor of the church? Is Sparta’s living wall like the living wall of the church?

The Bible says that Christians are as lively (living) stones, being built into a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5).  Just as Sparta had no walls, but depended upon its soldiers, so the strength of the church of Jesus Christ is not in “church buildings,” not even in the universal church itself, but in the people who are followers of Christ.  Yes, I know – I don’t need to be reminded – the real strength of the church is the Lord himself, a mighty tower of refuge from the enemy (Psalm 61:1), a tower to which the righteous can run and be safe (Prov. 18:10). But those living stones in the tower of the Lord are the functioning parts, the members who do the works of the Lord. They are armed to defend each other from the common spiritual enemies. It is necessary that all the member stones be faithful. One person derelict in duty can precipitate such a breach in that wall of living stones that the building itself may seem to in danger of falling to the enemy.

Most of us have  no doubt felt at times the tremendous pressure  we are under collectively to defend the church of the Lord against the myriad enemies and forces of evil that would bring it down.  We may resist and refuse to acknowledge the importance of the individual, trusting instead the collective strength of the members and the overarching work of God.  Many tremble at the thought that success depends upon the individual, not the collective.  When called upon to defend the church we may feel confident in our strength and resources – good for us!  But when trying to recapture, rebuild, and secure any parts that have fallen we may feel it is a hopeless task. How can we as Christians build again what has fallen down?  There is an answer in the example and leadership of Nehemiah when he set out to rebuild the broken-down wall of Jerusalem, the presumptive city of God. He simply asked each family to rebuild its own part of the wall, its own back yard, so to speak. Obviously, that would involve any and all members of the family. No family and no person was able to rebuild the whole wall, but each family could manage to rebuild its own part and in that way the collective could manage the whole task. It was not to be the work of one or a few, but the work of all. 

You have probably said, or at least thought, that you cannot change the world. You’re right. Can you change the politics of the nation or the world?  No. Can you change the religious beliefs and practices of the world?  No.  The same holds true in spiritual and religious matters for the church. Can you change any other person?  Do not be too quick to say no to this question.  If you say no here you will probably not try to change anyone or anything.  Before we come back to this question let’s ask another.

Can you change yourself?  Can you change your thoughts, attitudes, and actions? Of course, you can! It may not be a drastic total radical remaking but only a gradual process, changing things one at a time or a little at a time.  Make radical changes when you can. Do not lose heart because radical reformation and transformation are not possible for you but be patient in doing the things that take time and incremental growth.  Patience – even patience with yourself while you are progressing – is a virtue.  What brings about a change in you? You may not be able to change the way others relate to you or react toward you.  But you can change your own character as well as your actions.  Here’s how you do it. By enlightenment.  By increased knowledge.  By improved understanding and insight. By following the example and successes of others.  By accepting the efforts of others to change or convert you.  It isn’t what others do but what you do in response to it that brings about the change in you. When others whom we appreciate and trust change it affects us too.  Sometimes people change but fail to tell or show it to others so, though others may guess, they do not really know if or how and to what extent a change has been made. It would be helpful if they told us how and why they have changed and if they think it is important for us to follow them.

Now I’ve just given you a key to repairing, rebuilding, and securing your part of the wall or the church.  Change yourself to conform to the will of God, tell others how and why you have made the change, exhort and encourage others to make the same change or to show approval of your change by emulating it. The whole edifice and all those in it will be corrected where necessary, strengthened and inspired to build themselves up for God and set a pattern for others to follow in building for God.

Just remember how it starts.  Change things one brick, one stone, one person, or one factor at a time – a little at a time – starting with yourself.  You will be impressed and amazed at the eventual results.



(Study Shows Many 20-to 40-Year-Olds Don’t Believe In Absolute Truth)

A poll comparing the moral and religious views of young adults in their 20s and 30s with the views of adults over 40 shows that the young adults are abandoning the biblical faith of their elders at an alarming rate, according to the Barna Group.

In terms of morals, adults in their 20s and 30s were at least twice as likely as their elders to have: 

* had a sexual encounter outside of marriage 

* used illegal drugs 

* gotten drunk 

* used profanity in public 

* lied 

* taken revenge 

* physically fought or physically abused someone 

* viewed sexually explicit videos 

* said mean things behind someone’s back

The Barna poll also found that young adults are 10 times more likely than older adults to download or trade music online illegally. 

The difference between young adults and older adults did not occur only in the realm of moral behavior. Differences also appeared in what the two groups believed. For example, young adults were more likely than older adults to reject the concept of absolute truth. They were also significantly less likely to believe, as their elders do, that human beings should determine what is right and wrong morally by examining God's principles. Also, young adults were twice as likely as older adults to believe ethics and morality are based on “what is right for the person”.

Finally, even young Christian adults were more likely than older adults to accept same-sex marriage and premarital sex. 

“These poll results should be a grave concern to all serious Christians everywhere,” Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE: A Biblical Guide to Movies and Entertainment, told World News Dailys Baehr’s organization documents how the entertainment media plays a significant role in leading children and young adults away from a Christian worldview. 

“The mass media control the culture that elects the politicians and influences young Christians," said Baehr. “Instead of putting their money into building new buildings and trying to influence politicians and voters in political campaigns, Christians should put their money into redeeming the values of the mass media and evangelizing the world with a Christ-centered, biblical worldview.” 

© 2006 

[Editor’s Note: The above article is of grave concern to me. This poll was taken in 2006. Sadly, things have continued to get worse. Brethren, contrary to what some believe and teach, truth is ABSOLUTE!!!  Jesus said, “And ye shall KNOW the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). Right is always right and wrong is always wrong! As Christians we MUST stand for truth and right. We MUST also AVOID sinful things (movies, internet, books, magazines, etc.). As Christians we are to be “Christ-like” and NOT like the world. We are being influenced!!  Brethren, we must NOT move away from the truth. We must continue to ask ourselves the question, “What Would Jesus Do?” in every situation in life. Parents and Grandparents, please talk about these things with your children and grandchildren.]


You Can Safely Assume:

  • That God loves you (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).
  • That the price of your sins was paid by Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).
  • That your past sins were washed away—forgiven—at your baptism (Acts 22:16; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
  • That you can be faithful to God (Revelation 2:10).
  • That, during your faithful walk with God, your sins are being cleansed by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7).
  • That the kingdom of God will never be destroyed (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 16:18).
  • That Satan will ultimately be punished since he has already been defeated (Luke 10:18; John 12:31; Revelation 20:10).
  • That heaven and your experience there will be greater than anything you can imagine (Romans 8:18; Revelation 21:4).

On The Other Hand, You Should Never Assume:

  • That God cannot/will not forgive you (Romans 5:8; Hebrews 8:12).
  • That you know exactly what someone is thinking (1 Corinthians 2:11).
  • That you know the motive behind an act of someone toward you or someone else (Matthew 7:1; John 7:24).
  • That you know everything (Romans 11:33).
  • That you will never fall from grace (1 Corinthians 10:12; Galatians 5:4).
  • That all your companions and loved ones will be faithful just because of their association with you (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
  • That you will be saved just because you come from a strong family or attend a faithful church (Philippians 2:12, 13).
  • That you will win before you even fight the battle, or run the race (1 Kings 20:11; 1 Corinthians 9:24).
  • That something is right because you have always thought it was (Acts 26:9; 1 Timothy 1:12, 13).                              


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