"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."
While lying in a hospital bed some years ago in Dekalb County Georgia, watching the news at noon, I heard at the end of the news cast an announcer come on saying, "Stay tuned for Another World." Immediately I thought about the condition of our present world and the Apostle Johnís vision on the Isle of Patmos.
Inspite of all of our modern day technologies, our advancements in science and medicine, our society is in trouble. If we have doubts, just take a look at all of the recent school shootings and other violent acts in our world. We read and hear of one atrocity after another.
It is interesting to note that although a recent survey of Americans showed that fully 70 percent of people felt that moral standards in society were declining, there are few subjects as controversial as morals.
This same survey shows that if you question people about immorality, fully a third of them will say that moral standards are an individual matter or they will question the very existence of immorality. And, indeed, our films, television and magazines give us the impression that morals are passeí sneered at by the intellectuals. And a tool used by bigots to condemn others in a society where every form of behavior should be a matter of personal choice.
There was a time when a moral individual was universally admired; now, many scorn him as a fool who clings to some outdated code that has no place in our modern world.
Yet moral codes are as old as man himself and have been developed in every activity in which people interact. Over time, men have learned that in order for a group to survive, the individuals within it have to agree upon codes of conduct, or what is considered proper. In essence, a moral code is no more and no less than simply a series of agreements to which a person subscribes to guarantee the survival of a group-be that group a family, a business, a nation, or a race.
Morals are usually based on nothing more complicated than good sense. Promiscuity has been discouraged in most cultures to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, infidelity is discouraged because it destroys the family unit and creates disruptions between members of the group.
Past rulers, governments and societies that violated their own moral codes, or which had moral codes that did not promote survival, are no longer around. Gradually or suddenly, they fell apart.
Most people will agree that moral standards are declining. It is serious as our continued survival as a society.
For most of this century, our moral structure has been under concerted and conscious assault. And, gradually but surely, we have been losing the battle.
A century ago, there were 15 marriages to every divorce. In 1990, there were two marriages for every divorce, a drastic change.
Juvenile delinquency once consisted of smoking cigarettes. Today, kids kill each other in the most vicious ways in alarming numbers on our city streets.
Violent crime has increased in countries throughout the world.
The illegal drug trade moves more money around the planet than the economies of some countries.
Our culture faces a grave challenge and unless we rise to meet it, society as we know it will march rapidly towards oblivion.
Man uses psychological terminology to explain oneís behavior. One is said to have obsessive-compulsive disorders which is often caused by abnormal DNA sequences within oneís chromosomes that causes him to act the way he does.
Everybody now has an excuse. The mother beats her child, and then explains that she did it because she herself was a "victim of child abuse." The husband cheats on his wife, claiming to be at the mercy of an "irresistible impulse." The teacherís students are flunking out, but thatís not the fault of the teacher-his/her students have "learning disabilities."
Personal responsibility has reached an all time low in our society. And it is damaging the core of our culture.
Why should people face their shortcomings or correct their mistakes when "experts" tell them "itís not their fault." Why should anyone resist his impulses, be it petty theft, drug use or even assault and murder, when they can be explained away as "temporary insanity," or an "extreme emotional disturbance?" Why should we develop the strength and character to confront our problems when instead we can easily become "desensitized" to them through the latest psychotropic drug?
Intellectually as well as morally, we have been witnessing a sad decline in our world. Men have become lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Jeremiah asked of his generation, "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay they were not at all ashamed neither could they blush." (JER. 6:15). We can not make light of our situation. The passion and lust which are displayed in temper and malice, in jealousy and envy, and the way in which men and women plot and scheme to destroy each other socially and in other respects is a result of sin.
In the 6th chapter of Revelations verses 9-11, the fifth seal was opened and John said, "I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, O Lord holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth." I heard John say in the 20th chapter of Revelations 12-15, "I saw the dead small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." He said, "I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. I head him say, "I saw the holy city new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. A voice out of heaven saying, behold, the tabernacle of God is with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their god, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, behold, I make all things new." I heard him say, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." I heard him in the 22nd chapter say, "There shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun,, for the Lord God giveth them light; and they shall reign for ever and ever."
I want to say to the church, hold on, and stay tuned, for I heard Paul say, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which god hath prepared for them that love him." STAY TUNED FOR ANOTHER WORLD.