Mike Bain – Christian Voice New Zealand
Recent events has seen Governments asking us to stay at home and give up most of our rights of freedom
The freedom to work, to visit family, to communally grieve, participate and engage in school, sport, and worship.
We willingly accepted this as being the thing to do to stop Covid-19
Some people described isolation just as that.
Many people loved the idea while others lost confidence and were even too scared to venture outside
Others described the experience like being on Home Detention, a prisoner in one’s home and others described it as house arrest.
After four weeks you could possibly get the idea why Wikileaks author Edwin Snowden gave himself up.
It is true what the Genesis it was not good for man to be alone.
Moving on tonight I want to talk about how New Zealand has been in captivity for quite some time.
In order to do so I want to give you some context why I say we have been in lockdown and deprived for more than a decade or two.
Under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, the third world power forces of Babylon invaded the city of Jerusalem and took all its inhabitants’ captive.
Instead of being imprisoned in their own homes the Israelites were taken to the city of Babylon and held captive for 70 years.
While the Israelite nation worshipped the God of Moses, Abraham and Joshua The Babylonians did not.
There is an old saying when in Rome do as the romans do.
To a point this is exactly what the Babylonian captors expected from their captives.
They were encouraged to willingly forget the God who led them to the promised land and if that did not work, intimidation and force was used.
Babylon was described as the most beautiful place on the earth.
It was a place where social freedoms were allowed.
But because of mans inherited ways they gradually started to accept the ways of the Babylonians
Interesting word gradually, Best way I could describe it is a s a river in rain, gradually you see it rise, gradually you see it top its banks and from your viewpoint your safe on the hill.
As the rain continues, each day you see the water gradually get closer and you don’t believe you are in any danger and eventually you are submerged in water.
Because of the gradual change you accept and adapt to the way it is and live your life accordingly.
This is what happened to some of the Israelites they saw on a daily basis how the Babylonians lived, how they worshiped their many Gods and before long their children were married to the captives children, but they didn’t stop there.
Looking over the fence they saw the Babylonians and how they lived and accepted their ways.
Can you see where this is all going?
I will come back to the Israelites later.
Let’s look at how we, in New Zealand have fared.
We haven’t ever been invaded by a foreign power, or have we?
I pose the question because while we have not had a foreign army cross our borders other countries have had a huge influence in our culture.
Recently their was debate about new immigrants to New Zealand should embrace what New Zealand is, its values and its ways.
I asked why they should and asked several people to describe what a New Zealander is and describe its values etc.
New Zealand’s borders have always been open as the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman discovered the country, the Maori settled here from their pacific island, and then English man James Cook arrived and claimed the land for England.
The English arrived, wars were fought and eventually the basis of nation was agreed upon with the Treaty of Waitangi.
With the signing of the treaty Maori acknowledged in exchange for a peaceful relationship ceded the land to the Crown of Queen Victoria.
This allowed settlement which I acknowledge was not without its issues for English settlers to arrive and for the founding of the Christian religion to be the basis for the nation.
The Westminster system of governance which was based on the Mosaic law was agreed.
As I said the borders of New Zealand have never been under threat from another sovereign nation, but we have allowed outside influences to become a part of our country which was founded upon Christianity to be eroded.
Britain and the Commonwealth held sway over the way New Zealanders lived and then Hollywood, and the devil’s music Rock N Roll made their presence felt.
Suddenly parents were shaking their heads wondering what happened overnight.
Their Children were dressing differently, music had suddenly become different and young people were demanding a new freedom with the onset of the contraceptive pill.
Then in the 70’s women were being emancipated.
But it wasn’t just their bra they wanted rid of, it was the results of their sexual activity and New Zealanders started to hear about abortion.
Men too were looking for freedoms, some wanted to come out of the closet.
By the turn of the century New Zealand was a different place to what it was at its beginning.
After the turn of the century the influences of everybody’s world were held in our hands as we had so much information we could access on our phones and computers.
The influencers for gay, lesbian lifestyles made their voices known, the differing ideologies started to be heard louder with the uprising of Islam.
By the time 2020 arrived, the population of New Zealand now sits just under 5 million, we were a prosperous nation.
Contextual morality had arrived, if we did not like the law, we changed it.
Now prostitution, homosexuality, abortion, Euthanasia of the elderly are allowed.
Rape, brutal sex, pedophilia, bestialities, murder, are all part of our entertainment.
Yet the world as we know it today craves for more.
Is it any wonder people are pushing for the legalised use of “recreational cannabis” or using suicide to opt out of society may soon be legalised?
Today, ask yourself, is New Zealand the Christian nation they had hoped it would become.
Instead of the God of the Bible has been replaced by the same gods they worshipped in Babylon.
Like Babylon where a remnant remained they lamented for a return to Jerusalem.
Among them was a young man named Daniel
Daniels story of how he refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue is well known.
What about your story, who is it you bow to today?
Is it the same God who created the earth?
The same God who made a covenant with Abraham
The same God who freed the nation of Israel from Egypt
The Same God who willingly gave his own son to be crucified?
Or have you been taken captive by another god.
The one the Bible refers to as “an angel of light,” “A roaring lion seeking to devour someone.”
What is your lifestyle like?
Are you a true believer?
Are you true to the God you profess with your lips
Would you say you are walking on a narrow path or a broad road?
Think about it.
Over the last 24 hours, have you prayed to God, thanked him, asked for forgiveness, prayed for his kingdom and the list goes on?
How has your day been driving in the car, your coffee time with friends or workmates, has it been to build someone up or has it been idle chit chat about Netflix or a joke, your boss, your husband, family, in laws.
What about the entertainment you use to escape, the song, the television, the movie, the book, the podcast, the conversation at home with family, the preparation into the meal, the family life.
Is it all for the glory of God?
What about our attitudes to things like homosexuality, transgender people, is it tolerable if they leave me alone? Is that your attitude.
Or we should not condemn them, we need to be tolerant.
Their must be a lot of people born the wrong way if you ask me.
What about same sex marriage?
I have spoken with church elders who have struggled with the question of a family member or friend who is gay wanting to stay with their partner and share the bed.
You see the list goes on and we need to examine ourselves daily.
The question is, do we understand what it is to be a follower of Jesus?
If we were to follow the example, he set for us, we would condemn these practices, the Bible calls abhorrent and sinful.
We must condemn them in our minds and speak out loud the truth so others can hear and follow your example.
My friends it is hard to live the life of a Christian, each one of us are being held captive by the culture of the world.
Remember the rejoicing of the nation of Israel when they returned to Jerusalem.
But bear in mind Jesus words Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’