Cultural decline and righteous perseverance

Prophecy says that as we near the very end days, the culture will worsen. (2 Timothy 3:1-5; Matthew 24:11-12,) and that the body of believers will grow less effective in the battle against satan, less of an example to a dark and dying world and less approved by God (1 Tim 4:1, Jude 1:8, Rev 2:4, Rev 3:16). We see this now.

Cash stolen from handicapped Cary boy collecting funds for wheelchair basketball
"Seated in his wheelchair, Nolan Turner, 12, staked out his neighborhood Thursday evening to sell water bottles and raise money to bring his wheelchair basketball team to his elementary school.“Everybody at school has been asking me what it’s like to (play basketball) in a wheelchair, and I want to show them,” the Briarcliff Elementary fifth-grader said.He had already collected more than $250 – kept in a bucket – of the $1,000 needed to bring the experience of playing wheelchair basketball to his schoolmates. But as he began to work the neighborhood near High Meadow Drive about 6:30 p.m., a man he didn’t recognize grabbed his money bucket and unhurriedly walked away, according to Cary Police Department Capt. Mike Williams. Nolan yelled and screamed at the man but was helpless to follow him."

Saints alive, that is horrible.

Police: Students Caught In Sex Act On School Bus
Actions Of 13-Year-Old Boy, 8-Year-Old Girl In Question
"Fishers police said an 8-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy were caught in a sexual act on a school bus. The girl’s parents are now trying to determine if the February incident was a rape or molestation.In a statement, police said a bus aid caught the girl and the boy “trying to have intercourse,” and that the “bus aid immediately separated the juveniles and informed the bus driver.”

Saints alive, that is worse than horrible!

Now this scene of unfettered greed and thievery:

Motorists scoop up armored car money, in scene witness calls ‘snow globe of cash’
"As many as 40 motorists stopped their cars and helped themselves to cash that fell out of an armored truck Friday morning along Interstate 270 in Montgomery County, according to authorities.A total of $5,795 fell out of an unsecured door of the truck, said Maryland State Police Sgt. Mark Cummings. As of 12:45 p.m., only $100 had been turned in to authorities, Cummings said. State police are offering amnesty for anyone who returns the money to the Rockville Barracks at 7915 Montrose Road in Rockville. “No questions will be asked,” Cummings said. One reason so many people may have scooped up cash is that the armored truck had continued down the road, and they may have considered it lost or abandoned money, Cummings said. The bills fell out in two plastic bags, which broke apart when they hit the road, he said. The Associated Press reported that attorney Heather Kelly, driving on Interstate 270 to her office in Frederick, saw two bags of currency and people frantically trying to collect the money. “It was in the traffic lanes and on the shoulders and just generally kind of like a snow globe of cash,” she told AP."

Before the first judgment, the flood, demons were rampant in the world. The fallen angels had mated with human women, all that they chose, (Gen 6:1-2) and the resulting situation was chaos. All the people on the earth were thinking of only evil continually. (Gen 6:5-6).

Imagine being on earth in those days when every person was doing and thinking evil. They hadn't finished one evil act before they were thinking of another. But Noah found favor with the LORD. (Gen 6:8). Despite all the temptations around him despite the daily pressures of remaining faithful Noah did it. He was the only blameless person, and he walked with God. (Gen 6:9). He was rewarded with His life, and with permanent righteousness and regard of the Lord. (Hebrews 11:7).

The time of Jesus's fleshly incarnation was a time of rampant evil and demon-infestation. He spent up to 25% of His time dealing with demons and sicknesses caused by demons. He sent the twelve apostles into the world with demon-casting abilities. (Luke 9:1-3). He called out that generation:

"O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." (Mt 17:17). Clarke's Commentary explains His comment: "These and the following words may be considered as spoken--"

"1. To the disciples, because of their unbelief, Matthew 17:20.
2. To the father of the possessed, who should have brought his son to Christ.
3. To the whole multitude, who were slow of heart to believe in him as the Messiah, notwithstanding the miracles which he wrought."

Demon infestation was everywhere and it was everywhere for the same reason as in Noah's generation: faithlessness. Demons aren't successful where there is great faith and a strong Holy Spirit presence of the Lord. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).

But in the midst of that entire unbelieving generation was a righteous man. Simeon. "And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him". (Luke 2:26). There also was a man named Zacharias. He was the father of John the Baptist. He was a priest, having for generations been in the line of Aaron. He was not a Pharisee nor was he self-righteous. He was purely righteous, looking always for the Messiah and being with the Spirit.

It can't have been easy, being holy in a perverse generation, where the Lord had been silent and the Messiah all but forgotten. But the LORD had not forgotten Zacharias, nor did He forget Simeon. I can imagine that Simeon's life was kind of like Noah's. He was it the midst of people who practiced a legalistic and perverted religion, if they practiced one at all. Paganism was rampant. Demons were running wild. The People had not heard from the prophets in 400 years. Can you imagine being of a people who had heard from God constantly since the beginning, and yet had not heard from Him in 400 years? We get tired of waiting after 4 minutes. Yet Simeon and Zacharias persevered in righteousness and holiness. They persevered, and were rewarded.

We find the same thing true now. Evil is rising and that is because of demon-infestation. We are also a wicked and perverse generation, the last one (I believe) in advance of the Lord's Second Coming. It is hard to stay righteous in the face of all the temptations. It is hard to remain patient and loving in front of all the evil and hate. But we must. It is no excuse to faint and fail just because it is hard to remain faithful.

James 1:12 says "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

Perseverance is evidence of belonging to Christ. "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;" (John 8:31)

"But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Hebrews 3:6).

If Noah could do it in his wicked and perverse generation, if Simeon and Zacharias could do it in their wicked and perverse generation, we can do it. We have to do it. The promise of Jesus is that He will reward us, He is noticing our perseverance under trial. He loves us and embraces us, and will deliver us.