“The Times They Are A-Changin’” is a song written by Bob Dylan and released as the title track of his 1964 album of the same name. reported-ly, Dylan intended for the song to be an anthem of change for the mo-ment. These are the final words of the song: Come mothers and fathers throughout the land, and don’t criticize what you can’t understand. Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. Your old road is rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changin’. Depending on your point of view, the changes alluded to in the song represented either a period of human decline or one of social “maturity.”
Unfortunately, this song could be the anthem for many who are at-tempting to bring the Lord’s church into “maturity”. The body of Christ is being influenced by denominational and humanistic approach-es to worship, inclusion and even techniques for church growth. The Israelites embraced a similar attitude at the end of Samuel’s tenure as their judge (1 Samuel 8). As Samuel became old, he named his sons judges. However, they did not walk in his ways, took bribes and per-verted justice. So, the people asked Samuel to appoint a king to judge them like all the nations around them. After all, they were progressing toward “maturity”. This request displeased Samuel and he prayed to the LORD. God told him to obey the people. God said, “They have rejected me from being King over them” (1 Sam. 8:7). The Israelites’ push for change was viewed as rejection by Jehovah. It led to their demise.
Yes, even today “the times they are a-changin’.” Those who call for changes in the Lord’s church which are contrary to His will are quite likely those spoken of in 1 Tim. 4:1ff and 2 Pet. 2:1ff. We must strive to adhere to the teachings of the Scriptures and steer clear of vain spec-ulations and philosophies of men. We must not be so anxious to hear something new and pleasing that we are willing to change what God wants to remain unchanged!
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, My Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, Turned back, diluted or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, Hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, Ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in a maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, let up or slow up.
This past week I was looking through my daily planner and I ran across a bookmark which had the previous words of profound prose written on it. The title is simply “Heaven Bound.” I wish I could give credit to the author, but it was written anonymously. These words ought to describe the life-goal of every Christian.
I have thought often about heaven lately, perhaps partly because I have attended the funerals of several faithful saints during the last couple of months. The scripture which says, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart” (Eccl. 7:2) is making more sense to me than ever. You see, God uses these cir-cumstances to focus our attention on our lives, the fleeting nature of them, and what lies beyond this earthly existence. For a Christian, they point our focus toward heaven.
John wrote, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:3-4). What a wonderful and unimaginable place God has prepared for us! As you begin this new year, make a point of thinking of, and preparing more for heaven.
“As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 2:6-7).
It is evident in Colossians chapter 2 that Paul has a deep abiding feeling for these brethren. He wants them to know how much he worries about them. In their struggles with the Judaizers, he wants them to be knit together and drawn closer to Christ. They are in danger of being lead astray. So, to encourage them, he tells them he is with them in spirit and that he desires they continue to be rooted and built up in Christ.
Apart from Christ and His revealed will, there is a danger for all men that we will be open conduits through which all manner of vain philoso-phy and deceit flows. We may not have Judaizers today but religion is ripe with doctrines that condemn man instead of saving man. Given the opportunity to believe anything or nothing, man will believe anything. And seemingly, man will believe in anyone except Jesus Christ. Only in Christ can man be saved. Only in Christ can man be close to God. Only in Christ can men be brothers and be knit close together.
Real life, real love, real relationships are found in Christ. When we be-come one with Him, we have real meaning and purpose. Why then would we believe any other? Why would we allow ourselves to be de-ceived by another? We can have the real thing: Jesus Christ. Anything else and anyone else has just an appearance of wisdom and humility. Christ is the only one that gives meaning and value to life. Therefore, be rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as we have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. He gave His life that we might have life. If we live with Him, we will die with Him. All that is of the world and its philosophies lead to a bondage resulting in destruc-tion. Freedom is in Christ and freedom leads to life.