“Who shot J.R.?” That question has become, whatTime Magazine in its August 11 issue calls, an “obsession” for “300 million souls in 57 countries” around the, world. Staggering figures, aren’t they? It is a question which is seen on bumper stickers; heard expressed, on radio and television; and yes, even used by the political candidates for the presidency of the United States. It is undoubtedly the case, therefore, that you are familiar with that question.
If, however, you are not, then allow me to explain. The question, “Who shot J.R.?” arose out of a much talked about and extremely popular television program. The program is entitled “Dallas.” It appeared on the television screens a year ago, and has, practically from the very outset, been the number one rated show of the year. It is (so I understand, for I have never watched the program, nor do I intend to watch the program) all about a rich family living in Dallas, Texas. The central character of this family, and indeed of the whole program, is a man by the name of John Ross Ewing Jr., hence the initials J.R. On the last program of the past season this man, John Ross, J.R., was shot. By whom, no one knows. And so, I understand, no one will know until the beginning of the fall season. And, therefore, the question, “Who shot J.R.?”
And therefore too, the title of this article. Right? Wrong! I am not in the least bit interested, in this article, in giving my own personal opinion concerning the answer to that question. To put it bluntly; I could not care less! Nor am I interested in this article in writing a condemnation of the program out of which the title of this article arose, or even a condemnation of television in general for airing such a program. I am not interested in that as such.
But this I am interested in, and this I do care about. I am interested in and I care about the signs of the times. The signs which our Lord Jesus Christ talked about and which the holy Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ talked about, and for which signs we the chosen people of our Lord Jesus Christ must watch. Jesus told us to “watch for ye know not the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.” Watch! For what must we watch? The answer to that question is, for many things. But one of those many things is exactly the abounding of iniquity. In fact, Jesus literally says that in Matthew 24:12. There Jesus says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” In the last times, Jesus would have us understand, iniquity, sin, in its basest and worst forms shall abound. It shall overflow. The cup of sin and iniquity shall be filled to overflowing. And sinful man who causes the cup of sin and iniquity to overflow wills glory and boast in the sin and iniquity. For that we must watch!
And it is exactly because of that, that sign of the times, the abounding sin in which sinful man glories and boasts, that I write this article. The program “Dallas,” with its much talked about question, “Who shot J.R.?” is proof positive that indeed in the last times iniquity shall abound. I have already stated that I have never watched the program. But I do not have to watch the program in order to say what that program is all about, and that it promotes nothing less than, the abounding of iniquity! I know that from that article in Timemagazine to which I referred above. When I read that article I was just shocked, and so also should every child of God in whose heart the love of Christ, and Christ’s commandment to live in a new and holy life, is still warm and vibrant. If you read that article you will discover that the central character, J.R., is a man who is totally evil. All that he does is evil. All that motivates him is evil. There is not a single redeeming factor about him. He loves nothing better than to commit adultery, the lust of his flesh. He thrives on nothing better than lying, cheating, and stealing in order to advance his material gain. He is a very vain and proud man who will do anything to enhance his proud, vain person. As evidence of that fact, so that you may know that what I am saying is a fair, and in the final analysis, mild description of this man, I quote from the beginning of Time’s article. As this man lies on the ground, having been shot, these thoughts arise in his mind:
As he lay crumpled on the floor of his office, with two bullets in his stomach, his thoughts pin-wheeled off into fantasies of his real and idealized past. His first word had been “Mammon;” As a child he had torn wings off flies and sold the insects’ bodies to science. In high school he had peddled exam answers to his fellow students, then told his teacher that they were cheating. In college he had impregnated an entire sorority and used the offspring to stock a black market agency.
No wonder he proved such a success when his daddy brought him into the family business: skewering the town’s most powerful men out of millions while he was seducing their wives. All in all, a cause for celebration.
That is the man J.R. And that is what this whole program is all about. The interest that this program has for millions of souls around the world is not the answer to the question, “Who shot T.R.?” Not in the least. But rather the interest that this program has for millions of souls around the world is none other than evil, lust, corruption, adultery, stealing. In one word, sin! Sin and the advancement of sin is what interests millions the world over. The celebration of sin is what interests millions the world over. A life of sin according to J.R.’s own words, which we quoted above; is “a cause for celebration.” Mind you, a cause for celebration! And the millions the world over who cannot wait until this program is aired each week, also consider sin a celebration.
Man today is not interested any more in living new and holy life. Man today is not interested any more in striving evermore to keep God’s commandments: thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet; and all the rest. All that man today is interested in is living a life of sin and living a life that is a total violation of God’s commandments. God says, thou shalt not kill; and man says, I will kill! God says, thou shalt not commit adultery; and man says, I will commit adultery, not just once but over and over again! God says, thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet. And man says, I will steal, bear false witness, and covet! I will! Violating God’s commandments is what life is all about. Life and life’s celebration is no fun unless I do violate God’s commandments. In short, the word of man today is: I love the abounding of iniquity and I will do everything within my power to cause sin and iniquity to abound evermore!
I insist that; because that is the word of man today, and because that word of man is so vividly portrayed on the program “Dallas,” 300 million people watch it so faithfully and glory in it. It is no small wonder that, with 300 million people glorying in that vivid portrayal of sin, there are very few left across the world who glory in the Word of God and in God’s precepts; It is no small wonder that, with the abounding iniquity in our day and age, the words of Jesus are true, “the love of many shall wax cold;” It is no small wonder!
But, thanks be to God, when Jesus told us that the love of many shall wax cold, He did not say the love of allshall wax cold. Oh, no! The love of all shall not wax cold. We may be sure that there will always be a faithful few in comparison with the millions of ungodly whose love remains warm. In the midst of abounding iniquity, in the midst of the world’s celebration of sin, is your love warm? Watch then! Do not join the world’s millions who watch this damnable program. Do not join the world’s millions, who glory in what this program portrays. But watch! Watch for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh. And be faithful, faithful in your calling to live as Christ the Son of Man would have you live, even unto the end.