In this sermon, our founding pastor, W. Graham Smith, talks about the 1980s– a decade of economic disaster, environmental disease, and ethical decay. Here are some excerpts:

The 1980s

“…Let me read you what the social commentator John Taylor says about us at that time. He says, “Our society was sick and tired of restraints; sick and tired of being told to lower our thermostats and our expectations. We were ready to shout, ‘Enough glossy ideals and platitudes about sacrificing… We want our piece of the pie, and we want it now.’”

…As we look at the 80s, three things seem to stand out:

Economic Disaster

Economically on October 19, 1987, the stock market dropped almost 600 points in one day. Our federal deficit, which was running at $74 billion a year, is now at $400 billion. We have a national debt that now approaches $5 trillion. I can promise you, the piper still has to be paid.

Environmental Disease

Environmentally, the land began to scream in protest. Our beautiful beaches, in some cases, had to be closed because the ocean was beginning to vomit up hypodermic syringes and plastic bottles and all kinds of hospital waste and raw sewage of all kinds; … Rain forests in Brazil that are critical to the global economy were being burned in Nebraska-sized chunks… And, of course, there were the millions of gallons of crude oil released into our Alaskan waters by the tanker that struck the rocks and disgorged its deadly cargo.

Ethical Decay

…And most of all, ethically. There was in the 1980s an incredible ethical erosion. We did in the 80s what seemed right in our own eyes. We did in the 80s what seemed right in our own eyes…You see, you have to pay the piper. It is true what Paul said to the church at Galatia, “What you sow, you’re going to reap.” (Gal. 6:7) And although others didn’t go to jail, think of men like Gary Hart and Jimmy Swaggart and Pete Rose, and ask them if what they did really pays off…

A Price to be Paid

…Believe me, if we rebel, as the nation did in the 60s, or sink into inner depression as we did in the 70s or flaunt wealth and power as we did in the 80s, God is not going to let us get away with it. He’s not going to let society get away with it, and He’s not going to let the church get away with it…

…There’s a price to be paid; there’s a call to be heard; a mission to be accomplished; and it has to start with God’s people…”


Graham has a lot more to say about this topic. If you would like to learn more, please download and read the attached transcript of the sermon, as the above excerpts do not even scratch the surface. If you would like to do a word search on the transcript, download the file, and then open the file with your web browser after downloading and use your browser’s find feature.


May 28, 1995

1 Timothy 6:10

Rev. W. Graham Smith

Download Transcript (PDF)