Knowing the Word of God
Monday, March 22, 2010

 

“I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.  I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.”  (Ps. 119:99-100)

                I was visiting with my doctor last week and he said one of those things which I will not soon forget.  He was discussing the effects of various drugs when he said, “Sometimes I think I know too much.”  Although I did not say it at the time, I know what he was talking about.  As I sit in church Sunday after Sunday, I am constantly saddened by the use, mis-use, and non-use of the Scriptures.  And what makes me even sadder is that this is done intentionally by those who call themselves shepherds of the flock.  Sometimes I think I know too much.

                In the modern more liberal churches, there is little knowledge in the pews about what is in Scriptures.  The people may know a few pithy Bible stories, but they don’t know or agree with the deep theological truths contained in the stories and the teachings.  So the pastor is free to stand before his audience and talk about feelings, politics, emotions, or fixes to the human condition without ever truly bringing God into the picture.  They search for a Scripture to introduce what they are going to say, while never once giving insights into what that passage is about.  They may even be making an eloquent speech and finding several passages to support their points.  And the people walk out thinking they have received a biblical message, instead of churning inside that God’s word has been used to elevate the pastor or his ideals.

                The second abuse clearly seen in modern pulpits is the mis-use of the Scriptures.  This is a universal plight, but I have noticed it more in the more charismatic churches (not a universal statement).  These sermons have a point to make and they take the congregation’s ignorance of the biblical languages and begin to twist and turn that word to suit their bents.  So we hear that spinning brings the Lord closer; that being slain in the Spirit is a biblical truth; that howling at the moon is a sign of revival; and speaking in unknown tongues is an outward sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit – no tongues, no baptism.   But these abuses are not only true of the charismatic churches; they can be the tool of every overzealous pastor who wants to use the Scripture to prove their own ideas, traditions, etc.

                The third kind of abuse is in the use of the word of God.  People take a passage, interpret it correctly, but then teach it as if all biblical truth hangs on that passage.  In other words, they take out of context the passage, and make it universal truth.  For example, the famous, “God is love” passage is used in some cases to deny the existence of hell, a subject on which Jesus freely spoke.  Or Romans 11: 32, which states, “For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that He may have mercy on them all.”  And this one passage has become the beacon light for those who teach universal salvation, even though the bulk of Romans speaks of the necessity of faith in Christ as the means of salvation.  And then there is the use of one passage about God desiring that no one should perish to dismiss all the hundreds of passages dealing with divine election.  Or how about those who use Peter’s words in a sermon about repenting and being baptized to prove you must be baptized to be saved, when again, the overwhelming testimony of Jesus and the Apostles is that salvation comes by grace through faith and that no works of man can save us – not baptism, not Holy Communion, not working in a soup kitchen or saving a Jew in the midst of persecution.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.

                I was lamenting this to a young seeker one time and her response was, “how can we be sure that what we are being taught is true?”  And my response referred her to Psalm 119.  We must know God’s word, spend time in it, know what it says, and know what it doesn’t say.  In our era where Bibles are available in all manners of language, with all kinds of study aids, and in pocket size, table size, and reading size, and even on audio for those who don’t want to read – we are without excuse, at least in our land.  If your pastor does not preach from the Scriptures, telling you what God’s word says, warn him once, then move on.  If your pastor uses the Scriptures to further his own agenda, find a church which uses Scripture to promote God’s agenda.  If your pastor uses Scripture to prove his point, or the point of his tradition, find one who has no tradition but Christ and Him crucified to defend.  But if your pastor pours through the Word of God each week, working hard to know what God is saying to our generation, and is excited to share that with you, then praise God for him, pray for him, and keep him well fed, for you are highly blessed in our generation.


Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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