About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Do We Go From Here
In the mid 1970's I
attended Elim Bible Institute, in
Acts 6:2 says, "It
would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God to
wait on tables". The
apostles distributed food to the poor in the early church.
As the church grew in numbers this job became unmanageable so
certain men were chosen for this job.
This allowed the apostles to devote themselves to the Word of
God. It wasn't that food
distribution wasn't important. It
just wasn't the apostles' calling. Food
distribution was important. That's
why specific men where chosen to distribute the food.
The Apostle Paul tells us
that pastors must be capable of teaching the Word of God. (1Timothy 3:2)
The first apostles were capable and that's why the believers
"devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching". (Acts 2:42)
Paul also told Timothy that he must "correctly handle the
Word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) The
prerequisite for correctly handling the Word of truth is to approach the
Bible from a proper hermeneutical perspective.
This means that pastors must incorporate context, history,
culture, original languages, and more, into their Bible study.
Such study of Scripture is becoming noticeably absent these days.
Many Evangelicals are unknowingly buying into our culture's
dumbed down mentality that rejects intelligent thought.
Evangelicals don't seem
to be taking the Bible as seriously as they once did.
Messages that are meant to inspire are more popular than messages
that are meant to instruct. We've
separated Biblical proclamation into inspirational preaching and
instructional teaching, a separation that the Bible knows nothing of.
In Biblical terms, preaching is instructive.
Preaching is teaching. New
Testament leaders instructed the church in Biblical truth and left the
inspiring up to the Holy Spirit because that's His job. Our
emphases on inspiration and de-emphasis on instruction has led many to
be Biblically illiterate. I
call this "inspired ignorance".
Inspired ignorance won't
get us far in the days ahead. In
fact it is leading some astray right now.
Some Evangelical pastors are leading their congregation in joint
worship with Muslims. We know from countless Biblical passages that God
detests such paganization of His people.
Other pastors perform same sex weddings.
They clearly mis the meaning of Romans 1.
I know the word
"doctrine" has fallen out of fashion, but good doctrine, or
good Biblical teaching, is important to Jesus.
In Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, Jesus was so irritated with
certain church leaders' lack of sound doctrine and their tolerance of
false doctrine that He was about to wipe them off the spiritual map.
(Revelation 2:5 6, 2:14 – 16, and 20 - 23)
The Laodicean church of Revelation 3:14 – 22 was caught up in
the false doctrine that some of us call the "Prosperity
I think Evangelicals are
devaluing the Bible as liberal denominations did in the late 1800's by
adopting German liberalism. The
demythologizing of the Bible as it was called removed all supernatural
content from the Bible, leaving it a book of mere moral stories.
They believed the Bible was meant to inspire, not instruct.
Ironically, today's "Emergent
Like the seven churches
of Revelation, Jesus has allowed these liberal denominations that have
decimated Biblical truth to dwindle away into obscurity.
Those groups that still exist entice newcomers by incorporating
humanistic elements into their meetings.
One group in Toronto,
Don't take my word
concerning this. More
important Evangelicals than me hold to the same thinking.
I recommend you read Erwin Lutzer's book entitled, "Hitler's
Cross". He is the
In order for church to be
the counter-cultural movement that it needs to be in the days ahead,
pastors must devote themselves to the study and implementation of
Biblical truth. It's their
job to correctly handle the Word of truth as they teach God's people.
That being said, if I were you, I wouldn't wait around.
With all of your heart, soul, and intellect, devote yourself to
Biblical truth. It will save
you from believing the lie that Paul said would inflict many at the end
of this age. (2 Thessalonians 2:11)
The first step for church
towards our uncertain future is for individuals to reignite their love
for Jesus. The second step
is for both pastors and people to devote themselves whole heartedly to
what He has instructed. The
third step is to be the community of believers who are networked
together in functional relationships in the Body of Christ.
Church is meant to be a counter cultural movement that will
fearlessly stand strong in the face of an anti-Christ culture.
I'll speak to this issue next week.