Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
Whatever Happened to the Bible?
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:1-5). If the meal you were about to eat contained one kernel of poison, would you still eat it? Would you try to find the poison and then eat around it? Would you eat one bite at a time until you died? Or would you avoid the meal altogether and choose a meal that would be beneficial to your health? Obviously, you would not eat the meal with the poison. In fact, you would avoid it at all cost (R. Oakland). I have been very troubled by developments I have witnessed firsthand over the past few years. The church is being told that Christianity needs to be re-invented in order to reach this postmodern generation. This push to re-invent Christianity seems to be all over the place. “The message never changes,” we are told. “But we must find new methods of reaching this generation.” That statement sounds legitimate. The problem is, in the rush to find new methods; most are laying aside the unchanging message. Rather than sound, verse-by-verse expository preaching, what we find these days is topical felt-needs preaching (or talks). It seems the Bible has taken a backseat to a here’s how to feel good about yourself kind of preaching. In the minds of postmodern preachers, the Word of God and the gospel no longer have the life changing power they once had. But Paul was clear and to the point: “Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season.” This was a forceful order and directive. It wasn’t up for discussion. He didn’t say preach it until it’s no longer popular. God’s Word is clear. If we want to see lives changed and people saved, the preaching of the Word must remain central, even in this postmodern generation.
This is extremely crucial considering the times in which we live. It seems in an effort to be relevant to this generation, many preachers have set aside the Bible for a more relevant message. Relevant? What could be more relevant than the message of salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:10), which says, “Unless you repent, you will all perish” (Luke13:3). Paul warned Timothy (and us), “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” He also wrote, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). The only place we will ever hear sound doctrine is through the expository preaching of God’s Word. However, when solid preaching is replaced by felt-needs preaching and when the message of sin and repentance, the gospel and the coming judgment is watered down into easy-believism, the door is opened wide for deception. And I’m afraid that many people who sit in churches across this land are deceived. But why should this surprise us? Especially when many preachers are entering their pulpits with no Bible in hand. Just preach the Word! The Bible tells us that God is always right and man is almost always wrong. When we rely upon human consensus we end up with man’s perspective and not God’s revelation. This is why Paul solemnly charged Timothy and us to preach the Word in season and out! Preach the Word!
The Bible says in the last days Satan will deceive the whole world with doctrines of demons and seducing spirits. Therefore, the Bible must be our authority. Imagine how astounded I was the day a fellow minister suggested we include in our worship service such activities as centering (or contemplative) prayer and prayer labyrinths, both of which are nothing more than far eastern meditative and religious practices repackaged under a Christian label. I’m sorry, but God’s Word does not call for us to repackage activities of other religions in an effort to drum up Jesus. It calls upon us to preach the Word and to filter everything that comes our way through the grid of God’s Word. Sometimes I wonder if we really and truly understand how dangerous it is when we abandon the forceful order and directive to “preach the Word…in season and out of season.” We may as well be eating poison. Whatever happened to the Bible?
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