There are many issues of concern in churches. There is one issue that if untreated, if ignored, or even if denied will lead to the shipwrecking of faith. In too many churches their respective leadership practices a denial of the sufficiency of scripture.
Now something in particular has triggered my interest in this study and I’d like to speak to that, if I might, for a few moments. There is, I believe, a strong and pervasive and somewhat subtle strategy unfolding today among those who call themselves “evangelical Christians.” This is being masterminded by the arch enemy, Satan, and sadly being bought into by many many people in evangelical churches.
This subtle strong strategy basically is an attack on the sufficiency of the Word of God. Now in all times and seasons, the Word of God is under attack. And we have to be somewhat careful and somewhat wary and somewhat watchful to discern how it’s being attacked.
I believe presently the attack on Scripture is primarily coming from those who deny its sufficiency for all matters of faith and conduct.
One of the great statements of theology, of traditional evangelical theology is that the Scripture is adequate for all matters of faith and conduct. That is being attacked today. (John MacArthur, “The Sufficiency of Scripture,” 1985, emphasis added)
That is the first allegation; the first indictment, if it is allowed to call it such.
2 Timothy 3:12-17
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Everything we need to know about learning His Word is summed up for us in the preceding verses.
Pastor, Preacher, Elder; we should expect to be persecuted for what we believe. Paul cautions Timothy and by extension cautions us. “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted….”
Are you being persecuted for teaching the Truth?
There is a mighty battle raging all around us. There are evil men about us and in our churches. These are impostors claiming a Christ-like righteousness. These men spend their time teaching things of the world. Their sermons are peppered with psychology and pleasing words for the ears of the lost. There is no salt in them. Their light is but a dim, dim bulb.
These men find goodness and sermons based in Sociology. They find righteousness and position in intelligence. These men ignore the simple fact that God’s Word is entirely, completely sufficient. They miss His inspiration in pursuit of their own glory. And for them it gets worse. And for those that follow them the road is wide that leads to destruction.
We know God’s Word is inerrant. The theologies of men are loaded with error, but the simple truth of His Word is without error.
Often we seek the words, interpretations and intellectual musings of other men to tell us what we should believe. Some in churches will set aside common sense to follow the coarse and fleshly direction of deceivers.
We will give praise and honor to one who can speak with elegance and eloquence. The man that can whip a crowd into a frenzy will garner great attention. The man teaching the Truth that does not tickle ears is often ignored.
Is it necessary to bring social sciences into the sanctuary? Do we need archeology or anthropology to tell us how God created the earth? Is social work or counseling necessary to know that we are to love those who hate us? What does psychology have to do with your salvation? Do statistics or marketing principles have a place in your church?
What room is there for the wisdom of the world in our sanctuaries?
Many church leaders struggle to build greater numbers of believers to fill the pews. Some pastors and elders look for ways to grow their churches. Church growth becomes dependent on a Wall Street marketing plan. Church growth makes or breaks the preacher. His kingdom is known by the numbers of people adorning his chapel. His kingdom is full of people seeking tickled ears and we are too eager to accommodate them.
We have lost sight of the simple Biblical fact that it is the Holy Spirit Who fills the churches. Seeker friendly churches are not friendly. They do not have the hearts of the people in mind. The Holy Spirit’s purpose is bringing conviction on the hearts of all those who will hear.
The original churches were not filled with people converted because of a marketing plan. Churches were originally filled because the Holy Spirit convicted men and women to believe the Gospel of Christ. Men and women were taught to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. They heard Peter preach. They heard the disciples teach. They were convicted by the Spirit and they became the Church.
If we are to teach “Seeker” church-dom, then we best be preaching God seeking, God fearing, God loving, world hating, flesh despising messages to lure the lost to the way of righteousness.
When marketers fail with one method they find another marketing tool. They create a need where none existed. God has one tool; His Word. It has stood the test of time. It is the Truth.
One last warning from His Word.
When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness..
Return to His Word! Teach it!
As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”