27 May, 2009

Do We Despise the Word of God?

I believe that by and large the church, the Body of Christ, is in a very unhealthy condition. (Certainly in America) Take a good look at the church and you will see something that should be alarming to us. There is a good portion of the church that is absolutely ignorant of God’s word. You will see outright rejection of God’s word by many, and in fact you will find some who actually despise the Word of God. The Bible gives us a snap shot of other people that fell into this trend.

Amos 2:4, (KJV) ...they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments...

2 Chronicles 36:16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.

I see this a a firm and sobering warning. It is clear: to despise the Word of the Lord is to invite his wrath, not against those in the world, but wrath directed "against his people" who despised His words. We have this clear example and warning, and yet we see this very thing taking place within the church in America. Survey the American church and you will find a sizable number of pastors who openly deny that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I recently read a review of a "so-called" Christian Theology book, written by an ordained minister who said that Paul could never have written some of the things he wrote if he had the advantage of some of our modern day Moral Theology classes. In his mind, man's intellect today is far superior to God's inspired word. This is what is being taught in many of our seminaries. No wonder the church is in trouble! Survey the church further and you will find thousands who "say" they believe the Bible is the Word of God, but their actions, or the way they live their lives speak loudly that they despise God's Word, because they reject what they say they believe and they embrace a lifestyle that is contrary to God's Word. Walk into most churches today and you will find couples who are not married, yet living together in sin, and the church ignores this, justifying their apathy with statements like, "it's not my job to judge. (Oh really?) Movies and television today flood our lives with a plot line where young couples routinely end up in the bedroom shortly after meeting, and we just accept this into our homes and minds of our children. No wonder marriage is in decline in America? If someone does stand up and cry out against the immorality, they are mocked, labeled old fashioned, out of touch and judgmental. And the result of this moral decline? We have an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease among our youth and record numbers of unwed mothers.

Jeremiah said: "To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The Word of the Lord is offensive to them. They find no pleasure in it."

I see the church today in these words. I speak on a regular basis with those who profess to be Christians, who know exactly what the Word says, but they "close their ears" to the Word, rejecting the Word, choosing to follow their own desires. Our society today has rejected the Word of God and now, the church is also rejecting His Word. We "justify" our disobedience with phrases such as, "God knows my heart." You're right, he does know your heart, and his Word says, " The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

Most pastors will read the Word of God for themselves, yet they deny the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, denying the Gifts of Spirit and there validity for today. With our intellectual enlightenment, we no longer need this power. They close their ears to this part of God's Word, finding them to be offensive and in so doing deprive themselves and their churches of the "demonstration of the Spirit's power" in confirmation of the Gospel (1 Cor. 2:4). It seems the more educated the church becomes, the less they believe the Word of God. God gives answer to this mindset: "They wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?" (Jer. 8:9)

The world today, including the church, is in grave error in that we exalt the wisdom of man above the the wisdom of God. Paul addressed this by saying:

"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:22)

"The wisdom of the world is foolishness in God's sight." (1 Cor. 3:19)

We are warned of this time we live in recorded in 2 Timothy 4:3 " For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

I believe that is the church today. They don't want to hear correction and the ways of the Lord, they want to hear messages that make them feel good about themselves and how to have "their best life now" on their terms, not God's terms. They don't want a message that requires change (repentance) they want to hear that they are ok just as they are. And there are plenty of teacher/preachers out there willing to deliver exactly what these folks want to hear. As a result, we see a nation turning her back on God. We see homosexually not only tolerated, but being forced down the throats of our children. We see our President openly declaring that America is not a Christian nation. We see families persecuted for having Bible study in their homes. (It has begun... see this story: San Diego Bible Study ) Our economy is tanking. Morality is disappearing. Our rights and freedoms are being stripped from us. I am reminded again of the words of Jeremiah: "Why has the land been ruined and laid waise like a desert that no one can cross? The Lord said, 'It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. Instead they have followed the stubborness of their hearts."

I believe the church, by and large is in a spiritual desert because she has forsaken the Word of God out of selfishness and stubborness. The church in America must repent. We cry out for revival, but revival must begin in each of us. It begins with repentance and a return to the standard of God's Word. It must begin in humilty as we confess that we have sinned and we ask God to forgive us and we turn away from our way of doing things, and return to righteousness. Our only hope is found in this verse: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themsleves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chron. 7:14)

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