Quite late last night I was sitting down to spend time in the Word with God, and, as I often do I had my laptop open with the various tools I use on it too (e-sword for one) and then I just started to write on this - on the effect that the way we treat the Bible is having on the Church today, especially the Young people.
I appreciate it's quite long, I haven't re-read it yet - but rather wanted to put it out there to the Church, praying that the Lord will bring the right people to spend the time reading it.
I am convinced that the Church of Jesus Christ needs to take the Word of God seriously again. Recently Ive started to question my life inline with the teaching of the New Testament, that is, to bring my life up and compare it to the Christian life described in the New Testament, and see what changes I need to make.
I noticed that, as I began to discover the true riches that are found in the Word of God, and some gems that clearly reveal something of the majesty of God, and of the fullness of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ the full meaning of salvation that, our attitude is to take the Word, and then look at our own life and, by our own experiences, determine what the Word means.
I believe this is the crucial error in the Church today. I believe that because we do this, the Word of God has to be filtered through our mind and our emotions before we let it speak to our heart. More seriously than this, it is likely that if someone was to bring a Word from the Bible, through the Holy Spirit, to the evangelical and even Pentecostal churches today it would not be received because it would not fit inline with our doctrines, theologies and experiences in our lukewarm Laodicean Church that we find in the West today.
If I havent already outlined the problem this is it the Devil is finding it all too easy to sell Christians short and rob them of the full inheritance of their salvation because we no longer take the Word of God to heart (fully, and with exceptions) but rather we take it to mind. We amen at appropriate places, often sincerely, and often correctly, but sometimes we amen because the Word is confirming what we see in our lives, instead of the Word convicting and changing us to live as we are called to.
Even more seriously, the result of this is that, and I believe this, many people that attend our Churches today are unsaved, and yet, because were not living 100% Christianity, those with the counterfeit look at those with the real-deal and it is all-too-easy for the Devil to paint over the subtle differences between the lives of the true believer, that is not living in a 100% clean and righteous relationship with God, and the deceived believe, that still belongs to this World.
A quick word on the youth in the Church. I believe that humanism has been polluting our evangelical Christianity for decades. I believe that Reidhead really gets to the bottom of this in his sermons Ten Shekels and a Shirt and 3rd Generation Religion. The main problem for the youth comes with the churches new found habit to treat prophecies lightly. Whilst acting as you have already received is Biblical and good practice, resting on your lorrels safe in the believe that because it has been prophesied that God has called this generation to do great things doesnt mean that it is already great.
INFACT, what is characteristic of most powerful moves of God is a move away from, and often directly opposite to many of the trends and habits the Church has got into. If this generation could see revival in its current state, God would have done it with the generation before but He hasnt. (NB: I dont believe the Lord will pour out revival on one specific generation).
The youth of the Church today is broadly the result of the blind leading the blind for too long.
Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult to find is the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
[Jesus, Matthew 7v13-14, NKJV]
This generation has been given a wide is the way Gospel. Theyve been told that God loves them and hates their sin (see Psalm 7v11 for an interesting take on that) and that He understands their weaknesses and though we wouldnt say it, there is an expectancy amongst this generation that God understands to the point of being ok with sin. Were a generation moved more by the fastest track on the latest Worship album than by the powerful sermon from the Word of God.
Were told that sometimes we dont feel different when we get saved the moment we pray a prayer that somehow sees our name entered forever in the Lambs book of life. There is no need for genuine repentance, even less so for the doctrine of baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgement (Hebrews 6v2). Jesus is the understanding friend of our generation that reigns in Heaven so that we have something to sing about.
The lost see this young church and see hypocrisy, if they were to read our Bible they would see little consistency between the majority of those in the church and the word of Jesus. They see a people envious of the wicked, for being able to enjoy themselves in sin.
I could go on. The Word of God must break through and penetrate the hearts of the (declining) numbers of youth in our churches today.
This is the Scripture we should always come to when we read, listen to or meditate on the Word. I am convinced it is the key:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
[Hebrews 4v12, NKJV (with emphasis) ]
The word of God divides between the soul and the spirit. The soul is the mans mind, will and emotions, and the spirit is, I believe, the eternal dimension of man, alive only in those that have died with Christ and have been born again by the Spirit of God.
The word creates a division, it pierces our hearts, it causes a conflict between our spirit that is inline with God and our mind, will and emotions. This is why we cannot chose to understand the word of God fully with our natural minds. We need to stop fitting the Scriptures into our doctrines and forsake our doctrines to the Scriptures. Maybe then the Lord will be able to reveal the true depth and mystery of His Word for I am convinced no man can finish the Bible it is a living book the ¬living book.
Oh, let us come back to living by the Word of God! Oh, let the multitudes in the Church be able to nod along in one accord with the likes of Paul and Peter, and with our Lord Jesus Christ! Relating to every word as it becomes our real and true, deep experience of Christianity.
I havent even begun to re-read the New Testament (let alone the Old!) with this mindset, but even the small amounts of Scripture I have approached with a need for it to highlight where my soul is opposed to His Spirit have proven too much to digest easily.
Lord, have mercy, forgive us in our ignorance. Amen.