48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.
It has unmistakably been a common thread in so much in my life this year that:
- I just have to share on the subject.
- It has to be from God, and I'm sure of it.
I put the blame on the 'church' corporate, and I put the blame on pastors and teachers. The information is there. Christian doctrine is there. As a pastor friend of mine who has a very real and Godly heart for overseas missions (and encourages us all to take part in short term mission trips as we should), recently noted, we have greater and easier access to more biblical teaching today than we ever had before. We also have access to more biblical teaching in this country than any other country in the world. And he's right. We sure do. This email you are reading is just one of those ways. We have internet access in 80% of American homes and half of the cell phones in America. We have pod-casts, streaming audio and video. DirecTV® carries no less than 15 'Christian' channels on just the basic package. We have broadcast and satellite radio networks we can listen to, and I've got two of them as apps on my phone. There has never been a greater availability to biblical teaching at any time or place in history. We are BLESSED to have such access….or are we?
When I was called into the ministry in 2001 and began my educational process and commitment to this calling, one of the first things that God told me when He finally revealed where I would be teaching was this: "one of the hardest things I will ask you to do is church the churched". I know He's God, and so He certainly was right. But I had no idea what I would be facing not just in teaching the people that He has sent my way over the last 5 years, but within the Christian church itself. As I pointed out to my pastor friend, we have a severe disconnect between the volume of biblical teaching we have available to us, just because it is there, does not mean it that people are getting it, and it also does not mean that what they are hearing is solid biblical teaching. The only example I have to give to support this is that with 72% or more of Americans claiming Christianity, we still have to fight legislation promoting gay marriage, abortion, and euthanasia. We are still having church counsels to review the merits as to whether we should allow openly gay pastors to remain in the pulpit. The fact remains is that for the most part, and I am generalizing, the teaching that has been made available to the Christians in this country over the last 100 years or two or three generations, has separated itself from the foundational truth that the Word of God as it is written in scripture is inerrant and dogmatic.
Our Christian foundations are not built on rocks today; instead they are built on the shifting sand of compromise. Church 'boards' are actually getting together to vote on whether they should follow the bible or not. When something is as simple as homosexuality where the scripture makes no mistake that a gay lifestyle (and many other sexual activities) is an abomination unto God, why do we even need a counsel on it, let alone a vote? Why do we need to get a 'committee' together to decide whether or not we should support the right to 'choice' in the arena of abortion when we are told that life begins at conception, and that abortion is murder? I'll tell you why. Because the average believer does not have a clue as to what the bible says or teaches. And furthermore, if they do, they allow their ideals of 'social relevancy' over-ride God's word, and they don't think two seconds about it.
The most important thing I can tell new believers is this: Get yourself plugged in to a bible teaching church. Once you have found it, commit to read through the entire bible at least twice, to be in a bible study at least weekly, and commit to be in fellowship with those people, breaking bread with those people, being in prayer with those people, and to seek church leadership anytime you have a question. BUILD your foundations on the WORD OF GOD, not on a 'feeling', not on a style of worship, not on a 'program' or because you 'like' this church or that, not because this friend goes here or does this or participates in that. Build your foundation FIRST. Because if you do not, you will be turned away by every wind of doctrine that blows in front of you or your friends, and the enemy will sift you like a handful of wheat. Dig DEEP in the Word until you hit Rock. Build there, and THEN let the Lord lead where He may.
Because Christians have not done this, we now have a church corporate full of leaders that lack solid biblical foundations. DirecTV® might have 15 Christian channels, but I'm pretty sure I could only recommend one or two as being worthy to watch! Not based on my feelings or judgment, but based on the foundation of scripture. The Mormon Church calls themselves Christian. They are not. The Catholic Church claims elite knowledge of God's revelation, that they are the only true Christian church and that the Pope is the official and chosen representative of Jesus on earth today; they have not, their doctrine contains heresy, and the Pope is not. Jim Jones and David Koresh called themselves Christians, the Popes that lead the inquisitions (acting like the modern day Muslins in their convert or die theology), called themselves Christian. These people and churches lacked a solid biblical foundation and they lead others astray.
I'm so tired of seeing Godly people who love the Lord, get sucked back into the world because some teaching has piqued their ears. I'm weary of new believers that truly have a heart for God lead into doctrines practices based on 'feelings' and social acceptance because they are following others who claim to be Christians and lack their own biblical foundation. I know plenty of people, and have heard over and over from believers that they have been Christians all their lives, that they have been going to church every week for years and some to the same church for decades, only to have their lives transformed once they are actually reading and learning their Bibles.
To know God, you've got to know His Word. Before you can practice a Godly lifestyle, we need to build our foundations so that we know what a Godly lifestyle is. A biblical worldview and lifestyle mean nothing if they are not founded on the Rock of His Word.
I implore you all; know the Word of God. We are being, and will continue to be tested by many things that look like Christianity, sound like Christianity, smell like Christianity, call themselves Christian, and are far, far from it. Do not become a victim of deception.