2 Corinthians 3:5, “Our sufficiency is from God…” 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” Proverbs 30:5: “Every Word of God is pure; He is a Shield to those who put their trust in Him.” Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.”
The Anvil of God's Word
Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith's door, and heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
When looking in, I saw upon the floor,
old hammers worn with beating years of time.
“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
" “To wear and batter these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he; with a twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
And so, I thought, the anvil of God's Word,
for ages, skeptics blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,he anvil is unharmed - the hammers gone.
Someone added these two lines
"Hammer away, ye rebel bands!
Your hammers break, God’s anvil stands!"
Four ministers were discussing the pros and cons of various Bible translations and paraphrases. Eventually, each stated which version he thought was the best. The first minister said he used the King James because the old English style is beautiful and produces the most reverent picture of the Holy Scriptures. The second said he preferred the New American Standard because he felt it comes nearer to the original Greek and Hebrew texts. The third said, his favorite was the Living Bible because his congregation was young, and it related to them in a practical way. All three men waited while the fourth minister sat silently. Finally he said, “I guess when it comes to translations and paraphrased editions of the Bible. I like my dad's translation best. He put the Word of God into practice every day. It was the most convincing translation I have ever seen.”
In 1982, Francis Schaeffer said, “The absolute issue in the future will be the inerrancy of Scripture.” He was absolutely right!
Author and Pastor, Francis Frangipane said, “The primary means through which we are kept and preserved is through obedience to the Word of God.”
On the other hand, a famous Televangelist said, “You can't preach the Bible to people in our day and age.”
People through the ages have debated God's Word with little regard to applying it to their own lives. In other words, people fail to live in obedience to God's Word and right doctrine, without which right living is powerless, useless and non-persuasive. John 17:17, “Sanctify them through Your Truth. Your Word is Truth.” It is God's Holy Word that sets us apart. In order for it to be a stronghold in our lives, we must apply it daily as the authority for our lives.
The Captain of a large Naval vessel saw a light ahead on a collision course with his ship. He signaled, “Alter your course ten degrees south.” The reply came back, “Alter your course ten degrees north.” The Captain then signaled. “Alter your course ten degrees south, I am a Captain.” The reply, “Alter your course ten degrees north, I am a Seaman third-class.” The furious Captain signaled, “Alter your course ten degrees south, I am a Battleship.” The reply, “Alter your course ten degrees north, I am a lighthouse.”
The world changes God’s Word to fit their lifestyle. We are to alter our lifestyle to fit God's Word. We place ourselves in danger when we refuse to heed the Lighthouse of God's Word.
The Postmoderns: The word, paradigm, is now used a lot. A paradigm is simply an example or pattern. In Ecclesiastical terminology it refers to a shift in thinking, methods and teaching. I've read the book, Preaching to a Shifting Culture, Twelve Perspectives on Communication that Connects, by Scott M. Gibson. Here are some of the chapter titles:
•“Dusting off the Old Testament for the New.”
•“The New Testament in the new millennium.”
•“Who's listening out there?”
•“The psychology of preaching.”
•“The Postmodern mind and preaching.”
•“Evangelical preaching in an anti-authority age.”
Thanks to Television, Postmodern’s think in sound-bites. Their attention span is limited so constant change is necessary. Many are using video clips (we visited a church one Sunday who used a video clip from the movie, Finding Nemo, to illustrate seeking lost sinners).
How does the church deal with the Postmodern’s? The same way the church has always dealt with Paradigm shifts, 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the Word, be ready in season and out of season…” Preach the Word, when it's popular and when it's unpopular.
Now I agree that our methods must change to fit our culture. But I believe that God's Word, preached by a holy messenger, who has been prayed for by his congregation, Isaiah 55:11 says, “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”
There is no Paradigm shift in God's Word…It has not changed! 1 Peter 1:23 NLT, “For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.”
The Scripture is sufficient For All Matters of Faith and Practice? 2 Corinthians 3:5, “Our sufficiency is from God…” 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
“Today there is a concentrated effort to discredit the Bible as the word of God. The News Media, television, film companies and book publishers are trying in every way possible to discredit the Word of God. The Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, are continuously running documentaries all claiming to be scientific and factual examinations of the Bible. Each program is presented with an anti-God bias meant to destroy the authenticity of the Bible as being truth and the word of God. It is big business to slander God's word and reaping these media companies multiple millions of dollars in profit.” –adapted from: Cooper P. Abrams, III, bible-truth.org.
1. There is a Preoccupation with Worldly Marketing Techniques, Which has been a Subtle Attack on the Word of God.
Marketing the Church. Since when does God's Church need Madison Avenue to promote its authority in the community? There are many Christian Celebrities but there is no such thing as a Christian Celebrity, only those sinners, saved by the grace of God who happen to be well-known.
Some who adhere to the new church growth paradigm refer to prospects in their communities as “customers?” When did God ever refer to sinners as customers? Some ministries target neighborhoods to find the most economically prosperous area to blanket with Direct-Mail, and E-Mail blasts. Others research to find what is the best method to reach a particular community. Now I'm not saying this is all bad. Acts 13:36: “David…served his own generation.” In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23: Paul says, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” I certainly agree that we must keep up with our culture, but not at the expense of the preaching of the Word of God! The modern church-growth movement says, “We don't want the unchurched to feel uncomfortable in our services.” Have they forgotten what God's Word says? “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Are believers so bored with Scripture that we must put on a three-ring circus just to get them to come to church? Campaigns, contests, give-aways, freaks, promotions, personalities, movies, music, and celebrities. One church had the Birdman, his birds got loose and bombarded the auditorium on Sunday morning. I spoke at a church that had a Motorcycle jump set up in the parking lot. One church had “Bible Bobby, the world's only Gospel preaching monkey.” The magazine, The Wittenberg Door, used to give the Green Weenie award to the church with the most bizarre and weird happenings.
By the way, since some of you reading this know me, Years ago I did some of the above stuff…We had Cal Worthington, the car salesman, and his dog Spot, an elephant. And we had Gentle Ben the television bear! (Actually his name was “Bruno.”) And you're right it was just to draw a crowd.
People search to find the church that is putting on the biggest and best show. And most of this stuff is directed at church people, just to boost attendance, and hopefully the offerings, people who should have been in church in the first place. Wouldn't you think that God's people might want to come just to have an encounter with God? You would think that God and His Word should be motivation enough for believers! He is should be celebrity enough for us!
2. There is a Preoccupation with Signs and Wonders.
The Power Gospel is a term being bandied about in some Evangelical circles. One pastor said, “The simple Gospel is no longer adequate without signs and wonders. You cannot reach our world with just the Word of God.” People are searching for miracles, words of wisdom and knowledge. Some are saying, “We will never reach the world with the Gospel without healing the sick, raising the dead or calling down fire.” What does the Bible say? Mark 16:17, “These signs will follow them…” Not precede them!
3. There is Creeping into the Church a Preoccupation with Mysticism and the Occult.
Christian mantras and chants, positive confession, evangelical science of the mind, Eastern Hindu thought, psychic powers, techniques for binding Satan (By the way: He is already been bound by God, all we do is claim it!), healing of memories, all because people do not believe God's Word can do what he says it will do. Isaiah 55:11: “So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void [empty], but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
4. There is a Problem with Education Today:
Education has not been left out of this insidious attack on the Word of God. Bible clubs are not allowed on most school campuses, but other societies are (Satanic type societies). Some High Schools have banned Fellowship of Christians Athletes tee-shirts, but all others were deemed okay. Prayer has been removed from our schools. The Ten Commandments, that at one time were placed on classroom walls, are now banned. In fact they have been removed from court rooms and most public buildings.
Children in sex-education classes are taught about alternative lifestyles. Condoms are provided and safe-sex is taught in a so-called “value neutral” environment. Christianity's role in history has been altered. Thanksgiving is now being portrayed, not as the day that the deeply religious Pilgrims set aside to thank God for His blessings, but a day when the Pilgrims gathered to give thanks to the Indians.
5. There is a Preoccupation with Psychology Today: The new God of the Church! There are some churches heavily involved in Freudian Psychology. Human wisdom is attempting to solve the human problem with human answers. Psychological salvation is rapidly replacing the new birth with pseudo-evangelical humanism, that includes, self-esteem, self-love, and self-image. (What is the key word here? self!) Not all, but many Psychologists ridicule Theology and Biblical Truth as having any bearing on human behavior.
One Christian counselor writes, “The Counselor should listen, show no authority, give no advice, not argue, talk only to aid or relieve or praise or guide and clarify his problem.” This is consistent with the secular Psychologist who warns, “Advise giving is not an adequate counseling function because it violates the autonomy of personality.” The Bible has the solution for every problem of life! The Scripture sufficient for all of life and conduct!
Even in Evangelical Christianity there is a real undermining of the authority of Scripture.
6. The Neo-Orthodox Position has Crept in Unaware:
Neo-orthodoxy is an inner feeling of truth. “This Scripture speaks to me, therefore it is God's Word to me.” Neo-Christianity says: “Let me tell you what this verse means by what it means to me.” When you must rely in inner feelings rather than the Holy Spirit to define God's Word, you are in big trouble. Feelings are great liars! One well-meaning pastor said to me, “I don't care what the Bible says, I've experienced it.” There has become a general weakening among evangelicals related to the authority of the Word of God. “All Scripture is God breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
Conclusion: The Power of God's Word:
God's Word has the Power to Save the Soul. Man has no power to save himself. James 1:18 assures us that: “God…of His own will brought us forth by the Word of Truth.” In verse 21: we “Receive with meekness the implanted Word…” Implanted means “to set firmly, establish, to become attached.” It is that firm attachment that gives us assurance of His presence within. Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” The “implanted Word” that saves our soul is in continual action in our lives. It has the power to transform. 2 Corinthians 5:17: “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away, behold all thing have become new.” Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation…”
God's Word has the Power to Transform the Mind. Romans 12:1,2, “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
Transformation takes place on the inside, a total change, a new way of thinking. This does not automatically happen. The renewal of the mind takes place when we fill our mind with the Word of God. Colossians 3:16, ”Let the Word of God dwell in you richly…” The Spirit of God illuminates the mind as we fill it with Truth [God's Word]. Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Hebrews 4:12,13, “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 the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart…” If we listen and obey, He will transform our thinking. Then we will submit to God and give Him the authority over our lives. God intends to shape us up on the inside first by effecting how we think. Psalm 119:160, “The entirety of Your Word is Truth, and every one of Your judgments endures forever.”
God's Word Has The Power To Conform the Body. God has had a love affair going on with the church from before the foundation of the world. “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to His Son, moreover, whom He predestined these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:29-31).
What a statement of conformity! God's input into our earthly existence makes us His Son, now and in the future. 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” Philippians 3:20,21, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also wait eagerly for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able to subdue all things to Himself.”
God wants to do something in our lives, today, right now! Luke 4:3,4, “And the Devil said to Him (Jesus), 'if you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.' Jesus answered him, saying, 'It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God.'”
In this passage Jesus is faced with the urge of hunger. He had the power to satisfy His physical urges and feed His flesh. But He chose to live, not by His bodily urges, but by the Word of God. Romans 6:12,13.”Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
We live resurrected lives! Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.” Ask God to give you a single mind! Philippians 3:13.14, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Proverbs 23:7: “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he…” Ephesians 4:23: “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” We are what we think!
Here's a formula to help you keep renewing your mind every day:
1. Surrender your mind to the Lord at the beginning of each day. Give your mind and will by faith as you start each day. The prayer: "Lord, I want to give You me!"
2. Allow the Holy Spirit to renew your mind through God's Word. Daily, systematic reading of the Word is an absolute must if you are going to grow and have victory and joy in your life.
3. Ask God to give you a single mind. “This one thing I do…”
4. Mind your Mind. As you plan your daily schedule, be sure nothing you have planned robs you of the joy God wants you to have. Train yourself not to worry about unforeseen events that may never happen. Get rid of the “what ifs” in your life.
5. Guard the gates of your mind. When an unkind or impure thought enters your mind, deal with it instantly. If you cultivate such thoughts they will take root and grow and rob you of you joy. One of the best ways to defeat wrong thoughts is to fill your mind with God's Word. Psalm 119:11: "Your Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You."
In the Word, by the Word, through the Word. God's Word is my strength, my guide, and my promise for the future.
Read it! Believe it! Practice it!
Unless otherwise noted, The New King James Version of the Bible was used, also The New Living Translation (NLT)
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Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB). Contemporary English Version (CEV).
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