Wednesday, December 12

When you feel like John the Baptist.....a voice crying out in the wilderness.....

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Titus 1:9 (NIV)

We face alot in this world today and can easily be led astray, amazing though it may seem in a world so technologically informative.....but true. Because we have lost the desire to be accountable for our instruction. It is far easier to just sit in the comfy seats in the sanctuary and let the man (or woman) on the stage do the hard work. And, gee, if it sounds good...well, then it must be.

Peter faced this problem in the beginning church that was entrusted to his care by Jesus. Peter, the man who denied the Savior three times and was redeemed by the Risen Savior an equal number, warned of this danger that faced the community of believers back then and has journeyed with the church throughout the ages.

Nowadays, though, it isn't the fact the message is getting distorted but that the message isn't fully given. And many of the churches; i.e. the emergent movement, the universalist movement, and others, are pointing to the numbers to justify their approach. But as Bill Hybels, Pastor of Willow Creek, admitted recently....he was wrong. By taking responsibility out of the congregations hand, and allowing them to simply sit on their hands, the church has become its worst enemy. We have created a community of "I want" instead of "God wants".

"Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute" 2 Peter 2:2(NIV)

Philosophy meeting Christ's truth which has created the Osteens, Warrens, and other 'feel good' theologians that sit upon our pulpits in the church today, where the pursuit of happiness is very much a part of the American Christian culture. And we face the divisional differences that Peter and the beginning church faced, of 'christian cults' with their own doctrines and lifestyles that are slightly 'antagonistic' to our eyes.

Who better to know how to reach the lost than us? We seek to attract adherents to our faith by giving lectures on how to live, solve one's problems, and find meaning in this life. These teachers are often marked by arrogance, which is confused with righteousness, and teachings that reach to man's human desires and not pointing them toward Godly ones.

We have become a community of 'creatures of instinct' that Peter reflects upon in his second letter:

.......They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. 2 Peter 2:12(NIV)

Following the herd of culture is the best way to fall off a cliff because you aren't looking. And realizing that the teaching you've received sitting in the pew of Sunday worship isn't (at best) the full story or (at worse) is totally wrong isn't an excuse when it comes to the white throne.

Instead of relying on big assemblies to gain personal knowledge of the Word, we should seek general direction from the Sunday services and dig deeper in our relational time with God or even in small groups of accountable believers.

Discuss the sermon beyond Sunday and dig for the factual knowledge that has been imparted. Expose that which is biblically untrue and hold the teacher accountable, but realize that they are students too.

Too much reliance has been placed upon the pastors today to teach, instruct, and exhort us in our religious walk of faith. It's time we took some weight from their shoulders and bore our own responsibilities.


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