Proof of Life

Posted by Matt Lane on May 15th, 2008 filed in Bible, Blurbs, IBS

Why are so many Christians dead to the Bible?  Some people would consider that too harsh a statement.   Maybe it just appears that Christians are dead.  Probably a more accurate statement would be to say that many people have hardened their hearts against the Bible.  In any case, I think it is a tragedy.   Shouldn’t we who call ourselves Christians, Christ followers, be in love with the Bible and be obsessed with living out authentic faith through Jesus Christ?  Are we not called to live a life that in every way has kingdom value?Let me be very clear about one thing:  the Bible is NOT dead and it is the living word of God.  My statements are not in criticism of the Bible but rather aimed at people who call themselves Christians but are not transformed by what they read and hear.So what has contributed to this phenomenon?  Is it just a current generation issue? Are people even aware that their lives are not being shaped into the image of Jesus?  These questions constantly haunt and motivate me.

Looking at the current state of Christianity, I see that the biggest contributing factor is that people are not being purposefully trained to know who God truly is and then to love him with all their heart, soul, mind and with all their strength.  Much of what I see in our churches leaves so many things to just happen and after one generation of that setup, most of the foundation is lost and a vast shallowness overtakes the church.

Deuteronomy chapter 6 talks about passing God’s laws down to your children.  To purposefully teach them to your children.  To keep them in front of you all the time.  Verses 20-25 say that when your kids ask you about the things of God, you will be able to tell them.  The chapter speaks of not forgetting what God has done and to tell those things to your kids.  The mediocrity that so defines our churches these days is evidence that many Christians are not following this example.  After a couple of generations of not being taught authentic faith, many people are not fully aware that there is a problem.  However, I do not give anyone a get out of jail free card as everyone makes their own choices and are accountable. The Bible is in abundance now more than ever.  If someone wants the truth, they just need to seek it.

But what happens when they seek truth from the scriptures?  If people are not trained to study the Bible, if they are not taught how to handle the Bible in a way that digs out God-honoring applications, how are they to mature in their faith?  If authentic faith is not being modeled for them, how do people know what it even looks like?

Now I never want to diminish the work of the Holy Spirit and how he alone transforms a life and gives people new eyes for the scriptures.  The Holy Sprit does this all the time and it is a wonderful event.

The criticism I am bringing forth is aimed at our churches and our families for not purposefully raising up generations of biblically literate, God fearing, Jesus loving people.  For some reason, people are too worried about how to have church instead of being the church.  People are too worried about having success in life than living an authentic life in Christ.  People are wasting their lives when it comes to showing others Jesus’ love towards others.   It seems quite the opposite of the churches in Acts and I Thessalonians.

I see far too many families who simply bring their kids to church for spiritual nourishment and do nothing themselves to saturate their kids with the Bible.  When their kids demonstrate the same lackadaisical attitude towards spiritual things, parents wonder why their children are not more spiritually minded.  Why do people leave the spiritual feeding of kids up to the church?  Why do they leave their own spiritual feeding up to the church?  I strongly believe it is what was taught to them by their parents and then reinforced by the church by the never ending programs and number of different functions a member can attend.

Malachi 2:1-9

The passage makes the case that the leaders of Israel had the truth and were responsible for it yet led people away.  I cannot get over the fact of how that parallels the current state of many churches.  Our leaders have a tremendous responsibility to teach and to train and our people have a responsibility to keep them accountable.  When one slides, it can be self-correcting.  When both slide…I think to a certain extent we are witnessing this happen right now.

So how is this reversed?  How do we train people to have eyes for the Bible so that they will go deep and search for truth, become convicted, transformed, and then live out the applications?  How do we purposefully train adults and our children to study the Bible for themselves so that their own personal time in the Bible is their main source of spiritual feeding instead of relying on a weekend feeding at the church building?

Here is what I don’t think we need:  I don’t believe we need more programs.  I don’t believe we need to just “try harder”.  I don’t believe we need to have more flash, more glitz, or more money.  We don’t need bigger buildings or nicer facilities.  And depending on your definition, we don’t even need to “get back to basics” because we could end right up where we are now.

I do believe we need to train people to read and study the Bible for themselves using the Inductive Bible Study Method.  oia diagramI do believe our church leaders need to model authentic faith in Christ.  I do believe everyone should be in a healthy small group that is being shepherded by a leader who is being well cared for.  I do believe we should engage our culture where they are at and not stay in our holy Christian huddles.   I do believe that our pulpits should preach the whole council of God.

Matthew 28:18-20

We MUST be more concerned with our depth as followers and disciples of Jesus Christ.  We MUST be saturated with the scriptures.  We MUST be able to defend our faith with gentleness and respect.  If we woudl become obsessed with becoming more like Jesus, we would be obsessed with digging into the Bible.  The outpouring of that spiritual depth and continual transformation would then be revealed in our interactions with the world and be defined by being self-sustaining and having radical impact for Jesus.


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