Monday, March 30, 2009

What God Expects When You Have His Word

Sunday I had the privilege of expounding Deut. 6:1-9. It was a personal challenge to my own heart, and was very sanctifying for my soul. Here in this text we see what God expects of His people who have been given His Word. There is a high demand placed upon them by God Himself, and that is something that our post-modern world cannot stand.

I was once at St. Paul's Cathedral in London where a female bishop got up to read Jonah 2. Before reading the text she said, "This story is hardly believable and is not to be taken literally." A church here in Czech Republic that I know of had a meeting a couple years ago where everyone in the church believed the Bible was the Word of God except the pastor. Another pastor I know once said to me, "In our church we don't preach against speaking in tongues and we don't preach for it. We don't preach against women being elders and we don't preach for it."

Well then, what in the world do you preach? If pastors have this view of the Scriptures then what do they do with Deut 6:1-9? Here in this text we see 4 expectations that God has for those who have His Word! They are to be taught the Word (6:1-2), to obey the Word (6:3), to love the Lord of the Word (6:4-5), and are to be consumed by the Word (6:6-9)!

And as pastors, if you aren't teaching your people the Bible, if you call Jonah a story that is hardly believable when Jesus Himself spoke of it as a literal, then you and your church are doomed! If you don't believe the Bible is the Word of God, then you have nothing to say on Sunday and you have no authority. If you won't preach against things and for things, then you are not preaching at all.

God in Deut. 6 taught the importance of knowing His Word, obeying His Word, loving Him, and passing on His Word to succeeding generations. When the church fails in this, it fails, and fails miserably. And the church is largely failing. We know of large churches that are dying. They are as plants with no water. The living Word is not being poured into their poor souls. They are dying of spiritual hunger. We know of dear people in these churches who are desperate for a man to lead them and preach the Word of God.

The time is desperate, there is a great urgency among us, and we watch these churches perish by the lack of men who will stand in the gap and say, "Thus saith the Lord!" Where are the men lining up saying, "let me preach!" Where are the men preaching the gospel calling people to Christ? Where are the men like John Knox who said, "give me Scotland or I die?"

Pray! Pray that God would raise up a new generation of men willing to go to the stake, men who are willing to travel down paths overtaken by thorns and vipers, men who are not afraid to stand for truth and preach the Word! And don't just pray, GO! The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few!