Monday, September 23, 2013

Gospel Recovery!

What the nation and the church are in most need of today is a gospel recovery.  In 2 Kings 22-23, we see how things play out in a nation and a church when a gospel recovery begins.  In OT times, Israel was set up as a theocracy.  Unlike our nation today, there was no separation of church and state.  Josiah became King of Israel when he was 8 years old.  At the age of 26, the high priest reported back to Josiah that during the temple renovation process, God's Word had been found.  Can you already see what had happened.  The temple building, think of the church house today, had been given more priority than God Himself.   Finding this out, Josiah was torn on the inside.  He acted immediately and gave God's Word prominence by reading it aloud.  He then acted further on it by destroying the national and religious idols that his people had previously set up.

In other words, God's Word was first found and then given proper authority to work in the lives of God's people. As a result, real revival broke loose.  Foundational to all theology is the fact that the Word of God is without error (inerrant).  It is unblemished and the Holy Spirit superseded the scriptural inspiration process as He carried imperfect men along to write down perfectly what He spoke.  Many have attacked God's Word throughout the years but The Bible has stood the test of time.  Over 24,000 copies of ancient manuscripts have been found over the years giving the Bible surmountable external evidence as a valid and reliable historical document.

Many church members in our country seem to have not only misplaced or lost their Bible.  They seemed to have lost themselves.  On a weekly basis, 10 million Southern Baptists are unaccounted for in their worship services. Biblical illiteracy rates have skyrocketed both in and out of the church.  To further complicate things, many of those who have somehow found themselves and their Bibles do not give the Word of God the authority or the time it deserves to work in their own lives. We are malnourished at best.  The Bible itself claims to be a believer's life and a believer's food.  Bible intake is just one way a believer survives and grows.

When a person, church, or nation decides not put the Word of God in its proper place, chaos ensues.  Church discipline seems to be a relic in today's church, yet we find this practice all throughout Scripture.  The practice of church membership may be argued by some to have not been a early New Testament church criteria, but what I find worse today is how so many churches in our denomination accept anybody and everybody without giving any credence or proof from the individual of first being a fruit-bearing follower and a disciple of Christ.  And lastly, preaching has fallen on hard times.  A Pastor who is willing to preach the whole counsel of God is indeed a rarity for the American Church. When it comes to preaching and teaching God's Word, church leaders can't be beggars and choosers.  Highlighting one verse, chapter, book, or testament to the neglect of another does a disservice to God's people.

However, the neglect of getting the good news to the nations has been our greatest sin.  We have set up our church houses as attractions and destination points rather than missions mobilization units and launch pads for believers to go into the world.  We have mistaken and substituted our model of worship with the OT model which was for God's people to come to the temple against the NT mandate of sending God's people out from the church house to reach the nations. It is a sad indictment on us to see that we have only sent out .03% as missionaries out of our 16 million roll and that as a denomination only 1 penny out of every dollar given actually makes it to the line item international missions.  In essence we have done exactly what Christ commanded us not to.  We have made converts, not disciples.  So that you don't catch me quoting half a verse, hear what Jesus had to say to this in Matthew 23:15 (look it up if you don't believe me) - "Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you Hypocrites!  You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are."             

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