Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Potency of the Christian Message

The potency of the Christian message and its ability to affect change in the heart of man that God desires is not based on human effort but on God's grace and Word.

It is the word of God that is sharper that any double-edged sword, judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). The judgment of the thoughts and attitude of the heart is the conviction of the Holy Spirit by which our sin is made known, we acknowledge our need for salvation and in the moment that we no longer harden our hearts but rather “believe in our hearts” and “confess with our mouths” that “Jesus Christ is Lord” then we are saved. There are no other means available to cause a change in our hearts that we would be made holy before God except by faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16).

Romans 10:17 says “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (also translated Christ).” Therefore, the message that we have that brings about faith is the word of God.

In addition, it is by command of Jesus that we are to take up the task to make disciples of every nation (Matthew 28:19) in part by “teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” Therefore, the message that we have that brings about faith is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:1,2 states “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son...” It is important to recognize then: (1) God's words have been spoken to men through the prophets before and up to Jesus Christ, and that (2) God's finals words on the matter of righteousness before God are through Jesus Christ. Lastly, the written record of God's words through the prophets and God's words through Jesus are contained in the Bible.

So we have drawn a line from righteousness before God coming by faith in Jesus, coming by hearing the message of Jesus Christ as written in the Bible and ultimately the transcendent call of God to his children that has gone forth since before the foundation of the world.

Considering the importance of the Bible containing the written record of the law, the prophets, Christ through the gospels and numerous letters regarding grace, the sovereignty of God and so much more, then it is no wonder that the Bible is under attack! The words contained in the Bible are truly living and are timeless in their significance and sufficiency for us today. Knowing that, why would we as Christians tolerate the Bible playing a less significant role in our churches? Why would we support doctrines claiming that the words that Christ spoke are no longer relevant? Why would we choose to accept laws and philosophies designed to shut up the covers of our Bibles.

The path that these decisions take us down is a path that separates the power from the pulpit. We must remember that the power of Christianity is not in Christianity. The power of Christianity is the power of the God of Christianity. When we teach that there is a gospel other than the one that was given to us by God Himself through Jesus Christ we teach that God is whomever we want Him to be. And when we accept that our Bible is no longer relevant to a world that is dead in its sin then we have become dead in ours.

Jesus himself says, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching" (John 14:23). How then will we obey Jesus' teaching if we toss out the Bible? How will Jesus' teaching remain Jesus' if we take it upon ourselves to change it?

The early church took great care in transcribing the Bible so that every letter was accounted for (see Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem). Each copy was carefully written down so as to remain consistent with the original. Every letter of every word was given utmost importance. The early Christians worked diligently to preserve the words of the Bible as the very words of God. Indeed, the Bible itself professes that it is the record of the words of God. Who are we to bestow less importance?

Be challenged today to take the Bible seriously. Resist any temptation that would try to pry the book from your hand or shut up your words. There is an attack to remove the Bible from our pulpits and from our country, but don't give in, child of God! This is a fight worth fighting for!

Scripture for the day

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep praying for all the saints."

Ephesians 6:10-18.

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