Friday, June 29, 2007

Can You Rely On Personal Revelation?

Here is a great video clip taken from CrossTV's series "A Workman Approved By God". I am sure nearly everyone has heard the phrase from someone, "God told me!" or the "Holy Spirit said" followed by some subjective experience they are convinced came from God, yet cannot be verified from Scripture. In fact, it often contradicts the Bible.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Ill Effects of Decades of Shallow Teaching

The dearth of solid expositional preaching and teaching have given way to multitudes a congregants who are now vulnerable to the various forms of false teaching prevalent in evangelicalism today. Phil Johnson in his recent post put it well:

"But the accrued apathy of at least four-plus decades of neo-evangelical influence has left evangelicals virtually defenseless against doctrinal error—especially the subtle varieties. The Emerging movement has aggressively exploited that weakness, challenging (on one front or another) practically every historic evangelical doctrinal distinctive. The Emerging Church has therefore become practically the mirror opposite of what fundamentalism was supposed to be."

Scripture illustrates the devastating consequences of not growing in our knowledge and understanding of God's Truth. The Corinthians fell into this trap and it made them vulnerable to deception. (2 Corinthians 11:2-4) In fact, their lack of growth in the knowledge and application of Scripture resulted in a sin infested congregation. (1 Corinthians 3:1-3;1 Corinthians 5) It is of vital importance that believers continually study and understand the text of Scripture in order to build wisdom and understanding to keep them from falling victim to various false doctrines and to keep their hearts pure before God. In fact, it is the primary function and duty of the local church to actively pursue the task of equipping the congregation to thoroughly understand Bible doctrine, so that they are not tossed about "by every wind" of false doctrine, regardless of how subtle the nuance may be (Ephesians 4:11-16). It is tragic that the shallowness of contemporary evangelicalism has left multitudes vulnerable to every false teaching that blows their way, especially those errors that are ever so subtle.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Important Reasons to Preach the Word

Excerpt from “Five Reasons to Preach the Word” by John MacArthur

2 Timothy 3:1-4:4

"Lastly, this whole matter of preaching the Word not only because of the danger of the seasons, the devotion of the saints, the dynamic of the Scripture, the demand of the sovereign, but lastly, this is really important, because of the deceptiveness of the sensual...because of the deceptiveness of the sensual. The great enemy of the Word of God is anything outside the Word of God...the word of Satan, the word of demons, the word of man. And we are living in very dangerous seasons concocted by seducing spirits and hypocritical liars propagated by false teachers. And here's what makes them successful...look at verses 3 and 4. "The time will come, and it does, it cycles through all of church history, when they will not endure sound doctrine." People don't want to hear sound doctrine. "Sound" means healthy, whole, wholesome. They don't want wholesome teaching. They don't want the sound, solid Word. They just want to have their ears tickled. That's all they want. They're driven by the sensual, not the cognitive. They're not interested in truth. They're not interested in theology. All they want is ear-tickling sensations. That's what they want. They refuse to hear the great truth that saves and the great truth that sanctifies. And according to chapter 2 verse 16, they would rather hear worldly empty chatter that produces ungodliness and spreads like gangrene.

We're in such a season now. They tell us that being doctrinal, being clear about the Word of God is divisive, unloving, prideful. The prevailing word...the prevailing mood, I should say, in the world of post-modern western culture is that everybody determines truth for himself and everyone's opinion is as valid as everybody else's opinion, and there's no room for absolute authoritative doctrine. And, folks, that's one other "ism" you can add to the list of dangerous seasons, relativism."

This article originally appeared here at the Bible Bulletin Board.
“Five Reasons to Preach the Word”
By John MacArthur
Copyright 1998

All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Are You Really Listening?

30"But as for you, son of man, your fellow citizens who talk about you by the walls and in the doorways of the houses, speak to one another, each to his brother, saying, 'Come now and hear what the message is which comes forth from the LORD.'
31"They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain.
32"Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them.
33"So when it comes to pass--as surely it will--then they will know that a prophet has been in their midst." (Ezekiel 33:30-33, NASB)

Ezekiel was careful to accurately proclaim the message that God had for the people of Israel. He proclaimed it with passion and clarity, and expressed himself eloquently. It is clearly evident in this passage that the people enjoyed listening to what Ezekiel had to say. In fact, they made a point of encouraging others to come and listen to the prophet. The people came and sat under the teaching of the prophet, yet they walked away without their hearts being changed!

In much the same way today, there are multitudes of people who flock to hear eloquent preachers, but walk away unchanged and continue on in their lifestyle just as they did before. They even give lip service to the message and comment how they liked what was said. But unfortunately, many never apply the truth that was expounded to them.

Just like in Ezekiel’s day, there are many who appear to be merely entertained by solid preaching. But the solid exposition of God’s truth is not meant to be a form of Christian entertainment. It is meant to be taken to heart and applied to effect a change on an individual’s life.

We are reminded in the New Testament in the book of James of this very thing.

22But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;
24for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
25But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25, NASB)

We are to be doers and not merely hearers of the Word. James tells us that those who merely hear but do not put into practice what they hear, “delude” (Gr. paralogizomai) or deceive themselves.

It is imperative that we earnestly seek to apply what we hear. Once the messenger delivers the message based on God’s Truth, it is our responsibility to take heed. God holds us accountable for our response. Ezekiel knew the sobering responsibility God charged him with and if he failed to follow through, God would hold him responsible for the fate of those he failed to warn. However, once Ezekiel delivered the message God commanded him to give, the responsibility rested on the people who heard the message. (Ezekiel 3:17-21; 33:1-9)

God holds us accountable for applying His truth that has been made available to us. May we always be eager to apply what we hear to our own lives!