I am commonly asked why has a current church lost its power, being of such a non-affect concerning the world around us.
I believe that there are two main answers of which I will deal within these next two articles:
1) Laziness, which is seen in a superficial handling of God’s word due to a refusal to work hard at digging deep in studying God’s word which develops a lack of investment into God in his word – fostered on by self-centeredness; as is exhibited and gained by osmosis from the world around us.
2) A lack of discernment due to our refusal to judge and evaluate within the church and the world, wherein by refusing to judge there is a lack of Spiritual maturity, and a blurring of lines between good and evil; wherein many believers have become lukewarm.
This week I’m going to address the complexity issues regarding studying God’s word, wherein a lack of commitment and determination become the ultimate negative values gained by refusing to dig deep into God’s word.
Einstein wisely stated: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
His point being that we should break things down in order to explain them, and gain insight and knowledge; yet never to the extent that truth (The validity of the thing is compromised) is lost for the sake of simplicity.
Life is complicated, our own DNA is a great example.
There is a place where as you attempt to break down the complexity of any substance, you lose clarity and function, and eventually lose the ability to maintain a true perspective concerning the subject.
An automobile engine is a good example, having hundreds of parts, it only takes removing a few parts – attempting to simplify the complexity of it – that the automobile will not function as designed.
This is not only true in our secular world, but in the spiritual as well; where it becomes easier to follow the simplicity of not thinking through complicated issues, or to appeal merely to emotionalism; as compared to the willingness to diligently do the hard work of digging deep into God’s word; and therefore grow in faith, as His word instructs.
Faith, and it’s Source
Biblical faith, as taught by God’s word is not to be built primarily upon experience, wherein emotions are the bedrock. No, Biblical faith is to be achieved by and through God’s word and its examination.
Simpler Messages From the Pulpit
For those of you that study your Bible, and have been a Christian for some time; let me ask you this question: “How often do you listen to a sermon where you actually learn something new, something that gives you greater insight into God or His word; and in the process becomes a tool for building faith” in accordance with Romans 10:17, which states:
“faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God“.
Embarking Upon Deep Investigation in God’s Word – And Why it’s More Difficult Today
For myself, very rarely do I hear anything new (I am not speaking about new for the sake of new or tantalizing, I’m talking about new because the teacher was willing to dig deep and uncover those faith building insights which are mandated by hard work, and are yet new because we are so superficial in our current culture. It is the superficiality wherein the same old things are said time after time, or people simply regurgitate what the Bible says without actually digging deep and exposing the nuggets the Holy Spirit would wish us to uncover and therefore grow in faith. When I say grow in faith, please see Endnote 1 so you’ll know what I mean.), and more importantly something that builds faith based upon what is written in God’s word.
By way of example, over a decade ago, when I first moved into the state where I live, I have spent a few years visiting dozens and dozens of churches as a part of the video ministry which I belong, as well as for personal reasons, within a wide range of denominations and teachings.
Being especially pulled towards those churches that stated they were Bible teaching churches, I became thoroughly amazed at how many preachers these days don’t actually teach the word of God – they simply repeat what the word of God says with very little exegesis, or explain the same old things that we’ve all heard dozens of times; where in the process greater faith is not gained.
Exegesis is simply digging deep and uncovering what the text says in greater detail, wherein approaching the original language is one of the best tools besides the normal hermeneutics that many employ.
Exegesis means to diligently study and uncover the depths of meaning that a text holds.
Exegesis is Not Chronological
Yet, we are so uneducated as pastors and teachers that we don’t even know what the simple word means, with many good-hearted teachers defining exegesis as a chronological examination of God’s word, which is not what the Greek word means at all.
And while I personally believe that a chronological teaching of God’s word, book by book, chapter by chapter, Scripture by Scripture; is a good thing, it is unbiblical to state that this is the only way to teach God’s word, or even the best way.
For you high-minded teachers that say this is the only way or the best way to present God’s word let me ask you this, based solely on God’s word, can you show me a New Testament teacher that chronologically teaches from the Old Testament, they do not do it.
Paul Did Not Teach Chronologically
Paul constantly interweaves passage after passage from different Old Testament books, wrapping Scriptures together in such a way that he presents God’s word across a wide range, yet in a detailed and even an exhaustive manner – this is what the Holy Spirit has blessed, and is seen in God’s word, not a chronological examination of the Old Testament.
Chronological is not what exegesis is.
Biblical Context is as Important as Immediate Context
You can exegete a passage by not only considering the immediate context of those verses before and after the text under examination, but as according to Biblical Context, wherein cross-reference within God’s wondrous single volume, which contains 66 books, regarding a subject gives you a much wider consideration of the subject, while at the same time giving you a much more detailed and exact treatment as well.
Paul stated Romans 20:27, which states:
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. ”
A literal translation from the Greek of this passage is that Paul did not neglect to teach the whole counsel of God, as is contained in the Bible, God’s word.
This is what Paul was teaching, the Old Testament, the writings that were current concerning the gospel, which included the writings of Luke (60’s AD), as well as other New Testament writings including his own – we hold these writings in one volume call the Bible.
You Cannot Isolate Scripture within God’s Word
Paul’s statement is a simple declaration that you cannot merely isolate one book or passage in presenting God’s revelation to man, it is a teacher’s responsibility to teach and present all of God’s revelation as found in the Bible – this is what is meant by Biblical Context.
And while Chronological teaching of a book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse; is an excellent tool, this is not the only way to teach God’s word.
Even Isaiah 28:10 which states:
“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little”
Is not supporting chronological teaching verse by verse. It is when you interweave different parts of the Bible and present precept upon precept, wherein the logical flow and dissemination of God’s writings are seen, where there is line upon line.
Defining Words Correctly
This is what is needed for in-depth teaching, even when we define such theological terms as exegesis. We must remember one of the effective tools of Satan is that of changing or distorting the meaning of words, wherein fallacy and inconsistency are introduced.
and hearers suffer the loss of greater Biblical knowledge, and the Holy Spirit is shackled from displaying the deeper truths of God’s word, wherein faith is to be built because of confidence of what is observed in God’s word, and the word of God is made void by our traditions in the process.
It is unfortunate that many people build their faith mainly upon their own experience, rather than preeminently upon God’s word (And yes there is a place wherein we find ourselves in a situation which aligns itself with God’s word specifically, and we exercise faith in God and our faith grows in the process. This is not what the Scripture says nor is it meant to be the main place of gaining faith. Faith is to be gained from the hearing of God’s word and understanding that this book could not have been written by man, and therefore must have been written by God), wherein a close examination of God’s word in great detail, refer to as studying God’s word is mandatory.1
The Dumbing Down of America
Satan has been working on delegitimizing real education and knowledge in the secular arena for many years, wherein 136 years ago John Dewey’s Progressive Education, which taught that the manner of teaching was more important than the substance of what was teaching, started our educational process down the road of dumbing (Yes, I know this is not a real word, it is a colloquialism ) down of America.
Wherein values and morals were sidelined, and the medium of exchange became paramount – where it’s not what you teach, but how you teach it that is the mantra of the day.
Where the charisma of a president such as Bill Clinton, or our current leader keep them in office, while displaying a complete lack of morality; which mandates a lack of justice, wherein situational ethics, and the ends justify the means become the standard of rationality for every evil type of decision made (“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” ~ Isaiah 5:20 KJV).
Where today we boast about giving away tablet computers to kids that don’t know how to utilize mathematics, or how to work out complex social issues, or figure out moral questions, or connect cause-and-effect, or the virtue of patience and hard, culminating in the decline in the educational product of our nation getting worse each year.
Schooling Affect a Person’s Christianity
If a people stop learning, if they become uneducated in how to research or even think through complicated issues, this translates into how they handle the Bible as well as the lack of growth in developing and maintaining discernment, as well as the functional tools to understand the basic grammar of the English; let alone the complexity of the Greek and Hebrew languages.
Things such as rhetoric, debate, and critical thinking, which were commonly taught for the last 200 years of American history have fallen by the wayside to pragmatic pursuits, such as: Sex Education; acceptance and tolerance of everything and everyone, especially homosexuality; Social Justice, wherein victimization becomes an excuse for every aberrant behavior which the Bible calls sin.
All fitting an agenda where the next generation become nothing more than dumb sheep following a liberal progressive ideology based upon emotions, rather than rational logic, upon secularism rather than Christianity, and upon humanism as opposed to the pursuit of godliness.
The devil has helped orchestrate that the population at large have become spectators, rather than participants; have become hearers, rather than doers – and this has infiltrated the church as a segment of the culture wherein the church no longer delves into doctrine and those deeper things of God’s word which lead to maturity and understanding, but now pulpits become prognosticators of itching ears type of storytelling at its worst, and superficiality at its best.
This was the environment that mandated within secular circles that the Bible was taken out of public schools, with prayer being taken out not long afterwards, along with the Pledge of Allegiance, and exchanged with the teaching of homosexual acceptance, mistrust of parental authority, self-centeredness; all leading young people away from the churches and the God of their parents, towards the acceptance of the nanny state, and the eventual world leader that would someday promise them everything, while in reality leading them to hell.
The Effect upon the Church
It is in this current environment within the church that presentation have taken the place of over substance; where elaborate and emotionally driven stories and analogies take the place of good hermeneutics (Theories of biblical textual interpretation, which the lack thereof has so much misinformation in understanding God’s word, wherein much false doctrine has been produced).
It is more common to hear issues dealing with the believer, rather than He that is to be believed – God.
Where self-help concerning becoming the better person in dealing with psychological issues, or becoming better spouses, better parents, and better representatives of the church are at a premium, yet at the expense of maintaining focus upon Jesus.
Jesus name may be heard often, but more often as a prop to validate a presupposition, story or ideology. Yet, all at the expense of growing in knowledge concerning God’s Word.
How easily we gloss over passages like Romans 12:1-2, which states:.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
This passage speaks about our responsibilities as God’s children and servants, to put Him first, to go the extra mile, to present our bodies as living sacrifices willing to do the hard work that God would demand of us. And not be patterned after this world that does things that are comfortable, easy, and less commanding.
This passage goes on to speak about the transforming process brought about by the “renewing of your mind” that effects believer; in order to demonstrate and prove God’s righteousness and justice concerning “His Will.”
The renewing of the mind of the believer is a course of action that necessitates thoroughly studying the Word of God, which is God’s communication of “His Will” to man – you cannot separate God from His Word.
When all is said and done the greatest problem with keeping it simple, is glossing over in arrogant superficiality that which God has meant for us to diligently and patiently seek out in his word, to grow in knowledge but But also in character, understanding that everything’s comes back to one thing for the believer – God’s will.
Just as an example of what I mean by digging a little deeper in God’s word let me pass on to you what one of my teachers passed on to me, which concerns the fact that there are 7 mysteries addressed in God’s word, with the Mystery of Lawlessness very close, how much do you know about the other mysteries founding God’s word?
This might be a good research project.
Examples of mysteries hidden from mankind, to be reveled by God to His own:
1. Mystery3 of the Kingdom (Referring to: “the church” or the mystery of the “Millennial Reign of Christ), Matthew chapter 13 had seven parables, which coincided with the seven churches of Paul’s letters (he wrote 13 letters, 3 were continuations to the same churches, 3 were to individuals, and 7 were to churches), which coincided with the seven church letters that Jesus dictated in Revelation (Matthew 13:11, Revelation 2 & 3).
2. Mystery of lawlessness (II Thessalonians 2).
3. Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17 & 18).
4. Mystery of the Rapture (I Corinthians 15:51-53, I Thessalonians 4:16, Gk. harpazo, “caught up” of “snatched up”).
5. Mystery of Israel rejecting their Messiah (Romans 11:25).
6. Mystery of Christ and the church (Ephesians 3:3; Colossians 1:24-27).
7. Mystery of the will of God (Ephesians 1:9-3:1).
[From K-House Ministries]
1. We Cannot Separate Belief, and therefore Faith from the Bible
For it is within the Bible that we:
Observe prophecies fulfilled which create credibility,
find knowledge which is beyond comprehension,
and gain wisdom which exceeds human capabilities.
Biblical faith is found in God’s word because of the consistency of witnessing miracle after miracle exhibited in God’s word, with the end result being that truly this book could not have been authored by man, but must have been offered by He who can see the ending from the beginning – God Himself, wherein this book deserves our greatest attention as God’s revelation to man. Biblical faith is to be primarily based upon an interaction with God’s word, as is declared in Romans 10:17, which states:
“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God“
The Source of Biblical Faith
Biblical faith is created and grown wherein as a person reads the Bible, and the Holy Spirit opens their spiritual eyes to perceive that which is laid out, it is a logical reasonable process of coming to the conclusion that this book could not have been written by mortal man (2 Timothy 3:16), because:
1) There are prophecies given in Old Testament, that are fulfilled in the New Testament.
2) There are prophecies given within the Bible as a whole, which are fulfilled since it’s closing.
3) There are scientific and natural insights presented in the Bible, which were once considered completely false; in time, science has caught up with the Bible proving that it was correct in the first place, and that it is beyond human insight.
4) There is deep wisdom that is written between its pages, which are far beyond the capacity of a human being to create.
5) There are internal evidences found in the Bible when it is crossed-referenced within itself in such a way that it is obvious that 40 different men could not have utilized the exact same type of “Figures of Speech,” including: typology, such as seen in metaphor, similes, models; along with prophetic symbols as seen in even the use of numbers, colors, events, material and substances, dates, mathematics, names, roles, and even people’s personality and lives; all done to portray a shadow of things to come rather in heaven, or in the particular case of Jesus, the fulfillment of the Messiah; as witnessed in His First and Second coming – as well as Last Days events – all done in such a way that the only explanation is that God orchestrated the creation of this Book.
All leading to the conclusion that this book was not written by man, but by a God that is outside of our time domain, who can see the ending from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10); who is all-powerful, and in total control of His creation (Isaiah 45:5-7), and therefore worthy of our complete trust and faith in what He has said and what He will do (Isaiah 46; Jeremiah 29:11).
2. “Circles of Context,” Adapted from Klein, Blomberg, and Hubbard, Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics, PP219
3. The Definition of the Biblical word “Mystery”
The Greek word used in the above passages that is translated into the English word “mystery” is musterion. It is a derivative of muo (to shut the mouth). Vines states, “In the NT it denotes, not the mysterious (as with the Eng. word), but that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can be made known only by divine revelation, and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those only who are illumined by His Spirit. In the ordinary sense a “mystery” implies knowledge withheld; its Scriptural significance is truth revealed. Hence the terms especially associated with the subject are “made known,” “manifested,” “revealed,” “preached,” “understand,” “dispensation.” The definition given above may be best illustrated by the following passage: “the mystery which hath been hid from all ages and generations: but now hath it been manifested to His saints” (Col. 1:26, RV).