Monday, April 29, 2013

The Need for Seed

“Houston, we have a problem!”

It is the Bible by which we are reborn. “You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). The process of new birth starts with spiritual seed (sperm, Greek sperma), as Jesus says, “the seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11).

It is the Bible by which Christ's disciples would be set apart as unique to the Lord. “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

It is the Bible for which we are to long and by which real growth is produced. “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2).

It is the Bible which is both our foundation and basis for judgment. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24). “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48).

Christ's disciples have been commanded not only to baptize, but to teach the Bible. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, ... [20] teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

The apostle of Christ warned the church of a time when people would not want the Bible. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, [4] and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3).

The church has also been warned about the danger of ingesting the Bible in a shallow manner. “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant” (Hebrews 5:13).

With the abundance of evidence as to the importance of the Bible … of its necessity for our spiritual lives … why then is there so little of it utilized within the modern church?

Preachers do not preach Bible sermons, they preach “Bible-based” sermons. It is rare when a 30-40 minute “message” contains more than two or three verses of Scripture. There is more emphasis on relevance than righteousness. Truth is watered down to the point it is deemed non-offensive. And even among those preachers who claim to be preaching “tough messages” and “the whole truth,” the majority of them prove to be more knowledgeable of theatrics than theology. The seed sown is of the spiritual Monsanto variety … GMO all the way.

Elders – those who are supposed to be qualified as “able to teach” the Bible (1 Timothy 3:2) – barely know it, and cannot teach it without a workbook or teacher's guide. In thirty years of ministry, I have rarely ever missed a board meeting. Decision after decision has been made concerning the forward progress of Christ's church, yet I can count on less than one hand (even if I were missing a couple of fingers) the number of times that what the Bible says has ever been considered. In fact, just the opposite. On countless occasions I have brought up what the Bible says about a subject, only to be told, “We know what the Bible says, but ...”

Members – who have been given voting privileges (not according to the Bible, but according to the democratic society in which we live) – do not know the Bible, yet they elect their own leaders and hire their own ministers (again, the marks of the republic in which we live, not the eternal kingdom of Christ). If these infants – these sickly sheep – have no knowledge of the Bible, how then can it be expected that the elders chosen from among them or the preachers hired by them will be of any real value? Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:16). Nowhere has this proven to be more true than in biblically ignorant congregations. If fifty morons select one of their own to lead them, it doesn't make the leader any less a moron than the other forty-nine.

It was Maverick (played by Tom Cruise), in the 1986 classic Top Gun, who said, “I feel the need. The need for speed!” Well, I see a need for seed! We need it sown, and sown abundantly … and not just among the unsaved, but among the church as well.

“Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; [17] so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

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