A Rediscovery of Sorts.
Welcome to the American Church, it’s a beautiful building where all the nicely dressed people come to hear a sugar coated gospel or a message strained of grace. Welcome to a place where the men lay down their responsibilities and the young people lose their role models. Where everyone knows the bible, but when asked how the message applies to their lives they cannot give you an answer. Welcome to a watered down worship service with you as the focus and God as the afterthought. Yes, in all sincerity, welcome to the American church.
But we cannot talk about the bad without talking about the good. Because while there are negative trends in the church there are positive ones as well as more and more reformed pastors step forward the next generation will be led by the fruit of these reformed leaders. But what has caused this reforming trend? What has brought about the Driscol’s and the Sproul’s? Why, after a decade of what Brad Stine accurately defines as “wussified faith” have we started to see a resurgence of solid bible teaching?
In Kings 22:8-13 we find Judah in its last 20 years before the nation will be carried off. On the throne at the time was King Josiah who “Did what was right in the sight of the Lord” (22:3). The text tells us that in his 18th year as king (when he was 26 years old) he has the temple rebuilt and in the process the High Priest, Hilikiah discovered the book of the Law. This was probably Deuteronomy or parts of Leviticus, copied and left in the temple so Israel wouldn’t forget the covenant with the Lord. At this time though Judah had forgotten, following two wicked kings who had introduced Canaanite practices and rituals that were displeasing to God.
Josiah has the book read in his hearing and when he hears the word of the Lord he repents and brings over 50 reforms to Judah, unfortunately it was too late for God to not wipe out Judah but the Lord does promise and does prosper Josiah’s reign.
But in the American church today we have fallen into a similar rut. Even though we are (in most cases) not worshiping Baal or introducing cultic practices we do have our own idols. We have taught a generation that spiritual highs are the goal of Christianity and you’re a bad Christian if you don’t have one. Instead of grace we have made graven images out of shame and guilt or we have gone the opposite direction, making God a voiceless golden calf who wants nothing more than for us to call Him our best friend and go to Him so we can get fixed up.
Grace isn’t taught, love isn’t taught, loving the Lord with all our hearts souls and minds isn’t taught.
But wait, hear the rise of reform: as we wait in expectancy for the return of the king the voice of the Holy Spirit is being heard. The voice of the shepherd is calling us back to the word of God, the gospel of grace, soft and steady saying “Rediscover my Word.” The word of God is transforming, the Word is not going to bring you a spiritual High, it’s not going to make you happy. It’s going to make you uncomfortable and possibly destroy your current worldview. But by the power of the Holy Spirit it will transform you.
Spiritual High’s have their palce, but never above the word of God or in place of God himself. Remember the words of Sarah Groves. “I think it’s time to rediscover all the ground that I have covered, like seek you first, what a verse.” God first, His Word at the center of your life. Submit to God’s word, to God and to grace, and that is hwo we take the lead.