Bible Ballistics: Relevant or Reliable??? Pt. 2 Vol. 5 #16
We talked our last time together about the need to stand on the Word of God rather than the methods and motives of the world. We looked at 2 Timothy 4:1-4 and Paul’s message to Timothy and the call to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine…” We must be ‘reliable’ with the truth of the Gospel, more than ‘culturally relevant’ toward the wickedness of our American culture.
Like Paul may we cling to the only truly ‘relevant’ message: 1 Corinthians 2:2-5,
“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
This stands in stark contrast to much ‘popular’ preaching today. We rely on plans, programs and agendas to ‘fill the churches’ when only “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” can transform lives and hearts and reveal the mighty works of God. Why is the church so powerless? Perhaps because we are more concerned about ‘relevance’ than being ‘reliable’.
Relevant—closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.—(the world???)
Reliable –consistently good in quality or performance; able to be trusted.—The Word of God!!!
We seem to be so caught up in being ‘relevant’ (connected to) and accepted by our world, we have forgotten that Jesus called us to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’. And salt and light are the ultimate ‘relevance’ to those in in darkness and corruption, but we’ve settled for compromise to attract, rather than ‘reliability’ that transforms. We are “the light of the world”–Light exposes the dark and it is impossible for light and dark to inhabit the same space! Yet we as believers seem to be trying to dim the light so that it will be ‘appealing’ to the dark world. Salt can purify and preserve, as well as season other things. Jesus calls us to be “the salt of the earth” –that which preserves the good and stops the corruption of evil. But one thing that we forget is that when salt is doing its job, it can often be painful. You know, like ‘pouring salt in an open wound’!!! While it is ‘painful’ it does cleanse and help to heal the wound, and mankind is in desperate need of the cleansing, sin-healing, “Power In the Blood”. As the old song says, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Jesus washes it away, He doesn’t condone and accept sin!
If men don’t know they are sick, why would they take the medicine? And if people don’t know that they are lost in sin, why would they want the salvation that Jesus offers? Jesus came because of sin:
Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Jesus himself said,
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 Men will never be found until they realize that they are lost!
Isaiah 53:5-6, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all..”
Luke 15:4, “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?”
Luke 15:24, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”
Jesus came from glory to take on flesh and blood to die for lost and sinful man. He loves us and without His righteous, substitutionary death for us we would be eternally lost. We are all born into sin and without the salvation of Jesus we would have no hope. But Jesus not only came to save us from hell, but to save us from sin—it’s penalty, and its power. And when He returns to this earth He will deliver us from the very presence of sin. But to receive that which HE offers through His blood, we must repent of our sin. We must let go of the ‘selfish ownership’ of ourselves and yield to the control of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must bow before HIM! We can’t hold onto ‘self’ and the “LORD Jesus” at the same time. Remember light and dark can’t occupy the same space!
In Luke 19:3 & 5 Jesus said,
“ I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
In Ezekiel 18:30 God says,
“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.”
Matthew 3:1-2, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Until we are willing to share the truth of the saving power of Jesus Christ, and the need for repentance, we have failed those who need ‘truth’—the lost. It doesn’t matter how relevant we think we are being to cajole, entertain, and compromise the gospel, we are doing no one any favors to let them miss Jesus because we didn’t point them in the right direction. The “CROSS” is the only direction.
Mark 8:34, “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
The popular call to be relevant, says that not only can ‘whosoever will’ come, but that they can hold on to their sin and still come. I beg to differ; to take up the cross is to die to one’s self and live to and for Christ.
Romans 6:1-4, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” New light not the old darkness!!!
We are saved to walk in newness of life, because we have been delivered from the penalty and power of sin, and empowered to walk in God’s ways!
Colossians 1:12-14, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
Forgiveness of sins that Jesus bought and paid for at Calvary—that is the “GOOD NEWS”!!! And the good news needs to be shared with people in all its power and truth. Not compromised and watered down to attract people with false hope in a self-designed salvation that has no resemblance to scripture, because it’s power is not in the life-transforming blood of Jesus. For only Jesus can transform lives, as He equips us to do all that HE wants us to do by HIS power through the indwelling Holy Spirit. By the blood of Jesus we are made ‘righteous’ before God!
2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
So when we are changed and transformed how does it look?
John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
How? By God’s provision. Romans 5:5
“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
God’s love isn’t what the world calls ‘love’. God’s love is right and good, holy and pure.
John 15:19, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
When we belong to Jesus we will receive the same treatment that He did. The truth will never be welcomed except by those whose heart’s God is calling. Only the Spirit can convict and draw to Jesus. Our job is to spread the truth—all of the truth. We are not to be ‘mimes’ of the world, but ‘witnesses’ of Jesus truth!!!
John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
the same yesterday,
and to day,
and for ever.”
God hasn’t changed His Word. Will you stand with HIM or the world? Will you be ‘relevant’ or ‘reliable’ with the power of the Gospel of the cross?