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Needed: Biblical Discernment

Proverbs 2:3-5 (NKJV) reads:

3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.

I am convinced that we need a revival of biblical discernment.  How often do I hear sermons, songs, books, movies, etc. that claim to be Christian but lack any sound doctrine?  Sound doctrine is neglected as pragmatism now reigns over the churches.  We truly need a revival of discernment.

We need to question everything and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  How do we learn to discern?  Discernment comes by heeding the Word of God.  We must learn to hide the Word in our hearts so that we have the sword of the spirit to cut through false teachings (Hebrews 4:12).  This comes by faithful reading and studying of the Word of God (Hebrews 5:11-14).  As we hide the Word in our hearts, the Lord gives us the ability to discern based on His truth (John 17:17).

Proverbs 2:3 above states that we are to cry out for discernment and lift our voice for understanding.  John MacArthur writes:

This shows the passionate pleading of one who is desperate to know and apply the truth of God.  The least bit of indifference will leave one bereft of the fullness of wisdom.

I often pray for God to give me discernment according to His Word.  I want to judge all things by the truthfulness of the Word of God (1 John 4:1-2).  God’s Word is perfectly sufficient to provide all we need in hearing from God and learning discernment.  We don’t need the Bible plus an inner voice or plus hearing “the voice of God” by subjective means.  We need to open the Bible, learn the Bible, and through the Bible we get discernment to judge all things.

If this were to take place in the Church of Jesus Christ at large can you imagine what would take place?  “Christian music” would turn from shallow, narcissistic lyrics to sound doctrine.  Sermons also would turn from shallow stories, poor eisgesis, toward sound doctrine with unction.  Evangelism would be focused on the gospel and preaching the truth of the gospel instead of trying to make friends with the world.  The church would turn from its entertainment drive toward truth proclaiming.  Pragmatism would be replaced with sound doctrine and biblical discernment of Bible teachers.  False teachers would be turned away as the Church embraced the sufficient of the Word of God and learned how to rightfully divide the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15).

All the things the church is now known for from the love of money to the willingness to accept false teachers who fleece the saints to using worldly entertainment to feed the goats, this would all clear up if biblical discernment were sought after diligently.

Where do we begin?  First, we must pray for discernment (Proverbs 2:3).

Secondly, we must seek discernment from the hidden treasures of God’s Word.  This will in turn lead to a holy fear of the Lord and we will find the knowledge of God.

I want both the fear of the Lord in my life as well as the knowledge of the Lord.  I want to know Him more and more (Philippians 3:7-10).  I know that only in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).  I want to know the Word of God not just to point out false teachings but for the good.  I want to hear from God (John 8:47) and I know that I hear from God when I read and study His Word.  His Word is the voice of God (Hebrews 1:1-3; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  I need no other voice.

Lord give me discernment.

Is Patriotism Sinful?

I’ve been enjoying a lively conversation between myself and an Australian brother.  He often writes articles on the United States often attacking us for various reasons.  It got me wondering about patriotism and whether it is sinful.  This brother believes that too many Christians in the United States place Christianity and patriotism side by side and often blur the line between Christianity and the United States itself.

First, let me state that I believe it is not sinful to be patriotic provided your patriotism doesn’t get in the way of the gospel.  The United States is not the kingdom of God and some do struggle to see that distinction.  I confess that Jesus is Lord of all (Romans 10:9-13) and He is Lord over the nations (Daniel 2:44).  The nations are His (Psalm 2:7-9).  The gospel is going to triumph over all the nations including the United States of America (Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).  The United States, like Great Britain before her, like Spain before her, and like other nations will not matter in eternity.  The Lordship of Christ is what matters.

Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36) not meaning that His kingdom is not coming to this world but rather that its power, its source is not of this world.  Our power is from God (Acts 1:8).  No nation can defeat the gospel.  Whether it be the wicked Soviet Union or the wicked United States, nothing will stop the gospel.  The gospel is going to reign over the nations (Acts 17:30-31).  Revelation 5:9 promises that there will be people from every tribe under heaven in eternity.  People of all races, languages, nations, etc. will be in heaven.  What a joy that will be!

When it comes to patriotism, I know many look at the United States and wonder about this.  Why do Americans stand at the national anthem?  Why do churches display both the Christian and US flags?  Why do churches encourage patriotism?  Even by those who do not claim Christ, patriotism is often encouraged.  Even atheists rejoice in our freedoms and encourage a loyalty to the United States.

For those outside of the US, this can be misunderstood.  I was raised to be thankful for our nation.  I was taught by my Sunday School teachers, my public education teachers, and my college professors to love our nation, to rejoice in our freedoms, to pray for our leaders.   I look around at the world and I see poverty, I see political turmoil, I see religious restrictions, I see wars, I see the government taking away people’s rights to life, to liberty, to the pursuit of happiness (to quote the Declaration of Independence) and I thank God I live in the United States.  This is not a “Christian” nation though I fear that the secular left wants to wash away the Christian foundation that is definitely part of our history that we brought over from Europe.

According to the United Nations:

With a population of over 300 million people, the market value of all goods and services was almost $14 trillion dollars in 2007—equivalent to a staggering 2.5% of the entire world’s total output. Gross domestic product (GDP) data collected by the World Bank in 2007 indicated that the United States produced more goods and services than the next four economic–powerhouse countries—Japan, Germany, China and the United Kingdom—combined.

In the US, we can live anywhere we want, drive anywhere we want, eat whatever we want at all times, do whatever we want (provided it is legal).  I live in the South here in the US and we are called “the Bible belt” for good reason.  We have thousands of churches, Bible publishers, and missionaries.  It is not uncommon to go to a civic event and hear prayers. Our leaders often speak of what church they belong to.   The United States has sent out more missionaries than any other nation in the history of the world.  More money flows from the church here in the US to world missions than any other nations combined.

I have seen people rise through the Protestant work ethic engrained in the United States.  My uncle is now with Jesus but he was born with an eye problem that led to his blindness.  He could see up until near his death but he was legally blind.  When he dropped out of school in the 1940’s, blind people often were destined for poverty.  What could they do?  He worked at a broom shop making corn brooms at $10 a week.  He married his bride and they shared a one bedroom apartment.  Over time, my uncle got saved and Jesus changed his life.  The Protestant work ethic begin to flow.  My uncle worked hard and when he died, he had purchased three homes, multiple cars, and left behind a strong biblical work ethic.   All this while legally blind.  Of course, the biblical work ethic is not about just getting homes, cars, etc. but about working to the glory of God (Colossians 3:23-24).

Despite all this, the US is a wicked nation.  We have turned from our Christian foundation. I am not implying that our founding fathers were all Christians but they did have Christian heritage that came from mainly England.  The first pilgrims to the new world brought with them The Geneva Bible and sought out the new world for the purpose of worshiping God in freedom.  11 of the 13 colonies had a national church.  Yet the liberals today want us to ignore history, to ignore Christianity as what made Europe great and when Europe turned away from Christianity, it too has fallen.  Christianity will make Africa great as well as China and Korea.  I pray that other nations learn from the history of Europe and the United States and embrace the gospel and watch the blessings of God.

The US is full of sin.  Homosexuality, abortion, murder, drunkenness, greed, lust, gambling, sports idolatry and other forms of idolatry, the worship of money, of power, of fame.  We live in a society that has lost its Protestant work ethic (that work is to the glory of God and is rewarded) but now I read that the younger generations favor socialism (stealing from the hard working to provide equality to those who do not work as hard).  This nation must repent.

So back to my original question.  Is patriotism wrong?  I believe that it should not become idolatrous.  It should not blur the gospel.  It should not rob Jesus of His reign over our lives.  We are not citizens of the United States first but we are disciples of Jesus first and foremost (Luke 14:25-35) and our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).

Paul the Apostle was not ashamed to say where he was from (Philippians 3:5).  Paul even used his earthly citizenship to his advantage for the gospel (Acts 22:22-29).  He did not boast over others through his Roman heritage but he used it.  I pray the same for my fellow Americans.  I pray that we use our freedom to preach the gospel.  I pray that we use our right to free speech for the glory of God.  I pray that we take our money and use it to spread the gospel around the world.  I pray that we use our religious freedom to preach the gospel in the open air, to witness to people, to gather with the saints of God to worship our true King, and to pray for our leaders to repent (1 Timothy 2:1-7).

If you do not live in the United States, I ask you to pray for the US to repent.  It is a blessed nation but a wicked nation.  May God have mercy on the United States of America.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/16/2016 at 6:02 PM

We Are All Fallible

The Bible is clear that there are none righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10).  We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Our minds and hearts are warped with sin when we come to Christ and the work of God in sanctifying us is to make us more like Christ (Romans 8:29-30).  Yet even after we come to Christ, we bring years of sin, years of filling our minds with wordiness and compromise.  We also bring to the Lord all our culture, our thoughts, our upbringing, our traditions.  All of this must be laid before the Lord and we take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23-25; 14:25-35).

Of course, not all of that is sinful.  Our culture may or may not be sinful.  Our traditions may or may not be sinful.  We must take all of them and lay them before the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).  The Word of God is the only infallible and inerrant guide in our lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  We submit to the Word of God (John 8:31-32).

Yet this doesn’t mean we don’t bring our fallible presuppositions to the Bible.  We all do.  I appreciate those who come humbly to the Bible longing for the Holy Spirit to teach us as little children (Matthew 18:2-4).  I acknowledge that I don’t understand everything about the Bible and there are parts I have yet to grasp.  I suppose I never will.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t study the Bible or don’t read difficult passages but I don’t build doctrines on passages that are not clear.  Nor should you.

Furthermore, we can read a passage and bring different presuppositions to the text.  Take the controversy of Romans 9.  When Arminius begin to preach through the book of Romans, it was at Romans 7 that Arminius first differed with the Reformed pastors of his day.  Arminius argued that Romans 7 was not a Christian.  This was (and remains) not the view of the Calvinists.  Arminius, who at the time was himself likely a Calvinist or at least was trained by Calvinists, was willing to disagree with the theologians of his day over the sake of truth.  I happen to agree with much of what he wrote about Romans 7.  That said, I know that neither myself nor Arminius are infallible.  Arminius brought his presuppositions to the text and so did the Calvinists of his day.

Another text that is hotly debated is Romans 9.  We Arminians read Romans 9 and we see the concept of corporate election all though it.  We see God showing mercy to whom He desires to show mercy and hardening whom He wants to harden (Romans 9:18) but we don’t see this in the sense of individual unconditional election of people to salvation.  Calvinists do.  And why?  Can we both be right?  Could we both be wrong?  We both read Romans 9 and we both seek to be faithful to the text but we read Romans 9 totally different ways.

We read Romans 7 or Romans 9 or Ephesians 1 or John 6 in different ways because we are fallible.  Muslims point to the divisions in the Church as proof that Allah needed to send the final prophet to unite all people.  Of course, Islam is not united.  ISIS is proof of that.  Atheists point to John 17:20-23 as a text that shows God did not answer Jesus’ prayer since the Church is not one.  Other cults such as Jehovah’s Witnesses harp on the same thing.  Where is the unity?  Where is the one true Church?  Who is correct in their doctrine?  Who is the one who is preaching the true gospel?

All this does is prove that men are sinful.  That is all.  We are fallible.  We are fallen creatures made in the image of God but sinful nonetheless.  Our thoughts are not infallible.  Only the Bible is infallible.

The answer I believe is humility.  I confess that I don’t know all things.  I confess I could be wrong about Romans 9.  That said, there are clear things taught in Scripture that I believe are essential and are vital to our salvation.  Seeing election unto salvation in Romans 9 is not one of them.  Seeing all the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 as operative today or not is not essential to salvation.  Seeing the “rapture” in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is not essential to salvation.  Seeing the book of Revelation as futurist is not essential to salvation.  The deity of Christ, His miracles, His teachings, His saving work on the cross, etc. are essential.  Faith is essential (Hebrews 11:6).  Repentance is essential (Acts 2:38).

My point here is not to be some postmodern in regards to Scripture.  I believe the Bible is the inerrant and infallible truth of God given to us to reveal His salvation (John 20:31; 1 John 5:13).  I am not claiming that humility is greatest virtue and we should not be dogmatic over theology.  I believe theology is vital to our salvation (1 Timothy 4:16; Titus 2:1).  I believe that without sound exegesis, you could be preaching or hearing about the wrong Jesus (Matthew 24:23-25).

But I am arguing to humility toward our brothers and sisters in the faith who disagree with us over non-essentials.  I am calling for love (John 13:34-35) and charity.  2 Timothy 2:24-26 is clear (NIV):

24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

The Lord’s slave should reflect their Lord who is humble (Matthew 11:29; Philippians 2:5).  Our Lord Jesus gave us the perfect example for us to follow in His steps (John 13:15; 1 Peter 2:21).  Jesus Himself was not quarrelsome even with the Pharisees.  Yes He rebuked them in Matthew 23 but He also warned them, loved them, and ultimately (here is my Arminianism coming out) died for them (Luke 23:34; John 11:49-52).  Jesus was kind to all and He taught all who would hear Him.  He handled His opponents with much grace (Matthew 22:23-46).  Jesus always answered His opponents with Scripture.  He didn’t make it a personal issue.  Jesus wanted them to repent and come to the truth.  Many of them did repent after His death and resurrection including a Jew named Saul of Tarsus.

While we are often willing to grant grace toward sinners, we are not willing to grant it toward our fellow disciples.  This should not be.  We should be humble and willing to love even that brother who disagrees with our end times view or our mode of baptism.  We should be willing to preach the gospel with our Calvinists friends who disagree with us over many issues but who preach the same saving Jesus as we preach in Arminianism.  Let us unite over the essentials, defend the gospel at all costs (1 Peter 3:15-16) but love each other over non-essentials and personal preferences (Romans 14:1-4).

And those are the thoughts of a slave of Christ.  May Jesus be glorified (John 3:30).

Short Thoughts on the Islamic View of the Bible

I was listening to Dr. James White teaching on Islam and their view of the Bible and his talk got me thinking about the nature of the Islamic view of the Bible and how that plays into their view of Allah’s determinism of all things.  The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is so sovereign that everything that happens whether good or bad happens because Allah wills it so and Allah renders all things certain.  Some have tried to place the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty on the same level as the Muslim view but there are major differences between the two and I will not go there.  Just a cursory reading of the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty reveals that despite their holding to divine determinism, there is a large element of God’s goodness and His love toward His creation including the reprobate (Romans 9:22).

The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is not entirely loving and good.  His nature is not loving.  While Muslims believe that Allah is merciful and compassionate, they hold that Allah is to be known not in a loving sense but in submission (thus Muslims are those who submit to Allah).  The nature of God in Christianity is that God is love (1 John 4:7-8).  God is both holy and loving.  God hates our sins and He will judge our sins but He has also sent His Son to bear our sins on the cross (John 3:16).  This is the hope of the gospel, that Jesus has bore our sins (Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:7) and we will be raised to eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).  No doubt sin separates us from our holy God and Creator (Isaiah 59:2; Ephesians 2:1-3) but God has sent His Son for our sins because of His great love for us (Ephesians 2:4-9).

The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is completely other from his creation.  Allah often remains angry with humanity because we fail to obey his laws as he gave to Mohammad in the Quran and mostly in the Hadith.  Allah will judge all of humanity and will judge the Christians harshly for their worship of Jesus Christ (Surah 19:88-98).  Muslims fear the day of judgment .  They fear that Allah will not be merciful toward them even if they have kept his laws and sought to obey the pillars of Islam.  Some Muslims even believe that no person is safe on the day of judgment for Allah may choose to ignore the works of the Muslim and simply choose to send them to hell because of his own sovereign choice.

Now back to my original thought.  Islam holds that Allah not only controls all things but he renders certain all things.  Nothing happens that Allah has not willed so.  Allah is the supreme cause of all things.  The view of God in Islam amounts to fatalism.

Yet Muslims hold that Allah gave the Old Testament (the Torah) to the Jews.  Allah gave the New Testament to the Christians (the Gospels).  Yet they hold that the Jews and Christians corrupted the Scriptures given to them by Allah.  Therefore, Allah in his mercy sent Mohammad 600 years after the New Testament to correct true religion and to bring people back to submission to Allah.  The Quran is seen to be given by Gabriel to Mohammad as the final revelation from Allah (notice that it had to come through the angel because Allah does not deal with mankind).  Muslims then reason backwards that the newer revelation is superior to the older revelation.

Muslims hold that the Bible has been corrupted though they can’t truly point out the corruptions.  They often point to variants in the Greek text such as Mark 16:9-20 or John 8:1-10.  However, Christian scholars acknowledge these variants.  We also acknowledge the textual differences among the Greek family of manuscripts.  By the way, Muslim scholars know that there are variants in the Quran texts as well.  Bear in mind that the Quran was written years after Mohammad had even died.  The key differences here is that the Bible has thousands of manuscripts for it.  The New Testament alone has thousands of Greek texts.  Muslim scholars also now that the variants do not effect any major doctrines in Christianity.

Yet all of this, the variants, the so called corruptions in the Bible, etc. all happened because Allah willed it.  Yet Allah states in the Quran that he will guide and protect his word.  How can this be if Allah allowed the Old and New Testaments to be corrupted?  How can Allah be trusted if he allows this?  And if Allah allows the Bible to be corrupted, how can the Muslim argue that Allah has protected the Quran from error?

On my desk here as I write is a copy of the Quran along with my New American Standard Bible.  The two are not even close when you read them.  As Dr. White pointed out in his talk, just take the book of Acts and read it and notice how Luke emphasizes places, historical people, emperors, etc. while the Quran does little to none of this.  One cannot read say Surah 2 and know for sure when this is or what is happening.  The Quran is not even fun reading.  Meanwhile, the Bible is full of history, poetry, prophecy, etc. that places the Bible and its events in human history with humans interacting with God as the will of God is accomplished mainly the salvation of mankind through the cross (John 1:29).  The Bible has been given to us to reveal God’s final and ultimate revelation of Himself in His Son for His glory and for our salvation (Hebrews 1:1-3).  John 20:31 records that these were written so that we might believe in Jesus and be saved.

The Quran, on the other hand, is not that way at all.  The beauty is not there.  The historical interactions are not there and what few are there are borrowed from the Bible in some form.  Even what is known about Jesus has to come from the Bible (such as His virgin birth which the Quran has to borrow from).  The Quran has to borrow from the Christian worldview (mainly the Scriptures themselves) to establish itself.  The Book of Mormon is similar in this vein where Smith has to borrow from the Bible and then attack the Bible to establish his book above the Bible.

The bottom line is that if Allah is all-powerful and he causes all things then he caused the corruption of the Bible yet he said in the Quran that he gave the Bible and protects his words.  Which is it?  Did Allah protect the Bible or did he fail?  Obviously, if the Bible is true then we have no need for the Quran and Mohammad is a false prophet and false teacher.  This is my view.

My Reaction to Same-Sex “Marriage”

As I write this, I am heartbroken by the 5-4 decision by the United States Supreme Court to legalize homosexual “marriages.”  The SCOTUS in essence ignored democracy, ignored State’s rights, and changed the fundamental definition of marriage.  The issue before the Supreme Court was not about marriage.  It was about affirming homosexuality.  This decision by the SCOTUS will not end the homosexual agenda as the attacks will now turn up toward the religious who do not affirm homosexuality.  It not about marriage but about affirming sin.

So how do I react to this wicked decision by the SCOTUS?

1.  This decision does not change the biblical view.  While I have no doubts that many “evangelicals” will embrace homosexual “marriage,” a true disciple of Jesus will never back down.  Why?  Because homosexuality is a sin.  Homosexuals are homosexuals by their sinful choices.  They can be forgiven just as all other sinners can be forgiven (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

2.  Marriage will not be redefined by the SCOTUS nor anyone else.  A biblical worldview is against any other view of marriage but the one given to us by God Himself (Matthew 19:4-6).

3.  The Church must continue to preach against the sin of homosexuality just as we must preach the truth of biblical marriages (Ephesians 5:25-32).  God’s truth does not change because our wicked culture now affirms certain sins.  The Church must continue to call all sinners (homosexuals included) to repent and believe the gospel (Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 7:10).  I will not cease to preach that homosexuality is a sin and that it can be forgiven by the blood of Jesus.

4.  This decision should cause to pray for homosexuals to be saved.  Again, the fundamental issue here is not about marriage.  It is not about equality.  It is about affirmation.  Homosexuals (like all sinners) know that their actions are against God.  They know that they deserve the wrath of God because of their sins.  We all know this about our own sins whether it be homosexuality or greed or lust.  We know that God is holy and we deserve His just wrath against our sins.  Yet sinners (and not just homosexuals) want to run from this judgment.  They want to pretend that if society affirms their sin, the sin and their guilt will go away.  It will not.  The Holy Spirit is still working, He is still convicting sinners (John 16:8-11) and He will continue to convict homosexuals that their sin is against a holy God.  We must pray for homosexuals to be saved by the grace of God.

5.  This decision, of course, is not final.  God can transform our culture back to the truth of Scripture.  We must pray for Matthew 6:10 to take place.  A revival of God’s truth can not only save sinners but turn our culture back to the Word of God.  Once this happens, the SCOTUS decisions will not matter in light of the ultimate Judge.  A thousand years from now, the rulings of the SCOTUS will not matter as God will still be King.

6.  No doubt this is a sad time in the United States.  While sinners rejoice in their sins (Romans 1:32), the righteous feel mocked, we feel defeated.  Yet Jesus is still King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15).  President Obama may celebrate this wicked moment but the righteous know that our true King longs for sinners to repent (2 Peter 3:9).  We should pray for the SCOTUS and for our national leaders to repent.  We should pray for the homosexuals who fought to bring this case before the Court to repent.  We should pray for the homosexual couples who now believe that their sin and guilt will go away by becoming “married” before the Government to repent.  We must pray for God to bring repentance to this nation.

7.  Lastly, we should pray for true marriages to be healthy, to be what God designed them to be.  I am not a perfect husband.  I have my many faults.  Yet I know that my marriage is a true marriage because of the Word of God.  I am married to one woman and our marriage has produced three boys that I am already teaching about true marriage.  The true reality is that only true marriages can produce children and parents of those children can teach their children the truth of marriage before the wicked culture tries to pervert the truth of marriage.  No homosexual couples will ever have children.  It is simply impossible.  Therefore, we who can have true marriages and produce children need to do so and train our children in the ways of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).  This will turn back the tide of sin and turn our nation back to true marriage.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/26/2015 at 6:25 PM

Looking For Ourselves or Christ in Scripture?

We live in a narcissistic age when everything is aimed at us.  Commercials are aimed at us.  Even religion is aimed at us.  The seeker movement and the new “vision casting” movement (along with the now dying emergent movement) is all aimed at us.  The church exist for us.  The church exist to please us.  The church is here to help us.  Even God Himself is being cast now as the One who exists to help us.  God wants our lives to be happy, joyful, fun, full of money and stuff.  We are told that if God had a refrigerator, we would be on it with our selfies.  God created the world for us.  God sent His Son for us.  God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives (or so we are told).

In the midst of this are preachers who preach to this age.  Like those in 2 Timothy 4:3, these teachers teach what this generation wants to hear: that we are special and unique and all.  The seeker churches now cater not just to the lost (unchurched – sorry about that) but now to the selfies folks as well.  The music is aimed to please.  The sermon will not be theological at all and will be so relevant because it is aimed at you.  The prayers will be short and sweet and to the point with their good friend God listening in.  You won’t hear words such as repentance, forsaking sin, holiness, intercession, seeking God, treasuring Christ, the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  You’ll just hear cool, hip preachers who tell story after story about what they do, what they are like, their stories, their humor.  After all, the preacher (while trying to be real to the folks) must also bear the burden of being part of the selfie generation.  So roll out the Nintendo’s and roll out the movie screens and get ready to watch the vision-casting leader promote themselves while trying to connect to the selfies in the crowd.

But what if Scripture is not about us?  What is Scripture is about Jesus instead?  Me just writing those words probably sends chills through the selfies.  The thought that Jesus should be the focus of God or the Bible is something we simply don’t want to hear.  We want to believe that the promises of God are for us.  We want to believe that the Bible is “God’s love letter to us.”  We want to believe that the Bible is written for us and about us.  So no wonder we have preachers preaching from 1 Samuel 17 and finding parallels between David’s fight with Goliath and our own fights with giants (depression, a move, a marriage, etc.).  We have preachers preaching that the resurrection of Jesus was not just about Jesus rising from the dead but our own resurrections as well such as the death of a dream, the death of relationship, or the death of our businesses.  God wants to raise them too just as He did Jesus!

What if all that is wrong?  What is the story of David and Goliath is about, well David?  What if the resurrection of Jesus is not about us per se but about Jesus rising from the dead to the glory of the Father?

Jesus makes a statement in John 5:39-40 that we don’t want to read but need to.  The text says:

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

Notice that Jesus says the Scriptures reveal Him!  One can read the Bible (just as the Pharisees did whom Jesus was address in this text) and miss Jesus!  In this generation, selfie preachers focus on themselves with clever stories about themselves yet they (and their hearers) miss Jesus.  In reality, most seeker preachers these days are not even preaching the Bible anymore but instead are preaching their journey stories.  They are not even trying to pretend to be preaching the gospel.  Gone are the days of the 1990’s when seeker preachers at least mentioned Jesus and perhaps tried to teach a text of Scripture.  Now it just stories about the preacher and props to help the hearers connect with the story.

Yet Jesus said that Scripture is about Himself and not us.

In Luke 24:27 Jesus taught His disciples that Scripture was about Himself.  In Luke 24:44 Jesus even says words that the selfies would not want to hear: that the Scriptures are written about Himself.  John writes that when we read the Scriptures, they are written so that we might believe in Jesus (John 20:31).

So what about the promises?  2 Corinthians 1:20 says that they are about Jesus.  The focus of the Bible is on Jesus.  The focus of the Bible is not on us.

How should this effect our Bible reading?  It should make us focus on Christ and His glory.  When we read the Old Testament: look for Christ.  When we read the New Testament: look for Christ.  Christ is the glorious One.  Christ is the exalted One (Philippians 2:5-11).  Christ is our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).  Christ is the One who speaks to the Father in our defense (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1).  Christ is our everything!  In Christ is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).

So many go to the Bible looking for themselves or even a theology.  I use to read the Bible looking for Arminianism or even passages against Calvinism.  Now I just want to know Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).  I don’t want to see this system or that.  I want to know Christ.  I want to love Him more and be closer to Him (Luke 14:25-35).  I want to be like Christ but I know this only comes through knowing Christ.  I do see myself as I draw closer to Christ and I see what selfies would not want to hear: that I am a sinner in need of this Savior (Romans 7:7).  The more I read and study of Jesus the more I see that He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) and I am the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) so I know He came to save a wretch like me.  Oh I see myself as I read but it is not good (Romans 3:23).  Thankfully God is good and I see His goodness in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15; 2:9-10).  That God loves this flea is amazing to me!  The lower I see myself going, the higher I see the glory of Christ Jesus!

This has amazing results.  Prayer is no longer about me.  Worship is no longer about me.  Evangelism is no longer about me or even the people I witness to.  Church is no longer about me.  Creation itself is no longer about me.  The Bible is not about me!  Everything is focused on One: the Lord Jesus Christ.  All of creation, everything in creation is focused on Christ and His glory!  I want to preach Christ (2 Corinthians 4:5).  I want others to join in and worship the only One who is worthy to be worshiped!  Christ is the highest philosophy.  Christ the greatest study of science.  Christ is the One who is adored in true art.  Christ is the greatest example of a Man.  Christ is God.  Christ is worthy to be praised and adored and worshiped.  I want to know Christ more.  Not me.

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