Sunday was a good day in fellowship. It amazes me how God shows up even when we are few. That is the promise of Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (ESV), isn’t it?
We finished our study through 1 Corinthians and next week we will be starting our study through 2 Corinthians. In some ways continuing through 2 Corinthians is a natural continuation of the same issues and principles that Paul has been presenting about the believers at Corinth in 1 Corinthians.
If there is a theme for us to look forward to in 2 Corinthians it is “Ambassadors of Christ.” We will be challenged to represent the Kingdom of God in a world and church that is lost in itself.
We see our society is lost in itself when the godless advocate through violence and resistance, as if they can change government through their own angry efforts and disregard for lawfulness. The political opposition frantically seeks ways to discredit character, to control media headlines, and to use any means available to steal power from government leaders that believe in the American constitution and conserving American religious liberty.
The same can be said for some within the church world who seek to discredit the truth of Scripture, to distort the clarity of its verses, and to deceive those who seek an understanding of the Bible and stand for the religious rights of Christians.
I recently opened my Facebook app and as I was scrolling down the News Feed, I was struck by the multiple video clips of preachers prancing across their stage without a Bible in hand or without a Bible in sight. These may be good preachers, but good at preaching what? Preaching their own wit and opinions? Preaching their own soap box theology? Preaching their own cleverly worded presentations?
Many of these ministers will counter with claims that they preach about the Bible, but what about actually preaching from the Bible book-by-book, chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse? What about preaching God’s Word, not our own words?
The Old Testament prophet Amos warned us of this day when he declared “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord“ Amos 8:11 (ESV).
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the craft of public speaking, oratory delivery skills, and even homiletic excellence, but if preaching is not from the Bible, it is not preaching. And besides, what does the Bible-less preacher telegraph to the congregation, except that their audience requires their gifted eloquence and mastery of communication to bridge the Bible’s interpretation from the pulpit to the pews.
Public speaking will not build a hearers’ faith to withstand the storm, oratory skills will not discipleship a follow of Jesus to grow in Him, and even homiletic excellence falls short of the power of the Word of God in the heart of a grieving believer.
Thankfully, the Bible is as simple to grasp as any may need it to be and as deep to explore as any may wish it to be. The Bible in our fellowship will always be the centrality of why we gather together, and this week to come we dive into 2 Corinthians.
Rant over. See you Sunday.