Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Send the Rain

On Sunday, January 10th, the Lord directed me to preach on "What is salvation." In that sermon, I shared a Biblical teaching of what salvation is and how that many are unsure of their salvation due to the fact that they are going through the motions, counting on a work (prayer), and not truly believing (entrusting) their soul with Christ's finished work on the cross. That night, to the glory of God, nine church members were saved (including my son!).
All week, while rejoicing in what Christ had done, I was so burdened. I felt the Lord was working on other hearts and that the sudden downpour of His moving last Sunday was not done yet. All week I thought of Elijah and Ahab and the great revival that took place in that day. I kept praying and meditating on the 1 Kings 18:1,where our Lord said: "I will send the rain..."
This past Sunday the Lord directed me to preach on our second question of the year, "How to Lead Someone To Christ." We examined again what the Bible says about the subject. Before the song service had begun though, there were folks getting saved. By the time the service had closed, there were another 7 saved! Each sharing with the church of their struggles in assurance of salvation and how that our Lord had been convicting them all week. To the glory of God, seven more church members were saved Sunday night. Thus far we have seen 16 saved and the waters of baptism stirred.
We have begun this month a discipleship ministry at our church like never before. I challenged our people to either be a discipler or be discipled. We have many discipleship classes going on. I met with our leaders for this ministry last Sunday night after church. I told them, "God has been moving in hearts in a mighty way. People are getting saved, and it is not because of an tear jerking illustration a preacher gave, not because of an emotional tug with music, but rather a factual preaching of the Truth that led them away from a lack of knowledge."
We have so muddied up the waters of doctrines with our philosophies and man made traditions in our Baptist churches that we have become ignorant to some basic Truths in God's Word.
Hosea 4:6 reads,
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
I truly believe with all my heart that we have become so ingrained with our traditions that we are being destroyed. We come to church, we sing our three hymns, we take our offering, we have a special singer, somebody preaches and we go home. Folks don't turn to Scriptures, many don't even bring their Bibles anymore. We do things because we always have done it that way. A generation ago, this didn't mean problems, but a generation that does things with out the understanding and knowledge of why they are doing it, will lead to error and a falling away from the Truth in their children (Hos. 4:6).
Now our churches are filled with 'Baptist' who do not know why they are Baptist and at a growing rate are going to other denominations. Our churches are lining up with the Fundamentalist (though not evil) they are not Baptist! Our churches are accepting the world's philosophies on dating-letting the world's music in their churches-dress standards are falling-immorality is running rampant in churches and pastors are too afraid of being judgmental in it all.
The problem is not false teaching in our churches, it is weak preaching. Powerful preaching is not volume, emotions, and great stories...it's expository, contextual, Truth preaching! You'll probably not be invited to preach at the big conferences, you'll not have the interdenominational crowds speaking highly of you, you'll not get to be featured in this month's magazine...but you will have maturity, strength, and a realness like never before.
As a pastor, it is not my duty to be the 'pope' to my people...that when they have a question or need to know how to live they ask me; rather, it is my duty to teach them that they know how to live, why they are living that way, and able to teach their children and others the same things. That is what we read of in our New Testament. The saints searched the Scriptures daily. The saints were discipling. God's work was being accomplished.
Pastors, ask your members to teach the Truths of God's Word. How are we saved? How do I lead someone to the Lord? Why are we baptized? Why are we Baptist? Name our Baptist forefathers? Are we eternally saved? What is Hell like?...and don't listen for your sermons, illustrations, and intellect-but do they have Scripture? If we do not equip our people with Scripture-understanding, wisdom, and knowledge-as to what we are to do, how to do it, and why we are doing it; our people will be destroyed for a lack of knowledge. There is a famine in our land, as Amos 8:11 reads
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
O Lord, Send the Rain!

No comments: