Friday, July 2, 2010

What Marks a Healthy Church? #1 Biblical Teaching and Preaching

Two Sundays ago I began a new series on “Marks of a Healthy Church” and the first mark that I went over with the congregation was “Biblical Teaching and Preaching”. I gave, by the power of the Spirit, two very “frank” messages on the fact that the Church needs Biblical Preaching and Teaching.

We live in a day where, as the Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 4, people, literally in the Greek, “…will not put up with error free preaching, but will heap to themselves teachers who are telling them what they want to hear”.  People today do not want to hear strong Biblical Teaching and Preaching. People today seem to want sermonettes for christianettes, they want enough to ease the conscience that they went to Church, but they cannot tolerate and WILL NOT tolerate strong Biblical preaching.

I thought about some things that people do not want to hear:

1. People do not want to hear about Lordship Salvation- Yes, I am a Lordship Salvation pastor 115%. People do not want to hear about the fact that there must be a surrender of the life to the Lordship of Christ or there is no genuine salvation. This is not works salvation as some have incorrectly accused, this is the heart of the Gospel. Surrender to the Lordship of Christ is a natural outflow of the Spirit of God that lives in the heart of the new believer. Lordship salvation also does not teach that you have every conviction at the moment of your salvation. There is no doubt that people need room and time to grow in their faith, the New Testament is filled with that proof. But what it does teach is that a person recognizes the fact that Jesus is Lord (kurios in the Greek, meaning master), and there is a genuine desire to submit to that lordship. Although we do not also do it, the desire is still present. But people do not want to hear this, because, since these things are true, a lot of people would have to be reclassified whether they are saved or not. People want to make a whole lot of people saved that do not possess biblical faith, because there is no desire to submit to the Lordship of Christ.

2. People do not want to hear about the Sovereignty of God- Sovereignty means that we are out of the picture. Our salvation, our life is not ours; it belongs to Christ. He can do with it what he wants just because He wants and does not have to give us a reason for it. People do not want to hear about this because they want to feel like they have some sort of control, they want to feel like they have had some part in their salvation. But these things are foreign to Scripture. Our lives are all controlled by the Sovereign hand of Almighty God; (cf. Dan. 4:35, Eph 1:11, Psalm 115:3, Psalm 135:6, Isa. 14:24, Isa. 46:10, Acts 4:28, Proverbs 21:1, Rom. 9:18). There are many more verses that  could be given, but these will suffice. Sovereignty is a blow to human pride and ego, and many people do not want to hear it.

Thankfully, I have a Church and a group of believers that want to hear these hard things. They sit and listen and hang onto every word. This is not me, but the power of the Spirit of God working in these precious people’s hearts. I close this thread with the following text message I received from a Church member after last Sundays Evenings service:

“I just wanted to say thank you for not changing your style of preaching just because of a few people. We (he and his wife) will always be grateful and faithful to your service…Thanks again…”

That makes the ministry worthy it. To see a hand-full of people get it and love it.

Next Mark of a Healthy Church, #2 Faithful Church Members.

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