(Continued from Part 1)
I’m probably going to be called a legalist, but let’s face it – the majority of churches have canned Sunday nights. It gives the preacher time off to play golf or go fishing just like the lost people in his community. We have small groups with little or no accountability. It’s hard for the church to know who’s growing these days. Many churches have more worship music than time in the Word. We are told to make our sermons shorter because of attention spans. Why don’t we cut out two years of seminary or two years of college? After all, with shorter attention spans, aren’t we asking too much of higher education? Wouldn’t you be content with a surgeon that had one class in biology, especially if he’s quick and cheap?
I’ve watched the devil steal sermons. He blinds the mind of unbelievers. He distracts those in the seats with text messages, tweets, and posts. After all, it doesn’t take much for us to say, “I need to hear from God today…SQUIRREL!”
I will continue to preach. I’m accountable to God, not to the congregation. I am to be a faithful steward of the Word. I’m accountable to deliver the meal, whether the people eat it or not is what they are accountable for.
The trouble in the American church is not a lack of education. It’s not our inability to think. It’s our refusal to use the brains we’ve been given. We don’t want to think. We are mindless and clueless. We don’t want the Word. We are late for church…many are always late for church. If you did that at even a minimum wage job you’d be fired. But we do it and think nothing about it as we approach the worship of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are like drug addicts – give us a fix, give us a pill, give us a little relief, but don’t make us go cold turkey for an hour and focus totally on the Word of God.
The average sermon is a waste of time. It goes in one ear and out the other. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of space in there we never use, so very little sticks. We are no different than the children of God in the Old Testament. They didn’t want to hear the Word of God. They wanted false prophets, prosperity preachers, name-it-claim-it apostles. They flocked to the “Joy Boys” and flogged the prophets.
I realize in this parable that only one fourth of the seed bore fruit. Only one fourth took deep root. Watching the last gasps of breath in the liturgical church and seeing the lack of response to the Word in most evangelical churches, I wonder if God will even find 25 percent of church members in America who hear and heed the Word.
The only hope is for a spirit of expectation in our services. We must come expecting God to speak. We must come willing to obey what God says. We must lay aside our distractions and focus on being disciples. If we don’t, the devil won’t just steal my sermons; he will steal your soul, your family, and this nation.
A few closing thoughts…
• I must make sure I’m feeding the people the Word of God. I am not called to be cute, but true to the Word.
• I must ask God to use the Word and raise up people who hunger for truth.
• I must not let the devil steal my joy in preaching the Word. I’m not responsible for the reaction of others; I’m responsible for preaching truth.
• I must remember that all revivals began with the Word of God being stirred in the hearts of a few people.
• I can’t create a hunger for the Word in others if there’s no hunger for the Word in me.