Saturday, February 1, 2014

Faithless



“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray , and not to faint ;  Saying , There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying , Avenge me of mine adversary.  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.  And the Lord said , Hear what the unjust judge saith .  And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily . Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh , shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8
  In the context of prayer, Jesus expected to find a faithless generation on the earth upon his return.  Now that, in itself, is very disturbing.  Understanding that God puts no confidence in you or me, he expects to find a generation stripped down and hollowed out from the faith they once held.  This thought rolled around in my head for a while and I found myself wondering; what does a faithless generation look like?
  In Matthew 6:25-30, Jesus is speaking of people who worry about provision. They fret over whether or not they will have enough to eat, or enough clothing.  He refers to those people as “ye of little faith”.  He echoes this sentiment in Matt 16:8 when the disciples are worried about their bread.  So, to be faithless is to be worried about the necessities of life, particularly food. In Matthew 8, a storm arises, and the Bible says “And, behold , there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep .  And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying , Lord, save us: we perish .  And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose , and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”   Faithless people are paralyzed by the storms of life.  Faithless people are typified by unsanctified lives in Acts 26:18, and are characterized as having impure hearts in Acts 15:8-9. The Bible refers to churches ‘established in the faith’ in Acts 16:5 and records the growth that followed, so presumably churches full of faithless people don’t grow. And why should they, since the congregation   has impure hearts, unstable lives, and are constantly worried about where their next meal is coming from.  The fact is, if you’re faithless, you’re a mess.  So how do you avoid being faithless?
The book of Romans tells us that “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” And Amos prophesied that  “Behold, the days come , saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:  And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” Modern Christians have a very simple problem; they don’t read their Bible.  This very simple problem leads to a wide variety of larger problems. We have access to more study material and devotional material and pulpit helps and reference Bibles than previous generations could have dreamed of, and yet we live faithless lives because we don’t read what God said.  I have seen Christians go out and buy elaborate study Bibles full of commentary and charts and concordances and lexicons, which they don’t read.   I’ve known saved people who have been saved over a decade who have never read their Bibles all the way through.  This seems madness to me. God thought it was important enough to write down, but you don’t think it’s important enough to read. The secret to having a life full of faith is to read your Bible and the secret to reading your Bible is to just sit down and read your Bible.
 Listening to preaching is not reading your Bible. Reading commentaries, listening to gospel music, perusing devotional material are all not reading your Bible.  Studying for a sermon is not reading your Bible. Reading your Bible is reading your Bible.  One of the saddest things you can do is walk through a church after the services are over and see how many people left their Bible at church.  If you take your Bible with you after church, and you merely toss sit in the backseat until the next service, you are living a faithless life whether you realize it or not.  My oldest son can never seem to find his Bible, and I‘ve told him “If you can’t find it, I know you’re not reading it.” God didn’t give you a Bible as a placeholder for the church bulletin or as a coffee table adornment. He gave you as a book to read it.
  Look at the commandment given to kings in Deut 17:18-20, and we’ll take King David as an example.  King David spoke with God personally, received word from God.  King David even wrote sections of the Bible, particularly the Psalms. But despite all that, if King David wasn’t  making it a point to expose himself daily  to God’s word, he would lose his  fear of  God.  How do you expect to make it through?  What makes you so special?
  The Bible says in 1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”. So the equation is clear.  No Bible equals no faith, and no faith equals no victory.  What are you going to do?
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