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1 Peter 1:13-1:25
A Nation of Bible Illiterates
George Barna wrote The State of the Church in 2002. Barna conducted a survey of self-pronounced Christians and here’s what he found about their knowledge of the Bible. These are Christians.
• 48% could not name the four Gospels.
• 52% cannot identify more than two or three of Jesus’ disciples.
• 60% of American Christians can’t name even five of the 10 Commandments.
• 61% of American Christians think the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
• 71% of American Christians think “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.
George Barna said, "Americans revere the Bible, but by and large they don’t know what it says. And because they don’t know it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates."
Just as the people in this Barna poll are woefully biblical illiterate, Christians are far too ignorant of the Word of God. No wonder 21st century Christians are failing to finish their marathon race. No wonder Christians by the thousands are falling prey to the false teachers of our day. They are being feed junk food and don’t feed themselves on the Word of God. They are desperately in need of a solid diet of good food, Scripture. We need to get into "spiritual shape"!
Historical Background of Patrick:
Patrick lived in the fifth century, a time of rapid change and transition. In many ways we might say that those times of turbulence and uncertainty were not unlike our own. The Roman Empire was beginning to break up, and Europe was about to enter the so-called Dark Ages. Rome fell to barbarian invaders in 410. Within ten years of that time, the Roman forces began to leave Britain to return to Rome to defend positions back home. Life, once so orderly and predictable under Roman domination, now became chaotic and uncertain. Patrick entered the world of that time (Joyce).
Partick’s biography is as follows: By Anita Mc Sorley
The uncontested, if somewhat unspecific, biographical facts about Patrick are as follows: Patrick was born Patricius somewhere in Roman Britain to a relatively wealthy family. He was not religious as a youth and, in fact, claims to have practically renounced the faith of his family. While in his teens, Patrick was kidnapped in a raid and transported to Ireland, where he was enslaved to a local warlord and worked as a shepherd until he escaped six years later. He returned home and eventually undertook studies for the priesthood with the intention of returning to Ireland as a missionary to his former captors. It is not clear when he actually made it back to Ireland, or for how long he ministered there, but it was definitely for a number of years. By the time he wrote the Confession and the "Letter to Coroticus," Patrick was recognized by both Irish natives and the Church hierarchy as the bishop of Ireland. By this time, also, he had clearly made a permanent commitment to Ireland and intended to die there. Scholars have no reason to doubt that he did. He died on March 17 the day we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Sermon Central Staff
Sin and Hypocrites
Some mistakenly think that they are free to sin, just so long as they aren't hypocrites about it, that the worst form of sin is hypocrisy. Often one hears it said, "I know I'm not perfect, but at least I'm not hypocritical about it."
A few years ago in Texas there were two men who robbed a bank. One wore a ski mask and the other did not. They both were captured and ultimately appeared before the judge for sentencing. The one without the mask could have stated, "Look, I know that robbing the bank was the wrong thing to do, but at least I was not hypocritical about it. I didn't try to cover up who I was. I was open and honest. That should be worth something as far as leniency is concerned." The judge sentenced both men to the same time in prison.
(Galaxie Software. (2002; 2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press. From a sermon by Matthew Kratz, Pursuing God in Giving, 1/31/2010)
THE REFINER'S FIRE
The story is told of a group of women that met for Bible study. While studying in the book of Malachi, chapter three, they came across verse three which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled the women and they wondered how this statement applied to the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out more about the process of refining silver, and to get back to the group at their next Bible study.
The following week, the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him while at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest, beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.
As she watched the silversmith work, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire, where the flames were the hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot, then she thought again about the verse, that "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."
She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the entire time the silver was being refined. The man answered yes...
Church Tech: 9 out of 10 Protestant pastors have Internet access, and about half of all Protestant churches maintain a church Web site, according to a recent Ellison Research study. While 90% of ministers are online, only a third of those use a content filter on their church office computer. 88% of larger churches (200 or more in attendance) maintain a Web site, compared to 60% of mid-size churches (100 to 199) and only 28% of churches with fewer than 100. Pastors expect that the most important forms of technology in their ministry over the next 5 years will be doing research on the Internet followed by using Bible study software, building, or maintaining a Web site, using PowerPoint, and being able to show DVDs or videos. (PWB 1/7/05)
Bible Reading UpL Today, 45% of U.S. adults read the Bible during a typical week, not including when they are at church, up from 31% in ‘95. The rise is largely due to increased reading among Baby Busters and residents of the western states. 67% of born again individuals read the Bible at least weekly and 88% of evangelicals do so. (Barna Online 4/11/05)
I read of a minister who was visiting one of his members. The lady of the house was trying to impress him about how devout she was by pointing out the large Bible on the bookshelf and talking in a very reverential way of it as "the Word of God". Her young son interrupted the conversation, "Well, if that’s God’s book we better send it back to him because we never read it!"
LEADERS AND FOLLOWERS
S. I. McMillen, in his book "None of These Diseases," tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?" Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst.
To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms ...
A young teenage boy had just gotten his driver’s license. When he got home, he asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him into his study and said to the boy, "I’ll make a deal with you. If you bring up your grades, study your Bible a little, and get a haircut, then we’ll talk about the use of the car."
After about a month, the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss the use of the car. They again went to the father’s study where his father said, "Son, I’ve been so very proud of you. You have brought up your grades, you’ve studied your Bible diligently, but you didn’t get your haircut." The young man waited a moment and replied, "Dad, I’ve been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, even Jesus had long hair..." His father interrupted him at that point and said, "Yes son, and they walked everywhere they went!"
One night as my family was preparing for bedtime, my four year old daughter Claire began singing the BIBLE. As she came to the end, she combined another song. Here is what she sang. "I stand alone on the word of God, that’s what it’s all about." By mixing up the BIBLE and the Hokey Pokey, Claire nailed the way that each of us should view God’s word.