Summary: Chuck Swindoll says, "Much of our religious activity today is nothing more than a cheap antiseptic to deaden the pain of an empty life." (PowerPoints available - #268)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(REVISED - 2015)
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ILL. Chuck Swindoll wrote, “Much of our religious activity today is nothing more than a cheap antiseptic to deaden the pain of an empty life.”
Can that possibly be true? Well, have you ever asked yourself, “Why do I come to Church? Why do I sing the songs? Why do I listen to the sermons? Is it because my life is so empty that I’m searching for something to deaden the pain? Or is it something more than that? Why do I come to church?”
Sometimes people say, “I come to church because it makes me feel good! I go home feeling much better after being in church.” But shouldn’t there be something more than just a good feeling?
In this congregation, we strive to present the truth of God’s Word. So you’re not going to hear just sermons designed to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling. because sometimes the Word of God convicts, & it is like a sharp sword that cuts & performs surgery on your inner being.
You see, our goal when we preach is to comfort the disturbed, & to disturb the comfortable. Sometimes we don’t succeed in doing that. But nonetheless, we’re dedicated to preaching the Word of God.
So some Sundays you may leave here not feeling as good as you did when you came in, because God has forced you to look deep inside yourself.
PROP. So this morning, let’s think about the kind of preaching & teaching that is more than sermons that make you feel good.
I. THE FOUNDATION OF BIBLICAL TEACHING
A. First of all, what is the foundation of Biblical teaching? You’re right. The
foundation is the Bible. The Bible is to be the basis of our preaching & teaching.
We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. So we’re not going to debate that. Instead, we seek to learn from it & to be guided by it.
Listen to the apostle Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14-16. “But as for you, continue in what you have learned & have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, & how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
“All Scripture is God-breathed & is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
B. Now we’ve always said that we’ll speak where the Bible speaks, & be silent
where the Bible is silent. The Bible speaks about some very controversial things, & we’re obligated to speak about them as the Bible speaks.
You see, my opinion doesn’t count. Yours doesn’t either. The only thing that really counts is what God says. So we need to speak where the Bible speaks, & be silent where the Bible is silent.
As we read just a few moments ago, Paul wrote to Timothy, “…the holy Scriptures…are able to make you wise…”
And James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all…” The problem is that most of us search for wisdom in wrong places.
ILL. That reminds me of the guy who was in a bookstore looking for a particular book in the Education section, but he couldn’t find it. So he asked a clerk, “Do you have the book titled ‘Man, the Master of Woman’”? She thought for a moment & then answered, “You’re looking in the wrong section. You’ll find that one over in Fiction.”
C. Paul also says that the Word of God is useful & practical for daily life. It shows
us how to live. You want to know how to have a better marriage, how to raise kids right? You want to know how to live a good, full life? Then go to the Word of God & learn from it.
But the problem is, not very many actually read it. So the result is that we’re raising people virtually ignorant of the Word of God. The Generation-X’ers, the Millennials, & those who are coming after them have almost no familiarity with the Bible or its teachings.
ILL. Rich Atchley says that if you went to the average university campus today, & asked students if they know a verse of Scripture, most would say that they do.
If you had asked that question 25 years ago, most college students would have quoted John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Almost everybody knew that verse then.