Summary: In most Bibles there is blank space between the name of the book and the first chapter. That blank space should serve as a reminder that we need to understand the background behind each Bible book. This message covers some background on the book of Colo
Filling in the Blank Space
Series: Jesus, Post-Resurrection
Wildwind Community Church
April 22, 2006
I have some bad news for you this morning. I have sensed the truth of what I am about to tell you for many years, but research is in. In a 2003 study, researcher, pollster, and church leader George Barna discovered this fact, and I’ll quote him directly.
"Less than one out of every ten churched teenagers has a biblical worldview. In other words, the result of their involvement at a church is that they can recite some religious facts, they made some friends, and they had fun. That’s wonderful, but we also find that most of them have neither accepted Christ as their savior nor altered the basis on which they make their moral and ethical decisions in life. For most teenagers who have spent years attending church activities their faith is not integrated into who they are and how they live."
Did you hear that? In a nutshell, the time our children are spending in church is not effectively centering them in a view of the world that has God at its center. They are making friends, having fun, and learning a bunch of facts they are stuffing in their heads, but they are not essentially being transformed into godly people. Their basic worldviews are still firmly secular – drenched in non-Christian, non-spiritual, and non-Biblical ideas, which lead to non-spiritual decisions, which lead to non-spiritual behaviors, which lead to the unfortunate consequences we see in the lives of people all around us.
Notice Barna did not say less than one out of ten teenagers has a biblical worldview. He said less than one out of ten CHURCHED teenagers. We’re talking about church kids here, folks – people who come to church a lot with their parents, who have grown up hearing Bible stories, singing hymns perhaps, and maybe even received Christian baptism. They’re not Christians – they are as secular, they are as lost, as the next person. There is no essential difference in the way they see the world, make decisions, feel, think, or act.
Why is this relevant? Because children grow into teenagers who grow into adults, who control the power structures of our world, and make decisions about the kind of society we live in. The church is failing its children and releasing them as teenagers into the most dangerous years of their lives with nothing to stand on.
So how about adults? How are we faring? Not very well. In a Barna study conducted in 2006, only 54% of adults claiming to be Christians said they were absolutely committed to their faith. Only 48% strongly agreed that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches. 55% agreed that a person will get to heaven apart from Christ if they just do a lot of good things. 55% agreed with the idea that Satan is not an actual being, but just a symbol of evil. 42% of American adults believe that Jesus Christ committed sins while he lived on earth. How has the church failed to convey the truth about its most essential doctrines? Remember, these are 2006 figures. I could go on, but this is not a sermon about statistics, it’s a sermon about a crisis of belief. The church is not creating a Christ-centered belief-system in its children. They are growing into teenagers without Christ-centered worldviews, and then into adults without Christ-centered worldviews. The church is suffering acutely from a belief problem – not that people don’t believe anything at all, but that so many claim to embrace Christianity, yet deny its most basic beliefs.
I approach you with all of this today because we are beginning a study of the book of Colossians. We talked about the resurrection of Jesus Christ last week. We talked about the fact that we believe literally in that resurrection. We talked about how a mythical resurrection equals a mythical hope, and how a true resurrection equals true hope. So it seemed fitting after that that we would turn from Christ’s resurrection and check out who Jesus is today – right now as we sit here. Thus I have entitled this series, “Jesus, Post-Resurrection.”
We see that Paul the Apostle (who wrote Colossians – and Titus) believed very deeply that beliefs matter - not only whether they are sincere or not, but whether they are right or wrong. Paul believed that some ideas are clearly right and some ideas are clearly wrong. Remember our study on Titus? Right teaching leads to what? Right living comes from what? Wrong teaching leads to what? Wrong living comes from what? This can only be true if there is actually a such thing as right teaching. And if there is a such thing as right teaching, there is also a such thing as wrong teaching. This is a concept increasingly foreign to Americans, in our society that says “whatever you believe is cool, as long as you’re sincere.”