Summary: Sermon makes a biblical argument for a return to "spiritual" Christianity as opposed to "biblical" Christianity. Christian unity, prosperity, and hope are gifts of the Spirit that we may be missing in our (misplaced) commitment to Scripture. The sermon
Articles and manuscripts and talking heads across the country announce and bemoan and celebrate (depending on their particular proclivity) in the news that "biblical" Christianity is in decline. As numbers decline and influence wanes, there is much evangelical hand-wringing and second-guessing and blame-assigning taking place all across the fruited plain. As the truth of this turn of events becomes increasingly difficult to avoid, there is one thing that every Sunday School teacher, choir member, and chairman of the committee on committees wants to know...
How can this be?
Our star-studded and/or silver-tongued prophets of prosperity and perpetual proliferation have assured us for decades that, if we are faithful, God will bless us with ever increasing returns of buildings and programs and numbers. And yet...
How can this be? Inquiring minds want to know.
Having pledged "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor" to the inspired, inerrant, infallible, and authoritative word of the living God, shouldn’t we expect more bang for our proverbial buck?
I’m going to argue "No."
A commitment to a book, no matter how good, is no guarantee of the blessing of God.
A commitment to a book, no matter how holy, secures no promise for the power of God.
A commitment to pen, and page, and ink, is no substitute for commitment to the God who inspires women and men to write in the first place.
My intention is neither to bury nor to praise the book of our common faith, but to challenge us to be more faithful to the Bible by serving it less in order to serve God more.
My concern is that, in becoming so identified as people of the book, we "Bible-believing Christians" may have lost our primary identity as the people of God.
My concern is that we may have become so consumed with following the written words of Scripture that we’ve failed to follow the living Word of God.
My concern is that we have been actively engaged in surrendering the more glorious ministry of the life-giving Spirit in order to fight and metaphorically murder one another over written words. (2 Corinthians 3:5-8)
And I now invite you to ask and answer the question with me; how can this be?
If you love Me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. (John 14:15-21)
The promise of the Lord Jesus Christ was not to turn us over to a book: inspired, inerrant, or otherwise. The promise of God was to never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
Jesus didn’t leave us with a promise to "write back soon." The Lord promised that the "Spirit of truth" would come to dwell with us and in us.
When confronted with the powerful promise given in the previous passage, how many of us go scrambling through the pages of the book to try and figure out just what commandments we need to keep in order to earn the love of Christ; we have been convinced that faith is complicated. Confronted with the promise of adoption into the family of God, how many of us focus instead upon what rules we believe may be necessary in order to achieve it...as though God were more like a broken bureaucrat from social services than a loving Father longing for the love of His children?
Do not miss the power of these verses! These few words contain the hope of every man, and woman, and child who ever suffered injustice, oppression, and or failure...Regardless of race, regardless of nationality, regardless of financial means, or beauty, or intelligence, or ability...everyone is welcome to see in themselves the power and potential of the infinitely Good. The world may not see it. Your family may not see it. There may be others all around you who are blind to the reality, but that does not make it any less real. The promise of the Christian faith is the promise of our Lord, if you receive Him/trust Him/welcome Him/Love Him...the God of all creation, of all dignity and power and worth will be with you and be in you.