Summary: When a person preaches the Bible, with their audience as the primary focus, it becomes an empty narcissistic and hedonistic exercise in futility.
I have watched, listened to, and read countless sermons in my 50 years as a Born-Again Christian and I have noticed the continued increase in feel-good, self-help, motivational messages that are more focused upon fallen human beings than upon Jesus, who has become more of a motivational self-help life coach and spiritual guru rather than the holy Lord and Creator God of all things.
When a person preaches the Bible, with their audience as the primary focus, it becomes an empty narcissistic and hedonistic exercise in futility. Many churches are lifting Jesus up, and they are showing record growth. But the Jesus they proclaim is often just the “gift giver”- or the “blessing giver”- or the “wealth maker”- or the “peace provider” – or the “great healer.” The focus must shift from buildings, bucks, and bodies to the broken, battered, bruised, beaten and bloody body of the crucified Lord of lords and King of kings who shows by His example that one first must die before they can be revived. As long as there is the continuing attempt to meet the needs of self, there will only be the constant confrontation of personal sinfulness.
The Bible is ALL about Jesus, NOT us. Jesus said; “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39-40 ESV). Jesus explained to the Disciples that all Scripture pointed to Him; “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27 ESV).
When our reading or preaching the Word is focused on Jesus, the heart is set on things above, and the eyes will see Him first. When a person looks for Jesus within the pages of the Bible they will come to truly know Him and find hope and peace beyond comprehension, and in doing so, they will find the true meaning of life and their purpose, calling, and destiny as they discover that their true identity is in Christ (Col. 3:1). The abundant life is found when “self” life is lost (Matt 10:39).
Traditions of Man
The Bible is the absolute perfect revelation of Jesus Christ and the only infallible, inerrant, inspired source of knowledge about Him and the only reliable source to hear His voice. Everything in the Cosmos is sustained by His Word.
The New Testament speaks of the teaching traditions of the Apostles that are to be passed down and taught to later generations.
“We called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thess 2:14-15 NIV)
“I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.” (1 Cor 11:2 NIV)
The word “teachings” (Gk: paradosis) means a handing down of instructions (doctrine) for everyday conduct like the ordinances of the traditions passed down by the Rabbi’s which were made null and void by the divine teaching of the Apostles.
The Bible says that the Scriptures alone, and not church traditions, are divinely inspired. The Bible must be used to verify and test the traditions and teaching of the church and not the other way around. Jesus continually rebuked the Pharisees and called them hypocrites because they made their traditions equal to the written Word of God. Traditions should support the teachings of the Apostles and not those that contradict or transgress “the commands of God" (Matt. 15:3) or exceed what they say.
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:16-17)
It is true that a normal Christian life is filled with miraculous and supernatural experiences. God does speak today personally and directly just as He spoke to His people in the past, by using His own words of the Scriptures. That is easily affirmed by anyone who has heard His call to church ministry. However, He will NEVER contradict or add to, what He has already said in the Bible. The authority and sufficiency of Scripture cannot be separated.
Christianity, without the supernatural, has no legitimate power, yet those who actively believe in the miraculous are often held with contempt, and their beliefs ridiculed and even condemned. You will most often find more skeptics in the church than outside of it.
It is my belief that ALL Christians are called to live supernatural lives every day that has the touch and power of God upon them to affect change in those they come in contact with. Living a supernatural life is the most powerful yet practical way for a Christian to live.