Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Can you build a real house without blueprints? Sure you can throw up a square storage shed maybe without them, but do you not need to have some kind of visual plan of the dimensions, how many rooms, where the rooms go, and so on in order to start building

Can you build a real house without blueprints? Sure you can throw up a square storage shed maybe without them, but do you not need to have some kind of visual plan of the dimensions, how many rooms, where the rooms go, and so on in order to start building an actual house? I remember when I worked through school with a summer job putting together farm equipment, fertilizer spreaders, tedders, hay mowers and such.

My first day all I saw were a bunch of big metal pieces laying around and some bags of nuts and bolts. If I had been told to get building without any written instructions or at least a machine that had already been put together to go by, there’s no way I could have even begun.

You can have the perfectly prepared property, all the materials and building skills necessary, lots of manpower and money, but if you don’t know what you’re building and why, none of it is of any use. This is why Bible intake is the most important spiritual discipline. The Bible is the primary, and to some degree, the only way that God authentically and decisively communicates with us. Do we love to hear from Him through his word, or do we just want to talk to him.

I was reading about this guy who went to remote third world areas to be a missionary and the first thing he noticed was how much lying, stealing, and immorality was going on in these grass hut churches even amoung the pastors and leaders. He realized that this was because even the pastors didn’t have Bibles. They recycled over and over again the same six sermons based on vague memories of a couple Bible stories, otherwise there was no Bible knowledge at all. This is exactly why we see Paul giving so many instructions to the churches in his letters, there was no New Testament then either.

But the real tragedy is that some western Christians have more Bibles on their shelf at home than some churches have total, yet the biblical awareness is not all that much better. Nothing about Christianity that isn’t in the Bible is necessary, and without the Bible there is nothing about Christianity that is knowable. All we need to know is in there, and there is nothing outside of it that we need to know as far as Christian living goes. The Bible is the blueprint for all that is Christian.

We can’t even imagine church without Bibles today, yet up until about 400 years ago very few people had any kind of Bible other than the priests, and they preached from it in languages that their hearers couldn’t understand. The Biblical church is very new, basically beginning in the 1600’s with the reformation.

All right, we’re talking in this series about building your own individual spiritual house, so let’s get personal about our blueprints. We all have them, do we use them, have we even looked at them to start building? I know most people in this room today have read their Bibles at least to some degree, but I want to just ask you, and have you ponder for a moment, how many hours, or minutes do you spend really reading in your Bible?

You don’t have to raise your hand or answer out loud, I just want you to be aware of this for yourself. And have you viewed all the blueprints, not just the easy ones?

Let me throw some American stats at you, and I should warn you that the US tends to be somewhat more devoted to the Bible than Canada in general.

Bible Ownership

92% of households in America own at least one copy. Of those households that own a Bible, the average number of Bibles is three. This includes not only the homes of practicing Christians but hundreds of thousands of atheists as well.

Bible Reading

Although most Americans own a Bible, use of the Bible varies significantly. In a poll taken by the Gallup Organization in October, 2000, 59% of Americans reported that they read the Bible at least occasionally. This is down from 73% in the 1980s. The percentage of Americans who read the Bible at least once a week is 37%. According to the Barna Research Group, those who read the Bible regularly spend about 52 minutes a week in the scriptures.

Bible Study

When it comes to going beyond merely reading the Bible to actual study of the Bible, the numbers decline sharply. Only one in seven Americans report an involvement that goes beyond just reading the Bible. Fourteen percent of Americans currently belong to a Bible study group. This is down a full one-third from 1990. 7

How about knowledge of the Bible? According to Gallup, "Despite the statistics concerning Bible reading and study, it is apparent that ignorance about its contents is widespread." 8

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