Summary: What message are you sending? Do you know the message?
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. KJV
To say that our world has changed drastically since my birth in 1952 is a major understatement. The advances of technologies more than fulfill the prophecies of Joel concerning knowledge as well as the mobility of the masses. We have gone from nearly toy like satellites in earth’s orbit to sending immensely complex research vehicles past Mars. Jules Verne would be ecstatic.
Many changes have also taken place in the culture. Some have been good such as movements for racial equality, but many more have been disastrous for the culture and this country. The breakdown of the home, easy divorce, abortion, easy access to pornography, excessive and explicit violence in games and movies as well as dark demonic themes in video games and comic books have spiraled us into a pit from which we may not return unless the mercy of God grants a revival like that of the Great Awakening or the revivals of the early twentieth century.
The Church also has gone through many changes and I would have to say most are questionable as to their value as a boon to the cause of Christ. We have become Christian existentialists. We base our Christianity more on our feelings or experiences than doctrine or we have gone the other way to a dead and dry orthodoxy. What we need is a balance between orthodoxy and piety Because we have dumped doctrine many of our churches have become entertainment centers or concert halls with a dash of Bible. There are indoor mountain climbs and Wiis for the kids and Starbucks and Wi-Fi for the adults.
We have helped create generation gaps and even age and gender pride. We have Sunday School classes for adult age groups when Jesus and the Apostles had audiences for all ages in one spot. Peer groups often make the same mistake as Rehoboam because they don’t want anything to do with old people when the Bible teaches that the elder should teach the younger. Hard to do when they do not even want to sit in the same room as the elders. Birds of a feather flock together, but the flock should be about Christ not age, gender, career field, etc. I am looking for a class for right handed people who eat with their left hand and are bald, hazel-eyed and married. Am I exaggerating? Maybe, but I am not far off in some places.
Technology has been a boon to getting the message out, but it has also been a boon for false prophets, con men and entertainers/motivational speakers instead of pastors. We have turned the Church from a Body to a corporation making the pastor more of a CEO than a pastor. While it has provided a means to minister to the homebound and people where no church exists at the same time it has caused more people to become members of the invisible church disobeying the commandment to assemble locally, not digitally. I am an IT person and yet I attend a church physically, not metaphysically or digitally. I can shake my pastor’s hand and hug a person. They can see my smile and I theirs. That beats being a type of voyeur watching a man preach we will never know and will not be available for our funeral or to pray with us before we get to that point.
Thus we see Paul was correct when he said, “There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.” (1Co 14:10) As our topic says, faith comes by hearing but with all the voices clamoring for attention you have to wonder if anyone is listening. I am convinced that they are but we need to make sure our voice is heard. I believe that there are four ways to make the truth be heard.
First, we have to know the message. You can ask most people in America if they are a Christian and they will say yes. We do have increasing numbers of other groups including atheists but many will affirm the name of Christ even if they are not sure who He is or what is His significance in the culture outside of a curse word or the founder of the club called the church where people hang out listening to boring old songs and dry messages from an ancient book called the Bible. Others may use His name like a fad having jewelry and tattoos with His name or Christian symbols, but have no clue what makes that bling and apparel different than the latest fashions from Gucci, Furstenberg or Versace other than a certain group of people like it more than other groups.