Don’t Know Much About Theology
I Peter 3:15But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
Cooke wrote a popular song in the 60’s called “Wonderful World” - a song in which he said basically – I’m pretty stupid but I want you to love me anyway to a girl. Anyone who could parlay being a slacker into winning a girl’s attention seems a little far fetched.
The Christian community is not immune to spiritual slackness. With due respect to Sam Cooke, this song may just reflect the condition of many believers today. We don’t know much just hope that it works out anyway.
Because we are saved by faith in Christ as our Savior and not by our works, we sometimes erroneously think that we have no need to study the scriptures any more – we have eternal life – great – let’s move on.
If you are serious about your faith, if having found Christ as your Savior, your desire is to live a life that is pleasing to Him and influential in spreading the gospel, shouldn’t we have an intense desire to learn all we can about this faith relationship?
When I went to work for Indiana Nat. Bank, I began to study the manuals, read all could about how to do my job effectively. I asked questions of superiors; observed successful bankers because I wanted to do the best I could. Learning about the business didn’t make me a banker – I was already hired – it allowed me to be effective in my responsibilities.
If you exercised the same work ethic with your job that you do with your faith development, some of you would probably be out of work.
Last week Pastor Chip talked about all learning and no application and appropriately pointed out that we should reach out to lost people. This week, I’m going to talk about the flip side of that. We need to have a basic understanding of the Christian faith. In I Peter 3:15 it says: “but in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Occasionally you will get these pass alongs on the internet with the world’s skinniest books.
The Amish book of modern technology
Things I can’t afford by Bill Gates
Everything men know about women
We could add our own version of that in the Christian faith:
Living a sacrificial life by Creflow Dollar
The Nazarene Guide to Mixing Cocktails
The Church of God guide to dancing lessons
The saddest book in this collection would be this:
Christian Doctrine That I Know
“American Christians are biblically illiterate. Although most of them contend that the Bible contains truth and is worth knowing, and most of them argue that they know all of the relevant truths and principles, our research shows otherwise. And the trend line is frightening: the younger a person is, the less they understand about the Christian faith.” —Barna
We have been in a four week series on faith. How do we develop more faith in our lives? Faith doesn’t come by accident; or hearing sermons on faith, or hoping for faith.
Rom. 10: 17 says: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”
Faith is not a magical potion that we drink; or a vague idea that we believe, or a mystical knowledge that no one else has but faith is developed by the consistent application of the Word of God to our lives.
Faith is the way we enter into the Christian life: Eph. 2:8-9 and having come into a personal relationship with God through Jesus, it should be the obligation of every believer to study God’s word and apply it’s principles to our daily lives and in order to do that – it requires that we read it and know what is there.
AAA club – never a member until my sons became teenagers and began to drive cars with names like the rat trap; the roach coach and the hope mobile. What if I paid my dues every year but had no idea what service they provided?
Car breaks down walk/hitchhike to the nearest station
Pay someone to tow my car in
Stay all night in a motel
Then get lost trying to find my way home.
Didn’t know you could call them and they would come, tow your car, provide for emergency services and give you road maps to show you how to get there.
Call me a moron.
When we accept Christ, we become part of His family. I have my Christian membership but have no idea of the benefits of what it means to be a member of the family of God. Do you know the benefits of your faith?
I didn’t know I could communicate with God through prayer.
I didn’t know he offered guidance for my daily decisions.
I didn’t know he expected me to be his witness
I didn’t know Satan was real – thought he was as fake as the easter bunny.
I didn’t know I could withstand temptation with the help of the Holy Spirit.
I must be a spiritual moron.
According to a Gallup poll, 90% of the households in America have a Bible. It’s the most expensive paper weight in history. 64% never read it. If all the Bibles on coffee tables were opened simultaneously the resulting dust storm would block out the sun.
That poll says less than half of Americans can name the first book. . . only 30% identified Jesus as the source of the Sermon on the Mount – 2nd most quoted was billy Graham. George Gallup says: “we revere the bible, we just don’t read it.”
I have a lot of useless information in my head. I grew up in Ohio and was a huge sports fan. I can name the 1961 starting lineup for the Cincinnati Reds – Klusewski at first; Temple at second; McMillan at short; Greengrass at third, post in left, bell in center; robinson in right; ed bailey catching. Totally useless information. The question I have to ask myself is this: do I have that same desire to memorize the scriptures – to know God’s word.
Some of you can tell me who is getting divorced from whom in Hollywood but you can’t tell me what chapter explains the love of God for us.
Some of you can name the title, the artist and words of all the current popular songs but you can’t name the verse that talks about God’s forgiveness or quote a Bible verse by memory.
Some of you can explain the offensive and defensive formations of your favorite sports team but you don’t know how to explain the plan of salvation to someone.
A. If we don’t know God’s word, we will be tempted to believe things because they sound good.
1. God helps those who help themselves. Is usually attributed as a Bible verse – actually said by Ben Franklin in quoting an earlier source. F
2. Only people of my denomination are going to heaven but the Bible says: in John 3:36 that “whosoever believes in the Son has eternal life.” F
3. can a leopard change its spots? Jeremiah 13;23 T
4. Money is the root of all evil. Bible says: the love of money is the root of all evil. F
5. Blind leading the blind Luke 6:39 T
6. cleanliness is next to Godliness Bible says: o ye Pharisees you wash the outside of the cup but inside is still dirty. F
7. God is in his heaven, all is right with the world poet Robert Browning said that but God does say he is in his heaven but all is not right in the world. F
B. If we don’t know God’s word, our society will shape our morality.
Because society gives its ok does not mean that is a biblical thing to do. Our society gives its ok to many sexual expressions that the bible forbids. Our questions should not be can I do this within the bounds of societal standards but what does God think of this activity?
C. If we don’t know Gods word, our feelings will determine our decisions.
If it feels good, do it as long it doesn’t hurt anybody is a mantra that is often quoted but ultimately may lead to some terrible decisions because everything we need to do doesn’t always feel good.
D. If we don’t know God’s word, our path in life will be determined by circumstances rather than convictions.
We only get to through life once, the Bible says it is appointed unto man to die once and after that the judgment.
Without some parameters, guidelines, convictions that this is what we want our life to be, we will just wander aimlessly through life and suddenly, we are older and we have wasted years of our most precious commodity – life.
The older we get the less options we have.
The Bible is not just another book we read; it has supernatural consequences. It’s alive, meaningful, significant and life changing. It can be returned to day after day with new meanings consistently brought to our attention by the Holy Spirit.
Incrementally over time through teaching, study, memorizing, and discussing, we begin to get more and more of God’s word into our life systems.
Conclusion: I didn’t give you this message to chastise you or make you feel guilty; I want to challenge you as well as myself. Next 90 days
1. Spend 10 minutes a day in reading the word
Where do I start? E100
Don’t read for volume – read for understanding
Meditate on what you read – I’m not someone who journals many of you are
86 of our youth have committed to take the e100 challenge.
2. start with the gospels
3. OT read Genesis, Psalms, and Proverbs
4. dozens of daily devotional materials available
When you come to passages you don’t understand and there will be several – find a friend who is a little further along in their faith development than you are and discuss it with them.
Get an accountability partner. Spouse, family member, friend