Why We Proclaim God's Word
The Bible make some amazing claims about itself. Among them:
* The words are the very Words breathed out by God Himself (2 Timothy 3:16)
* The words are living and active words directly from God (Hebrews 4:12)
* These words pierce the very core of who we are as people and reveals what is
really going on inside us (Hebrews 4:12)
* These words from God transform our minds, change us (Romans 12:1)
And that is just for starters.
It is (tragically) increasingly popular in American churches to dilute the Word, to 'tone it down,' to even 'apologize' for it. The logic often sounds something like this: 'We live in a different time. Things have changed. We need to be relevant to the culture.'
All of that sounds quite intellectual, but it is actually a horribly misguided (at best) or masked attempt to seek to be liked by man rather than approved by God. Culture and ethics and morals may change, but God's Word does not change. Truth does not change.
Sadly, there are more and more sermons today that seem more like self-help motivational messages baptized with a few out of context verses (and sometimes, no Scripture at all!) slickly and pleasantly presented so as to not offend.
The only problem is, again, we are not free to change the Message. Jesus Himself said that He was a stumbling block, the cross a stumbling block, the Message a stumbling block.
Because Jesus claims He is the Only way to the Father. He makes exclusive claims about Himself that offend the sensibilities of a culture that despises exclusive claims. The Message is offensive, even though it is absolutely Good News (it is the GREATEST NEWS!) because the Message tells us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. There is bad news to process and come to terms with before we can see how beautiful and glorious the Good New is. None of us likes to be told we are wrong or that we must be changed or that we cannot 'fix' or 'save' ourselves...that we need a Savior. The cross is offensive because we see how serious our sin problem is and we see God's righteous wrath against our sin (but we also see how marvelous His love for us is)!
There is a reason that we have a high view of Scripture at Stonebridge Baptist Church: We believe these are the Words of God and that all of these Words ultimately point to Jesus Christ, God the Son, who is mankind's Only Hope.
Self-help gurus cannot save. We believe no other God, philosophy or religion can save, and we believe that God's Word is absolutely trustworthy and authoritative, and that it is always relevant, no matter what the cultural trends are.
Man needs God. Therefore, we proclaim His Word and the Risen Christ.
Now, there is another extreme, a smaller faction if you will, of people who largely preach Truth, but do not preach and teach in love, humbly, graciously. God is not glorified when we use His Word this way. Man's 'self-righteous' anger exalts man, not God.
Rather, we pray, that in all humility and love, we faithfully proclaim, preach, teach and share the Word whenever we gather and wherever we go.
So, while we live in rapidly changing times, we will cling to the One who gives us life, who saves us, and to His Word, which is profitable and useful for all of life.
We hope to see you this Saturday or Sunday in worship.
Grace to You,