I am troubled by the number of pastors today who are not preaching the Word but instead using outlines from books on various subjects, whether the family or psychology or other felt need publications. I am also troubled by those who don't do their own work with the text but simply use the messages they find on the web.
As an author it would be gratifying for someone to take my material and preach it - certainly it would stroke my ego. But, my material is not scripture. It is not God breathed. And neither is that of other authors. The authors that can claim that are those who wrote the sixty six books of the Bible.
I have to conclude that there are many pastors today who don't believe that actually preaching a text, or through a book of scripture believe that the scriptures won't do the job. It is not relevant enough. It will not draw the crowds. It cannot speak to real needs of real people. Why else would so many pastors abandon the text for other texts?
I conclude that they do not really believe the words of the apostle Paul who wrote, "All Scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Or the numerous times Paul told Timothy to "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2).
Is it any wonder that so few believers today understand what it means to follow Christ? Or the basic doctrines of Scripture? Is it any wonder that there is little to no spiritual transformation among those who claim to be Christ followers? If you wonder about that check out the Reveal study!
It is the Word that contains the words of God. It is the Word that exposes God's truth and speaks to our spirits. It is the Word that helps us understand what God desires for our lives.
Why have we abandoned the Word in so many cases and substituted cheap second rate sources for the Truth. God's Word is relevant and it can and will change lives. In fact, it is THE source of life change as the Holy Spirit speaks to our spirits.
But we have to believe that it actually has that power. Perhaps we have concluded that the Word is no longer relevant and it needs our help to make it so. Perhaps we are embarrassed by what it says. Perhaps we think it will not be a popular message.
The balance of Scripture is the balance of Christ. Grace and truth. We need grace desperately and we need truth equally desperately. The perfect balance is found in the very words of God.
It is the source of life. Let's preach it once again!