Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?” He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”
The trends in the church over the past several decades have been to attempt to make the church appealing by becoming more like our culture. The argument is that if we make the church fun, exciting, and if we make scripture more applicable, surely we can stave off the decline in the church because Christianity will become more appealing and appetizing. We now have Christian rap music, hard rock, and more. There is a huge Christian entertainment industry and you can even find candy bars in Christian stores with scriptures printed on the packaging. However, this grand experiment in the church has failed. Younger generations see through the ruse and think, “Well, if the Bible doesn’t have anything interesting to say on its own and if it has to be dumbed down, then maybe it has no real meaning after all.” Instead of teaching people the depth and breadth of our Christian faith and the deep commitment of our everyday duty to God, we have offered vaguely biblical messages that leave much to be desired. We have become lax in proclaiming the true commitment that is the Christian life. If the aim of the church is to keep up with the culture and keep people entertained like our culture, it is always going to be a losing battle. If our worship becomes a weekly event to recharge our “spiritual batteries”, be entertained with the music, or make us feel good then we have missed the purpose of worship, which is to give glory to God.
So what’s the answer to the dilemma of people fleeing the church? Evidence shows now that many people of younger generations are longing for a deeper connection to God and they are finding meaning in the historic traditions of the church that have stood the test of time for more than a thousand years. They are turning to liturgy, creeds, and sacred music. They are highly interested in defending the faith and seeking the deep theological writings of ancient church fathers and preaching that dives deep into the essential doctrines of Christianity. These trends have started in major metropolitan centers but are now spreading. Maybe the church doesn’t need to try so hard to be relevant and keep up with the times. Maybe the individualistic culture and materialism of our world will drive people who are seeking a deeper life to the true source of life; to the things that are eternal; to a church alive with commitment to Christ, depth of study, service to community, and conviction to live godly lives. ~ Pastor Eric
Often we think godliness only refers to the way we act towards God. If that were the case, being godly, especially at church would come easy. Paul's letter to Timothy explains that godliness is revealed in our relationships with one another.
Our prayers may sound great, our service may be impressive, but if we fail to treat one another with love and grace, our godliness isn't that remarkable. Chapter 5 of 1 Timothy covers all the ways our godliness is revealed in the relationships of our life. With family members, including our church family, with those in need, with those in leadership, and with those who serve us.
Our love for God is displayed in our love for those around us.
You can listen to the message here.
Hear the whole series here.
The things God does are amazing.
Yet, there are some pretty basic things I still would really like for Him to do; and, like you, I often feel like God isn't hearing my prayers, not hearing my prayers, or maybe doesn't care. Scripture teaches us something very different about God's love for us though.
In this series we explored these questions: Where is God? Does God care? Is God paying attention? I got the ideas from listening to the sermons of a pastor I greatly respect and have learned much from his ministry, Craig Groeschel. Feel free to check his messages out as well.
Next up, we return to our series on 1st Timothy "This Charge I Entrust to you...."
Joy of the Redeemed
35 The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
7 The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
8 And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
9 No lion will be there,
nor any ravenous beast;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
10 and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
1 Timothy 4:1–10 (ESV)
Some Will Depart from the Faith
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
A Good Servant of Christ Jesus
If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
1 Timothy 3 (ESV)
1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. 14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
6/2014-2/2017 Pastor Gary Priddy