I’ve been sick now for close to a week with a cold that has moved down into my lungs. Since I can’t stop coughing I spend the night hours reading theology on the Internet. If you want to listen to some amazing podcasts I couldn’t encourage you more than to go to the White Horse Inn and once on the menu bar click First Time Visitor. When you do that you will see a box pop up called First Time Visitor. Just click it and you will be confronted with a series of wonderful podcasts on reformation theology.
These podcasts are not for the faint of heart, but they are not complicated either. What they do is teach good sound theology that has a profound impact on how we understand our relationship with God. Listening to the White Horse Inn (the name comes from the little Inn in Cambridge where the reformation was first introduced to England), and other podcasts has given me a new insight into how far removed we are as Christians from understanding the Biblical perspective of the Holiness of God and the sinfulness of man.
In an age of mega-churches where sermons are delivered based on felt-needs or good advice for raising children, it is little wonder that as North American Christians we are becoming Biblically illiterate. Turn on your television any Sunday and you will be hard pressed, with few exceptions (here in Canada Charles Price at the Peoples Church in Toronto), to hear the gospel being preached. Instead we hear word of faith nonsense, prosperity gospel and a host of other takeoffs on the “get rich”, “feel good” and “you deserve all the blessings of God” dribble.
When was the last time you heard a sermon on sin, repentance, the Holiness of God, the law and the wonders of the gospel that saves a wretch like me. In one podcast the host asked students what they were “saved from” and almost no one knew. I wonder how many adult Christians know that the answer is we are saved from the wrath of God to come. In our world of easy teachings and “make it all about me” religion, the idea that we could be under judgment and facing wrath is almost beyond belief for many believers. Instead we believe that we are saved for heaven, or to be with God forever.
Here’s the problem. If we don’t first understand our sinfulness we will never appreciate and grab ahold of grace. Christians give up so easily when bad things happen to them, because they really don’t have the faintest idea of exactly what it is that God did for them at the cross and the overflowing love that went into the decision for Christ to become our sin bearer. When we feel entitled, or deserving of God’s gifts because we are not as bad as the guy down the street so God has to save us, then we easily become frustrated when everything doesn’t go our way in life.
My challenge to all the readers of this blog and I include myself, is to become deeper students of the Bible. Not only read the Bible but also study it. Get together with friends and talk about what you’ve discovered. Maybe you are in a place where you can join a study group or even start one yourself. Make use of your pastor, if you have one, and pick his/her brain. Most pastors I know would be delighted to talk to you about the Word of God. Don’t be afraid to ask your pastor to present a sermon or study on a topic that you are wrestling with. Once again your pastor wants to help and I am sure would be more than happy to fit your request into his/her preaching schedule.
I know I sound like a broken record because I’ve spoken about it at least a dozen times on these posts, but turn the television off and open the Bible. If there is a time you and your spouse can study together don’t let that time go to waste. Also it is imperative to teach your children the gospel. We so often are content with reading them moralistic stories taken from scripture, or exciting adventures like David and Goliath, but we neglect to teach the basis of redemption.
A youth pastor a few years back in the state of California decided to offer his youth group an opportunity to study the entire plan of salvation starting with the fall in the garden and ending in the halls of Heaven. He thought four or five students would show up, but when he opened the doors that first evening over fifty students were there, Bibles in hand. Each evening more youth came and when he finished the series he had scores of teenagers who knew the power of the Gospel to save them from sin and guilt.
To help you out in your studies remember here at thebeggardanced.com are studies on James and thirty- seven studies on the book of Galatians. We are also hoping to start podcasting in response to a number of you who would like to have access to the materials we use in our Bible Study groups.
Thanks for reading this blog and please share information about the blog with friends and throughout the social media. Ask your pastor to take a look at the blog and see if it is something he could mention in the church bulletin.