“Is not My word life a fire?’ Says the LORD, ‘And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?’” – Jeremiah 23:29

 

There is a war of world views upon us. It has been raging for quite some time. We are seeing the seeds of sin planted in our educational systems come to harvest. We are experiencing sinful seedlings in society. From top to bottom the weeds of sin are threatening to choke out God’s truth. The rabble of the world are rising up against the King of kings and His people. Such a harvest of unholiness has been watered and ripened under the noses of the church. This harvest of hatred toward God has been cultivated on the watch of a church characterized by Laodicean lukewarmness. God’s people have for the most part been complacent, condoning and compromising in their sheepish responses. The church is now watching the rotten harvest being reaped because it has not sowed the seed of God’s word.

Immorality, licentiousness, wickedness, idolatry, and all kinds of unholy rotten fruit are coming to harvest. Jesus said the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few and we should therefore pray for more workers (Matthew 9:37-38). We have not prayed. The enemy has preyed. There is therefore a proliferation of tares amongst God’s wheat. There is a rise of evil in our world like the days of Noah just as Jesus said would happen (Matthew 24:37). We have not heeded His warnings, and so we are surprised and ill prepared.

What has been the response of the church? What has the church decided to do? Some, awakened by guilt and the conviction of their lapse of duty, run out into the fray naked and ill-equipped. They are vulnerable, ineffective. They have failed to put on the spiritual armor and weaponry provided by God (Ephesians 6:10-18). No helmet of salvation, no breastplate of righteousness, no work boots of the gospel, no shield of faith. Nothing. The consequence is deconstruction head shots, arrows of hurt piercing their heart, lust-lacerated feet, and accusation bludgeoned bodies. Christians and their churches are reduced to ineffective, inconsequential, wasteful, prayerless carnal ineffective charges into enemy bobbed wire and machine gun fire. Futile. Lambs to the slaughter.

But worse than such prayerless forays is the treachery of those who seek to put unloaded weapons in the Christian soldier’s hands. Those in charge of the arsenal have either sent out weapons with no ammunition or provided a badly chipped and unsharpened saber. Not only is their brand of sword not tempered, but it is also distempered. What do I mean? Too often the church has taken the one instrument, the one effective weapon God has provided for our warfare and discounted it, dulled it, or disengaged it. The Christian cannot battle, there is no possibility for victory, without the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

It is not a pretty sight to see God’s army hacking away at the enemy with dull butter knives. It is pitiful when they try. We need sharp swords to cut away the thick underbrush of worldly worldviews (Matthew 13:22). We need Holy Spirit training and empowering so that each Christian soldier is skilled to use the sword of God’s word with the courage of His love (Ephesians 4:15).

Spiritual surgery requires a laser sharp scriptural scalpel. The sharper the scalpel the cleaner the cut. The sharper the scalpel the less scarring and more effective the surgery. What is a sharp scalpel of God’s word? It is one translated true to the text, one true to the text of scripture period. But the scalpels used by some churches today are rusty with sin-affirming rot. If the truth of God’s word needs to be applied with love for it to be effective, its just as true that love unguided and used within the parameters of God’s word ceases to be true Christlike redeeming love. Truth and love must be married to produce children of the New Birth.

It is always a dangerous thing to bend God’s word to fit human opinion. That is what we see happening in certain segments of the church of our day. There is a human-centric view that aims to temper the truth of God for the sinner as well as for the wayward saint. People, who claim good intentions, not only bend God’s word but avoid and sometimes even cut out portions of the Holy text. When Christians to do this, they are no better than “Christian” slave owners who provided slaves with Bibles that edited out the Exodus and other liberating portions of scripture. Both practices lead to perpetuating enslavement in sin.

The power of the gospel to save, the power of the scripture to generate faith is short circuited when “ministers” dissect and divide with an eye to sugarcoating. It is dishonest and indeed devilish to ignore or divert attention from any scripture because it is felt it will not be palatable to a target audience. It is sinful to place oneself in a position of authority over God and His word assessing scripture as too harsh for listeners. Such decisions are usually based on feelings. “Feeling” is the idolatrous flavor of the day. If a fool is defined as one who says, “There is no God,” then it is foolish to act in such ways based on feelings. Feelings are fickle. We are not called to feel. We are called to faith. Faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17). Distort or hinder God’s word in any way and you limit the ability to see it produce faith in people.

The rationale for the redaction of God’s word and its message is frequently a person’s self-imposed prime directive of relevance. “We must make God’s word RELEVANT!” I understand that. Really, to a certain extent, every “translation” of the original text of God’s word is meant to make the revealed content understandable to people in their contemporary language. That is a good thing. But an unacceptable line is crossed when “translation” is mixed with human opinion. The line is crossed when personal preferences drive what people feel is important to be emphasized or de-emphasized from God’s revealed text.

One wonders if sometime in the near future, in the pursuit of relevance, God’s word will be redacted to leave out God’s abhorrence of not only sexual sins such as LGBTQ+, but also pedophilia, prostitution, and pornography. As humanity lives out the “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” worldview, perhaps other sins, or even all sin will be redacted out of God’s word (Judges 21:25). When that happens the words of Jesus will be fulfilled, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). Then people will say, “Love is love,” but will no longer have any idea what true love is.

Proliferating on the bookshelves of online stores and other sources are devotionals and “Bibles” affirming all kinds of sins. They are too numerous to mention. I do not want to give them any publicity. But such sin-sensitive and sin-affirming instruments of sensuality show the distance from God some people’s sins have led them to. Such sin exposes an absolute dearth of reverence and disregard for God’s holiness. We are living in a time of fantasy worldview where people throw off what they believe are the shackles of their Creator to live their own personal concoction of who they claim to be. Reality has been replaced by fantasy. The time of “sound doctrine” and truth has passed. It has been replaced with “itching ears” that turn away “from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Such sin would be bad enough, but what is worse is that some “churches” are leading the way in this.

It is not hard to imagine a complete denial of the Fatherhood of God someday in “Christian” circles. Can’t you foresee the feminizing of the Holy Spirit? There are already those who claim Jesus and His twelve disciples were gay. It is not that hard anymore to imagine some pushing into God’s Holy Word a kind of transgender malaise of gender non-specificity. To them God is capricious about His gender. Like them, God can be whatever gender He wants to be. God wears pants one day. God wears a skirt the other. God can be a cat, a dog, He can be anything He desires to be regardless of how He has revealed Himself to be in truth in His word. The world is moving toward a kind of crazy modern day modalistic view of God. God becomes to them a kind of chaotic chameleon of gender variety. This is the ultimate projection of humanities distorted sinful perceptions on God. It is blasphemous, but we can see such changes coming.

Why am I writing this? I am writing this because of a fire in my belly for God’s word. I am writing this as a precaution. I am writing this in hopes that in some small way I can be used by the Lord to awaken some of His people to the importance of His Word. “‘The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?’ says the LORD. ‘Is not My word like a fire?’ says the LORD. ‘And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?'” (Jeremiah 23:28-29).

We are inundated with the chaff of unfaithfulness to God’s word. We are swamped with dreamers promoting human opinions. We are impressed with the machinations of marketeers. But a house built without scripture is built on sand (Matthew 7:24-27). Without the foundation of scripture, we live in straw houses. A storm is coming; it is here! If we forsake God’s word we will not stand! We are responding to the world’s attempts to burn us and God’s word at a stake of their choosing. They want to bury us with stones like they did Stephen. We need God’s word to break those rocks! We need His fiery word to burn up the chaffy straw houses we have built. We need the strength of scripture. We need a revival of God’s word.

Such a revival begins with a respect for God’s word. The problem with a disrespectful attitude toward God’s word starts with the human-centricity of those who are guilty of this distortion of God’s word. They fail to remember that God is the Creator who made us and that He knows best about what we need. The binary truth is that no man or woman is worthy of a position to sit as editor of God’s revelation. Humanity falls short of God’s glory. We need to listen to the Author and surrender to His instructions. We need to “humble yourselves before the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).

God the Father, Christ Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit are calling us. Their call is loud and clear. “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). Are you listening? Am I listening? Are we listening? Let us get back to the bottom line of God’s word. Let us consider why we should not try to alter the meaning of God’s word to fit our human opinions. Let us set aside our “relevance” for the sake of God’s revelation. God’s word is truly the only standard of worthwhile relevance. If we truly believe in God and His omniscient foreknowledge then we should believe that none of what we see in our world today has caught God off guard. God has revealed His word to humanity knowing full well what humanity needed to hear. God’s word is always, “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Let us trust God and His word as God’s word.

What does God say about His word and how we should handle it?

First, God warns against changing or altering His word. God says in His word:

Deuteronomy 4:2 – 2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 12:32 – 32 “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.6Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

Revelation 22:18-19 – 18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

If you wrote a letter to someone and the person who read it changed your words and altered its meaning to mean something other than what you clearly and simply intended, you would probably find that offensive and even criminal. If a general sent orders to the front lines and when they got there the orders were altered by the messenger, the offender would face a court marshal and more importantly victory in the battle would be put in jeopardy. Changing God’s word is like changing orders or changing a letter. Changing God’s word puts people at risk and jeopardizes God’s intended purposes. Changing God’s word is offensive, and it is criminal.

Second, God’s word is holy, unique, and ought to be approached with the utmost reverence. God says His word is holy which means it is unique. The Bible states:

Romans 1:2 – 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,

2 Timothy 3:15-17 – 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, seventeen that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

There is no book like God’s book the Bible. No other book is verified and validated by the combination of manuscript evidence, archeological evidence, prophetic evidence, the preservation in the face of persecution evidence and the logical statistical rational of the combination of these factors considered together. No other religious book can match the sixty-six book Bible for truth and reliability. God’s word is holy, and we ought to have reverence for it.

 Third, we should inductively look to learn from God in His word not deductively look to use God’s word to support our views. The proper way to approach God’s word is inductively. This means we come to it open and eager to learn what the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to us through the word. This means we come to the word of God first and form our beliefs and opinions based on what the word says, not the other way around. When a person approaches God’s word deductively with preconceived beliefs and then seeks to support their personal opinions with God’s word, it leads to scripture twisting, misinterpretation, misunderstanding and manipulation of God’s Holy Word. We are the ones who must learn from God. We cannot teach God anything.

At the root of the problem is that we live in a sinful world that places man at its center. This man-centered mentality has crept into the church. The Bible refers to this as the works of the flesh. It is walking according to our own understanding rather than walking in the Spirit and being guided by God and His word (1 Corinthians 3; Galatians 3:1-5; 5:16-26). We should not look to shade God’s word to fit our preconceived opinions. Rather we should look to the Holy Spirit to illuminate God’s word to our understanding and adjust accordingly (1 Corinthians 2:9-15).

When people try to contemporize God’s word under the premise that it needs to be made “relevant” to peer pressures and beliefs of the day, they have become people pleasers and consequently stopped being servants of God (Galatians 1:10). God’s word is true and unchanging like He is (Matthew 24:35; John 17:17; Hebrews 13:8). Rather than trying to change God’s word to fit the prevailing human opinion of the day, we ought to call people to live within the parameters of scripture. If they refuse, they will suffer the consequences; confusion and chaotic living in this life; eternal torment in the next. Freedom, fulfillment, and eternal life await those who come to Jesus through the gospel of His Word.

When you look at human fields of learning you find an ever-changing unstable series of “facts” that with time prove to be wrong or off target for the most part. God’s word is dependable and has stood the test of time. We need to respect it when we approach it because it is, indeed, God’s word. If we do that, then we can change the momentum of this war of world views. If we do that, we can go on the offensive. Jesus said, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. . . . and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 7:24 and 16:18b). Respect God’s word. Amen.

 

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