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« The Particularity of God | Main | Why Communicate? »

The Incredible or Inedible Word?

Few scenes are more heart-wrenching than those of starving children.  Eyes sunken, bellies distended, they cling to the necks of mothers who extend their hands for a few pennies so they can feed their babies.  Their haunting looks stab the core of our consciences, despite the fact that most of their suffering can be blamed on politics and war.  But there are legitimate famines due to draughts, natural disasters, crop failures and poverty.  Without a safety net, those trapped in developing countries resort to the most degrading ways to alleviate their hunger.  When their best efforts fail, the toll on the human welfare can be shocking.  Nutrition-starved bodies experience deterioration of the organs and tissue.  At a certain point, the damages to health are irreversible.  

In the same way that the natural man needs nutrition for the physical body, the spiritual man needs food for the soul.  If the soul goes for a long time with no spiritual food, permanent damage can occur to the spirit, the conscience and the character.  Indeed, Jesus said “It is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Luke 4:4.  In order to compensate for the lack of food for the soul, people will begin to ingest disgusting substitutes to satisfy the hunger pangs, even if it poisons them.  The soul must eat.  

On this note, the Prophet Amos issues a dire warning.  “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.” Amos 8:11-14.  There is a widespread famine in the world today.  It is not a famine for bread, but for the Word of God.  The country we live in and love, this country that was founded on the Word of God is in full-blown crisis because of politics, moral failures, and faith crop failures.  Even worse, the Word is under vicious assault from enemies within the ranks of Christendom.  Subversive forces are changing the incredible Word into something that is inedible.  We are warned about them in the Bible itself.  “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.   Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”   Acts 20:29-30.   

Apostolic preachers must preach the Word of God today in a straightforward manner.  I underscore this need because contemporary thinking about how to “do church” is conjuring up some bizarre takes on preaching.  Some think preaching is to explore interesting concepts together and each draw his own conclusion.  Others think preaching is to build up low self-esteem, to make people feel good or to address societal problems.  Not so.  The purpose of preaching is to proclaim truth in order to save souls.  “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”  1 Corinthians 1:20-21. 

Preaching must not be a philosophical discourse.  To raise questions that the Bible does not answer grossly distorts the purpose of scripture.  It does people no good for the preacher to stand behind the pulpit and say “I don’t know,” or “I’m not sure” when dealing with core gospel issues like salvation, heaven or hell.  Those who proclaim truth are not to be considered arrogant, condescending snobs because they dare to say they know truth.  Personally, we know nothing.  Good preachers, however, CAN say with supreme confidence that the Bible is true!  As long as we say what the Bible says, as long as we stick with the Bible definitions, as long as we preach Christ and Him crucified, we speak the truth! 

We are now encountering a new wave of the subversion of scripture called the emergent church.  This movement holds truth proclaimers in contempt.  Many of them have kneaded the leaven of existentialism and other subjective, postmodern philosophies into cardinal doctrines.   Their fundamental tenets of faith have undergone such extreme makeovers that salvation, the atonement, the efficacy of the blood of Jesus and even the way the gospel is preached is largely unrecognizable.  The postmodern Jesus is no God incarnate.  He is no bold truth proclaimer.  He has been down-sized to the status of a fellow traveler on the journey of life. 

This postmodern “philosobabble” is generally espoused by those who are in a protracted state of spiritual and scriptural confusion.  If you stop a confused person to ask for directions, don’t be surprised if you end up lost.  Geographical confusion is a result of having a distorted mental map of your surroundings.  Scriptural confusion is the result of not knowing, believing or caring what the Bible says.  

The position if the United Pentecostal Church, International is to preach and practice the Bible without reservation or embarrassment.  We believe it is verbally inspired, infallible in its autographs, and complete in its doctrine.  If you want to know how to get to heaven from Ohio—or wherever you happen to be—you can find out in the pages of the book we call the Bible.  Taking it step further, you will find the directions in no other pages.  A step further yet holds that anyone who does not follow the precepts of this text will never enter into the narrow gate that leads to life eternal! 

“THIS BOOK contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened in the judgment, and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.”  -Anonymous

The Word of God, in the state in which it was handed to us, is the best food source for the soul.  Reject the new recipes that strip the spiritual nutrients from the Word and change it into some inedible concoction.  The ultimate test is not how it is presented nor how it tastes but whether or not it is good for us.  Incredibly, nothing tastes better than the edible Word!  Ezekiel wrote, “’Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.’ So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.”  Ezekiel 3:3 (NKJV)

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Reader Comments (4)

Thank you Pastr Jordan..."Apostolic preachers must preach the Word of God today in a straightforward manner" Amen... Im finding that folks want truth, straightforward truth, uncompromised and not waterd down.. please pray for Wales. God has opened the door to preach Jesus among military men. many challenges in our pagan nation..

The Lord belss you
Brother Paul

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpaul

Nice job. Very thought provoking.

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

I feel very bad after reading this..This is very critical issue..Thanks for sharing this article.
forzest online

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlaurahill

My goodness this was a powerful Word. Thank you for sharing.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErica Faison

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