“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land -- not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Word of the Lord." Amos 8:11
About 70% of teens leave church after high school. In America, people are leaving Christianity in droves. And even for those who still attend church, the story isn't much better. Only a very small fraction of professing believers regularly read their Bible, pray, or share their faith. They often struggle to answer even basic questions about what they believe, or why they believe it.
How did we get here?
Most churches teach from the Bible, but very few actually teach the Bible. Fewer still teach thru the entire Bible, verse-by-verse. As a result, despite years of attending church services, many believers still lack even a basic understanding of what the Bible actually teaches. Feel-good messages may fill seats, but only God's Word can fill souls. And only a return to God's Word will raise up mature believers and make disciples.
"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the Word of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food." Hebrews 5:12
Think back to the last church service you attended. What do you most remember about the service? The music? The building? The cool lighting? Now think of the teaching. What do you remember? If you're anything like most of us, you probably mostly remember the jokes and stories that were told. Maybe it's just how we're wired - we love stories and jokes.
We've been fed a steady diet of funny jokes, touching stories, and concert-quality music. Beautiful facilities, dynamic personalities, and programs galore. There's nothing inherently wrong with most of these things, but they shouldn't be the focus. But all too often they are. Often it's no longer about God. It's largely about us. And it shows.
It's been rightly said that many churches are a mile wide and an inch deep. Often treating the Bible like a buffet - they take what they like, ignoring the rest.
It's called topical teaching and it rules the day. When they need money, they find a part of the Bible that talks about giving. If they see empty seats? They talk about sharing your faith. Some parts of the Bible are hammered home again and again -- but most parts are skipped over entirely.
Consumer Christianity is epidemic in the world today. And the results have been disastrous.
"Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God." Hebrews 6:1
"And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He (Jesus) expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Luke 24:27
Just about every problem facing the Church today can be traced back to one of two things: either ignorance of what the Bible teaches, or a departure from what the Bible teaches.
The Bible is life's God-given instruction manual. Yet the average church barely covers a verse or two every Sunday. And what they do cover, they often completely remove from its original context and meaning. In practice, they've all but abandoned God's Word and the leading of the Spirit. The average sermon is merely a thinly veiled motivational speech incorporating Christian lingo.
And we wonder why we're not growing in our relationship with God -- we wonder why lives aren't being changed.
If we want to see people get saved and see lives changed? If we want to impact our community for Christ? Then we need to return to the Word of God. We need to teach the whole counsel of God's Word.
"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. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." II Timothy 3:15-17
God wrote us a love letter. He gave us an instruction manual for living life. And yet we treat the Bible like it's boring and irrelevant. In reality? It's anything but. Within its pages, we find hope. We find purpose. We find God.
Remember a moment ago, when we talked about how the vast majority of teens leave the church after high school? The ones that don't leave? Are the ones who attend churches that teach apologetics (apologetics centers around using proof and evidence to explain and defend the faith).
It's been said "if we only know our side of the argument, then we don't even know that." God didn't just save us from something, He saved us for something. The Bible is where we learn why God saved us, and what His plans are for our lives.
Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me." John 5:39
What sets Calvary Chapel Northtowns apart from most other churches?
We teach thru the entire Bible, in-depth, verse-by-verse, explaining what we're reading and how it applies to our lives in our increasingly post-Christian culture. We tackle tough topics. We answer the questions people are actually asking -- or the questions they're afraid to ask.
And why wouldn't we? The Bible has the answers. All we need to do is get the focus off of ourselves, and back onto God.
"They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read." Nehemiah 8:8
"Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God." Acts 20:26-27
"Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you." II Thessalonians 3:1
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