April 18

2 Kings 23-25, Psalm 108

J.I. Packer said, “Simple assent to the gospel, divorced from a transforming commitment to the living Christ, is by Biblical standards less than faith, and less than saving, and to elicit only assent of this kind would be to secure only false conversions”. When I reflect on my own path of salvation, I see what moved me and what didn’t. In my late teens, I saw a miniseries on television, called Peter and Paul (Anthony Hopkins was Paul), and it moved me. I hadn’t really cared or been back to church since my Confirmation in the Episcopal Church. So I went back about 4-5 times only to see the same dead rituals and lack of anything real which was everything that I remembered. I continued in my life rarely thinking about God. When I was in Medical School and especially when my wife was pregnant I began to study the creation of the life growing in my wife, I realized that there had to be a God, but still had no direction. It wasn’t until I found my mother in her hospital bed, already passed and gone, that the revival in my own mind and heart began. In my tears, a woman, who I didn’t know saw me in my grief, rather than express the standard condolences, she put her hand on my shoulder and prayed Psalm 23 in it’s entirety. I never really heard the Word of God before other than a phrase here or a verse there. A couple of weeks later I asked the hospital chaplain for a Bible, and started in Genesis 1. A little over a year later (I’m sure not a coincidence) I stumbled upon AM 570 and for the first time heard pastors with a true love for the Word, and I gave my life to Him.

As we conclude the book of 2 Kings, just before the destruction of Judah, we read of a wonderful king and a wonderful story of revival. The entire revival was centered on the Word of God. We read in 2 Kings 22:11, once the book of the Law was found, “Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes.” He then charged the priest to find a prophet for direction. Then in 2 Kings 23:2, the revival continues, “And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord”. He then went on to make a personal commitment and urged the people to take a similar stand. In the remainder of this chapter, we see that Josiah is truly a king on fire who acted on the direction of the words in the Bible.

I write this here because our world is in desperate need of revival. When my wife was teaching in Catholic School and asked her principal (a Nun) a question related to the Biblical standard of Communion, she stated that she didn’t know and was never encouraged to read the Bible. When we share the Gospel message with others (and I hope we all are), is our focus trying to get them to recite the sinner’s prayer or is it instead to focus them on God’s Word which will have long lasting results? One of the main purposes of The One Year Bible Challenge is to redirect all of us back into God’s Word. We see after the story of Josiah, that the people all reverted back to pagan practices. Our faith must be personal, not solely based on our leaders. Like Josiah, we need the entirety of Scripture, not just the Psalms, little devotionals, or favorite portions of the New Testament. So many movements become religions. Calvary Chapel initiated by Chuck Smith almost 50 years ago focused on the entirety of God’s Word. If we are to remain in a relationship with Christ and not fall the way of so many movements that have come before us, we must keep fresh daily in His Word.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato