Acts 17-18, Psalm 127
It's difficult to take a stand for God or refute incorrect statements about Him if you're not in God's Word. A recent LifeWay Research study found only 45% of regular church attendees read the Bible more than once a week. Over 40% of church attendees read once or twice a month. Almost 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read the Bible. To understand what this translates into, The United Kingdom Bible society surveyed children and found that 1 in 3 did not know that the Nativity was part of the Bible. Worse than that 27% of British parents believe that Superman is a biblical story, 33% believe that Harry Potter is from the Bible and 54% think that the Hunger games is from the Bible. Even those who regularly read Scripture focus only on the New Testament or the Psalms not allowing the entirety of Scripture to speak to them. Worse than that many only read devotionals which have disjointed verses with more commentary than Scripture as their time in the Bible.
We read Acts 17:11-12, referring to the people of Berea, "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men." Paul goes on later in this chapter addressing the Athenians which is just as applicable to us in the US now in Acts 17:30-31, "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained...".
We are confronted with an onslaught of incorrect statements by denominations and prominent individuals within these organizations. Everyone must ask themselves whether what they are saying is right or wrong and unless we all embrace Scripture we rely on our opinions only. In 2014 Pope Francis declared that the Big Bang Theory and Evolution are real and God is not "a magician with a magic wand". In Paul's discourse to the Athenians in Acts 17:24, he says, "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth,...". Genesis 1-2 tells the story of Creation. In Job, chapters 38-41, God Himself describes His creation in amazing detail. Both can't be right, everyone must decide is it the Bible or Pope Francis. The Jehovah's witnesses are the first group who actually created a Bible, The New World Translation, which changed any Scripture which did not agree with their theology. They also only allow their followers to read one commentary, their own, the one produced by The Watchtower. So they make statements like Jesus was only a man, not God; there disbelief in hell, etc and support it with their own handmade Scripture. Those biblically illiterate easily fall prey not able to refute their statements. The Episcopal and Presbyterian churches support gay marriage and even perform the weddings within their churches. Societally to go against this is met with anger and claims of being a homophobe. But whether you want to go to the Old Testament in Genesis, Leviticus and Judges or the New Testament in Romans and 1 Corinthians, the Biblical stance is straightforward. Jesus, Himself, described the only accepted marriage and union as that between man and woman in Matthew 19:4-6. Ignorance is not a defense, especially now at a time when the Bible is translated in 636 languages and is readily available to everyone. The Bible is our instruction manual and needs to be approached with fear and trembling as we wait upon God, not in an obligatory or perfunctory fashion, but with enthusiasm and expectation.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: