Sole Authority? How we Think we can Stand in Judgment of His Word.
These are distilled from some of the concluding thoughts I had as I closed this past Sunday’s message from John 1.
As Christians, we need to be reminded (often) regarding the centrality of the proclaimed Word as being integral to our worship service—“hearing from God” not only “letting Him hear from us (as we sing, pray etc.)”. This is opposite to much modern Christian church methodology—“come on Pastor, I’m here to get my praise on!”
If we bought into the thinking of today’s church-growth wizards (and the like) as they strive to keep pace with the ways that children and adults are entertained, I often wonder how well Jesus’ simple messages (including His parables) would rate? I wonder how well the simple teachings of the Apostles and prophets would do in our modern Christian culture?
Would Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” get high marks in our churches today? Would Peter’s world-changing sermon on the Day of Pentecost only evoke a yawn from us today? Would Jesus dandling a young child on His leg only provoke a yawn out of today’s child?
Mark 10:13-16 13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. NASB
Would we, in following modern American Christian thinking, in a manner opposite of the disciples’ efforts, quickly remove the children and say “don’t bother the children that way Jesus!”
Of course we are all prompted to respond: “O come on Pastor, if Jesus were here right now, we’d all be crowded around Him and hanging on His every word—we would invite our neighbors, our families, our extended families, our co-workers, our boss, and—AND—however we could, we would especially make sure our loved ones—our families would listen to His every word—because everyone needs to hear God truth!”
But, if the preacher is handling the Word of God faithfully–if the teacher is being faithful to reveal God’s truth to people–children or adults, then in a real sense, isn’t Christ speaking? So, do we invite others with the kind of enthusiasm I describe in the previous paragraph?
Are we willing to hear and adhere to God’s Truth? Part of claiming the Bible as our sole authority means we are willing to accept its teachings in forms which often do not “excite” or are unable to compete with modern media.
As Christians, as blood-bought children of God, we do not get to stand in judgment of the Word—we cannot place ourselves in the position of deciding when the Word “is for me” or when it “is not for me.” I think in a real sense we do this when we attempt to judge whether a certain form of teaching is interesting enough.
As we think about our claims to make the Word of God central in our lives, and we contemplate the teaching of the Holy Spirit in John 1:1 – 18, and the other statements Jesus makes about His message and the message of the Apostles to come, it is reasonable to make these implications:
The Message is the Person Himself—to push away His message—IN ANY WAY—is to push away the God we say has saved us.
To accept His Word, to seek it, to hunger and thirst for it—is to accept, seek, and to hunger and thirst after Him.
How have you and I been rejecting Christ by rejecting His teachings?