Hugh’s news & Views
Christians read and study their Bibles. They attend Bible classes and listen to sermons. Over a period of time they accumulate a large body of Biblical facts and truths. So what?
Don’t misunderstand me. We need knowledge. God’s people can be destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Peter urged Christians to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). But knowledge simply for the sake of knowledge is woefully inadequate.
Preachers are to preach the gospel. They are to proclaim the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. They are to lift up Christ. Their desire should be to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified. But so what? If preachers inform their hearers about all that Christ has done for mankind but never get around to answering the question, “What must I, a hearer of the gospel, do to be saved?” of what practical value have those preachers been to their hearers? If their hearers go away knowing that Christ is their savior and that salvation is a matter of a “relationship with Christ” but with no understanding or an incorrect notion of what they must do to receive Christ’s salvation and establish a right relationship with Him, of what practical value have the preachers been to them? Preaching Christ and Him crucified is foundational and essential to any further Christian development (cf. I Corinthians 3:11), but it does not represent all that is involved in preaching “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
So what if people know that Christ died to save them? If they are never instructed about how to respond to the gospel, never told about the church to which the saved are added, never instructed about how to worship and how to live, and never urged to respond to the gospel message, of what real good has a preacher been to them?
To be faithful to their calling, preachers need to instruct people in how to obey the gospel (II Thessalonians 1:6-10), how to obey from the heart that form of doctrine that makes one free from sin (Romans 6:16-18). The gospel consists not only of facts/truths to be believed, but also of commands to be obeyed, promises to be enjoyed, and warnings to be heeded! “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord,” preachers are to “persuade men”(2 Corinthians 5:11)!
James says that we are to be doers of the word and not hearers only. To hear and know but not do, James goes on to say, is like a person looking at herself/himself in a mirror, then immediately forgetting what she/he saw (James 1:22-26). Jesus asked rhetorically, “And why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). We must take action with reference to what we learn from the word of God, and this includes what we must do to be saved from our sins and enter into Christ (cf. Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Galatians 3:26-27).
As we read the Bible, study it in classes, and hear sermons, we need to ask, “So what? What am I going to do with what I have learned? How am I going to incorporate this into my life? How is this information going to change me: my spiritual state, my attitudes, my actions?”
And preachers, when you preach what a loving God did for mankind at the cross in giving His Son for the sins of the world, don’t stop short by failing to inform your hearers of what they must do to avail themselves of that gift of love! So what if Christ died for the sins of the world? If people are never given biblical instructions as to how to respond in obedience to Christ they remain lost in their sins (See: Hebrews 5:8-9).
July 22: Hilldale Church of Christ, Clarksville, TN
July 24: McEwen Church of Christ, McEwen, TN
July 31: GreenHillChurch of Christ, Mt. Juliet, TN
July 16, 2013