Sunday, July 10, 2022

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Having a Biblical Worldview

In last week’s message entitled, “Do Not Love the Things of This World”, I shared with you how the world can easily tempt you and lure you back to your disobedient ways. It doesn’t take much to fall prey to the enticements of worldly gain and pleasure. We are bombarded daily by television and Internet ads telling us that we need more of whatever advertisers are pushing. Billboards, radio ads and even our own mailboxes are filled with ways to get more out of life. In time, the temptation can get overwhelming and soon our feet slip. We backslide right back into the world and begin to push God out of the center of lives. When the whispers start to fill our ears daily, we should go to our pastors, but that has even changed.

In a recent study conducted by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, 62% of pastors don’t have a biblical worldview. This means that these pastors have what is called a worldview of syncretism. This means that they don’t hold a strictly Christian view of the world. They prefer to have an amalgamation, or attempted amalgamation, of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought. Think of it as a religious buffet. Pastors are picking and choosing beliefs from different religions and blending them together to create a “feel good” religion. 

These pastors prefer to create their own religion by selecting ideas and beliefs that would make people happy with themselves just as they are. Like a buffet, they pick what they want and leave the rest for others to pick over. This is not what Jesus had intended when he preached a gospel of love and salvation. 

In chapter six of the Gospel of John, Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.

To use the buffet analogy again, there are items on a buffet that are healthy and nutritional. These choices provide you with all of the necessary vitamins and minerals to make you healthier. However, there are items that look really good and catch your eye. The taste is wonderful as it goes down, but in the end, those choices are often the worst for us. They aren’t healthy choices at all. They look great, but they are far from what you need to remain strong and healthy. Some nutritionists refer to the bad choices as empty calories. They may fill you up and be pleasing to the palate, but they are not a good choice for you. These foods will often cause your blood sugar to spike and leave you run down in the end. But, there are pastors who would love to load your plate with bad food and continue to feed you watered down mess. 

When you think about the number of pastors who would rather serve doctored-up junk, you may feel that you don’t stand a chance when it comes to getting your daily allowance of God’s Word. Before you start feeding on the words of these pastors, I ask you to truly listen to their messages. If they don’t talk about sin or if they tell you that whatever you believe will get you into heaven, I ask you to listen to that tiny voice inside of you. The Holy Spirit is there to help you discern the Word of God.

The study further pointed out that many pastors, rather than building their thinking on God’s Word, are basing their beliefs on “personal preferences.” In short, many in the church, including its leaders, have set themselves up as the authority over God and His Word. With pastors pushing their personal preferences into the heads and hearts of their flocks, many members of the congregation will soon be disappointed and leave the church. Some will even become agnostics or even atheists. I have listened to many who left the church for one or more reasons and each had a common thread. They weren’t fed God’s Word or the bread of life. They were given poor substitutes that left them empty.

In the early 1900s, some people, in order to lose weight, ate tapeworms. The thought was that as a tapeworm grew in the intestines of the host, it would consume all of the food and the host could eat as much as they wanted. But, they failed to realize that the tapeworms were doing more damage. They not only deprived the host of food but they also deprived them of much needed vitamins and minerals. So, while they were losing weight, they were also getting weaker and weaker due to the lack of food and vitamins and minerals.

The same thing holds true when it comes to God's truth. Pastors, like tapeworms, deprive their flocks of the necessary nutrients to grow strong and healthy in their faith. Instead of preaching the truth, the pastors fill the minds and hearts of their congregations with spiritual junk food while slowly draining them of their money and ruining their spiritual relationship with God. Instead of providing the flock with the truth, these pastors prefer to inject their own opinions into the biblical text and draw their own conclusions and represent them as fact.

In his second letter to the young pastor, Timothy, Paul, in chapter two, writes, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.

As pastors, God will hold us accountable for what we have done or failed to do. We should be good workers in the kingdom who represent the Word of God without personal commentary or withhold parts of His Word that may be uncomfortable to those who walk in darkness. Pastors are called by God, but there are some who treat it as more of an occupation rather than a calling. They made the choice to become pastors. God didn’t call them; they called on God as a way to their own fortune or desire. 

In the end, we will all be judged. We will all stand before the Father and as the Book of Life is opened, some will be disappointed when their names aren’t called. They will soon join those who will depart from the Lord.

Jesus, in chapter seven of the Gospel of Matthew, said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Some will hear these words while others will hear the words that all Christians long to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

If you find yourself feeling empty after going to church, I ask you to look to God for wisdom and discernment. Ask God to guide you to a church or pastor who truly preaches God’s truth and feeds you good, solid spiritual food to help you grow stronger. Each step we take along the path of righteousness requires strength. Only God’s unvarnished truth can provide for our daily needs and help us stand firm in His grace.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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