Why is it that preachers continually emphasize the importance of bible study? Have they just run out of other things to say, or is it really that important?
Perhaps one thing to remember is that apostasy lurks just one generation away. It has been true in the past and it is true today. You will remember that the days of Joshua were glorious. This man served God as a faithful minister of Moses, the servant of God. He was a brave and believing spy. He succeeded Moses as leader of Israel; he was the captain of the armies of Israel and the conqueror of Canaan. His influence was so great that “the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua” (Judges 2:7). But, like all men, Joshua died at the age of 110. “And there arose another generation, which knew not the Lord.” (Judges 2:10).
One generation serves the Lord, the next one does not. How swiftly things can change. What brought it all about? The answer is quite simple. Someone allowed a crop of children to grow up without proper instruction. And eventually they had to reap destruction. One step followed another until the punishment of God was meted out. Note the order of progressions as it related to ancient Israel.
- 1.SPIRITUAL ILLITERACY. They “knew not the Lord.” (Judges 2:10)
- 2.FORSAKING OF GOD. “And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt.” (Judges 2:12).
- 3.SERVING FASLE GODS. They followed “the gods of the people that were round about them.” (Judges 2:12). They gave in to pagan ideas, pagan practices and customs. Immorality abounded and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6).
- 4.PUNISHMENT FROM GOD. “And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of the spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about.” (Judges 2:14).
There is no hope if spiritual illiteracy prevails. Heathen altars will abound. Tidal waves of iniquity will arise, and destruction will follow. We must not fail the youth of today. We MUST diligently teach them the truth lest it be said once again, “there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord.”
These words were written many years ago, but they are no less true today. Church, we need to understand that we have lost many of our young people because of failure in the homes in teaching them truth; for failures in the home of living out the truth, and for the failure of the church in helping the families teach the truth. Bible class can never be a substitute, or take the place of, what is taught in the home. Many families today rely on the school system to teach values to their children, and this is one of the major reasons why we are going down the road to perdition. If children are taught that they came from animals, then they will act like animals. Children in the church need to hear and know the TRUTH, as does the world.
Many of our congregations are growing older in that they are made up of older people. Many young people do not see the need for worship; they do not see the need for fellowship; they question whether or not we really believe the Bible or not. They see no difference between the world and the church in our manner of life. In many “churches’” it is all about making the members “feel good about themselves and the sins they engage in.” Such should never be the case. We must be serious about sin and emphasize to all that sin needs to be uprooted in our lives. At the same time, when one repents of sin, we need to accept them back with open arms, and be there for them when they are tempted to go astray. We need to practice what we preach in serving others in the church. We need to live out the gospel to our friends and neighbors, not act like the world in front of them. We need to be the light of the world, not because we are Jesus, but because Jesus is in us!
We need to realize we are a family, and while we may and will have family disagreements, we need to come together when we are attacked from outside. The best thing that can happen to the church of today is persecution. We will close ranks, help one another and be the warriors God needs for us to be. John Pavlovitz wrote “Church, we need you to stop being warmongers with the trivial and pacifists in the face of the terrible.”
God has set the goals of what he wants his church to be! We need to be teaching others the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20). We need to be benevolent to one another in the church and to those outside (Galatians 6:10; Acts 2, 4, 6). We need to encourage one another as we strive to live the Christian life. (Barnabas and Paul – Acts 9:27; and Barnabas and John Mark – Acts 15:36-41).
Beloved, let us pray, first and foremost of all, for our children and the future of the church. Let us pray for boldness (Acts 4). Let us pray for strength. And then, let us get off our knees and get to work. Souls of our children, and of this world depend on us living for Christ!