“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” Psalm 127:1
It is interesting to observe all the different plans and schemes on how to build a church. You would think that everyone would be speaking about prayer, Bible study and soul winning. Those were the simple methods that worked well until people quit using them. As long as I can remember, men have been trying to do it some other way. Men just have a real problem with doing things God’s way.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way…” Isaiah 53:6a
We must do it our way. Men keep coming up with “gimmicks” that will draw people. The reason we think that God’s way will not work is because we don’t want it to work; and the reason we don’t want it to work is because it is “work.”
“Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” Ecclesiastes 7:29
Inventions are efforts to improve things. Outside of a few labor saving inventions, most of what man has invented has been a detriment to humanity, not the advancement thereof. Man keeps thinking he can improve upon God’s Book and church. God’s way is not always the easiest way, but it is the best way. Prayer is not easy. Prayer is hard. You keep praying and God will burden your heart for souls. You keep praying and God will make heaven and hell more real to you. You keep praying and God will have you focusing on Him instead of focusing on shortcuts.
Bible study is hard.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
Notice the word “workman,” just good old hard labor; a ditch digger, if you will. Anyone who has done much Bible study knows the truth about this. How often have I quit studying before God quit teaching? How often have I accepted someone else’s opinion about God’s truth instead of searching it out for myself? Cross-referencing and comparing scripture is often tedious. No one ever completes one of God’s courses; there seems to always be an add-on. Most of us let someone else do our studying for us. We keep thinking that there is a short cut. It is commendable to read from and learn from others, as long as we don’t take their word for it. Probably everything I have learned I have learned from others and I can also say that much I have gotten wrong, I learned from others. Christ command was “Search the scripture.”
Dr. McLain, to whom I am so indebted to for encouraging me to study, verbally chastised some of us with these words, “I am not your concordance.” He demanded we look it up ourselves. He was teaching us to study, not just teaching us what he believed.
Anyone who has attempted to lead someone to Christ knows that of all the service a Christian does, this is probably the most disappointing. The best soulwinner in the world must confess that he/she has lost more than they have won. If the Lord has burdened you for someone, you know the heartache of trying to get that someone to come to Christ. The Christian community has tried every gimmick in the world instead of the one given in scripture. We keep trying to re-invent the wheel. We have had great efforts like Lifestyle Evangelism (so we would not have to say anything) that are doomed before they start. Note Paul’s statement:
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
How did he deliver it? Pantomime? No, there must be words exchanged. You could live the most righteous life in the world and no one could tell by looking at you that Christ died for their sins according to the scriptures (writings), was buried, and rose again according to the scriptures.
We live in the greatest technological age known to modern man and we surely should use every kind of communication we have to tell people about Jesus Christ and His saving grace. For years in our prison seminars we would ask each inmate how he heard about Jesus. We asked if it were by television, radio, gospel tract, church service or person (friend or relative.) Ninety-eight percent of the people said “a person.” Think of that! Millions of dollars are spent for religious programming on television and radio and the actual spiritual return seems minute. (Most of the religious programs on television and radio are to fill the coffers of the people doing them, not winning the lost.)
I guess Solomon was right.
“My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change.” Proverbs 24:21
Keep Looking Up!