I am persuaded that basic unbelief is one of our cardinal sins that lies at the door of the evangelical church in America today. We are struggling with this massive wave of unbelief and trying to cure it with swats at a variety of secondary issues. We consequently congratulate ourselves with our efforts, stands, and non-conformity, while we allow the cardinal sin of unbelief to go unchecked and unchallenged in our ministry and laity. It brings grief to true believers, dishonor to the visible Church, disgrace to ourselves, and disgust to God himself. The problem is so serious that I believe we are in danger of being spewed out by the Lord. I literally marvel at the Lord's longsuffering with us in America. It seems that we flaunt in God's face that we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing.
One of the major and basic areas of unbelief in America today is in the authority and inspiration of the holy Scriptures. We must return to the basic moral understanding that the holy Scriptures is not a book to defend our pet ideas or that it is not just a good book to gain ideas to try to better our lives by or that we are not to try to explain away its plain and simple precepts, but that it is the revelation of God to mankind and its instructions are to be heeded and its laws are to be kept even if many others do not keep them. And that we are finally to be judged by its solemn precepts.
I have observed a mentality today which makes me shudder when I attempt to analyze it, and that is just how much like this present world can I be and yet please the Lord? Some do not do this in an outward manner primarily, but you only have to listen to them a little while to discover that their conversation is not in heaven. They can speak at length on many matters that have little or not link to Christian living. I concur with Wesley when he asked the question on August 24, 1744 before Oxford University, "Is there scriptural Christianity found here?" I ask the same to you. Just how scriptural is your Christianity? Do you remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy? Or any other of the commandments; are they like frontlets before your eyes? My brethren, can we dare to continue as we are today with so little soul respect for the holy Scriptures? And what excuse will we offer for out lack of concern and soul burden? Remember on one of the "woes" of the holy Scriptures is to them that are at ease in Zion!
Fasting seems to be a lost art for most of us today. Far more often than not we fare sumptuously every day. We are far more acquainted with McDonalds' menu than we are with the holy Scriptures. When we read "when we fast" we seem to feel that it is a mistranslation that should read "if ye fast." I fear lest our mental calisthenics will allow us to explain away the obvious interpretation of the holy Scriptures.
Until we have a return to the basic and final authority of the holy Scriptures in our life and practice we are farther from God than any of us realize. There can be no supernatural visitation of the Holy Spirit without a return to basic scriptural authority! The holy Scriptures are the final authority in every area. If science and Scripture are in conflict, Scripture is the authority! If history and Scripture conflict, some historian has not done his homework and is wrong! The infinite God inspired the holy Scriptures and his knowledge is too wonderful for us to comprehend. If geography or any other science conflicts with Scripture, rest your soul, the Almighty God, Creator of the universe knew well what the Holy Ghost inspired the sacred writers to pen was correct - absolutely correct!
That old serpent, the devil, has done a number on us. He has sown seeds of doubt concerning the holy Scriptures in the hearts of many deluded evangelicals, saying, "We are too intelligent to except the absolute and final authority of the Scriptures." I can only say if we accept this lie of the devil, we will be the sore losers.
We do not really believe the Psalmist's evaluation in Psalms 19:7 that the law of the Lord is perfect, that is, it cannot be improved upon!!!
My call to you today is: let us return to the absolute authority of the holy Scriptures. They are the way to life, hope, and faith. Let us return and apply its principles to our lives even though it may be a painful process. One of the identifying marks of one who has divine love according to 1 Corinthians 13:6b is that he "rejoiceth in the truth." Rejoice although it beheads our idols, digs our creeds apart, smashes our theories, and changes our lives.
My prayer is that we will return to be men of one Book; and that it's sacred pages will so consume us that we can become channels through which the Holy Spirit can move in extraordinary measures.
St. Paul's instructions to his son Timothy was, "Preach the Word." It is our duty brethren, to preach the Word in all of its boldness, narrowness, broadness, and in all of its transforming power. It is sufficient for the needs of all men whatever their stature or station. The preached word will as surely find its mark as David's smooth stone found its mark if it is preached clearly, sincerely, fearfully, and with power. Meditate upon it, my brethren, until your hearts burn within you. Read and study its precepts until the book becomes your crowning desire. It makes wise the simple (Psalm 19:7b).
We have a bounden duty to awaken out of sleep, stir our hearts, and become God's firebrands for this generation. We are on the train of life and it is thundering toward judgment. Have we cleared our souls concerning this tragic malady of our generation? Do we not owe our generation, a generation of "men of one Book"? Dare we proceed any farther without a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit that again will draw men to keep the precepts and laws that are so graphically laid out in the holy Scriptures?