There are two major problems in the church today:
- Christians who are ignorant of what the Bible teaches, and
- Christians who are informed about what the Bible teaches but don’t put it into practice.
This website is here to help the former but here is an article to challenge the latter.
Christians must be taught to obey the teaching of Scripture
When Jesus commissioned the disciples with their worldwide mission before his ascension he didn’t say “Teach people everything I have taught you.” He said: “Teach them to obey everything I have taught you.” Some churches are fairly useless at teaching the Bible. Many churches are fairly useless at teaching people to obey what Scripture says. (For Christian leaders, see the MinistersGuidetoChurchDevelopmentStrategy for a method of teaching people to obey what Scripture says, as opposed to only teaching them the content of Scripture.).
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’” (Matt 28:18-20).
Listening to Scripture can be deceptive
I have known people over the years who have phenomenal Bible knowledge. They can give chapter and verse from memory for many passages. They can quote huge chunks of the Bible from memory and they regard themselves as very biblical Christians. But some of them are deceived because their lives don’t bear out their Bible knowledge. They know the Word but they don’t do it. James spoke of such people: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”(James 1:22-25).
Faith without works is dead
Christians sometimes rather pride themselves about how much faith they have compared with others. But they are not at the forefront of serving other people. So James says: “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:14-19).
Words without deeds are dead
It is possible for Christians to be overt about their faith – singing all the right hymns and worship songs, letting people know they are Christians – without actually putting their words into practice. Jesus gave a solemn warning: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21). It is a cause of concern that some people who speak freely about “the Lord” might not enter the Kingdom.
Ministry without obedience is dead
Even more worrying is that warning Jesus goes on to give: “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matt 7:22-23). It is possible for a person to give prophecies and even work miracles in Jesus’ name, only to have him disown him because it is not linked with the obedience of discipleship.
However, for those who do the Word there is great reward.
Doing the Word means security in God
Jesus tells the story of the foolish builder who builds his life on sand (the person who knows the Word but doesn’t do it) and the wise builder who builds his life on the rock of obedience. The wise builder can be confident of security and protection in God through all the storms of life.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (Matt 7:24-25).
Doing the Word means acceptability to Christ
Jesus makes it clear that the doer of the Word is part of his family, in a close and intimate relationship with him. “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matt 12:50).
How much do you know the Word? Increase your knowledge. This website can help you.
How much do you do the Word? Check out where you don’t put its teaching into practice and ask God’s help to rectify that.
© Tony Higton: see conditions for reproduction