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Is The Bible Relevant Today?

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What is the Truth?

Is the Bible relevant today? In this day and age of many churches "redefining, who, and what" they are, this question is very important. It seems that with all the changes being made in many churches, that the Bible seems to be "pushed to the wayside". That is, labeled "irrelevant".
Churches interested in increasing numbers and being "seeker friendly" seem to be less interested in God's standards. Even when it comes to preaching His word! They would rather not "offend" anyone, than be true to God's word!! This is a tragic mistake!!!
Now first let me say that God's grace, love, forgiveness, compassion is very important. It is "paramount" in our faith as believers. But what many seem to forget as believers, followers of Christ, that God has standards. Now this may sound somewhat "legalistic" to some. However this is not about "legalism". This is about genuinely living out the christian life. A life that is pleasing to God! A life that God calls us to live!!
Many, however seem to be more interested in talking about grace than living (or teaching) a life that is pleasing to God! Now we have to understand that God's grace is just that, "grace". It is a "free" gift. It is very important and can never be earned! It can certainly never be trivialized. However it is not cheap, nor is it to be treated "cheaply". Afterall, it was not cheap was it? Jesus paid for it with His own life! How can we "peddle" it, like it is some kind of "buzz word"? But unfortunately, this is what often happens!
Many wanting to "increase" their numbers (member, visitor, etc.), preach a "seeker friendly" gospel. They do this, "to the point of" ignoring important parts of scripture. Such as ones on salvation, marriage, adultery, lifestyles, etc. Some even "omiting" that repentence is needed for salvation!
They also use many different things to reach others. There is certainly nothing wrong with this. In fact Paul said this:
 "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it with you."
                                 (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NKJV)
However, the one thing Paul did not do, nor would do, was compromise the Gospel:
 "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

    For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ."

                                          (Galatians 1:8-10 NKJV)

Paul knew the danger of compromising the gospel to please men. He knew what could happen! When we compromise the gospel, we compromise the truth!!

We can never "omit" scripture just to please others. In fact if we do, we are only hurting them! Afterall, did Jesus not call us to love others?

 "And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

                                                      (Matthew 22:39 NKJV)

 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

                                                       (John 15:12 NKJV)

How can we say we love others, yet we do not share ALL God's truth with them? It would be much like throwing a life preserver void of air! Or watching a truck come at someone who is unaware and keeping silent! What good would it do them? None!

It absolutley breaks my heart when I hear christians state that the Bible is "not relevant", or is "partially" relevant today. There is a real "irony" to this way of thinking. If the Bible is not "relevant", or only "partially relevant", than what are you basing your faith, your beliefs on? How do you know what is pleasing and acceptable to God? What are you basing your salvation on?

You see if you do not base your faith, beliefs and morals, on God's word, you will base it on anything!! That is why God's word was given to us:

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

                                               (2 Timothy 3;16 NKJV)
Without it what would we use for "instruction", "doctrine", "reproof", "correction"? There would be nothing!
It would be a "free for all". Free to make your own "morals" up, free to do anything you want!! Its a dangerous place to be in though. Why so dangerous? Because the human nature is "inherently" sinful. Left to our own direction we will make the wrong choices (just as we always have)! As being "followers" of the Lord we have to remember that this is very dangerous:
 "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
       Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
       Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter
       Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
       And prudent in their own sight!"
                                            (Isaiah 5:20-21 NKJV)
 As humans we are so prone to making the wrong choices. We stray from God and His ways. This is why we are so much in need of God's grace, salvation and leading to begin with! Without Him we are lost!!
You see Jesus "likened" (compared) us to sheep:
 "But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd."
                                            (Matthew 9:36 NKJV)
 Anyone who has ever worked with sheep know that they are "ignorant" of what is good for them. Not only that, they tend to "stray off", "go their own way", "wander aimlessly", "do things that could harm them". They need someone to lead them! Much like us!! You see we, just like sheep, "wander off", "do our own thing" with little thought, or reasoning of the consequences!!!
I read an article the other day about a flock of sheep in Turkey. One of them strayed and ran off a cliff. Guess what happened? Hundreds followed! Over 400 fell to their death!! Sad to say this, but that is just like sheep! They will follow another one, or someone that could very well lead them to their own destruction!! We as humans are the same way!!! Left to our own "choices", or the "choices" of others, we will fall on our own faces, we will destroy ourselves!!
God knew this and that's why He gave us Jesus:
 "All we like sheep have gone astray;
       We have turned, every one, to his own way;
       And the LORD has laid on *Him the *iniquity of us all."
                                                 (Isaiah 53:6 NKJV)
*Him= Jesus.
*iniquity= sin (immoral conduct, behavior, wickedness, etc.)
It really amazes and saddens me, that believers in Christ could actually deny His word! Many will profess believing in Him, but they do not seem to either believe, understand, or know His word! Without God's word we have no basis for our doctrine as christians. How can we say that the Bible is not relevant, or no longer relevant? To do this is to deny our own faith!
Or what about those who say "well times have changed", or "perhaps God has changed His mind". Well God does not change His standards:
"For I am the LORD, I do not change;
       Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob."
                                                (Malachi 3:6 NKJV) 
God does not change His mind just to "please", or "appease" others. In fact He is a righteous God and as such He does not change! He is not like us! As humans we will change our minds. In fact many of us will change our minds "as the wind blows", but God is righteous He will not change who He is:
 "For the LORD is righteous,
       He loves righteousness;
       His countenance beholds the upright."
                                        (Psalm 11:7 NKJV)
Not only will He not change who He is, but He does not say, what He does not mean:
  For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
       And do not return there,
       But water the earth,
       And make it bring forth and bud,
       That it may give seed to the sower
       And bread to the eater
         So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
       It shall not return to Me void,
       But it shall accomplish what I please,
       And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."
                                           (Isaiah 53;10-11 NKJV)
We should be very thankful that God is not like us! Afterall, if He changed His mind like we do, we would be in real trouble!! Afterall, what if He decided to "take back" His offer of salvation, "pull it back"? We would have no hope would we? Not at all!!!
It's also interesting how many will quote things that Jesus has said, yet they omit many things they do not agree with! They "pick and choose" what they want to "accept", "believe". The rest they will "cast out" like it is "irrelevant". They "convince" themselves that it is not important. After a while they even begin to believe it! Think of it in this way. Do you think that Jesus ever said anything He did not mean?
This is what Jesus said about His word:
 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."
                                                  (Luke 21:33 NKJV)
 "But why do you call Me "Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great."
                                              (Luke 6:46-49 NKJV)
There are also those who will try to separate Jesus from the Father. They "see" God as "mean" and "wrathful".They "see" Jesus as loving and "want" to see Him allowing an "anything goes" type of doctrine. They want to believe that there is no judgement for sin. Why? because the human nature loves sin! They do not want to be convicted of it! They believe if they can separate God the Father, from God the Son, they can do this. How do they do this? They reject God's word as being irrelevant!
However God the Father, can never be separated from God the Son:
 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him."

    Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."

     Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, "Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

                                               (John 14:7-11 NKJV)

You see the two can never be separated. No matter how much some may try this, it will never happen!!

Its really interesting how some become so "offended" over the word of God. But did you know that we could all find something we would be offended by, feel convicted of? You see we are all sinful people. The Bible convicts us of our sin! It calls us out!! But its there to help us, not hinder us:
                  "Your word is a lamp to my feet 
                   And a light to my path."
                                  (Psalm 119:105 NKJV)
                  "Direct my steps by Your word
                   And let no iniquity have dominion over me.
                                  (Psalm 119:133 NKJV)
             "The entirety of Your word is
               And every one of Your
                 righteous judgments
                 endures  forever."
                                  (Psalm 119:160 NKJV) 
  "Every word of God is pure;
       He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him."
                                  (Proverbs 30:5 NKJV)
Not only is it there to help us, but it also gives us the words of life! Our promise of salvation:
  "For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

                                          (Romans 10:11 NKJV)

There are things that may offend us:

 "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."

                                    (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV)

But when we are offended, we must remember this:

 "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
       "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
       Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him
       For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
       And scourges every son whom He receives."

                             (Hebrews 12:5-6 NKJV)

You see God loves each and every one of us. He does not want to see us hurt ourselves. When He gives us direction its to help us, not hinder us. He wants what is best for us. The same as a father wants for his beloved child! The human nature is so wicked though. We often convince ourselves that something we know to be wrong, is right. We do this by ignoring God and His word. After a while we believe our own lies, we deceive ourselves!

The book of Jeremiah spoke about this:

  The heart is deceitful above all things,
      And desperately wicked;
      Who can know it?"

                                        (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV)

 A friend once told me, many years ago (before I came to know Jesus), "the Bible is not like a salad, you cannot just throw out the tomatos because you do not like the way they taste". This is true! We either believe God's word, or we do not!!

How can you place your beliefs "partially" on the Bible? Afterall you will start to "throw out", "cast out", other things you, or someone you want to please, are in disagreement with!

Take this for instance. Peter the apostle said this:
 "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
                                               (2 Peter 2:1-2 NKJV)
Has this ever happend? Yes, it actually has! And it still does!! There are churches out there teaching that there are "other ways", "paths" to God" (other than Jesus!). Its really heart breaking to think that an actual church, professing to be made up of believers, would ever say such a thing! Deny their Savior? It happens though!! That's what happens when you cast God's word out (you deny your faith)!!!
Had they read God's word they would know this:
 "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
                                                    (John 14:6 NKJV)
Without Jesus there is no grace, forgiveness for sin, no salvation! You see without God's word to educate us we are just "walking in the dark". We are without hope!
The Bible is there to help "guide us", "direct us" in the way that we should go! However, we can see what happens when God's word is cast out! It becomes an "anything goes". One person is offended, they cast out God's standards, then others go along. As time goes on other Biblical beliefs, directives are cast out and before too long you have a club! Not a church!! Sadly enough this has happened (and is still happening) in many churches today. We can only follow the Lord with His help! Part of this help is in the scriptures (as found in the Bible)!!
You see as humans, left to our own "devices" (ways, "thinking", choices, tendencies, etc.) we will fall and eventually "destroy" ourselves.
The book of Proverbs speaks about this:
      "There is a way that seems right to a man,
       But its end is the way of death."
                                        (Proverbs 16:25 NKJV)
The question for us is this, do we really love the Lord? Consider this:
 "Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
                                             (Mark 12:29-31 NKJV)
Now if we love Him, we would take His word seriously, would we not?
Afterall, to truly love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength would require it, yes? Of course it would!
Some may feel that God's word is not important. However if you say that you believe in Jesus, as your Lord and Savior. Then you would have to believe what He says whether it offends you, or not. God's standards change for no one!! Jesus was clear on this:
 "Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.
                                             (John 14:23-24 NKJV)
If we feel that God's word is "unimportant", irrelevant", etc. We must ask ourselves is this, "do I really believe in Jesus", "am I really following God", "where is my heart"?
What would your answer be?
You see theres an old saying that says, "if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything". This is true! The same Holy Spirit who convicts us of our own sin, who brings (draws) us to salavation, is the same that guides us in living a life that is pleasing to God:
 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." 
                                         (John 14:26 NKJV)
How many really listen to Him though? Do we disregard Him when He convicts our hearts? Do we avoid reading God's word so the Holy Spirit will not convict our hearts of our sin, or hoping we will not hear Him? Think of it this way. Many people will read most anything! But the one thing many will avoid, even some "who say" they believe in Jesus? God's word!
 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
                                              (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV)
 It convicts and it "exposes" who we are, our sin! But it also calls us to repent and turn to God!! It gives us the words of life!!!
You see God loves us in a deep, wonderful, passionate way. His grace is "ever abounding" and "awesome". If we turn (repent) to Him He is always faithful to forgive us! But no matter how much He loves us, He will not change who He is, "His righteousness". The question for us is this, not whether He will "forget", or "change His word", but whether we take it seriously and "turn to Him". The same God that gives us grace, forgiveness and salvation, is the same that expects us to "submit" (to) and follow Him! And if we are to follow Him, then we must take His word seriously!!
You see God did not send His Son to die on a cross and redeem us, so that we could go back to our old lives. He did this so that we could be reconciled to Him. To live our lives for Him! We need to ask ourselves this, is God's word important to me?
Heres a parting thought for you:
 "Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels.
                                              (Luke 9:23-26 NKJV)
So, what do you say, is the Bible relevant today?

Rev. John Heintzman
Evangelist Non-Denominational
Any questions, comments, prayer requests?

POHOM Columbus, Ohio
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