CHRISTIANS ARE WILLINGLY STARVING THEMSELVES INTO SPIRITUAL DEATH!
“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.”
“O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.”
“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”
WHILE DOING RESEARCH FOR ANOTHER TREATISE, SOME VERY DISTURBING DATA WAS DISCOVERED. It was shocking, to say the least…
– Only 45% of regular church attenders read their Bible more than once a week.
– Almost 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read the Bible at all.
– More than half of Evangelicals believe that the Holy Spirit is a force and not a personal being.
– In the United Kingdom, almost 1 in 3 couldn’t identify the Nativity as part of the Bible
– 27% of British parents think Superman is or might be a biblical story.[source]
“Today, about one-third of all American adults report reading the Bible once a week or more.”
“If they do read it, the majority (57 percent) only read their Bibles four times a year or less. Only 26 percent of Americans said they read their Bible on a regular basis (four or more times a week).”
“We’ve released new research as part of the Transformational Discipleship study that shows only 19% of churchgoers personally (not as part of a church worship service) read the Bible every day. That is roughly the same as those who responded ‘Rarely/Never’ (18 percent)…”
“A third of Americans who attend a Protestant church regularly (32%) say they read the Bible personally every day. Around a quarter (27%) say they read it a few times a week…Fewer say they only read it once a week (12%), a few times a month (11%) or once a month (5%). Close to 1 in 8 (12%) admit they rarely or never read the Bible.”
Beloved, what is happening to the Church of Jesus Christ, especially the Church in the Western World? Why, why, WHY are we not reading the written Word of GOD?
THE BALL DON’T LIE! Friends, the numbers speak for themselves…
“About a third of Americans (35%) say they read scripture at least once a week, while 45% seldom or never read scripture, according to 2014 data from our Religious Landscape Study. Frequency of reading scripture differs widely among religious groups. Majorities of Jehovah’s Witnesses (88%), Mormons (77%), evangelical Protestants (63%) and members of historically black Protestant churches (61%) say they read scripture at least once a week.
“Three-quarters of Christians say they believe the Bible is the word of God. Eight-in-ten Muslims (83%) say the Quran is the word of God, according to the 2014 survey. “Christians, who make up a majority of U.S. adults (71%), are divided over how to interpret the Bible. While about four-in-ten Christians (39%) say the Bible’s text is the word of God and should be taken literally, 36% say it should not be interpreted literally or express another or no opinion. A separate 18% of Christians view the Bible as a book written by men, not God.
“In 2014, about four-in-ten Christians (42%) said reading the Bible or other religious materials is an essential part of what being Christian means to them personally. An additional 37% say reading the Bible is important but not essential to being a Christian, and 21% say reading the Bible is not an important part of their Christian identity.
“Seven-in-ten Americans (71%) know the Bible teaches that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. A similar share know that Moses was the biblical figure who led the Exodus from Egypt, and 63% could identify Genesis as the first book of the Bible, according to our 2010 religious knowledge survey. But fewer than half of adults (45%) could name all four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), and only four-in-ten (39%) identified Job as the biblical figure known for remaining obedient to God despite extraordinary suffering.
“Regarding other religious texts, four-in-ten Americans knew that Jesus appeared to followers in the Americas according to the Book of Mormon, and 54% correctly name the Quran as the holy book of Islam.”[sources: 1, 2, 3, 4]
“A recently released study by a Christian research organization shows that most churchgoers do not read or study the Bible on a daily basis.
“The findings of the Transformational Discipleship Assessment released by LifeWay Research noted that 19 percent of respondents report reading or studying the Bible outside of church ‘every day.’
“By contrast, 36 percent of respondents said that they either engage the Bible ‘once a week,’ ‘once a month,’ or ‘a few times a month.’ Eighteen percent reported rarely or never reading or studying the Bible outside of worship.”[source]
“While America’s evangelical Christians are rightly concerned about the secular worldview’s rejection of biblical Christianity, we ought to give some urgent attention to a problem much closer to home—biblical illiteracy in the church. This scandalous problem is our own, and it’s up to us to fix it.
“How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine.
“Only half of all Christian adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the twelve disciples. According to data from the Pew Research Center, nearly half don’t even realize that the Golden Rule is not one of the Ten Commandments.
“Multiple surveys reveal the problem in stark terms. Most Christians in the United States believe the Bible teaches, ‘God helps those who help themselves’ (and some even believe this quote is a Bible verse). A series of Barna surveys shows that only 19% of ‘born again Christians’ hold to the simplest elements of a basic biblical worldview.
“‘We would not expect secularized Americans to be knowledgeable about the Bible. A Barna poll once indicated that at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc might be Noah’s wife. Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that Billy Graham preached the Sermon on the Mount.“
The larger scandal is biblical ignorance among Christians. Choose whichever statistic or survey you like, the general pattern is the same among professing Christians. America’s Christians know less and less about the Bible. It shows.”[source]
And there are others that echo this sad trend in American Church society. Are we seeing the message of what’s quoted here? Are we seeing that American Christians are being sorely outpaced by cults and false faiths? Beloved, this information and these statistics are simply unbelievable. How can it be that we, as Christians — changed and washed and redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb — are NOT reading the written Word of GOD? We need to be reminded what the written Word of GOD truly is.
IT AIN’T “JUST A ‘BOOK’”! First and foremost, the Bible isn’t just a book. Yes, there are Scriptures like this…
“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.”
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
“Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?’”
In fact, the Bible, or parts of it, is described as a book throughout the Scriptures, but the Bible isn’t simply a book like other books that we have in the secular world. A better word for the Bible — a better descriptor — would be an anthology or a library, as it is a compilation of sixty-six books and letters and epistles, written by at least forty authors over a twenty-five hundred year period, telling a common story: the fall and salvation of mankind by GOD through Jesus Christ, our LORD. While it can be read like a secular book, from cover-to-cover – and some do read the Bible this way – it’s probably not the best way to read the Bible, but it’s better than not reading at all!
MORE THAN MY NECESSARY FOOD — Secondly, the Bible is food. Here are some Scriptures that describe the written Word as food…
“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”
“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”
“‘I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. ‘ The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.’”
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.”
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
You see, friends, the Bible is necessary for both Spiritual and physical life. Heed the words of the Savior…
“It is written, ‘That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’”
WATER OF LIFE — Thirdly, the Bible is living water. It is described as such in the following…
“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
“Jesus answered and said unto her, ‘If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, “Give me to drink;” thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.’ The woman saith unto him, ‘Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?’ Jesus answered and said unto her, ‘Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.’”
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
“These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.”
Friends, when we read the written Word, our souls and our spirits are refreshed. The thirst of the heart and mind is slaked only by the written Word of GOD. Hear, again, the Word of the LORD…
“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let him that heareth say, ‘Come.’ And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”
A WEAPON, A TOOL, A LIGHT, A DISCERNER — We see the Bible, again, described as the following…
“‘Is not my word like as a fire?’ saith the LORD; ‘and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?’”
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…”
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Friends, we remove a great, great toolbox from our hands, from our life when we fail to read and study GOD’s written Word. When and if we fail to read from GOD’s written Word, we are basically letting the enemy come and attack us at will. Yes, we have the Armor of GOD, as is described in Ephesians vi, but an essential part of that Armor is the Word of GOD, the Sword of the Spirit, as is described in the verses posted here. It’s like entering a gunfight unarmed, when we try to take on the Enemy without knowing or reading or studying the Bible.
HOW ELSE CAN WE DISCERN TRUTH AND LIES? Friends, we see warning after warning after warning of the infiltration of false brethren and false prophets into the Body of Christ throughout the Bible…
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
Friends, the Bible helps us to know the difference between the Truth and lies. It helps us to know the difference between False Teachers, and True Men of GOD.
THE BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU’RE NOT READING THE BIBLE, YOU’RE STUNTING YOUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH! Just like physical children cannot and do not grow without eating healthily, so, too, the spiritual child cannot grow spiritually without eating our spiritual food. Friends, here is the truth of the Bible being Spiritual Food and Drink sent from GOD…
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”
Are we eating of that Spiritual Food? Friends, there are no calories involved with this type of food and eating! Are we drinking of that Spiritual Drink? Friends, this Spiritual Drink will not make you drunk!
CONCLUSION: READ THAT BOOK! Friends, to overcome spiritual hunger, Read That Book! To overcome spiritual thirst, Read That Book! To overcome Biblical Illiteracy, Read That Book! You don’t have to start large: just a couple of verses a day, five or ten minutes a day—this is a great place to begin! You’ll grow from there. Also, ask the Holy Ghost to help you understand what you’re reading, and He Will! Start Reading That Book Today!
PRAYER — Father, please, would you help us to open your word, and read? Would you help us to understand, by your Holy Ghost, what we’re reading? Blessed be thy Matchless Name, and in the Name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen!
THE LAST WORD — “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read…” (Isaiah xxiv. 16)
NOTES — 1. All Scripture is taken from The Authorized King James Version of the English Bible. London, England, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK). First publication 1611AD.
2. AUTHOR’S NOTE: It must be noted that the Barna Poll quoted here is no where to be found online. However, Barna Research shows that not only are Americans more and more discarding the Bible, but Church-goers are also failing to read the written Word of GOD.
3. AUTHOR’S NOTE: Yeshua is referencing this passage written by Baramram, Moses. The Fifth Book of Moses Called “Sefer Devarim” or “Deuteronomy”. Hebrew Encampment, Eastern Bank of the Jordan River, Middle East. 16th Century BC. Ch. viii, v. 3: “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”
4. AUTHOR’S NOTE: Yeshua states similarly in Bethtroas, Loukas “Luke”, MD. The Gospel of Jesus Christ According to Saint Luke. Imperial City of Rome, Province of Italy, Imperium Romanum. 1st Century BC. Ch. x. v. 3: “Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.”
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