It is not uncommon to have brethren come to me after hearing a sermon preached, saying, “I haven’t heard a sermon like that in forty years.” What can be inferred from such a statement, or what can be said when one declares, “I didn’t know that was in the Bible?” Evidently, some are not studying and are not being fed from the pulpit and/or classroom. What has happened to God’s people? The time was when members of the church of Christ had their hearts and heads full of the word of God. We laugh at the old saying: “If the Bible was to be lost in a courtroom, just find a member of the church of Christ, lay your hand on his head, there’s enough Bible in his head to swear in any court of law.” Laugh as we may, there was a day when this was true!
What has happened?
First, folks have replaced their Bibles with the television and computers. Television is one of the greatest and worst of inventions. The Bible gathers dust while the television is watched endlessly. Adults and children spend countless hours on computers while the Bible lies closed on the table.
Second, children grow up with little or no spiritual training. We get upset because prayer and Bible study is denied in school, yet public schools are not to be blamed if Johnny and Susie do not pray or if they do not have a knowledge of the Bible! Our homes have turned their backs on their God-given responsibility.
Third, many of the churches have failed. Weak pulpits lead to weak churches. Over the past four or five decades elders have hired preachers who “speak to us smooth things” (Isaiah 30:10). In Hosea 4:6 we have a modern truth: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” But, if you go on to Hosea 13:9, he tells us the one at fault: “O, Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself.” And, the way Israel did it was to forget God’s law (Hosea 4:6), thus they rejected hearing God!
I am saddened when invited for meetings or speaking engagements (I have been preaching 45 years), to have God’s people, some with tears, say, “Brother Carter, I haven’t heard preaching like that in 40 years!” Now what is the answer? Rededicate, repent and return to God! A revival is needed in our land. The prophet Amos cried to his people long ago: “Behold, the days come says the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of the hearing of the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). Let me close with one final passage: “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will you do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:31)?
Adapted from Dan Carter