Dr. Erwin Lutzer said this on Songtime, “Don’t ever follow a preacher who does not have a good theology of suffering.”
Recently I made the mistake of watching religious TV. I say mistake because the first program I saw was a young man telling us we don’t need to give to the poor. He used an unbelievable illustration. He said Jesus was rich and he based his comment on the value of gifts the Magi brought to Jesus when He was born.
Now Matthew 8:20 is certainly not the testimony of a person with great wealth.
“And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to layhis head.’”
Matthew 8:20 speaks not of wealth, but it speaks of the poverty of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The Health and Wealth gospel has no room for poverty. Beware! This young man on TV was substituting human viewpoint for divine viewpoint. This is a call never to reverse 2 Corinthians 5:7, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
If any good came from watching that TV preacher it was the need to get people BACK to the Bible and follow the 2 Timothy 2:15 method. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
Apply these techniques that prevent the substitution of human viewpoint for divine viewpoint:
1. 1 Peter 2:1-2 – Confess your sins. The test as to whether you have done so is seen in the reward that follows –
1 Peter 2:2, “Desire the sincere milk of the Word.” When there is a realization of what the Word does, human viewpoint fails.
2. 2 Timothy 3:16 – Use four questions to make the Word of God real to you:
Doctrine – What does it teach?
Reproof – What happens if you ignore the teaching?
Correction – How do I solve the problem (1 John 1:9)?
Instruction in Righteousness – How do I prevent a repeat of the problem?
3. Psalm 19:7-11 – Understand the six benefits that result from a study of the Word of God. Psalm 19:7 gives the key to starting correctly – i.e. a genuine born again experience. Nobody is saved apart from the instrumentality of the Word of God (James 1:18). When there is a genuine conversion, expect 1 Corinthians 2:12-13.
4. Take note of the warning of 1 Corinthians 9:16 “For if I preach the gospel,that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!”
After watching a religious TV show that told me I could be wealthy, I turned to another, which claimed to be reaching around the world. The music was great, but the 20 minute sermon had no reference to the Gospel – just “Be Positive,” “Be Happy,” “Think Good Thoughts,” “Dream Big.” God help that pastor in view of 1 Corinthians 9:16.
Songtime wants every reader to participate in Bible Book-a-Month and be able to sing “Holy Bible, Book Divine.” Let me share the story behind the writing of this hymn as presented in The Complete Book of Hymns by William & Ardythe Petersen.
Sunday Schools were introduced to England in 1780 by Robert Raikes, and they quickly spread across the country. There was no public school system, and most children could not read. Many had never even seen a Bible. One of the first questions the founders of Sunday schools had to answer was,”What shall we teach?” Some thought it best to have the children memorize catechisms, but Raikes and a young Sunday school teacher named John Burton taught the Bible. And if they needed to teach children to read, they did that, too.
In 1803, when he was 30, Burton published this hymn for children in his little book, Youth’s Monitor in Verse, A Series of Tales, Emblems,Poems and Songs. Three years later he included it in a second book, Hymns for Sunday Schools. You can almost picture a small boy, on his one day off from a rough factory job, proudly clutching a Bible to his chest and singing heartily, “Holy Bible, book divine, Precious treasure, thou art mine!” Such an image should keep us from taking God’s Word for granted.
Holy Bible, book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine;
Mine to tell me whence I came;
Mine to teach me what I am.
Mine to chide me when I rove;
Mine to show a Savior’s love;
Mine thou art to guide and guard;
Mine to punish or reward.
Mine to comfort in distress,
Suff’ring in this wilderness;
Mine to show, by living faith,
Man can triumph over death.
Mine to tell of joys to come,
And the rebel sinner’s doom;
O thou Holy Book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine.
~ John Burton (1773-1822)
Let me conclude with a thought for the day – No Bible, No Breakfast.