Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Is There Really No New Thing Under The Sun?

A new reformation. Do we need a new way? Is God’s Word insufficient that we need to supplement it, or go off in a “new” direction? Are the old ways of worship obsolete? The old ways of sharing the Gospel dead? Is talk of sin now unnecessary? If you listened to the pastors that frequent Larry King’s show you would think so. The Gospel is good news, so don’t mention sin. And be sure not to say anyone is condemned to the fires of hell if they don’t believe that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.

The book of Jeremiah tells us to seek the old paths, the good ways, and that we will find rest. Christ Himself promised us rest. All we need is found bound under the title of “The Holy Bible.” It is complete, it is of God, so why is it that churches across America seem to be trying to supplement it with other books?

Could it be that they have turned from the old paths, in search of something new, in search of something greater? Why is it that our pastors no long preach on sin and temptation to a generation drowning in the world’s standards? How good is the Good News if you don’t tell what the bad news is?

And yet nobody seems to want to say hell, or sin, or repentance, or redemption. We all want to feel good. We want to rock our worship services and skate our way into the hearts of the “unchurched.” We’ve abandoned the hymns for the head bangings of the latest Christian rock band. We’ve deserted the Bible for the rambling of men who refuse to preach God’s whole word.

We fill our services with quick fixes for the common life, let’s live an adventure! We use the latest best seller in our pulpits. We fill our week with small groups, brunches, shopping, driving, and dreaming of the next new thing that will make our lives complete. We keep ourselves busy trying to fill the void that has come from abandoning the only thing that we actually need, God. We wonder why, in an age where we have so much, we have more technology, we have more money, we have more cars, yet we feel so alone, so empty. Why we wonder? And so we continue on, finding more activities to keep ourselves busy. We give to missions, donate to Good Will, send letters of encouragement to our soldiers over seas, anything to keep us from realizing something is still missing. We think we are creative, we think we have found something new, but we haven’t. In our arrogance we think we can succeed where others have failed. Or actions seem to scream, I can do it! I will find happiness and peace and love by myself, I will look to no one and nothing but myself! I can change the world!

And can we? Have we managed to find a new way of doing things that will work better than what God’s word has told us?

We can do as much good as we want, we can feed the hungry, we can clothe the naked, we can comfort the heart broken, but if we are not in line with God’s will it means nothing. If it meant anything surely we would not need faith in Christ to get to heaven, I would have to say this generation (were it possible) would attain salvation by its works. The atheist would go to heaven, the Buddhist, the theist, everyone who does a good work for someone else would get to go. We are so involved around the world, doing such noble things but that isn’t enough. God wants it all, our works and our faith. He wants to consume our lives; this is nothing new, He has said it from the beginning. We have to submit to Him, we have to turn to those old paths. Only then will these works truly be good in His eyes. Only then will this void we have (perhaps unintentionally) created begin to be filled. Only when we realize that Christ bore our sins and was crucified because of them, only when we realize that preaching of His death (and resurrection) isn’t bad news but is truly the Good News, can we please God. It is only in turning to the passion of when we first were saved and sharing that passion in its fullness with the world can we actually make a difference.

You can feed the hungry all you want, but if you feed their souls...Now that’s something to strive for. Salvation. But that’s nothing new, it’s old. For once, I think it would be alright to long for the yester-years.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 The new thing hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

Jeremiah 6:20 To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

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