This list is not exhaustive. All these ideas are important; even essential. Putting them together can help a local church and its individual members become usable and fruitful. But taken individually, they can easily become "the issue" and "the focus". It is so easy to become preoccupied with one idea or another and lose the overall vision that Scripture lays out for us.
Our focus must be on Christ alone by feeding on His Word. A heart for Christ will influence our thinking about each of these areas listed above. Christ is the theme of Scripture and Scripture is our basis for all of living. Mary and Martha illustrate this important lesson for us in Luke 10:38-42. One focused on serving. And, incidentally, lost her joy in the process. The other focused on literally "the best things" and was commended by the Lord. What were those "best things"? The teaching of the Word of God by the Lord. Hearing his word. It is here where serving is rooted and the foundations of fruitfulness are built. Hearing and focusing on Scripture is where the underpinnings of our passions must be.
The power of God is not in methods, however biblical they may be. The power of God is in receiving and obeying God's word. Attending a church that has the "right" doctrine and methods is needful. But, hearing and reading are only the first steps to believing and doing. James warns us to be doers of the Word not hearers only, deceiving our own selves. Hearing God's Word, by design, produces faith, real faith. If our faith is real it will literally be life changing. As parents, living a life changing faith is the only way of seeing the product of this in our own children. If we are going through the motions and we are not living a real, life changing faith, we will not be passing anything of lasting spiritual value down to our children no matter how many bible studies and conferences we attend. God does not call us to know it, but to live it.
What so many today fail to understand is that good doctrine produces life. But, in the Church today, people are bored by doctrine and have heaped to themselves teachers that provide self help ideas and success principles. Understanding Theology, Ecclesiology, Soteriology and the like are not taught and so then are not understood by the Church. We have a surface level understanding of God and so focus on what God can provide for us. Even worship is focused on our desires to give God what WE want to give Him instead of asking what He would like for us to give Him. We are content today for God to be ANYWHERE but on His throne because we have little understanding of God and His ways. We want Him to bless us but we do not understand that we are here for His glory, not the other way around. The Church does not even understand what God's blessings are. We pray for what we do not understand.
This blog will explore the ideas listed above as well as other essentials like:
- What does a "mature" son or daughter look like?
- What is the price of discipleship?
- What are foundational character traits we and our children must develop?
- How do we identify our real "needs" that God is pointing out to us in daily living?
- How can we help men and women to see the "issue"? How can we help them to develop a "whatever it takes" attitude when it comes to knowing God and passing it on to those in their care?
Blessings to you and yours.
Scott Eckles for Bethel Baptist Fellowship