We all build our kingdoms in houses of brick. We furnish our homes and make sanctuaries for ourselves.
Jim built his own home, got married and lived happily for three years there. One night as he and his wife watched television he went to turn the channel and his brand new 4K, suspended flat panel shifted forward like it was going to fall off the wall!
In a frenzy, Jim jumped off the couch and used the fullness of his weight to keep the T.V. from falling.
“Come help!” he begged his wife as the T.V. pressed against his back.
She was still rubbing her head. When Jim rushed to save his screen, he did not even notice that his right arm, which was around his wife, hit her. Even though it was unintentional, she quipped, “I wish you cared about me like you do about this T.V.” She left the room secretly hoping that the television would make its descent.
Jim turned around quickly and tried to lift his source of entertainment back onto the wall mount. It was so big that he could not see around it so he was guessing where the T.V. needed to go. One, two, three tries and his arms were getting tired; maybe even shaking a little, so he set the T.V. on the ground. In retrospect, perhaps this should have been his first course of action.
When he set the television down and looked at the wall where it was mounted, he was surprised to see that there was no mount. Jim checked and sure enough it was still attached to the T.V! The holes in the wall were huge and he wondered why the mount had come out.
Jim’s wife walked back into the living room to see the damage that had been done, “Wow, way to go!” she snarked, “Now you’ve broken my house…”
“I don’t understand why it came out,” he tried to explain.
“No excuses,” she replied before he tried, “I remember you telling me you didn’t need to read the directions. It’s easy,” She made quotation marks in the air. She held the instructions out so he could look at them, “Now you look at these and tell me what you missed. Then you can repair my wall.”
Jim knew he wasn’t going to win. He took the instructions and began glazing them over. He saw the big red letters, “Remember to use the anchors provided so your wall mount does not come out of the wall!” It was in the same area as the instructions for placing the mount in the desired location and there was even a step with a number instructing as to how to place the mounts in the wall. Jim had not followed the instructions and it cost him.
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-17 HCSB).
When we sit under a preacher, we must test what he says to make sure it actually comes from Scripture, for we want to receive the correct instruction. I notice that Paul writes to Timothy and does not include the idea that Scripture is profitable for supporting human teaching because it is not. Scripture is entirely sufficient without our words being added to it. Though we might take measures to explain the text well, we should never use the text to support our own thoughts or philosophies. Scripture is much too sacred and much too holy for that. Over the last two and a half months, I have witnessed a variety of different “preachers.” While we are looking for an interim, they have been coming and preaching because that’s what preachers do. Some of them represent the text well, but some will only read the text before (or after) proselytizing their own life philosophy! This is a great woe in the church across America. We want a preacher who can baffle us with a story whether or not he teaches the actual Word of God. This last Sunday I watched with my jaw on the floor as the ‘preacher’ read Mark 16 and, instead of teaching the text, rapped and told some funny stories and made some life application that may or may not have been related to the text at all. A few weeks ago a man came in and told his life-story from the pulpit instead of spending time teaching a text.
This is exactly how we precipitate shallow Christianity in our churches and this has become one of my greatest pet peeves. Scripture is profitable for teaching. It is not profitable for us when we don’t teach the text of Scripture no matter how good it ‘sounds.’ Without the actual teaching of Scripture in our churches, we will not be complete and prepared for every good work. As we listen to the Word on Sunday mornings (and any other time we are together to hear the Word), let us be sure that we are actually hearing the word and not some man’s monologue that simply includes some Scripture to make it sound valid. Be careful little ears what you hear.