Weak Churches Make Weak Christians

By Steven Shaw 

Hebrews 5:11-14 & 6:1-3

5

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[a] and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites,[b] the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.

In Context First:

This letter was addressed to manly Jewish converts who were familiar with the Old Testament and who were being tempted to revert to Judaism because they were under heavy persecution (cf. Gal 2:14). The writer (who is unknown) is encouraging these Christians to trust in the God they knew is true. This church of people has become weak, Christians that needed to be woken up again and get back to the truth of Christ.

Now our application:

Is your church an ocean or a pond?

Maybe your church is somewhere in between. I’m not addressing false churches in this blog, only churches that I believe are trying to do well and teach the bible, but are lacking in real help for their body of believers. Most people only know this kind of church; it’s what the majority of American churches are like. What they are teaching is shallow and out of context most of the time. Once again, people I believe to be in the family of God, just unaware that there so much more than what they know about the bible and God. I will never claim to know it all or have it all figured out, but what I do know I will spread the best I can, in the way I can. I lived as this shallow type Christian for most my life and it brought only bad things to others and myself. I lived as a shallow, or baby, immature Christian for 30 years. Much time wasted and don’t want to see others in that same bubble. The bubble of “I love God; I really want to live a good life.” But I only knew weak churches and was ignorant and arrogant of the bible. I thought I knew it all when I knew nothing. I wasn’t ignorant of some great truths about God, but ignorant of the bible and the power it holds. As I started reading and growing in the bible, my eyes began to be opened to all that I was missing out on and now I must share. I’m not the only one preaching this, there are many faithful teachers and preachers that are speaking this, but we can’t have too many, in fact, we need more!

True, yet weak churches:

What I mean by true yet weak churches is, churches that believe all the points of salvation and teach them yet are missing the depths that all need to live this life most faithfully and to the glory of God. I cover this a lot in my blog Me-Centered Christianity vs God Centered Christianity. The main problem with weak churches is “me centered” bible teaching. Taking what God has meant to say in a book or verse and making it mean what they are trying to say in a sermon. When we miss the bigger more awesome truth that God has laid out for us, we have turned it into a 5-step program to be a better employee, better father, better wife, etc. Not to minimize life application but if you’re teaching the bible faithfully and helping people ascribe the glory of God, then application comes from catching glimpses of His glory. There’s only one response to seeing a glimpse of the glory of God, and it’s falling to our unworthy faces in praise. Lets move away from the “feel good and inspiring” messages that only lead to self-focused, weak Christians and get back to, God fearing, Christ exalting and powered by the Holy Spirit churches/individuals.

The dangers of popularity:

I’m always conflicted about things that are popular in the name of Christ. I’m weary because if it’s too popular, chances are that it’s being delivered in a less than complete way. I hear it in music, teaching and in peoples lives. When you preach or sing the gospel faithfully and fully, it’s not going to be the most popular thing out there, even among Christians. Too many Christians have a real passion for God and a lack of knowledge of Him. That’s a really dangerous place to live. You can be completely fired up for things in a totally wrong way and do more harm to yourself, the church and the world than those who are more Christ centered. We need to learn more about Him and His attributes than just His love, mercy and grace. All those things are absolutely important and need to be taught, but not while never faithfully teaching about His wrath, judgments, hatred of sin, love of His own glory more than anything else, truth of election and many more unpopular topics. Yet all these are just as much a part of our God as love and grace. In fact, God’s love and hate aren’t on opposite sides of the spectrum; they are much closer than we realize. God shows His love because of His hate, He shows His mercy because of His wrath, He is patient and slow to anger but His anger does come, it’s not nonexistent. You can’t truly love God unless you truly fear God, or truly know Him.

So what to do?

I don’t want this to be discouraging or to blow this off cause you are sure of your church and your relationship with God. We should be evaluating our walk everyday because we are prone to wonder, none are above self-reflection. Many churches have small groups for their people to be able to dive in a little deeper, but this is often offered as “a nice thing to try” and not preached as, “if you’re not learning and growing on your own then it’s vital.” But more important than anything is still your own personal growth with your face in your bible. Your own discernment needs to be high so you know that what is being taught is right, wrong or something to question. God’s word has power and will transform your life, let it! You’ll never be the same again. Continue your sanctification my family in Christ.

Closing.

Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the bible, read Gospel saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology” and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Music www.TheShawsMusic.com

Podcast www.MisfitMinistry.com

Instagram @psalmlife @fitcore @theshaws

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Who’s Standard? (Why do you believe what you do?)

By Steven Shaw 

Beginning Thoughts:

Let’s think about morals for one second. Everyone has morals and everyone’s morals are different, and we all have a different moral standard. I love the root of all things, and I want to know “why” and I keep asking why until I get a root answer. The root is the beginning of all things, and without the root you have nothing. Where’s your root? What’s your root? Is it you? Is it a god? Is it the world? The universe? Love? The most important question is this; who is your god? God simply meaning whatever set of beliefs you are living by or for? You can’t claim to have no god, because that means you are simply claiming to be your own god. That’s fine, but at least own it, playing ignorant won’t get you far in this life. You are your own god, k.

Who’s Right?

It’s interesting how the world demands tolerance, acceptance, no judgment etc. And yet refuse to give these things to anyone who doesn’t agree with his or her own view. How can you be so angry when someone is sharing their beliefs with you? Isn’t that what you are fighting for? To be accepted in any way shape or form of belief that you wish to hold? But, love is the most important thing right? Love is all you need? What does that even mean? Should we just accept everything about everybody? What about the child molester and the murderer? Ok, let’s stop being dramatic, what about the “player”? Yes, you know the ones who likes to sleep around and use people to get what they want? Why is that wrong? Who’s the one setting that standard? Is it because it hurts people? It’s not hurting everyone; some are just playing each other. But is that your only standard? Just as long as someone doesn’t get hurt, then it’s all about following your heart? But wait, I’m still confused. See, cause some desire to sleep with people and cheat people in anyway possible to gain both pleasure and riches until they feel happy. Just following their heart right? So just write them off as bad people and go on with your happy life? But why are they a bad person? If you truly believe that everyone can find their own truth, then why are you down on the people who do “bad” things even though you can’t define “bad” in any real way. Boy, I’m confused.

You see how we can go around and around in circles forever with this kind of rational? So let’s stop here.

The Point:

I’m going to say right now that it’s fine if you don’t want to believe in the God of the bible. After all, I only believe because He chose me to believe, I have no special intellect or gift, He chose me because He is the God in the heavens and He does whatever He pleases. I’m convinced that I’m more screwed up than anyone I’m preaching to. But I’m forgiven and strive for Christ in everything in my life. The one thing I do have is Christ sovereign election over my life and am forgiven by His work on the cross. But stop going with the obvious oblivious mindset of a world heading straight to death. Not because of a mean god, but because they are choosing a life of no god and therefore they get that life for eternity. If you aren’t going to believe, at least be an intelligent thinker and think for yourself. There will be some standing face to face with the One true God in the end and still deny. Not deny that He is real, that will be obvious, but deny to sacrifice their life to Him. That’s an amazing thought to me. That is more proof that belief is a gift from God. You cannot believe without His choosing. Sound harsh? Who are you? If God is real than I think we could all agree that what ever He decides to be “right” is what’s right. He holds the definition to all things. Since when does the way you feel change anything about reality? Stop and think about that. How you feel really means nothing. 

Why We Share?

Christians, real Christians are people who believe what the Bible teaches, not part of it but all of it. We believe that it’s inerrant and perfect as it is, it is God breathed after all. That’s what we believe, period. Why hate us? Aren’t we supposed to be loving and tolerant of all beliefs? Oh, because our bible says that the way you are living is wrong? But we are sharing this truth with you because we completely believe it. The Bible claims to have the only answer for truth in salvation, the only way to life after death. For us not to share that with you would be very unloving on our part. I get it if you don’t believe, or even hate this thought, but that’s what we believe. We love you and want you to enjoy this truth we believe as well, that’s why we are sharing. And I totally understand that the truths of the Bible have been shared by some real terrible people and that might be the only version of it you know. I’m sorry about that, but we are all messed up and Christians are no exception. And unfortunately the false Christians seem to have the loudest voices. But God is still God and He must be presented in His true context of the Bible.

Why So Bothered?

If you truly think it’s nonsense then why does it bother you so much? Let us believe what we believe and let it be. Regardless of what we tell you, it shouldn’t really matter cause you think it’s untrue, right? Do you get angry when someone who believes that “The Matrix” is real? We are all part of a big battery? I’m pretty sure if your friend came preaching that to you, you’d just laugh it off and move on, because after all, if the matrix were real, it would be the only truth. We can’t be a battery and a tomato at the same time, one has to be real and one has to be false. Everyone having his or her own truth isn’t rational even for a second, so please just stop the arrogant ignorance. Pick a truth and stand by it, get a spine and live for something. But you’re not convicted enough to stand for anything like that are you?

Further Thought:

You know, I started writing this because I wanted to make the point of how the morals of the bible by themself would be enough to know that there’s something special about it. But as you can tell my heart has changed my point. Once again I am getting back to the root of things. In fact I did a whole spoken thing on this. Visit www.bibleandabeard.com for more on these roots. It’s titled “Dead Love”.

Just Think Clearly:

I want you more than anything to read this and for it to leave you thinking. I’m not going to be able to talk you into anything. I don’t want to talk you into anything. If I could then someone one day would talk you into something else. If God has chosen you, then one day you will know it. Pray to know Him. He says He will not deny anyone who comes seeking Him (Jeremiah 29:13, Hebrews 11:6, Matthew 7:7-8). If you are not seeking, then you will never believe. In fact this all sounds foolish to you either way. But I would at the very least leave you with a clearer thought of the major faultiness in the wrong way in which the world believes. I urge you to seek the truth. See how the God of the bible has left us with a book that the world’s morals are built upon. The bible is rooted in everything we live by, Christian or not. That’s something worth standing up and take notice of. If we are technically living by some form of the bible and didn’t realize it, lets do some living intentionally. Playing stupid won’t get you far in this life. After all, this life is just a preparation for eternal life. You’re either in prep for it, or you’re walking dead. God desires to see none perish, but He gave us the choice. Now I’ll have to write about the mind bending thought of free will and God’s control over all things, but to put it simply, why would you want to believe in a God you could fully comprehend? That sounds like a pretty small god to me.

If you have any questions of want to know more than please contact me.

Closing.

Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the bible, read Gospel saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology” and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Music www.TheShawsMusic.com

Podcast www.MisfitMinistry.com

Instagram @psalmlife @fitcore @theshaws

 

Hail the King (A proper gospel song)

By Steven Shaw

Hail the King by Citizens

Here’s an example of a great corporate worship song. What I mean by corporate worship song is, songs that are appropriate for the church to sing together. We need to be singing the gospel. Too often our church songs are focused on our personal thoughts and overly experiential expressions. Our songs should be pointing our eyes to Christ, beholding the glory of God and living by the Spirits power, then and only then will we be truly transformed by the music we sing. The only proper response when you behold God in any aspect is complete humble adoration.

Song lyrics by Citizens and are in Bold. (Commentary by Steven Shaw)

We have been justified by faith through Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 (We’ve been made right before God. We have been made just, holy and righteous before a God who demands perfection. Now He see’s us through the perfection of Christ. Only through Christ are we justified. Faith in Jesus, living in the new life that we have become in Him. Faith as an action, living out the life that has been set before us since before the creation of the world by the power of the Holy Spirit.)

It’s only by His grace we stand. Ephesians 2:8 (The God of the Old Testament is the same God as in the New Testament and the same God that we serve today. This is a God that demands perfect righteousness; holiness and He must punish sin. Sin can only be atoned for by the shedding of blood. Scary? That means there’s no hope for us. What do we do? But God loved us so that He sent His own Son to live that perfect life that we could not, nor would not live, to atone for our sins. The creator of all bled and died for our sins. God didn’t leave us in our sin, He saved us from it.)

Once bound by sin and shame, Romans 6:20 (We are a slave to our own flesh without the gift of Christ. We are literally under our flesh’s control. But through Christ we have been set free! Not only are we under our flesh’s control but we are under the shame of our sin.) 

now a slave to righteousness. Romans 6:15-18 (You are either a slave to your flesh or a slave to Christ. Our flesh will lead us straight to hell because we are under God’s wrath without Christ. But as a slave to righteousness, we are a slave to a loving, perfect God. He has saved us to Himself and for Himself for all eternity.) 

Our faith perfected by His love. 1 Corinthians 6:11 (As we live these new lives as God’s children, adopted into His family, we are continually being worked on by Him through His Spirit whom is inside us. It’s called sanctification. Sanctification is a once and for all, yet continual work. We have been sanctified once and for all and we continually become more sanctified each day until that glorious day Christ tares the skies open and perfects us and takes us home. Being sanctified simply means living out what we have been made for and we will not be complete until Christ’s triumphant return.)

While we were weak He died, making us reconciled, to God for all eternal days. Ephesians 2:5 (We have no power outside of God. The bible says we are dead before we know Him. Dead people can’t do anything. So while we were dead, Jesus the Christ made us alive, now we are alive in Christ, and in Christ alone. God didn’t just save us out of something, but saved into something. He saved us out a world destined for hell, and saved us into His family destined for eternal glory with Him, through Him and for Him.)

And even in our fading flesh, our only hope and rest, is found in faith that Jesus saves. John 8:24 (As our earthly bodies fade each day, we can hope in the full assurance of the hope in God. We are able to rest and lay down our burdens to Him because He is in control of everything, therefore there’s no need to worry about anything. But even more so, we get to set our minds to an eternal perspective in that we will live forever with the Godhead three in one. We will be praising Him for all our endless day. Endless peace and joyous life with our King!)

Praise the Savior, He has won! Our sin defeated through His blood. Romans 8:1-39 (Christ has set death in it’s grave so we will never die. Our physical death is when we will truly experience life, our true life will never end. Sin can only be atoned for by the shedding of blood and Christ’s blood has cleansed all sin for all time, once and for all.)

Now exalted, Jesus reigns. Hail the King, praise His name! Philippians 2:9 (Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of the Father. He sits because His work is finished. His perfect sacrifice was strong enough to make us perfect before a perfect God. Now we can scream with joy, hail the King, praise His name! And will continue to sing that forever.)

We rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God, we rejoice in the Glory of God Romans 5:2-5 (We now have an endless song. Even if God had never done any of these wonderful things for us, He would still be worthy of eternal praise. But He has paid the ultimate price, how much more should we be shouting for joy for all that He has done for us. We have a hope in Him yet we need to always know God as God and praise Him for who He is. His glory is endless and inexhaustible.)

Our hope of glory is found in the one who gives great joy to sing about the love that He poured out. Psalm 33 (Again, we deserve nothing but punishment and death because our rebellion, yet God has saved us fully and completely. Nothing we have done to deserve or earn His love, simply having faith in Jesus do we cling.)

Forever lifted high, is our Savior Jesus Christ. The gift of God given in love. John 3:16-21 (Now the God, King, Father, Friend, Brother, Savior, is coming back for us to show His glory in fullness to the whole world. There is nothing that can take us away from Him or defeat Him, so put your full faith and trust in the One true God today! He will not turn away any who seek Him.)

You see the power in songs like this? This is a song you can sing to rejoice, to sing in suffering, to sing in hope. This is the type of songs that need to be in our churches. It’s clear, not obscure; it’s rich in biblical truth, not weak with empty emotion. We need strong songs to take with us, to sanctify us for our whole life.

Closing.

Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the bible, read Gospel saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology” and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Music www.TheShawsMusic.com

Podcast www.MisfitMinistry.com

Instagram @psalmlife @fitcore @theshaws