Keep Bible off shelf, open in hands

We last considered the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem under the leadership of Nehemiah, and made comparison to it with the image of the rebuilding of the Christian wall, which essentially involves the strength and influence of the Church within the context of continuing commitment.

It takes a spiritually strong Church to successfully stand for Godliness, righteousness and holiness.

However, many of the people associated with the contemporary Church are letting slide commitment to the principles of God, and those who are opposed to God, opposed to His call for salvation, and opposed to commitment to Christian life-style have seized the day to knock holes in the Bible’s stand against the thrust of evil and anti-Christ-ism in society and government.

Yet, there are those of the Church who are burdened about the current weakness of the Church’s spiritual influence. You perhaps wonder what it will take to rebuild the Christian wall where it is weakened. We take our initial cue for answers from Nehemiah 4:2.

Generally, the first necessary rebuilding effort must involve changing the humanistic perspective of the spiritual culture of the Church. Point specifically, people outside of the Church perceive the people of the Church as spiritually shallow. “What do these shallow Christians (compared to ‘feeble Jews’ of 4:2)?”

People associated with the Church are viewed as just playing the religious game. We are considered as not being serious about living Biblical principles. We are viewed as mere pretenders of faith. A hole has, oh, most certainly, been knocked in the Christian wall enabling people to see right through us. Consequently, they easily resist being drawn in to our playhouse sanctuaries.

As a teenager, I put Christian witness in jeopardy with lifestyle compromises. When I once talked with a friend about accepting Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, he laughed at me, and said, “Branch, I did not even know you were a Christian!” The spiritual shallowness I demonstrated was scorned. It was an eye-opening experience for me.

Therefore, part of the answer to changing the humanistic perspective of the spiritual culture of the Church is for the Church to repent of demonstrating an overall spiritual shallowness. The Church needs to counter-punch with an obvious commitment to God, an obvious obedience to God, and an obvious love for God. An obvious spiritual depth in God is important for the wall.

A second truth that effectively offsets the contemporary view of the culture of the Church is based on the second question of 4:2: “will they fortify themselves?” The perspective was that the Jews working to rebuild the Jerusalem wall had no legitimate backup. The truth of the matter was that the Jews had plenty of fortifying backup from God, His apparent protection, and His clear leadership, which was eventually realized by those in opposition.

By comparison, the principle that fortifies the Church has to be the Word of God. But, those standing in opposition to the Church have a field day with their ungodly opinions and principles because the people of the Church do not know what God has said in His Word.

Because of it, the sodomites have knocked breaches in the Christian wall. The abortion supporters have knocked breaches in the Christian wall. The marijuana smokers have knocked breaches in the Christian wall. Those providing the games of chance have knocked breaches in the Christian wall.

The people of the Church are so inept with knowledge of the Bible that, if you told them to find the book of Hezekiah, they would scurry to the index to find what page in the Bible it starts.

The people of the world need to see that the people of the Church are people of the Book fortified by the Book. We need to keep the Bible off our shelves and more so opened in our hands and read. Someone once said that, if all the people of the Church would simultaneously blow the dust off of their Bibles, that it would create the worst dust storm in history.

Probably should go another article about rebuilding the Christian wall.

The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.