Vision and Hope

by Mike Ratliff

11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,
”when I will send a famine on the land-
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the Lord.

12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord,
but they shall not find it. (Amos 8:11 ESV)

The pragmatic church models, such as those used in Purpose Driven and the Willow Creek churches, emphasis is successful, for the most part, in building large churches. However, the problem is that they do not preach the genuine gospel nor do they emphasize the proper preaching of the word, which is expositional rather than topical. Since there are a large numbers of churches that have been compromised this way, it has created a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. This is tragic. 

18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, [3]
but blessed is he who keeps the law. (Proverbs 29:18 ESV)

The lack of prophetic vision in this passage refers to a famine created where there are few, if any, faithful ministers of the word of God or there is an inability to hear it. Both conditions result from disobedience either in the ministers of the word or amongst the people or both. The vision mentioned here has nothing to do with people having a vision for their future. No, this is referring to the fact that God’s Word is not being heard. What is the result? What does it mean that the people “cast off restraint?” The Geneva Bible translates this as, “the people decay.” The KJV translates it as, “the people perish.” This is referring to the famine of hearing the word of God preached and taught causing lawless rebellion. What is the contrast? What happens when people are obedient to the word of God and the preachers preach and teach it? People are blessed.  This means that people hear the Word of God preached and the messages they hear a not dumbed down. The Holy Spirit works through this to cause people to repent and obey it.

I am convinced that we are living in a time of famine of hearing God’s Word. The fruit of this is lawless rebellion. Don’t we have openly homosexual church leaders who have split their denominations over this issue? Don’t we have so-called Christian leaders refusing to preach the truth of God’s Word because it might be offensive to unbelievers? These people do not want to preach the whole Gospel because the cross is offensive and it demands for people to deal with their sins. In our time, it appears that the hope of those leading the church down this dark path is in social change rather than in the Lord. For example, these same people believe that it is far better to elect an ultra liberal man, such as Barack Obama, into the office of President of the United States instead of trusting in God to heal society’s woes.

Where is your hope? In whom or what is your trust and hope? Is it in a godless man such as Barack Obama who has openly ridiculed those who insist on using God’s Word to know the truth and to gain direction?

Hope

Hope

 

 

Or, is your hope in Christ alone?

 

Hope in Christ Alone

Hope in Christ Alone

If you are a professing Christian, yet your hope is in the man Obama then there is a problem. If you are trusting in Christ alone to save you then your focus should be eternal. Your treasure is in Christ alone. This life is temporary and very short. However, eternity is forever. Please prayerfully consider these points my brethren.

Are you being fed from God’s Word? If so then you are not a partaker of the famine and your hope will be in Christ alone. However, if you are placing your hope in a mere man then you are starving to death spiritually. You are in the midst of deadly famine that replaces the pure food of God’s Word with the words of men. Their empty philosophies have no eternal power nor do they offer hope that lasts beyond the here and now. Oh, I understand that most in this boat have been deceived and will consider these words empty or unimportant. However, I pray that God will use them to drive a shaft of His light into the hearts of those who have placed their hope in man rather than in trusting Christ alone. I pray that He will open those hearts, draw many into His truth, and lead them into godly repentance.  God’s will be done!

Soli Deo Gloria!

22 thoughts on “Vision and Hope

  1. We are indeed living in end times, eyes can see it, and ear’s can hear it. Wonderful article, God Bless, Thanks

  2. Pingback: Vision and Hope - Reformata

  3. Very true. Today I heard a message preached on two verses in John. Sure, he went on and used more verses, but the whole point was these two verses in John because he really wanted to focus on God’s word. After being in a church with weak teaching many Sundays, and theme after theme, it was SOOOOO refreshing to spend time in the Bible studying in church. The pastor mentioned that they will be studying John for the next YEAR. A whole year in John. Wow. We’ve been missing this type of teaching for years and didn’t realize it. In our small group, we kept trying to get into the Bible. We studied Acts for about four months. It was wonderful. We thought we were being so innovative, actually reading the entire book outloud and then studying it verse by verse. Please. Of course, some got tired of this. Our church wanted us to study a book together as a whole (a Hybels book). So glad we left our former church and, if this current church is as it appears, we may have found a home church that is at home in the word of God.

  4. Mike, I read your posts every morning and am always encouraged and fed. God bless you and your ministry. You are so right. Without the Word of God we will starve. I am seeing it all around me.

  5. Obama…..what a joke. His middle name should be enough of a clue also. Everything is sure backwards isn’t it? We couldn’t agree with you more Mike. Seems scripture is being fulfilled quickly now. I’d say we are between the 6th and 7th trump around Rev. 18. Look up!! :)

  6. 18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. (Proverbs 29:18 ESV)

    How many times have I had this verse explained that we need to have “a vision” for the future. On day I read it and it was so clear that it was never talking about plans, especially not our fleshly religiously minded plans, but that it was talking about blindness. Spiritual blindness. Who can open blind eyes but God? We have to have eyes to see and ears to hear. If you have eyes and ears what you are witnessing is incredible to those that don’t. I praise God that there are others that see and hear. God is merciful and grants confirmations through other believers, without these I would surely think I am going mad.
    We are so blessed.
    Thank you Mike for your faithfulness.
    Tanja

  7. I am African-American and my husband is caucasian. Of course this makes our three, beautiful children bi-racial. Despite the pre-judging stares and sometimes glares we get from on lookers, we are not liberal and we are not Obama fans. In fact, we do not support him at all. In our sincere walk with the Lord, we KNOW our hope is in God alone. We know not to tolerate liberalism in churches including the sin of homosexuality.
    I will caution you, however, in all due respect: Please be careful. We indeed are living in the end times, however we must not speak against those in authority over us. No matter how much he is in opposition to the truth. God is still allowing this.
    thanks for your Blog.

  8. KF,

    God is not a racist and so we can’t be either. I know that God has allowed liberals to come to power in this country and it is all according to His sovereign will. However, we must speak against those who are ministers of unrighteousness who attempt to destroy the faith of Christians or make them compromise. We are instructed in the Bible to obey the authorities over us except when what they command is in violation of what God has commanded for us to do or not do. Does they make sense? When that happens then we must speak out and not obey them. We obey God alone.

    This post was specifically addressed to professing Christians that they examine in whom they have placed their trust and hope. If it is on anyone other than Christ then there is a problem. Thanks for your comment my sister.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  9. “nor do they emphasize the proper preaching of the word, which is expositional rather than topical.” Honest question: why? Why is topical not proper? Why is it not proper to take a topical series, say on revival or repentance or grace – and use one text per message as the paradigm? I’m not trying to be argumentative…I just don’t see why preaching book by book is the ONLY way to be true to the gospel message.

  10. Yes, it makes perfect sense. Thank you so much!
    My prayers with you as you continue to speak the truth,
    KF

  11. Is that what I was referring to Billy? I was talking about he the modus operandi of a ministry. If you attend a normal Sunday morning service will you hear the whole genuine gospel or will you hear a DUMBED DOWN summary that saves no one. That is the point. Also, I have sit through enough topical sermons to know that unless genuine expositional teaching is incorporated in there then God’s Word is not being opened and taught as it should. The Gospel when preached correctly must start with original sin and the helplessness of man save himself. It must teach that man’s only hope is Christ alone AND WHY THAT IS TRUE. Then the way of hope is given through repentance and believe and total surrender to Christ as Lord and Saviour. That is NOT what these churches are preaching and you know that Billy. They have substituted an easy believism version of the Gospel that doesn’t take the risk of offending people about their sin and their worthlessness outside of Christ.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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