by Mike Ratliff
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.
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?
Or, is your 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!