Plain Vanilla

“So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” (Neh 8:8).  

WE need to preach the Bible as it is, plain vanilla. Is it such a novel concept to let God speak for himself, to us from the written Word? Just to preach the scriptures without marketing, slogans and flimflam. That is why I believe God is calling out to men today to make known openly and publicly the Word of God it in its full strength. We should make it obvious that we are intentionally and unmistakably broadcasting the scriptures in our homes and from our pulpits. The scriptures ought to be perspicuous: plain to the understanding especially because of clarity and precision of presentation (Merriam Webster).  How preachers need to stop apologizing for the Bible and avoiding certain topics and take up the attitude, “What I am saying is between you and God!” with the people they pastor. God has not called us to force his words down people throats but he has called us to preach them until their hearts are under the influence of Sovereign grace and saving faith.  We also need to recognize that we deal with holy things and that we should not waste them on wild dogs and ungrateful pigs, so said Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:6. We should take the book of the covenant of God and his elect people and read it in the audience of the people (Ex. 24:7). In Nehemiah’s Day It says, “they read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage.”  (Neh. 8:9NLT). 

Christ unbolted the closed minds of men so the could understand the Older Covenant scriptures in their revelation of Him (Luke 24:25). The Holy Spirit would bring back to the Words of Christ as spoken to their minds (John 14:26; John 16:13-15). They would write these things down and give them to us in a book, “Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matt. 13:52).  The apostles wrote and proclaimed the scriptures (2 Peter 3:16). God has called men to bring out the treasures of the Word of God its silver, gold and precious gems to those who are humble, harassed and hungry for righteousness.

Only his Words are powerful enough to save the soul (Heb. 4:12). There has never been a generation more ignorant of the scriptures than today. I see in churches, among the most well meaning pastors, the methodologies of the flesh, that only have human power and cannot save. It frightens me. The tactics of manipulation, placing Divine endorsement like a stamp on the packages they sell and of course speaking of how relevant and practical these methods are, go forth like a new gospel. It is positively medieval. I would rather “fail” in my “ministry” preaching the whole of scripture and only winning a few people than preaching motivational psychology and ending up with many people who participated in a clinically tested religious laboratory experiment that is not endorsed by scripture. Why you ask? “Thus saith the Lord, “Cursed is the man and maketh the flesh his arm and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” (Jer. 17:5). As the Old hymn says, “The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.”

Only his Word can save the soul from hell, not human tradition. Not new experiences.  People are spiritually sick because the Word is not flaunted. I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32)  Paul was full of passion to warn his brethren, build them up and preach a message that if they would believe, it would assure them of their part in their eternal inheritance. Like the ground that God cursed because of Cain, we should reject the notion of being only, “engaged to the method but married to the message.” Paul tells Timothy, “thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15).  It is the scriptures that make people wise about salvation. But not the philosophy and psychology of the world.  The lost will die in their sins unless we preach the Word of God to them. “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Cor 1:21). This is not God calling for us to be stupid but to be uncompromising. God the Savior of all men especially those that believe (1 Tim. 4:10) is calling us away from the impotent, lifeless methods of the flesh because the world cannot know God by philosophy and psychology. They can never know God by speculation and behavioral science, only by preaching God’s Word by the power of His Spirit. Jesus made it clear to his disciples “What gives life is God’s Spirit, human power is no use at all. The words I have spoken to you bring God’s life giving Spirit.” (John 6:63TEV).