Temple Baptist Church - 5-29-2011
A. The prophecy of the Lord concerning the Word of God in the end time. The interpretation is to Israel but application can certainly be made to the end-time church also. A famine defined: extreme and general scarcity of food, as in a country or a large geographical area; any extreme and general scarcity; extreme hunger; starvation.
B. There are several things that I want to notice concerning this “famine” of the last days.
1. The famine is sent of the Lord. There is an old saying that goes something like this, “God will always give you what you want but it will always cost you what you’ve got!” God is neither the Author of sin nor does He approve of sin but, when someone is just too hard headed to listen, God will allow that individual to do as he or she wishes. God will allow that sin to run its course and then let the judgment come.
Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
James 1:14-15 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
2. The famine is a scarcity of hearing the Word of God. They shall seek the Word of God but “shall not find it.” There are still those who want God’s Word but, because of the scarcity, they cannot find it. They “wander” from church to church seeking and not finding. They “run to and fro” which speaks of confusion. What a shame! Our nation was established on God’s Word and its principles.
C. What I want to deal with tonight is the aspect of “hearing” of God’s Word. A famine of hearing! The problem with hearing God’s Word is two-fold in America and in our area called “The Bible Belt.” I have said for years that the “Bible Belt” is “unbuckled!”
1. The South cut its spiritual teeth on the King James Bible and its preaching. Great revivals began in the South and its spiritual heritage runs deep.
2. The South in our day is permeated with biblical ignorance. As we knock on doors, I am astounded at the lack of biblical knowledge of supposedly saved people. They not only know nothing, most of these people do not even suspect anything!
3. The problem here is two-fold and the answer to the problem is found in Romans 10:17, “ So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” I find two “hearings” in that verse: an outer hearing and an “inner” hearing. Thus, we find the problem of the “famine.”
D. Let us look at that verse and the two “hearings” for a few minutes.
A LACK OF OUTER HEARING
1. First of all, there is a “famine” of Bible preaching in the land because they do not have the Bible. Most churches today do not even understand what the Word of God is. These churches have many “bibles” instead of one Bible. I often say, “If you do not know what God’s Word is, then I do not care to hear what you have to say spiritually.” NASB, NIV, NKJV, etc. are the “bibles” that you find in churches and book stores. The revered King James Bible is “antiquated” and no long relevant to our day, according to the “experts.” In order to hear the Word of God, you must have the preaching of the Word of God.
2. Secondly, there is a “famine” of Bible preaching in the land because those who do have a King James Bible either do not preach it or only preach a part of it. The only thing that will help our churches is having the whole counsel of God’s Word preached!
a. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (If all scripture is profitable—and it is—then all scripture needs to be preached! Otherwise, man is not made perfect (mature) nor is he throughly furnished unto all good works.)
b. Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (If man is to live by “every word” of God, then he cannot be living a godly life when much of God’s Word is not being preached! Thus, we have worldly, carnal children.)
3. Thirdly, there is a serious lack of and decline in God’s men! Preachers climb into pulpits that are neither called nor qualified!
a. Unsaved Preachers – False prophets such as the old man who prophesied of the Lord’s coming last week. Many are religious Charlatans who are making fortunes off of lost church members.
b. Unscriptural Preachers – False preachers who teach heretical doctrines and lead people in the wrong paths.
c. Unconcerned Preachers who place personal needs above the needs of their people. I put these in two categories:
1) Popular Preachers – These preach “smooth” things and are heavy on salvation and exhortation with little or no regard to holiness and spiritual maturity. Their congregations are worldly and will remain that way. These are afraid to preach, either because they have no personal conviction or are afraid that conviction will run their people off.
2) Prosperous Preachers – These are men who are in the ministry because it is an easy way to earn a living. These are guilty of “filthy lucre.”
A LACK OF INNER HEARING
1. The main object of preaching God’s Word is that people spiritually hear. Jeremiah 22:29 says, “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.” This is not just a physical hearing but is also a spiritual one. We sometimes hear the expression, “You hear but you don’t listen!” This hearing is paying attention and heeding the preaching.
2. People no longer want to hear the Word of God and are pouring into the aforementioned churches where they either do not have God’s Word or do not preach it. Matthew 13, in the parable of the Sower, there are 4 types of hearers with only one bringing forth fruit.
a. Some hear Bible preaching but will not properly respond. Ezekiel 33:31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
b. Some leave Bible preaching churches in search of “teachers” because they have itching ears. Instead of desiring help, they simply desire to have their ears scratched.
1) They harden their necks to the preaching. Proverbs 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
2) They pull away the shoulder. Zechariah 7:11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.
3) They eventually leave for “greener grass.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
c. These have ears to hear but do not hear!
Conclusion: We have something very special here. We have the Word of God and the preaching of God’s Word. Let us do two things:
1. Follow God’s Man as he follows the Lord.
2. Follow God’s Word by being doers of the Word and not hearers only.