Do you know what you believe? What do you believe about the deity of Christ? About the atonement? What if someone ask you why you believe the Holy Spirit is a person rather than merely an influence? What do you believe about the deity of God? How did we get our Bible? Where did it come from? Which is Bible translation should you use? What about Satan? Demons? Angels? What about the rapture? The second coming? DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE?
Most of us – even if you took a course in theology tend to be a little rusty on our theology – the study of God. We all could stand a refresher course. That is especially true of today’s generation where most people have been taught that there are no absolute truths. That all truth is relative. That truth is merely subjective – how you see it or what it means to you.
The amount of loose thinking today is staggering in our culture. Most people don’t think, they simply quote or adhere to the few who do. Often our thinking is done for us by the media (television, music, internet, radio, books, social media), educational institutions, politicians, etc. People in general today pay less and less to religion – and as Christians, we pay less and less attention to the Bible – and the result of that is ‘THE FAITH ONCE FOR ALL DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS” HAS BECOME IMPERILED BY THE IGNORANCE OF THOSE RESPONSIBLE TO DEFEND AND PERPETUATE IT – YOU AND I, THE CHURCH!
The Devastating Decline of Sunday School
It used to be, people attended Sunday School. Sunday School was the teaching arm and in many churches even the evangelistic arm of the church. Believe it or not, Sunday School was so popular up until the late 70’s and early 80’s that church members would attend Sunday School and go home afterwards – skipping the worship service. Beginning sometime in the 70’s to the early 80’s that changed, Sunday School attendance was in decline in part because many churches shut down their bus ministries. Churches started building their budgets and staff to highlight the worship service itself. Entertainment became a key part of the worship experience. Soon, the Sunday morning service or services became the only real evangelism outreach of the church. New churches that were planted focused more on worship choosing to start small groups rather than Sunday School.
The consequences of the deterioration of Sunday School was shattering:
- Adults stopped being trained and equipped to teach the Word of God – the best way to learn anything is read and study as if you are going to teach it.
- Secondly, and probably the greatest crime of the two – most of our children and youth stopped hearing the teaching of God’s Word in a small group setting. To offset that move away from Sunday School, many churches begin seeing a need to have some kind of personal teaching ministry…and in the 90’s small group ministry took off. But even in the best small group churches…different studies showed that only 40% of Sunday morning worshippers were involved in small groups. And recently, research has shown that in many small group ministries in America people are not getting any kind of discipleship training. Instead, small groups have become more for fellowship, common interest type groups, or care groups in many churches.
Why You Must Believe the Truth (God’s Word)?
Let me give you a few illustrative metaphors.
- Jesus’ parable of the house built on the sand and the rock (Matthew 7) illustrates that what you believe makes up the foundation for your life. The bible says that the doctrine of the Apostles was the foundation that the church was built upon. Our families, relationships, businesses, ministries, and marriages are all built upon our foundation of truth.
- What you believe serves as your anchors in life. These anchors will keep you from drifting…from being swayed by every kind of wind of doctrine and belief that comes along.
- Your belief determines the condition of the soil of your heart. What do I mean by that? Unbelief and sin (Hebrews 3:12-13) hardens the heart, but the word of God as it is heard or read and obeyed softens the heart.
- Lastly, studies show what your belief determines the quality of your life. People who tend to have some kind of balanced conviction in life (they have some non-negotiables) are considered to be happier, more at peace, and live more fulfilling lives. The Bible bears this out as well in Psalm 1:1-3. As we meditate on God’s Word day and night, we will be like a tree planted by the river that prospers and is fruitful (paraphrase).
So What Do You Believe?
If you believe anything less than the Word of God. If you are building your life upon anything less than the Word of God. It’s not too late to change your belief system – know matter your age. However, only belief in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord can supernaturally change your mind. Saul on the road to Damascus found out that it is never too late or you can never be too bad. Jesus Christ changes lives! He can change yours too, if he hasn’t already. It’s at that point, your road to discipleship begins.
Randy L Ballard