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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. David Jeremiah » David Jeremiah - A Spiritual Prophecy: Spiritual Famine

David Jeremiah - A Spiritual Prophecy: Spiritual Famine

David Jeremiah - A Spiritual Prophecy: Spiritual Famine
David Jeremiah - A Spiritual Prophecy: Spiritual Famine
TOPICS: Where Do We Go From Here?, End times, Prophecy, Spiritual Blindness

When actor Benedict Cumberbatch took on the role of Grenville Wynne in the movie "The Courier," he faced some scenes that required him to endure severe weight loss. The movie was inspired by real events and Wynne was an English businessman recruited by MI6 and the CIA to spy against Russia during the Cold War. When Wynne was captured by the Soviets, he spent a few years in lockup, and his near-starvation diet reduced him to skin and bones. For about four scenes in this movie, Cumberbatch had to replicate the look of a man nearly starved to death, and the movie's crew took a break from filming while he went on a harsh diet to make him look emaciated for this portion of the movie. It was a brutal experience. "You get very disoriented," he said, "You feel dehydrated. You feel hungry all the time. You feel emotionally and physically vulnerable. It's horrible". He said, "I felt mentally unstable".

Have you ever wondered why our world seems so hungry all the time, why we are perpetually thirsty, why so many people are emotionally and physically vulnerable, why they feel horrible, why they seem mentally unstable? The answer is that our generation is on a diet. It's a generation that is famished. We have been starved for truth. We're hungry for hope and thirsty for the God-given message of the Scripture, and what we're experiencing right now, which we'll get into in a little bit, is something that the Bible teaches would happen. The Bible says there will be a famine of truth in the last days. Did you know that was in the Bible? The most vivid biblical prediction about this comes from the rugged prophet Amos. He wasn't a trained preacher or an educated theologian. He was a herdsmen who spent most of his time trying to figure out where his sheep were. He also was a fruit picker, Amos, the fruit picker. He churned with courage, and he spoke with conviction because he knew his God, and his homespun message was so direct.

Amos 4:12 says this, "Prepare to meet your God, O Israel"! When I read that recently, I was reminded of the many trips my family and I took across this country when I was growing up, and you would see that up on billboards: "Prepare to meet your God," and it was not just a few times. It was all over the country. I recall seeing this painted on rocks and signposts along the highway when I was growing up. Now, of course, they've almost disappeared from our consciousness, and people take offense at that and probably would go to jail if they put it up there where people could see it, and they didn't like it in Amos's day either. We often think we're different than history. When Amos said this, he didn't win any awards. I promise you. In fact, in the New Living Translation of Amos 7:12 through 13, here's what we read: "Get out of here, you prophet"! they said, "Go on back to the land of Judah, and earn your living by prophesying back there! Don't bother us with your prophecies here in Bethel. This is the king's sanctuary and the national place of worship"!

When Amos told them to prepare to meet their God, they didn't like it. They told him, "Get lost". They didn't know with whom they were dealing. This southern farmer wouldn't be intimidated. Instead, he met their threats with this piercing prediction: Amos 8:11 and 12. "'Behold, the days are coming,' says the Lord God 'That 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. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, and they shall not find it.'" Amos was describing a particularly deadly type of famine, a problem of the ears, not the stomach. Our generation may be the early stages of a hearing famine as another layer of biblical prophecy unfurls, and this isn't the only time that this is in the Bible. This is just Amos's word by himself.

Listen to what the prophet Ezekiel said. He said, "Disaster will come upon disaster, and rumor will be upon rumor. Then they will seek a vision from a prophet, but the law will perish from the priest and counsel from the elders," and the Prophet Micah answered with these words, "Therefore you shall have night without vision. You shall have darkness without divination; the sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be dark for them". Here are the prophets describing a time in the future almost as difficult to understand as the 400 silent years that transpired between the Old Testament and the New Testament, and as you look around today, if you're vigilant, if you're sensitive to what's happening in the religious world at all, it sort of feels like those days are beginning to come upon us. Everywhere you turn, people are running to and fro, trying to find where significance might be, trying to find satisfaction. They've lost their appetite for the objective truth of God's Word, and so, it's being replaced with positive mental attitude lessons and motivational lessons and all kinds of cute little things to try to get people to come and sit in the seats in the church, but it's not the absence of the Word of God that's troubling.

Do you know that there are Bibles aplenty in most of the world? And a virtual army of Bible translators are working night and day to get the Scripture into every tongue, and we've made great strides across the universe. More than 1500 languages now have access to the New Testament, and Bible translation work is currently being done on the rest. Missionary and translation societies are focusing now on the 1.5 billion people who do not have the entire Bible in their language, working feverishly to meet their need. If you ever go to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, you will see a room where they have cataloged all the languages of the world and where you can figure out by just walking in there what languages are yet to be translated with the Bible as its subject, and of course, what that means, men and women, is that about 6 billion of the earth's 7.6 billion people now have access to the whole Bible, both the Old and the New Testament. In other words, God's Word has never been more accessible, and in many places in the world, it's only a smartphone or a laptop click away.

So, what was Amos talking about when he said there's gonna be a famine of the hearing of the Word of God? The prophet's warnings concerned a loss of hunger for the truth. This is a self-inflicted famine. I'll never forget the impact a little book had on my life some years ago. It was written by Sherwood Eliot Wirt. He wrote a little book called "A Thirst For God". I read it when I was just getting started in ministry, just getting going as a preacher. It's basically a commentary on Psalm 142, and he said that one of the problems we have when we talk about spiritual hunger is that we think that spiritual hunger and physical hunger are exactly alike, but they are as diverse from each other as they could be. For instance, spiritual hunger works just exactly the opposite from physical hunger. When we are physically hungry, we eat and satisfy our appetites and cease to be hungry, but when we are spiritually undernourished and are then given a feast of good, spiritual food, it makes us hungrier than ever.

So, the more we learn about God's love, the more we want to know. We can't get enough, and the reverse is also true. When we are physically hungry and miss a meal, our appetite becomes ravenous, but in time, it passes, and if we receive no spiritual food in that period of time, we lose our appetite. You get it? When you're hungry physically, you get more hungry, but if you don't satisfy your spiritual hunger for a period of time, your hunger quotient goes down. You get less hungry, and that's a real problem because let's suppose you've lost your appetite for the Word of God. Suppose you don't really desire it. Suppose you get up in the morning, you see your Bible, "You know, I should read this, but I don't do that anymore. I used to do it a long time ago, but I just don't really desire it," but then one day you realize you're missing something and you need to fix the problem, so what do you do? How do you fix a problem of spiritual lack of hunger for the Word of God? Here it is: it's called force feeding.

You know what that is? You go into your little closet, your little study, your little desk, and you sit down and you say to yourself, "Self, I'm gonna read the Bible today. I don't care if I get anything out of it or not. I'm gonna read it. In fact, I'm gonna read it till I get something out of it". You have to rekindle your appetite so that your appetite will grow. If you just stop reading the Bible and don't do anything about it, you will never again have an appetite for the Word of God, and you will be a part of the spiritual famine that Amos was talking about. The reality is that our hearts are easily drawn away from God and his Word. We know that. Human beings have a terrible habit of losing their appetite for the truth.

D. A. Carson wrote these words. Here's what he said. He said, "Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord". It's not natural to go there. We drift toward compromise and we call it tolerance. We drift toward disobedience; we call it freedom. We drift towards superstition and we call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and we call it relaxation. We slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking that we've just escaped legalism. We slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves that we have been liberated. We play these games, don't we, in our minds. We all know it. All of us do it. I have done it. The integrity of our own mind is at stake here if we're going to maintain a spiritual appetite. So, what does this mean? That's where we are.

What does it mean? I know there are some who are listening who will wonder about the inclusion of a chapter like this in a prophecy book. After all, most of the other topics that I talk about in this series are sort of cataclysmic, or apocalyptic, in nature: the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat of socialism, economic danger poised to crush all resistance during the Tribulation, but what we see prophesied in the book of Amos and other passages of Scripture is nothing less than spiritual starvation. It's a crisis affecting not only our bodies but our souls. To appreciate the serious nature of this coming spiritual famine, I want you to go with me, and let's dig a little deeper into its implications. What does it mean for the last days? What does it mean for our lives right now? Here are four things our culture is currently under threat from spiritual malnutrition. First of all, our heritage is being lost. We're losing our heritage. The Psalmist said, "You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name".

Hear me now carefully. How many children in Sunday school and church know anything about the 2,000 years of Christian history? Where are the missionary stories? What's happened to the heroes and martyrs and stalwarts of the past whose courage brought the gospel to us? How many children grew up learning the 23rd Psalm and the Lord's Prayer? And what has happened to our old hymns? Our spiritual heritage is, little by little, just slipping away. We all know that, and it frustrates us. Number two, our theology is being weakened. We must also guard our theology 'cause it's easy for churches to become malnourished in times of spiritual famine. George Barna and his researchers issued a 2020 report warning, "American Christians are undergoing a post-Christian reformation. The irony of the reshaping of the spiritual landscape in America is that it represents a post-Christian reformation driven by people seeking to retain a Christian identity. The most startling realization is how many people from Evangelical churches are adopting unbiblical beliefs".

You see, if you don't lay a foundation down of what true doctrine is and teach people what theology is all about, if we don't stand for something, we fall for anything, and they fall for whatever comes down the road. They don't have anything to measure it by, so it sounds good, and they buy it. The report went on to say that Evangelicals have traditionally emphasized the importance of seeing the Bible as the infallible, inerrant Word of God, but now, today, 52% of Evangelicals do not believe in objective, moral truth. These aren't the people on the outside of the church. These aren't the people that we think of, "Oh, they're the pagans; we're the Evangelicals". No, that statistic is about people who go to churches like ours. Some of those people go to our church and to your church. The researchers concluded that what used to be basic, universally known truth about Christianity are now unknown mysteries to a large and growing share of Americans, especially young adults.

Let me tell you what that means to me as a preacher. I used to preach with an assumption of a certain basic knowledge of biblical truth. I can't do that anymore. I have to go back and realize that when I preach, the assumption I have to have is that people don't know this, so I have to explain it and try to do it in a way that I don't bore and frustrate the people who do know it, but the vast majority of people who come to church today, even if they grew up in a Christian home, do not know the books of the Bible. As they said, they don't know "generation" from "revolution". They don't know "Psalms" from "palms". They don't know anything, just the basic understanding of spiritual things that we used to have, that we assume when you and I were growing up in the church, it was just part of our understanding, was part of our knowledge. It's not there anymore. It's been replaced by a lot of secular humanism that's come in to drive our kids and our children away.

So, as a pastor, I'm deeply concerned about the wayward theological patterns that are trending in churches everywhere, and it's not simply the liberal, old, Protestant, mainstream denominations that are diminishing their doctrines. It's Evangelical churches who, when trying to reach a resistant audience, go too far in compromising biblical truth. For centuries, God's Word has been at the center of Christian preaching. Today, questioning scriptural authority is in vogue, even in certain faith communities. Popular speakers advocate processing God's Word through cultural filters rather than the other way around. So, our heritage is being lost, and our theology is being weakened, and our Bibles are being overlooked.

Mark Twain once defined a literary classic as a book which people praise but never read. Unfortunately, that describes the way many people in modern society approach the Bible. Are you for the Bible? "Oh, yes". Do you ever read the Bible? "Well, in all honesty, no". It doesn't help that cultures around the world are trying to minimize our Bible reading. China has just shut down Bible apps and Christian WeChat public accounts, and hard copies of the Bible are no longer available for sale online in China either. In America and the West, the Gideons are running into problems getting their Bibles into many hotel rooms. One of the most encouraging things, if you travel like I have, is you go into a hotel room and the stand next to your bed, you open the top drawer and there's a Gideon Bible in there. Not so. I've been in many hotels where that Bible's no longer present.

A recent survey showed the percentage of hotels willing to offer Bibles in their rooms has dropped from 90% to 48%. Hotels are finding younger travelers who are less devout than their parents or grandparents, and they don't want to offend atheists or those of other religions, and one atheistic group, listen to this, created stickers for its members to attach to any Gideon Bible they did find in a hotel room, and the sticker said, quote, "Warning, literal belief in this book may endanger your health and your life," and they take those stickers with them on their trips, and they put them on the Gideon Bibles in the hotels, or if they get into a Marriott, they put it on the Book of Mormon. I call that spiritual famine. I call that people who disregard the Bible who someday may want a society that would be impacted by the Bible. If we take the Bible out of our culture, we may ultimately get what we want. A moral compass of Scripture will self-destruct from moral decay and decadence, and pretty soon, we will just be immoral, amoral perhaps, without any morality at all.

So, what's happening in this famine is our heritage is being lost. Our theology is being weakened. Our Bibles are being overlooked, and our appetite is being ruined. That leads to my next thought. The reason we're facing a spiritual famine is because our appetite for God's truth is being ruined. A child that gorges on junk food and candy in the afternoon won't have much of an appetite for meat and potatoes at supper. In these last days, it seems as if Satan has unleashed an invisible, spiritual virus that robs people of their appetite for God's Word, but it's worse than that because it's not just a loss of appetite. It's a total distaste for the Bible. People grab a handful of Scripture, take a bite, find it distasteful, and spew it out like a child spitting out carrots.

As likely as not, they'll dub it hate speech, and often, we allow that to push us away, and then we don't preach the truth. Often, God will respond to our lack of spiritual appetite with silence. He doesn't force his Words into our ears. He may withdraw for a time if we lose our appreciation for the privilege of his voice, but God's silence may be hardly noticeable at first. You may still remember times when God spoke to you, but you gradually realize you haven't heard from him in a long time. If you realize you are in a drought, immediately seek God and ask him what adjustments you need to make in your life so that you can, once again, enjoy fellowship with him. It may be you've disobeyed his last instructions to you. Maybe he's waiting on your obedience before giving you fresh direction. If there's unconfessed sin in your life, or if you have a damaged relationship, get it right and do it now. By grace, we can stay healthy, even during a large-scale spiritual famine.

Paul told us to be nourished in the words of faith and of good doctrine, and the psalmist describes Scripture as sweeter than honey, and the Prophet Jeremiah said, "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart". Men and women, everything about the Bible is special. It's God's gift to the human race. It's bread for the soul and honey for the heart. It's nourishment for your nerves and wisdom for your mind. Every syllable represents God's thoughts conveyed through inspired human writers who recorded the infallible message for the world. In this way, the Lord has given us a book containing everything we really need for life and eternity. This book makes us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ. It's portable. You can carry it anywhere. It's simple. It's perfect for children. It's deep, It's engaging, and it even engages earth's greatest scholars. This is an incredible book, this book we call the Bible, and this is your book as well as it is mine.

Jesus said, "People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God". I am convinced that you cannot live the Christian life and avoid the Word of God. We can know the Word of God, but we have to discipline ourselves to let the Word of God be a part of our lives. You don't get the Word of God by putting your Bible under your pillow at night. Osmosis doesn't work that way. You have to engage in the Bible. So, we've talked about where we are and what it means. Let's just talk for a few moments at the end of this message about "Where do we go from here"? Based on everything we've learned, where do we go from here? What's our call to action? Near the end of the Bible, the apostle Peter wrote two letters to the churches of his day, penning the final one shortly before his gruesome death by upside-down crucifixion. As he wrote those last words, one thing was on his mind, and that was making sure that no one forgot the message of the gospel or the teachings of the Scripture.

So, I wanna read to you some things that he wrote in his last letters. He said in 2 Peter 1:12, "I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth," and he's talking about the Bible. In verse 15, he says, "I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease," and he's talking about eight things that he communicated in the early part of the chapter when he says, "Add to your faith knowledge, add to your knowledge", and he goes through this list and he says, "Remember these things". He kept reminding everybody. In 2 Peter 3:1 through 3, he says, "Now I write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your poor minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first, that scoffers will come in the last days".

Remember now, Peter was about to check out. He was leaving this world. He was just about to die, but he wanted his message to remain, to never be forgotten, and to be passed down through the generations until Jesus returns. He longed for the gospel to expand, to explode throughout the earth. He wanted to repel spiritual famine, and that same zeal must grab hold of you, and it must grab hold of me. It must consume the church, as we face the world of tomorrow. It must become not so much what we do as followers of Jesus but who we are as followers of Jesus. Based on Peter's words, let me give you four be's to put into practice during times of spiritual famine. Number one, letter A, be burdened. Peter spoke as a deeply burdened man. He wanted to make sure his hearers were devouring the Word and sharing it with others. He was ready to make every effort as long as he lived. He never lost his burden for this.

The apostle Peter gave us an example of what it's like to be burdened for a society facing spiritual famine. He described Lot in one of his writings, who lived in Sodom. 2 Peter 2:7 and 8: He said he was a righteous man who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless, for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds that he saw and he heard, and in a similar way, the apostle Paul walked around Athens, "was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols". We can't do much to alleviate spiritual famine around us until we have a similar concern within us. When we look at what's happening in the world today, what everybody's talking about, we've never had this before, I talk about people needing wisdom because wisdom is defined as doing the right thing without a precedent, and almost everything that we see today is without a precedent.

Every day, if you turn on the news, you will hear something that you've never heard before. It's unprecedented, and it's not unprecedented good. It's unprecedented evil. It's people coming up with ways to do things that are against the holiness of God, and it's just unbelievable, and the only way you can overcome that is to be burdened about this world, and be determined that, by the grace of God, you're gonna have a part in turning that around. You know, we can't by ourselves change the world. I'm a preacher. I have a pretty wide pulpit, but the idea that I could change the world by myself is impossible. God could change anything he wants to change through any of us, and he could change the world through me if he chose to do it. If you've got the attitude that I hear from some, "Oh, well, it's just the way the world is, Pastor. You know, I know it's bad, but it's just the"... No, it's not just the way the world is.

If we don't care about it, if we're not concerned about it, if we're not burdened about it, we'll never do anything about it ourselves, and it starts with us. It starts in us. If we are not burdened enough to make the Bible central in our own lives, we got no reason to gripe. We've got no reason to complain. Let's make sure we start where we should start, and then God will give us the ability to influence the people around us, and we can make a difference. We need to be burdened. Secondly, secondly, we need to be students. Peter insists that we become personal students of Scripture. In 1 Peter 2:2 and 3, he says this: "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious". Peter wanted us and those who would read his epistle to know Scripture. It didn't originate with human beings, Peter told us that. It came to us in a far different way. Holy men of God's spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Peter told us how to study the Bible, where to search it the way the prophets of old studied the Scripture.

1 Peter 1:10 says "intently and with the greatest care". That's the kind of study we need if we're gonna make a difference. Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe was converted by listening to a young evangelist by the name of Billy Graham. Pretty soon, Warren Wiersbe, who is a dear friend of mine and a wonderful mentor, he said, "I think Bible study's one of the most exciting things I ever do". He said, "I've been living with the Bible ever since I got saved that night at a Youth for Christ rally, and when I study the Word, it always tells me something. I feel sorry for people who read it and put the Bible back on the shelf and forget about it". He said, "In all my conference ministry, I've tried to get people excited about the Bible. There's so much there that people ignore, and they shouldn't do that. I find that when I trace the cross references, when I take time to pray and meditate, God says something to me, then I can share that with others. So, the joy of Bible study is not just in learning something for myself in the abstract. The joy of Bible study is seeing your life changed because of what the Bible is saying in your life".

Begin today, learn to be a student of the Bible. You know, there is no excuse for us in this time of this generation not to be a student in the Scripture, because you can take out your phone and you can find Bible study apps that will go way beyond anything we have ever known up until this time. If you are serious about studying the Bible, don't say, "I don't know how to begin". There's no reason for us to be biblically ignorant and not to do the thing God calls us to do. Every one of us can take advantage of this incredible, electronic age and engage in the Word of God. Begin today. Don't wait for any other time to pass. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Those are the words of Jesus. So, be burdened, be students, and be shepherds.

Peter had a special word of instruction for pastors and Bible teachers. So, I'm preaching to myself here for a moment. He said, 1 Peter 5:2, "Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly". In using the term "shepherd," he was undoubtedly thinking of his own experience years before when Jesus walked with him along the shoreline of Galilee. The Lord asked him three times, "Do you love me"? Yes, yes, and yes, replied Peter. Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep". If I could do anything to influence today's Evangelical churches around the world, it would be a clarion call to return to solid, biblical teaching in the pulpit, substantial sermons from biblical texts. Unfortunately, what is happening so much to our younger guys who are standing in the pulpit every week, is they pull something off of the internet and preach that instead of digging into the Word of God and getting God's truth.

You see, what happens when they do that is this, obviously, the people in their church get something warmed over that they haven't spent much time in. The real problem is the pastor himself is robbed from the incredible joy of independent Bible study and learning what the Word of God says, and then his life has changed, and through his changed life, he's a much better communicator. You can't really be an effective preacher if all you do is grab some notes the night before you preach that somebody else wrote and get up and recite them and say amen. It will leave you malnourished, and it will starve the people that you preach to. There's no reason to do that. We can be preachers of the Word of God, and we can teach people the Scripture.

If you're listening, watching, and you're a pastor, please hear me. If there's any reason to survive in the ministry for 40 years, here it is. I've never ever tried to be a student of any other major thing. I am a student of the Word of God. People ask me, "Why do you preach the Word of God like that"? And I say, "Well, that's all I know how to do". I know how to do that. I preach the Word of God. I study the Word of God. I broadcast the Word of God. I televise the Word of God. I write messages about the Word of God. I write books on the Word of God. I provide comment and content for the internet and the web on the Word of God. My whole life is centered in one thing, and every day I get up, that's basically what I think about, and I think about that mostly during the day, and then every Sunday, I have an exam in front of all these people. Did I do my homework, and am I prepared? I can't imagine what it would be like to stand in front of an audience of people who came to church to be nourished up in the good Word of God and not have done my homework. You can't do that and be a faithful servant of the Lord.

Finally, to ease the spiritual famine of the world, we need to be evangelistic. Be burdened, be students, be shepherds, and finally be evangelistic. 1 Peter 1:23 through 25 says, "Born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you". The best method I know of evangelism, it's the best I've ever read, is Peter's own strategy. He said, "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you". He said you don't have to go buttonhole people, chase them down the block, even knock on their door, but if you're gonna be a faithful Christian, be ready if somebody asks you a question.

When I was working on the freight docks when I was going to seminary, I actually had people come up to me and say, "Hey, boy, why are you the way you are"? Well, let me tell you why I am the way I am, 'cause it goes way beyond me, and that's the kind of question we should be ready to answer. Why are you different? How is it that you made it through this pandemic and you aren't blown away by it? You were hurt by it, but you still have a smile on your face, and there's a joy in your heart. Why are you the way you are? If somebody asks you that question, do you know the answer? That's the best method of evangelism you'll ever have. Be ready to answer when somebody asks you, and the reason they're gonna ask you is because they've seen something in your life that's different than others.

So, the way to banish spiritual famine in the world is one person at a time. We turn the tide as we share the gospel. This is the world's only hope that we have in these last days. So, if we fail to preach the gospel, we allow the problems to run rampant in our churches and in our culture. My job isn't to go out and solve all the problems. I know everybody wants you to give an answer for this or that and all these things that are happening. If I do that, who's gonna preach the gospel? So, I'm gonna preach the gospel. I'm not gonna give up my pulpit for a soapbox, because a soapbox is a long way from being the priority of God. God's priority is the preaching of his Word.

So, for all of us, whether we're students or teachers, whether we're congregants or pastors, we must teach and preach the Word of God. The spiritual famine has started. The statistics that I've shown you prove that we're not doing better with the Bible. We're doing worse with the Bible. When people leave this church and go to another church, they come to me and say, "Pastor, we're moving to", they'll give me the name of a place, "How are we gonna find out if this is a good church"? I said, "Well, here's a good way to at least get a beginning thought". When you go to the church for the first time, see if anybody's carrying a Bible. You know, I know people put the Bible up on the screen and it comes in their phone, but, you know, I know Christians, they like to see it in their Bible.

If you go to a church and nobody has a Bible, you might want to keep looking, because a church that doesn't have the Word of God at the center of it really has nothing to offer you, and you will not grow there, and your children will not grow there. Make sure that you're in a church where the Word of God is taught and Christ is lifted up, because that's what will make a difference in your life. We don't have to be discouraged. We don't have to be depressed. God gave us this wonderful gift to help us find our way, and if we will use this the way God intended us to use it, we won't get lost. We'll stay on the main road, and we'll get to our destination, not just somehow, but with our hands lifted up high in victory, amen? Amen.
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