This is a question that we need to ask of ourselves more than ever today. Why sit we here until we die? In the Bible, in the book of II Kings 7, we find four leprous men who are outside the gate of their city, which is in famine, trying to decide what to do because the food had stopped. They discussed whether to go into the city, knowing the famine is there and they will die of starvation, or whether to stay put, for they will surely die of starvation, or whether they should leave and go to the land where the food is, but doing so would mean risking their lives at the hands of the enemy, but at least they might live.
Today, many are sitting in churches that are lacking, or in famine. How do you know whether your church is in famine? We can look to the scriptures at how the first church in the book of Acts was described. After Peter had preached the gospel, the people were pricked in their hearts, and asked: “…Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you…” Acts 2:37-38. The people were convicted of their sin, so much so that those that believed were baptized and continued in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship.
Later, the Apostle Paul charges Timothy, a young leader in the church: “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” I Timothy 4:13. This is the business of the church. Is that happening where you are? The apostle speaks a lot about our need for sound doctrine, and for knowing the Word.
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness, That the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works. II Timothy 3:16, 17
Why is this so important? He warns Timothy that the time will come when the people will not want to hear sound doctrine, but want to hear the next new and best thing to feed their own lusts.
Are we being taught sound biblical doctrine? Do we know and understand the doctrine of God, the doctrine of justification, the doctrine of grace? Are we being exhorted to live holy because our God is holy, or are we made comfortable to live how we live? Are we being moved to repent for wrong thoughts, and deeds before a holy God? Are we being reproved, and corrected? Is there recognition of God’s sovereignty? Is Jesus Christ exalted as the head of the Church? Is there a fear of God? Is the Word of God fully expounded upon? Context is important. How much time is given to reading of the scriptures during worship? Do we know why we believe what we believe? Do we believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and know what it teaches? These are questions that help us to determine whether we are in a famine, and should consider leaving.
I am not writing this to be critical. I’m writing this to wake us up! I was blessed to have a Pastor who valued Sunday School. Every Sunday, he would chauffeur my brother and I to and from Sunday School and church. I believe that God used that time in Sunday School and regular church attendance to awaken me out of sleep. However, as time goes on, we can become complacent and so busy in our churches, and its ministries, that very little time is left for us to seek the God we believe we are serving.
Why sit we here until we die? The leprous men knew they were starving and reasoned that they either stay there and die, or go to where the food was. If our churches are not giving time to the reading of the scripture, to exhorting us to live holy, to teaching us the doctrines of God which can give us assurance of our salvation, we are in a famine. I Timothy 4:13
We need to go to where we will be fed, where the whole counsel of God is being taught, preached! If that is not happening, that is a good reason for leaving. There is no perfect church assembly of people, but there are churches where God’s Word is revered, and God is feared.
I am writing this because it took me a very long time to leave my church. I loved my church. I was really busy in my church. I held several leadership positions, and for a time, that was enough. Then by the grace of God, I started to notice I was hungry. I was hungry for at least 2-3 years. Yes, our worship music was good, but that was not enough. Yes, I was teaching an adult Sunday School class, teaching a young women’s ministry, but that too, was not enough. I was still hungry. On Sundays, I wanted to be poured into, preached to, but more often than not, I left empty. I had nothing to write in my notes for application.
I don’t want to blame the pastors, because I believe they are doing what they have been taught. I believe that we are so far removed from solid Bible teaching, and the essential doctrines of our historic faith, that this is the result. But God always has a remnant. God always has someone who proclaims his truths.
I did leave, and have been blessed to find a church where the whole counsel of God is delivered, there is clarity in what we believe the Bible teaches (doctrines), church history is appreciated, and God is Sovereign. I will share more about this later.