History:
–  In the 50’s, religion seemed firm in the post war boom. It was really an    Americanized religion based loosely on principles and not a transformational gospel.
– In the 60’s, revival broke out and true Christianity came to the forefront.
– In the 70’s, Christian culture as we know it was birthed with Christian bookstores, publishing, music, talk radio, and looked lie Christianity would dominate society.
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The opposite actually happened:
– As the gospel went mainstream, it seemed to loose it’s power
– Reports of greed, excesses and immorality in the pulpit
– A steady downhill slide to where we are today
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Opening Scripture

Hosea 4:1-3  Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, For the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, And everyone who lives in it languishes Along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky, And also the fish of the sea disappear.

Even though God has shown tremendous favor, protection and blessing, the nation has not reciprocated with humility and gratitude. Instead, vulgarity rules the day.

The result: (vs.3)
– Nature rebels
– The inhabitants are worn out in the struggle for survival
– Animals and birds suffer
– Even the fish under the oceans disappear
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The prophet says no one takes responsibility, no one offers correction. And the result, is disaster all around.

Then God gives the reason for the destruction.

Hosea 4:6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

This is relevant to the church today.
– The destruction has a cause; “lack of knowledge”
– It is willful; it is chosen; “you have rejected knowledge”

The result?
– The position of spiritual authority, of being salt and light to the society is lost
“I will reject you from being My priests.”
– The generations will suffer; when one generation forgets through disobedience the Word of God, then the next generation will suffer as well
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There is an epidemic of Bible illiteracy in the church today.
– Only 45% of church goers read the Bible more than once a week
– Over 40% only read their Bible occasionally, maybe once or twice a month
– Almost 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read their Bible

Christians used to be know as people of the book…we would read, memorize, meditate and talk about it, teaching one another. We don’t do that anymore.

Americans no longer know the Bible. We are Bible-ish at best.
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What is the answer?

1. “Return” – John 1:1-5  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

You can’t separate loving Jesus from loving the Word; they are one in the same!

2. “Living” – Hebrew 4:12  For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

3. “Active” – Isaiah 55:10-11  “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

The Bible is the one thing that can separate the emotions from the truth, the soul from the spirit where truth resides. Emotions rule the person who does not base life on the living and active Word of God.
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Emotions:
1. Will always change
2. Cannot be changed by you
3. Therefore, cannot be trusted
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The Bible will change your life but you have to read it! The power comes through an ongoing conversation with Jesus and His Word.
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Conclusion

Luke 24:25  And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

vs. 45  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
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Going Deeper:
  –  What keeps you from beig consistently engaged in God’s Word?
–  Think about a time that you were consistently in the Word.  What benefits did you see in your life?
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