When Bible Teachings Don't Work

Bill Brinkworth

Folks find themselves in a dilemma. They try their way, and it doesn’t work. They try another way, and it only makes matters worse. They seem to try everything.

Wait! There’s one more avenue. They’ll give it a whirl. Let’s try it God’s way. So they pack up the family in the car, start going to church, and start reading their Bible. Why, they may even get saved through it all. They start doing “religious” things.

After what seems to be a fair amount of time for God to remedy the situation, they throw their hands up in exasperation, and cry out, “See! We tried it God’s way, and it doesn’t work.” They pull out of church, stop their Bible reading and other “spiritual” works they were doing and quit.

Hold on. God’s way always work. Why didn’t He bail you out? Let’s examine some reasons why the situation did not get altered.

First of all, God may not have remedied the situation because He helps family members. The person that called out to God may not even be saved and a member of His family. I Peter 3:12 reminds us: “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” Just going to church does not make anyone a Christian.

I had the best parents. They met all our needs: clothes, food and even some of our unnecessary wants. But, if a neighbor had asked for the same support and help, I doubt they would have given it to them as they would us. Why? We were family members, and they weren’t.

God does help the unsaved. He gives them chance after chance to turn to him. There comes a time, however, when He has to turn His mercy away so that they will call out to Him in love and devotion and not just to fix the “problem.” Get born into the family of God, and Father will be there to help.

Sometimes we are in a situation, because we have put ourselves there. Read carefully about the people referred to in Romans chapter one. They did know God, but didn’t want to retain what He had showed them. Instead, they did their own thing. God had mercy. He wanted them to love and obey Him willingly, but their lusts and sin got worse, until finally God said, “Fine, you don’t want the warnings, I’ll stop (paraphrased, of course).”

They got what they wanted, and suffered the consequences. What they reaped is what they sowed. God said, “… he gave them over …” to their sin. Folks want to know why they’re in the situation. It may very well be they ran from God despite His warnings, and got themselves in their current jam.

Sometimes the Biblical way doesn’t seem to work because they weren’t totally obeying God’s way. They put God in a little box, and said, “Here’s what I’ll let you control in my life, and here are the things I will not do. I will only do this much for you.” They limit God. They are robbing themselves of God’s power that they could be enjoying. They only have a partial obedience to God’s commandments.

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from
such turn away …” II Timothy 3:1.

God’s help will not be totally given, unless you totally obey. Obey all. Who are we to limit God and to direct what we will or will not do for him?

“My life’s a mess. I’m facing divorce. The kids are creating havoc. The job’s a mess. I need your help Lord. I’ll read my Bible. I’ll go to church, but don’t expect me to be a fanatic or anything.” Limiting God will never work. He’s God. He’s the creator. It’s His way or your own way – which usually fails.

Sometimes our help does not come from above because of our spiritual ignorance.

“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the
righteousness of God. - Romans 10:3”

I remember the tale of the communist children, years ago, that were told to prove if there was a God. They were instructed to pray as hard as they could to God for candy. They prayed and prayed. Nothing!

Did God not hear their prayers? True, they possibly were unsaved, but they didn’t know the adults that were making them tempt the Lord were making them break Biblical principles. They didn’t get help because they did not know how and who can go to God.

Many people are ignorant of what He requires, and how it should be done because they have no idea what God thinks of the situation. Bible reading and prayer over time would reveal clearer how we go to God and what He commands.

Some folks give the appearance of obeying, but disobey God in their hearts. Appearances are deceiving.

Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 deceived many. Why, they led many to believe that they had sold everything and given all to God. The all-knowing, watchful Father knew that, although they didn’t have to give it all, knew they had lied and held some back. Instead of receiving the blessing of God, they received the wrath of God. They both perished. God saw through their deception.

Sometimes the situation does not get changed, because God has reasons for you to be in the state you’re in right now and it’s not time to leave it. You pray for the testing to stop, but God wants you in the valley to teach you something you haven’t learned yet. Class isn’t over yet.

Every child of God I know gets in this situation more then once during their life. We pray. We cry out to the Father. We check out if there’s any sin causing us to reap the problem. Nothing changes.

Hard times are the best teacher. No one really wants to go through them, but they can get you far from God or closer to Him. The latter is always His desire.

When do you get closest to Him or pray the most? We get closer when the child is sick and the doctor says there’s nothing he can do or when you lost your job and you wonder where you’re going to get your income. It’s through those dark times that we get the closest to Him and rely on Him the most. They can be the sweetest times in our lives.

The only way for the Bible teachings to work 100% of the time is for 100% obedience. As Paul exhorted Timothy in I Timothy 4:15 after Paul had given him some advice: “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them…” After God shows us what to do, through preaching, His word or through direction of God’s people, we are responsible to obey all those commandments.

We cannot choose what we want to obey. It’s all or nothing. What He shows us are usually His commandments.

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines commandments as “an order or injunction given by authority.” He is the authority and His Words should be our orders.

You want the Bible to “work”? Then obey it says!

This article was featured in The Bible View #94.

3/9/2005

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