Discernment

Where’s the Beef?

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food [beef] is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. ~ Hebrews 5:12-14

The way I see it, the church is largely a milk bar.

The American church is largely a milk bar, lacking solid food.

The church is a thousand miles wide, and two inches deep. Over and over (and over), we hear the message of grace vs. works. We learn that there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, and that our salvation is by grace through faith. And then we learn it again. And then we learn it again. We talk about it. We look at it from different angles. We quote what our favorite Bible teachers have said about it. We marvel at it. We do studies on it. We beat it to death, and then we beat it some more.

The American church beats the same topics to death over and over.

Image source: South Park

Meanwhile, God is fulfilling volumes of Bible prophecy every night on the evening news (with breathtaking speed), and we could not possibly care any less. Think about this. God taps 40 authors to write the Bible. Many of them get brutally killed for their efforts. Empire after empire tries to eradicate the Bible. Empire after empire tries to eradicate the people through whom God gave us the Bible, the Jews. All that persecution. All that time. All that effort to get the Bible to us, the generation alive at the end, the generation of whom was written:

“However, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when men will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers. ~ Jeremiah 16:14-1

All of that, and we simply ignore it. Read the verses above carefully. They state that a time would come when people no longer referenced the miracle of the Exodus as the primary miracle of God’s physical deliverance of Israel. Instead, a time would come when people referenced the miracle of Israel being regathered after worldwide banishment. This happened in 1948, when the nation of Israel was re-established after almost two millenia of worldwide diaspora. No other nation (NO. OTHER. NATION.) has ever come back from total annihilation and worldwide scattering to be re-established. Only Israel can claim this, and only because God keeps his word.

Jeremiah 16:14-1 means that we live in the most prophetically significant time in history. Nation after nation is lining up exactly as God said it would: Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Sudan, Libya, and many others. With this awesome fulfillment of prophecy happening before our eyes, Bible teachers keep beating the same topics to death: Grace vs. works, and God loves you.

It reminds of that scene from Naked Gun in which a fireworks factory is exploding. Fireworks are shooting everywhere, and factory workers are running for their lives. It’s quite a spectacle. Yet Frank Drebin tells the spectators, “move on, nothing to see here.” The exploding fireworks factory is a great analogy for today’s Middle East, and Drebin is a great analogy for many Bible teachers– oblivious to the spectacle just behind them, and directing attention away from it.

Instead of being awed at God’s 100% prophetic accuracy, and his unmatched ability to align nations to perfectly fulfill his word, we talk about the same old topics over and over. These topics are certainly crucial, but the whole Bible is crucial. Part of the problem is that we’ve given ourselves permission to break the Bible into “essential” and “nonessential” topics. This is nothing short of blasphemy. Jesus makes it abundantly clear that the entire Bible is crucial, not just the parts we like the most.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. ~ Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:17-19

And in John 1:1, God inseparably weaves Jesus and the Bible together.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. ~ John 1:1-2

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. ~ John 1:14

Actually, I’m being too careful. God doesn’t just weave Jesus and the Bible together, he says Jesus is “the Word.” We don’t get to pick and choose which parts of Jesus are “essential” and which are “nonessential.” He’s not a la carte. The Bible is roughly 1,400 pages of precious wisdom, 1,400 pages!!! Yet, instead of ordering a steak from this 1,400-page menu, we order milk over and over.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. ~ Hebrews 5:12-14

This verse is striking because I observe it all the time. People who partake only of the milk, and forsake the meat, are alarmingly undiscerning. Antichrist trends such as social justice (socialism disguised as Christianity) creep into the church, and the milketarians don’t bat an unlash. They have not “trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” They are like infants, driven by emotionalism instead of cunning. Did Jesus command us to be driven by emotion?

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” ~ Matthew 10:16-17

Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. ~ Jesus Christ, Matthew 10:16-17

Image source: National Geographic

A snake’s wisdom owes nothing to emotion. A snake is cunning.

cun·ning adjective \ˈkə-niŋ\ From Merriam-Webster.com:

1 : dexterous or crafty in the use of special resources (as skill or knowledge) or in attaining an end <a cunning plotter>

2: displaying keen insight <a cunning observation>

3: characterized by wiliness and trickery <cunning schemes>

4: prettily appealing : cute <a cunning little kitten>

I love that 2nd definition, “displaying keen insight.” Keen insight is exactly what we’ve been handed, in the form of a 1,400-page Bible. But instead of seeking that insight, instead of ordering the steak, we settle for the milk.

But it’s not just our cunning that suffers when we ignore the insight we’ve been handed. We also deny ourselves the opportunity to be dazzled by God. No other generation has lived during a time when they could simply turn on a television or click on a news website to see what prophecies God was fulfilling on any given day. And no other generation has lived during a time of so many prophecy fulfillments. Yet, we use television and the internet for every purpose but God’s, and we are largely oblivious to the voluminous prophetic fulfillment happening right before our eyes. God does not want it this way. He wants us to be dazzled by him. He wants us to use the technology he’s given us, during the time he’s given us, to be dazzled and amazed by his 100% prophetic accuracy.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. ~ Psalm 145:3-7

These verses have been fulfilled, and will continue to be fulfilled, throughout history. Be a part of the fulfillment. But in order to do that, in order to “tell of his mighty acts,” you have to recognize them. I have not observed milketarians with this ability. God put together a gourmet menu called the Bible. It’s 1,400 pages long, took 1,500 years to complete, and cost many people their lives. The least we can do is order a steak.

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