February 28, 2021
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Micah 2:7)
A. I have asked myself, and asked God for so long…
B. Why Isn’t the Bible Working Much Today?
1. Like it did when I got saved? Completely changed my life!
2. Like it worked in days gone by with revivals, and great awakenings that saved entire nations from ruin!
a. Over 2 million people got thoroughly converted under the preaching of Billy Sunday in the early 1900’s – gave up alcoholic drink by the millions!
b. Billy Graham preached the Gospel to over 215 million people over his lifetime
c. George Whitfield, preached to crowds of up to 10,000 people in fields at 6am in England in the 1700’s
d. John Wesley saw millions converted under his 40 years of preaching
e. Dwight Moody saw millions and millions get saved in the late 1800’s
3. No wonder schools and even churches ignore history – it testifies of the power and work of God’s word in people!
a. Of the effect of preaching during the First Century – brought Rome to its knees
b. Of the effect of the Bible on Europe during the Dark Ages - brought the Reformation
c. Of the Great Awakenings in England, and Wales, and America in the 1600’s and 1700’s – it was not politics that saved England and America from ruin…
d. Of the conversion of hundreds of millions of common people throughout Europe, and the transformation of entire cultures and societies to what we now enjoy as democratic free societies
Every real personal freedom we
all enjoy, we got from Bible preaching –
4. Why don’t we see the word of God working in lives TODAY?
5. Why aren’t believers today more stable, more effective, more fruitful?
6. Why is Christianity so splintered and divided, and almost powerless?
Why isn’t the preaching of the
Bible turning the world upside down anymore?
It used to? I believe it still CAN?
C. Micah 2:7 Explains It Quite Simply
1. This Scripture explains so much truth about WHY the Bible is not doing much in people’s lives today like maybe it used to!
2. Micah 2:7 Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?
D. Let me show you...
A. This Book Is the Word of God (Luke 21:33)
1. Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
2. It CLAIMS to be the Word of God “Thus saith the LORD…”
3. It PROVES itself to be God’s words on every page – its prophecies, predictions
4. I have personally found it true – tested it, questioned it, studied it now for 41 years
a. I didn’t grow up with the Bible.
b. I had to start from almost scratch, and find out what was in this Book, and whether it was true or not!
c. Guess what? I found it to be true!
B. This Book is RIGHT (John 12:47,48)
1. John 12:47,48 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
2. Psalm 33:4 For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.
3. The Bible is right about the human heart, about the past, the future, politics, science, about men, and about women, about love, and about the coming wrath of God
4. It always has been right, and always will be right! This Book is RIGHT!
5. And it will be your judge one day
C. This Book Has Power (John 15:7)
1. To benefit your life
a. John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
2. Life changing, soul-saving, marriage-fixing, pub-closing, addict-freeing power!
3. THAT is the power of the word of God in your hand!
4. Like an electrical socket – waiting to be used the right way!
5. I taught you for two weeks past about just some of the things this old Book does!
D. So, Why Isn’t It Working Much Today Like We Need it to?
1. It is the same words, same Book, peopple have the same problems
2. But I am seeing a very different effect!
a. The SAME Gospel that saved me and millions and millions of others throughout history seems to be having very little effect today – at least around here
b. Instead of the world and people in general getting more excited about the second coming of Jesus, and more repentant… People are getting harder towards the Gospel, and anything this Book has to say!
III. Why Isn’t It Working Much Today Like We Need it to?
A. Fact is… The word of God IS working today – just not like we wish
1. It always is working (Isaiah 55:10,11)
a. Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
b. God compares these words to rain…
1) To the soft soil, rain refreshes, and feeds, and softens the soil more
2) But to the hard soil, rain is a nuisance, a bother, even deadly (ME ON HORSE IN MEXICO)
c. Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall NOT return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
2. It is only doing good to those who love it and live by it (Micah 2:7)
a. Micah 2:7 Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?
1) These words DO good, but only to people who live by them
2) Walking uprightly means to live without any need to be ashamed because of hidden sin (head held high because nothing to be ashamed of)
b. Psalm 1:1,2 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
c. Psalm 119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
d. Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
e. Those who love it and live by it, enjoy its power in their life and home!
3. To the hard-hearted, and rebellious, it has a different effect…
a. It hardens hard hearts, and makes them harder
1) Isaiah 28:13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
2) Listen to Zechariah 7:9-12 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
3) Zechariah 7:10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
4) Zechariah 7:11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.
5) Zechariah 7:12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
b. I am so glad that God offers a whole new heart to the hard-hearted!
1) Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
c. But that offer is a limited time offer
1) If your heart is hard, you will find it only harder to get saved and get right – never easier.
2) It will NEVER to do right than it is today – so don’t put it off!
3) 2Corinthians 6:2 …behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. [NOT TOMORROW]
B. So What is the Problem the Bible?
1. NOTHING (Psalm 19:7)
a. Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
2. People are Bible Ignorant
a. It does NOT work when people have no knowledge of the Bible
1) Up to 100 years ago, most of Europe (except for Ireland) was filled with preaching and Bible reading, and the fear of God
2) But Now…
3) People are absolutely and totally ignorant of the Bible, and God’s laws
4) Most people are basically ignorant of what God says about most everything!
a) People actually believe some guy named Leviticus brought animals on the ark
b) They believe the Bible says cleanliness is next to godliness
c) Believe Jesus didn’t know He was the Son of God until He was baptized
d) Believe all religions get people into heaven
e) Believe the worst sins are anger and adultery
5) They do not know God, because they do not know His word
b. Changed lives come ONLY from believing the words of this Book, not from a church, or a youtube, or a therapy session
1) Without these words, there is no life, no real hope at all
2) Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
c. That’s why I started this church, and the Mallow church - so people could hear
1) We HAVE to keep putting out SCRIPTURE, Tracts, Testimonies
2) I HAVE to keep preaching
3) We have to keep our doors open and inviting people to come hear this Book preached
4) We HAVE to keep living by this Book so people see that it works
5) We have got to support and send out more Gospel preachers, and more missionaries
6) Because people do not know God!
a) IRISH people are Bible ignorant
b) And they are dying for this Book! There is a FAMINE of hearing the words of this Book Amos 8:11 says!
3. It is easy to resist this Book – to walk away from it
a. Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; …
b. To 99% of the people of the western world, this book is just old religious words
c. They are just a still and small voice amidst all the noise and clamour of the sounds of the world
d. Only ink on paper – not screaming for your attention
e. So, this Book has no effect on a generation that has no interest in what it says!
4. Spiritual Blindness Everywhere – people don’t want to be born again
a. They only want what makes them happy – not what is right
b. 1Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
c. This Book IS boring to the lost, the sinful and wicked man and woman
d. That ought to scare you!
5. Hyper Critical Attitudes
a. Luke 11:53,54 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him [Jesus] vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things: Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.
b. Our smartphones, and tablets, and smart-TV’s and internet connections are making us into THE most judgmental people of all time!
c. Finding fault with absolutely everything
1) Coming up with the weirdest questions about God imaginable
2) Complaining about hymns
3) Finding fault with the fact I am an American here in Ireland
4) The fact that I preach from and teach from the King James Bible
5) Nit-picking at every doctrine because of some new youtube they have seen
6) Nit-picking at their parents, and rules and limits on the Christian life
7) Nit-picking at foods they are given – never “just” eating!
8) People complain about only having one car
9) About how long church goes on
10) About being offended at something they overheard
11) And the list goes on and on and on
d. This one voice [THE BIBLE] in your home cannot compete with the thousands of hours of youtubes you and millions of people are devouring
1) 1Corinthians 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
2) God calls a pastor to govern and lead a flock, and feed them, and protect them from this world and from false teachers.
3) Too many Christians want NO authority over their lives or their decisions
e. If you spend all your time on youtube, and NOT assembling with believers like Hebrews 10:25 commands, then the devil is going to have a heyday with your mind and life! And you will find this Bible boring!
f. And so, Churches and far too many Christians are powerless and unstable as water!
g. They end up emotionally numb towards THIS BOOK
1) Have an arrogant, superior attitude about just about everything
2) ILLUSTRATION: Did you hear about the young lady who was getting married? She put her entire set of Encyclopaedia up for sale because she found out she was marrying someone who knew everything anyways!
3) This generation does NOT care what God says – only what they think he should have said
4) They only care about getting what they want from God
5) Not what God wants from THEM!
h. So, the Bible does them no good at all!
6. People Have Too Cheap of a Belief
a. What do I mean by that?
b. They pay no cost to believe what this Book says
c. They are NOT willing to go deep into this Book – to be a student of THIS Book
1) They take the time to master Maths, Psychology, Chemistry
2) But only want a brief little sermonette on an occasional Sunday
d. No heart, no works after belief
1) Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
e. It has become too quiet in churches – people are not responding and committing themselves anymore to what is the right thing to do – JUST SIT THERE!
f. To those kinds of people, the Bible will NEVER do them any good.
g. Not until they are willing to LOSE EVERYTHING to follow Jesus!
1) Luke 9:23-25 And he [Jesus] said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
7. It Doesn’t Work When People Have No Repentance
a. They have a “profession” of faith (they can say words), But they do not POSSESS salvation – have never had the right heart attitude when crying out to God to save them!
1) Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
2) LOADS OF FAITH, BUT LIVING WICKEDLY STILL
b. So many people only “believe” without sensing the depth of our sin, the magnitude of God’s righteousness, and our nearness to a devil’s eternal hell!
c. Repentance is a necessary part of belief!
1) Mark 1:15 And [Jesus WAS] saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. [THEY GO TOGETHER]
2) Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
d. And it is necessary for GROWTH and FRUIT as a Christian!
e. WHERE IS THE REPENTANCE TODAY?
1) The deep sorrow about OUR sin?
2) The fear of offending God Almighty?
3) The rush to agree with God about OUR wrongdoings?
4) And where is the desire to become different by the grace of God – completely different – not a little different? But like Jesus Christ?
There are so many more
reasons why nothing is happening…
The truth is, SOMETHING SHOULD BE HAPPENING!
We were not saved to just sit here and watch the world go to hell!
C. The Scariest Truth Is This…
1. How you treat this Bible, is how this Bible will treat you!
a. God says in Proverbs 1:24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
b. Proverbs 1:25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: [YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT THIS BOOK SAYS]
c. Proverbs 1:26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
d. Proverbs 1:27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
e. Proverbs 1:28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
f. Proverbs 1:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
g. Proverbs 1:30 They would [WANTED] none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
h. Proverbs 1:31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
IV.So, What Do We Do? So that This Book Works Again?
A. Do you want to experience the power of the word of God in your life, home?
1. Do you want this book to work on your wife?
2. Do you want the Bible to fix your husband?
3. Your kids?
4. Do we want this Book to work on our politicians?
5. Let it work in you first
6. Let it work in the churches first. Humbling US, correcting US!
B. Yield – do what Jesus says do
C. Allow the Bible to Work In and On You – don’t be so critical, so flippant, so arrogant
1. Like when the dentist lays you back in the chair…
2. Like when the Garda put on their lights and pull you over on the road…
3. Just do what God says do
D. No matter how hurtful the words may be
E. Or how humiliating
F. Or how much it will cost you personally – time-wise, job-wise, friend-wise
G. Just do what this Book says do!
H. 1Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
A. This Book is the Word of Almighty God!
B. This Book is Right
C. This Book has Power – but do you even want it to have power over you?
1. You will not ever know the power of the word of God through you, until God’s word has power over you!
2. Will you start to allow it to x-ray your heart every day for sinful thoughts and attitudes?
3. Will you let it convict you and humble you?
4. Have you let these words convert you to faith in Jesus Christ?
5. That is not a bad word – it is the right word!
6. Is there ANY change in your life since you started believing the Gospel? There should be some change!
D. The Bible is Always at Work
1. If there is any Bible truth in your heart, it is either making you softer, or harder…
2. Based on how you respond to those truths
E. How will you respond to whatever it says from now on?
F. How you respond determines how well is works! For good, or for destruction!