Today Norma Jean and I are in the Memphis area where I’m beginning a meeting for the East Shelby Church in Collierville, Tennessee.
The Shepherds have asked me to preach lessons based on Ephesians 4 that speak to the issue of religious unity. We’ve entitled the series: “Christianity 101: Bible Basics for the 21st Century.”
Sometimes it’s good to get back to the basics. To the fundamentals. To the authoritative principles on which our faith is founded.
The story is told that the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi came into the training camp of the Green Bay Packers in the summer of 1961 taking nothing for granted.
Lombardi explained to these seasoned veterans that they were getting back to the basics of the game. Then he picked up a pigskin and famously said, “Gentleman, this a football.”
Supposedly, Max McGee, the Packers’ Pro Bowl wide receiver, quipped, “Uh, Coach, could you slow down a little? You’re going too fast for us.”
In the same vein, preachers, pastors, and church leaders need to follow Lombardi’s example, Biblically speaking.
Too many for too long have strayed too far away from the Bible’s basic tenets. The apostle Paul reminds us of Scripture’s importance and practical relevance both to the mission of the church collectively and our lives individually.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17).
There are five fundamental truths from this text.
#1 The Bible shows you what is right
#2 The Bible shows you what is wrong.
#3 The Bible helps you get right.
#4 The Bible helps you stay right.
#5 The Bible equips you for every righteous work.
Following these Bible basics will lead us to realize Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17 when He petitioned the Father not only for the present disciples but on the behalf of future believers.
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (Jn 17:20-21).
This unity is possible when Ephesians 4 is actualized not only in our preaching but through our practice. The plea, the platform, the provisions, and the perfection of religious unity are specifically stated in that text.
While there are many current pressing problems unique to our 21st-century culture, let’s not neglect the age-old themes. The fundamentals of our faith. The authority of Scripture. The essentials of salvation.
Maybe some preachers need to hold up God’s book, and say, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a Bible.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman