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As the finally weeks of summer vacation draw to a close, we’re taking time to sit down with our kids and review math and grammar and geography.
Making sure that their first week back to school is a little easier.
We’re gearing up for another 9 months of helping them with schoolwork, nagging them to get their homework done, and reminding them of the value of good grades (while simultaneously letting them know that we don’t expect a 5 every time).
We’re making trips to our local stationary store to get notebooks, pencils and erasers….new clothes and shoes.
We groan at the price of backpacks, and groan even louder at the price of jeans these day.
It’s back-to-school time!
But in all of our school preparation, there is one very important thing we shouldn’t forget. In fact, I’d say it’s the most important thing….and yet is often neglected.
How well are we preparing our kids spiritually to go back to school?
If there is any place where our kids will face rejection, confusion, and even confrontation about their faith, it’s in school.
They learn about evolution, mythology, and other religions in class.
Students, and even teachers, may make comments about the Bible not really being God’s Word, Jesus just being a good man or a prophet – not God in the flesh, or even question the existence of God altogether.
Their peers may reject them for not being Catholic and not participating in vjeronauk and other Catholic activities.
And in the midst of all of this confusion, questions begin to arise.
Why Intellectual Christianity Is Dangerous
In the past month, two Christian leaders in America have left the faith: one was popular author and pastor Joshua Harris, the other former worship leaders and songwriter for Hillsong Marty Sampson.
Joshua Harris not only separated from his wife, but has left Christianity, and chosen to support and celebrate the homosexual community.
Marty Sampson is questioning the validity of Christianity and listening and studying philosophers and famed atheist speakers and authors.
How is it possible that men who led the body of Christ have now turned their back on that same body?
It comes down to one thing:
Knowledge of God’s Word anchored by a real, living experience with Jesus Christ.
1. Knowledge of God’s Word is vital
If we don’t know God’s Word, we will have no way to defend our faith when it is challenged.
We must make daily Bible reading, study of God’s Word, and Scripture memorization a daily priority in our homes; and we must emphasize to them that the stories in the Bible aren’t just another fantasy or fairy tale, but real events that happened to real people who really lived.
What concerns me about Marty Sampson is that in the midst of his confusion, he turns to man: philosophers, authors, and speakers.
When I worked in banking many years ago, part of my job was being able to recognize counterfeit money.
I didn’t study all of the counterfeited bills to learn all of the ways people can make fake money look real; I studied real money.
I learned all about the ink and paper used to make money, the little hidden security features found in the money, and every line, image, and word – what every part of the bill looked like front and back.
I knew the bill so well, I could spot a fake in an instant.
You learn about truth by studying truth. If you try to learn about truth by studying what is false, you’ll get confused every time!
This is why Paul said in Romans 15:19, “Be excellent of what is good and innocent of evil.”
2. An experience with Jesus Christ is just as vital
You cannot be saved by having intellectual knowledge of the Bible and a mental accent of Jesus Christ’s divinity and sacrifice for mankind.
If your Christian life is built on intellectual knowledge of the Bible, without regular, genuine experiences with Jesus Christ, you are in great danger.
Head knowledge without heart experience leads to pride, pharisaism, and spiritual superiority.
What is an experience with Jesus Christ?
Experiences with Jesus Christ are moments in our life when God become so real to us that we go from knowing about Him, to feeling Him in our hearts and our emotions.
An experience with Jesus touches our emotions.
This experience moves what we know in our head to our heart – so that what we know about God and the Bible becomes a conviction.
It becomes a part of our DNA.
This cannot happen without an experience with Jesus Christ – an experience that touches us deeply and emotionally.
I want to emphasize the emotional aspect of an experience with Jesus Christ because many Christians find it difficult to allow God to touch them in an emotional way.
- They fear what people will think
- They fear they will be judged or criticized for being too emotional
- They fear they will lose control
So out of fear, they choose to remain in relationship with God on an intellectual level, never really experiencing Him in an emotional way that will transform their life in ways they could never imagine!
Most Christians experience Christ at salvation; but Jesus wants to visit you in this same way on a regular basis!
An experience with Jesus takes time and intentionality. It requires we set aside blocks of time to get alone with God and seek His face.
We see 5 men in the Bible who had such experiences.
- Jacob: Genesis 32:30 – Jacob wrestled with God all night and it left a physical mark on his life.
- Moses and Joshua: Exodus 33:11 – Moses met face-to-face with God in the tent of meeting, but after Moses left, Joshua would stay in God’s presence.
- Isaiah: Isaiah 6 – Isaiah saw the Lord and it shook him deep in his soul
- Saul: Acts 9 – Saul saw Jesus Christ and in a moment he went from persecuting the church to becoming a convert.
These men and an encounter with God and their lives were forever changed.
We need both knowledge of God’s Word and an experience with Jesus Christ to set a strong foundation for a solid belief in God and a growing relationship with Him.
Knowledge without an experience leads to intellectualism and pride.
Experience without knowledge leads to weak and flimsy emotionalism that doesn’t align with truth.
But knowledge coupled with experience leads to a growing, solid, strong, and bold faith in Jesus Christ from which we can never be swayed!