Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)
Core Value #3 of Orchard Community Church is that we will be “Rooted in the Word of God” which is further explained as:
We are committed to God’s Word as our exclusive foundation. The Bible is our reference point for truth. All teaching, practice, and life transformation is shaped by God’s truth as revealed in the Scriptures. We will devote ourselves to preaching, teaching and applying God’s Word. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12)
I am convinced that we will either allow God’s Word to sit in judgment on us or we will sit in judgment on God’s Word. There really is no middle ground. To sit in judgment on God’s Word is to claim that we rather than God are more qualified to decide right from wrong, real from unreal, effective from ineffective. This was a bad idea in the Garden of Eden and it is a bad idea today. When we uproot ourselves from God’s Word as the sole authority in our lives and in our churches, we lose our anchor to God’s purposes in this world, God’s salvation for our souls, and God’s will for the church. We become set adrift in a sea of ideas, preferences and opinions that push and pull at us, each competing for our attention yet we leave ourselves with no measure for judging which are right and wrong, helpful or harmful. Ultimately, when we start questioning the authority of God’s Word, we are putting ourselves in God’s place.
As a church we have declared that the Word of God is the ultimate and final authority for everything that we do. We will judge the effectiveness of our ministries, the quality of our worship,and the purposes and means of all we do against this timeless standard. Since the purpose of everything that we do is the glory of God then the means by which we accomplish this must come from God. Our hope as a church is not to get people on board with what we are doing, but with what God is doing and we can only do this as we preach, teach, and lead others to God’s Word.
This is not an easy standard. Times change quickly. People have new questions and needs that are not mentioned in Scripture. But it is through Scripture that we know the unchanging love, grace and holiness of God that apply to every situation. We may have disagreements over how to apply God’s Word to specific situations, but at least we have a common starting point. We will be like a tree that is planted in the rich and deep water of the Word of God. We will be rooted in God’s Word.
photo by Flickr user Big Grey Mare