Here at Celebration Baptist where I am pastoring we have had the awesome privilege of bringing in Patrick Abendroth to share the word with us for a couple of days. Pat is the senior pastor of Omaha Bible Church in Omaha, Nebraska. He is also the author of "The Truth About Water Baptism," which you can pick up on www.amazon.com. I have the privilege of knowing Pat via the former senior pastor here at Celebration Baptist.
Pat shared a great message with us last night on the matter of theology being practical and important in the life of the believer. He used Psalm 139 as his text to make this point loud and clear.
Psalm 139 says:
1 "O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. 5You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
7Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night," 12even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.
17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
19Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! 20They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain! 21Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 22I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.
23Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!"
I wont sit here and plagiarize Pat's message, but as this text clearly teaches that God is all knowing, all present, and concerned with you and me, you can see the point. It is impossible to say either "I just want theology, but I don't want to apply it" or "I just want to live the way God wants, but don't bog me down with theology."
It's impossible to really believe that God is with us everywhere we go, and that He knows our innermost thoughts all of the time and have that not affect the way we live as believers. Furthermore when the passage tells us that God has every day that we are going to live written before one of them comes to pass, that it is incredible thought that should effect us in our thinking about things like missions.
God is with me always, God knows me personally, and God will decide how long I live and when and how I die. I can walk with God into Iraq and I am safe in His arms because I won't go one day before He wants me to. I can boldly preach the gospel and nothing can stop me until God does.
Theology changes people in a good way, and it is very practical. And as to the other person who wants a set of rules to follow but no theology, they will not please God because they do not know Him!
Anyway, it was a great message. Pat is an awesome speaker and I recommend you listening to him on their church website: www.omahabiblechurch.org. You can listen to Pat's sermons as well as some by Erik Raymond who authors www.Irishcalvinist.com, and there are some great podcast interviews with people like John MacArthur and James White and a sermon or two from D.A. Carson as well.
Theology and doctrine matter, and they are quite applicable to our lives as Christians.
In Him -Jacob