I remember being in Phoenix, Arizona, years ago with my family. It was a place that I used to live, so I was rather excited to show my wife and kids all around the area of the city that I grew up in. And when it came to dinnertime, I couldn’t wait to take them to my favorite pizza restaurant.
I had really built this pizza place up in their minds because the way I remembered it was absolutely awesome! The closer we got to the pizza place the more excited we all became. And yet as we pulled into the plaza we all began to sense something was not quite right. We looked around and all the stores were closed up. The pizza place was still there, but it wasn’t even close to the way I remembered it.
And the family made it clear that while they loved me, they were not about to get out of the car and try this restaurant! I got outvoted. We pulled away and actually found a completely brand new place to eat pizza, and it has become a family favorite.
As I think about that pizza place from my childhood I realize that a restaurant can change. It can change menu items. It can change its look. It can change where it wants to set up shop. And all of these changes can happen for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t have to stay the same at all. Change is okay for a place that serves pizza.
We live in a world where our culture wants to change everything. Our culture wants to change fashion, trends, and even values. If enough people on social media want to change a view on marriage or church or God then there is a lot of pressure to change. If leaders in government want to change the value and perspective on human life then there is a lot of pressure to change.
This kind of change can lead to a relativism that permeates a culture so that more and more people begin to think that all change is good. Soon, those things that were never meant to change begin to be viewed as outdated, old-fashioned, and shouldn’t possibly see the light of day in a modern society.
In a shifting sea of relativism, how can a pastor preach the Bible without trying to conform God’s Word to this world? How can he refrain from compromising biblical truth while attempting to not to offend? I believe pastors can find great courage and clarity from what Isaiah declared in chapter 40:6-8, “A voice was saying, ‘Cry out!’ Another said, ‘What should I cry out?’ ‘All humanity is grass, and all its goodness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flowers fade when the breath of the Lord blows on them; indeed, the people are grass. The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever.’”
Every pastor needs to know that the word of mankind can never compete with God’s Word. When our culture starts to say marriage needs to be redefined from man and woman to man with man, or woman with woman, or some other configuration, then really what is happening is that culture is saying that they know more than God. That they know better than God. But Isaiah makes it clear that the word and wisdom of mankind can never compete with God’s Word. What God’s Word says regarding marriage, the value of human life, the way to heaven, or anything and everything is what is right and true and will last.
Every pastor can have confidence that God’s Word is alive and powerful. Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness.” The source of mankind’s words and relativistic ideas is mankind. The source of Biblical truth is God. Mankind will fade away. God will never fade away. Every preacher can know that our God is alive and that His Word is alive!
Every pastor is called to preach God’s truth without flinching in the face of the waves of cultural relativism. Why? Because our God and His Word does not change. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” If God’s Word changes, then there is no standard. And without a standard, we will have completely lost our way in every aspect of life today and eternity. We are destined to remain in spiritual darkness.
This is why every generation of Christ-followers must take a stand upon the authority and unchanging nature of God’s Word. This is why every Bible school and seminary has to take a stand on the authority and unchanging nature of God’s Word. This is why every pastor has to take a stand on the authority and unchanging nature of God’s Word.
The need is greater now than ever before for all whom God has called to preach His Word to do so with clarity, courage, and conviction. God hasn’t changed His Word. He hasn’t changed His calling upon those who pastor the people of God. So when you preach this Sunday simply preach God’s truth. That’s something that should never change.
*Scripture quotations taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible