Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Bible, God's Holy Word

1. The Bible - The Word of God
It is so important for a young Christian to start right; therefore, the first lesson is designed to help establish your faith in the Bible, for it is the Word of God.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”- Romans 10:17
Keep in mind that the Bible is not a book of philosophy, though it is philosophical.  The Bible is not for a scientific treatise, however, there is no discrepancy between ascertained facts of science and the Bible. The Bible is not a book of history, but is found to be accurate when recording history. The Bible was given to man from God, revealing Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God the Son, the only Savior. (John 14:6) He is the center and the circumference of life. (Col. 3:4) It is Christ from Genesis to Revelation. (John 5:39,46; Luke 24:44; Col.3:16; Rev. 1:1) The Bible is as high above all other thoughts and ways of any man as the heavens are above the earth. (Isaiah 55:8)
The Bible is the inspired Word of God (II Timothy 3:16, written by the Holy Spirit. (II Peter 1:21)
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” - II Timothy 3:16

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” - II Peter 1:21
In Daniel 9:2 is one of my favorite passages referring to the authorship of the scriptures. 
“…I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” - Daniel 9:2
The Bible says that Daniel read the book of Jeremiah to understand his own dream.  This, also, is proof that the Holy Spirit wrote the scriptures.  Daniel was given a dream, recorded his dream with great detail, yet had to search the scriptures for more understanding.  This also is a great transition into the next point.
The Bible is a difficult book (I Corinthians 2:14-16)
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” - I Corinthians 2:14-16

            It is impossible for the natural man to know and to understand the things written in this tremendous book.  It is impossible because the Holy Spirit does not dwell within the natural man and therefore can not minister.  In fact, the Bible sounds foolish to him and this is mentioned again in 1 Corinthian 1:18.

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

            Unbelievers might not realize this truth, but it is proved over and over again when a believer shares the truth of God’s Word.  The unbelievers response, in one way or another, will be that the believer has been brainwashed into this foolish and ridiculous fantasy, made up years and years ago.   In this same verse, Paul writes that the preaching of the cross is the POWER of God to them that are saved.  This is a huge encouragement to any believer.  It is only by God’s mighty power to change the heart and thinking of a person. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Performing the Bible?

The Bible is full of the traits of God and are attributed to all of the glorious descriptions we find of God in the Bible.  Holiness, righteousness, truth, love, and mercy are some of the attributes that demand reverence and utmost respect on the part of any of God’s children. 
1 Peter 1:16b “…Be ye holy; for I am holy.

This passage in 1 Peter is reiterating what the Lord said in Leviticus.  The Bible is very clear when describing who God is and found here and throughout the Bible, God is Holy.  In Leviticus, where this is first mentioned, there are numerous ways that holiness to the Lord needs to be practiced.  In the way the sacrifices were conducted by the high priests and even what the high priest wore, the Mosaic law, even the behavior of natural processes. (i.e. birth)  God commanded all of these things as an illustration of his holiness and to make it more clear to us as believers that we need to take the holiness of God seriously and with reverence.  All of God’s attributes are infinitely greater than fallen humans, however God still demands great reverence and honor for his word.
The messages of the Bible have been boldly misrepresented for quite some time, by te use of drama, light shows, video productions, worship bands, or any other form of entertainment, and is detrimental to the truth and character of who God is.  Almost any church website you go to wants to make God’s word entertainment.  Worship, so often today is nothing more than an irreverent act and churches seem to be incorporating any type of the arts into their worship, and teaching that this is ok to all the familues and their children.  When a child of God recognizes the infinite holiness of his/her creator, that believer will certainly not be flippant, casual or superficial in their worship.
Psalms 89:7 “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.

For years there has been a rise with Christian comedians.  It is appalling to watch these men and women poke fun of the Holy, True, and Perfect word of God.  God will one day judge all mankind and it scares me that these people have the boldness to treat the word of God so irreverently and recklessly.  Obviously, there is no way of knowing whether or not these men and women are truly one of God’s children, but true Christians fall into a pit when imitating the world.  It is a big danger for a believer to imitate the world in any way.  It is doubly dangerous when the church involves elements from the world into their services. 

Psalm 29:2 “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Believe and thou shalt be saved"

he Bible tells us that the only way to know God, be saved and spend eternity with God is to believe in the finished work of Christ, God’s only begotten Son.  It is as simple as believing in a chair to hold you up when you sit down, or as simple as drinking a glass of water, or even walking through a doorway.  All the payment of your sin and the sin of the world is paid for by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  There is no more work that needs to be done, and there is no more work that can be done.   

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
John 3:16
         The ONLY requirement for salvation is to believe.  Jesus said that receiving him as savior is as simple as taking a drink of water or walking through a doorway.  In the Old Testament, God gave an illustration of salvation to us by way of a plague sent on the nation of Israel, in Numbers chapter 21:6-9.  The nation of Israel was questioning God’s deliverance upon them.  In verse 6, the Bible says that God sent poisonous serpents upon the land and caused them to be bitten and many Israelites died.  Many of the Israelites came to Moses, confessing their sins and wanted Moses to pray and ask God to be merciful upon them.  Moses was commanded of the Lord to make a statue of a serpent and put it on the end of a pole and lift it up for all to see.  The only requirement for the deliverance of the people from their sickness was to look upon the brass serpent.  The idea of the people looking up to the serpent didn’t mean that all the people had to do was to glance at this serpent, but this was a two-fold meaning and it also meant to believe what the Lord has said.  Jesus himself refers to this event in the Gospel of John 3:14-16.

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

In order for people to get better from this poisonous bite, one had to simply look and believe on what the Lord had said.  This was the only way of deliverance that the Lord provided and it was his plan to do so.  There was no other way that the people could get better.  In the same way, there is no other way that one can be saved and have eternal life, but to believe on the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross  

Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

2 Corinthians 6:2b “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Press On...

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
 Philippians 3:14

I have been reflecting on this verse for quite some time lately, it’s one of my favorites.  This needs to be the desire of every believer.  This was not just the goal for the life of Paul, but this is the inspired Word of God.  It’s true that Paul penned these words in 1st century, however God’s Word will last an eternity.  There are often times when it’s easy to become complacent in our lives and daily routines.  Being complacent is one way that the devil gains a foothold in neglecting this very goal.  1 Peter 5:8 states that the devil is as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour and so it is a dangerous thing for the believer to become complacent in his/her walk with the Lord.  It is even more tempting to become complacent in today’s society because of all the “stuff” that is available to us.  Fast growing technology steals more and more of the precious time we have to yield to the Lord.  This goal is not possible because we are only human and DO still have a sin nature and WILL become complacent, if left up to us.  Earlier on in Philippians, Paul encourages his readers to be confident in the Lord, that he will continue the work begun on the day of salvation, until the day of Christ.  Now, it is possible, through Christ, who is the one that will work in our hearts and transform us by the renewing of our minds.  (Romans 12:2) 
Jonah became complacent in his life.  The Lord commanded him to go to Nineveh, but Jonah had other plans.  After he made that decision to sin and disobey God’s command, he became complacent.  Chapter 1 in verse 5 tells us that Jonah became SO complacent that he “…was fast asleep.  God might let us become complacent for a little while, but be assured that he will the work he began and sometimes that will mean being tossed off the ship. 
There is another encouragement towards believers found in the New Testament. 
Hebrews 5:13-14 encourages the believer to press on to “strong meat”.

“For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

The writer of Hebrews is using these terms “milk” and “strong meat” as substitute words.  In one sense, all of the doctrines in the Bible are strong meat.  An example of a “milk” truth would be Salvation.  It is critical for one to believe that Christ died for our sins, was raised, buried, and rose again on the 3rd day in order to be saved.  The more a believer grows in their relationship with Christ and in their knowledge of the Bible, they will learn more and more about salvation, about all that happened on the cross, that there are different ways salvation is used in the Bible.  Salvation refers to Christ’s eternal provision for all who believe, but in the Old Testament, salvation could simply be used as deliverance from a trial, as was the case when Joshua and his army destroyed Jericho, but saved Rahab. 
There is an everlasting depth to the Bible and God wants his children to keep learning by studying his word as he has commanded in  2 Timothy 2:15

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

There is a great, old hymn that written by Fanny Crosby that speaks of the depths and richness of God’s truth.
Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Wealth that can never be told!
Riches exhaustless of mercy and grace,
Precious, more precious than gold!

Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ!
Who shall their greatness declare?
Jewels whose luster our lives may adorn,
Pearls that the poorest may wear!

Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ!
Freely, how freely they flow,
Making the souls of the faithful and true
Happy wherever they go!

Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ!
Who would not gladly endure
Trials, afflictions, and crosses on earth,
Riches like these to secure!

Precious, more precious,
           Wealth that can never be told!
             Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ!
              Precious, more precious than gold.