Tag Archive: The Bible


image

Whether in a novel, a crime show, or while at work, we have all heard this phrase borrowed by the world time and time again. However, as they understandably do so often, those who  use it strip the phrase from of its actual and powerful meaning. Sadly, many in the church have heard it said so often, they too have perhaps forgotten what Jesus is really teaching His disciples.

Early on in my Christian walk, John 8:31-32 were two verses that had a tremendous and even life changing impact on me. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32. It occurred to me that Christianity, although filled with an amazing testimony regarding the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ wasn’t simply a story that changed my life. It wasn’t one religion among many which just happened to be the one that worked for me. No, Christianity was and is and always will be built upon the bedrock of the truth.

So often people get saved and are then brought into a local church body. They are quickly put to work, staying busy with activity after activity. Soon Christianity is solely defined by the activities and friendships and the Word is marginalized in place of the work. Although there is an important place for the work, unless the Word of God is put first, the work we are doing might very well end up being the work of men, not the Lord.

Once a born again believer realizes, truly realizes that Christianity isn’t merely about a changed life or the work one does; once the Christian really begins to see that Jesus is the one and only way to the Father of Life because He is the truth, then that believer has finally begun standing upon the solid ground.

Undeniably, our firm foundation is Jesus, yet as He reveals in John 8:31-32, our faith becomes solid when it is exercised with the understanding that God’s Word is uniquely and unequivocally true. We need not run to the popular preacher nor to the pop-psychologist, but to the Word of God to know the truth. There is no college, no institution, no religion on the planet that can offer what the Bible can.

Jesus didn’t say that facts will set men free. He said the truth found in God’s Word alone would bring real and eternal freedom to the souls of men. Christianity is one hundred percent based on the truth and nothing but the truth, period.

Unfortunately we tend to wander from the Word, leaning instead upon the words of men. The natural man loves the “all natural” flavors produced and peddled by other men. Yet, there are those who long for something more, something better. There are those who, perhaps for years, have done the “church” thing, yet now realize men and their activities can never truly satisfy. Only the truth will do!

In these two amazing verses, Jesus tells us many things. First, He declares that He is God. He does not say, “If you remain in God’s Word.” He says, “If you remain in My Word.” He is saying the Word spoken to the faithful followers of the LORD from the beginning of time has always been His Word. Jesus truly is God.

He also teaches us that His Word is not simply true, but that it is sufficiently so. Jesus does not say, “If you stay in My Word, you will know part of the truth.” We are promised to know ALL of the truth pertaining to everlasting freedom. God’s Word is truly sufficient. One of Satan’s greatest strategies among believers is not to deny the truth of God’s Word, but instead to deny its sole sufficiency. Once people buy into this horrific lie, they will then be willing to drink from all sorts of muddied streams, all in hopes of discovering some drop of pure water.

As strange as this sounds, this one strategy has literally and repeatedly crippled the body of Christ from walking in the true power and victory God has intended for her. May we not be ensnared any longer!

True freedom comes exclusively from God’s Word. Despite their many claims, absolutely nothing this world offers can produce eternal freedom, nothing. Neither psychology nor religion, neither education nor entertainment will do. The ways of man will always fall short of eternity and often lead to temporal destruction as well.

Those reading these two verses should also inquire about the freedom offered by Jesus. Freedom yes, but freedom from what? Jesus is not providing freedom to go live our own lives independent of divine authority. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Simply put, God’s Word promises to sufficiently bring freedom from sin, from self, and from the power of our first father, Satan.

God’s promise also ensures freedom to finally love and serve the One we were made to worship; the Living and True God, the Creator and Savior of the world. This is the freedom found exclusively in the Word of God, the Word not based on the sinking sands of man’s opinions or Satan’s devices, but rather the Word which is the truth and nothing but the truth.

On this Lord’s day, may we praise and thank Him for His wonderful reminder to stop feeding the flesh. May we cease from fearing and following the words and ways of men. Instead let us wholeheartedly love the truth of God revealed to us by His Holy Spirit as we remain in the glorious, eternal, and sufficient Word of Truth!

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

Advertisements

Simply and Daily Abide!

VineBranchGrapesWe may sometimes be stirred by a very real wonder as to why we have produced such a small amount of spiritual fruit in our lives (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control – Galatians 5:22). The lack of fruit is really not as mysterious as we might think.

What if the sun did not rise tomorrow or the next several days or the next several weeks? If its life-giving rays were withheld from the orchards, what would be the production of their fruit? What if the clouds refused to release their nourishing and cleansing rains for weeks on end? Would not the result be nothing less than strain and barrenness upon the land? It is that simple for the soul as well.

May we not withhold the life-giving rays of the Son, nor the refreshing and cleansing nourishment of His water by keeping His holy and precious Word unexamined! Only by abiding in weekly, nay daily personal planting and watering can we guarantee continuous production of His spiritual fruit in our lives. Are you lacking Jesus’ daily power and peace? Is self-control dried up and love lacking any ripeness in your heart and mind? Then let the Light of Jesus rise up within you, casting out the shadows each and every day! His promises are not void. The Lord will keep His end of things. May we simply and daily abide in Christ!

Jesus says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

Open BibleWORSHIP: Worship isn’t just singing a tune in the car or an emotional experience during a church service. Rather, it’s a heart of adoration, devotion, and obedience. It’s the intentional and willing surrender of your heart and mind to a particular person or object. One might even say the one you worship is properly your obsession.

BEAUTY: Beauty is truly more than skin deep, especially when it comes to the Lord. His beauty is so much more that what He looks like. Too often in our generation beauty is associated with the visual: a sunset or famous model, but beauty has levels and layers far beyond the outward appearance. Jesus’ truth and mercy, His grace and justice; all of His non-visual attributes all come together to radiate His true beauty. Beholding His glory will truly be an eternally beautiful reality that will far outweigh anything we can merely see with our eyes! His beauty will penetrate our understanding, bringing to light the depth of Psalm 29:2.

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

Bible Sword ImageAnother easily forgotten facet in this spiritual battle is this- people are not our ultimate enemies.  “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12. Oh, how easy it is to walk by sight, losing our eternal focus!  Although men are the enemies of God, may we never forget they are also blinded by sin, self, and Satan.  In the end God will be their judge, not us.

In an earthly battle, a sword is nothing less than an efficient and effective instrument of combat, one that has accompanied many a hand over the centuries.  Before His arrest, Jesus even instructed the disciples to buy swords to carry with them in their travels. (Luke 22:36) Although many around the world no longer own swords, spiritually speaking the battle still rages and only a sword will do.  God’s Word is our sword and the Word serves as the only effective offensive weapon in our spiritual arsenal.

The Word of God is both living and active, which reveals that the power of the Word does not merely come from the ink on the pages of the Book.  Rather it is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Word of God.  Working through the power of the Holy Spirit, His truth and love flow from Heaven’s throne, bringing to life His Word, bringing the light of the glorious Gospel to life in hearts and minds of all willing readers.

bible-verses-about-love

When You Read The Bible Through

The following poem by writer Amos Wells, emphasizes our need for thorough Bible study, remembering that “every word” is important But

“[Jesus] answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”(Matthew 4:4):

“I supposed I knew my Bible
Reading piecemeal, hit and miss,
Now a bit of John or Matthew,
Now a snatch of Genesis,
Certain chapters of Isaiah
Certain Psalms (the twenty-third);
Twelfth of Romans, First of Proverbs
Yes, I thought I knew the Word;
But I found that thorough reading
Was a different thing to do,
And the way was unfamiliar
When I read the Bible through.

Oh, the massive, mighty volume!
Oh, the treasures manifold!
Oh, the beauty of the wisdom
And the grace it proved to hold!
As the story of the Hebrews
Swept in majesty along,
As it leaped in waves prophetic,
As it burst to sacred song,
As it gleamed with Christly omens,
The Old Testament was new,
Strong with cumulative power,
When I read the Bible through.

Ah, imperial Jeremiah,
With his keen, coruscant [shining] mind,
And the blunt old Nehemiah,
And Ezekiel refined!
Newly came the Minor Prophets,
Each with his distinctive robe;
Newly came the Song idyllic,
And the tragedy of Job,
Deuteronomy, the regal,
To a towering mountain grew,
With its comrade peaks around it,
When I read the Bible through.

What a radiant procession
As the pages rise and fall,
James the sturdy, John the tender
Oh, the myriad-minded Paul!
Vast apocalyptic glories
Wheel and thunder, flash and flame,
While the church triumphant raises
One incomparable name.
Ah, the story of the Savior
Never glows supremely true
Till you read it whole and swiftly,
Till you read the Bible through.

You who like to play at Bible,
Dip and dabble, here and there,
Just before you kneel a weary,
And yawn thro’ a hurried prayer;
You who treat the Crown of Writings
As you treat no other book
Just a paragraph disjointed,
Just a crude, impatient look
Try a worthier procedure,
Try a broad and steady view;
You will kneel in very rapture
When you read the Bible through.”

THE BIBLE: Pros and Cons

The Bible Movie

THE BIBLE: produced Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (Note: Both are Roman Catholics.  Roma Downey is also pastor via the internet.)

The Bible: Part 1 of 5  (Creation-Spies in the Land of Canaan)

The comments below are this writer’s observations from watching part 1 tonight.  My desire was to base both pros and cons on  biblical accuracy, not visual and acting quality.

Note: Too often it’s what is omitted that reveals what kind of story a person is trying to tell. Granted, the History Channel’s movie is meant to be a “docudrama”, and there are many constraints in attempting to pictorially portray God’s Word, however people are very influenced by sights and sounds.  We must be careful to weigh everything against the actual Bible.

Some Pros from the Movie

Some Cons-

  • God’s angels never killed people with swords in Sodom. There are no examples in God’s Word of the Lord’s angels ever killing people.  See Genesis 11
  • The sacrifice of Isaac left much to be desired. The biblical description of a ram caught in the thickets by his horn was made out to be a little lamb in the movie.  There is important biblical symbolism to the ram. The horn represents power, and only Jesus had the power necessary to overcome sin. Although other OT places talk of the lamb as a sacrifice, the ram here is key.  Also during the sacrifice Isaac cries and begs Abraham not to do it.  Isaac is a type of Christ, and the Bible says nothing of Isaac begging his dad to stop.  Isaac trusted Abraham just as Christ trusted to Father all the way to the cross.  After the sacrifice, Isaac pulls away from his dad and runs to his mother who is at the bottom of the mountain.  See Genesis 22
  • Again, according to the Bible, Abraham’s servants went with Isaac and him. The movie has Sarah running after them as if to stop Abraham.
  • The movie is very misleading as to how Isaac’s family ended up in Egypt.
  • The movie states that the Israelites all left the Promised Land due to a famine and went into Egypt where they were slaves for 400 years and Abraham was just a distant memory.
  • Unfortunately there is no mention of Joseph, even though there dozens of parallels between Joseph and Jesus. See Genesis 30-50
  • The key prophetic details of the lamb’s blood in the tenth plague in Egypt are omitted. See Exodus 12:6-7
  • In part 1, God is never referred to as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob even though this is one of His names in the Bible. Even Muslims recognize God as the God of Abraham. See Exodus 3:6, etc.

Understanding Grace

1. We must be absolutely clear that these two can never mix. Paul declares, “…if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Rom 11:6). Salvation cannot be partly by works and partly by grace.

2. We must be absolutely certain that works have nothing to do with salvation. Period. The Bible clearly states, “For by grace are ye saved…not of works” (Eph 2:8-10). True to such Scriptures, evangelicals firmly declare that we cannot earn or merit salvation in any way.  Eternal life must be received as a free gift of God’s grace, or we cannot have it.

3. Salvation cannot be purchased even in part by us, because it requires payment of the penalty for sin—a payment we can’t make. If one were to receive a speeding ticket, it wouldn’t help to say to the judge, “I’ve driven many times within the 55 mph limit. Surely my many good deeds will make up for the one bad deed.” Nor would it do to say, “If you let me off this time, I promise never to break the law again.” The judge would reply, “To never break the law again is only to do what the law demands.  You get no extra credit for that. The penalty for breaking the law is a separate matter and must be paid.”  Thus Paul writes,“…by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight…” (Rom 3:20).

4. If salvation from the penalty of breaking God’s laws cannot be earned by good deeds, then it cannot be lost by bad deeds. Our works play no part in either earning or keeping salvation. If it could, then those who reach heaven could boast that while Christ saved them they, by their good lives, kept their salvation. Thus God would be robbed of having all the glory in eternity.

5. Salvation can be given to us as a free gift only if the penalty has been fully paid. We have violated infinite Justice, requiring an infinite penalty. We are finite beings and could not pay it: we would be separated from God for eternity. God is infinite and could pay an infinite penalty, but it wouldn’t be just because He is not a member of our race. Therefore God, in love and grace, through the virgin birth, became a man so that He could pay the debt of sin for the entire human race! It is finished!”

Originally from the “Once Saved, Always Saved?” tract written by Dave Hunt  (http://www.thebereancall.org/sites/2011.thebereancall.org/files/Once%20Saved%20Always%20Saved_0.pdf)

The question of the “eternal security of the believer” has been the cause of much controversy in the church for centuries—and still creates confusion and distress for many Christians. It is too much to expect to dispel this problem completely for everyone in a brief tract, but perhaps we can at least help in that direction. Those who believe in “falling away” accuse those who believe in “eternal security” of promoting “cheap grace.”

“While it may be a convenient expression, the latter phrase is of course unbiblical. To call it “cheap” is really a denial of grace, since it implies that too small a price has been paid. Grace, however, must be absolutely free and without any price at all on man’s part; while on God’s part the price He paid was infinite. Thus for man to think that his works can play any part in either earning or keeping his salvation is what cheapens grace, devaluing this infinite gift to the level of human effort.”

“To speak of “falling from grace” involves the same error.  Since our works had nothing to do with meriting grace in the first place, there is nothing we could do that would cause us no longer to merit it and thus “fall” from it. Works determine reward or punishment—not one’s salvation, which comes by God’s grace. The crux of the problem is a confusion about grace and works.”

Originally from the “Once Saved, Always Saved?” tract written by Dave Hunt  (http://www.thebereancall.org/sites/2011.thebereancall.org/files/Once%20Saved%20Always%20Saved_0.pdf)

“Indeed, evolution answered nothing. Neither did its mother, the big bang. They seemed little more than a comic book fairytale. I saw them as absurd, baseless, and fantastical hypotheses mired down by one conjecture upon another, while conveniently overlooking the most important questions. Even as a tween I realized this feeble attempt to account for the universe had four glaring gaps: the beginning, the end, the origin of life, and especially the existence of intellectual and moral beings.”  ~Desmond P. Allen, 2008, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v1/n1/unification-theory

The Truth about Palestine

Knowing the truth always helps our understanding become more clear and our ability to explain what we believe that much more precise. An excellent 7 minute You Tube clip!

%d bloggers like this: