Grow Together

Have you ever met a hypocritical Christian? I have. Truth be known, I am one.

Let’s admit it. Us Christians are a community of hypocrites. We aren’t perfect. Far from it. We have an lofty standard God wants us to meet—holiness. That’s a really high bar. We sincerely want to meet that standard, but we fall short like a pole-vaulter trying to jump over Golden Gate Bridge. We sometimes act like we can make it on our own, but we often mask the truth that we struggle to be holy from our fellow Christians.

Why do we hide when we all struggle? Wouldn’t it be better if we admitted our mutual struggle and banded together to grow together? Of course! And Peter agrees too. He calls us to brotherly love from a pure heart and in the processes your display the good news to others around you (1:22-23).

“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” – 1 Peter 1:22-23, ESV

The way we fight hypocrisy is through abiding in the Word of God. The Word of God is our mighty weapon against slaying hypocrisy.

The Word of God is powerful because it is the Word is Truth.

Hypocrisy is the opposite of truth. Hypocrisy lives a lie and masks the truth. When we read the Word it reads us. We see who we really are and what we need to become. While not easy to swallow it is the truth.

Jesus was the Word in the flesh—the living Truth—to set us free from sin and hypocrisy. If you look at the first Jesus followers they were a mess. Peter was the biggest mess of them all, yet Jesus loves to redeem messes. A hypocrite must first admit, “I am a mess. I am not what I am, but I want to be as He is. Help me to love truth. I love You and I want to love others too.”

The Word is living and enduring.

There is no other book like the Bible on earth. It is the very words of God. It’s alive. The Spirit of God still gives life through it. While man and generation come and go (1:24-25; cf. Isaiah 40:6-8), the Word of God stands the test of time impacting generation after generation. If the Word has the power to change so many lives he has power to change my life too, even hypocrisy.

“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” – 1 Peter 1:24-25

The Word is good and our source of growth.

The Word of God is like milk to a baby (2:2-3). A new Christian craves the Word. He can’t get enough. It is life-giving. No Christian is too old or mature to feast on the Word or drink its spiritual milk. It is the Word that gives him motivation and power to fight the hypocrisy he struggles to overcome (2:1). Remind one another of the tasty goodness therein and obey it.

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” – 1 Peter 2:1-3

Christianity isn’t a solo or personal walk. It is a arduous journey we take together with other Christians. There are many personal aspects to the journey like our salvation and daily choices, but it’s in those parts that walk with one another our faith is accentuated and amplified. We grow as Christians by growing together. We fight hypocrisy by walking in Truth together.

 

Questions for Reflection:

  • What is hypocrisy? How is hypocrisy a temptation? What are some ways that Christians struggle with hypocrisy?
  • What are the implications of a life filled with 1 Peter 2:1?
  • How does a vulnerable and open faith within the church help us overcome hypocrisy?
  • What issues of hypocrisy do we need to deal with as a community?
  • How are you banding together with your brothers and sisters as you fight hypocrisy in your own life?
  • What is the purpose of loving one another? (see John 17) Why is love so important to Christianity? Where does true love come from? (1 John 4:8)
  • How does abiding in the Word of God help us to love one another? (see Psalm 34)
  • How can we encourage one another to renew a longing for “spiritual milk”?
  • How does Isaiah 40:6-8 speak to the issue of our brevity and the Words eternality? Why is this an important truth to dwell on as we encourage one another?
  • How does the way we treat other Christians (or non-Christians) reflect on our faith in Christ? How is the gospel preached in relationships?
  • How has your faith in Jesus changed the way you relate to people? Are there any attitudes you need to repent of?
  • What opportunities do you have to love one another in your community?
  • What does it mean that God is good? What ways in the Bible do you see that God is good? What are some ways God has been good to you or your family?
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Jesus and Proverbs

The book of Proverbs is a unique book of the Bible. It is full of wisdom that will help you understand how to live a life for God. Knowing wisdom does not mean you will be wise, but application of wisdom puts you on the path towards wiser living. Proverbs offers future-oriented wisdom and guidance so you can make wise decisions and live in ways that please and exalt God. Hear are some helpful ways to read Proverbs rightly.

How to Read Proverbs Rightly

1. Use Basic Logic. Read according to the plain meaning of the words, limiting your focus to the central point.

2. Don’t read any Proverb in Isolation. Biblical Proverbs are not like fortune cookies. You must not look at individual proverbs as if they stand apart from the rest of the Bible. The Bible interprets itself, and no single verse or passage is self-contained.

3. Don’t Put God on Your Timetable. Many proverbs speak of certain actions drawing certain responses from God: rewards for obedience and punishment or discipline for disobedience. God’s timing is perfect. Thus, punishment or discipline does not always immediately follow sin, and reward does not always immediately follow obedience.

4. Make God the Goal of Your Obedience. At all times, we need to keep in mind the ultimate reason we read Scripture: To know and obey God. The goal of Proverbs is to grow ever closer to the God who is Wisdom. Learn the way of wisdom by watching Jesus.

Jesus lived Wisdom. Jesus personified the Proverbs-driven life. His life on earth demonstrated continual wisdom, even as a young boy [Luke 2:41-52]. Just as He was perfect in every other way, Jesus perfectly lived the wisdom of Proverbs.

Jesus is Wisdom. Jesus embodies and displays the wisdom which is inherent in the being of God, for Jesus is “wisdom from God,” [1 Corinthians 1:30] and the one in whom are “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” [Colossians 2:3]. To see the perfect representation of the wisdom of God in flesh, look to Jesus [Hebrews 1:3].

Jesus is the Way of Wisdom. Because Jesus is wisdom, God calls us to choose His way rather than the foolish way of the world [1 Corinthians 2:6-8]. The wise man chooses Jesus, and the fool chooses the folly of this world.

Jesus supplies wisdom. Jesus promises to give wisdom to those who hear and receive His words [Luke 21:15]. As we live wisely according to Proverbs, we are living like Christ.

As the one who lived wisdom, the one who is wisdom, the one who is the way of wisdom, and the one who supplies wisdom, Jesus is present in Proverbs in the most profound way. the book of Proverbs will not allow you to be a passive learner, merely soaking up information. Proverbs is the 10-Commandments in shoe leather. Proverbs requires you to put God’s wisdom to work in your life.

Adapted from A Proverbs Driven Life, by Anthony Selvaggio, Shepherd Press, 2008. 17ff

heresy

“What exactly is heresy? In the ancient church, that is the church up until the sixth century, the term “heresy” became a technical term to describe aberrant teaching that undermined the fundamental truth of the Christian faith. It was deemed so serious that those who were described as heretics were considered to be beyond the bounds of salvation.

Our English word “heresy” comes from a Greek word hairesis, which, in classical Greek meant “choice.” This use of this term does not occur in the New Testament. Six out of nine occurrences of the word in the New Testament are best translated by the words “sect” or “party.” Thus, for instance, in Acts 26:5, the apostle Paul claimed that “according to the strictest party [hairesin] of our religion I lived as a Pharisee.” And in Acts 24:5, Paul is described by the Roman lawyer Tertullus as a “ringleader of the sect [haireses] of the Nazarenes.” Hairesis, though, can also have a decidedly negative meaning. Paul lists it as one of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:20, where he has in mind factionalism, not heretical teaching.

In only one New Testament verse, however, does the word carry the full meaning of our word “heresy.” That occurs in 2 Peter 2:1 where Peter says that false teachers will “secretly bring in destructive heresies [haireseis], even denying the Master who bought them.” But even a cursory reading of the New Testament letters will reveal that although the term “heresy” is not used, this is indeed what a number of the letters are seeking to protect God’s people against. Paul, for example, had to stand against those who denied the resurrection of the body in 1 Corinthians 15 and repudiate those in Galatia who would compromise the cardinal truth of justification by faith alone. And Jude, referred to earlier, is clearly dealing with aberrant theology that we could call “heresy.”

– Michael A. G. Haykin, Defence of the Truth: Contending for the Faith Yesterday and Today (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 2004), 10.

A couple of helpful resources on the issue of heresy are, of course, G. K. Chesterton’s Heretics, Harold O. J. Brown’s Heresies which are now both considered to be classic treatments of the subject. More recently, Alister McGrath has written Heresy: A History of Defending the Truth (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2010).

[HT]

7 important truths about temptation

1. God is not subjected to temptation and is not the source of temptation [James 1:13].

2. Temptation comes from lusts [James 1:14], covetousness [Proverbs 28:20; 1 Timothy 6:9,10], the devil—the author of temptation [1 Chronicles 21:1; Matthew 4:1; John 13:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:5], and evil associates—the instruments of temptation [Proverbs 1:10; 7:6; 16:29].

3. Often temptations come from poverty [Proverbs 30:9; Matthew 4:2,3], prosperity [Proverbs 30:9; Matthew 4:8], seeking worldly glory [Numbers 22:17; Daniel 4:30; 5:2; Matthew 4:8], distrusting God’s providence [Matthew 4:3], presumptions [Matthew 4:6], worshiping the god of this world [Matthew 4:9] and often strengthened by the perversion of God’s word [Matthew 4:6].

4. God permits temptation as a trial of faith [1 Peter 1:7; James 1:2,3], disinterestedness [Job 1:9-12] continual conformity to the nature of man [1 Corinthians 10:13], and often ends in sin [1Timothy 6:9; James 1:15].

5. Christ endured temptation from the devil [Mark 1:13], endured temptation from the wicked [Matthew 16:1; 22:18; Luke 10:25], resisted temptation by the Word of God [Matthew 4:4, 7,10], overcame temptation [Matthew 4:11], sympathizes with those under temptation [Hebrews 4:15], is able to help those under temptation [Hebrews 2:18], and intercedes for his people under temptation [Luke 22:31,32; John 17:15]. Christ keeps faithful believers from the hour of temptation [Revelation 3:10].

6. God will not subject believers to temptation beyond what their powers can bear and will make a way for believers to escape out of temptation [1 Corinthians 10:13]. God enables the believers to bear temptation. God knows how to deliver believers out of temptation [2 Peter 2:9].

7. Believers should resist temptation in faith [Ephesians 6:16; 1 Peter 5:9], keep watch against temptation [Matthew 26:41; 1 Peter 5:8], pray to be kept from temptation [Matthew 6:13; 26:41], not to tempt others [Romans 14:13], restore those overcome by temptation [Galatians 6:1], avoid the way of temptation all together [Proverbs 4:14,15], have strength through the weakness of the flesh [Matthew 26:41], may be in heaviness through temptation [1 Peter 1:6], and are rewarded for overcome temptation [James 1:2-4,12]. Professors of Christ fall away in time of temptation because they never really possessed Christ [Luke 8:13].

Biblical examples temptation: Eve [Genesis 3-5], Joseph [Genesis 39], Balaam [Numbers 22:17], Achan [Joshua 7:21], David [2 Samuel 11], Jeroboam [1 Kings 15:30], Peter [Mark 14:67-71], and Paul [2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Galatians 4:14].

getting the “goods” on the gospel

Do you get the gospel? Do those in your church got a good grasp on the gospel? Getting the gospel right is a matter of life or death. There is no other way to be right with God than having a right understanding of the gospel. So what are the goods on the gospel?

The Gospel is a forethought. The death of Jesus was not a cosmic accident or a divine way to cover up for mankind’s mistakes. The gospel was planned by God before God created man and before the fall of man.

The Gospel is history. In 30AD, Christ died on a cross and rose from the grave three days later. This is the Gospel and it was documented as a historical moment. It was documented by main reliable scribes inside and outside the church [cf. 1 Corinthians 15]. The Gospel is not a theory hypothesized by gray-bearded men in hideout caves dreaming and scheming up the meaning of life, nor was it a philosophy of Christian thinkers, nor is it a feel good story drafted by a novelist. The Gospel is an actual and factual event in history.

The Gospel is of God. Through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ my sins have been forgiven. No longer does the wrath of God hang over those who repent of their sins and believe on the name of Jesus Christ. He wipes the record of my wickedness and removes the guilt os sin as if it had been deleted completely from the divine hard drive never to be recovered. This is the great and gracious mystery of the Gospel: God is the source, means and end of the gospel [Romans 11:33-36]. The gospel is for His glory.

The Gospel is free. The gospel is a free offer, but it came at a cost to the Son of Man–Jesus Christ [Romans 5:15ff]. The Gospel is yours through faith in Christ, not of works. Even the faith you have to believe in the Gospel is given to you from God. You cannot work enough to earn the Gospel, you cannot keep the 10 Commandments for it, you cannot inherit the Gospel from your family or friends, you cannot clock the timecard in at church for Gospel, you cannot get baptized or sit in the confessional booth for Gospel. The Gospel is absolutely positively free for all eternity.

The Gospel is good. Literally the Gospel is “Good News.” In order for it to be good there has to be something bad. The bad news is that our sin separates us from God. Without the Gospel man would not have an opportunity to be in right standing with God. The Gospel is Good News because Jesus’ righteous sacrifice paves a way for me to stand righteously before God–not on my behalf, but the on behalf of the blood of my Savior Jesus Christ. Bad News still hangs over those do not repent and believe, but it can be Good News if only they turn from their sin and embrace the Son of God.

These are the goods on the gospel. Without these goods we have a false Gospel.

3 amazing and mysterious truths about the Trinity

I remember when I first started talking with my wife in the early days of our relationship. I wanted to know everything about her: what she loved, desired, disliked, favorite foods, most inspirational books, greatest memories, fears, and more. Our phone conversations would go on for hours, as we would learn new things about one another. I really got to know a lot about Sarah and loved it. Now that we have been together over 3 years and have know each other more than 10 years we are still learning new things about each other, but not quite at the pace we did in the early years. We are familiar with one another. Imagine one day I woke up and said to Sarah, “I don’t want to know more about you.” Something is very wrong when the learning about my loved one stops.

There is a difference between knowing about someone and really knowing them. Likewise you can know more than just know something about God. You can know Him. He speaks to you and you can speak to Him. You can actually have a growing relationship with God. Like a marriage or family this relationship is a lifelong endeavor, if not an eternal adventure. Forever you will be learning something new about God.

God is a mystery, but there are things you can know for certain about God. You will never be able to solve the mystery about God or know everything about Him. It is impossible to know all about God. People often think that the Trinity mystery is contradictory. A contradiction is when two truth statements exist that cannot logically coexist. For example: “God exists” and “God does not exist.” Both of these statements cannot be truth at the same time. One must be true and the other false. The Bible declares 3 amazing and mysterious truths about the Trinity of God [John 1:1-14]:

1. God is 3 Persons.

How does John 1:14 define what the “Word” is in 1:1? The Word is defined as God who “became flesh and dwelt among us.” We would know the Word as referring to Jesus Christ. What is the significance of calling Jesus “the Word”? To a Jewish person the Word of God was spoken, not necessarily seen. God spoke the universe into being, God spoke to Adam and Eve in the Garden, God spoke to Moses in the bush and Wilderness, and God spoke to the prophets. When God spoke, man listened. John says that Jesus is the Word—the Word in visible flesh. When people look at Jesus and hear from Him they see God with skin on. He is just as God as God the Father; in fact Jesus displays the “glory” of God the Father.

According to John 1:1 notice “the Word was with God.” Why is that statement important? It means that Jesus and the Father are distinct. God is distinct in persons. The Bible clearly shows that the persons of God—Father [1 Cor.8:6; Rom.15:6; Mt.11:27], Son [John 1:3; 5:27-30; 8:58], and Holy Spirit [Acts 5:3-4]—are indeed God, yet distinct from one another [Mt.3:13-17; 12:32]. In fact, the persons are subordinate to one another [John 14-16]; the Father planned salvation [John 3:16], the Son submits to the Father [1 Cor.11:3; 15:28], and the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son [John 16:14].

How is the distinctness and oneness of God reflected in our human relationships? Marriage relationships are considered one flesh, but with two persons [Hutts / Justin & Sarah]. A family is considered a unit with many members [Hutts / Justin Hutts]. A team is typified as one with 5 or 11 players [Colts / Peyton Manny]. So it is with God—He is 3 persons.

2. All 3 Persons are Fully God.

According to John 1:1 Jesus was with God in the beginning. Jesus took part in the creation of all things. Do you notice that John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1 have a lot of similarities? “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth.” Jesus is equal with God at creation. Jesus is fully God. John 1:14 tells us that He became flesh, which means that He was once not flesh. Jesus is God who became a man. [Note: The whole Trinity is involved in Jesus’ incarnation—God send Him and the Holy Spirit caused the womb to be; John 3:16; Luke 1:35]

The 3 persons of the Godhood are distinct in person, but one in essence. The 3 Persons have eternally existed as One God. Jesus is not merely with God, not merely like God, He is God.

3. All 3 Persons are 1 God.

All Jews from the time they little children learn about God—One God. Even the disciples believe in One God [monotheist] and believed that Jesus was God too [not one of many god, polytheist]. Hebrew children much like children today attended “Saturday” School at the synagogue and learned important lessons from the Old Testament. By heart a Hebrew would know the Shema: “Hear, O Israel the LORD our God, the LORD is One.” [Deut.6:4] The three-ness and oneness of God do not exist in the same respect—God has one essence and plurality of persons.

How has your view of God been too limited? How have you been reminded in your life of your limitations? When I think about the Trinity I come to a realization of my own limitations. We are the creation and God is the Creator [Isaiah 55:8-9]. Thinking about God puts Him in His place and me in mine. He is God and I am not. I am not, but I know I AM!

In my relationship with Sarah there are things I will learn about her the rest of our marriage. She is a woman—she thinks differently and is wired differently by God. She is so complex. So it is with God. He is infinitely more complex and there is an endless vat to know about our beautiful God and Savior. What a joy it is to search the mysteries of our God and get a glimpse of Him in His Word and in the world.

the Word

Why has God placed His authority over us? God’s authority is like an umbrella that protects us. What is the umbrella? It is God’s Word, the Bible. The Word of God is His wisdom for us. Sometimes we just wish God would chisel His plans for us in stone, paint what He is up to in our life in the sky, or speak to us for real in a loud voice. What we often fail to realize is that He does, in God’s Word.

The Bible describes itself as God’s Word [over 4,000 times from Genesis to Revelation]. It is obviously God’s Word to you and me. Yet people have many views about the Bible. Here are a few false beliefs about the Bible:

First, some deny that God wrote a book. However, it is what it is. You cannot deny gravity as being true. It is what it is, and the Bible is what it is, the Word’s of God to us. Second, some distort the Bible to fit their personal opinions, false religions or make it mean something other than what God intended. Third, others dissect the Bible like a lab rat testing its validity against science, psychology, history and archeology. As history shows the Bible affirms science. Fourth, the most common view of the Bible is to disregard its authority in their life right now [i.e. obey your parents and employers, Eph.6:1ff; anger and adultery, Mt.5ff]. You cannot just pick and choose the verse you like and throw out hard passages you do not like. It is like tearing pages out of the Bible, you cannot do that without consequences. An incomplete Bible equals an incomplete life. So what is the right way to view the Bible?

The Bible is a Love Letter. It is what it is [Jer.31:3]. I remember when I was dating Sarah we would write letters to each other weekly and sometimes more. I craved getting letters from her. I would check the mail each week with enthusiasm waiting to read what her hand penned. When I would get a letter from her I would read them over and over, almost memorizing them. I could never get enough of Sarah’s love letters. Most of the time she would draw a picture and I would put them all over my bedroom. Once she includes a glamour shot that I would carry with me everywhere. Sarah did not have to write it in the sky or sound the air siren that she loved me. It was obvious. She told me. You know God has done the same for us. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. Like a good love story is has a villain [Satan], hero [Christ] and clear message [Jesus saves]. The Bible shows God’s tender love and tough love at the same time. The Bible is tough because it reveals your true condition [sin/hell]. Sometimes we view the Bible like a pile of bills that cost us big bucks and if you don’t pay the creditor is hunting your head. Not true, it is a love letter.

The Bible is a Light. It is light a flashlight that helps us see the path before us [Ps.119:105; Prov.6:23]. Sin darkens our understanding, but God shows us the Light who is Christ [1 John 1:5-10]. The Word is like a lighthouse protecting you from the dangerous rocks that will ripped your life apart and send you sinking to the bottom. The authority of God’s Word protects us from a world of hurt.

The Bible is a Lunch. We must feed ourselves to a fill on the Word of God [Jer.15:16]. Eat this Book! The Bible is like a carbo-load that gives you energy to do as He says. How many meals do you eat a day? What if you did not eat? Not good. So it is when we neglect to dine on the Word of God.

The Bible is alive. This book is able to change a life and get to the deepest part of a person [Heb.4:12; 2 Tim.3:16-17]. Like a defibrillator the Bible is able to awaken your dead in sin soul and able to make you alive in Christ through faith in Him. By submitting to the authority of the Word of God we see that we have a great need that cannot be reached by my goodness, rather I have a great Savior.

How does the Bible come alive? Study it through. As you read it, it reads you. You see that you are a great sinner, but Jesus is a great Savior. If you are unsure where to start, begin with reading John or Romans. Pray it in. Ask God to help you understand, to be and do what you see and hear. Live it out. The Bible is not information, but it was written for your transformation.  We live it out, by obeying it. Pass it on. Show others that you are walking in the light as He is in the light. You might be the only Bible someone reads.

real questions: fairytale?

Ned Anzers: Isn’t the Bible just a fairytale?

What if the Bible were not true? Everything a Christian believes would be a farce!

At the moment I am studying two dead languages that no one speaks anymore, but they are essential to understanding the Bible. As I have studied these languages I have learned a valuable lesson: the importance of accents. Not the accents you use while speaking like British or Jamaican, but the accents placed over letters when you write. They often look like dots, dashes, little rainbows or carrots. They are often missed when reading because they are so tiny. Jesus says something really amazing about these little accents (Matthew 5:18). He says this Book; all of its big and small parts are powerful because it comes from God.

Is Jesus’ view of the Bible really important? As we saw in the last question, Jesus words carried some authority, He calmed a storm, healed the sick, predicted the future, and was even there at the beginning to create the universe.

Jesus never questioned the authority of the Bible; in fact, He considered it authority.

The Bible always has the last word on all sides of the playing field whether in defense or offense. Look at these examples from the life of Jesus: during temptation of Jesus in the desert (Mt.4), and when talking to religious people about His miracles (Mk.12:26-27). Jesus often quoted the OT to expose the wrong-thinking of the religious of the His day. There is no smart comeback line for the Bible!

Jesus even affirmed the Bibles history as true: God created the world (Mt.19:4), Noah and the ark was not a fable (Gen.6-9; Mt.24:38). Rather than a book full of errors, the Bible keeps us from a life of error (Mk.12:24).

My first and only haircut from my mother. When I was about 8 years old I received a haircut from my mother. Needless to say it was the only haircut my mother ever gave. About 3 cuts in, her fourth cut was into my ear. Now it was a little cut, but it did make me a little uncomfortable (more  that she could not stop laughing). Now this story has evolved over the years, and at family outings it has become quite exaggerated. You might hear something like: My mother the beautician was styling my hair when all of a sudden a centralized earthquake appeared in Wisconsin. My mothers hand slipped and cut off my ear. Blood was gushing everywhere. Mom in a hysterical panic called 911. They struggled to save my life. After hours of fighting and a two-month long comma Justin miraculous recovered. He now has an ear skin graphed from a giraffe.

Now some of these documents might be true and people were there to back up some of the facts, but anyone can see this story is an exaggeration. Many have this same view about the NT. Yes, Jesus was a real man that walked this planet. He was a good teacher, moral example, and memorable character, but couldn’t he have been so loved by those closest to Him that stories about Him drifted further from the truth as time went on? Sure. But listen to what Jesus says about this (Jn.14:26; 16:13). He promises His disciples long after He is gone, the Spirit would remind them of His words and lead them in “all truth” as they wrote the NT.

Jesus’ disciples (followers) were no bozo’s.

Luke, was OCD about details. He was a doctor. He wrote 25% of the NT (Lk.1:3-4; 2:1-2, note the details about people/places). Paul, was a history buff and a man of the law. He wrote 50% of the NT and goes on to explain that every disciple (follower) writer was an eyewitness of Jesus. They did not write down hearsay or secondhand information, rather they experienced and saw what they are writing down and they were not alone (1 Cor.15:6, after the resurrection). How could hundreds of people all have the same story?

The Bible is not written like a fairytale, but HIStory.

The Bible is quite unlike any other book. It is a book that has changed lives for centuries, and gives hope for eternal life. It is 66 different books (stories, poems, songs, letters, etc.), written by dozens of authors most of who never met each other, over 5000 years, and yet the Bible has one central theme: Jesus Redeems! God says I can trust all of it even its dots and dashes (Matthew 5:18).

The Bible is backed by archeology, history and prophecy.

It has made predictions of which are 100% truth so far (300 about Jesus). People have put His Word’s into practice and have been changed!

As LaVar Burton of Reading Rainbow used to say, “Of course, you don’t have to take *my* word for it.”

real questions: the Bible?

Ned Anzers: How do you know the Bible is true? What makes the Bible different than any other book?

Bible simply means book. I believe the Bible is more than a book, but an inspired book.  Inspiration is the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the Scripture writers which rendered their writings an accurate record of the revelation or which resulted in what they wrote actually being the Word of God.

According to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “all Scripture is inspired.” I believe that “all scripture is inspired” means that the Bible comes from God. Every word from Genesis to Revelation, in its original autographs, is the very word of God. The Bible is the very Word of God, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says “…you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” When we read the Bible we should realize we are receiving God’s own message, in other words God divinely produced the Bible.

2 Peter 1:20-21 explains that the Holy Spirit moved men to guarantee that no human contribution would corrupt, distort, or in any way diminish the written Word from being the very Word of God. This passage teaches that when one reads Scripture, what they are reading does not only come from a man but also from God. The Bible is the writing of many different men. These men spoke with their own language and style. Peter mentions two dimensions of their speaking:

First, they spoke from God. What the men had to say was not merely from their own limited perspective because they were not the origin of the truth they were speaking. The truth is God’s truth. Their meaning is God’s meaning.

Second, not only is what they spoke from God, but how they spoke it is controlled by the Holy Spirit. The Bible was not left to human voice boxes alone, but also the Holy Spirit. The words of the Bible are the Word of God (plenary) [“all” in 2 Tim 3:16 – Luke 11:51/Gen 4/2 Chron. 24:20-21], and the reality that the words themselves are God’s words (verbal) [Matt 5:17-18].

The implications of the inspiration of the Bible are huge since the Holy Spirit is the author of scripture.  Since the Holy Spirit is the author of truth, the Bible is true (Ps. 119:142) and altogether reliable (Heb. 6:18).

  • It is powerful, working its purpose in our hearts (1 Thess. 2:13) and not returning empty to the One who sent it (Is. 55:10-11).
  • It is pure like silver refined in a furnace seven times (Ps. 12:6).
  • It is sanctifying (John 17:17).
  • It gives life (Ps. 119:37, 50, 93, 107; John 6:63; Mt. 4:4).
  • It makes wise (Ps. 19:7; 119: 99-100).
  • It gives joy (Ps. 19:8; 119: 16, 92, 111, 143, 174).
  • It promises great reward (Ps. 19: 11).
  • It gives strength to the weak (Ps. 119 :28 ) .
  • It gives comfort to the distraught (Ps. 119:76).
  • It gives guidance to the perplexed (Ps. 119:105).
  • It gives salvation to the lost (Ps. 119:155; 2 Tim. 3:15).

The wisdom of God in Scripture is inexhaustible.

I also believe that the entire Bible is the infallible Word of God and without error in the original manuscripts. Infallibility is synonymous with inerrancy. The Bible is without error regarding either assertions or denials even in matters of History and Science. The Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives. The Bible cannot lie and proclaims the truth on each and every matter.

I believe that God’s purposes revealed in the Bible are the supreme and final authority in proving all claims about what is true and what is right. Authority means that the Bible has the right to tell me how to think and how not to think, and how to behave and how not to behave.

If the Bible is inerrant then it must also be authoritative on whatever it affirms or denies.  The Scriptures explain that it is all that is required for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), therefore, I can have confidence that the Bible is authoritative for all areas of life. Jesus Himself said, “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). There are many other proofs inside the Bible that declare it is true and authoritative.

According to Romans 3:4 it is stated that God cannot lie. 2 Tim 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21 says that God is the author and protector of the Bible. Jesus Himself affirms the authority of the Old Testament authors (John 5:39-47). Also, there are many prophecies within the Scriptures that have been fulfilled. Second, the history recorded in the Bible is accurate with the history recorded outside the Bible (Ex: 2 Kings 20—Hezekiah and Sennachareb/Daniel 11). Third, the Bible is harmonious with itself from Old Testament to New Testament. The Bible’s theme of Redemption is woven in the fabric of each book so clearly and purposefully.


Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, p.225

John Piper, The Holy Spirit: Author of the Scripture, 1984

The Chicago Statement on Biblical inerrancy, 1978

Norman L. Geisler, Inerrancy, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI. p.268

The TRUTH About CHRISTmas; The mile-long buffet

How do you find TRUTH when there are so many options?

 

I love to eat. Sometimes, I will saddle up and travel to the nearest glutton-barn and gorge. The Golden Coral & China Buffet has more food than you could possibly eat. Even if you were to try one of everything you would burst out of your buckle. However, the food is there and you need to get your moneys worth.

 

Take Supermarkets & Department Stores, they have more choices than you really want in any size, shape, or color you want or don’t want. How do you know what you want? You got to try it on to see if it fits.

 

And how about bookstores? I love bookstores. I could spend days in a good bookstore. Yet every time I walk into one I walk out with my mind stuffed from the diet of their mile-long buffet of worldviews. Not a buffet of food, but black and white squares tied together with fancy bindings.

 

This is the buffet season. 

 

I am convinced this world needs to get back to the One-Truth Diet. It can even be found in a Book. The Story begins with the eyewitness’s account of John when God entered the world as a man (John 1:1-5). When people ask, who is this Baby…The One given to Mary in a cow trough? And why is His birth so important? I can confidently tell the real Truth behind CHRISTmas. The TRUTH about CHRISTmas is CHRIST!!!

 

Pilate asked Jesus before His death, “So you are a king?

 

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this reason I have come into the world—to bear witness of the TRUTH.”

 

To tell you the truth…I will tell you more about the Truth.

 

Jesus spoke the TRUTH. The most important truth in the universe is that Jesus claims He is God. “TRULY, TRULY, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (Jn.8:58) I AM = O.T. declaration of God (Ex.3:14). In a real sense Jesus said, I AM GOD Have you heard about the truth of Jesus?

 

Jesus lived the TRUTH.  “I AM the way, the Truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (Jn.14:6) Jesus is the embodiment of Truth. He is God in human flesh.

 

Jesus established the TRUTH. Jesus died to establish Truth. He was a witness (martyr) for the Truth. He willingly sacrificed His life so that you might know the Truth. Jesus is called the “Amen, the faithful and TRUE witness” (Rev.3:14) “Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings on earth” (Rev.1:4-5) Jesus was born with a human nature so that “through His death He might destroy the one who has the power of death” (Heb.2:14) He stepped on the earth to be a sacrifice for man. He lived to die. He died that you and I might have life.

 

Jesus sent you and I to be witnesses of the TRUTH. The truth about Jesus didn’t end with His death, but continues on through you. “As the Father has sent Me, even so I AM sending you” (Jn.20:21) “the word of TRUTH, the gospel of your salvation” (Eph.1:13)

 

The Mile-long buffet of truth starts and ends with Jesus Christ. “For this purpose I was born and for this reason I have come into the world—to bear witness of the TRUTH.”

 

Jesus is not Santa Claus, you don’t have to come to Him with a wish list. Jesus is not a cosmic Easter Bunny, you don’t have to search for Him under rocks or in eggs. Jesus is not David Copperfield, what He does is miraculous. And Jesus is not Mr. Rogers, He invites you to a greater neighborhood. Jesus is the TRUTH.

 

Is Jesus your TRUTH this CHRISTmas?

  

To be spoken at Davis Manor Christmas 2006. Message came with help of Gods Word and a thought from John Piper.