Posts Tagged ‘Scripture

16
Mar
18

Who Wrote The Bible?

One of the hottest debates in Christianity centers around the origin of Scripture. Is the Bible the Word of God or did humans write it? There are many facets to this issue, but Peter identified the ultimate Author of Scripture. Peter wrote:

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. – 2 Peter 1:20-21 (NIV)

God’s Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of Scripture to write what they did. God wanted to reveal Himself to humanity so He inspired people to write in human language a message we could understand. Why? So that we could know Him and have a loving relationship with Him by grace through faith in Jesus. We cannot pick and choose what parts are inspired and what parts are not. If any word of Scripture is fake or false, then how can we trust any other part of it? For me, it’s all or nothing. It may sound archaic and naive, but if the Bible is God’s Word, then that is the standard we’ll be judged by. So actually read it for yourself and then decide what you’ll do with it. It might just change your life.
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13
Mar
18

Jesus Is No Fairytale

Some people like to think of God’s Word, the Bible, as a collection of myths and legends. There are some who believe that Jesus was a mythical person or a prophet or a good teacher. He had a good message of morality and love, but as far as being the Son of God or Messiah, they’re not willing to go that far. What if there were eyewitnesses to Jesus who were willing to die for what they saw? That’s who Peter was. He wrote:

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. – 2 Peter 1:16 (NIV)

Peter says that those with him did not make up the stories about Jesus. They saw Him, in the flesh, do all of the things that Scripture says He did. They saw Him fulfill prophecy. They saw Him heal people and perform miracles. They saw His majesty. Jesus Christ is no mythical figure. Jesus Christ is no mere teacher or prophet. Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Whether you believe it or not, it’s the truth.
31
Jan
17

Life On The Rock

Good Tuesday morning to you! At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives a powerful simile of the person who not only hears His words, but puts them into practice.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. – Matthew 7:24-25 (NIV)

The words of Jesus are a foundation upon which you can build your life. They are a firm foundation that can stand up to the storms of life. If you ever wonder why you have such a hard time during the tests and trials of your life, you have to ask yourself if you’re living out the words of Jesus. The Word of God can give you a foundation for living that will stand up to the storms that come your way. Don’t just read God’s Word, put it into practice.
24
Jan
17

Watch Out!

Good Tuesday morning to you! One of my greatest fears is leading people astray when I preach and teach. I don’t want to be a false prophet or teacher. I want to make sure that I am handling God’s Word correctly and with great care. Jesus said:

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. – Matthew 7:15 (NIV)

As followers of Jesus, we must be on our guard against those who are false prophets and teachers. There are preachers and teachers who will manipulate God’s Word and God’s people to make a buck or to feed their egos. The best way to guard against false prophets and teachers is to know your Bible. Spend time in God’s Word and listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. You’ll be able to discern between the truth and false teachings much easier. You will not be as likely to be led astray. False teachers and prophets will come and go, but the Word of God stands forever.
28
Mar
16

Know The Truth And Be Free

1 John 4:1-3 (NIV)
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
In John’s day, there were false teachers who were teaching heresies denying that Jesus was a real human being.  They said that He had only come as a spirit.  But if Jesus was only a spirit, then how could He die for our sins?  How could He die a physical death as the perfect human sacrifice if He didn’t have flesh and blood?  The fact is, Jesus Christ came in the flesh as a real human being.  He really lived and He really died and He physically rose from the dead.  Those who deny this are not from God.  The spirits of those who taught such things, John says, were the spirit of the antichrist.
As followers of Jesus, we must be on our guard against false teachings.  We must compare everything we hear with what the Bible says.  The enemy is a master deceiver.  He has been deceiving humanity since the Garden of Eden.  He will sometimes tell outright lies to deceive.  Oftentimes, he will twist, distort and stretch the truth.  Satan even quoted Scripture to Jesus when he was tempting the Lord in the wilderness.  The best defense against the lies and distortions of the enemy is to know the truth of God’s Word.  Listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  Don’t fall prey to the lies of the enemy.  Know the truth because the truth will set you free.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, I ask today that You would give me a passion for Your truth.  Give me a desire to read and to know Your Word.  I want to know the truth because I know that it will set me free from lies and deceit.  In Jesus’ name, amen.
07
Aug
15

Do What It Says!

James 1:22-25 (NIV)
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Week after week, we sit in a room and listen to someone speak from God’s Word.  Perhaps you’ve heard countless sermons on countless subjects from countless passages of Scripture.  I’ve preached somewhere in the neighborhood of 900+ sermons in my ministry (18 years * 50 sermons/year = 900, give or take).  I wonder how many of them were memorable.  I wonder how many of them were life transforming.  I wonder how many times I heard the words, “Good job, preacher!” as the people walked out of the door and quickly forgot everything I said.
We hear God’s Word preached every week, yet, if we’re honest, we would admit that it rarely changes our lives.  It’s not the fault of God’s Word.  It is living and active, according to Hebrews 4:12.  Perhaps it is the fault of the listener who zones out each week with a glazed look in their eyes.  More than likely, though, it is the fault of the earthly communicator.  God has given us a powerful message and yet it is communicated poorly.  The problem is that preachers, myself included, forget about James 1:23.  We don’t challenge people to do what the Word says to do.  We’ll spend a lot of time getting into the text to determine its meaning and we’ll tell people what it means and we’ll feel really good that we told them these things, but we fail to tell them what they should do with it.  On the day of Pentecost, the people asked Peter what they should do with his message.  He responded with definite action.  Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, gave the people concrete applications of His message.  We need to do more than just understand what a text of Scripture means.  We need to do what it says to DO!  That means that preachers must preach application as well as explanation.  That means that Christians must think about the ramifications of what they rad as they read their Bibles.  It means that we cannot read a passage of Scripture and say, “I know who needs to read this!”  The point of Scripture is to change YOU, not those around you.  Let the Holy Spirit convict others.  At that moment, the Spirit is convicting YOU!
Scripture is more than a text book for gaining trivial knowledge.  It is an instruction manual for how to live and please God.  When we do what it says, we not only live better lives, we please the Father and we will be blessed in all that we do.
PRAYER:  Father God, I thank You for Your Word.  I ask that it would penetrate my heart today.  Help me see how living it out will not only result in blessings for me, but how it will please You.  Help me to not only understand what it means, but how to live it out each day.  Thank You.  Amen.
28
Oct
14

The Burning Heart Within You

When you hear the words of Jesus, does your heart burn within you?  After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to two men walking from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus.  They didn’t recognize Him.  Perhaps His resurrected body had been transformed, healed or His identity was kept secret from them.  In any case, they didn’t know who had joined them.  They were talking about what had happened the previous three days and now a “stranger” had joined them and asked them about their conversation.  They were incredulous.  Was this man the only one in Jerusalem who had not heard what had happened?!?  How was that even possible?  They told Him what had happened to Jesus and how His body was now missing.  They were hoping that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, but now that hope seemed to be fading.
Now it was Jesus’ turn to be incredulous.  He explained what God had prophesied about the Messiah throughout the Old Testament.  Then, when He appeared to be leaving them, they asked Him to stay with them as evening was approaching.  Jesus agreed and then, at the evening meal, He broke bread and gave it to them after giving thanks for it.  It was then that their eyes were opened and they realized that they were with Jesus!  Then He disappeared from their sight.  The two men ran off to see the 11 disciples and tell them that they had seen the Lord.
One of the interesting phrases in this passage is after Jesus is revealed, one of the two men says to the other:

Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us? – Luke 24:32 (NIV)

As they heard Jesus explaining the Scriptures, their hearts burned within them.  When you hear and read the Word of God, does your heart burn within you?  God’s Word is amazing!  It has the power to give life to the spiritually dead.  It has the power to call the lost home.  It has the power to change the sinner into the saint.  It is a love letter from God to you.  It is a road map to our heavenly home.  It is an instruction manual for how to please God through obedient living.  It tells us everything we need to know about how to have a real relationship with God based on love and grace and not on following rules.  It teaches us to follow Jesus and live for Him.  My prayer for you today is that this living, active Word will cause your heart to burn with passion and excitement as you read it.  For the Word of God is life-changing and it can bring about an amazing transformation in your life.
Luke 24:13-35 (NIV)
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.

17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

19 “What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.




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