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Nothing in the Bible Has Ever Proved False

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Nothing in the Bible Has Ever Proved False

We are continuing our blog series, How Can You Trust the Bible? Today let’s look at the third reason historians have declared the Bible to be historically accurate.

In Luke 4, Jesus went to “the synagogue in Nazareth and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, He stood up to read.” That scroll was a copy of a copy of a copy.

Any historical work that existed before the printing press in 1500 A.D. had to be copied by hand. There had to be documented proof that the copy was made accurately, or it could not be trusted and found reliable.

In the Carthage scriptorium, scribes worked all day, hunched over, copying page after page. They had proof pages and proofed every letter in every line. If there was one error they had bury it! No doubt there were hundreds of carefully copied scrolls of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the prophets used in all the synagogues throughout Israel. They trusted the accuracy of the scribes.

The third reason historians have declared the Bible to be historically accurate is that nothing in the Bible has ever proven to be false.

In my next blogs, I’ll share how the Bible is prophetically precise – another reason you can trust the Bible.

You can listen to this message here in on Lakeview’s podcast.

 

The Trojan Horse of Sacrifice (Part 1)

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The Trojan Horse of Sacrifice (Part 1)

The idol of religion stands on the legs of my own sacrifice. (I am made good by self-denial.)

Almost every religion of the world has self-denial as a core belief.

  • Some Hindu’s walk on hot coals of fire to appease their gods.
  • Other Hindu’s sacrifice the protein and sustenance that cattle could provide. While children starve, cows walk freely in the city.
  • In Tamil Nadu (southern India) one Hindu sect fasts 48 days and culminate the sacrificial season by piercing their bodies with hooks and pulling heavy objects while concentrating on their gods.

To us that is strange and bizarre, but the idea of sacrifice and self-denial to appease God can easily become a part of the Christian mindset.

Christianity is the only religion where its God made the ultimate sacrifice and laid down His life for us!

God’s plan doesn’t make sense! It’s not logical that our goodness is made possible only by God’s sacrifice and not through human effort. So that begs the question. Are we called to live sacrificial lives? Yes! Are we to deny ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Jesus? Yes! But we must continually guard against a religious spirit that tells us self-sacrifice and denial, in and of themselves, make us righteous.

The Trojan Horse of sacrifice and self-denial says, “If I give more, serve more, deny myself of pleasure, avoid certain kinds of food, and work to exhaustion, I will be pleasing to God and made right in His eyes.”

It sounds logical, but it’s a lie, a trick that leads to our destruction.

Listen to the full message on our podcast.

The Trojan Horse of Goodness

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The Trojan Horse of Goodness

As I mentioned in my previous blog, the devil has a Trojan horse he wants to gift wrap to the Church of Jesus Christ! The term “Trojan Horse” has come to mean any trick or strategy that unknowingly invites the enemy into a protected place. Satan has tricked and deceived more Christians with this Trojan Horse than any other weapon in his arsenal. It is the idol of RELIGION.

At the heart of religion is this idea that human effort wins the day. “If I’m good enough, if I try hard enough, if I’m spiritual enough, I will overcome through my effort.”

The idol of religion stands on the legs of my own goodness (I am made good by doing good.)

What makes this Trojan Horse so terribly addictive is that we all crave the feeling that we are good people. We want to be seen by others as good. We want to feel like we are good. So how do we become good? By doing good things.

The idea of doing good and thus being good is at the core of many ideologies and religions.

  • The Muslim have a strong belief that by doing good you become good. If the good I DO outweighs the bad, I get to go to heaven.
  • Philanthropy—most wealthy people latch on to idea of generosity because it makes them feel good. (If I do good, I must BE good).

I talked with a wealthy man who winters in Palms Spring:  the main industry of this town is philanthropy.

It makes perfect sense! If I DO good I must BE good. But it’s a lie.

In 1992 while pastoring in Madison, Indiana I conducted a door to door survey. “If you were to stand before God today and He asked you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven,’ what would you say?”

Christians can easily fall into that same mentality, if I DO good, I become good.

Isaiah 64:6 says “For we are all unclean like a leper, and all of our attempts at righteousness are like filthy rags and polluted garments.”

We are all born in sin with a sinful heart and there is no possible way for us to do enough good to change that. It does not work.

Romans 3 says, “None are righteous, just, truthful, or upright, no not one. All have turned aside; they have all gone wrong and have become unprofitable and worthless; no one does right, not even one! The righteousness of God comes only by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ. All have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which only God bestows.”[1]

As Christ followers we must understand ANY attempt at achieving goodness apart from faith in Jesus is NOT the gospel message! Our only hope of being ‘good’ is found in Jesus!

 

[1] Romans 3:10, 12, 22-23 AMPC

The Devil’s Trojan Horse

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The Devil’s Trojan Horse

I seriously doubt anyone reading this blog has ever taken the time to carve out an idol, set it up in your home, and then gathered the family to worship it, but I know everyone struggles with idolatry in one form or another because idolatry is very subtle.

The Apostle John concluded his Epistle with these words, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”[1] Why did John say that? Because idolatry is common. Idolatry is so easy.

The NLT makes that verse even clearer. John 5:21 says, “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”

Kyle Idleman, the author of the book, gods at war, says, “The instant something takes the place of God, the moment it becomes an end in itself rather than something to lay at God’s throne, it becomes an idol.”

Do you remember the story of the Trojan Horse? The Greeks had been trying to defeat the city of Troy for 10 years to no avail. Finally, they devised a plan to construct a huge wooden horse to be given to the men of Troy as a gift to their gods. But 30 select warriors were hidden inside the horse. They deposited it at seashore and pretended to sail away. The men of Troy pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. That night skilled warriors crept out of the horse, opened the gates of Troy for the entire Greek army and destroyed the city. It was a brilliant plan!

The term “Trojan Horse” has come to mean any trick or strategy that unknowingly invites the enemy into a protected place. When a hacker tricks us and gets into our computer it’s called a “Trojan horse.”

The devil has a Trojan Horse that he wants to gift wrap to the Church of Jesus Christ! Satan has tricked and deceived more Christians with this Trojan Horse than any other weapon in his arsenal. It is the idol of RELIGION and we’re going to explore that in my next few blogs.

Listen to the full message on our podcast.

[1] I John 5:21 GW

Three False Motivators to Tithing

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Three False Motivators to Tithing

What would motivate a person to even want to tithe? What would stir us enough to actually give 10% of all our increase to the Lord? (By the way, some give 20-30%.)

It’s important that when we tithe, we tithe for the right reasons. There are three common, false motivators that can drive people to tithe. And if any of these are true for you, I encourage you to stop giving immediately, until you get your heart in the right place. I mean that sincerely. Tithing won’t work if these are your motivations.

#1 Guilt

I try not to do anything for the Lord out of a place of guilt. And here’s why. Guilt can only motivate me for a short time.

My purpose for this series is not to make you feel guilty, because I can promise you, tithing won’t become a lifelong habit if it’s driven by guilt.

#2 Obligation

I try not to do anything for the Lord out of obligation. I don’t go to church on Sunday because I ought to. I go because there’s something in me that needs to do this! I need the fellowship. I need the corporate worship.

And it’s the same way with prayer. We can make prayer an obligation or a duty. When we pray (or tithe) out of obligation, we miss the point altogether. Once, during a dry spell when my prayer life was running on fumes I confessed to God, “I’m sorry; I haven’t been praying like I ought to.” In that moment God spoke to me immediately, “You don’t owe me an apology. You’re not praying for my benefit. You’re praying for yours!” That’s exactly how it is with tithing!

God loves us even if we don’t tithe.

The church won’t stop loving you and investing in you if you don’t tithe. But you are the one who misses out (and I’ll tell you why in my upcoming blog posts that follow).

#3 Fear

Fear doesn’t motivate to do anything for very long. Take the doctrine of Heaven and Hell. I didn’t become a Christian just to escape Hell. I find far more spiritual life and energy by focusing on Heaven than on Hell.

And the same concept is true of tithing. I don’t tithe to ward off bad things. I don’t focus on the curse. I FOCUS ON THE BLESSINGS!

Guilt, fear, and obligation can never help me to sustain my commitment to tithe for the long haul. It will eventually run out, and I’ll give up.

 

Listen to this full message by our podcast at http://www.lakeviewchurch.org/2016/08/14/tithing-matters-pt-1-pastor-ron-bontrager/

 

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