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The Battle Against Sin Is Actually Part of God’s Plan

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The Battle Against Sin Is Actually Part of God’s Plan

We have it in our heads that if we struggle with temptation, if we fall into sin from time to time, there must be something terribly wrong with us. Everyone else seems fine. We must be pretenders. But the truth is everyone struggles with something. The battle itself is part of living in the already … but not yet dilemma.

Through the cross Jesus overcame sin and nailed them on it. Yet still we have to fight the battle against sin. And I am convinced we will fight that battle until the day we die.

That’s basically what the writer of Hebrews says.

God uses the struggle against sin to grow us, so don’t be surprised by it.

Don’t be discouraged by it.

Fight the fight (Hebrews 12).

Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Now he holds the honored position—the one next to God the Father on the heavenly throne. Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up.

You struggle against sin, but your struggles haven’t killed you. You have forgotten the encouraging words that God speaks to you as his children:

“My child, pay attention when the Lord disciplines you. Don’t give up when he corrects you.

The Lord disciplines everyone he loves. He severely disciplines everyone he accepts as his child.”

Endure your discipline. God corrects you as a father corrects his children. All children are disciplined by their fathers. If you aren’t disciplined like the other children, you aren’t part of the family. On earth we have fathers who disciplined us, and we respect them. Shouldn’t we place ourselves under the authority of God, the father of spirits, so that we will live? For a short time our fathers disciplined us as they thought best. Yet, God disciplines us for our own good so that we can become holy like him. We don’t enjoy being disciplined. It always seems to cause more pain than joy. But later on, those who learn from that discipline have peace that comes from doing what is right.

 

Strengthen your tired arms and weak knees. 13 Keep walking along straight paths so that your injured leg won’t get worse. Instead, let it heal. Try to live peacefully with everyone, and try to live holy lives, because if you don’t, you will not see the Lord.”[1]

 

Every single one of God’s children lives between the “already” and the “not yet.”

Already Jesus reigns, but His final kingdom has not yet come.

Already sin has been defeated, but it has not yet been completely destroyed.

Already God has given you his Word, but it has not yet totally transformed your life.

Already you have been given grace, but God’s grace has not yet finished its work.

We all must wait for the final end of the work that God has begun in and for us.

But be assured, GOD IS AT WORK EVERYDAY!

“He who began a good work in you will will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

IMPERFECT? Yes.

PERFECT? Absolutely!

 

[1] Hebrews 12:1-14 GW

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Two More Reasons You Can Trust the Bible

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Two More Reasons You Can Trust the Bible

We are continuing our journey in this blog series, Why You Can Trust the Bible.

 1. The Bible is thematically unified.

This means that from Genesis to Revelation there is ONE thread and ONE theme that runs through it all. And that theme is Jesus.

In a book by a father and his son, “Letters from a Sceptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father’s Questions About Christianity,” Greg and Edward Boyd share, “After more than two centuries of facing the heaviest scientific guns that could be brought to bear, the Bible has survived-and is perhaps better for the siege. There is no other ancient work about which this could be said. And there is an amazing unity to the Bible, Dad, that defies natural explanation. From Genesis to Revelation we find one common unifying theme. It is about God’s loving pursuit of humanity and humanity’s resistance to God. The Bible constitutes a unified song about redemption.”

2. Jesus trusted the Bible

Jesus talked about the story of Noah and flood. He obviously believed it was a real story. He talked about the writings of Moses and the prophets and said all of them all pointed to Him.

He believed the Word of God because Jesus was the Word. He attributed the validity of His words by stating that they were the very words that God spoke to Him. I believe Jesus!

I trust the Bible more than the opinion of any scientist or university professor, more than any Hollywood pretty face or media sceptic. I trust the Bible because Jesus trusted the Bible.

 

The Bible Is Prophetically Precise

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The Bible Is Prophetically Precise

There are over 300 prophecies regarding Jesus written anywhere from 400 to 1500 years before His birth. They all came to pass:

  • The place of his birth was prophesied 750 years before it happened. Micah wrote; “Out of you Bethlehem will come the ruler of Israel, whose coming is from ancient days” (Micha 5:2)
  • His crucifixion was prophesied by His great, great … great grandfather, David in Psalm 22. The detail is staggering.

And the craziest thing is that David wrote this prophesy 300 years before crucifixions even existed!

The Bible is not only historically accurate, but it is also prophetically precise.

The 40 men who wrote the Bible lived in more than a dozen countries on three continents, covering a span of 1600 years. Think about this. Writing independently of each other without the benefit of Facebook, Twitter or emails, they each prophesied about the coming Messiah Jesus Christ – and every prophecy came to pass.

Josh McDowell, in his book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict says the probability of that happening randomly is like taking 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They’d cover the face of the state two feet deep. Then mark one (just one) of the silver dollars (with a sharpie or something) and stir the silver dollars all over the state. “Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would’ve had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.”

In a previous blog in this series, you read Peter’s own claim of reliability based on his own eyewitness account. In that same chapter, he went on to say that the Old Testament carried the same reliability as Peter’s writings.

“So we regard the words of the prophets as confirmed beyond all doubt. You’re doing well by paying attention to their words. First, you must understand this: No prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation. No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God’s direction” (2 Peter 1:19-21).

More than 3/4 of biblical prophecy has already been fulfilled with absolute accuracy. That means 1/4 of the prophecies have not yet happened. I assure you, the prophecies which have not yet been fulfilled with most certainly be fulfilled in God’s time.

The Bible is prophetically precise.

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

 

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 Bible Is Historically Accurate

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The Bible Is Historically Accurate

In my previous blog, I began to share with you, sources (aside from the Bible) that help me to trust in the reliability of the Bible with you. (If you missed it, go back and read, How Can You Trust the Bible? here.

As I mentioned before, historians must use very exact standards in order to prove the authenticity of any historical document:

  • There must be other eyewitness accounts: (not hearsay)
  • Were there other writers of that era who can authentic this story?

There must be multiple copies of manuscripts.

The original works of antiquity from Greek/Roman philosophers have not survived. So how do we know if the writings we attribute to Homer, as an example, are actually Homer’s writings?  Well, manuscripts – copies of the originals that still exist.

The most trusted work from Greek antiquity is Homer’s Illiad. So how many copies of The Illiad are known to exist in museums today? 1,827. Does that mean when I go online and download a copy of The Illiad I can trust it is accurate? YES. Why? Because 1,827 manuscripts exist today.

How many manuscripts of the Bible are known to exist today? Drum roll please! 66,420!

In 1947, shepherd boys near the Dead Sea found hundreds of jars of scripture from Ezekiel and Jeremiah. When they unrolled them, they were accurate to the texts we have today!

When I go online and download a copy of the Bible, I trust that it is accurate because 66,420 manuscripts still exist!

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

 

 

The Bible Grows My Faith

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The Bible Grows My Faith

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

The Word stimulates my faith. So if I consistently access God’s Word, my faith level goes up. If I consistently neglect God’s Word my faith level goes down. It’s all so predictable!

So, how do we build our lives on God’s Word?

The first step is to accept its authority. Some people really struggle with the authority of scripture. They ask:

  • How can we know if the Bible is actually God’s Word?
  • How do we know that God really spoke to the writers of scripture?

If you can believe in Jesus, you can believe in the Word because Jesus IS THE WORD!

Paul gave assurance to Pastor Timothy that the Word of God is reliable.

You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.[1]

Paul commended the Thessalonians for accepting the validity of the Word: “We thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”[2]

Did you see that? The Word of God WORKS in those who believe!

If your life is going to be built on the Word of God, you must settle this issue. Do you accept the Bible as the Word of God? If you are struggling with this, take some time and pray about it today.

To listen to this entire message via podcast, click here.

 

[1] 2 Timothy 3:15-16 NLT

[2] 1 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV

 

He is A God of The Basics

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He is A God of The Basics

Jesus prayed to the Father, “Give us our daily bread today.”[1] Bread is the most basic food we eat! God hasn’t promised that we will always have abundance in every season, but He has promised is to meet our needs abundantly.

God has promised to always cover our basic necessities. Truthfully, we want the abundance so we don’t have to trust for the basics. And scripture is very clear about this principle.

James 4:2-3 says, “You don’t have the things you want, because you don’t pray for them. When you pray for things, you don’t get them because you want them for the wrong reason—for your own pleasure.”[2]

On the one hand God says, “You may be asking for things that I know won’t help you. I have promised I will meet your basic needs every day of your life.”

Have you ever had the experience where God gave you what you asked for, and then He let you struggle through the challenge of the very thing He gave you?

Sometimes God gives us things we don’t need to teach us to learn to accept His “no.”

Every “no” that God gives comes with His foreknowledge. Every closed door is closed for a reason. We have to trust that God knows what is best.

God says, lean into me. Be content. Be grateful. I will meet your needs.

People who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth imagine that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.[3]

Just because our God is a giving God doesn’t mean He’s going to make every Christ follower rich in earthly riches. God knows what we need. He gives to us according to our God-given capacity.

Some of us are destined for more. Some of us are destined for a little less. It doesn’t really matter how much we are destined to oversee. What matters is how well we watch over what God has given us.

Do you enjoy what God has entrusted to you? Do you utilize it for the good of others? Are you content with God’s provision?

 

Listen to the entire message on Lakeview’s podcast. http://www.lakeviewchurch.org/2016/10/09/living-the-jesus-perspective-provision/

[1] Matthew 6:11 GW

[2] GW

[3] 1 Timothy 6:5-10 ESV

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