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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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(IM)Perfect – Already, But Not Yet

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(IM)Perfect – Already, But Not Yet

The theme of this blog series is really a play on words. You could read the title as IMPERFECT or you could read it as (I’M)PERFECT.

Because the truth is in Christ, I am perfect but the reality is I am also imperfect. That can be confusing.

  • If I’m perfect in Christ then why do I still struggle?
  • Why don’t I see victory in every area of my life?
  • Why is my mind not always clear?
  • Why is my body weak at time?
  • Why does my marriage struggle?

Is something wrong with me?

You have to understand that in Christ, I am positionally perfect but in this life, I am functionally imperfect.

Through the death, burial, and resurrection, of Christ He provided all that I will ever need to live a holy, victorious, overcoming life.

You and I live in the land of already … but not yet.

Hebrews 2:8 says, “You put everything under his control.”[1] When God put everything under his Son’s control, nothing was left out. However, at the present time we still don’t see everything under his Son’s control. Christ has already won the battle. He has already defeated Satan. Jesus has already dealt with sin, sickness, shame, sorrow, death and despair.

But in this present time we DO NOT YET see the fullness of it all.

Our theme text for this series is Hebrews 10:14: “For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”[2]

So which is it? Are we already MADE perfect or are we being made perfect? It’s both.

It is already….but not yet.

There’s a tension between the age that is and the age to come.

In this age we fight sin. We resist the devil. We contend against sickness. And in the already … but not yet age, Satan

[1] GW

[2] NIV

Make God’s Word a Weapon

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Make God’s Word a Weapon

Of all the pieces of the armor the Word instructs us to put on in Ephesians 6, only one of the pieces is actually a weapon. There’s a helmet, a shield, boots and a belt, but the only weapon is the Word of God.

“ABOVE ALL … take the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:17 says, “God’s Word is an indispensable weapon” (MSG).

This blog series comes from the story of the “Temptation of Christ” in the wilderness. The devil came to Jesus and tried to get Him off course. Satan tried to trip Jesus up by tempting Him to do things that were not a part of God’s plan.

And every single time Jesus came back with, “It is written!”

Memorize the Word. Eat it. Read it. Love it. Live it.

Say this aloud:  I will accept the Word as it is written. I will obey the Word! I embrace it! I will believe it! With God’s help, I will try my best to live it!

You can listen to the audio message here.

Only the Bible Has the Power to Transform My Life

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Only the Bible Has the Power to Transform My Life

This is the last of our blog series – “Why You Can Trust the Bible.” I hope you’ve enjoyed what I’ve shared and grown in faith as you’ve read the blogs.

At the end of the day, all of us have to answer this one question:

What will be the final authority in my life?

Will you choose the truth of the Word of God or the opinion of the world?

I chose a long time ago to build my life on the truth of God’s Word. And here’s one more reason why I trust in the Word of God:

Only the Bible has the power to transform my life.

There’s a reason the Bible is the most despised, derided, denied, disputed, dissected, debated, outlawed and destroyed book ever!

IT HAS POWER! Romans 1:16 says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it IS THE POWER OF GOD…”

One woman shared her story with us:

Lakeview is literally the only family I have. My dad was a drug dealer and my mother died of an overdose. The devil is real and is working hard to destroy people. Yesterday, a guy at work overdosed on heroin and I could barely keep him awake and alive until the ambulance got there. He had that same “death color” my mom had when I found her.

On a positive note – I literally get so excited thinking about coming to church on Sundays that I can’t sleep some Saturdays nights. I wish I could go to church all week and feel the way the I feel while in worship service.

Thanks for everything Pastor Ron. Lakeview has been amazing to me and my family. You have literally saved my life and we haven’t even met.  

With Love and Sincerity,

How many of you know, we didn’t change her. God’s Word did!

Jesus said in John 8:31, “If you hold on to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will SET YOU FREE!” (NIV).

 

The Bible Has Survived All Attacks of Man

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The Bible Has Survived All Attacks of Man

Mythical books like Homer’s Odyssey are never banded and burned. Why is that? Because they’re never seen as a threat.

And yet over the millenniums man has systematically tried to destroy the Bible. It’s exactly why we found the Dead Sea scrolls. They were hidden away in sealed jars, preserved from those who sought to destroy it forever.

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away,” (Matthew 24:35 NIV).

When the communist took over China the first thing they did was to try and destroy the Bible. They burned them in city squares. Many of the Chinese believers took their Bibles and carefully buried them in their back yards.

You can trust the Bible because it has survived all attacks of man.

When Castro took over Cuba, the first thing he did was to confiscate the Bibles, shut down the churches, and imprisoned all the pastors. I spoke with a Cuban pastor when I visited Cuba. He told me that the day he was arrested, as he was being brought into the prison with a large group of pastors, it came to him to hide his New Testament Bible under a tree. Every so often he’d go out and dig it up. He had to read it to stay sane! So do we!

In 1750’s the French philosopher Voltaire declared, “Within 100 years the Bible will be forgotten.” When he died, Voltaire’s home was eventually bought and turned into the French Bible Society!

The most popular books in the world over the last 50 years are The Davinci Code (57 million sold), Lord of the Rings (103 millon sold), Harry Potter series (400 million), The Works of Mao Tse-tung (820 million).

Do you have any guess on how many Bibles have been printed and sold? Four billion! Yes, I said 4 billion!

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:24-25 NIV).

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

 

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.

 

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