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Archive for the ‘faithfulness’ Category

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How do we know what’s right and wrong? How do we know that abortion is wrong? How do we know that all human beings have dignity, value, and worth? How do we know that there are two sexes – male and female – which are assigned to us by God at our conception? How do we know the true spiritual condition of mankind (lost, sinful, and fallen)? How do we know how we can be right with God?

There are a number of answers, and almost all of them are wrong. Human reason and logic can’t give us the answers. Neither can intuition, personal experience, or tradition. As Christians, we rely on revelation. God has revealed Himself to us and He has spoken to us in His Word. The reason we know anything, and can know anything, is because God has revealed it to us.

When we think about any issue or question, whether inside the church or not, our first question needs to be “What does the Scripture say?” In other words, we need to ask what God thinks about it. This ought to be our first instinct, not our last. God’s Word – what He has to say – is authoritative in every area of life. That instinct, however, is in short supply in today’s church. We seem to take our cues from just about any other source than God and His Word.

It ought not be so, as illustrated by the following two passages. The apostle Paul has been arguing in the early chapters of the book of Romans that everyone is sinful and, therefore, deserving of God’s wrath (1:18-3:20). He then proclaims that justification by faith alone is the answer to the question of how sinful man can be right with a holy God (3:21-31). In 4:1, he says, in effect, “What about Abraham? How was he justified?” In order to give his answer, he appeals to Scripture, when he says, “What does the Scripture say?” (4:3). A quotation from Genesis 15:6 follows: “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Paul cites Scripture to make his case and bring the discussion to an end – the matter is settled.

The second passage is Matthew 19:3-9. Some Pharisees challenged Jesus about whether or not a man could divorce his wife. Instead of quoting an influential rabbi or two, Jesus went straight to the Scripture to give the authoritative answer. He said, “Have you not read?” in verse 4. In other words, “What does the Scripture say?” The Lord Jesus asked this question many times during His ministry. He continually appealed to God’s Word as the final authority in all matters.

The church needs to remember and recover this crucial principle. We know what’s right and wrong, what’s true and false, because we read it in God’s Word – because God says so. There’s nothing wrong with believing and saying that. In fact, if we’re going to be faithful Christians, that’s exactly what we’ll do.

 

 

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weary

Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing (Judges 8:4).

The Midianites had oppressed Israel for seven years. In response to the cries and prayers of His people, God raised up Gideon as a judge and deliverer. After paring down Gideon’s army from 32,000 to a mere 300, God told him to pursue the Midianites and promised him victory.

That doesn’t mean it was easy, however. Gideon and his men, the Scripture says, were “weary yet pursuing” the Midianites. In the English Standard Version, weary is translated as “exhausted.”

We all get tired. We all become weary, even to the point of exhaustion. And the truth of the matter is that we can become weary, even if we’re doing precisely what God has commanded us to do – when we’re obedient to His will. Obedience doesn’t make us immune to weariness and exhaustion. That was true for Gideon and his men and it’s true for us. The weariness could be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual (or any combination), but it happens and it’s real.

Gideon and his 300 men were weary, but they kept going – they pressed on and pursued by the power of the Holy Spirit and ultimately gained the promised victory.

In Isaiah 40:28-31, we have God’s promise and a good dose of hope for the weary:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

When you’re weary, continue to pursue in the power of God’s Spirit. In the words of J.I. Packer, “Trust God and get going.”

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luke-10

I had the privilege this morning of hearing Dr. Jim Newheiser preach on Luke 10:38-42. The following is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Being served by Jesus is more important than serving Jesus.

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mylordandmygod

This morning I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on John 20:21-30. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Continue to believe and trust Jesus Christ, who is our Lord and our God.

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therefore-we-ought-to-support-people-like-these-that-we-may-be-fellow-worke-esv14665

I had the privilege this morning of hearing Darren Carlson, founder of President of Teaching Leaders International, preach on 3 John 1-8. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: A faithful church receives and sends missionaries for the glory of God.

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lion-fear-no-evil-wallpaper_1920x1200

One of your parents may have said to you, “How many times do I have to tell you this?” I know I heard it growing up, and many of you have said it to your own kids.

Why is repetition necessary? Because we forget. We don’t remember everything we’ve ever heard and we definitely don’t put it all into practice.

God tells us over four hundred times in His Word not be afraid. Isaiah 41:10 is one of those places: Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” 

He tells us four hundred times because we forget. Yes, we read and hear His promise. But shortly thereafter, when we face uncertainty or anything anxiety-inducing, we forget His precious promise and begin to fret.

The promise of God isn’t simply strength, help, and upholding, as wonderful as all of those are. God promises Himself to us! The presence He gives is Himself — the omnipresent One who is present with His people in a special and intimate way. The strength He gives is Himself — the One who is omnipotent. The help He gives is Himself — the God who is able. The upholding He gives is Himself — the God is faithful to His covenant promises.

What, or whom, do we have to fear if God gives us Himself? Let’s not forget that.

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talents1

I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Keith Thomas of Bridge City Fellowship preach on Matthew 25:14-30. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: God’s infinite generosity should motivate us to make the most of every talent, ability, and opportunity He gives us.

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