Bible

A Matter of the Heart – Romans 2:11-29

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February 15, 2015

“Everyone does what he believes…everything else is just talk! Followers of Jesus live according to the righteous character of Jesus!” – Pastor David Horner

 

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By What Authority – Matthew 28:18; Mark 4:35-41

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September 28, 2014

“To live the life God desires for us, we must submit to Jesus Christ, the LORD, the only ultimate authority in heaven and on earth.” – Pastor David Horner

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By What Authority-1

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Living against the grain by believing the Bible

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221una-lectur_1354119604675Living against the grain…that is what it is like to take a stand for Christ in a culture that does not see eye to eye with biblical faith.  On Sunday at Providence, we took time to explain why the Bible is a trustworthy foundation upon which to build our lives.  We can trust what He says, of course, but in order to live in the fullness of our new life in Christ, we must learn how to do what He says.

Healthy, new-born babies have a natural hunger that compels them to demand food. Their piercing cries in the night will long be remembered by their parents as a clear indication that the little one desired food. Their hunger and cry for food reminded their parents that a new life needs nourishment.

In the same way, when someone has been born of the Spirit of God, the natural, normal response to new life is to hunger for spiritual food. God’s Word is that food. A healthy, growing church is made up of people who have been born of the Spirit–or born again–and who have a real hunger for the Word of God. Just as physical food helps us grow to maturity physically, so spiritual food helps us grow to maturity spiritually.

Since God has revealed His will to His people through His Word, the Bible, it is essential for us to place ourselves totally under the authority of that Word. In order to grow toward maturity, therefore, we must come together as a church to ask ourselves week by week, day by day, and moment by moment two weighty questions: 1) Are you willing to do what the Bible says? 2) What does the Bible say?

The Bible calls His disciples the righteous ones of Christ.  But they will be righteous only as they answer those questions correctly. Paul writes in Romans 2:13: “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” The second part of the verse should give us the answer to the first question. We must be willing to do what the Bible says if we expect to please God and so inherit His blessing in our lives. “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28)

On this point, we must be very clear. Our willingness to obey puts us under the umbrella of the authority of God’s Word as a rule of life. Therefore, all that is written in God’s Word is applicable to all of our lives. There is no room for negotiation. There is no room for compromise. If we are God’s people, we must be willing to do all that His Word requires of us.

What, then, does the Word of God say? That is the primary focus of our attention each time the body of Christ gathers. As a matter of fact, the role of the pastor-teacher according to Ephesians 4:12-13 is “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” I am called to teach and preach the Word of God to the end that the saints of God are maturing in Him through a knowledge of what the Bible says. What that knowledge requires is obedience.

So there it is. Will we do what the Bible says? Then, come, let us find together what it says, and then we will put it into practice so that the God of peace will be with us in all of His fullness!

And now a brief word about the Word…

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As the month of May began, I cracked open the shrink wrap on a new pocket-sized Bible…the cover on the old one had finally worn out!  Frankly, I am like a kid with something new, excited about the freshness of the feel of the cover and the aroma of the leather…but there has to be something more.  This is the Word of God!!

Although I have been committed to the final authority of Scripture since my college days, over the years I have seen trends that have been unsettling in some cases, and disturbing in others.  People who speak well of the Scriptures have not always thought well of the Scriptures.  Saying we believe in the veracity of the Word is great.  But basing what we believe and do on what the Bible says is far better!

The drift away from truth in our culture in general has also impacted the way many treat the truth of the Bible.  They say they believe it is true, but then hedge their bets when it gets down to specific points of biblical teaching.  For example, it has become acceptable in some quarters to affirm “what the Scriptures teach” and then assume the right to put your own spin on an “interpretation” you like best and then declare that is what the text teaches.  The result is a diluted view of biblical authority that says, “I see what the text says but I don’t think that is what it means.”  Convenient perhaps, if you want it to mean something other than what it says, but not exactly faithful to the understanding that we are under the authority of the Scripture, not vice versa!

Another troubling example I have heard is a division of the house regarding which parts we can affirm confidently and which parts we can dismiss inconsequentially.  Some Bible teachers have actually stated that they affirm what Jesus says (or in some cases, ‘implies’), but not what Paul says.  So their approach to Scripture is the ‘red letter’ stuff that Jesus said is more trustworthy than what Paul wrote.  To quote one advocate of this position, “I prefer what Jesus said on this subject to what Paul says…I’m going to go with Jesus on this one!”  Great applause grabber in a truth-denying culture, but an affront to the inerrancy of Scripture!!  If all Scripture is inspired, God-breathed, the same Holy Spirit authored all of it…what Jesus said and what Paul said and what Moses said and what Isaiah said…He is the source of every word!  The unity of Scripture comes from the One Author responsible for all of it!

So here is my plea…let the Bible speak and allow it to say what it means and mean what it says!  Does that mean we can understand everything in it all the time?  Of course not, but much of the time the issue is not whether we understand, but whether we like or agree with what it says!  Take the Word at its word!  The trustworthiness of the text has long been attacked, as many try to undermine its authenticity.  The meaning of its words has long been questioned, as many try to impose an ‘interpretation’ that is in fact nothing more than a ‘substitution’ or a ‘refutation.’

In the following verses, hear what the Bible says about itself.  This is what I believe.  This is where I take my stand as a follower of Christ.  And this is my delight!

2Tim. 3:16-17   All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Psa. 18:30  As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.  He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

Psa. 119:89, 97, 103, 105   Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens… Oh, how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long…How sweet are your words to my taste,  sweeter than honey to my mouth! …Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psa. 138:2  I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

Matt. 24:35 “ Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.

1 Pet. 1:24-25   For, “All men 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 stands forever.”  And this is the word that was preached to you.

Are there more portions of Scripture that affirm these same kinds of things?  Absolutely!  Go see!  Dig into the sweet mines of eternal truth and let the Lord convince you of these things and then allow them to shape what you think, believe and do.  One last word and I will stop!

Jesus said, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:17).  If you know that the Scriptures are trustworthy in all things, then have at it…believe it…and in the power of Jesus’ name, go do what He says!