Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Why Study the Bible?


How often do you read the Bible during a typical week, not counting the time you are at church? In a recent survey, only 13% of Christians said they read it daily. That number increased to 32% when asked if they read it three times a week, but 43% of those Christians surveyed admit that they don’t read the Bible at all outside of church. So, why should we study the Bible? We should study the Bible because we are the people of God and the Bible is the Word of God. It is beneficial for every area of our lives.


All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16


Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4   

If you want to live life to the fullest, study and obey God's Word.


The Bible will also help you distinguish truth from error.
 
King David wrote, “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” Psalm 119:160 


Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17


You can learn what God is like by reading the Bible. God is Spirit. He is an eternal divine being who is unchangeable in His love, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. 

Most people want to go to heaven, but too many assume that being good is sufficient.


Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6


So, does that mean that doing good deeds and giving money to charitable causes is not enough?


For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9


Well, if being good isn’t good enough, how does one become a follower of Jesus?


If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10


One of the things you learn by reading the Bible is that God loves you.


God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8


God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16


Studying the Bible can also be compared to searching for hidden treasure.


My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5


As important as reading and studying the Bible is, doing what it says is life changing.


But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. James 1:22-24


May God bless you richly as you mine the transformative treasures found in the Scriptures!






Monday, December 10, 2018

Waiting for the Promise

I have a confession to make. I don’t like to wait, but waiting is a part of life. As a child, waiting for Christmas seemed like it took forever to arrive. As time progressed, I couldn’t wait to become a teen, and then an adult, but still I had to wait. 

Whenever I checkout at the store, I have a tendency to pick the slowest moving line, and so I wait. When I go to Starbucks, all I want is a plain old cup of black coffee, but I have to wait for the woman who wants a Venti, sugar-free, non-fat, vanilla soy, double shot latte, no foam, extra hot, Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with light whip and extra syrup, double cupped. And so I’m learning to wait.

In the Garden of Eden, God made a promise to Adam and Eve after they sinned against Him. He promised to send a Redeemer who would crush Satan, but the world had to wait thousands of years for the promise to come to fruition.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15

Two thousand years later, there lived a man named Abraham. God asked him to leave his country and his kinfolk and go to a foreign land that God would show him. He obeyed and God made a promise to Abraham.

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3

All the people on earth would be blessed through the coming Messiah who would descend from Abraham. But it all began with one child of promise. God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, but they waited twenty five years for Isaac to be born. 

The nation of Israel began with Abraham and one of his best known descendants was King David. When the prophet Samuel anointed David to be the next king, David still had to wait. He waited over 15 years before he would take the throne of Judah and he waited another 7 years before he ruled over the united kingdom of Israel and Judah. And several years later God makes this promise to David.

The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 2 Samuel 7:11-13

That last phrase refers to the promised Messiah but Israel waited another thousand years before He came. Three hundred years after King David, God raised up the prophet Isaiah. This promise came through the prophet.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

The virgin birth is important. We’re all born with a sin nature because we are descendants of Adam and Eve. In order for God to take on flesh and blood without the sin nature, he bypassed the earthly father. The child in Mary’s womb was miraculously conceived by Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus was able to live a sinless life and become the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God.

After the prophecy of Isaiah, Israel still had to wait seven hundred more years for the coming of Messiah. And many didn’t even recognize Him when He came. They didn’t realize that He would first come to suffer and die and at His second coming He would establish His earthly kingdom. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  Many failed to recognize that the promised one is Jesus.

In his gospel record, Matthew traces the genealogy of Jesus all the way back to Abraham.

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1

And so after the world waited over four thousand years, the promised Messiah came to earth to save His people from their sins. That's what Christmas is all about.

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12 

He lived a perfect sinless life, was crucified, died and was buried, and on the third day He rose again victorious over the grave, death and hell. Those who receive Jesus as Lord are given the right to become children of God and citizens of His kingdom. Jesus promised to return, and still we wait. For over two thousand years we’ve been waiting for His promised return.  

God’s timetable is not the same as ours. One day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day to the Lord. So from His perspective, Jesus has only been gone for a couple of days! Peter encourages our hearts and reminds us why Jesus has not returned yet.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient and merciful toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9 


And so as we celebrate His first advent this Christmas, we anxiously await His second coming. And everyone who has this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.