Friday, June 25, 2021
Today, I want to give you a third reason why I believe in the Bible, and that's this...
Friday, June 25, 2021
2 Peter 1:20-21
This week we have been looking at reasons why I believe the Bible. Today, I will give you the third and final reason. There are many, many, many, many reasons to believe the Bible, but I'm giving you three significant ones from two very significant passages. On June 21 and June 23rd I said the first two reasons I believe in the Bible are because it is God's inspired word to us, and because the Bible equips us for every good work. Those reasons came from 2 Timothy 3:16-17. It is one of the most important passages in the Bible about the value of the Bible. We talked about how everything the Bible asks us to do is good and our nation was built on Judeo-Christian values. So many things that people have done culturally, nationally, governmentally, individually, and church-wise, have been good because they follow the direction of the Bible.
So, "no prophecy ever had its origin in the will of men, but men spoke from God, as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." In other words, the Holy Spirit inspired men to write what they wrote. not in a mechanical dictation sense where they went into a trance, but in a sense that God put it on their heart to write these things, and he and they did, and God superintended it. In fact, this is called the doctrine of inerrancy. The Bible is without err in the original manuscripts, but here's what I want to say. You could say, "Yeah sure, the Bible is inerrant because that's what the Bible claims. That's a circular argument: the Bible's without err. How do you know that? Because the Bible says so." But here's what I want to say. Notice how it says all the prophets were inspired by God to write the same thing. How many of you could get 40 people together in a room and say, "Let's write a story about God," and they would all write the same thing? You know, the Bible has about 40 different authors. So how many of you would like to do it with 40 different authors over a period of approximately 1500 years? The first books of the Bible - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy - were written by Moses in about 1400 BC. The last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, was written around 95 or 96. AD. That's 1500 years! 40 different authors over 1500 years on multiple continents with multiple backgrounds: fishermen, fig pickers, doctors, lawyers, scholars, everyday people, etc. And yet, what comes out of it is one message. The Bible has no contradictions in it. It may seem to have some, but there's explainable reasons for the very, very precious few that seem to contradict. It's seamless. So, it proves to us that it is God's word. This could never happen if man tried to do it on his own.
That's why I believe the Bible. I hope not only that you'll have confidence in the Bible for yourself, but that you will have confidence in the Bible to tell others that the Bible is God's inspired word, is useful for good works, and is without err because of all the proof of all the authors and all the time and the one unified message as a result. I hope that inspires you to share your faith and have confidence in the Bible. Father, thank you for this truth. Help us not only believe this about the Bible, but actually read the Bible and be inspired to live it out every day. I ask this in Jesus' name, amen.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
This week, I'm talking about why I believe the Bible.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
2 Timothy 3:16-17
This week, I'm talking about why I believe the Bible. On June 21st, I said the first reason why I believe the Bible is because it is inspired by God. It is breathed by God and is literally God's word. We saw that in 2 Timothy 3:16. Today, I'm going to give you the second reason why I believe the Bible, which is that it equips us for every good work. Look at what 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is inspired by God, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
First, Paul says it's useful for those four things, which are basically life manual things, and then it goes on in verse 17, which is where I want to focus: "...so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." In other words, the Bible is not just a source of information, or a source of inspiration, it's a source of application. This verse is saying that everything that the Bible says is good, and everything the Bible asks us to do is a good work. The second reason I believe in the Bible is because it is good.
You say, 'Oh, that's very subjective, Vince, "The Bible is good."' Well, let me tell you how the Bible has helped so many different people in our nation. Do you know that the whole judicial system is based on biblical principles? The law talked about how to judge, and we have Lady Justice with the scale and the blindfold. We have the 10 commandments. Our Judeo-Christian value system for law was based on the Bible, what is good, what is bad. The morality of the Bible has affected virtually every culture on Earth. The truth of the Bible helps people know what to do. The people that have lived out the Bible have never had history point back and say, "What you did was wrong." Never. Have Christians done wrong things? Yes, but it wasn't sanctioned by the Bible. So it doesn't say that everything a Christian does is right, what it says is whenever a Christian does what the Bible says, then they do good works.
Finally, on a personal level, when you live out the Bible, nobody says,"My goodness, what a horrible life." No, it's good. So many people try so many different things, and it doesn't work, but the people who finally get their life, right how do they get it right? They come to the Bible. It's what happened to me on November of 1983. For 22 years I lived a self-ruled life, trying to figure out everything on my own, doing made up good work. You know what good works were to me? Whatever was convenient, that was good. Whatever I was doing, that was good. Everything else was wrong. If I didn't do it, but you did it, and I didn't like, it was wrong. It was very subjective. The Bible is absolute, clear, concrete. When we do what it says, we do good works. We see it in nations and countries. We see it in groups. We see it in cultures, we see it in our own individual lives. The Bible is the source of good works. Somebody asks why I believe the Bible? It's because everything in the Bible is good. Everything that God tells an individual to do in the Bible is good. Everything God tells the church to do is good. We have seen this for 2000 years. That's why so many cities in our nation were founded by Christians. So many hospitals were founded by Christians. That's why you still see house Methodist Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital, Baptist Hospital. Why? Because Christians did good works. History is loaded with people who lived out the Bible in good works. That's another reason why I believe the Bible, and I hope because you live it out you realize all the good things it inspires you to do when you live it out.
Father, thank you for your Word. It helps us know good from wrong. And because it is the source of good, we can believe in it. I thank you for this truth in Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, June 21, 2021
Why do you believe in the Bible? Why do you believe the Bible is worth living for? Do you have an answer for that?
Monday, June 21, 2021
2 Timothy 3:16
The Bible is the basis for everything we do at Lakeshore. It's the basis for all our services, all our groups, all our studies, all our events. It's the basis for Life Lifters. The Bible is the basis for everything we believe as a Christian. It's the basis for everything we do as a Christian, it's the basis for truth that every Christian lives for. But here's the question: why do you believe in the Bible? Why do you believe the Bible is worth living for? Do you have an answer for that? If somebody says, "Hey, man, I don't believe the Bible. Why would anybody believe the Bible?" What would you say?
I want to spend a few Life Lifters explaining why I believe the Bible. I'm going to give you three helpful reasons to believe the Bible. Here is the first. I believe the Bible is true, I put all my faith in the Bible because it is God's inspired word. The Bible is inspired by God. I get that from a very important passage, 2 Timothy 3:16. It says, "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness." So, the beginning of the text says all scripture, not some scripture, most scripture, or just Jesus' words (the words that are in red), but every word of scripture is, as the NIV translates it, "God-breathed." That's a literal translation. Some translations say inspired. And the Greek word for "God breathed" literally is Theos-pneuma. Theos meaning God, and pneuma, where we get our word pneumatic from. If you have a door with a wind cartridge, also called a pneumatic cartridge, the door doesn't just slam shut, the air in the cartridge helps it close gently. Pneuma is almost like breathed or spirited, and is also the word for the Holy Spirit. The Hagios Pneuma, or Holy Spirit. So what he's saying is that God breathed the scriptures. All scriptures are God-breathed. They're they're literally God's word.
Let's pray. Father, thank you for this precious book called The Bible. We trust in it because it is your word. You have breathed it to us, you inspired it for us. It is profitable for every good work. Help us to have confidence in it and share our belief in it to others in a way that they will believe too. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
The Bible is rich with insight about how to know God. In fact, the Bible IS how we know God, who he is and his characteristics and attributes.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Today, I'm going to talk about a very big topic in a very small amount of time. It's the idea of, "how do I know God?" The Bible is rich with insight about how to know God. In fact, the Bible IS how we know God, who he is and his characteristics and attributes. I want to focus in on one specific area from Psalm 119. I think there are seven principles that we can draw from this, and you can dig into this a little bit more on your own time. We are in Psalm 119:9-16. We don't know who wrote this song, but whoever wrote it knew God. It says, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word."
Now, there's a lot there. We're going to quickly draw seven principles and answer the question, "How can I know God?" First thing is Keeping the Word. He says, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word." In other words, by keeping the word of God, keeping the teachings of the Scriptures, holding on to them. The second thing he says is, "I will seek you with all of my heart, do not let me stray from your commands." Seek God, go after him. You search out for him, you go with everything that you are. He says, "I seek you with all of my heart." That means with all of my mind, with all of my understanding, I'm going to pursue you, God. Then he says, "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." So the third thing is this, Hide the Word. Now, that's a strange way to say it, but think of it this way: treasure it. When you have something that you deeply love and treasure, maybe it's a family heirloom, or maybe it's something that is significant or valuable, you hide it away. You keep it separate to keep it safe, and to keep it preserved. That's what he's saying. Hide the word, treasure the word of God, keep it in a safe place. Then he says, "Praise be to you, O Lord, teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth." So, the fourth thing is to Proclaim. When he says recount, we think of remembering, but the word actually here means to proclaim with my lips. I will shout, I will proclaim all of the laws that come from God's mouth. Proclaim the truth. That's the fourth thing.
The fifth thing is this, he says, "I rejoice in following your statutes, as one rejoices in great riches." The fifth is Rejoice in How Just God Is. "I rejoice in following your statutes," or following your instructions and your laws, "as one rejoices in great riches." So, rejoice in how just God truly is. The sixth thing is this, "I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways." This is Meditate on God's Call for You, specifically. He says "precepts and ways," meaning his instruction. Meditate on it. Think about it. When you're going throughout the day, it's not just about opening the Bible and seeing a couple words, it's meditating on it, thinking through what that means. He says to meditate on the precepts, the instructions, the path that God is setting you on. The seventh thing is this, "I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." Delight in His Word, find the joy and satisfaction in His Word to us.
So, let me answer that question that I started with. How do we truly know God? It's by knowing his word, and let me just recap the seven things. I know God by keeping his word, by seeking God with all that I am, by hiding his word in my heart and treasuring it, and by proclaiming the truth. I had a pastor friend tell me if you really want to understand something, you teach it. Proclaim it, proclaim the truth. Number five, rejoice in how just God is. Number six, meditate on how God calls us and what He has called us for. Seven, delight in His Word with joy and satisfaction. I don't know where you are today. I don't know what you're wrestling with. I don't know what your day looks like or what you're walking into. But know this, that God is with you. And God is for you. The way that you can be sure of that, the way that you can truly know him, is by the seven things that we talked about today.
Let me pray for you. Father, again, thank you so much for the Bible. Thank you so much for how you speak to us through it. I pray that we would remember these seven steps on how we can truly know you, so that there's no question, no hesitation. For that person who's watching or listening right now and they're just not sure, let them be encouraged. Lord, let them open that book and let them walk through those steps to understand, truly, who you are. We thank you for how you've clearly revealed yourself to us through your word. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Jesus knew this. Jesus, who created us and our eyes, who designed the eye, he knew this. And he used our eyes as an illustration to help us understand the importance of remaining devoted to God. So, in Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus said, "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" You see, the Greek word that is translated into English as "healthy" can also mean perfect, complete, wholeness, or singular. So, the eye that is singularly focused is a metaphor for being fully devoted to God. And when we focus our eyes on that which is good, that which is pure and holy, on those things that are pleasing to God, then our entire body, Jesus tells us, will be radiant, and filled with light. Our eyes, which is which is the lamp of the body, will lead us to follow God with full devotion. Then, we won't have to worry about material items, and the things that the world tries to entice us with and to draw us away from God with. So, focus on that which is good is the message that Jesus is telling us. Be devoted to God.
But, then he contrasts this by saying this, "But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great that darkness!" And that last statement, "how great is that darkness," is not a question. It's an emphatic statement that Jesus is saying. You see, the word unhealthy in verse 23 can also mean imperfect, evil, or morally corrupt. This is a metaphor for following after all of the trappings and material items that the world has to offer. So, Jesus is telling us that if we focus our eye on what the world has to offer, that which is evil or corrupt, that our entire body will be filled with darkness. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound good to me. And when our body is full of darkness, we will have no light to guide us, and we will wander and remain lost and hopeless in such great darkness. So we have a choice. We can we can only focus on one thing. So what will we choose to focus on? Will we focus our eye on God and remain devoted to him? Or will we let it wander? And will we allow it to focus on the things of this world? Will you focus on God and the eternal things that please him? Or will you focus on the world and the temporal counterfeit pleasures that this world has to offer?
Maybe you're struggling to focus on that which is good and remain devoted to God. I want to encourage you, then, today to go a little bit deeper. Take your Bibles and read Philippians 4:8. Then, flip over to Romans 12:1-2. I hope that these verses will give you some encouragement, some insight, and ways to stay focused on God today. I hope you guys found this challenging and encouraging at the same time, and I want to encourage you right now: don't just have a great day. Go and make a great day.
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
How do you know when you have true faith? How do you distinguish true faith from false faith?
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
James 2:14, 17
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
You have to understand your limitations. Why does God give you limitations?
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 11
So I want to talk to you about limitations. We all have limitations. Some of us have limitations in our education, or our intellect. Some of us have limitations because we've gone through bad experiences in our life, and they just limit our ability to trust or love. I don't know what your limitations are, but you have limits. Maybe you're just never going to be the visionary person, or you're never going to be the smile-all-the-time person, or you're never going to be this or that. You don't have to be any particular thing, but you have to understand your limitations. Why does God give you limitations? To fortify your faith, because faith is like a muscle. It must be strengthened and developed and fortified. Limitations will fortify your faith.
Where do I get that from? I get it from 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 11 TLB. This is what Paul says, "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed or broken. We are perplexed... but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.... Yes, we live under constant danger to our lives because we serve the Lord, but this gives us constant opportunities to show forth the power of Jesus Christ within our dying body." See that? Paul had limitations, but he wasn't broken or crushed. Limitations didn't let him give up or quit. What was Paul's limitation? People were after him because he was so on fire for Christ. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. He said, "Our bodies are dying." You can take all the supplements in the world. You can exercise until you're blue in the face, but your body is dying. And Paul says even though we have that limitation, the power of Jesus Christ is going to show forth. What's happening in Paul's life? Despite all these limitations, Paul's faith is being fortified. Your body is decaying. I mean, when you're younger it's getting stronger and healthier, but when you get to a certain age (which we usually expect to be about two years older than what we currently are) your body becomes weaker.
God wants to give you faith in those limitations. When you say, "I can't do this," God says, "Beautiful! I can." That's what Paul was essentially saying, "I can't change all these people who are after me. I can't change all these limitations in my life. But guess what? The one thing I can change is my faith in God through them all." And God gives us limitations to fortify our faith. What limitations are you staring in the face right now, nose to nose with? Fortify your faith, trust God with them. Go to God and say, "I know this is a limitation for me. But I know you can break through the limitation." God can help you through those limitations if you put your faith in him like Paul did in 2 Corinthians 4. Are you willing to put your faith in God through those limitations?
Let's pray. Father, I don't know what is limiting those watching this Life Lifter today. Whatever is limiting them, I pray that their faith would help them break through the limitation. We will always have limitations. But I pray, God, that through every limitation we face, our faith in you will be fortified and strengthened like it was for Paul. He knew he could only do so much, but that you would do the rest. We'll put our faith in you. So, whatever people are struggling with, give them faith to trust you help see them through the other side. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Today, I want to talk to you about weaknesses. Don't worry, I want to talk about weaknesses in a constructive way.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Today, I want to talk to you about weaknesses. Don't worry, I want to talk about weaknesses in a constructive way. God has given you weaknesses to develop your dependence. If God didn't give you any weaknesses, you wouldn't know that He can help you through them. You wouldn't depend on God like you do. By allowing us to have weaknesses, He calls us, or even forces us if need be, to depend on Him. Where do I get that from? I get it from the well-known passage, John 15:4-5. In it, Jesus is speaking and says, "Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing."
What was He teaching? Just like a branch can do nothing unless it has a vine it attaches to, we can do nothing without God. God gives you weaknesses to develop your dependence on Him. And the greatest thing you can do in life is develop your dependence on God, because He is a dependable God. And He wants to be the one that you acknowledge when you're weak. What weaknesses do you have? Do you struggle with bad habits? Have a temper? Are you independent, you like to do things by yourself? Has it been a while since you've been in church or read the Bible? Do you have trouble sitting still, or do you have trouble getting going? Whatever your weaknesses are, depend on God. That's what He wants to get out of you. He wants to develop dependence in you so that you depend on Him in your weaknesses.
We all have weaknesses. Nobody reading this can say, "I don't have any weaknesses." If you say you don't have any weaknesses, you just told me you have one, and it's lying, because you just lied. But God wants to use that to develop your dependence. You know what, when you're a little child, you hang on to your mom and dad's hand. My grandson, Brandon, who's nine and a half now is kind of getting out of holding my hand. Every now and then he'll hold my hand if nobody's looking. but he doesn't want me to hold his hand in front of his friends. And that's natural and understandable. But when he was really young, and he really needed a parent, he wanted to hold my hand. When Brandon was younger, sometimes even now when he's around strange people, he'll kind of come up and snuggle next to me and, and kind of have that confidence being near me. He thinks, "I want to depend on my grandfather, my Nono, because these are all strange people and I feel weak." God wants the same thing from us. That's why He's called our Heavenly Father. So wherever you're weak, develop your dependence on God. It's his plan.
Let's pray. Father, we all have weaknesses. Some of them have probably come to the forefront of our attention during this Life Lifters. I pray, God, that when we encounter weaknesses in our life that we would develop dependence on You. Like Jesus said, that we would be the branches that know that we cannot live unless we are attached to the vine. I pray that we would depend on You, God, as if our life depends on it, because it does. Help us to grow through our weaknesses, and to limit them and minimize them. We'll always have them, but help us to have victory over them. We asked this in the strong name of Jesus Christ, amen.