Healthy Doubts and Questioning

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11 (NIV).


John Fabre, the French naturalist, conducted an interesting experiment with some processionary caterpillars which are called by this name because they blindly follow one another one by one by one.

Fabre placed caterpillar food in the center of a flower pot and placed caterpillars end to end so they formed a complete circle around the edge of the pot. Round and round the caterpillars went for seven days and nights until they dropped dead from starvation and exhaustion—with all the food they needed only a few inches away.

Unfortunately many people are like processionary caterpillars in that they blindly follow a powerful or charismatic leader, never questioning what he or she says or teaches. This is true in false cults, certain religious traditions, secular organizations, some universities, politics, etc., etc.
Can you imagine questioning the Apostle Paul, the most powerful leader in the early Church? But the Christians in Berea did this and made sure that what he was teaching was in line with God’s Word. And they were commended for it.

It’s important that we, too, learn to study and know the Scriptures for ourselves, and question or review everything we are taught to make sure it is in harmony with what God’s Word teaches. While we need to respect respectful leaders, we need to make God’s Word our “final voice of authority” and not the words of men, no matter how high his or her position is.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please give me a love for your Word, the Bible, and help me to know and understand what it teaches, and be aware of and discard all false teaching. Help me to be certain that my beliefs and life style are in harmony with your Word. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Comment at: http://www.actsweb.org/daily.php?id=705

Advertisements

From Slaves of Sin to Slaves of God

A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul

Today, R.C. Sproul explains why being a slave of righteousness leads to indescribable freedom.

Sunday “Christians”

Sunday Christians may not be Christians. Only God knows. A couple of the pastors I listen to on the radio when I’m doing dishes or the like, repeatedly challenge their congregation—and by extension, those of us listening to the broadcast—to examine our hearts to see if we are of the faith, because it’s too, too easy to sit Sunday after Sunday in a church service and not actually be saved.

But how is that possible? someone may ask.

One way is to sit under the instruction of false teachers who “tickle our ears.” Of course, no one forces us to choose false teachers. This is something we do because we like it that way: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, (2 Tim. 4:3)

In other words, these false teachers are giving people what they want to hear, but it’s not the gospel.

Another way people calling themselves Christians may not actually be Christians, is if they see their “religious activity” as their ticket to heaven. In other words, going to church is just one activity on a list that they can check off and add to the “good deeds” side of the ledger. In their mistaken way of thinking, as long as the good outweighs the bad, they can bank on heaven for their future home. It’s sort of like depositing money in your savings account so when it comes time to buy a new house, you have a sufficient down payment.

Sadly, for these folk, salvation doesn’t work that way.

There’s a third category, and of course, there well may be Christians in this group. Only God knows their hearts. These are people who come to church, listen, say they believe, and then go away and live their lives as if they are just like everyone else. In other words, their Christianity does not inform their daily lives—what they say, how they work, what they do on their free time—none of it.

Some actually think this is a good thing. The more they can blend in with society, the better they think it is. They don’t want to look too radical, too focused on “just Christianity.” They want the empirical data to govern their every-day lives and the Bible to govern their spiritual lives—never the twain should meet.

What I don’t see or understand is how this approach fits in with the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He told us that we who would follow Him should take up our crosses daily. We are to die to self, and we are to live for Christ. This approach requires a total reordering of our lives, our priorities, our purposes. Can a person be a Christian without such a renewed approach to life?

Read more: https://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/2019/06/11/sunday-christians/

God’s Rest

Hebrews 4:1-13 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.

And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”

Hebrews 4:1-5 The warning continues in this text, but now the warning is building up to something wonderful.  The “promise” of entering His rest still stands. Needless to say, this is sometimes a source of confusion; what exactly is this “rest” that still stands?  In the original Old Testament context, the “rest” was the Promised Land, but it was also the Sabbath.  Now, there seems to be another context taking shape: What’s going on?

The warning continues in this text, but now the warning is building up to something wonderful.  The “promise” of entering His rest still stands. Needless to say, this is sometimes a source of confusion; what exactly is this “rest” that still stands?  In the original Old Testament context, the “rest” was the Promised Land, but it was also the Sabbath.  Now, there seems to be another context taking shape: What’s going on?

Whatever is going on, we still have that hope somehow, and we need to be careful that we don’t fall away from God before we get there. Now our author adds the rest and the Sabbath.  So is the Sabbath as promise?  Some say so, but last time I checked, it wasn’t a promise, it was a Commandment!  In fact, it’s one of the 10 Commandments, but unlike the other 9, Jesus didn’t re-assert this one in the Gospels:  Why? Because it was the sign of the Old Covenant, just as circumcision is the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant; neither are in force now. And yet, there is still a rest for the people of God…?

Continue at: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2019/06/16/sunday-sermon-notes-june-2019/

The Difference Between Knowing and Showing God Exists

https://chab123.wordpress.com/2019/06/14/the-difference-between-knowing-and-showing-god-exists-2/

A Pastor’s Reflections on Preaching About Faith & Science

~ Yancey Arrington

We recently finished up a sermon series on Faith & Science. It was one of the most well-attended, and highly invitational series in recent memory. Now that it’s over, I thought I’d offer a few reflections that come to mind.

#1: Congregants are more motivated about this topic than you think.

This was an easy topic to choose because we live in the backyard of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and as such, a large percentage of our congregants and neighbors have occupations that intersect the sciences (e.g., engineers, astronauts, scientists, medical personnel). But don’t let that fool you into thinking that the subject of faith and science is one in which you should pass because your demographic may differ. I discovered that just as many people from non scientifically-oriented backgrounds were also deeply drawn to this series. If philosopher Dr. Charles Taylor and his critically-acclaimed book A Secular Age‘s description of modernity is accurate, we live in time where atheistic materialism has come to full flower. It is the explanation for everything. Science is king and Christianity, by contrast, is harangued as a pale imitation for understanding our world. These are the waters in which all of your congregants swim. It’s the fight they deal with as they disciple their children who are indoctrinated into the secular age. It’s for reasons like these that your people thirst to know how the Christian faith actually engages science instead of tucks tail and runs.

Read more: https://blog.yanceyarrington.com/2019/05/22/a-pastors-reflections-on-preaching-about-faith-science/

10 Ways the Enemy Robs Us of Our Joy

By Chuck Lawless on Jun 05, 2019 01:00 am

Paul made it clear to us that we wrestle against demonic forces as we strive to follow Christ (Eph. 6:12). In fact, the enemy often seeks to destroy our Christian joy so that our witness for Christ loses its effectiveness. Here are some ways he seeks to rob us:

  1. He wants us to magnify our mistakes, dwell on them, and struggle with accepting God’s forgiveness. It’s tough to speak about grace when we’re not willing to receive it.
  2. He wants us to dwell on one complaint rather than see the good that God is doing through us. Some of us will focus on one complainer even if two dozen people are saved that day.
  3. He entices us into secret sin. The work of hiding simply drains us of inner joy, even when we can fake it on the outside as we do ministry.
  4. He leads us to see only the negatives about our sermons. One fumbled word. One unclear illustration. One moment of forgetfulness. One minute longer than we intended to preach. One missed Bible verse. Just one—but that one thing echoes in our mind for the rest of the day (if not longer).
  5. He aims his arrows at our families. The pain of spiritual attack on our loved ones is agonizing indeed—especially if we sense that the enemy is attacking because we’ve been faithful to follow God. In the weakest moments, we wonder if it’s worth it.

The rest are at: https://chucklawless.us10.list-manage.com/track/click