Thursday, September 13, 2012

2 Timothy 3:16 – 17 “Authority of the Bible”

2 Timothy 3:16 – 17 “Authority of the Bible”

I.          Key issue… everything hangs on what authority you give to the Bible.
            A.         Is it “advisory?”

                        1.         Is it one voice of many you consider?
                                    -- Media, science, government, friends, rumor, etc…
                        2.         Is it something that you can “discount” if you don’t like?
                                    -- Motives, training, culture, history, etc…

            B.         Where you put the Bible in order determines EVERYTHING.

                        1.         The Bible is INSPIRED (It is God speaking to us).
                        2.         The Bible is INERRANT (Without mistakes and divinely preserved).
                        3.         The Bible is INFALLIBLE (Trustworthy in message… always effective).
                        4.         The Bible is INTERNALLY CONSISTENT (The Bible interprets the Bible).
                        5.         The Holy Spirit ILLUMINATES the meaning (Personal message).

            C.         Bottom line:

                        1.         Evidence:
                                    a.         “Manuscripts” ancient text ranging from first century forward…
                                                1.)        5,686 texts  plus 24,000 fragments (1.3 million pages)
                                                2.)        Variance: less than 5%
                                    b.         Prophecy: 100% accuracy.
                                                1.)        “Dead Sea Scrolls” contains a copy of Isaiah that is at least                                                                        100 years before the time of Christ. (Confirms it existed                                                                  before Jesus.)
                                                2.)        Over 300 prophecies about Jesus fulfilled.
                                    c.         Scientific agreement: round earth (Is 40:22), law of conversion of                                                   mass and energy (1 Peter 3:7), hydraulic cycle (Eccl. 1:7), number                                                  of stars (Jer. 33:22), increasing entropy (Ps 102:25 – 27), the value                                                  of blood for life (Lev. 17:11), atmospheric circulation (Eccl. 1:6),                                                    gravity (Job 26:7)
                                    d.         Archeological evidence:
                                                1.)        Genesis 14, five kings defeated by Abraham was thought                                                                to be a myth until the discovery of the Ebla Tablets.  (They                                                              mention the five kings.)
                                                2.)        In 1930 Gertsang discovered a layer of wall around historic                                                             Jericho that fell out.
                                                3.)        The existence of Nineveh was laughed at until 1840’s                                                                     when explorers dug into the hill named after Jonah.

                        2.         The Bible “has been faithfully preserved and proves itself true in human                                       experience.” [FMC statement of faith]

II.         So what does the Bible say about itself?

            A.         It is profitable (useful) for many uses:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” [2 Timothy 3:16 – 17]

                        1.         In other words: it teaches us what we need to know.
                        2.         Salvation, relationship with God, relationship with others.

            B.         It keeps us out of trouble:

 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.”  [Psalm 119:9]

                        1.         Pure means “clean”
                        2.         Generally we are repulsed by the contaminated and rotten.

***** So why do we like it in real life with things that are destructive? *****

(Answer: because it provides something in the short term. See Hebrews 11:25]

            C.         It keeps us alive:

“For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life.” [Proverbs 6:23]

                        1.         Sometimes we don’t know what is best, and there are some very                                                    dangerous things loose in this world. (e.g. AIDS)
                        2.         Light exposes what is in the darkness… gives clear insight to what is really                                               happening.

III.        Why is this so dangerous?

            A.         It was the first part of the temptation:

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, `You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?” [Genesis 3:1]

                        1.         Satan ALWAYS starts with undermining what God said…
                                    a.         Two traits of the devil’s presence: darkness and questioning God’s                                                Word.
                                    b.         Simple strategy: control the battle field.  (If you are on your own                                                     you are helpless against the enemy of your soul.)

***** “He who controls the language controls the battle.” *****

                        2.         Once the question has been planted, there is no way to know what                                                direction it will take.

            B.         Our culture has an allergy to any authority outside itself.

                        1.         If you believe the Bible… there are some ugly names.
                                    a.         Social pressure, marginalize, threaten, and then silence.
                                    b.         The Bible is NOT believed from so many different directions the                                                     pressure can get to us.

It is claimed that 80% of college bound students who profess to be Christians return no longer believing in Christ.  (Dr. James Dobson put this at 86%.)

                        2.         Bottom line:

“Nothing has more impact on spiritual growth than reflection on Scripture.” [Hawkings and Parkinson “Move” p. 19]

                                    a.         No Bible… no growth.
                                    b.         No growth… then death.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Financial principle #3: Tithe

Financial principle #3: Tithe

I.          The BIBLICAL history of tithing.

            A.         Abraham [Genesis 14:17 – 20]

                        1.         After victory, Abraham is met by Melchizedek (king of Salem/High Priest).
                        2.         Melchizedek greets him with bread and wine (v 18)
                        3.         Melchizedek then blesses Abraham in the name of “God Most High” (vv                                        19b, 20a)
                        4.         Abraham responds by giving a tenth (tithe) of EVERYTHING.

            B.         Malachi 3:6 – 11 (tithes and offerings)

                        1.         Context: A rejected priesthood and religious system (1:10)
                        2.         Context: (v 6) “For I the Lord do not change.”
                        3.         Context: (v 10) The ONLY place in the Bible where God says “put me to                                         the test.”
                        4.         Context: (v 11) God promises to hold off “the devourer.”

            C.         Jesus (Matthew 23:23)

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

                        1.         Context: list of “woes” that Jesus leveled at the Pharisees (legalism).
                        2.         They had the letter down but missed the meaning.
                        3.         Jesus is up-holding the “tithe.”

 II.         Ideas about tithing

            A.         History:

                        1.         Origen, Jerome, and Augustine all taught that the tithe was the minimum.
                        2.         The tithe became a legal requirement in some nations (Europe), making it                                     a tax.
                        3.         Others:
                                    a.         Barnes “practical acknowledgment of the absolute and exclusive                                                   supremacy of God.”
                                    b.         Gill and Henry: “respect” and “thankfulness” and “gratitude”

            B.         Modern:

                        1.         Dave Ramsey

                                    a.         Tithing is for our benefit… put God first, teach us to be unselfish.
                                    b.         “If you cannot live on 90% of your income, then you cannot live                                                      on 100%”
                                    c.         Tithing is an act of love for God.  (not church or pastor)

                        2.         Randy Alcorn

                                    a.         “Our giving is a reflexive response to the grace of God.”
                                    b.         “Money leads, hearts follow.”
                                    c.         Tithing is NOT legalism… “does God expect His new covenant                                                        people to give less or more?”

III.        Tithing is a matter of the heart!

            A.         2 Corinthians 8:1 – 5 

“[1] And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. [2] Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. [3] For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, [4] they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. [5] And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.”

                        1.         Notice the Macedonian church’s social and financial situation:
                                    a.         Social: “severe trial” (persecution)
                                    b.         Financial: “extreme poverty”
                        2.         Look what they did:
                                    a.         They “urgently pleaded” for the “privilege” of helping others!
                                    b.         They gave “generously”… “even beyond their ability.”

            B.         Reality check:

                        1.         Barna claims on average 53% of Christians have given NOTHING to their                                       church in the last month.
                        2.         PBS “Affluenza”:
                                    a.         Average American shops 6 hours a week, plays with their children                                                  40 minutes a week.
                                    b.         In the year before the showing, more Americans declared                                                               bankruptcy than graduated from college.
                                    c.         In 90% of divorce cases, money played a prominent role.
                        3.         An idea:
                                    a.         The SAME Greek word is translated “grace” and “giving.”
                                    b.         Dixie Fraley “We’re most like God when we’re giving.”

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Acts 2:1—3 Gifts of the Will

Acts 2:1—3
Gifts of the Will

[Appeal to the will of the individual]

I.          Sign gifts… demand an immediate judgment/decision.
            A.         “Tongues”
                        1.         Greek: “glossolalia” – the fluid vocalization of another language                                                    previously unknown to the speaker.  (Possibly the hearing/understanding    in the native language of the listener when the speaker speaks in their native language.)
                        2.         Two understandings:
                                    a.         Acts 2… speaking an actual language.
                                    b.         Speaking a “heavenly” language.
            B.         Miracles [1 Cor. 12:28]
                        1.         A miracle is something that cannot happen naturally or be explained                                             naturally (or scientifically).
                        2.         Miracles by nature are RARE.
            C.         Healing [1 Cor. 12:28]
                        1.         Healing is change of a physical condition to health… sometimes to a state                                                of health completely previously unknown.
                        2.         e.g. man born blind.
            D.         Martyrdom [1 Corinthians 13:3]
                        1.         Martyrdom is when someone lays down their life in such a way that Jesus                                     is made known. [Acts 7:56]
                        2.         This is the Greek word that eventually became translated as “witness” in                                      the English language.
                        3.         Courage, commitment, and audience response.
II.         Position gifts [Ephesians 4:11 –13]
            A.         Positions of leadership (power).
                        1.         Apostles NO LONGER EXIST.  Qualification… eye witness to the life of                                           Jesus.  (Some claim the title, but it’s meaning is NOT Biblical…. It’s more                                       in line with claiming to be “Bishop” or some other level of                                                                     ordination/administration.)
                        2.         Evangelist are both “traveling” and personal.  (e.g. Philip) [Acts 8:5]
                        3.         “Catch-all” category including “leadership” (Romans 12:8) and                                                      “administration” (1 Cor. 12:28)
            B.         Pastoral image:
                        1.         “Pastor” comes from the image of shepherd… image is that the “pastor”                                       is one who has the heart of Jesus for the people.
                        2.         It is a “lead” position as opposed to a “drive” position.  (above gifts).
                        3.         It is a “care” position NOT a “dare” position. (above gifts).
            C.         Nurturing image:
                        1.         “Teachers” comes from the Greek word more commonly known as                                                 “deacon” (servants)  [Different word than “slave” (“doulos”)]
                        2.         Information… the practical “how to.”
Wesley: “A prophet testifies of things to come; an evangelist of things past...”
(Implying) Then the pastor testifies to things that are of the present. (Dan Waite)

III.        What does this mean?
            A.         Those who posses these gift are few.
                        1.         They are those who lead (position gifts).
                        2.         They are those who are special occasion (for a reason) gifts (sign gifts).
            B.         However, the universal responsibilities exist in all of us.
                        1.         For instance: martyrdom…
                                    a.         Dying to self every day.
                                    b.         Giving of one’s life in an actual death.
                        2.         For instance: pastor…
                                    a.         Opportunity to show the heart of Jesus to someone outside the                                                      church.
                                    b.         ties in with evangelism/witness… “Preach the gospel, use words if                                                            necessary.”
[NOT inclusive list/example of the gift/universal obligation principle…]
            C.         Reality of American Christianity (from my perspective)
                        1.         We’ve created a consumer mentality… we go to where we get the best                                          service.  (No truth necessary)
                        2.         Result: we want a religion we can agree with NOT one we can own.
 [Agree means we think it should be done… by someone.  Own means we sacrifice for it.]
                        3.         These gifts cause us to understand we may not remain in agreement.
                                    a.         Christianity is either REJECTED.
                                    b.         Or it is intentional CROSS-CARRYING death to self, alive to God in                                                  service to others.
***** How do I know this?  It is what Jesus did. *****