God’s Word is our Authority

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Occasionally, at church or the Adventist school where I teach Bible and evangelism, someone will ask me, “What do we believe about such and such?” My response has always been, “I don’t know what you believe, but here is what I, and many Seventh-day Adventists believe,” and I show them in the Bible what I believe and why. I am not going to tell someone what they believe. That is not teaching. It is brainwashing.

During the dark ages, when people did not have access to the Bible, people trusted their priests to tell them what they believed, and because of that there was a lot of brainwashing going on.

Even before the dark ages, priests abused their authority, and tried to brainwash people into believing whatever they believed. This happened in Jesus’ day when those in “authority” were trying to capture Jesus.

When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded. “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? John 7:45-48 NLT

The guards experienced and heard the Word of God speaking to them, and believed. Since the pharisees did not want to believe, they mocked at this. in John 7 the pharisees miscounstrued Scripture to try and prove their point, but amazingly instead of hanging their hat on Scripture, they hung it on the fact that none of the rulers or leaders believed.

So if someone in “authority” believes something it is automatically right, and if they don’t then it is automatically wrong? The pharisees seemed to think so. Do some think that way today?

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11 NLT

Like the Temple guards, the Bereans were interested in new ideas as long as they were found in Scripture. They didn’t believe something because Paul and Silas believed it or becasue a ruler did. On their own they searched the Scriptures daily to find truth.

I have heard Seventh-day Adventists telling their Baptist and Methodist friends to search the Bible for themselves because their pastors could be wrong. I have watched some of the same Seventh-day Adventists listening to their own favorite Adventist preachers, wihtout bothering to search the Scriptures, because after all, their pastor is Adventist so he is automatically right, right? Wrong! We all make mistakes, as we all continue to learn and grow.

Let’s not be like the foolish pharisees in John 7, who hang their hats on whether or not the rulers or those in authority believed something or not. Let’s be like the temple guards and hang our hat on the Word of God.

You may study this week’s SS lesson here. 

Proverbs in Light of The Cross; God’s Word Proves True Every Time

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Every word of God proves true…Proverbs 30:5 NLT

God’s Word said “if you eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil you will die.” The serpent said, “No way! Look. I ate and not only did I not die but I can even talk now.”  Eve believed in what she heard and saw from the serpent instead of believing God’s Word. Turns out God’s Word was true. She died.

God told us through the prophet Daniel that Europe would never be reunited into a one world empire after Rome fell. In World War 2 Arthur Maxwell’s superiors were so afraid Hitler would take over Europe that they asked him not to publish his article claiming, according to Daniel 2, that there was no way Hitler could win and take over Europe. Maxwell published his article anyways. Good thing he did, because it turned out God’s Word was true. Hitler lost. Europe has never been reunited into a one world empire.

In the wilderness Satan wanted to tempt Jesus and make Him doubt He was the Son of God. After all He probably did not look the best after 40 days of fasting. Jesus said He did not need any signs, like turning stones to bread to prove He was God’s Son. He had already heard God call Him Son at His baptism. Jesus put His faith in God’s Word instead of appearances. Turns out God’s Word is true. Even the centurion knew Jesus was God’s Son.

A boy told a story about dying and going to heaven. The Bible says when you die you remain in your grave, unconscious until Jesus comes and resurrects us. Like Eve, many people put their faith in what they saw and heard instead of God’s Word. The boy later recanted his story. Turns out the Bible is true. Those who die sleep until Jesus comes. 

The moral of my story is, whenever appearances, sight, sound and feeling all contradict God’s Word, God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures will prove true every time. Trust God. Trust His Word above anything you see, feel, or hear.

Luke 6; Rock or Earth

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 
 6:47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: 
 6:48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 
 6:49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. 

 This passage reminds us that, The Bible must change how we live our lives. Too often though we let the way we live our lives change how we interpret the Bible.

 

Often on my day off I go somewhere where I can spend some time alone with God. A while back I went to Siesta Beach in Sarasota . I waded into the water and as a wave rushed to shore it moved the sand right out from under my feet. The sand quickly shifted to conform to its surroundings. I realized that was what Jesus was talking about when He said to not build your house on the sand. Our theology and Christian walk should not be like the sand that conforms to our surroundings.

 

Jesus wants us our experience to be like the rock. Instead of the rock conforming to its environment, the environment conforms to the rock. Chitons are rock-clinging marine mollusks that are found on rocky coasts all over the world. These shells cling to the rock and conform themselves to the rock. Otherwise they get washed out to sea. In order to survive we must conform to the rock which is God’s Word.  In order to survive we must let the Bible change us and not our surroundings and environment.  We must let the Bible change how we look at the world and not let the world change how we look at the Bible.

Thoughts on Loved and Loving: John’s Epistles Lessons 11 and 12

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Friday’s section of this week’s SS Lesson asks the question, “What do you do with the question of “calling sin by its right name”? How can we deal with wayward members without being judgmental or condemnatory? At the same time, are we not shirking our Christian duty if we don’t confront brothers or sisters in the church who are doing wrong? How do we deal with this difficult subject?”

 The word of God says, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1 However please notice He says show my people their transgression and the house of Jacob their sins. God is not telling us to rebuke those who don’t know better, but those who are in the church, who have a knowledge of the truth. For example, in Exodus 25 and 1 Chronicles 15 we see that only the priests were to carry the ark and that it was to be carried on the poles. When the philistines raided the temple they took the ark back to their own temple. One of the funniest things I have read in the Bible is when their god Dagon kept falling over in front of the ark. Well the philistines decide they don’t want the ark and that they should send it back. How did they do it? Not at all like God had instructed. They handled it and put it on a cart drawn by oxen and sent it back. None of the philistines received any harm even though they did not follow God’s plan in moving the ark. They did not know any better. Years later though David is moving the ark and instead of moving it the way God had said he put in on a cart of oxen like the philistines had done. Uzza touches the ark and is struck dead. Why? Uzza knew better! David gets mad at God when he really should have been mad at himself, because if David had moved the ark the way God had said no harm would have come to Uzza, but no, David did not want to pattern himself after God on this but after the world instead. So God does not reprove those who don’t know better but he does require obedience from those who do. See 1 Chronicles 13

 It is not our mission to tell the world all that they are doing wrong. It is our mission to tell them about a God who loves them. As they form a relationship with Jesus we can teach them here and there as it becomes appropriate more and more about God’s love and His truth. (Isaiah 28:10, Matthew 28:19-20)

 A wise pastor told me a long time ago we are to be conservative towards ourselves and liberal towards others. We can show our wayward brother his error by just living a Christian life! Also I have found that when you pray God will open doors and actually have these “wayward” people ask you what is right and wrong. Wait for God to create opportunities instead of making them ourselves. Jesus says in John 5:17, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Jesus is saying He works where He sees His Father working and where His Father is creating opportunities to share the truth. Jesus shared the truth only when He knew it could be understood and appreciated. Often times He rebuked people not with His words but with His life which is a much more gentle and valid rebuke than words.

Sure He often rebuked with His words, but please read this from The Desire of Ages, P. 353    “Behold,” said Jesus, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Christ Himself did not suppress one word of truth, but He spoke it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact, and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, that refused to receive Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. They rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness, and sorrow so deep that it broke His heart. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He always bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save.  

Please check out more of my studies and devotionals at InLightOfTheCross.com

The Scriptures in Light of the Cross

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You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here.

The Scriptures 

Brief overview: The Scriptures are inspired by God to lead us into a relationship with Him that will give us eternal salvation in heaven and a prosperous life here on earth. See 2 Timothy 3:15-16, John 20:31.

Why it is important to know the truth about the Scriptures:

Years ago I lived on a ranch helping out occasionally with the horses. The ranch had a very nice swimming pool just up the road from the mobile home where I lived. One evening I invited a family to go swimming. As we walked back on that road towards my home it was dark and a big juicy spider had made a web between the trees on each side of the road. Fortunately we had a flashlight that exposed the spider right before we walked into it. The children were terrified of the spider and walked around the trees to avoid this “monster.” When we returned to the house, I shared with the family Psalms 119:105, “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” I shared with them that just as our flashlight saved us from the spider’s web, God’s Word saves us from Satan’s webs. It is because of Satan’s webs that so many different beliefs and doctrines abound about the Bible. Satan has done his best to confuse people’s understanding of the Bible: not so our understanding of doctrine will be confused, for Satan knows we are not saved by doctrine but by God’s love and grace. Satan has worked hard to corrupt our understanding of God’s love and grace for he knows that is where salvation comes from and he does not want us to be saved. We needn’t worry. The same Holy Spirit that inspired the Bible is the Same Holy Spirit that will teach it to us, if we just ask.

Why understanding the Scriptures in the light of the cross is important:

Many people ignore the Bible and many of those who do read it, read it only out of curiosity as a fairy tail book or some science fiction novel. The Bible is more than just prophecy or ancient stories. It is a love letter from God Himself. The Bible helps us develop a loving relationship with our God who showed us on the cross that He loves us more than He loves life itself. See John 20:31 and 2 Timothy 3:15.

For further study on the Scriptures.

What is the origin of the Bible?

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:21

What does Jesus call God’s word?

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17:17

How much of the Bible is inspired?

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:15-17

What is the word of God to be to us?

Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

What is the reason the Bible was written?

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31

What are we to do with the Scriptures?

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39

How are we to study it?

For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little: Isaiah 28:10

What do some do with God’s word?

As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:16

What must we never do?

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 2 peter 1:20

Who will guide us in Bible Study?

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. John 16:13

How often should we study the Bible?

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11

Click here to search the Bible.

 

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