Monday, March 16, 2015

NTDS (72): God Breathed

2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  NIV

This simple verse seems to have caused a lot of debate in the church over the years. Some ask, what does all scripture mean since the New Testament had not been completed at the time of this writing? Is it only referring to Old Testament writings or does it include the words of the apostles? Others like to parse the Greek word for “God breathed” (theopnuestos). Since it is only used on this occasion, how should it be interpreted? When Paul wrote his letters, did he believe they were “God breathed” and on the same level with the books of the Old Testament?

These are legitimate questions to ask. What you believe about the Bible and its’ authority is critical to how you live your life as a Christian. We will not settle that complete debate here, but we may be able to see with confidence that all of the Old Testament scripture and what came to be known as the “canon,” which completes our Bible is exactly what Paul was referring to in this passage.

In Acts 17:11, Luke tells us that the Bereans examined the Old Testament scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. They were commended for this. In verse 12, it says that many of them believed. What that tells us is, that they must have confirmed the truth of Paul's teaching. It was confirmed by their study of scripture, which was already accepted as God’s written word.

The apostle Peter says this, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16) He is saying this to assure his readers that He is speaking the truth of God. He follows with this statement, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  (2 Peter 1:20-21)

Peter is indicating that the teaching of the apostles always confirmed what God had already spoken and revealed through the prophets, therefore, it was from God. It may have seemed new to the listeners, since many of their views had come from rabbinical interpretation, which was not led by the Holy Spirit and often incorrect. That is why Jesus often began his teaching with the phrase, “you have heard it said, but I tell you.” His teaching was authoritative because He was and is the authority.

The apostles’ doctrine is authoritative because it comes from Jesus, not man! Careful study of the New Testament will prove that. Look at Heb 2:3-4
“This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
Not only were the apostles eyewitnesses of what Jesus said and did, they were given the power of the Holy Spirit to confirm their authority. The book of Acts verifies this.

We should be able then, to place complete confidence in the Bible and accept that what we have in our hands today,is the reliable, inerrant and infallible in its’ original text, Word of God. Therefore, we can agree with Paul that it is certainly useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Do you want to be equipped for every good work that God has for you? Study God’s word, allowing it to rebuke, correct and train you in righteousness. Sit under pastors who “rightly divide the word of truth” and be a Berean by thoroughly checking out what they teach.

Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in your study of His “God-breathed” Word. Then you will say, along with King David, “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.”
(Ps 119:9-16)

God bless you

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

NTDS (71): One Way

1 Tim 2:5-7 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men — the testimony given in its proper time.  NIV

The expression “one way,” was at one time a popular sign, used by Christians to give glory to God at the end of a song performed by Christian bands. Pointing one’s first finger up to God indicated this and it was done instead of applauding. That way both the performers and audience would give recognition to the Lord instead of the performers. It really meant that there was only one who is worthy of praise and only one way to heaven.

Though this tradition has since passed, the reality of its’ meaning is still true today. There is only one who is worthy of our praise and there is only one way to heaven. This verse makes that clear. Yet, many people struggle with that concept. Even some believers in Christ have a hard time thinking that their friends, who may be sincere in their belief of a “different’ way, will not go to heaven. The most prevalent question people ask concerning this doctrine is, “if one is a ‘good person,’ how could God not accept them?”

These are legitimate questions but this verse can help answer them. “There is one God (v5).” If that is true, then any other entities, philosophies or religions cannot be accepted as true. If there is only one God and He is truly God, then He sets the rules. What He says goes. You may think that is unfair, but did you create the universe and all living things? Rom 9:20
But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"

More importantly, it is important to see that the true and living God, the God of the Bible, is fair and just and kind and loving. This passage makes that clear. This God, who does set the rules, made a way for rebellious mankind to have eternal life and a personal relationship with Him. That way was to come to earth, humbly living as a man among His creation and giving up His life as a ransom for us.

How could anyone complain that God’s way of salvation is not fair? He gives it as a free gift for all who would put their faith in Him. Rom 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Is there any other “god” you know of that offer you this? Is there any other religion that has a god who lays down his life
so that man can live eternally with Him?

Moreover, this same God has proven Himself to be existent, by revealing Himself in written word. He has given us the sure word of prophecy, telling us of His plan of salvation before it happened. When you read Isaiah 53, you see the depiction of the suffering and death of Jesus, written hundreds of years before it happened. Mathematicians have calculated that the odds of one person fulfilling all the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the promised Messiah, were almost impossible, yet it happened in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He gave His life, dying on a Roman cross, to give anyone who desires to spend eternity with Him, that privilege. What could possibly be more loving and fair than that?

There is only one way, but it is a good way and we should be thankful for it! Early church believers were often called followers of  “The Way.” If you have not yet chosen this way, I encourage you to choose today the only way to eternal life with God. Surrender your life to Jesus Christ today and become a follower of “The Way.”

God bless you