Posted by: missionventureministries | March 9, 2017

DO YOU EVER WONDER IF YOU ARE REALLY A CHRISTIAN? – Romans 8:7-11

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.  (Romans 8:7-11)

Have you ever worried about whether or not you really are a Christian? A Christian is a person who has the Spirit of God living in him or her. If you have sincerely trusted Christ for your salvation and acknowledged Him as Lord and Savior and you are now willing to obey Him, then the Holy Spirit has come into your life, and your are now a born again Christian.  

How do you know for sure, let’s take a look: 

  • When the Holy Spirit is living within you, you will believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and that eternal life comes only though Him (1 John 5:5).
  • You will begin to act as Christ directs because: Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires (Romans 8:5)
  • You will find help for your daily problems and in your praying because: The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27).
  • You will be empowered to serve God and to do His will because Jesus said: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
  • And you will become part of God’s plan to build up His church (Ephesians 4:12-13).

As we see from our text (vs. 7-9), Paul divides people into two categories, those who are dominated by their sinful nature, and those who are controlled by the Holy Sprit. All of us would be in the first category if Jesus hadn’t offered us a way out. Once we are truly born again, the Spirit lives in us by faith and we are certain to live with Christ forever. The Holy Spirit is God’s promise and guarantee of eternal life for those who believe, trust and obey Him.

True believers have a great zeal to daily consciously choose to center their lives on God. They use the Bible to discover God’s guidelines, and then follow them. When perplexing situations arise they ask: “What would Jesus want me to do?” And, when the Holy Spirit points out what is right, they do it eagerly and with confidence knowing that He is guiding them. 

The undeniable evidence of a true Christian is a changed life. We need to remember that if we do not change the way we live; our eternal destiny will also never change.  

A changed life begins with obedience to God. When a person decides to follow God, a change takes place and there is tremendous joy (Galatians 5:22). We must realize that although sorrows do occur in the life of a believer, the Holy Spirit will give us a joy and peace that cannot be removed.

God has commanded His people to be holy and live a holy life.

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” ( Hebrews 12:14)

“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16)

Are you living a holy life, or are you ‘pretending’ as the hypocritical Pharisees of whom Jesus warned His disciples about?

Never take advice from anyone who is not living a humble, holy, Christ honoring life; because hypocrites will very subtlety teach you “doctrines of demons,” God has warned us about these people in His Holy Word.

The Lord loves us and told the Israelites through Moses:  See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)

Choosing between life and death was also emphasized during the ministry of Jesus. Read John 3:14-21, 33-36.  

What awaits the one who rejects Jesus? Eternal separation from Him. 

What awaits the one who receives Jesus? Eternal life with Him.  

What will you choose?

Remember, God wants to bless our lives beyond our imagination and He will if we choose to obey Him.

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You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7) 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart. That is the purpose of life, and there can be no greater. Everything centers on that. That is the one great lesson which ought to be learned in every home, to love God. 

The way to love the Lord with all of our heart is to keep His commandments, which means to obey His word and do what He says (John 14:15). Whatever He is speaking to us through His Holy Spirit, we should do it. There are so many blessings waiting for us through obedience and doing His revealed will. Trust that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide you every step of the way and help you to accomplish God’s purpose. Because doing God’s will and obeying His principles means loving Him with all of our heart. 

Love the Lord your God with all your soul. The way to do this is to consciously renew our mind with the word of God. When negativity, thoughts, or sinful actions come into us, we make the choice to cast them down quickly, and renew our mind, with the Scriptures. Whatever our battle may be, we should find a Scripture in relation to that problem and go to war against the enemy.  

Loving God with all your soul also relates to our attitude. If we have a bad attitude, then we should immediately ask the Holy Spirit to help us change our thoughts. Remember, if we continue to ponder on our thoughts, eventually they will become very powerful and become an actual action. We might find ourselves in an outburst of anger, unnecessary argument, fight, or doing something that we will later regret. So the key is recognizing where we are and we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We destroy arguments and the pretense of evil advice with the Word of God and by obeying the Holy Spirit.  

What is the soul? The Bible says: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). As we see from this verse, the word “soul” means “life.” The soul is in essence the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part. 

The soul and the spirit are connected, but separable (Hebrews 4:12). The soul is the essence of humanity’s being; it is who we are. The spirit is the aspect of humanity that connects with God. 

We need to understand that the soul of man, that is, his life, is never directed towards God until after the spirit has become regenerated. Man can never love God or the things of God until he is born from above. He may have a troubled conscience and feel very bad, and still remain dead in trespasses and in sins. When the Spirit of God illuminates the spirit of a man with divine light and life, that man begins to yield his affections and faculties to God. 

The Christian who is enjoying unbroken communion with the Lord will then be able to say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name” (Psalm 103:1). 

Love the Lord your God with all your strength. Loving God “with all your strength” speaks of the ultimate expression of our heart, soul and mind. It is the outward expression of what is going on within us to the outside world through our speech and physical actions.  

The Apostle Paul tells us to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10). He is telling us that the unlimited power and strength of Christ are the source of strength for those who belong to Him.

As Christians, we are to be strong in the mighty power of God. This means that our strength is not our own; it is not human or fleshly. Our strength is not of the world, but our strength is found in Christ—in our having a vibrant, dynamic relationship with Him. As Paul tells us in Philippians, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). In other words, there is no other source that gives man the strength to overcome the world with its trials, its temptations, and death. It is through submission to God’s strength that we overcome the power of Satan: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

God want us to love Him with all our strength every single moment of every single day. His Great Commandment for us “to love,” is a display by His own eminent love for us in order that by us aligning ourselves with the strength of God through our total submission to Him that we are able to withstand the deceit of the evil one.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. As we grow in knowledge and understanding of who God is, we begin to love the characteristics that define Him, such as wisdom, truth, righteousness, and purity (Psalm 11:7; 90:12; Hebrews 1:9; 1 Timothy 6:11). Spending time with God causes our hearts to hunger for holiness, and we find satisfaction only in more of Him, because He is the perfect embodiment of everything we long to obey in His commandments.

You shall teach them diligently. Our first responsibility is to keep His words on our heart, to think on them, to meditate on them, to reflect on them. From infancy we are to teach then diligently to our children. Diligently means with hard work and perseverance. No one else can do it for us. The Pastor, Sunday school teachers can help but it is the utmost responsibility of the parents to love the Lord with all their heart and to share that love with their children.  

Our children are always watching us and modeling our attitudes and behaviors. They are parroting back our attitudes about Christ and His church. We cannot train up children to love the Lord with all their heart if we do not love Him first. 

Spiritual growth has to take place in our own lives. Do you have an intimate love relationship with Jesus Christ? Is He the priority of your life? Jesus said, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). 

Strong Christian families believe in, value the Word of God, and model it in their personal lives because they love Him. Moses admonished the children of Israel to become role models of this love in their homes. If you love Him, you will obey Him and teach your children about our awesome God and Creator. But remember that we cannot give our children what we do not possess. Therefore we should take this commandment of God very seriously in our own life. 

Talk about them when you sit at homeGod’s Word should be an integral part of our home life. How can we make it so? Talking about spiritual matters should be a common and easy part of the communication that takes place within the home.  Prayer can become a component of the family’s daily life. As the family sits around the home discussing the matters of the day, there is no reason why spiritual issues cannot also be addressed in an educational manner.  The home can be a sanctuary of faith where praise is continually on the lips of all family members, starting with the example of the parents. 

When you walk along the road: This implies teaching your kids when you go places together. Maybe it’s just to the grocery store. Or maybe it’s a family outing or a hike together. Those are great opportunities to talk about God and the way other people act and how Christians are to act. It is also a great opportunity to point out God’s beauty through His creation.  

When you lie down: When your children are getting ready to go to bed you have a great opportunity to quiet them down by reading from the Word of God. You can also talk with them about anything that is going on in their lives and to pray with them and to assure them that God is watching over them. 

When you rise up:  This presents another opportunity to teach our children. Teach them how to start the day off right with the Lord. Again, our example teaches a lot. If kids are always grumpy in the morning, be an example of how to start off with a cheerful heart. Remind them: I can do all this through Him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13). 

CONCLUSION: 

If we want to raise godly children, we must love God fervently and we must teach our children diligently. 

Children are a gift of God, and He has placed them under our care.  Therefore, we are to always remind our kids who God is no matter where we are or what we are doing.  We can ask and talk to children about God during football games, while doing laundry, taking them to school, while they brush their teeth, at dinner, at breakfast, or any other time.  They are under our care, our protection, and we are to train them as God has commanded us. We need to teach our children respect and how to worship the one True God. 

The Lord is with us to guide us and help us through His Holy Spirit to bring up godly children; therefore: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 23, 2017

GOD HAS COMMANDED US TO EXPOSE FALSE TEACHERS – Matthew 7:15

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One of the most misused verses in the Bible is, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Every Scripture verse should be read in its context, if we are to properly understand its true meaning. In verses 2-5 of this same chapter it is evident that verse 1 is referring to hypocritical judgment. A brother who has a beam in his own eye should not be judging the brother who may have a speck in his eye. The lesson is plain; you cannot judge another for his sin unless you have confessed and forsaken that sin.

Those who cling to “Judge not, that you be not judged,” to condemn those who expose error should read the entire chapter. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits (v.15-16). How can we know false prophets unless we judge them by the Word of God? Did the Lord mean that we are not to judge them by their way of life and their doctrine? Certainly not, because you cannot know without judging, i.e. checking them out by what the Bible teaches.

To further the point, Jesus tells us: “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” (John 7:24). Here our Lord commands that we are to judge based upon the Word of God. If judgment is made upon any other basis, other than the Word of God, it is a violation of Matthew 7:1.

Those who are unwilling or incapable of discerning or judging between good and evil are in this manner revealing either their disobedience to God or their lack of knowledge of Scripture. The Bible tells us that the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. (1 Timothy 4:1)

When we allow false teachers to freely spread their poisonous doctrines, because Christians do not have the courage to expose them as Jesus and Paul did; wolves in sheep’s clothing are thus enabled to ravage the flock, thereby destroying many and sending them to eternal damnation.

Jesus said to the religious Pharisees, “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34). To many evangelicals and some fundamentalists, this would be unacceptable language today, it would be to unloving, and unkind, but these words comes straight from the mouth of the Son of God. The most loving thing that we can ever do is tell people the truth – and you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

Our Lord further called them “hypocrites…blind guides…white sepulchers…serpents…and you generation of vipers” (Matthew 23:23-34). Yet, we are told today that we are to fellowship with men whose doctrines are just as unscriptural as those of the Pharisees. Some say that these kinds of people are Bible believing Christians and insist on working with these heretics. And, according to many, we are not supposed to rebuke them for compromising the Word of God. Remember the Pharisees believed in God and were supposed to be the most religious group of all and Jesus rebuked them sternly.

Today these false teachers have come into the churches with their books, music, literature, movies, psychology, and their speeches, and have turned the Father’s house into a den of thieves. It is time that men of God stand up and expose their errors for everyone to see. Jesus took action and dealt with them when He cleansed the temple. Jesus told them My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.” (Mark 11:17)

The Bible tells us that we are to test them. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Everyone that calls themselves a Christian needs to be tried against the Word of God.

We are to watch out for them and avoid them. “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them” (Romans 16:17). Those whose conduct and teaching contradicts the Word of God we are to watch out for and strictly avoid.

We should have nothing to do with them. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). We are commanded to have nothing to do with these false teachers, prophets, apostles, etc., but we are to expose them. We should not be quiet, but follow Paul’s warning to Titus, you must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:9). How can we obey Scripture unless we expose false teachers by the Word of God?

We are not to receive them into our house. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. (2 John 1:10-11). John is speaking about those who run ahead and do not continue in the teaching of Christ. We need to remember that false doctrines are not only brought to us by false ministers, but also by  those that come by knocking on our doors teaching a false gospel, via radio, TV, music and literature. People that are uninformed let these false teachers into their home unbeknown of the danger that lies ahead.

We are to look out for those who preach another gospel. Paul warned about those who preached “another Jesus … another spirit … or another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:4). How can we know them unless we judge their Jesus, their spirit, and their gospel by the Word of God? Paul called such preachers “false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:13). He explains in v. 14-15 that these preachers are the ministers of Satan and that their end will be what their actions deserve.

We are to separate from them. “Therefore, come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17). This makes it very plain; God’s people are to come out of apostasy and religious error.

Many mistakenly believe that it is wrong to expose error and to name the guilty teachers; but as we have so far seen, the Bible teaches otherwise.

Paul named Peter publicly. Peter was guilty of unscriptural practice. “As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy” (Galatians 2:13). When the integrity and purity of the gospel is at stake, then we, as true Christians, have no choice other then to expose the error and name the guilty party.

Paul named Demas for loving the world. For Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica (2 Timothy 4:10). Those who forsake the cause of Christ for worldly living and pleasures should be named and exposed.

Paul named Hymenaeus and Philetus. He told Timothy to “do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some” (2 Timothy 2:15-18). False doctrine overthrows the faith of some, so those who are proclaiming it must be exposed; otherwise their lies will spread like gangrene.

As we read in the Old Testament Nathan also identified and exposed the king. There was a man in a very high place who was a secret adulterer. Surely this man who held the highest office in the land could not be rebuked by a lowly unpopular prophet. However, Nathan went right into the presence of David, revealed the sin in a parable form, and then told the infuriated David, “Thou art the man” (2 Samuel 12:7).

There are many other examples in the Bible about exposing false prophets, too numerous to contain in this short writing.

The biblical point is that, likewise, we need to be ready and willing to name those individuals, churches, schools, and other organizations that are denying biblical inerrant authority, compromising the doctrine of God’s creation, requiring humanistic works for salvation, or bringing in other heretical doctrines.

We obviously need to be sure of our facts when we do this and also to bring such charges only if motivated by genuine concern for those apt to be led astray if we don’t speak out. We had better beware of “false teachers … who will secretly bring in destructive heresies” (2 Peter 2:1).

Faithful messengers will warn the sheep of these heretics, and identify them by name. It is not enough to broadly hint of their identity, for the young lambs will not understand and will be destroyed by these wolves if we do not have the courage to expose them.

Discipline yourself in the study of the God’s word so that you will be able to guard against false prophets. Be like the citizens of Berea, who examined the Scriptures every day to see what the apostle Paul said was really true. (Acts 17:11)

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The Bible warns us often about the dangers of preaching or teaching a gospel other than the biblical gospel as given by Jesus Christ and His disciples. All Scriptural warnings are very strong.

Thus anyone who claims to be a preacher, a teacher, or a minister of the gospel, must be very careful because they are to preach only the truth of God’s Word. There are to be no additions to it, and no subtractions from it. This is a Scriptural warning, which should be headed by many churches in the 21st Century: “I warn everyone who hears the prophetic words in this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words in this prophetic book, God will take away his share in the tree of life and the holy city described in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19).

Sadly additions and deletions are happening at an alarming rate these days. Paul warned us that: “the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,” (1 Timothy 4:1). There are new “churches” and cults springing up and flourishing all over the world. There are preachers at large and small churches preaching a gospel which bears no semblance whatsoever to the teachings of Christ and the words of the New Testament. Be aware this is another gospel, and in Paul’s words these false teachers, preachers, priests or whatever they call themselves are under God’s curse.

We need to be aware of Satan’s serious deception since he is the father of lies and the greatest counterfeiter that has ever existed. His minions have been proclaiming a false gospel for a very long time as we see in Paul’s writing to the Galatians. I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed, (Galatians 1:6-9).

In contradiction to the Gospel of Christ, the gospel of Satan teaches salvation by works. It inculcates justification before God on the ground of human merits. Its sacramental phrase is “be good and do good”; but it fails to recognize that in the flesh there dwells no good thing. The nurturing of the old man is considered more “practical” than the creation of a new man in Christ Jesus. 

Satan’s workers are very evil people like drug dealers, pedophiles, murders; but they can also be ordained and self appointed religious leaders. Thousands of those who occupy our modern pulpits are no longer teaching the fundamentals of the Christian faith, but have turned aside from the Truth and have given heed unto fables and “doctrines of demons” – (2 Timothy 4:4).  

Instead of magnifying the enormity of sin and its eternal consequences, they minimize it by declaring that sin is merely ignorance or the absence of good. Instead of warning their hearers to “flee from the wrath to come,” they make God a liar by declaring that He is too loving and merciful to send any of His own creatures to eternal torment. Instead of declaring that “without shedding of blood is no remission,” Hebrews 9:22, they merely preach Christ as the great prophet and exhort their hearers to “follow in His steps.”  

Of these the Bible states: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3). Their message may sound very plausible and their aim appear very praise worthy, yet we read of them: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) 

In addition to the fact that today hundreds of churches are without a leader who faithfully declares the whole counsel of God and presents His way of salvation, we also have to face the additional fact that the majority of people in these churches are very unlikely to learn the Truth for themselves.  

Currently, a family time of sharing, where a portion of God’s Word is supposed to be read daily and shared; is, even in the homes of so-called Christians, basically a thing of the past. The Bible is not expounded in the pulpit and it is not read at home. The demands of this technological and me-first generation are so numerous, that the multitudes have little time and still less inclination to make time to spend it with our Creator, Lord and Savior. Hence the majority, who are too lazy to search the Scriptures for themselves, are left at the mercy of the devil. 

In Proverbs 14:12 we read, “There is a way which seems right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.” This “way” which ends in “death” is the Devil’s delusion we are hearing preached in churches today; the gospel of Satan—a way of salvation by human attainment. It is a way which “seems right,” that is to say, it is presented in such credible language that it appeals to the natural man. It is presented in such a subtle and attractive manner, that it fools those who are too self-absorbed to question their pastor or teacher and to search the Scriptures for themselves. These people are unlike the bereans in the Bible who examined the Scriptures every day to see if what the Apostle Paul said was true, Acts 17:11. 

There is a saying that the way to hell is paved with good intentions. There will be many in the Lake of Fire who started with good intentions; men who prided themselves in their integrity but who sought to justify themselves before God by their own self- righteousness and works.  

The Devil’s delusion is that we can be saved by our own works, and justified before God by our own deeds; whereas, God tells us in His Word—”By grace are ye saved through faith … not of works lest any man should boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9). And again, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…,” (Titus 3:5). 

Where do you stand? Are you in the way which “seems right,” but which ends in death; or, are you in the narrow way which leads unto life? (Matthew 7:14). Have you truly forsaken the broad road which leads to death? Has the love of Christ created in your heart a disgust of all that is displeasing to Him?  

An even more false form of Satan’s gospel is when preachers present the atoning sacrifice of Christ and then tell their hearers that all God requires from them is to “believe” in His Son. Yes, the Bible tells us so in Acts 16:31, but there is a lot more that the Word tells us then just the need to believe. Thereby, thousands of unrepentant souls are deluded into thinking they have been saved. But Christ said, “Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). To “repent” is to hate sin, to be sorry for what you have done and to turn from it. It is the result of the Spirit’s making the heart repentant before God.  

Another point; thousands are deceived into supposing that they have “accepted Christ” as their “personal Savior,” but who have never received Him as the LORD of their life. To be saved from sins, is to be saved from ignoring and despising the authority of God, it is to abandon the course of self-will and self-pleasing, it is to “forsake our way” (Isaiah 55:7). It is to surrender to God’s authority. The person who has never taken Christ’s “yoke” upon him, who is not truly and diligently seeking to please Him in all the details of his life, and yet supposes that he is “resting on the finished work of Christ” is being deluded by the devil. 

The following is a scripture that speaks of Christ’s Gospel and Satan’s counterfeit. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:22-23) 

Yes, it is possible to work “in the name of Christ”, and even to “preach in His name”, and though the world knows them, and the Church knows them, they are unknown to the Lord!  

How necessary it is then to find out where a person really is. People need to examine themselves and see whether they are in the faith; to measure themselves by the Word of God and see if they are being deceived by our subtle enemy the Devil. People need to find out whether they are building a house upon the sand, or whether it is being erected on the Rock which is Christ Jesus.  

May the Holy Spirit search each heart, break our stubborn will, slay our enmity against God, work in us a deep and true repentant heart, and direct our gaze to the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.  

Remember: 

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21) 

 “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments4He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:3-4)

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 9, 2017

GOD’S WISDOM REVEALED BY THE SPIRIT – 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

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12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 

The objective in teaching and studying the word of God is to make clear what the Bible says to those who are searching for the truth. Everything God deems essential knowledge for His children is found in His Word – the Bible. God has, however, revealed His truth to all humans in the things created (Romans 1:20) called general revelation, and in His written Word called special revelation (1 Corinthians 2:6–10). 

As a historical background we need to understand that one of the problems that existed in the Corinthian church was the failure of the Christians to forego with human philosophy. The Corinthians lived in a very intellectual and immoral society, a world that was pretty well based upon the reason and the lusts of men, and when they became Christians they hauled this kind of immorality and rationalism into the church.  

Paul writes this letter to encourage them to cut the ties of their former worldly life, both philosophically and in terms of moral behavior. 

After exposing the futility of worldly thinking in 1 Corinthians chapter 1, Paul introduces Christians to the higher realm of godly wisdom. This kind of knowledge and understanding isn’t available through human intelligence and reasoning; it comes strictly through divine revelation. Only those indwelt by God’s Spirit have “the mind of Christ” (v. 16) and access to “the things freely given” to them by God (v. 12). Because the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (v14). 

Therefore, without this supernatural insight, no one can accurately know the Lord or His ways. Many people say they believe in God yet may not have a correct understanding of Him because their perceptions are based on their own thoughts and ideas. It’s easier to custom-design a god to fit our preferences than to make the required adjustments that worship of the one true God demands. 

Even believers need to guard against trying to fit God into their preconceived image of Him. The Bible is the only reliable source of divine revelation, but we must be careful to consider the Scriptures in its entirety. It is critical that we don’t just pick and choose the verses we want to believe. For example, by focusing only on passages that emphasize the Lord’s loving-kindness while excluding those that speak of His holiness and justice; identifies and shows that we don’t understand His true nature. 

There is a difference between “earthly wisdom” and the “wisdom that comes from above” (James 3:14–18). To receive God’s wisdom, we must, first of all, desire it and ask God for it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). The next verse specifies that we must “ask in faith, nothing wavering” (verse 6).

We need to acknowledge that true wisdom comes from God and that Jesus Christ is the embodiment of that wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30). To trust in Christ and yield to His Holy Spirit is to walk in wisdom; therefore, as Christians, “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

The love of God, the greatest commandment, is also required. “As it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9–10)

Those who have God’s wisdom will show it in how they live: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13).

To receive God’s wisdom, we must diligently study God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15), meditate on the Word, pray for wisdom, seek it with all our hearts, and walk in the Spirit. God desires to give His wisdom to His children, but we need to seek to know the Lord by considering the entire counsel of Scripture. Divine wisdom is available to every believer, who searches for it in God’s Word and asks for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. May we never try to limit Him to fit our preferences; instead, may He enlarge our minds to give us clear understanding of His Word.

When we know and practice the truth, it will set us free (John 8:32).

 

Posted by: missionventureministries | February 7, 2017

CHRISTIAN TEENS IN ACTION

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High school and college students from a church in Oregon have ministered in Mexico with us for 10 years; they won more people to Christ in 5 days than many large churches do in one year. During one of their four day mission trips they led 32 people to Jesus. 

These thirty teenagers worked with our Mission Venture Ministries team – they had a hunger to lead Mexican children and their parents to a saving experience with the Lord Jesus. 

Some of those kids are now serving as pilots, doctors, pastors and fulltime missionaries on foreign and U.S. mission fields.  

They traveled by bus for two days to get to the city of Escondido in California. Once they arrived at to our church they would sleep on hard floors, and then we drove another 8 hours to our mission church in Mexico. 

These students came from strong Christian homes; where their parents faithfully taught the Bible and prayed together daily. They had a youth pastor that was very devoted to the Lord, who helped reinforce the teaching of the parents.  

These students had a solid Christian foundation, a desire to serve the Lord and reach others for the Savior. 

Even if they had all of their travel fees paid for, they could not go on the trip until they had 7 people who would pray for them every day. These were prayer partners who would faithfully pray for them daily, that God would use them to win the lost. 

They spent 30 minutes reading their Bibles and praying every morning – even before they had breakfast; they learned this from their parents and with the encouragement of their youth pastor. Their parents and their youth pastor were working together and helping them build a strong foundation for their faith.  

One of our church members came to the church site early one morning to pick up something and he was surprised to see 30 kids all across the church campus reading their Bibles and praying.

 In his own words, “it just blew me away, I had never seen students reading the Bible and actually enjoying fellowship with God.”  

It is absolutely vital that parents invest 20 to 30 minutes every day in Bible study and prayer with their children so that they can help their children build a strong spiritual and moral foundation for their lives.  

As a building contractor, I know that it takes a lot of time and hard work to build a strong foundation. 

A FAMILY WHERE THE WORD OF GOD WAS NOT TAUGHT 

We and other teachers in the church taught a family with 3 kids for six years the absolute truth from God’s Word.  

But the parents refused to discipline these kids; they also refused to teach even short Bible studies in their home or emphasize the children’s responsibility to obey God and His commands. 

However; they did provide them with access to the toxic, immoral garbage that was on TV, the Internet, iPhones and other forms of video evil.  

These kids are now teenagers and they have no desire for God or the moral values that are vital for being born again and living a life that honors God and the Savior.  

Their daughter was a sweet girl who had a heart for God, now she is on the iPhone constantly and dresses very immodestly; her two older brothers have filthy minds, use bad language and want nothing to do with God.   

Sin is not static – proud, sinful, lustful behavior demands more and greater experiences of debased sin. 

There are only two types of people in the world; there are children of God through faith in Jesus and there are children of the devil, who support and further his agenda for evil in the world.  

Life is never static for any age group; we are either becoming more like our Heavenly Father or more like Satan. 

It is much easier to build strong Christian children that love and obey God; than to try to repair broken teenagers and adults.

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Posted by: missionventureministries | February 2, 2017

HE WHO HAS EARS TO HEAR, LET HIM HEAR! – Matthew 11:15

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The Lord Jesus Christ must have considered this persuasive and powerful way of communication to be of great importance, because it appears eight times in the four gospels and seven times in Revelation, all spoken by Christ Himself—as well as one more time apparently uttered by the Apostle John in Revelation 13:9.  

It is urgent, therefore, that people not just “hear” God’s Word as the saying goes “in one ear and out the other,” but really hear it, with understanding minds, believing hearts and obedient lives. 

What does hearing mean? 

  • It implies a willingness to listen, to pay attention.
  • It implies a committed sincerity to hear what is being said.

Jesus said: “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). Hearing God’s message with believing minds and hearts means the contrast of either going to heaven or hell. 

Jesus also said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). Our Lord not only promised us everlasting life, but also assures us that the life of the believer is truly everlasting and can never be taken away from us. 

We need to read the Scriptures because to hear the voice of our Savior Jesus Christ we need to be grounded in the Word. We need to become aware of His great love and the price He paid on the cross for us, so that one day we can join Him in heaven and spend eternity with Him. Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” (John 5:25-29) Everyone will hear Him at that time and for most people, it will be too late.  

In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 we read: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” Here we read about the ones that were and those that are true to His Word and listen and obeyed what He says. 

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” is a vital warning that listeners need to take into consideration very carefully, because, seeking God’s truth takes energy and focus; it takes a willingness to be challenged and to changed. 

Hearing God’s words and not putting them into practice is like the foolish man who built his house upon sand 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall (Matthew 7:26-27).  And Romans 10:17 tell us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” 

If we do not listen we will miss out on what God has for us. Unfortunately, most people who call themselves Christians do not listen to what the Spirit says to them or to the churches. They prefer to follow their own whims, the latest trend, or the traditions of men. 

The only way to really be a Christian is to hear what the Spirit says and to obey Him. Jesus explained that the family of God consists of those who listen to the Father: “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:21). He also said: “He who is of God hears God’s words” (John 8:47); “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27); “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). 

Jesus said: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) 

Are we listening to our Father? Are we willing hearers of the word of God? 

Hearing and obeying carries a great responsibility, which is followed by rewards that are out of this world. Therefore, he who has ears to hear let him hear!

Posted by: missionventureministries | January 26, 2017

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT GOD – Romans 10:14

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How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? – Romans 10:14 

The top-priority of a parent is to be an evangelist in their home. You need to teach your children the law of God; teach them the gospel of divine grace; show them their need for a Savior; and point them to Jesus Christ as the only One who can save them. If they grow up without a vital awareness of their need for salvation, you as a parent will have failed in your primary task as their spiritual leader. 

Parents need to be careful though; because parents who force, coerce, or manipulate their kids may pressure them into a false profession, but genuine faith is something that only the Holy Spirit can bring into a person’s mind and heart. The new birth is a work of the Holy Spirit. Only God can work sovereignly in your children’s hearts to draw them to Himself. Their salvation is a matter that must ultimately be settled between them and God. 

Parents are nonetheless responsible to exalt Christ in the home and point their kids to Him as Savior. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)  

As believing parents and grandparents, we are the first and most important Bible teachers whom God has given them. They will observe our lives up close, to see whether we seriously believe and live by what we are teaching them. They will observe what we teach them about these matters from the earliest time they can understand anything. Therefore, we have a better opportunity than anyone to help them understand about Christ. Every moment of their lives is a teaching opportunity and we should use those opportunities to the best advantage for our kids’ spiritual growth and eternal destiny.   

Teaching the gospel to our kids should be presented in a simple way. Parents have the best years of the child’s life to explain, clarify, stress, and reemphasize gospel truths. The key is to be faithful and consistent in both teaching and demonstrating the gospel. One of the worst things parents can do is be intimidated into thinking someone else would make a better evangelist for their child, thus abdicating their most crucial responsibility, missing the best opportunities for reaching their children, and forfeiting the best blessings of parenthood. 

Parents more than anyone have ample time to be thorough and clear; to explain and illustrate; to listen to feedback; to correct misunderstanding; and to clarify and review the difficult parts. It is the best possible scenario for evangelism. The wise parent will be faithful, patient, persistent, and thorough. In fact that is precisely what Scripture demands of every parent as Deuteronomy 6:6–7 states: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” 

One very important focus is to explain the concepts of man’s sinfulness and the Holiness of God. We need to teach them about obedience and repentance when they fail. If we do not, we will have the church attended by teenagers and adults whose hearts are devoid of real love for Christ, but who think they are genuine Christians because of something they did as children, like say a prayer under pressure. 

Do not assume your child’s first positive response is full-fledged saving faith. If a five year old has repeated a prayer inviting Jesus into their heart this does not automatically guarantee that they are born again by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Thank them for their desire to become a child of God and that you are very pleased that they want your Savior to be their Savior also. Ask them if they have a good understanding of what it means to be a true Christian. 

Keep your gospel instructions simple and use the A, B, C presentation of the gospel. 

A = Admit that we are a sinner and cannot save ourselves; we were all born as sinners.

B = Believe that Jesus was crucified on the cross to pay our sin debt in full.

C = Confess that we want Jesus to be the Lord of our lives and confess that God raised Him from the dead. 

It is true that saving faith is a childlike trust, and in that sense all sinners must become like little children in order to be saved as we read in Matthew 18:3-4 “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  

Real faith however, involves understanding and affirming some important concepts that may be out of reach for small children such as sin and punishment, repentance and faith, God’s holiness and His wrath against sin, Christ as God incarnate, the idea of atonement for sin and the meaning of the resurrection and lordship of Christ.  

The specific age at which the child’s understanding is mature enough to grasp such concepts may differ for each child. So there’s no reliable way to pinpoint a physical “age of accountability.” But until the child demonstrates some degree of real understanding and some measure of spiritual fruit, parents should not be quick to regard the child’s rebirth as a settled matter. 

Parents should encourage every sign of faith in their children and use every opportunity to teach them more about Christ, encouraging their every profession of faith.  

Scripture teaches that children develop in four areas. Luke 2:52 tells us Jesus grew in wisdom (mentally), stature (physically), favor with God (spiritually), and favor with mankind (socially).  

When our children are infants and very young it is necessary that we provide them with parental discipline and control so that we can protect them from dangers; such as don’t play in a busy street and don’t touch red hot stove burners. At these developing stages we are both a controller and a counselor’s job. 

The Bible commands us to still maintain a certain amount of control when they are living in our home.

When they leave our house, get married or establish a home of their own, our role as a controller is diminished and we assume the full time role as their counselor when they ask us for advice and guidance.  

We must not demand their obedience to our wishes after they have established their own home; if we have led them to the Lord and trained them in the path of holy living then they will be equipped to make Bible based decisions and live a life that honors our Creator and Savior. 

It is our responsibility, therefore, to teach them how to yield their lives to God. If we don’t teach our children to honor and obey, they will break our heart. 

The book of Proverbs is a priceless guide on this subject. It says, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)

The father and mother who truly love their children will discipline them. Here’s how: “A rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding”  (Proverbs 10:13). In this situation it’s not that the child doesn’t have the correct information, but that he or she refuses to apply it. When your child is young, gently but firmly spank him or her on the backside so you can nip that rebellious spirit before it is too late. Doing so will make you and your child much happier in the long run. 

Proverbs 19:18 gives this warning: “Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.” One day it will be too late: Your son or daughter will be too old for the rod to do any good. Do you realize that if you don’t discipline your children, you actually desire their deaths? Why? When children are left to their own devices like watching unsupervised TV filled with pornography, watching horror movies, reading books and magazines that are inappropriate and filled with satanic teachings like Harry Potter, and Dark Crystal. Also playing games like the Ouija board and Dungeons and Dragons and playing violent video games which increase aggressive behavior and desensitize players to real-life violence… anything could happen. Your son might grow up to be a drug addict and die of an overdose. Maybe your daughter will grow up to be an alcoholic and drive her car into a tree and kill herself and other innocent people. Or any of them could grow up to be a criminal and end up shot in an alley by the police. Discipline your children while there’s still hope. The alternative is death. 

Proverbs 23:13-14 provides this encouragement: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. 14 Punish them with the rod and save them from death.” When you use the rod to discipline your children, you do more than save their lives—you save their souls. 

Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace”. If you discipline your children and lead them to live obedient lives, they will delight your soul.  

It’s not that complex, set the standards, live by those standards, require your children to live by those standards, and in your old age they’ll love you, support you, and bless you.  

Remember the father should lead the headship in the house with the mother’s partnership. Both mother and father need to be involved in the spiritual, mental, physical and social development of their children. 

God wants our families to reach their full potential and not be forced into the mold of the world. God desires that Christian families not fall apart. Wouldn’t it be great if we had children who were happy; homes that were Christ-centered, where all these things were working out as God designed them? It is possible because it is promised by God! And when it really begins to happen, the world will take notice of us and of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Posted by: missionventureministries | January 19, 2017

PROOF THAT THE BIBLE IS INSPIRED BY GOD – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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There are numerous evidences that the Bible is inspired by God. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 read that: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  

Therefore, as believers we know that every word of Scripture has proceeded from the mouth of God! 

Theologians speak of inspiration as the mysterious process by which God worked through the authors of Scripture to produce inerrant and divinely authoritative writings. Inspiration is a mystery because Scripture doesn’t explain specifically how it occurred. The only glimpse we have is from 2 Peter 1:19-21: “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”  

Scripture didn’t originate on the human level but with the Holy Spirit, who “moved” upon the authors to write it (v. 21). It is just like the effects of wind upon a ship as it blows against its sails and moves it through the water. Similarly, the Spirit moved on the Biblical writers to produce the Word of God in writing to men. The human authors of Scripture knew they were writing God’s Word, and they did so with confidence and authority.  

On a personal level, inspiration guarantees that what Scripture says is what God wants to convey to His people. It’s His counsel to us; so we can study and obey it with full assurance that it is the absolute truth and will never lead us astray. 

  • God spoke to men telling them of things He would bring about in the future. The Bible is the only book in the world that has accurate prophecy. Some of them have already been fulfilled and others have not. There are over 300 precise prophecies that deal with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament that have been fulfilled in the New Testament.  

There is no doubt that these are prophecies from God because these manuscripts and scrolls are dated before the birth of Christ. These were not written after the fact, they were written beforehand. Scientific dating proves this. To say that these are fulfilled by chance is an astronomical impossibility. 

  • The Bible presents its heroes truthfully with all of their faults and weaknesses. It does not glorify men as other religions do about their heroes. When you read the Bible, you realize that the people it describes have problems and do wrong just as we do. What made them great was that they trusted in God. One example is David. David is described as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Yet, David committed adultery (2 Samuel 11:1-5) and murder (2 Samuel 11:14-26). This could have been left out of Scripture to hide these details of David’s life. But God included these things. 
  • Archaeological findings support the history recorded in Scripture. Though many unbelieving people throughout history have tried to find archaeological evidence to disprove what is recorded in the Bible, they have failed. It is easy to say that Scripture is untrue, but proving it to be untrue is a different story and it has never happened. In fact, in the past the Bible contradicted the current “scientific” theories, only to be proven later to be in fact true. A good example is Isaiah 40:22, which declared that God “sits on the circle of the earth”. Isaiah didn’t know the topography of the earth, but Isaiah said, “It is God that sits upon the circle of the earth.” The word for “circle” here means a globe or sphere. How did Isaiah know that God sat upon the circle of the earth? ….By divine inspiration.  

It was not too long ago that scientists claimed the earth was flat and the Bible proves them wrong since Isaiah wrote this between 740 BC and circa to 686 BC. And as we will see next, Job lived at least 1500 years BC. 

The Truth of the Word of God tells us that God “hung the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7). How did Job know that the earth hung in space before the age of modern astronomy and space travel? The Holy Spirit told him.  

  • The Bible is affirmed through historical accuracy. Do you remember the story about the handwriting on the wall that is found in the fifth chapter of Daniel? Belshazzar hosted a feast with a thousand of his lords and ladies. Suddenly, an alarming hand of judgment appeared out of nowhere and began to write on a wall. The king became very disturbed and asked for someone to interpret the writing. Daniel was found and gave the interpretation. After the interpretation Belshazzar commanded, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. (Daniel 5:29) 

Basing their opinion on Babylonian records, the historians claim this never happened. According to the records, the last king of Babylon was not Belshazzar, but a man named Nabonidas. And so, they said, the Bible is in error. There wasn’t a record of a king named Belshazzar. Well, the spades of archeologists continued to do their work. In 1853, an inscription was found on a cornerstone of a temple built by Nabonidas, to the god Ur, which read: “May I, Nabonidas, king of Babylon, not sin against thee. And may reverence for thee dwell in the heart of Belshazzar, my first-born favorite son.” From other inscriptions, it was learned that Belshazzar and Nabonidas were co-regents. Nabonidas traveled while Belshazzar stayed home to run the kingdom. Now that we know that Belshazzar and Nabonidas were co-regents, it makes sense that Belshazzar would say that Daniel would be the third ruler. What a marvelous nugget of truth tucked away in the Word of God! 

  • The Bible was written by approximately 40 human authors over a period of approximately 1,600 years. These men were quite diverse. Moses, a political and civic leader; Joshua, a military leader; David, a shepherd; Solomon, a king; Amos, a herdsman and fruit picker; Daniel, a prime minister; Matthew, a tax collector; Luke, a medical doctor; Paul, a rabbi; and Peter, a fisherman; among others. The Bible was also written under a variety of circumstances. It was written in 13 different countries and on three different continents. It was written in at least three different languages by people in all professions. The Bible does not contradict itself theologically, morally, ethically, doctrinally, scientifically, historically, or in any other way. 
  • There are plenty of references in non-biblical sources to the events described in the Bible. The Jewish historian Josephus, born in 37 AD, provides indispensable background material for the student of…New Testament history. In them, we meet many figures well known to us from the New Testament. Some of his writings provide direct commentary on New Testament references. 
  • The Bible’s claims of being inspired by God come from the testimonies of some very reliable witnesses – particularly of Jesus, but also of others such as Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, and Nehemiah in the Old Testament, and John and Paul in the New Testament – who affirm the authority and verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. Consider the following passages: Exodus 14:1; 20:1; Leviticus 4:1; Numbers 4:1; Deuteronomy 4:2; 32:48; Isaiah 1:10, 24; Jeremiah 1:11; Jeremiah 11:1–3; Ezekiel 1:3; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:16–21; 1 John 4:6. 

Finally, the Bible is not a book of the month, but the Book of the ages. First Peter 1:25 says: “But the word of the Lord endures for ever. And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” No book has ever had as much opposition as the Bible. Men have laughed at it, scorned it, burned it, ridiculed it, and made laws against it. But the Word of God has survived. And it is applicable today as much as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. 

The Bible’s power to transform people and nations is greatly documented. Wherever the word of God has spread, it has brought life, health and vitality. Millions of people’s hearts and lives have changed when they heard and read God’s word and when their hearts were open to God.

And always remember that the word of the Lord is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the loving kindness of the Lord. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. (Psalm 33:4-6)

Posted by: missionventureministries | January 11, 2017

THE PATHWAY OF FAITH – Isaiah 41:8-13

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Introduction: Even in troubling times, followers of Jesus Christ can choose to walk in faith rather than in fear. Our relationship with the Lord gives us the ability to face hardship with confidence in His provision and care. As God’s children, we can rest in the Father’s promise that He will supply all of our needs. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) 

I.  Fear does not fit who we are as children of God. 

  • The Lord says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).  
  • A fearful spirit is not from God as 2 Timothy 1:7 states: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” If anxiety prevents you from resting at night or hinders your obedience, you are not demonstrating trust in the Lord. Genuine faith and overwhelming fear are incompatible.              

II. Fear affects a person in many different ways. It:

  • Causes confusion. A fearful person will have a difficult time thinking clearly. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) 
  • Contributes to indecision. When someone is afraid of making a mistake, he or she often delays making any choice at all.  
  • Hinders us from accomplishing God’s will. A fearful person misses opportunities because they expect failure.  
  • Damages confidence. Frightened people can seem insecure and incompetent because they doubt their ability to succeed.  
  • Affects our relationships. Causes us to make very bad, costly and even disastrous mistakes. 
  • Can lead to intense panic 
  • Sometimes drives people to drug or alcohol abuse 

III. God does not want us to walk in fear. 

  • Jesus reassured His followers that they didn’t have to worry about food, drink, and clothing – “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33)  
  • Fearing God does not mean cowering in terror. Instead, it means that we are to respect, obey, revere God and stand in awe of Him. Only those who have not received Christ or walk in deliberate rebellion against Him have a legitimate reason to be afraid of God.  

IV. What is the pathway of faith? 

  • Focus on the Lord, not the source of your fears. Instead of dwelling on your problems, choose to think about God’s absolute sovereignty over everything (Psalm 103:19). 

 If you and I are living godly lives, the Lord will cause everything to work out for our ultimate good – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) 

Disappointments may come, but they don’t have to discourage or defeat us.  

Face moments of doubt and fear by asking the following questions.  

  1. Where did these doubts originate? Because God says He did not give us a spirit of fear, we know they cannot be from Him.  
  2. Has God ever failed me in the past? You may be facing a difficult situation, but remind yourself of the many times when the Lord provided for you.  
  3. Doesn’t Scripture say that the Father will meet all my needs? The Lord promises to provide for His people – “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) 
  4. Why should I ever imagine I’m on my own when trying to do what God requires? You and I can have the power, provision, and guidance of the Holy Spirit, just as the New Testament Christians did – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) 
  5. Didn’t He promise to be with me at all times? If you have trusted Jesus as your personal Savior, you will never be alone again. Christ promised He would neither leave nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).  
  6. Is anything too hard for God? No. Boldly express your confidence and trust in the Lord.  
  7. Is this a fork in the road where my unbelief could cost me a lifetime of regret? When you face major decisions, be especially careful to act in faith rather than fear.  

Read and memorize God’s Word. Believers are constantly bombarded with worldly lies that distort their perspective and contribute to anxiety. 

That’s why we must constantly renew our minds with the Word of God (Psalms 119:97-105). As Scripture reminds us, we have a relationship with the Lord that can cancel all our fears (Isaiah 41:10); we’ve also been given the promise that the Holy Spirit will be our Helper – “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17) 

God loves you; allow the Bible to guide and comfort you in times of uncertainty.  

  • Forge ahead, no matter what people say. Sometimes others will try to discourage you from stepping out in faith, so be careful and reject ungodly advice. And don’t allow adversity to dampen your enthusiasm for pursuing God. Follow the example of the apostle Paul, who, despite difficulties (2 Corinthians 11:24-25), never stopped serving the Lord.  
  • Faithfully and courageously choose to obey God. A believer who is committed to following Jesus has nothing to fear. Obeying the Lord brings blessing, and He promises to use adversity for our good.  

Conclusion: When you and I focus on our circumstances, we can find many reasons to feel afraid. But that is not God’s will for His people. 

Psalm 103:19 says, “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” As believers, you and I have the assurance that God is always with us.  

We need not fear, because He strengthens and helps us in every situation.

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