The Value Of Gospel Truths

The fundamental truths of the Gospel are landmarks to keep us safely within the boundaries set by God. Suppose your grandfather owned some property which at one time had been carefully surveyed. He was there when they set the stakes and could have paced it off blindfolded. But he never took the time to show anyone else the markings.

“Over the years, the markers rotted, were rooted up, or washed away. Now your grandfather has died and left the land to you. But a dishonest neighbor claims it is his, and as proof of ownership points to the burgeoning crop of corn he has planted. You discover the deed and land description have been lost. Since you do not really know the proper boundary lines yourself, how will you defend your case in court? You will probably end up losing your property because no one ever told you where it ends and your neighbor’s begins.

The spiritual parallel is this: Every fundamental truth has some evil neighbor (i.e., heresy) butting up against it, eager to plant a crop of lies upon the sacred ground of God’s Holy Word and thus fool the saints. And the very reason that a spirit of error has encroached so far upon the truth in the last few years is because ministers have not walked the boundaries of the Gospel with their people and acquainted them with these primary truths.” —William Gurnall, The Christian In Complete Armor (emphasis added)

I have shared other quotes from The Christian In Complete Armor herehere, and here.

4 Reasons To Study Your Bible

Commitment to readYou probably hear Christians say quite frequently, “You should read your Bible.” But one thing you may not hear as often is why you should read your Bible. There are probably many more reasons, but here are four reasons why I believe reading your Bible should be a daily part of your life.

(1) To help spot errors.

When the devil tempted Jesus, it is noteworthy that Jesus didn’t try to use logic, or persuasion, or even willpower. Every temptation was blocked by Jesus saying, “It is written” as He quoted Scripture.

In the second temptation, the devil tried the same tactic. He, too, quoted a couple of verses from the Psalms, but he took them out of their context. So notice Christ’s reply, “It is also written” (Matthew 4:7). The best way to spot error is to know the full counsel of God’s Word. This tactic the devil tried with Jesus wasn’t something new, but it was something he used on the very first humans: “Did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1), and he will try it again on you!

(2) To clarify your emotions.

Most of us allow our emotions to control our actions. Or sometimes we wrestle with, “My heart says one thing, but my head says something else!” In this tug-of-war, we allow our emotions to determine our beliefs, and then our beliefs determine our actions. This is not only dangerous, but it is contrary to what the Bible teaches.

The healthy way to respond is by fully knowing what we believe, and then acting according to our beliefs. Our proper emotional response will then follow those actions.

Look at the example of Jesus in John 2:13-16. He was ticked off at how people were misusing His Father’s house, and He did some serious house cleaning! Just reading those four verses, you may get the idea that Christ’s emotions carried Him away. But check out verse 17, in which we see He was acting in accordance to His beliefs, which were fully grounded in Scripture.

(3) To know prophesy.

All of the Scriptures point to Jesus, so all of the Scriptures are illuminated by Christ (Luke 24:27, 45). If you want to know what is happening in our world, turn to the pages of Scripture and see how Jesus is revealed. This will help you put even current events into perspective.

(4) To give sound answers.

When people need help, I want to be able to give them real answers. Not my opinion, but truth that they can apply. The Apostle Peter told us to always be prepared to give people an answer that is based on our knowledge of Jesus (1 Peter 3:15).

“Beware of saying, ‘I haven’t time to read the Bible, or to pray’; say rather, ‘I haven’t disciplined myself to do these things.’” —Oswald Chambers

Can I challenge you to do something I challenged my whole church to do … Make a commitment to read the Bible every day for the next seven days. See what happens as God meets with you, and reveals Himself and His wisdom to you, every day.

We’ll be learning some Bible study strategies next Sunday, and I invite you to join us.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“The Law of God encodes the mind and will of God. Only by reading, meditating on, studying, and obeying the Law of God could God’s people obtain all that He had promised them and all that He was resolved to do by bringing His eternal reign to bear on earth as it is in heaven. The prayer of God’s people should thus ever be, ‘Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer’ (Psalm 19:14).” —T.M. Moore

“Either he is a bad child, or he has got a bad father, that does not want to go home. Now, we have got a good and blessed Father, and I hope He has made us His true children, and we want to see His face; we long for the time when we shall no longer be under tutors and governors, but shall come home to enjoy the inheritance. Brethren, we are also laborers. It would be a strange thing if the laborer did not wish to achieve the end of his toils. It would indeed be a strange thing if, industrious though he be, he did not prefer the end of his toils to the beginning. It would be contrary to nature, and I think contrary to grace, if the husbandman did not long for the harvest, and if he that toils did not desire to receive the reward.” —Charles Spurgeon

“The fruit of the tree of knowledge is still being eaten by man, and still infusing its poison. Love of knowledge is the professed starting-point. But in the pursuit of this, God is not acknowledged as the teacher, nor the Bible as the infallible textbook. Speculation abounds; inspired trammels are flung off; pride of intellect operates; man worships his own mind; every day brings forth some novel opinion; revelation is thrust down from its high position; every form of error gets vent; till God gives men over to a reprobate mind, and sends them strong delusion that they should believe a lie. ‘They will not endure sound doctrine,’ but are ‘carried about with every wind of doctrine.’” —Horatius Bonar

A medical doctor discusses the difference between an adult donating their body for medical research/education, and a mother “donating” her aborted baby for its chopped-up body part.

Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic, explains how “tissue donation” works.

Seth Godin says, “Just because a thing can be noticed, or compared, or fretted over doesn’t mean it’s important, or even relevant.” Read more of his post Compared To…

[VIDEO] Jefferson Bethke talks about encountering the God who suffers—

[VIDEO] Bobby Conway has some encouraging words for those fighting an addiction to pornography—

One Of The Most Unusual Stories

There is one of the most unusual stories inserted in Genesis 38. I say “inserted” because it almost seems out of place. In chapter 37, Joseph’s brothers have just sold him into slavery and convinced their Dad that a wild animal killed him. In chapter 39, we pickup Joseph’s story again as he arrives in Egypt.

Genesis 38 has a story that doesn’t fit in Joseph’s story. It’s sort of a giant parenthesis. Not only that, it’s a story of mistake after error after mess up after bad judgment after more mistakes.

Judah, an older brother of Joseph, came up with the idea of selling him instead of killing him. Perhaps being around his co-conspirators was too difficult for him, so Judah left town.

  • Mistake #1: not dealing with his guilt and sin, but running away from it.

Judah married a Canaanite woman.

  • Mistake #2: inter-marrying with a non-God-fearing culture.

Judah gave his son Er in marriage to Tamar.

  • Mistake #3: allowing his son to inter-marry with the Canaanites too.

Er sinned. The Bible doesn’t say what it was, but it was so offensive that God put him to death.

  • Mistake #4: sin against God.

Onan (Judah’s second son) sinned. He had a familial responsibility to his brother and sister-in-law’s family line, but he snubbed them both.

  • Mistakes #5 & #6: more sin against God, and disregard for family.

Judah promised Shelah (his third son) to Tamar. But he procrastinated in following through on that because he thought Tamar was a black widow.

  • Mistake #7: deception.

Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute, and waited along the road for Judah.

  • Mistake #8: more deception.

Judah slept with his daughter-in-law Tamar (yuck!), thinking she was a prostitute.

  • Mistakes #9 & #10: fornication and incest.

Tamar became pregnant, and Judah wanted to have her publically punished for her infidelity.

  • Mistake #11: hypocrisy.

That’s a whole lot of sin and error and lapses in judgment and mistakes for just one family. What a mess this family had become! So, why in the world is this story inserted here? Because Tamar had twins: Perez and Zerah. In listing the royal, kingly genealogy of Jesus, Matthew writes…

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar.

Perez is listed in the genealogy of Jesus. God took all of those mistakes and made something great come from it!

It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you’ve made… it doesn’t matter how many times you think you’ve blown it… it doesn’t matter how many lapses in judgment you’ve had… God still has a plan for you. He wants to do something great through you. Will you let Him?

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