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Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

For today’s post we will tackle the question the Skeptic Annotated Bible asked: Should we believe in unseen things?  This is an alleged contradiction which their website claim has no Christian answer yet.

Here are the two answers which the skeptic believes shows a Bible contradiction (skeptics’ comments included):

Yes.

That is the definition of faith.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Unseen things are the object of faith.

while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Believers walk by faith, not by sight.

for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

And they are saved by an unseen hope.

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?” (Romans 8:24)

Paul says that we should believe “all things,” which would include things that are not seen.

bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)

To believe in God, you must believe that he exists, even though you’ve never seen him.

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Jesus praised people who believe in unseen things, calling them “blessed.”

Jesus *said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.’” (John 20:29)

No.

“Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,” (Colossians 2:18)

(All Scriptural quotation comes from the New American Standard Bible)

Here’s a closer look at whether or not there is a contradiction:

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Over at the blog Truth With Love they have uploaded the videos of the main session of the 2016 Veritas Conference from this past Saturday.  These are some gathering of various like-minded churches in Southern California.

Here in this post I want to share with you the complete audios of this conference that include not only the main session but the breakout seminars as well:

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GO TO PART 34

Marines body armor

Point: Many people today think it is wrong for Christians to correct wrong beliefs and worldview of others.  Sure Christians must do so with love but pointing out what is wrong and especially pointing out the wrong gospel that doesn’t save isn’t wrong.  Similarly some people need to understand that after hearing the true and biblical Gospel they need to trust in the Gospel (and that means trusting in Christ’s person and work).  Is there any helpful illustration to convey this?

Picture: When I was younger I was in the Marines and went to Iraq.  This is a tale of two Marines and their body Armor.

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Faith Alone The Doctrine of Justification by Thomas Schreiner

Thomas Schreiner.  Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, September 15th 2015. 288 pp.

This is the first book in “The 5 Solas Series” that is being published by Zondervan.   The book articulates and defend the classic Reformed doctrine of justification: that justification is forensic (as opposed to transformative) and accessed by faith alone (as opposed to works of the law).  If the rest of the series is just as promising as this one I am definitely going to purchase them.

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Greatest Coach

 

Get The Greatest Coach Ever: Timeless Wisdom and Insights of John Wooden (The Heart of a Coach Series) over at Amazon

This is a book on John Wooden, the legendary coach for UCLA’s basketball team. The book centers on Wooden’s Christian faith and character.  It is written by various people who knew him and/or were influenced by him over the years.  The contributors vary from basket ball players, coaches, pastors, businessmen and athletes from other sports.  The book is set up with a devotional format in which writers share a lesson from their reflection on coach Wooden’s life followed by some questions to stir the readers to examine their own life and walk with God.  I am typically cautious of any discussion about faith and sports since at times it can seem quite cheesy and amount to nothing more than a social religion to provide a motivational positive-thinking speech in the locker room before a game.  Ironically sometimes such “sports religion” can be more man-centered in its outlook rather than being truly God-centered or biblical.  While there were times while I was reading the book that I felt some of the contributors’ points were forced or cheesy or even a bit prideful (“I did this, I did that”), nevertheless I thought this book manage to impart wisdom to the readers concerning character and leadership beyond the realm of sports.  I was happy to see the Gospel even shared in various moments in the book!  There were also good spiritual reflections too especially with Coach Wooden’s priorities of putting God first, then family and then his work.  I was to find the constant theme throughout the book that it’s not about winning—rather it is doing your best—which leads to the spiritual lesson that our life is about spiritual faithfulness to the Lord and not outward success.  Knowing people who personally knew coach Wooden’s life and faith kept me going with the book.  I’m not much of a sports guy myself and I managed to finish this—I imagine those who love sports and Christianity would appreciate this work more than I could have.  I deeply appreciated this book from Wooden’s life as an example of what faith looks like in the workplace.

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 For Exposition of Jonah Part 2 click HERE

Jonah and the Whale Carlo Antonio Tavella

Jonah 1:16

Establish the need: If you say you believe in God, does your attitude, action and words show this to be true?

Purpose: Don’t just fool yourself in saying everything is okay since you believe in God, but see that you have the attitude of fearing God, action of sacrifice and commitment to your words to Him.

Today’s three points:

Don’t just say you believe in God, do you fear Him? (v.16a)

Don’t just say you believe in God, do you offer sacrifice to Him? (v.16b)

Don’t just say you believe in God, do you keep your words to Him? (v.16c)

Passage:

16 Then the men feared the Lord greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.

Background

Jews as light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6)

Jews did not do a good job of being a good testimony to the nations

Same with Jonah

Ironically, Gentiles were coming to faith here!

 

I. Don’t just say you believe in God, do you fear Him? (v.16a)

Note: This will have the biggest focus in today’s sermon because it’s the least taught concept in the churches today in general, because it’s often misunderstood and because a proper understanding of it leads to the other point.

Point: If you your belief in God mean anything, you should have the proper attitude of fear for Him.

Passage:Then the men feared the Lord greatly,”

Proof:

    1. My translation: “The men feared with a great fear
    2. Twice the word “fear” shows up
      1. Once as a verb.
      2. Once as a noun.
    3. Q: Why twice mention of fear?
      1. A: To intensify the action.
    4. This verse is the conclusion of the narrative that began in verse 4 and fuller appreciation of it must flow from the context of chapter 1.

a. Fear is a running theme in Chapters 1.

i.      The men feared the storm in verse 5.

ii.      The phrase, “The men greatly feared” is repeated twice in chapter 1, once in verse 10 and again here in verse 16 to show their fear of Yahweh.

b. The center of the narrative focuses on the fear of God

i.      Chiastic Structure of Jonah 1:4-16 [SEE POWER POINT].

  • Lord hurl wind, storm begins (1:4)
  •             Sailors pray and act (1:5ab)
  •                         Jonah outrageous act (lies down, sleeps; 15:c)
  •                                     Captain/sailors question Jonah (1:6-8)
  •                                                 Jonah speaks (1:9)
  •                                     Sailors question Jonah (1:10-11)
  •                         Jonah outrageous suggestion (1:12)
  •             Sailors act, pray (1:13-14)
  • Sailors hurl Jonah, storm ends (1:16)

 ii.      Beginning in 1:4, there are 94 words before the beginning of the speech in 1:9 (“I am a Hebrew”) and 94 words in 1:10-15 (Limburg, 48).

iii.      Q: What did Jonah say in v. 9?

A: ““He said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.’””

iv.      What verse 9 reveals about God

1. Focuses on the God of the Hebrews (Bible).

2. The name of God: Yahweh.

3. Yahweh is the Creator of the sea and dry land.

4. Verse 9 emphasizes Yahweh as Creator of the Sea (Irony).

Picture: (The different kind of fear distinguished: That of terror of a lion, that of a loving father).

Practice:

i.      Ask yourself Do you fear God like the way you fear your father?

1. If not, turn to Him for salvation!

2. If so, continue to do so!

ii.      Cultivate fear of God in your life

      1. Think about all the things God has done in your life in which He pulled you through or rescue you.  Just like the sailors, how could you not then fear Him?
      2. Read the Bible often, there are things that would make you have a proper fear of Him (Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:1-11).

II. Don’t just say you believe in God, do you offer sacrifice to Him? (v.16b)

Point: If you your belief in God mean anything, you should follow through with actions that honors Him.

Passage:and they offered a sacrifice”

Proof:

1. My translation: “and they offered an offering

2. Again, twice the word “offering” shows up

a. Once as a verb.

b. Once as a noun.

3. Q: Why twice mention of offering?

A: To intensify the action.

4. The verb “offer” is literally sacrifice.  In the Qal stem in the Hebrew, it always refer to real animal sacrifice (Sasson, 139).

5. Therefore, it involves real action, works and costs!

6. What God wants is more than sacrifice: He wants obedience (Psalm 50:7-16)!

7. The principle of having faith so called without works is also addressed in the New Testament in James 2:19-20.

Picture: (Limbo; if you really believe it would make you respond)

Practice:

i.      The New Testament does teach the importance of sacrifices, though in a different form: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that [a]give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).  Do you see your worship on Sunday morning as a sacrifice offered to God?

ii.      Sacrifice involves cost.  In what you have done in serving God, what have it costs you?

iii.      Do you spend money sacrificially for the cause of Christ?

iv.      Count the costs of what God has done for you, then go do the hard things!

      1. If not, turn to Him for salvation!
      2. If so, continue to do so!

v.      Cultivate fear of God in your life

      1. Think about all the things God has done in your life in which He pulled you through or rescue you.  Just like the sailors, how could you not then fear Him?
      2. Read the Bible often, there are things that would make you have a proper fear of Him (Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:1-11).

III. Don’t just say you believe in God, do you keep your words to Him? (v.16c)

Point: You will keep your word with God.

Passage: “and made vows.”

Proof:

Note they “made vows.

This followed their action of making a sacrifice.

Practice:

i.      Have your faith in such a way that it leads you follow God with your action.  This is possible by the grace of God.

 

CONCLUSION

We must not forget Jesus in all of this.  He also taught the concept of fearing God, but in the context of God, hell and us: Luke 12:4-5.

We are made to fear things by God.  If we don’t fear God, and become His slave the sad thing is, we will fear and become enslave everything else.  Turn to Jesus.  Sailors are great analogy for our condition.

 

NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 4

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Assurance of Salvation Series

 

We have completed our weekly series of outlines on the topic of Assurance of Salvation.

It was a joy to search the Scriptures and work on this outline that I find helpful to encourage God’s people in counseling to encourage believers to find their assurance of salvation and bear more fruit, joy in Christ, etc.

Feel free to share this and use it for God’s Glory along with the encouragement of believers and evangelism of unbelievers!

Here are the outlines:

Theological Foundation

1.) Assurance of Salvation Part 1: Why study on the topic of Christian assurance?

2.)Assurance of Salvation Part 2: Foundation for Perseverance of the Saints

3.) Assurance of Salvation Part 3: Perseverance means a Believer Endure

4.) Assurance of Salvation Part 4: Objections to Perseverance of the Saints

5.) Assurance of Salvation Part 5: Christians can Know that they are saved

The Test of Assurance of A Christian’s Salvation

6.) Assurance of Salvation Part 6: Do you understand the Gospel?

7.) Assurance of Salvation Part 7: Questions to examine ourselves Part 1

8.) Assurance of Salvation Part 8: Questions to examine ourselves Part 2

The Result

9.) Assurance of Salvation Part 9: Four kinds of people and the result of our testing in the faith

Appendix

Assurance of Salvation Appendix: Test your faith Survey Questions List

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