Tag Archives: Truth

The Root Of Our Problems


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Today we want to discover how to unmask the source of your noise.  Our text is found in II Peter 1:2–3.

2 Pe 1:2-3 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Let’s break down the parts of this verse to be sure we understand what Peter is saying:

  • Grace and Peace are multiplied to us. Why do we struggle so much to find it?
  • Knowledge of God – this is the only way to get the peace God gives. This is a 
relational knowledge of God, not a factual knowledge.
  • All things – God left nothing out
  • Life and godliness – the chance to have eternal life and the ability to live godly all 
come from the same Source with the same power.  If we trust God totally for salvation, why can’t we trust Him totally for the power to live a godly life?

Someone going through this material recently told me that it is not logical to drop our focus on Scripture to fix our problems and pick up a focus on Scripture to know God. Yet this is exactly what II Peter 1:2-3 is telling us. Godliness comes from knowing Him!

The Nature of Truth

There are things that all people understand to be true through creation and through their own conscience (Romans 1:18–21, 25, 28, 32).

KJV Ro 1:18-21 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Note that the invisible things are clearly seen: His eternal power and Godhead

Ro 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

The natural bent of the unsaved heart is idolatry (anything that comes before God often revealed by where we spend out time). This tendency is not completely removed for the believer, we still have a deceitful heart (Jer. 17:9).

Definition: Truth = reality.

The Danger of Unbelief

A belief is what you accept to be true.

This can be things that are real or things that are fantasy. What we believe or don’t believe does not change the truth. Reality does not change. This is the way it is. There is never a situation where the facts on this side are not true.

Our situations do not change who God is. He is always good and always in control.

Unbelief is rejecting what God says is true.

You must labor to find out what is true according to God, resolutely 
reject any deviation from it, and cling to the things that are true about God no matter what is happening to you.

So how much do you want the peace? Are you ready to rearrange significant portions of your life to be able to have the time to “labor” to find the truth?

The Glory of God

Unbelief robs God of His glory (Romans 1:21).

His unique excellence is tarnished in our view. He becomes in our mind no better than the creatures He made—weak, untrustworthy, unloving, unkind, and unwise.

The temptation of the sinful heart is to “[exchange] the truth of God [for] a lie” (Romans 1:25).

Stabilizing Truths for Noisy Souls: The Knowledge of God

We encourage you to print a copy of “The Stabilizing Truths for Noisy Souls.” You can download it at this link. http:// www.QuietingANoisySoul.com/downloads/memory-cards.pdf.

Labor, labor, labor to know these truths—look up the above verses and find other verses that teach these truths.

  • Memorize these truths and verses that support them (Psalm 119:9–11).
  • Meditate upon these truths (I Timothy 4:15– 16).
  • Fellowship with others about these truths (I John 1:3).
  • Test every stray thought of your heart by these truths (II Corinthians 10:3–5).
  • Don’t despise preaching about these truths (II Timothy 4:2–4). THIS IS THE “LABOR.”

To reject truth is to believe a lie. THIS IS THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE!

So here we conclude for today: Unbelief is the primary cause of the noise in your soul. You do not yet see that God Himself is more than enough for you.

Thanks to Dr. Jim Berg for allowing us to use his material.
Berg, Jim. (2005). Quieting a Noisy Soul. Greenville, SC: BJU Press

Finding Freedom That Lasts


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Have you ever felt trapped?  Perhaps you reached a low point in a particular inner spiritual struggle where you said to yourself:  “I’m tired of reacting/saying/thinking/doing _______ and I’m going to make a change in my life!”  But before you knew it, you were repeating the same cycle all over again!

If Satan can get you to believe a lie, He can control your life!

We all are translating the events and circumstances of our lives through a particular worldview. Worldview is “the overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/worldview)

During the 17th & 18th centuries the western world lived through a period known as the Enlightenment.  The belief was that man could formulate through science and advanced knowledge a world where there was no human ills!  It was a time of great hope, great scientific achievements. There was a firm belief in the supernatural. This ideal was shattered by two world wars.

During the 19th and early 20th century the philosophical view in the west became modernism. Modernism is a relevant, practical, measurable world that is understood through science and the physical senses. Modernism was largely secular and rejected the supernatural.

Western worldview has moved from Modernism and its anti-supernatural bias, to Post-Modernism which acknowledges the spiritual but says that there is no absolute truth. If it feels good, if it feels right to you and you are not hurting anyone, then go ahead! Truth is determined by each individual in the context of their own culture, truth is relative.  In fact for the post-modernist the noblest virtue is tolerance of other views, and the greatest (and only) sin is to be intolerant of others. To insist that objective truth exists… truth that is for every age, generation and culture is intolerant and cannot be tolerated!

It is no wonder that men and women are in bondage! Truth brings spiritual freedom! And that is exactly what is happening in our text today!

To those who believed in Him Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free!”

These people are religious, they accept the notion of God… but they want God on their own terms, according to their own ideas and conceptions and thus they need to be delivered from the bondage that they are were under.

If we are to find freedom that lasts:

THERE IS A WARNING WE MUST HEED! (22-30)

You will die in your sins:

If you trust in your own self-righteous (22) – The Jews

Rom. 1:1-4 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

Ps. 14:2-3 The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men,To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. 3 They have all turned aside,They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.

If you believe the world’s philosophy (23, 3:19)

Be part of this world system that is diametrically opposed to God and Christ.  Jesus is not part of this system.  He is from above!

1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

If you are unbelieving (24)

He is a great moral teacher, but he is more than that! He is a great leader, but he is more than that. You can talk about Him, admire Him, even pray to Him but that is not enough.

Those who do not believe that Jesus is God will die in their sins.  Sin will destroy us only if we refuse to believe in Jesus! There is no sin that you have committed that Jesus cannot and will not freely and fully forgive. Only God can forgive sins!

If you are willfully ignorant (25-30)

Dr Gordan Alles was a brilliant American chemist who pioneered the development of insulin as a treatment for diabetes. In January 1963 after returning from a trip to Tahiti, died. He was 62. The reason for his sudden death? Diabetes. Insulin could have saved his life, but no matter how effective a cure may be, it is of benefit only if there is diagnosis and treatment. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Alles)

Jesus had been performing amazing, undeniable miracles, he repeatedly claimed to be Messiah!

Their ignorance was inexcusable. It was not that the evidence was not on the table, it is that they did not want to acknowledge it because of the implications to their own lives, priorities and agendas.

In reality they were trapped!  They embraced self-righteousness, they were firmly rooted in the world and thus they did not believe, they willfully ignored what others clearly saw! Why? Because they were in reality slaves to something… to someone…

Jesus now offers them a way out!

You and I can escape the dreadful and just consequences of sin and unbelief… here is how:

THE PATH TO THE FREEDOM THAT LASTS (31-32)

Believe in Jesus Christ (31a)

“If” – it is possible to claim to believe and yet not be His disciple. A disciple is a follower, one who is a learner through relationship.  In earlier generations it was the idea of becoming an apprentice of a master craftsman, a relationship in which the apprentice observed, listened, learned and practiced the skill until he himself became a master-craftsman.

You cannot be a true disciple unless you have placed saving faith in Jesus Christ!

Saving faith involves three things:

  1. Knowledge – speaks of the intellect.  There are some thing you must know and understand.  You must know the basic biblical facts about salvation. But knowledge alone is not saving faith.  You can be in Sunday School as a kid, memorize verses and know all the Bible stories yet still not be saved.
  2. Assent – speaks of the emotions.  This is a confident affirmation that the facts you know are in fact true.   You can be moved emotionally during a service or at a particular crisis point in your life, and yet not truly be saved unless the third aspect is also true:
  3. Trust – speaks of the will. The will acts upon these truths by personally appropriating Jesus Christ as the only hope of salvation.

Abide in His Word (31b, Mt. 12:50, Jn. 14:15, 1 Jn 2:4-6)

When you become a true disciple you don’t only claim to believe in Him, you also abide (remain) in His Word. To believe in Jesus is to obey Jesus.  You cannot separate the two.  You do not truly believe savingly if you do not have a heart to obey Him.

Mt. 12:50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

1 John 2:4-64 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

True disciples are Word-oriented. They desire the “pure milk of the Word” like little babies who crave milk.  It is through the Word alone that we will grow as His children.  It is not through seminars, books, uplifting talks, psychological analysis, or any other means!  There is one way that a disciple grows from from infancy into to a strong, reproducing adult – the Word of God! (Jas 1:22)

1 Peter 2:22 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

Know the truth (32a)

The post-modernists of our day are left with nothing but their own ignorance – the search for truth is futile apart from God.

Scripture is God’s revelation of Divine truth. It is the Word of Truth that we abide in as His disciples that set us free!

2 Tim. 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In Scripture Jesus is revealed as truth in the flesh (14:6). As a result of knowing Jesus Christ you can differentiate and and sort through all the voices claiming truth. You can know the truth and once you know truth you will be free! (Jn. 1:7)

Through Scripture the Holy Spirit teaches truth to believers. (Jn 17:17)  This is the ongoing work of the Spirit of God to teach and affirm the truth of the Word of God to the hearts of those who have been saved by faith!

Be made free (32b, Lk 4:18; Gal 5:1)

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

Gal. 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Free from the bondage to the lie – Satan doesn’t care what lie you believe as long as you don’t embrace the truth. Choose whatever worldview suits you. Spend your life in mad pursuit of pleasure, or knowledge, or achievement, or whatever. Want religion – no problem, there are plenty to choose from and Satan is happy for whichever one you want to choose to believe! There is only one that he wants to keep you from at all costs – the truth of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Free from the bondage to Satan – He is the ‘father of lies’, a murderer – destroyer. (44)

Free from bondage to sin – sin is like a sweet tasting poison, it swallows so smoothly but once consumed it rots everything it touches – from the inside out.

SIGNS THAT THEY DESPERATELY NEEDED THIS FREEDOM (33-34)

They were in denial (33)

They denied that they were in bondage.  We have never been in bondage to anyone, how can you say that you shall be made free?  How blind we can be to clear realities!

Perhaps they were speaking spiritually because they had been enslaved in Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medio-Persia, Greece, Syria and now Rome!

They were confident that they were spiritually free because they were descendants of Abraham. Freedom doesn’t come from family, religious or racial backgrounds! (Ro. 2:28-29).

They were in bondage but blind to that reality! The same with us!

To deny that we have a problem, that we are enslaved to a particular sin is to remain in bondage to that sin!  We must acknowledge the truth – only then can we seek the solution.

They were deceived (32b,34)

The deceived must be confronted with their condition: “Most assuredly” is code for – “This is VERY IMPORTANT – listen carefully!”

They thought they were free, but were actually in bondage.  They were a slave of sin.  To be a slave is to be under the control of another and unable to free oneself.

This sin is binding, a continual, habitual pattern of life (Commits Sin). Like a cruel taskmaster sin controls every aspect of a persons life. The person is enslaved to various lusts and passions (Titus 3:3). He is not here speaking of any one particular act. (2 Pt. 2:19)

Titus 3:3-6 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

These people thought their relationship with Abraham united them with God, but in reality they had no relationship with God.

They had believed the lie! They needed to embrace liberating truth! We must face the painful reality / face the truth about ourselves if we are to be free!

YOU Can Have This Freedom That Lasts (35-36)

You may say that a particular thing does not enslave you… try stopping!  How long can you go without becoming intoxicated or being controlled by lustful thoughts or giving in to an outburst of anger?

Friends we are all in this same boat together – the Bible is clear that we all do battle with sin, because we are sinners!

There is hope! You can be set free today! If Jesus sets you free – you are really free!

  • Free from the guilt of past sin.
  • Free from the present power of sin – you can still sin, but you don’t have to!
  • Free to fulfill your God-given purpose!
  • Free to experience the peace and happiness of being His child.

If the Son of God sets you free – you are really really really free!  Don’t you long for that freedom?  Wouldn’t you love to be free from the shackles of sin? Don’t you desire to be free from the guilt of your past, from the bondage you have to that thing… whatever it is?

Believe in Jesus Christ today – accept Him as your Savior right now!  Open your heart and invite Him to replace your sin with His presence and forgiveness.

Now commit to reading, studying and joining in corporate fellowship around the Word of God.  You will spend a lifetime plumbing the depths of God’s glorious liberating truth!

Download a free .pdf copy of Finding Freedom That Lasts.

Christ is God


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In John chapter 7 John submits evidence again that Christ is God by showing the connection between Christ and God’s plan, God’s message, God’s work, and God’s answer to man’s need.

Our stage for the scene recorded in John 7 is Jerusalem. Six months have passed since Jesus multiplied the little boy’s lunch and fed the 5000. It is the Feast of Tabernacles, a celebration that all Jewish males were required to keep.

As we read this chapter it is clear that a major theme is the efforts of the Jewish leaders to kill Jesus.  They were not successful at this time and I believe that one reason John records these events in chapter seven is to show that when Christ did enter Jerusalem to die in chapter 12, it was an intentional act on Christ’s part.

Christ followed God’s plan. (3-8)

God’s ways are not our ways.

It made logical sense to the brothers to encourage Christ to get more exposure. They thought Christ was trying to expand His influence, though they did not believe His message. They missed Christ’s overall purpose: to redeem man from sin.

  • It was not time for Christ to die by publicly entering Jerusalem.
  • He obeyed the Mosaic law and went, but without the publicity.
  • The world hates Christ because He reveals where they are wrong.

Only when a person accepts that Christ is God do they acknowledge that He has the right to tell them what is wrong with the way they live. Either people acknowledge Christ is God or they deny Him. People either they admit He has the right to say what is right and wrong about life, or they reject his right to make this decision.

It is not Christ’s actions that stop belief, it is rejection of who He is.
The use of Christ’s “time,” referring to the time of His death, is used 5 times in John (cf. 2:4; 8:20, 59; 10:39; 12:36). Christ had an appointed time to die, the timing of the deaths of everyone else is not restricted like Christ’s was. Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

No matter what the world said, no matter what family said, Christ put God and His plan above all of that. We must do the same.

Christ spoke God’s message (11-19)

The Jewish leaders were waiting to arrest Christ but could not find Him. The people reacted as they believed, though they feared the leaders (11-12).

Christ openly taught in the temple (14-16). Fear did not control Christ’s agenda.  One might think that Christ was afraid of the Jews because He did not travel with His family. His reason for not traveling with His family was that He was following God’s plan not conforming to the expectations of others.

Desire determines understanding, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine” (17).

Jewish doctrine was careful to make sure that no one used their own authority. Though Christ could have used His own authority, being God, He pointed back to His Father that the people claimed to believe in.

Self-seeking discredits the message (18-19).  The Jews were silent at this rebuke, in fact they do not speak to Christ again in this chapter.

Christ did God’s Work (20-36)

Ignorance of the situation (20-24)

He speaks to the people to remind them of why the Jewish leaders wanted to kill him: the healing of the lame man in chapter 5.

He clarifies the issue for people who are afraid of the Jewish leaders – vs. 13

The people confused the truth with tradition. The tradition was that the Messiah would appear and no one would know where He came from. The truth in the Scriptures was much different.

He declared again He was coming on behalf of God.  We don’t know what it looked like when people tried to take Him and could not, but the people could not touch Him because He was in control – He is God.

Some believe because they saw the significance of the signs. Finally someone is thinking and realize that the signs point to the origin of the power.

When the Jews sent people to arrest Jesus, He responds to those attempting to take Him (33-34),  Christ was to die about six months later, but this was not God’s time.  There is an indication from John that there will be a time when those who refused to believe will be looking for him but they won’t be able to find Him, they cannot get to Him.

The same is true today!  “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)

Christ is God’s Answer (37-44)

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (John 7:37)

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1)

“In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.” (Zechariah 13:1)

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” (John 7:38-40 )

Some had come to the wrong conclusion (40)

Some had embraced the truth (41)

Some were distracted from the truth by wrong information (41)

Which one of these categories do you fall into?

Christ is God (45-53)

Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?”  The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”  Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived?  Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?  But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” (John 7:45-49)

Even Christ’s enemies knew He was God (45-46)

The pride of the Pharisees kept them from believing (47-49)

Anyone speaking the truth was also rejected (50-53)

Christ works out God’s plan, He speaks God’s message, He does God’s work, He is God’s Answer, all because Jesus Christ is God! Believing in Him gives eternal life. (Jn. 20:31)

Download pdf notes for Christ is God

Becoming A Disciple


Becoming A Disciple

I read this helpful reminder that sets the context for our study today:

The Founder of Christianity is Jesus Christ.

The Goal of Christianity: change men and women through regeneration.

The Method of Christianity: Internal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ – and that is the main point of what we have seen thus far in our study in John chapter one.

The Means of Christianity: The good news of salvation is not spread through political, educational or religious philosophies but through Disciples.

What is a disciple?

A disciple is a learner, follower, one who is not committed to a cause but committed to a person.

A person becomes a member of a political party by registering and receiving a party card.

Many people today identify their spirituality by wearing special clothes, head coverings, necklaces or by cutting their hair in a special way. ILL: Moslem women burka & men skull cap, Hindu red dot (bindi), Catholicism – beads, necklaces, Orthodox Jew – tassels and yarmulke All of these things are symbols of identification of the god they worship.

But what about becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Becoming His disciple is not about external identification of spirituality by wearing special clothes, necklaces or by cutting your hair in a special way. A person does not become a disciple of Jesus Christ by joining a church or by participating in spiritual rituals.

Becoming a disciple means that you become a follower of Jesus Christ. What are the implications?

Let us read our text found in John 1:35-51:

35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?”
They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”
39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).
40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).

43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”
48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (The New King James Version. (1982). (Jn 1:35–51). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)

There are three big ideas found in our text this morning:

BECOMING A DISCIPLE IS A PERSONAL DECISION

You cannot “Behold the Lamb” and not decide for or against Him!

Investigate the claim for yourself

This claim demands action on our part = they left John and followed Jesus to find out for themselves if He was the Messiah. (35-37)

Come & See! Honest seekers always find Him (6:37), but hypocrites will not be given audience (Jn.2:23-25).

The way these five men came to Christ was different from one another:

    • Some come as seekers, honestly looking for answers (37)
    • Some are here because someone came and told you about Jesus and invited you to check it our for yourself (41,46)
    • Some are here because Jesus took the initiative and your heart and mind have inexplicably been drawn to truth and in your heart you knew He was commanding you to follow Him (43)

You will be forced to a decision. Discipleship begins with genuine faith. “Behold the Lamb of God” demands a response of faith:

  • False faith – faith in the wrong object (Acts 19:28)
  • Demonic faith – intellectual faith (Jas. 2:19)
  • Emotional faith – an emotional encounter (Mt. 13:20-21)
  • Genuine faith – mind, emotions and will (Jn.6:69

C. S. Lewis, who was a professor at Cambridge University and once an agnostic, understood this issue clearly.

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic ‑ on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg ‑ or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God: or else a madman or something worse.”

“You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Personal decision. One becomes a disciple by coming to the cross in humble faith, accepting that the work of Christ on the cross was sufficient to deliver me from all sin. I repent of my sin and receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith alone. This act is one of obedient surrender (Mt. 16.24, Mk. 8.34, 10.21, Lk 9.23).

BECOMING A DISCIPLE IS LIFE-CHANGING

It means heading in a different direction

John & Andrew were fishermen, following Jesus for them would mean leaving nets and becoming fishers of men.

“What are you seeking?” (38) A question that drove John & Andrew to evaluate their motives. Some are seeking approval of peers, financial gain, quick fix to current problems.

You are Simon – you will be Peter (42). Gave Peter hope that in spite of his instability, undependability, brashness, unpredictability Jesus would make him a rock that God would use to found the church in the Book of Acts.

It means following a different person

You must choose to leave the one to follow the other, you cannot serve 2 masters. “Follow me” (43) You follow Jesus and no longer follow self – your own wisdom or desires.

It means becoming a different man/woman

You can’t be His disciple and remain the same! (Luke 6:40)

“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

BECOMING A DISCIPLE IS SOMETHING WE WILL WANT FOR EVERYONE

One identification marker of a genuine disciple is that they long for others to come to Christ! (41-42, 45) The Good News of salvation is not spread through political, educational or religious philosophies, but through DISCIPLES! God intends for us all to be in the game not sitting in the stands.

FIVE MEN met Jesus and were convinced that He is indeed the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” What about you?  Will you receive the sweet invitation offered to you today and become a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lamb to take away your sins?

  • Christ welcomes you to “come and see” for yourself (as he did with John & Andrew)
  • Christ commands you to “follow me” (as he did with Philip)
  • Christ promises hope “you are… you shall be…” (as he did with Simon)
  • Christ guarantees that you will see Him in His glory “you will see greater things than these…” (as He did with Nathaniel)

You can down load as a pdf Becoming A Disciple here.

Why are there so many religions?


Here are the Bible study notes from this morning. We will upload the .pdf version for download so check back in a day or so.

Aren’t all religions equally valid—just as long as they are sincere?

How do we explain the presence of so many religions in the world?

Aren’t the world’s religions all trying to achieve the same thing?
-Social peace
-Spiritual well-being
-A shift in focus from the mundane to the transcendent
-Curbing vices and promoting moral behavior

Aren’t they all simply different expressions of the same ultimate truth?

Two challenges which religion in our day presents to us:

1. Exclusivism—the religious systems of the world cannot all be right in what they teach.

The world’s religious systems have differing conceptions of what is true:
-Judaism
-Christianity
-Islam

The world’s religious systems have differing explanations of life’s purpose:

For example, Sikhism seeks life purpose in escaping reincarnation and becoming one with God.
Zen Buddhism is all about escaping dualism to achieve enlightenment.

2. Conflict—the presence of differing religious convictions has the potential to generate social conflict.

Religious conflict is often motivated by arrogance.

When a religious group is convinced their teachings are the only source of all truth, they can easily develop an attitude of superiority toward those of other faiths.

Attitudes of religious arrogance can also stem from feelings of superior moral standards.

In some cases, religious conflict boils over into outright acts of oppression such as persecution, war, and even genocide.

The Sudanese Civil Wars—social conflicts occur between world religions (Christianity and Islam).

Europe’s Thirty Years War (1618–1648)—conflicts occurring within the same general religious tradition (Protestants and Catholics).

Can we escape the divisiveness which religious views bring?

In his book, The Reason for God, Tim Keller observes three proposed solutions to the problems of religion and evaluates the problems with each approach (Chapter One).

Would simply outlawing religion solve the problem?
Attempts in the past have only generated their own kind of oppression (e.g., Soviet Russia, Communist China, North Korea)

The problem with this approach:
Religious commitments have not diminished with advances in science and education as secularism thought. Instead, Christianity in particular has experienced exponential growth within the last century in across Africa, as well as in India, China, and Korea.

What happens if we attempt to discourage or suppress religion?
Attempting to discourage religion will be an unsuccessful undertaking.

This solution is based upon a number of problematic assumptions:
– “All religions are equal”—would you say the same of religions which practice human sacrifices?
– “Religion is simply cultural”—does an individualistic cultural vantage point lie behind this idea?
– “It is arrogant for any religion to view its beliefs as superior to others”—again does this assumption arise from its own cultural perspective, a pluralistic and egalitarian one? Isn’t this also an exclusivist claim religious claim?

What happens if we try to privatize religion by removing it from the public square?

Some have suggested that we should remove religious convictions from the public square by only working on the basis of universally accepted and religiously neutral arguments.

This approach fails to account for the fact that everyone has unprovable faith assumptions which govern their view of the world, truth, morality, and ethics.

Conclusion: diverse religious convictions in society and around the world are unavoidable.

What attitudes are reflected in the Bible in regards to these challenges: religious arrogance and exclusivism?

Arrogance—does the Bible favor religious arrogance or oppression? No.

The Bible strongly condemns all forms of arrogance and oppression, including that which is religiously motivated.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 ESV).

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:16–18).

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

The Bible discourages oppressive and divisive behavior among Christians, particularly its leaders. Listen to the words of Jesus:

“You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (Mark 10:42–44).

Jesus taught and exemplified a life of humility—the very opposite of arrogance.

Isaiah the prophet predicted the humble attitude that would mark Jesus’ life and ministry:

“He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice” (Isaiah 42:2–3).

Jesus said of himself, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness… he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5–8 NIV).

Exclusivism—does the Bible hold an exclusivist attitude, that its teachings represent the truth and those who disagree with it are wrong? Yes it does.

Truth has a natural quality of exclusivity: if one thing is true, its opposite must be false. True humility does not shrink from telling the truth in order to avoid offending others. The Scriptures proclaim that there is only one true God, and we find in Jesus the perfect blend of humility and truthfulness who tells us that he is the only way to God.

“There is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:21–22).

“Jesus said to him [Thomas the disciple], ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Some thoughts on the exclusive claims of Jesus from the Bible:
If you have not yet become a follower of Jesus, consider the cost of being his disciple. Though disciples follow his example of humility and peacemaking, they will experience the division which truth brings, even in their closest relationships (Luke 12:53; see also Luke 14:25–33).

If you are still searching for peace with God, consider how Jesus is able to make good on his claims to being the only way