a few weeks ago I created & signed a contract that helps keep me accountable to my first ministry & the 2 (soon to be 3) people that mean more than anything to me, my family. Part of this contract is that every night that I am home at bed time, I would put Lainey down for the night. Now the wife still does this from time to time, but the idea is still there that I would show commitment to be home, and to “BE” home when I am there… and as I am about to explain, those moments tend to be the most intimate & rewarding moments of day.
So last night I was holding Lainey while she finished her night bottle, and often times I’ll whisper prayers & blessings over while doing this. I found myself praying this,
"Father, help me be a better FATHER. Help me be a better HUSBAND, a better MAN. Father, I want my life, to be a representation of YOU for my kids. I want them to able to relate & recognize YOU because of the evidence in my life."
I’ve said this so many times to our leaders at The Riot .. “The question is NOT who you are influencing because the truth remains that everybody is in fact INFLUENCING somebody…. the correct questions is, what are you influencing them to do/become.”
If you call yourself a Christian, our purpose in life becomes two-fold..
#1 -to become more like Christ and we do that by getting personal with him, getting to know him more….simply KNOW CHRIST.
#2 - (just as important) - to influence & lead others in making the some life changing decision… or simply, MAKE HIM KNOWN.
So whoever you are this morning, reading this… Parent, Teacher, Coach, Mentor, Life Group Leader, Riot Volunteer or just one of the boys/girls in your circle of friends…
Does your daily life, even your hidden life when nobody is around & the parts of life that you hide from folks… does it reflect Christ?
It’s not always WHO you are influencing, but WHAT are you influencing them to do? to become?
last week I dished out 20 questions that you should be able to answer about your faith. Here are the answers & explanations…
1. How many gods are there in the universe? A. One
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe and the Bible clearly teaches that there is only one God in existence, anywhere, any time, any place.
Isaiah 44:6-8 - 6 This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. 7 Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future. 8 Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!”
**Isaiah 45:6; 14, 18, 21, 22
2. The Trinity is . .. C. One God, three separate but equal personalities
God is a Trinity. God is three simultaneous persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Though there is no single verse that establishes the trinity, it is a result from many.
- There is only one God. Yet, the Father is called God (Phil. 1:2)
- Jesus is called God (John 1:1, 14; 8:58; Heb. 1:8)
- The Holy Spirit is called God (Acts 5:3-4)
3. Jesus is… A. God in flesh
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is the 2nd part of the Trinity, thus He is coequal with the Father and Holy Spirit. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven and will return again someday to earth to reign as King. (Bridge Belief)
Col. 2:9 - For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.
John 1:1,14 – (1)In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(14) So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
*** Heb. 1:8; Phil. 2;5-8; John 8:58 ; Zech. 12:10.
4. How many natures does Jesus have? B. Two
Jesus has two natures. He is both God and man. (re-emphasize #3)
Phil. 2:5-8 - Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
5. The Holy Spirit is … C. The third person in the Trinity
The Holy Spirit is coequal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer spiritual gifts when they are saved. As Christians we seek to live under His control daily. (Bridge Belief)
Acts 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.
**2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13, 14:16-17; Galatians 5:25
6. Sin is … D. Breaking God’s law
God has revealed His character and will in the Law (God’s Word). To sin is to offend God; it is to break His law.
1 John 3:4 -Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
**Rom. 3:20; 4:15; 7:7-13; James 2:9; 1 John 5:17;
7. Human nature is basically … B. Sinful
The Bible reveals that we are sinners. Because Adam fell, we fell with him. (Romans 5) We inherited his sinful nature. All of what we are, body, soul, spirit, mind, emotions, etc. is touched by sin.
According to God’s word, the sinner (the unsaved), cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14); is full of evil (Mark 7:21-23); does not seek for God (Rom. 3:11); is lawless, rebellious, unholy, and wicked (1 Tim. 1:9), etc.
8. In what manner did Jesus rise from the dead? B. In the same body he died in.
Jesus rose from the dead in the same body that he died in. It retained His scars. Though His body was resurrected and glorified, it was the same body.
John 2:19-21 - “Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’ 20 The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?’ 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body.”
Luke 24:39 -"Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."
9. Hell is … C. A place of eternal fire and torment
Many think hell is a state of mind, right here on earth, or that it simply doesn’t exist. It does. The Bible tells us about it.
Mark 9:43, ” If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.”
Rev. 14:11, “And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”
**Luke 16:19-31; 2 Pet. 2:4; Matt. 22:13; Jude 6, 23; Rev. 21:8.
10. Heaven is … C. A place of eternal joy and peace with God.
Heaven is the dwelling place of God and the final stop for those who are saved through Jesus.
Psalm 20:6, “Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand.”
John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. “
**Psalm 102:19; 123:1; Matt. 5:34; 2 Cor. 12:3,4
11. Salvation is … D. Deliverance from the eternal consequence of sin (Death)
Salvation is the act where God, through the penance of Jesus, forgives a person of his sins. He is justified before God and saved from Death (eternal). Salvation is not an end in itself; rather, salvation is the first step of an exciting, challenging journey. When we accept Christ’s forgiveness and repent of our sin, we open the door to that relationship with God that He has created us for.
Rom. 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Rom. 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
**Matt. 1:21; Heb. 2:14, 15; Rom. 5:9; John 3:17.
12. Salvation is attained by… B. Grace through faith
Forgiveness of sins is not conditioned by anything that we do, but it is all a gift of God’s grace through faith…but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith.
Eph. 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
13. The Devil is … D. An angel who rebelled against God
The devil, also called Satan, was an angel who lifted himself in pride and rebelled against God. He is evil, wicked, a deceiver, and powerful.
2 Cor. 11:14 - “.Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light …”
John 8:44 - “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
**Isaiah 14:12-20; Ezekiel 28:14-19
14. The Bible is … A. The inspired word of God.
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs about living. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth without error.
2 Tim. 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness… “
**Rev. 22:19; Acts 17:11
15. The Rapture is … C. When Jesus returns to gather His people
The rapture is when Jesus returns to gather His people. Those who are alive when this happens will not see death, but will be changed and called up to Heaven (Judgement House)
1 Thess. 4:16-17 - ”For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
**1 Cor. 15:51-53.
16. Adam and Eve … A. Were the first man and woman created by God
They were created by God, lived in the Garden of Eden, are our ancient parents.
Gen. 2:21 – 22 - “So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”
**Gen. 1:26,27; Gen. 2:7; Rom. 5:12-14
17. How many ways are there to God? A. Just one. Through Jesus
Unlike other men who have existed, Jesus was God in flesh. He said He was the only way to God. there are no other ways other than Jesus.
John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
John 10:1, “”I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.” **Acts 4:12; Titus 3:5.
18. When you die … B. You go to heaven or hell
Death brings us face to face with eternity. People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life in Heaven. Heaven and hell are real places of eternal existence
Phil. 1:21-23, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.”
2 Cor. 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
**Isaiah 59:2; 2 Thess. 1:9; Gen. 3:19; 1 Cor. 13:12
19. Evolution … B. Is not a viable option for Christians
Evolution is not the fact it is told to be. It is not consistent with the Bible. God created man; man did not evolve.
Gen. 1:26 - “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’”
Heb. 11:3 -"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."
**Col. 1:16,17; Psalm 104:30; Gen. 1-2
20. Why did God create us? C. To save us, love us, and have us love Him.
God’s creation and our salvation were not just so we could live with Him. God desires us to have fellowship and intimacy in a loving & “thriving” relationship with Him
1 John 1:3 - “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
Rev. 21:3 - “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.’”
**John 10:27-28; John 3:16; Phil. 2:1,2.
It is AMAZING how much family means to you when you get older. Especially when you have a family of your own.
STUDENTS - let me issue a warning. Don’t take your family for granted. It’s so easy to become upset and annoyed with our loved ones, in particular our immediate family.
Mom doesn’t let you do something you REALLY want to do.
Dad doesn’t buy you something you REALLY need (aka want)
Bro/Sis just get on your nerves because that’s what they do.
Granny & Papa are old and out of touch with culture. (they still use AOL)
and so on, and so forth.
Here me when I say this.. Love them & Make memories while you can!
Tonight I am speaking at the funeral of my Uncle, who just also happened to be my Pastor for 15 years & the man responsible for my walk with Christ today. One of my greatest influencers & encouragers. I have a lot of memories with this man, but I can’t get past the ones I missed out on because “family” was something I just took for granted. Don’t make that mistake.
Yes. For FAITH to really be of any value, it must be based on facts, on reality.
Here is why. If you were flying with us to Belize next Summer on our mission trip, you would probably have faith that the jet is fueled and mechanically reliable, the pilot trained, and no terrorists on board right?
Your faith, however, is not what gets the plan off the ground from RDU to Belize. Your faith is useful in that it got you on the plane. But what actually gets you to Belize is the integrity of the plane, pilot, etc.
You could rely on your positive experience of past flights. But your positive experience would not be enough to get that plane to Belize.
What matters is the object of your faith — is it reliable?
Is the New Testament an accurate, reliable presentation of Jesus? YES, and we can trust the N.T. because there is enormous factual support for it.
Simply - Your faith allows you to trust in Jesus, but its Jesus that gets you to Heaven.
Why Do We Believe The Bible
The Bible is like a telescope. If a man looks through his telescope, then he sees the worlds beyond; but if he looks at his telescope, then he does not see anything but the telescope. The Bible is a thing to be looked through, to see that which is beyond; but most people only look at it; and so they see only the dead letter. - Phillips Brooks
If I were to ask you, “Do you believe the Bible is the Word Of God?” I am sure that all of the Christians here tonight would say, “yes! We believe the Bible is the Word of God.”
But what if I asked you, WHY do you believe the Bible to be the EXCLUSIVE Word of God?
* Exclusive – THE only one, true, authentic.
Suppose I’m Muslim, or a Mormon, an unbeliever or atheist and I ask you..
- WHY do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?
- HOW do you know the Bible is the Word of God?
- Can you give me a reason why the Bible is the Word of God?
Because EVERY religion in the world will say that their book is the word of God so WHY do you believe exclusively that THIS book is the Bible is the Word of God?
Peter wrote to us something very important, he says in 1 Peter 3:15 – “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
There are people working around the clock to discredit, and plant doubt in your mind. Books and Blogs have been written. Documentaries & Movies have been filmed. Speeches & Lectures have been spoken time after time against the Bible, yet the Bible has stood the test of time and remains the all-time best seller & most translated book ever.
FACTS ABOUT THE BIBLE
*40 Men from all walks of life over the course of 1500 years wrote the Bible without contradicting each other. Some of the writers included kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, tax collectors, poets, musicians, physicians, teachers, statesmen, lawyers, and shepherds. It has been translated into over 2200 languages.
- 2 Tim 3:16-17 - 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
*Over 380 prophecies in The Bible concerning Jesus Christ have been fulfilled. 48 of them were fulfilled in the last week of His ministry.
*The Bible provides scientific facts before they were know to humans
**The scientific fact concerning the shape of the Earth
- When the Italian scientist Galileo announced his finding that the earth was round , the people revolted against him and considered him a blasphemer, and threw him in prison for being a heretic; however, twenty centuries before Galileo, Isaiah the prophet, wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
- Isaiah 40:21-22 - Have you not been paying attention? Have you not been listening? Haven’t you heard these stories all your life? Don’t you understand the foundation of all things? God sits high above the round ball of earth. The people look like mere grasshoppers. He stretches out the skies like a canvas, yes, like a tent canvas to live under.
**The scientific fact concerning the revolution of the earth
- The prophet Job, 2000 years BC said in Job 26:7 – “God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing.”
- The American Astronaut, James Erwin said: “The most wonderful thing I saw on my trip to the moon was seeing the earth like a globe floating in vast space”
WHY DO WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE?
#1 – BRIDGE’S Belief - The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs about living. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth without error.
2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
2 Timothy - 1:13 - Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:160 - The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever.
Psalm 12:6 - The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.
Proverbs 30:5 - Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.
#2 - WHY I Believe the BIBLE is TRUE –
2 Peter 1:16-21 - 16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” 18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.
19 Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, 21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
I BELIEVE THE BIBLE BECAUSE I CAN TESTIFY TO THE TRANSFORMATION IN MY LIFE THROUGH THE BIBLE.