“Could You Explain the Basics of the Faith?” June 24

 

Could you explain the basics of the faith? How do we know we can trust the Bible? Why did Jesus have to die? How is a person saved? If you had the opportunity to share your faith, would you know how to answer those questions?Could you explain the basics of the faith? How do we know we can trust the Bible? Why did Jesus have to die? How is a person saved? If you had the opportunity to share your faith, would you know how to answer those questions?

Also, is there an angry person in your life? How do you respond to them? Do you make excuses? Do you give in to their selfish demands? How should we respond to people whose lives are characterized by anger?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 11 & 12
Psalm 77.16-20
Proverbs 19.17-19
Acts 7.1-21

 

Could You Explain the Basics of the Faith?

 

Wise as Serpents & Harmless as Doves

Acts 7.1-21:

 

Stephen was taken before the Sanhedrin and falsely accused of blasphemy and here in chapter 7, instead of answering directly, Stephen began to speak the truth of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had said:

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Matt. 10.16-20).

We are living in a society where more and more restrictions are being placed on believers in our schools, in the workplace, and in the civic arena. It seems many in our culture want to give freedom of religion and expression to everyone except believers in Jesus Christ. While we need to be respectful of our civil laws, teach our children to respect authority in their schools and elsewhere, and be the best possible employees, we must sometimes risk censure to speak the truth to a lost world. When we do, we must do it out of a desire to please God and a love for the lost and not self-righteousness or an argumentative attitude.

Though we may not be killed for doing so, there will be times when it will be costly. We should pray that God will help us be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” as Jesus said in Matthew 10. For instance, we can take a co-worker to lunch instead of sharing the gospel at work and we need to be informed of our freedoms under the law and take advantage of them. Many people keep quiet because they are uninformed about the freedoms they do have.

 

The Basics of the Faith

We also need to learn to defend our faith. Many of us hold back because we don’t even know why we believe what we do. It doesn’t mean you have to have a degree in theology, but we should all know the basic tenets of our faith!

basics of the faith

How do we know we can trust the Bible?

Why did Jesus have to die?

How is a person saved?

What is “justification by faith”?

What does the Bible really say about homosexuality and abortion and how are we to treat people caught up in life-dominating sins?

If you don’t know the answers to those questions, ask your church leadership if there is a discipleship class or program. Many churches, like ours, offer courses to help you get grounded in the truth.

You can, also, do a self study with books like, Basic Christianity by John R.W. Stott or The Good News We Almost Forgot by Kevin L. DeYoung.

COULD YOU EXPLAIN THE BASICS OF THE FAITH? How do we know we can trust the Bible? Why did Jesus have to die? How is a person saved? If you had the opportunity to share your faith, would you know how to answer those questions?


Today’s Other Readings:

 

Betrayal & Forgiveness

1 Chronicles 11 & 12:

 

1 Chronicles parallels 2 Kings and repeats much of the same narrative story, but because of the viewpoint of the return from Babylon, it emphasizes certain points. So as I said yesterday, don’t be confused by the repetition.

Notice in 1 Chronicles 11.41 in the list of David’s mighty men—those who served him so well—the name Uriah the Hittite. He was the husband of Bathsheba. David’s sin of adultery and murder would have been bad enough no matter who Uriah had been, but it was aggravated by the fact that Uriah was a loyal associate.

Yet, though there were consequences, some of which affected David for the rest of his life, God forgave him and Bathsheba. Because of His faithfulness and grace, their son Solomon would be the next king in the lineage of Jesus Christ.  Continue reading

August 20 “If … if … if”

puzzledWe’re often a lot like Job and his friends. We think if we keep the law (at least our interpretation of it), God is obligated to bless us.

Today’s Readings:
Job 31 & 32
Psalm 98.1-3
Proverbs 23.17-18
1 Corinthians 2.1-16

Job 31 & 32:

If … if … if

Job ends his defense in chapter 31 with a series of “ifs.” If I had looked on a woman lustfully (vv. 1, 9), if I had not been generous (vv. 16-21), if I had treated my employees unfairly (v. 13), if I had trusted in wealth rather than God (vv. 24-25), if I had hidden my sin (v. 33), if I had stolen (v. 39), etc., then I could understand all this.

After Job and his three friends had stopped speaking, a younger friend, Elihu, says in effect, I can’t keep quiet any longer. I think you’re all wrong!

But soon … God will begin to speak and answer all of them. Continue reading

August 19 “A roller coaster of emotions”

roller coasterWhen we go through tests and trials, there is often a roller coaster of emotions. But we don’t have to let our emotions run the show!

Today’s Readings:
Job 29 & 30
Psalm 97.7-12
Proverbs 23.15-16
I Corinthians 1.1-31

 

Job 29 & 30:

A roller coaster of emotions

Our friend Job is on quite a roller coaster. In yesterday’s reading he had some of the most incredible revelation from God and in today’s reading He thinks God has totally abandoned him.

Isn’t that a picture of the roller coaster of emotions we can all experience when we’re going through a test or trial? The important thing to remember is that even though the feelings are there, they’re real and they’re often strong, we don’t have to be controlled by our emotions. By that I mean, we don’t have to let them determine the way we act and respond!

In spite of all his roller coaster feelings, Job stayed faithful to God. Remember what his wife said at the beginning, “Why don’t you just curse God and die!” (my paraphrase). But Job didn’t waver from his faith in God, even though he didn’t understand why God was allowing all this calamity.

Continue reading