“We Believe” In One Living And True God

WE BELIEVE there is one living and true God.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder.” James 2:19 (NASB)

“GOOD FOR YOU,” says James, if you believe in God. 

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God.  I do remember a struggle breaking out in my heart as the study of the Bible began to properly reshape my ideas about God.  As the true image of God began to emerge in my thinking, I knew I was being drawn into a closer relationship with Him.  When I began to see that He was nothing like the person I made up in my head, I began to pursue a deepening relationship with Him.

Building a relationship with God took, (1) learning the truth about Him (2) time for the ideas about Him to become clear (3) training (practising) in His way of being (4) talking to Him in prayer (5) even tears as the truth began to transform me. 

Restoring the relationship with God is why Jesus came to live among us and die for us on the cross.  Jesus came to reconcile us to God as our heavenly Father, to bridge the relational gap, to restore a broken friendship and to teach us the truth about God.  Jesus is God’s witness that He is seeking relationship with us.  Remember in John 14 Jesus said, “Believe in God and also in me.”  While they are ONE technically, they are also distinct persons who live in the sacred community of the Trinity.  The more you learn about anyone of them the more you know about all of them.  All three persons of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit must be honoured and worshipped as equals in their divine perfection. 

By all accounts, the majority of people in the world believe in God.  But effectively the world is as broken as ever, maybe even devolving faster than ever.  So, the question isn’t so much, “Do you believe in God?” but, “WHAT do you believe about God?”  It’s self-evident that a church like ours believes in God.  But our great responsibility is to teach who He is accurately so that people may know Him as Jesus intended. 

Remember that Jesus gave the simplest definition of “eternal life” (life eternal) when He prayed, And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).  Life now and life forevermore depend on the right “knowing.”  It’s quite simple.  Life eternal depends on trusting God’s revelation of Himself through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

I look forward to continuing our series, We Believe (Why Your Beliefs Matter), this coming Sunday.  See you at either the 9 AM or the 11 AM service.

Pastor Deric

“We Believe” The Bible Is The Word Of God

This weekend I’m starting a new series called, “We Believe” (Why Your Beliefs Matter).  My outline for the series is taken from our church’s belief statement.  Our first lesson addresses our belief that Scripture is the inspired Word of God.  It makes sense to start there because all our beliefs are derived from and built upon the Bible. 

Dr. David Livingstone writes that, “Jesus never belittled Scripture (as some modern critics do), or set it aside (as the Jewish leaders of His day had done with their Oral Traditions), or criticized it (although He criticized those who misused it), or contradicted it (although He rejected many interpretations of it), or opposed it (although He sometimes was free or interpretive with it), nor spoke in any way as “higher” critics do of the Old Testament.  (Answers in Genesis: answersingenesis.org)

That quote got me to thinking about the way that Jesus Christ interacted with the Sacred Writings of the Old Testament.  His example sets the stage for how we, as His followers, should treat the Bible. 

1.  Jesus trusted the Word of God.

In John 10:35 He said, “Scripture cannot be broken.”  In Luke 21:33 He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

2.  Jesus prayed the Word of God.

Remember His prayer on the cross, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”  It was a direct quote from Psalm 22:1.    

3.  Jesus knew Scripture thoroughly.

He understood the Sacred Writings thoroughly, even to words and verb tenses.  He obviously had memorized vast portions of it.  Read John 7:15 to verify my claim.  

4.  Jesus quoted Scripture extensively.

Jesus was famous for saying to the religious leaders of His day, “Have you not read?”  He obviously read and understood the Sacred Writings of the Old Testament.  And He drew His own teaching from the foundation of the Scriptures He knew and loved.  He quoted Scripture to rebuke, to expose error and wrong attitudes, to challenge, to educate and train, to encourage, to instruct, to reveal, to prepare, and to prophecy. 

5.  Jesus viewed Himself as fulfilling the Old Testament writings.  

Read John Chapter 5 where Jesus ends up making a colossal claim about the writings of Moses (v. 46-47): “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

6.  Jesus used the Scriptures to defeat the devil.

Jesus’ famous encounter with Satan recorded in Matthew 4 reveals His consistent use of Scripture to refute the devil’s temptation.  “It is written” was Jesus wielding the “sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.”  I love Jesus’ blunt reply to Satan in Matthew 4:10.  “Get lost!”

7.  Jesus confirmed that the Old Testament was historical fact (over and over).

A few examples of historical references that Jesus utilized: Creation is the literal beginning for the world (cf. Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:4-5).  Abel was a real individual (Luke 11:51).  Noah and the flood are historical facts (Luke 17:26,27).  Abraham is the real “father” of the Jewish nation (John 8:56-58).  Sodom and Gomorrah were actual places (Matthew 10:15; Luke 10:12).  Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish (Matthew 12:39-41). 

In a study based on 1 Peter 1:16ff titled, “Why I Choose to Believe the Bible,” Voddie Baucham makes a great claim about the Bible: “The Bible is a reliable collection of historical documents written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses which report supernatural events in fulfillment of specific prophecies claiming that they are words of divine origin, rather than human in origin.”  

The Bible is a book like no other.  It’s completely unique.

I’m looking forward to seeing you on Sunday where we will study the Bible together.  I pray that we will be able to say as the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 119 (v. 103), “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Pastor Deric