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Psalm 78 (part one of three) A Sermon on the passage we are memorizing this year May 17, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Discipleship, Psalms, Religion, Scripture Memorization, Sermons.
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WHY SHOULD WE MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE? (Psalm 78:1-11)
Theme: Hope is the reason we should learn and teach about God’s work about God’s covenant with His people.
This is the fourth year in which I have challenged you to take a specific passage of Scripture to memorize. In connection with this challenge to memorize Scripture, I have preached a series of sermons from those passages. This year we will be looking at Psalm 78, memorizing verses 1-11.
Scripture memorization is a spiritual habit. The purpose of spiritual habits is to develop our discipleship. The strength of a believer’s dedication to discipleship is measured by his habitual acts (adapted from Pascal).
This morning as we took the morning offering, we had the opportunity to practice such a spiritual habit. Jesus said according to Luke 14:33, he who “…does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” When we receive the offering each Sunday morning, we have the opportunity to forsake all that we have and to give some of it to the Lord. While tithing does not guarantee discipleship (salvation does that), it is invaluable in developing our discipleship as it relates to our money.
Another spiritual habit has to do with our relationships. In the upper room, Jesus said according to John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” Joining a church is a commitment to loving one another. Regularly attending its meetings is an important part of maintaining that love. In other words, the strength of a believer’s dedication to discipleship in the area of relationships is measured in part by church attendance.
There is one other main area of discipleship. In addition to demanding our possessions and our relationships, Jesus Christ demands our time. Again in the upper room, Jesus said according to John 15:7-8, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” So prayer is a spiritual habit that demands our time. Both private and public prayers fit into the category of spiritual habits that develop our discipleship in the area of time. That is why we set aside time for prayer at 9:15 a.m. every Sunday morning. We are developing our discipleship.
There is another group of spiritual habits that are necessary if we are going to give God our time. They are centered around the Word of God. In John 8:31, Jesus tells those Jews who said that they believed in Him, “If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed.” It is necessary that you follow the Word of God and to do that you must know and learn the Word of God and Scripture memorization is an excellent way to learn the Word (some of the ideas above with thanks to Rick Warren).
With all of these habits, people make excuses. “I cannot afford to give, I am not a people person, I do not like to pray, I cannot memorize Scripture.” Let us be honest with ourselves and say, “Being a disciple of Christ is not worth what is demanded of me.”
Although this psalm is not about Scripture memorization per se, this psalm should help us to understand the worth of being a disciple who gives his time to learning the Word through Scripture memorization. I trust that you will endeavor with me and my family over the next three months to memorize these eleven verses together as a church.
Now let’s get into the why of Scripture memorization.
Every generation is responsible for the knowledge of future generations (verses 1-6). The writer of this Psalm is Asaph. Asaph was appointed by David to lead the music when tabernacle worship was established at Jerusalem. His musical specialty was the cymbals. He wrote of number of psalms and took the psalms of David and used them in worship (See 2 Chronicles 16:4-8 and following). In fact, the first psalm he was given, a variation on Psalm 105, was very much like this one in its purpose, presenting publicly to the people the history of the salvation of God’s chosen people.
This is the responsibility of God’s people, God’s church, as a group (verses 1-4). These verses underline that even though the parents have the primary responsibility for teaching children the Word of God, the people of God also bear an important complementary responsibility, that is: (1) to remind believing parents of their responsibility, (2) to supplement the teaching of the parents, and (3) to assist where parents cannot or will not fulfill their responsibility. This psalm was written and used directly for the first of these two purposes and would certainly be useful in fulfilling the third.
This is why I challenge you to not only memorize Scripture but also that you lead your families to memorize these verses with you or that you partner with other believers so that you might build each other up in your discipleship. We as a church are responsible to teach each other Scripture and corporate Scripture memory is a way in which even those who have no teaching talent can help others to learn the Word of God.
This is the responsibility of all people who have a knowledge of God (verse 5). Not every person who was given the Ten Commandments followed God. We will see later that most did not. God still, however, held them accountable to teach their children about the covenant which God had made with them. Their spiritual inadequacies were not excused and neither will ours be an excuse before God. If we know the truth we are responsible to teach it even if we are not perfect in following it ourselves.
This is a responsibility our children should learn from us (verse 6). As you can see, every generation is responsible not only to teach God’s truth but to encourage that generation to teach the next one. We are so shortsighted. We forget that we are responsible to pass down a spiritual heritage to our children. If you do not make memorizing Scripture, knowing the Word of God a priority, then your children will also not make it a priority and your grandchildren will grow up ignorant of the truth of the Word of God.
Why was the word of God scarce before the days of Samuel? Israel had forsaken and not taught the knowledge of God and after a few generations, the truth taught by Joshua and faithfully kept by his generation, the generation that had taken the Promised Land, was forgotten and forsaken.
The knowledge we should pass down is God’s covenant with His people (verses 5-11).
What is God’s covenant with His people (verses 5-6)? The covenant mentioned in these verses is the covenant of Moses. It contains the Ten Commandments, the moral code, the laws of sacrifices, the laws of purity but all of these things are based on the relationship that God established with Israel. He chose them. Although they agreed to the covenant, God was the one who determined the conditions, the blessings, the curses, the laws, all aspects of the covenant were given by God. It was not a negotiated agreement.
When Jesus died, He established a new covenant through His death. The conditions and the expectations of this new covenant, like the first were given by God. What is this new covenant?
Hebrews 9:26a-28 tells what the new covenant is. Jesus, who “…has appeared to put away sin (that is the guilt of sin) by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ (that is, the Messiah) was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” That is the new covenant in a nutshell. That is the miraculous work of Christ, whereby He established for us a new covenant for forgiveness of sins.
The confirmation of God’s covenant by His miraculous works gives hope to believers (verse 7). Hope in the Bible rarely if ever means wishful thinking. This particular word is actually the word for “flanks.” It is referring the strong group of thigh muscles that not only enable us to walk but to stand erect and strong. Where does our strength and confidence come from? It comes from the Lord. Scripture is a book filled with God’s works and most of the Bible is in some way involved in the works of God. When we memorize Scripture and we teach our children to memorize Scripture, we are strengthening those spiritual muscles that can give them confidence in God, helping them to stand in this evil world, enabling them to climb the highest mountains and to descend into the lowest valleys without falling. That is the great value of memorizing Scriptures. They give you the tools to confirm Christ’s new covenant with you and through that confirmation comes spiritual confidence and obedience.
Inattention to God’s covenant and His miraculous works results in mutiny during difficult times (verses 8-11). If we do not as a church, emphasize knowing the Scriptures, specifically memorization, what might happen to the new generation?
Confidence in God and obedience to His Word will be lacking. In these four verses, we have a synopsis of the rebellion of Israel at Kadesh-Barnea. It was time for Israel to invade and possess the Promised Land after over a year of seeing the confirming works of God in Egypt, at the Red Sea, in the wilderness, and at Mount Sinai. They had seen the works of God but because of their unbelieving hearts, they feared the enemy more than they feared God and rebelled against His command to possess the Promised Land. As big a mistake as their complaining about lack of water and food and as big a mistake as the golden calf was, this was the test to see if they had learned their lesson and they failed because they did not put their hope in God, they did not find their strength and confidence in Him but rather looked at themselves and saw their weakness and rather than turning to God, they rebelled against Him.
They mutinied. God’s chosen people refused to submit to His will. They refused to keep the covenant He established for them. They forgot His works. The point here is not if you memorize Scripture, you will never sin, you will never backslide, and your children will always be saved. The point is this, these people forgot what they knew. How much harder will it be for the new generation to enter into the new covenant with God if they do not know the works and words of God? It is impossible.
Why is the next generation rejecting God? They do not know His works because no one has taught them who Jesus is and what He has done. We as parents and we as a church are responsible to teach them. We need every tool we can muster. The confidence and strength and hope of the next generation is in how well we do our task of teaching them the truth. Join with me this summer in memorizing Scripture and teaching the new generation and new believers the new covenant and the confirming works of that covenant.

First in a series on four Psalms everone should memorize. May 3, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Psalms, Religion, Scripture Memorization, Sermons.
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OUR THOUGHTS GUIDED BY GOD’S WORD

Psalm 1:1-6

The psalms were and are used in a variety of ways. As they were collected, this psalm was put at the beginning to set the stage for the other psalms. Some psalms are filled with joy. Others end in despair. They are as varied as the human condition itself. This psalm, however, has great importance because it sets the stage for the reality of life on which all the other psalms must play.

There are only two possible guides in this life (verses 1-2).

The guide of the wicked is man’s ways (verse 1). The way of the scientist who depends on facts and the way of the mystic who depends on feelings and impressions are one and the same, apart from the Word of God they are the ways of sinful men. The ability of the statesman to lead or of the teacher to guide apart from the Word of God, leads to the same path, ungodliness. The wisdom of the religious leader and the worldly wisdom of the businessman are to be found on the same throne when separated from the truth of the Word of God. That throne is scorn for God and for His Word. Sometimes it is open and blatant. At other times it is subtle and even appears moral but if a man is not guided by God’s Word, he is guided by his own ways and those ways are in rebellion against God.

The guide of the righteous is God’s Word (verse 2).

This verse along with verse 3 echoes the direct command of God to Joshua, 8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8). You see there is no initial salvation, there is no continuing salvation, and there is no completed salvation apart from the law of God and the truth of God. For that reason, if we are to live the way of blessedness, we must saturate ourselves with the Word of God by meditating on it constantly and delighting in it.

That is the reason why every year, I encourage you to participate with me in the church-wide Awana memory program. The verses that we learn are verses that will build you up in your Christian life. I preach from those verses so that you may see you value. In that way, I am spoon feeding you truth. When you memorize those verses yourself and meditate on them, it is then and only then that you get the full strength that you should receive from them.

I know that there are many reasons given not to memorize the Scriptures. Memorization is not easy for some. Others have trouble finding time to memorize. I suspect, however, that we have plenty of time to memorize the nourishment of God’s Word and then meditate on it if we practiced proper stewardship of our time. We do not lack time for God’s Word. We lack purpose. We lack determination. We lack a good method. We lack motivation. We lack conviction. We lack passion. We lack so many things but we do not lack time for God’s Word. Alexander Whyte said it this way, “We shroud our indolence under the pretext of difficulty. The truth is, it is lack of real love for our work.” Let us be honest with ourselves.

The Lord has used Scripture memory and the meditation of Scripture to stabilize my life. It is a tool useful for assurance. It is a tool useful in prayer. It is a tool useful to stabilize you spiritually. It is a tool and while not everyone is equally skilled at Scripture memory, everyone should use it. When I was a kid working on my uncle’s hog farm, we use to go mend fences about every two weeks. Hogs and Alabama weather can be pretty hard on rough lumber fences. One day my uncle was holding a board while I was nailing it in place. Suddenly, he started laughing and poking fun at me because of my lack of skill with the hammer. He said I had a washerwoman swing. I am not exactly sure what that meant but I knew it was not a compliment. But he never took the hammer away. A hammer is a useful tool whether you are skilled with it or not and it just makes since to use it when you have to boards that you need nailed to each other. In the same way, if you want to meditate on the Scriptures day and night, it just makes since to put it some place where you can keep handy, in your mind.

Now the purpose of memorization, of Bible study, of Bible reading, of sermons are all the same. Meditation, the application of God’s Word to the heart. All of these things without proper meditation and applications will result in spiritual rickets. A big head with no strength in the body to perform any act. That is why we must do it day and night.

“It is a command of God to pray without ceasing, 1 Thess. 5:17. The meaning is—not that we should be always praying—but that we should every day set some time apart for prayer. We read in the Old law it was called the continual sacrifice, Numb. 28:24, not that the people of Israel did nothing else but sacrifice—but because they had their stated hours, every morning and evening they offered, therefore it was called the continual sacrifice. Thus the godly man is said to meditate day and night, that is, he is often at this work, he is no stranger to meditation.” Thomas Watson

Now I have already spoken to the importance of meditation and one method, memorization, which allows us to effectively meditate on God’s Word. Let me give you some other ways to more effectively meditate on God’s Word.

Focus on one smaller section of God’s Word or God’s truth. We have offered you four different psalms to memorize and focus on during the summer months. Pick one or two and focus on them until they become strength to your bones.

Examine yourself. Ask yourself, is this the way I am or not? Is this truth shown in my life or not? If you know the answer and you need to make changes, then do so. If you are not sure then you need to meditate more on that truth and on that Scripture and do so until you understand whether your life corresponds to that Scripture.

Pray for insight and guidance and strength.

Although the road is varied, there are only two destinations (verses 3-6). Whether or not you delight to meditate in God’s Word, that is, to apply God’s Word to your heart, is the ultimate evidence that shows on which road you are traveling.

The righteous will prosper (verse 3c). It is important to understand what is meant by the prosperity of the righteous. Our ideas of prosperity tend to the earthly, the financial. Fortunately, this psalm defines for us in verses 4-6 what the prosperity of the righteous is.

The prosperity of the righteous is defined by its opposite, the damnation of the wicked (4-6). In the New Testament, the term eternal life is often used to describe spiritual prosperity. Now it is not that God cannot and does not prosper those who serve Him with earthly blessings. He sometimes does but that is not the promise that is given here. Even in the Old Testament, we find that the prosperity promised to Israel was primarily spiritual and only incidentally earthly. Remember the verse in Joshua 1:8 that we read that promised prosperity to Israel if they would meditate on and keep the law. Certainly, the context of Joshua reveals to us that the promised land was an important part of that prosperity but the book of Hebrews reminds us that even the conquest of the promised land was only incidental to the great spiritual prosperity that God had promised to Israel (Hebrews 4:6-10) otherwise that prosperity would have been completed under Joshua and there would have been no need for Jesus Christ, the covenant would have been fulfilled and accomplished.

The prosperity of the righteous accomplishes its intended purpose (verse 3). The righteous are compared to a tree planted by the rivers of water. It was purposely put in the place where it could grow. When God saves you, makes you righteous, you are put in a place of eternal nourishment and though it may be winter all around you, your lead will not wither, your faith will not fail.

The prosperity of the righteous is perpetual (verse 3). Although our leaf will never wither, that does not mean we have reached our full potential. There is, however, a season that we can look forward to and be assured that we will produce the fruit of righteousness. Now there are a lot of different types of fruit mentioned in the Bible. There is the fruit of the Spirit. There is the fruit of souls won to Christ. There is the fruit that is produced by true faith. The focus here, however, is fruit that will stand at the judgment.

The wicked will be judged (verses 4-6). Some of the early translations in other languages translate verse 4 like this, “not so the ungodly, not so.” What a contrast between the righteous and the wicked.

The prosperity of the wicked is temporary (verse 4).

Why do we as believers sometimes feel like chaff? Why do we feel driven by the wind? Why do we not feel strong and stable like a tree planted by the rivers of waters. The answer, of course, is to be found in verse 2. Our delight is not in the law of the LORD. We do not meditate day and night in God’s Word. Ps 111:2 says, “The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.”

Sometimes I desire spiritual growth in my life but am not willing to turn to the source that supplies growth. I find pleasure in the blessings of God but not the Word in God. How can I? This is no doubt the weakness of my life and of many of you as well. We desire not daily meditation on the LORD in our lives, but rather just His blessing. Lord, help us to see ourselves as we really are. Help us to be trees, rooted and grounded in your word.

The judgment of the wicked is complete (verse 5).

There are two pictures in this verse. The first is that when the wicked stand before the God in the judgment, they will not stand, that is, they will not endure before the judgment of God. They will not be able to justify themselves or give an excuse. They will not be able to push through a not guilty verdict but will proclaimed for the universe, guilty and condemned.

The second picture fills out the first. The ungodly will be cut off from the congregation of the righteous. We speak often of eternal punishment being separation from God but it is also separation from God’s people. From the very thing that is most precious and holy to God, the sinner will be cut off. During the time of Moses, there were certain offenses where is one was found to be guilty, the punishment was termed cut off from the congregation, that is, the people of Israel. This is the picture we have here. The wicked are found guilty before God and the punishment is being put out of the one body that is important to God, His people. Both New Testament and Old Testament make it clear that salvation is more than just individual, it is corporate. Punishment, however, is lonely and suffered alone. Salvation is a team sport. You join the team as an individual but from then on you are from God’s perspective integrated into Christ’s body, the congregation of the righteous. Damnation, on the other hand, is totally individual.

The destruction of the wicked is total (verse 6). This is more fully explained in Psalm 37:18-24, “The LORD knows the days of the upright, And their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. But the wicked shall perish; And the enemies of the LORD, Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away. The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives. For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, But those cursed by Him shall be cut off. The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.”

The Lord knows the way of the righteous but one cannot become righteous without knowing the truth and that is the reason why we need the Word of God. It is only in knowing and believing and obeying His Word that we can become righteous, that we can enter into the congregation of the righteous. His Word teaches that Jesus Christ is God, that He came into the world as a man for the purpose of dying for our sin that we might through faith in Him alone can have salvation. Every other way will perish. Every will faith will end in destruction. We can be like a tree or like chaff. It depends on whether you follow God’s way or man’s way. If you delight to meditate on God’s Word you will follow God’s way and you will be blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus.

Second Peter 1:2-2:2 (How do we know the truth?) July 8, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Bible, Faith, False Teachers, Forgiveness, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Inspiration, Peter the Apostle, Romans, Scripture Memorization, Second Peter, Sermons.
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We continue to learn Romans 6:1-13 during these summer months.  I would like for us to think on verses 5-8. 

“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.7  For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.”

Paul says that there are some things that we know. He says that we are certain of the resurrection because we know that our old man was crucified with Christ, that our sinful body was done away with. How though can we be sure? He repeats this truth in verse 8 when he says that if we died with Christ, we can be convinced that we will live with Him. Again, the question is this, “How do we know?” His reply might be, because we know that the resurrected Christ will die no more. How though can we be sure? 

THIS QUESTION ABOUT TRUTH IS CURRENT! 

Tomorrow as we hold the memorial service for Ron French, this question will be uppermost in some minds, “How can we know that what God has said (about eternity in this case) is true?”

We have the answer in 2 Peter 1:20-21. Let us read these two verses and then we will answer the question, “How do we know?”

“…knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Peter begins this letter by pronouncing a special blessing on his readers. We find the beginning of this blessing in 1:2. This blessing is based on knowledge. Not just any knowledge but the full knowledge of Jesus Christ. Peter then goes on to explain what exactly this full knowledge produces in the life of the believer so that those who are reading the book will understand both the blessing of this knowledge and their responsibility to it.

FULL KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST SHOWS ITSELF IN OUR CHARACTER.

1.     This knowledge produces fruit (1:2-15). This is not theory but reality put into practice. The knowledge of God produces salvation and it produces the type of life that is different from that of the world.

a.      Verses 1-4 tell us about the eternal fruit that is produced by the Word of God. Although I will be talking about eternal fruit of the future and earthly fruit in our present lives, I hope you will understand as Peter does, that the two are inseparable. Look at verse 3. Peter speaks of that which pertains to life and godliness. Both of them are produced by the power of God by the means of the knowledge of God.

b.     Verses 5-7 tell us about the earthly fruit that is produced by the Word of God. Not only is the gospel of Christ the power that produces salvation, it is also the power that produces a godly life.

·        Why then do believers not live a godly life? Why do they not add to their faith, virtue and to their virtue, knowledge until it culminates in the love of God revealed in their daily lives? It is likely because the power of God does not work in them as it should because they have shunned the knowledge of Christ. Someone asked me several months ago what the verse meant that says that if we will not forgive our brother, neither will our Father in heaven forgive us. This is the explanation. If the gospel does not transform your way of living then it is very unlikely that your heart has been transformed. So if you never develop as a Christian to the point where you can forgive those who have sinned against you, then it is likely you have never experienced the power of God for salvation.

·        This brings us to a second question? What is my part in producing godliness? If I am incapable of producing godliness, why then am I commanded to do so? This is why the Word of God is necessary. You see, it is the power of God that produces godliness just as it is the power of God that produces salvation and eternal life but in both cases this power is set in motion by the Word of God and we respond to it by faith. This is the difference between dead works and faith. Dead works looks at the rules and says, “I can do that.” Faith looks at the promises and says, “God can do that for me,” and then responds by striving to do what God has promised to do within me. Those promises that we look at in the Word of God are like a carrot dangling from a stick luring us away from sin and leading us in the path of godliness (HT: John Piper). It is not by my power to walk in that path but it is by my assent. It is not my capability but it is my responsibility to accept and act upon the truth.

WHEN WE BEAR SPIRITUAL FRUIT, GOD’S WORD IS CONFIRMED.

c.     Verses 8-15 tell us about the necessity of spiritual fruit. We are assured by the Word of God as well as by recognizing God’s work in our heart and life. To continue strong in faith, it is absolutely necessary to be strengthened by the Word of God. I am not sure how far down the road of destruction one can go but it seems that it is possible that one can live in rejection of the Word of God to such a point that his spiritual eyesight is damaged (verse 9). In fact the implication of verse 10 is that those who have no fruit have no salvation.

GOD’S TRUTH IS NOT ONLY CONFIRMED BY OUR CHARACTER BUT ALSO BY EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS. 

2.     We know the truth by the confirmed word (1:16-18). Peter was not a moralist. He did not say I am going to tell you what to do over and over and over again until you get it. Peter said I am going to tell you what I have seen. He was an eyewitness. He was not talking about what he had heard from someone else but was speaking from his own personal experience. The confirmation of the truth of the Word of God is very important (Hebrews 2:1-4; 1 John 1:1-2; 1 Corinthians 15). That is what produces assurance of salvation as well as a holy life.

·        Sometimes someone will tell me about some experience they have that they accredit to God. Sometimes, the experience, although totally foreign to anything that I have ever experienced seems to not only be consistent with the Word of God but also to be evidenced by godliness in the life of the person who experienced it. As long as they do not lift that experience to the level of revelation from God or inspiration by God, then I can say nothing against it. Often though, there are those who tell me about an experience they have had and they attribute that experience to God and I know by their lives that God could have nothing to do with it. If He did their lives would be different. I have no confidence in their experience not because of the experience but because it does not confirm the truth of the Word of God. If your experience does not confirm the clear truth of the Word of God, then your experience is suspect.

·        Peter was different. He was not a perfect man. He was flawed but His experience with Christ changed him and now as he is coming to the end of his life, he writes and tells these people, you need to be reminded of the truth of the message of Jesus Christ. That will keep you from sin! That will establish you in the truth! It is interesting that he does not tell about the resurrection or the ascension of Christ into heaven but rather of the transfiguration, the time when Peter saw Christ in His majesty. Why? Peter understood that was the experience he had with Christ that best describes the second coming (verse 16).

WHAT IS IT THAT FRUITFUL LIVES AND EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS CONFIRM? 

3.     We know the truth by fruitful lives and by confirming testimony but first and foremost we know the truth by the prophetic word of God (1:19-2:2). This is what was confirmed by the eyewitnesses, the prophetic word of God. This may (or may not) imply predicting the future although the predictive prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ concerning the Messiah coming in power and majesty are certainly foremost in the mind of Peter as well as his Jewish readers.

a.      A prophet never spoke his own message. It was always the message of God that he spoke and that message when believed would bring light (1:19-21).

·        “The content of the Bible is revelation. The process by which that content was written down is called inspiration. And it wasn’t a high level of human activity, it wasn’t even a high level of religious human activity. Men were in the process but it didn’t originate with them and it didn’t come from their desire and their will, they were used as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit and enabled to speak from God. They spoke divine words. God used them. It was their personality. It was their background, some of their insights, their experiences, their perceptions, but every word was the word of God. (Macarthur)”

b.     A false prophet not only speaks his own message but it brings destruction on those who believe it (2:1-2).

WARNING! ALL THAT IS TOLD IS NOT TRUTH. 

There are a lot of wrong voices crying to be heard. These voices are described in 2 Peter 2:1-2. We find out two important things about these wrong voices, the false prophets.  

First, they have always been around. Peter quickly moves into his present day but he begins by saying, “Yes, we have the Word of God but do not forget, the false prophets are from ancient times also.” Just because something is old does not make it honest or true. What makes truth is not age or lack of it but a reliable source and Peter says that the Holy Spirit speaking through men is the only reliable source of truth. 

Secondly, they deny and reject Jesus Christ. It is not about believing in God. It is about trusting Christ. He is after all the only way to God. It is not about doing good works to please God. Good works deny the sufficiency of the work of Christ on the cross. It is not about the traditions of men but about the truth of Christ. How then do you know the truth? Certainly, you can look at what God has done in the lives of believers. That is evidence of the power of the knowledge of God. If you are a believer, you know now that God has given you the power to bear fruit. Strive to do it. It is very clear what the fruit should be. Make your life correspond to that fruit.

There are also the eyewitness testimonies that confirm the truth of the Word of God. Peter is one of those. Ultimately, though you are going to have to put your faith and trust in the promises of God for yourself. Only then can your way be lit to salvation in this life and in the life to come. 

Memorized Scriptures that did not accomplish what I had hoped May 26, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Scripture Memorization, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Warfare.
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Last week I posted eight memorized Scripture passages that have made an impact on my life. This list is of those that did not (obviously they were not harmful to me 🙂

A. Acts 13:6-12  It was a narrative that at the time must of had some importance to me but I have no idea now what it was.

B. Philippians 4:4-9 This is a wonderful passage of Scripture but this passage was memorized to help me through some personal issues. The apparent effect was negligible. That does not mean that God’s Word returned void but rather that it did not have the effect I was going for.

C. Psalm 23 and the Lord’s Prayer. Great passages of Scripture but those are not the passages I turn to when in trouble or think about when I am praying. The Golden Rule on the other hand is a different matter.

D. Genesis 1:1-31 That was a tough passage to memorize. I did not retain most of it long.

E. Psalms 117 and 126 Most important was that these Psalms we grew up saying together as a family. Perhaps in that way they did impact me a lot but what I am referring to is the content of the memorized passage impacting my life.

By the way, add Romans 4:1-5. That passage has really impacted the development of my theology. In fact, every passage I’ve ever memorized in Romans has impacted my theology 🙂

Thoughts on Memorization May 18, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Scripture Memorization, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Warfare.
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Scripture memory has often been emphasized as a help to spiritual growth and fighting sin. That is one reason why I with a few others participated in the Awana memorization of John 10 last year and am pushing learning Romans 6:1-13. I thought it would be helpful to let you know what verses that I have memorized have had the most impact on my life. Feel free to leave in the comment box the verses you have memorized that have had the most impact in your life.

A. Ephesians 2:1-10 — This passage more than any other has been important to my spiritual growth because it describes God’s working in my life.

Already, you are probably noticing that I emphasize clusters of verses. You are probably also asking if I still know these verses. The answer is mixed. I know these verses because when I memorized them I internalized them. They made an immediate difference in my spiritual knowledge and growth. That is the main benefit of memorization – a concentrated, intensive handling of the Scripture in meditation and in application.

B. John 1:1-18 — Actually, I am amazed at how much Scripture I use to know but cannot say with rote memory. This passage is especially important to me because it has shaped my view of Christ.

C. James 1 — How does the daily Christian life look? This is a good chapter dealing with many aspects of that life.

D. The Romans Road — These verses are scattered among several chapters but they are not only a wonderful soul-winning tool but also pregnant with doctrine. It would not be far-fetched to say that these are the biblical building blocks on which my life has been built.

E. Psalm 1 — The only Old Testament passage that would make it into the top ten but the contrast between the righteous and the unrighteous in these verses will remain with me for a long time.

F. Hebrew 1 — Okay, this chapter is full of Old Testament passages. It is also full of truth about God’s Word and the Deity of Christ. Taken with John 1:1-18, these two chapters have influenced my thinking on Jesus more than I probably realize. I learned this chapter as a teen club project on the way home from church (a 35 mile trip). I was sitting in the back of a ’76 AMC station wagon.

G. Proverbs 15:1 — Not many single verses have made the impact on me that this one has: “A soft answer turneth away wrath but grievous words stir up anger.” This is one of those verses we learned at our mother’s knee. Remembering how much we fought with each other, I can imagine why she thought we should learn this verse.

H. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 — This passage should actually be #1 on the list but I am just writing them as they pop into my mind. It was this passage that God used to assure my heart of my salvation in Jesus Christ. I actually learned it after it made the impact in my life. I didn’t want to forget the truth I had learned.

Your turn:  which verses that you have memorized have most impacted you?