Friday, October 24, 2014

Why I Trust the Bible

(First let me say that John Piper addresses this exceptionally well at and it was John Piper that sort of 'inspired' this post.)

Why do Christians, in the face of opposition, and an abundance of critiques against the Bible,  still trust the Bible and believe it? 

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul; 
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple; 
8 the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart; 
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes; 
9 the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever; 
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether. 
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold; 
sweeter also than honey and drippings
of the honeycomb. 
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; 
in keeping them there is great reward. 
12 Who can discern his errors? 
Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; 
let them not have dominion over me! 
Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart 
be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. 

Why do I believe the Bible? Is it smart to believe the Bible? Does it do any good to give Bibles to people? Are there any good reasons to not believe it?
You know what I have found about trusting God’s word? It’s hard to remember all the arguments for it if someone was to ask you. I have books on apologetics where I can look up good info on it's trustworthiness. But if I run into a man on the street who asks me why I believe it, not only can I not remember all those details, but I don't think they are likely to convince him anyway! I mean, I guess I should be able to, I am a preacher! I went to Seminary!
I can tell you details about the Bible. How many prophecies fulfilled, how many authors there are and yet they all agree about things. But in a few days, you’d have trouble remembering all that too! 
For instance, one group of scholars counted, 1,817 prophetic predictions in scripture. Most of which have already been fulfilled in incredible detail and the remainder we fully expect to come to pass as well, they just haven't happened yet. 191 of those are prophecies about the coming Jewish Messiah. Close to 100 of those have been fulfilled, accurately, and the remainder we expect at His return and in eternity.
But 3 days, from now, ask yourself, how many prophecies are there? Do you still remember?

Now it is good to know and hear these things. It is good to know that Geisler and Howe wrote The Big Book of Bible Difficulties, taking on the accusation of 800 errors in scripture and refuted each one of them. Good info! But I believe there is another approach to this whole question.

So I want to take a whole different approach to this.
First, what do we trust it for? What does it Do for us?  
It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is…the true center of Christian 
union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions 
should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is…the focus of divine revelation[1].
Bottom line: The Bible gives us the Law, which tells us about the Holiness of God! And it tells us how far we fall short of God’s Holiness!
     It’s the basis for Christian union. I find myself in agreement with Baptists the most. But, guess what, I also have a lot of agreement with Presbyterians, Methodists and Yes, even Pentecostals – well some of them. If they are true believers and hold to the same gospel of Salvation by Grace thru faith I do. I know the Founders of the Lutherans, Presbyterians and Methodists believed that! But it also means I’m wary about other groups. While I have much in common with Catholics and the Church of Christ, in my opinion, they add works to the process of salvation. That is a big problem for me. Don’t get me wrong; There are true Christians among the Catholics and Church of Christ. And, there are lost people among the Baptists! But if we adhere to the clear teaching of scripture on salvation, on the nature of God and man, then we can have true Christian union. But, It also tells me some groups Like Mormons & Jehovah’s Witnesses are Not Christian at all.
   Also, it gives us a basis for our Behavior and Beliefs! How we should act, how we should think and believe is directed in the Scriptures. Even with all the technology, and the way the world has changed, you can't find a moral or ethical question the Bible doesn’t have something to say about it!
   And Most Important: The Bible Tells us about Jesus! Not Just the New Testament! Genesis 3 tells us about Him. The rituals of Leviticus, Psalms of David, Joshua, Isaiah, Hosea, Jeremiah, even Malachi do, too. Then of course Matthew, Mark, Luke and John do it Supremely Well! There’s not a book on earth that can tell us about Jesus and how He came to save like the Bible!

Second, Why is this important today
1) More people today deny the existence of Truth. Oh there is your truth and my truth but there is No Universal truth to a lot of people. That idea begins to trickle down to all of us! In fact, It is taught that if someone comes along claiming truth, then really they just have an agenda to control you!
2) Others say there is truth but the Bible is a mixture of truth and error. To them the Bible is so full of myths, contradictions, absurdities, and even Divine Sins, where God got things Wrong!
3) There are more books competing with the Bible as Holy Books. Used to be the Quran was way over in the Syrian and Iraq. Now it’s here. And the Bhagavad Gita, the Vedas etc. These are flooding the world! We need to flood the world with the Bible! 
4) And, it’s Important today because the Bible DOES make exclusive claims! It claims to be inspired by God! Look at these claims:

2nd Timothy 3:16  All Scripture is breathed out by God...
John 14:6 (Jesus says) I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, but by me
Act 4:12 ...neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven... 
whereby we must be saved.

Last, Why Trust it? Is it just a blind leap of faith? Or is there something more?
John Piper gives a great example of why ‘blind trust’ doesn’t honor God. 
Suppose you were walking down the street and a guy comes up with a brown bag full of cash and says "go put this in the bank for me, here’s the bank and my account #" and then he runs off without explaining. What would you think? This guy is crazy. Not only that he’s stupid. He doesn’t know me. I know I’m trustworthy but he doesn’t. There’s nothing about that situation that gives you any credit. It’s all about his foolishness. 
But, suppose he runs up gives you all that and you stop and say, "why are you doing this? You don’t know me." And he says, "Oh yes I do. I have watched you. You’re a man of integrity. I've asked many about you and each of them says you are trustworthy. So I've done my homework and I know I can count on you. Now I have to take care of an emergency…"
Now it’s about Your character, and your trustworthiness. Many Christians don’t really do their homework. The preacher says, “Trust God” so they’re like "OK, we’ll do it." I don’t think that works well for them when troubles come, but it’s good enough for now. 

So why trust the Bible? Why Trust that it’s God’s Word?
Look at:
2nd Corinthians 4:2 But we have renounced disgraceful,
underhanded ways. 
We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's
word, but by the open statement of the truth 
we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience 
in the sight of God. 

3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those
who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world
has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, 
to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel
of the glory of Christ, 
who is the image of God. 

5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves,
but Jesus Christ as Lord, 
with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 
6 For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," 
has shone in our hearts to give the light
of the knowledge of the glory of God 
in the face of Jesus Christ. 

Notice Paul is talking about the Word of God, the gospel and the knowledge of the Glory of God. 
All of these phrases refer to scripture. But there is a single, watershed event that makes all the difference. Has this event has happened to you?
6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," 
has shone in our hearts
to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God 
in the face of Jesus Christ. 

Let me talk about me a second. WHY DO I BELIEVE THE BIBLE? Because God has pierced the darkness of my heart with the light of His Glory, and this glory takes on the Face of Jesus Christ. Bottom line? I Have Met Jesus Christ! I know the “Living Word”! You say, “well that’s just your subjective experience!” 
True, but I have found the Word of God “Self-Authenticating.” I appreciate all the “Reasons” like how many Bible prophecies have been fulfilled, how accurate its history is, and how beautifully its written and how all these writers from over hundreds of years all have the same view of God. Great!
But I know Jesus! I have met Jesus! He has changed my life! I have encountered the Glory of God. The outshining of His Shekinah Glory in the Person of Jesus Christ! HOW CAN I NOT BELIEVE?

And if you have met him, you know you can trust His word, too.
I didn’t answer the Question why should everybody in the world believe the Bible. I answered the Question why I do and you should!
You desperately need an encounter with God, where you have been convinced by the Holy Spirit, that you are a sinner.
And because you are a sinner you are headed for an eternity of separation and suffering.
But Jesus communicates His Love for you in that while we were all sinners Christ Died for us!
And if you will Repent and Believe the Good news, that Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for your sins by shedding His own blood..
And if you will place your trust in Christ...
 He Will Forgive! He will give Eternal Life.
And you will Know the Truth and the Truth Will set you free!

John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth...

[1] BF&M 2000

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Accept No Substitutes

God creates co-existence and wants us to hear and proclaim the Gospel in a multi-faith context. The challenge is, we believe we proclaim the truth in a world full of substitutes.
From Matthew 13

I don’t know how long the phrase “Accept No Substitutes” has been around, but I know its not new. Coca Cola used it in the early 1900s.  Schlotzkys started back in the 70s in Austin with one sandwich called “The Original.” They had an “original” and nothing else. So since you have the original you are qualified to say, accept no substitutes, and they did say that. Then there’s AMSOIL. Amsoil was the first popular synthetic oil for your car. One of the marketing phrases was – yep, "Accept no Substitutes." Think about that, a synthetic motor oil, which is a Substitute has the gall to tell you not to accept substitutes. Then there’s Porsche, the car maker, they did one better when then proclaimed: There IS no substitute. As if Porsche was the only car in the World. Everybody knows it’s a souped up Volkswagen!
Why am I talking about Substitutes? Well just like Schlotzky and Porsche and fake motor oil has to coexist with “Substitutes” the whole chapter of Matt 13 involves coexistence!
I’m not saying it’s ABOUT coexistence, because really, it’s about the Kingdom of God. But it involves coexistence. Coexistence with things that will compete for your interest but they are not "Kingdom." Things that will confuse the Kingdom, but they are not Kingdom. Things that will seem good, but they are not the Kingdom.

     First Parables (or story with a meaning) of the Kingdom are Coexistence Parables. 
And the first is the Parable of the Sower. Of the 8 parables in Matt 13 this may be the most famous, maybe 2nd to the Prodigal Son, but still famous.
Mat 13:1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: 
"A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds 
came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much 
soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose 
they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among
thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and 
produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
You have probably all heard sermons on this passage, but lets just hit the highlights and get to the point. There are 4 results of scattering seed. 1) Birds eat the seeds, 2) The Sun burns them up, 3) the weeds choke them out, or 4) They grow and bear fruit. What do you notice? I notice 4 different outcomes that all coexist for a while. But only one of them does God accept. God Accepts No Substitutes!
Down in v.19ff Jesus explains these 4 outcomes. 1) The birds are the Evil One, the devil, who comes and steals the seed. The seed never even gets to sprout! Its just gone. 2) The Sun is tribulation or persecution. A person thinks they have the "Original", but trials, troubles and persecution make them give it up. 3) The weeds that choke the growing plant are worry and the distractions of wealth. Isn’t it interesting that both Trials and Treasures cause people to abandon the Kingdom of God? One group expected something God never promised, the other got something they thought was more valuable. And 4) The last group, grows and flourishes and Always bears fruit!
     Now we can extract a lot of ideas from this parable. Like, maybe it’s not a good idea to cast your seed on the sidewalk. OR better yet, maybe it’s better to prepare the soil and so help create a more receptive medium for the seed to be planted.
     And we’ve tried different ways to 'prepare the soil'. Like Pizza! Sure, are you gonna have an evangelistic meeting with teenagers? Feed them Pizza and when they get stuffed they’ll sit quietly and listen to the gospel! Altar calls! If we can just get them down front, maybe they’ll get saved! We’ve tried, soup kitchens and VBS and Gospel Blimps!
     And you know… I like Pizza and altar calls and soup kitchens and VBS. But those things do not prepare the soil of the human heart for the gospel. Only the Preaching of the Word of God does that! Wanna reach out to Young people? Feed them pizza, then Preach the Word. Want to reach a person that’s cold, give them a blanket then tell them they are lost and without Hope in this world, but Jesus gives Hope! Want to reach children? Give ‘em games, songs and crafts and Tell them about the Saving Power of Jesus Christ!
     But this first parable, is about the Reality and Co-existence of the Kingdom of God. There Really is a Kingdom and there really are Substitutes! That which is Not Kingdom! The Next Parable has a similar purpose.
     Then the Parable of the Tares:
Mat 13:24  He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be 
compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25  but while his men were sleeping, 
his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.
26  So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27  And the 
servants of the master of the house came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed 
in your field? How then does it have weeds?'
28  He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' So the servants said to him, 'Then do you
want us to go and gather them?' 29  But he said, 'No, lest in gathering the weeds you 
root up the wheat along with them. 30  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at 
harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be 
burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"

Pretty straight-forward right? There is the Real Kingdom, planted by God! And a substitute planted by the devil. And if you think I’m making that part up look down at v.38 "The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one." They coexist. The evil one wants to choke out the wheat. And it's not because he's Gluten Free! He wants to dilute the field. He wants to cause the good ones to fail. God says let them both grow. We’ll sort it out at the end. And the evil ones will be punished, and the Righteous are fit to serve for God.
God accepts no Substitutes!

Next Parables of the Kingdom are the Impact Parables. The Kingdom has value and it makes an impact!
Mat 13:31 He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a 
grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all 
seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, 
so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches." 33 He told them 
another parable. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in 
three measures of flour, till it was all leavened."

There is a garden, lots of plants; but one stands out. The one that starts small and grows and even gives the birds a home. Would Jesus start Small? You bet. 11 men and very few followers. But they would grow and grow, Even while they Co-exist with Evil.
Does the Mustard plant try to kill the other plants? No. 
Does it try to be like the other plants? No. 
It is unique, different, and it makes an impact.
But how about the dough and the leaven? I love this. Does the leaven turn the flour into leaven? No. The flour stays flour the leaven, which is yeast (a fungus), permeates and changes the whole lump of flour. It causes it to ferment and chemical reactions happen. Kinda funny Jesus is comparing the church to a fungus. But God invented fungus and yeast for a good purpose. Yeast also makes beer happen! God wants a garden with His mustard plant in it. He wants flour of the world permeated by the church!
But that’s not all! Look at v44
Mat 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and 
covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 "Again, 
the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding 
one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

There is another impact. The Kingdom is a treasure in a field, a pearl of great price. 
The Kingdom has value for those who find it. It makes sense to sell everything to buy the field. 
The treasure is obviously more valuable than anything this guy owns.
BUT, there’s another value here. There is value to the King. 
He finds his kingdom in the field. He sees many pearls but finds the right one, the perfect one, the one that has value to Him. And did Jesus pay a price for it? Did He? Did he Buy the Field and Buy the Pearl? You bet He did. 
Seeing the Kingdom as field of wheat with a lot of weeds teaches one principle. But seeing the Value of the Kingdom to the one who paid the greatest price teaches another.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, you are valuable to the King. Jesus Accepts you and He Accepts No Substitutes! He doesn’t want to share you with the weeds. He doesn’t want to share you with the rest of the garden or the pearls. But, He doesn’t want you to make the mistake of thinking that you won’t live in an evil world, and there won’t be trouble, and hunger and poverty and persecution and tribulation there will be! There will be. But then end will come.

Which brings us to the Third kind of Kingdom parable:
The Judgment of the Kingdom and the Lost.
Mat 13:47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and 
gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and 
sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of 
the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw 
them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In v.47 Many fish are caught and they are sorted out the bad from the good. This is similar to the Harvesting of the field with Good wheat and weeds. So there is the idea of the Reality of the Kingdom and of Coexistence, But, there is another idea going on in these stories.    
    Remember how the people of Israel were looking for another David; a King to throw off their oppressors. But Jesus is becoming the suffering Messiah. He needs them to see good and evil will coexist 'til Judgment Day. And, it seems, the Day of Judgment is a good ways off. I think it best if we take the same point of view. God will sort it out When He is ready. And He Accepts No Substitutes!
     Jesus uses these Stories - these parables – To unlock ancient mysteries. These are truths that have been a part of God and His Reign as King forever.
     Winston Churchill had a lot of wonderful lines, and not just ‘cause he had a good writer, he was smart. In speaking of Russia one time he said they are “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” I always loved that. Well, Russia is still that way, but they 'got nothing’ on God. God is the ORIGINAL Riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma – But Jesus came to open the enigma, unwrap the mystery and show us the riddle. 
     And God has NEVER accepted Substitutes. There were many peoples in the World, yet He made the Hebrew People. There were many races in the world, He made the church. There are many religions in the world, where people try to earn their way into God’s Good pleasure. But,

God Made a Way of Salvation. And no one can come to Him unless He comes by The Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Original Savior and God Accepts No Substitutes!

Have you come to God by Christ alone? There is No Substitute!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

William Tyndale - Gave His Life For the Word of God

Driving the M4 toward Bristol, you’ll see a tall tower up on a ridge. The tower is called the Tyndale monument. On the monument is the statement that Wm Tyndale first translated the NT into English from the Greek. (insert marker here) (from the Greek-Wycliffe had done it from the Vulgate-not as accurate). He was martyred 10/6/1536.
Born near Bristol around 1494, His family was from the valley of the Tyn. Hence “Tyndale”. He was registered at Oxford at 13, got his bachelors at 17. He went to Cambridge got his Masters at 20 in 1515. Think about this year for a second. It was 2 years before Martin Luther nailed his theses on the church door in Wittenburg, Germany. This is only 23 years after Columbus sailed. It’s the age of Da Vinci and Michelangelo, Its Renaissance and Reformation. It was also the age of the great philosopher and translator, Erasmus. He didn't study under Erasmus but he was the one who compiled the Greek new testament that was later used as the basis for the KJV. Tyndale studied all of Erasmus’ writings but especially the Greek New Testament.
But remember; when it came to religion, there was only one church.
I hear people say, we shouldn't have all these different churches. We Christians are all divided. Well if having one church leads to the corruption and the false doctrine of salvation that the Catholic church was guilty of in the middle ages, then I’m glad there are many different kinds of churches. In fact, I say the more the merrier! BUT, let’s try to love one another, and not tear each other down. I know men who are Bible church pastors, Methodists, and reformed Baptist, and Christian Missionary Alliance, and even Church of Christ folks, that I would stand shoulder to shoulder with, because I know they love the Lord and hold fast to sound doctrine. I also know of folks in all those groups that I would have to graciously decline to work with because there are problems with their doctrines and Bible beliefs. Unfortunately there are some Baptists that fall into that category, too.
But in Tyndale’s day, the RCC (Roman Catholic Church) had a monopoly. And neither they nor the government allowed people to start their own church. Tyndale and his colleagues began to discuss what was going on with Luther in Germany. And the reform work that Erasmus was talking about. They met at the White Horse, a pub in Cambridge, talking about the corruption in the RCC, and some folks didn't like that. In fact, people began to make accusations against them that were unfounded. Tyndale didn't mind being lied about but he didn't want to be classified as a troublemaker; he wanted to make a difference.
So He left school and got a job as a tutor, Sir John Walsh was his employer. Sir John was close to King Henry and took part in the Kings Coronation. (He was the King’s champion, a ceremonial post sort of like an unofficial head of the Secret Service.) Tyndale was treated like a member of the family and met many great guests and got to discuss the issues of the day. Often Tyndale disagreed with the guests but he always humbly pointed them toward the answer found in scripture.
Pretty soon he was invited to preach at churches all over the area. He started preaching out doors for the crowds. But that got him in trouble. A local priest branded him as a heretic, and threatened to expel those that went to hear him from the church. Remember, there’s only one church.
He wrote around that time that while he was sowing in one field, the devil was working in another. He said, “what can I do? I can’t be everywhere at once. Oh if only Christians had the Bible in their own language.”
He was brought up on charges, but nobody stood up to accuse him so he was dismissed. That was good but the priest got angrier. They got a theologian to come and try to fix him. The theologian was very impressed with Tyndale’s knowledge of scripture, but as he realized that the more Tyndale knew of scripture the further he got from the Catholic Church. So he said, it would be better for a person to be without God’s word than be without the pope.
That horrified Tyndale, that this man would put the pope above the Bible. He said a famous statement at that time: “I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spares my life, I will cause the boy that drives the plow in England to know more of the Scriptures than he (the pope) does!” He was determined to get the scriptures into people hands.

       As much as 85% of the KJV was copied straight from Tyndale.

He went to London to visit with Bishop Tunstall who was known a great Greek scholar. He wanted to go to work for him to translate the Bible. But the Bishop was uncomfortable with the Bible in the people’s language. Isn't that odd? A bishop who didn't want people to read the Bible.
He didn't know what to do but realized he couldn't translate the Bible in England. So he traveled to Germany and later France. This is still before Luther began his break from the church.
He hired a printer to begin to print his New Testament version. Matthew and Mark were printed, but one of the workers let it slip that they were printing a Bible in English. The authorities shut it down. But before they did Tyndale and his helper grabbed arm loads of printed sheets and had them sent out and smuggled into England.
He found another printer, and in 1526 the first copies of the NT in English began to show up in England. They smuggled them inside bales of wool and sacks of grain. In London, Bishop Tunstall found out about it, condemned it, had copies publicly burned and warned booksellers not to carry it. 1 shilling and 8 pence would get you a bound copy of the NT. About half a week’s labor for the common man. Many, many copies made it to England. The more the King and the church opposed it, the more people wanted it. It got to the point where a person risked death if they were caught with a Bible.
A new archbishop had a new plan. Buy them all up. They were able to buy a fresh load coming in, but what he didn't know was that the seller was sympathetic to Tyndale and he turned all the money over to Tyndale who then could pay for another large printing of the NT. Tyndale was wanted ‘dead or alive’. He also published a number of other books. He was the most popular writer in England. King Henry got a copy from Anne Boleyn and really liked it at first.
Tyndale then decided he needed to get the OT (Old Testament) into the hands of the plowman, too. Problem: Nobody was teaching Hebrew at this time. There was a lot of anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe at this time and Jewish people who knew Hebrew who would teach it to gentiles were rare as were gentiles willing to work with a Jew.
How did he learn it? Nobody knows. He was proficient in 8 languages so he might have taught himself.
He finished the Pentateuch (First 5 books of the OT) in 1529. But something happened. He was in a shipwreck off the coast of Holland. He lost his manuscripts, his money, and all copies of the Pentateuch. He was discouraged. But he ran into an old college buddy, Miles Coverdale. Coverdale encouraged him. In one year the Pentateuch was redone and published. He did Jonah and other books in 1531. Back in England, Sir Thomas More (an English lawyer, philosopher, author, statesman, churchman, Renaissance humanist and important Councillor to Henry VIII. Also Lord Chancellor from 1529 to 1532) had written against him. Tyndale replied to him in print and that was spread around England. Many friends were harassed and tortured. Merchants were ruined. King Henry petitioned Charles the 5th of Germany to hand over Tyndale. In early 1534 Thomas Poyntz took him in. He was a relative of the lady Tyndale had worked for many years ago, Mrs.Walsh.
While with the Poyntz he completed a revision of the NT in 1534. But in 1535 somebody hired a friend of Tyndale's, a man named Phillips, to kidnap Tyndale. Tyndale was arrested and placed in the castle at Flanders in Belgium. He was there for 500 days, but during that time he wrote a book “Faith alone justifies before God.”
Many people visited him. Many tried to get him to recant his beliefs to get forgiveness from the church. But his work continued even while in prison. There is a letter he wrote to the prison governor. He asked him to get him a warmer cap and coat, a piece of cloth for his legs. These were things that he owned that were taken away when he was imprisoned. He also asked for a candle. Then he said “above all…permit me to have my Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar, and Hebrew dictionary.” He was STILL working. His friend Coverdale had completed an OT translated from Latin not Hebrew. Matthew completed one too. Both had Tyndale’s NT, and much of his OT. They dedicated their Bibles to King Henry. By now the old Bishops had died and King Henry’s advisers said that this Bible was very accurate. SO, Henry said, every church in England should have one. This was the answer to Tyndale’s prayer.
Tyndale only finished about half the OT when he died, but the Geneva Bible came along in 1560 relying heavily on Tyndale and somewhat on Coverdale and Matthew. Then in 1611, the KJV, the most published Bible in the world-and 80 to 85% of it was Tyndale’s.
Yet Tyndale died in prison for his faith.

And as those Bibles with Tyndale’s work spread all over England, things began to happen. First there was an English reformation where the church broke off from Rome. But it didn't reform very much so other groups came into being. They wanted to purify the church and make it holy again. They got the nickname puritans.
They were not allowed to worship as they wished so they went to different places. Some came to America.
Many died. But through God’s providence He brought pagan native Americans to help them survive. And yes, many bad things happened to the native Americans and to the settlers over the years. But many of these believers from England reached out to the Indians with the gospel. And many were saved.

Because Faith alone justifies-Faith in Christ and His work frees us from all the penalties of sin before God.

Do you have faith in God? Have you put your faith in Jesus Christ and His death for you on the cross? Have you turned from your sinful ways and knelt at the feet of the risen Christ?

Importance of Word of God in the hands of the people. You need the Bible to know God!

We must preach the Word of God. Proclaiming a It as believers.

We must believe in the sufficiency of the Word of God. It is enough. Traditions aren’t needed. Just preach and read the scriptures.

The Word must be our authority. Acts 5 …you decide, as for us we must obey God rather than man. The Word of God is higher than any earthly authority. We are to try every spirit.

We must embrace the Word of God ourselves. Many have debated scripture without embracing its truth.

Don’t be discouraged when bringing the word of God. Don’t let setbacks stop you.

And remember the greatest lesson of scripture was the title of one of Tyndale’s books: Faith alone justifies before God.

What kind of faith is this that people have spent their lives for? What kind of faith is it that people have died for? It’s the faith revealed to us in this book.
Here it is in a nutshell: God almighty has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ. And Jesus saves!

For more information:
William Tyndale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Thanks Dad

Today, Jared Moore wrote a tribute to his recently departed dad that was very good! It’s here:
It struck me as I read it how many of these things I could apply to my father and I was chagrined that I had not thought of all these things. So I'm using some of his headings and adding a couple myself, maybe they'll stir your own thoughts.
Now I know none of our dads were perfect. Some of us had less functional dads than others; some have no earthly father that they know. As sad as that is, I'm grateful for a father that taught me a little about my heavenly Father. And for those with horrible fathers, know that God is everything your earthly father wasn't.
If he wasn't faithful, know the Almighty is. If he wasn't generous, God has lavished His grace upon us. If he wasn't there, then remember, God is our very present help.
But dad, if I could talk to you, I would say. . .
Thank you for reading the Bible in front of me when I was a young boy. I don't remember it clearly, it’s a vague image of the family gathered in the living room. But I know it happened. I have your Bible now and know it wasn't unread.
Thank you for dragging me to church. I didn't often truly enjoy it. But I found that I was loved by folks, and looked at with favor because of the kind of people you and mom are. More importantly, I heard the gospel time after time. And God's word is surely a hammer that shatters the rock hard heart.
Thank you for teaching me that you need Jesus. You admitted to me your faults on occasion. I’m glad I don't have perfection to try to live up to! Your hard-working, stoically suffering, high integrity persona is hard enough. But I know, you knew, you needed Jesus.
Thank you for helping others in private. I know you were a faithful giver. I don't know what all you did for others. But I inherited this someplace! I can't help but think that you were free with your money as you were with the time you gave to others.
Thank you for teaching me the importance of honesty and integrity concerning vocation. You were a hard worker. You seemed to enjoy it for crying out loud! You worked at Randolph AFB as I was growing up and then you'd come home and work. I'm glad you liked to sit and watch football and baseball; otherwise I'd feel guilty about sitting around as much as I do! But also, you were an honest guy. Not just because you handled the church's money and their 'books' with integrity, but you always expected me to tell the truth!
Thank you for serving your country. To know that you were part of the military machine that brought an end to the holocaust, set Europe free and ended the scourge of the Nazi's and others, makes me proud of you. And I hope I too would rise to the occasion if it was required of good men to take up arms.
Thank you for demonstrating humility. Both when you apologized to me once when I was a kid - You weren't doing something right by the family but I didn't really know what you were talking about - but I know you felt bad about it and wanted us to know you did. But also when I stood behind you as a boy, when you walked into your boss’s office to ask off time to take me to the doctor, when I was having way too many doctor visits. I'll never forget that image. You were there in suit and tie, standing at attention in front of your boss's desk, telling him you needed to go a little early to accompany mom and me to my specialist. And the way he looked at you. There was interest in your explanation and what now seems to be a bit of deference on his part. I remember thinking at the time that you were older than him, why was he the boss? But you seemed to command respect and a certain gravitas there as well as at home.
And while I’m not going to thank you for your temper, I’m glad to know there were things that were important to you and you backed them up. I know you wouldn’t abide back-talk, and now that I am grown, makes sense! I know you didn’t want us back-talking or disrespecting mom, too. I’m glad you backed her up as well. I remember you giving a certain uncle some significant grief when he lit up a cigarette after you informed him that smoking was no longer tolerated in our house. Dude! I thought you were going to hit him!
And dad, I bet there are an awful lot of life lessons I learned from you that I don’t even know I did. But I will say, I don’t know that my older brothers share all these views. I think you mellowed with age. I think you were probably harder on them, less reasonable at times, and I think I was probably a tad too much afraid of you growing up. So, I didn’t want to my kids to be afraid of me. Maybe I could have used a bit more of that ‘fear’ factor, but so be it. I do know you were a bit ‘easy’ on your only daughter and to a little boy that hardly seemed fair. But now that I am older I know you were a lot easier on me, the baby of the family, than you were on my siblings. And for that, I am glad!

I love ya dad. I wish you could hear this. And say hi to mom and my big brother Paul. But I imagine the heavenly plane is so far beyond my existence it’s a faint memory to you. So suffice it to say. I've said my thanks, expressed my heart, and I’ll see ya someday, and oh what a day that will be.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Death and Life in Christ: On the Loss of My Brother Paul

2Co 1:3  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ.
1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

On Tuesday of this week, when Marney and I were driving home from Houston after enjoying Memorial Day with our kids and grandkids, I received a phone call from my brother John that our older brother Paul had died. He had just turned 72 years old.
It was a bit of a surprise. I knew he’d battled cancer for over a year. But I had just learned on Sunday that He had become very ill in the last few weeks. And within 48 hours of learning that, He passed on.

All of us here have lost loved ones. And I know you didn’t know my brother Paul, but I just want to say a few things about Him and about death and the believer.

We just celebrated Memorial day, and my brother, both actually, were Navy veterans. They served during the Viet Nam conflict. And I’m glad they both came home safely.
My brother was also a master electrician, and late in life an interstate truckdriver.
He was also a graduate of Southwestern Seminary here in Fort Worth. His undergrad was in History from Old Dominion University in Va. And for close to 20 years he served in several churches in south and central Texas; including First Baptist Canyon Lake, Tx. It was his pastor from those days who preached his funeral. And I was glad also that I got to play a role in that.

My brother was a little over 12 years older than me. So I spent all my childhood years looking up to him. I was 7 when I saw him going off to college. I was about 12 when after coming home from the Navy he lived at home for a little while and left early every morning for work.
Then, he went to Seminary a little later in life, and I was going to Bible College in the late 70s while he was in Seminary so we had something in common in those days despite the difference of years

Paul Dunlap left behind a wife of 45 years, Ruth, who was a preacher’s daughter.  Also two sons and a daughter, each of whom have children of their own, all of whom loved their dad and grandfather.

Paul and Me
When I look at his life, it wasn’t one of great material wealth. He never won the Nobel Prize or earned a PhD. He never was famous or rubbed shoulders with the famous. But who wouldn’t call 45 years of a good marriage a great success? Who wouldn’t call three children, who all are born again believers, a great prize? Who wouldn’t call a man with nine grandkids, all of whom love him and look up to him, wealthy with the things that matter?

And yet we are saddened when they get to go on to their reward and hear Jesus say “Well Done, good and faithful servant!”
Why do we cry when the reality of their death strikes home?

His wife Ruth insisted that we have a memorial service that was a celebration of his life! And it was! I never saw her cry, but I’m sure she did. In fact, it may have been after all her family finally left and she was all alone Friday evening that she had a real good cry! I don’t know.
But I know this. Would any of us want or loved ones who have gone on to heaven, to leave the glory of God’s presence and come back?  I don’t think so!
Sure we hope to see them again! And we can!
Sure we would like to hear their voices again. And we can!
Sure we would like to feel their embrace.

But we serve the God of all Comfort!
Marney was sharing with me Friday as we drove home from New Braunfels, the lesson she learned so many years ago, when we were newlyweds and our best friends lost a little baby. We were devastated. We were grieving and hurting. But we saw in this young couple the comforting grace of the Holy Spirit. Yes they were hurting and sad, but they were comforting us and telling us, the Lord had given them His grace and He was comforting them.
Paul with my Grandson Phillip
     Marney knew at that time, that when the time comes for us to grieve the loss of a loved one, that the God of all comfort can even comfort us.

One of the ways He comforts us is to remind us of two things.
1)      For the Believer, death is not forever! 1Ths 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
Death is not nothingness! Death is not being swallowed up like a drop of water in some cosmic ocean of existence. It is real, we will be aware of what is going on, and we will have personal relationships. Not the least of which will be with our Lord and Savior the Man – Jesus Christ!
2)      And secondly God has a plan for the life after we leave this world! He will come get us. He will make a New Heaven and a New Earth. I think we will have work to do. Did you know that Adam and Eve had responsibilities before the Fall? Having a job to do was not part of God’s curse. Having to earn bread by the sweat of the brow, maybe, but not the idea of being engaged in a worthwhile task! That is a good thing?
      I don’t know what the future holds for all of us, but I know who holds the future!
      And here’s the bottom line. You know how we can best honor our loved ones who have gone on to be with Jesus Christ.  I can let others know how my brother came to be with Christ forever.
      Because at some point in his life, when he was just a youth, he realized He needed a Savior. Why? Because he was a sinner and sin separates us from God. Until a person understands that sin has offended a holy God and has brought God’s judgment on them, they will not understand they need a Savior.
But \knowing we are sinners, and who can deny that? We find out we can have peace with God, through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus volunteered to come and take our punishment!
God had people sacrifice bulls and goats in the Old Testament times as a sacrifice for sins. But it really didn’t pay the price. The Blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin!
But in the fullness of time, Jesus came. Jesus said, I will be the perfect Lamb of God. I will fulfill the law and therefor qualify to be the Lamb who CAN take away your sins.
So Jesus gave the first Gospel Invitation. He said: Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, And I will give you rest!
What kind of labor was he talking about? Having a job? Earning a living? No. He was talking about the labor of trying to get into God’s heaven by doing good works!
Jesus just said, “Come to me.”
Have you come to Christ? Do you KNOW that you know that you know that your sins are forgiven? How can you go on another minute without knowing?

Come to Christ Now!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

7 Reasons Jesus Came to Earth - The First Time

Why Jesus came the 1st time:

1.     To Rule His People
     Mat_2:6  And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

2.     To Fulfill the Law and do His Father’s will
     Mat_5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Joh_6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

3.       Not for the righteous but to call sinners to repent, to seek & save the lost
     Mat 9:13 But go ye and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Mat 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. Luk 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luk 9:56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. Joh 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. Mar 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he said to them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Luk 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

4.       To bring division, not peace, between those who believe and reject
     Mat_10:34  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Mat 10: 35  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Luk_12:51  Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: Luk_12:49  I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? Joh_9:39  And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

5.       To preach the good news and be a light
     Mar 1:38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns that I may preach there also: for there-fore came I forth. Luk 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God… John 18:37, "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." Joh 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

6.       To give abundant life
     Joh 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

7.       To give His life as a ransom and die on the cross
     Mat_20:28  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mar_10:45  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Joh_12:27  Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. (Arrest and crucifixion)

All of these point to the ultimate purpose, the cross. He came to proclaim the good news, be a light, and give life abundant to those who would believe. He came in total obedience to give His life as a ransom. That means he paid a price. To whom? Not to Satan. He owed Satan nothing. All Satan claimed to have he got as a usurper. No, Jesus came to expiate and propitiate. Expiate means to remove sins and Propitiate means to satisfy the wrath of God. That is the One to whom He paid the price. God the Son, satisfying God the Father. God the Father so loved the world that He sent God the Son. God the Son so loved the Father that He came and died and when all things were accomplished (Jn 19:28), He stated "tetelestai." (JN 19:30) The purpose is accomplished, it is finished, the goal is achieved! 
And He came to rule His people. And He shall reign forever and ever.