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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Isaiah 40:8

"Foundations That Will Stand!"
 "The Solid Foundation of Biblical Authority"

This is our second message concerning "Foundations That Will Stand!" The spiritually discerning are aware of the sinking sands all around us but we thank God for foundations that will stand!

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"The grass withers, the flower fades. But the word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8). "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

How Firm A Foundation

How firm a foundation,
ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith
in His excellent Word!

LawlessnessThe spirit of lawlessness is growing rapidly in our age. Here in America we are dealing with issues practically unimaginable just a generation ago (or for that matter, even several years ago!) These issues signal a return to the turbulent Biblical period of the Judges when the people became their own authority and acted on their own opinions of right and wrong. The writer portrays the spiritual climate of that age with these words: "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). Ancient as that statement is, it could accurately headline stories from our own local or national newspaper today.

Bible coverThe authority of the Bible refers to the belief that the Bible is normative for the individual believer and church in all speech, thought, and practice. In other words, Scripture is the sole and final authority for Christians in all matters of faith and practice. I memorized this doctrinal statement concerning the Scriptures early in my ministry, "The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct."

"The grass withers, the flower fades. But the word of our God stands forever."

An ancient scheme of Satan is undermining and discrediting the authority of God and His Word.

Ravi ZachariasRavi Zacharias encourages and equips believers to defend their faith with clarity and confidence. About ten years ago I heard him speak at Lancaster Bible College on "The Authority of the Word of God". He challenged followers of Christ to hold steadfastly to the authority of God's Word amidst the shifting, sinking sands of postmodern thinking.

He shared a memorable story illustrating his point of how we need a fixed authority.

A man went by a clock store every morning on the way to work and always set his watch by the clock in the display window. The store owner noticed and one day asked him why he did this. The worker said, "My watch doesn't keep good time and I have the responsibility of setting the clock that blows the whistle at the factory where I work, so I want to make sure it's correct."

The store owner said, "That's interesting, my display clock doesn't keep good time either, so I set it each day by the whistle at the factory."

The point of the story is that you will end up with a chaotic mess if you have no fixed reference point of authority. The lack of absolutes in our postmodern world is a breeding ground for Satan to incessantly pose questions in place of truths explicitly taught in the Bible. The result of such "tinkering" brings about massive confusion from day to day, year to year, regarding what is right and what is wrong. It can also erode confidence in those who try to uphold traditional values and truths prescribed over the centuries through the authoritative Word of God.

Isaiah 40:8Thank God for the firm foundation we have in the Holy Scriptures! "The word of our God stands forever." His Word reflects the steadfast character of God who does not change. Today as you read, study, memorize and live out the teaching of the Scriptures, rejoice in their surety, their authority, and their absolute dependability.

How sure the Scriptures are!
God's vital, urgent Word,
as true as steel, and far
more sharp than any sword:

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, it is reassuring that in this ever-changing world some things, dear and precious to us, do not change. Most importantly the sacred truths and basic principles presented in Scripture are not to be altered or amended in conformity to one's worldview or to that of any particular generation. Your inspired truths are useful for teaching, reproof, and training in righteousness. Their intent is to guide us day by day on our earthly journey with daily decisions, lifestyle, and choices as well as keeping our hope and focus on that which can't be held with our hands, seen with our eyes, or heard with our ears, not down here in our mortal bodies. The Bible only intensifies our longing with these words, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." In these perilous days when so many do what they think is right in their own eyes we want to walk according to what is right in Your eyes according to Scripture. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Scripture memorization: The second daily verse is a tremendous text concerning the inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures. During our nearly forty years of ministry many children (most of whom are now adults) will recall Brooksyne's knack for putting Scriptures to music and teaching it to the kids as a memory aid. In fact she taught II Timothy 3:16 & 17 "All Scripture is God-breathed..." to the tune of the old American folk song, "Crawdad Hole." (Some of you may recall Andy Griffith singing that old southern tune while strumming his guitar on his front porch.)

This last Lord's Day Brooksyne taught a class and placed the Scripture memory text to music. Between Sunday School and church I saw one of the young girls from the class in the foyer and asked her to recite the memory verse which she did - word perfect!

Pompsky pups on Amish farm 1/21/15
Following a chaplain visit early this morning I stopped by to visit our Amish friends Jesse and Anna. They have some Pomsky pups just about ready to sell, including this one.

New Amish scooters 1/21/15
I ran Jesse on a couple of errands including an Amish hardware store with these colorful new scooters for sale.

Fresh scrapple 1/21/15
We also stopped by a butcher where Jesse's hog was slaughtered and picked their meat including this fresh Scrapple, a Pennsylvania Dutch favorite

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"How Firm A Foundation"  Video  Michael Card

"How Firm A Foundation"  Video   Sovereign Grace Music

“In Christ Alone/The Solid Rock "  Video   Travis Cottrell

"Rock Of Ages"   Video   Antrim Mennonite Choir

"How Do We Know the Bible is True?"  Video  Ravi  Zacharias

5 Great Lessons From 5 Great Stories by Ravi Zacharias  Video

For further study:

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42).

We must continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine. To continue steadfastly is to persevere, to remain constant, to carry on without wavering. The apostles' doctrine is what the apostles taught by the authority of Christ through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as recorded in the New Testament. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit the apostles established doctrines and practices for the church.

Only a portion of the doctrine of Christ was made known during His ministry on earth. After His ascension He revealed many additional teachings to the apostles through the Holy Spirit. Shortly before His death He said: "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come" (John 16:12,13). "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (John 14:26).

The Holy Spirit revealed all truth to the apostles, He taught them all things, including things Jesus had not yet made known during his life on earth.

The church is built on the foundational teaching of the apostles, which is nothing other than the teaching of Christ, made known through them and subsequently recorded in the New Testament. Together with Christ, the apostles and prophets form the foundation of the church: "Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:19,20).

In the first century there were false teachers who rejected the authority of the apostles. Paul warned: "If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 14:37).

We must avoid teachers who reject the authority of the apostles: "Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple" (Romans 16:17,18).

People who deviate from the doctrine of the apostles, cause division and apostasy. We must note them and avoid them, keep away from them. Even though they come with smooth words and flattering speech, they are not servants of Christ, they serve their own belly, their own base and ignoble desires. We are commanded to avoid them.

It is only through the apostles and their teaching that we can have fellowship with God and Christ. John wrote: "That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3).

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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