Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve Myers] The Bible is one book owned by more people than any other. Studies show that there's a big gap between what Christians think the Bible says and what the Bible actually teaches. To be a true Christian, you must read the book.
Does it make any difference what you believe as long as you're a good person? Some would say, well treat others with respect and don't hurt anyone else because that's really what religion is all about, isn't it? So it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you're sincere, but is that biblical? If you claim to be a Christian, you have to read the book.
A recent survey was done and it found that 64% of Christians say that all religious faiths are of equal value. Do you believe that? Some say well, all paths lead to God, but what does the word of God say? Is any church or any religion just as good as another? Or is it something better? Or it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you believe in something, but where does biblical teaching come into the picture? How important are the teachings of the Bible? If you believe God is a fish or a jackal or some cosmic cloud, would that make a difference? Well, of course it would. I mean, isn't it fair to say that the Bible and biblical teaching has been deemphasized in our world today? It's been minimized. We've got it out of our schools and unfortunately, out of many Christians lives.
Proof, recent survey was done and it found that 94% of Americans do not hold a biblical worldview. It also found almost 9 out of 10 US adults that claim to be Christians have an impure unrecognizable worldview that is a blending of ideas from multiple perspectives. But you're a Christian. Have you read the book? Now if you read this book it will even tell you what's happened to the Bible in our world today. The Apostle Paul wrote Timothy, in 2 Timothy 4:3. He said “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
You see, he talked about sound teachings. That's literally healthy teaching, wholesome teaching, not a mixture of this and that. It is right down the line godly truth. And that word for doctrine here, those are the principles that are godly. They're the teachings of the word of God, instruction. In fact doctrine is just another way of saying teaching. So we find that doctrine in the Bible is God's set of teachings that should be a guide for our life. It should give us direction in life and we come to an important point when you consider that very fact.
Biblical teachings must form the basis for your belief. Or you could say, read the book. I mean where does healthy doctrine come from? Well we've got to base our belief from scriptures, from nowhere else. In fact, Christ Himself said in John 17:17, "Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.” So Christ focused on that very point and He did it over and over again throughout His earthly ministry. In Matthew 4:4 He said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." So Christ emphasized it. But have you read it for yourself?
If you believe in God, everything, all of what's in scripture is God's word. That has to form the basis for what you believe. Christ's laid it on the line in Luke 6:46, almost a startling comment that He makes here. Christ Himself said, "Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do the things which I say?" Of course, where do we find the things that He said, what He taught? It's right here in the Book. But according to a recent Gallup poll only 20% of American Christians, those are people who claim to be godly Christian people, only 20% believe the Bible is fully inspired by God. Or turn that around, 80% of those Christians don't believe the Bible is inspired by God. Isn't that startling? That is amazing. Yet God inspired the Word Himself. He tells us, biblical teachings must form the basis for our belief.
All right. Let's think about an example for a moment. Now many, if not most, Christians believe that at death, you go to heaven. If you're a good person, you go to heaven when you die. Well, have you read the book? Now most will identify with John 3:16. It's one of those famous passages that most Christians might be able to even recite. It says, "For God so of the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." You've heard that passage. But just three verses before that in verse 13, did you know Christ said this? He said, "No one has ascended to heaven but he who came down from heaven, that is, the son of man.” So you believe in heaven? It's unbiblical. It's not in the book. So what do you believe? And what does God have to say about it? Is that important for us today?
If you were to read John 5:28 in the common English Bible, Christ said something amazing. He said, "Don't be surprised that time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice. Those who did good things will come out to the resurrection of life. Those who did wicked things into the resurrection of judgment." So what we find is Christ taught the resurrection and you believe in the resurrection because it's based on the book. It's based on the teachings of Christ. So how do you handle that? What's your perspective? How do you come to terms with the idea that I think I go to heaven when I die, rather than the Bible talks about the resurrection? How do you explain that? How do you harmonize those differences? Kind of causes a dilemma. Do you stick with the book or your own way of thinking? I mean unfortunately, too many do just that.
There was a survey recently called the American Worldview Inventory. It was done by George Barna at the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University. He talked about cognitive dissonance. That's the idea of having two conflicting beliefs like what I think and what the Bible says, and trying to come to terms with that. Now Barna summarized the findings of that study and it's almost shocking. He said two out of three Americans think of themselves as Christian. Of course, I think of that and go, "Wow, that many people in America still consider themselves Christian." But then he went on to say a majority think that Christianity is kind of about the Bible. Wait a second. Is Christianity's sort of like associated with the... or is it about what the Bible says? And he went on to say, though many Americans believe they have a biblical worldview, very few do. In fact in the study it found 52% claim that deciding moral truth is up to each individual. So your truth is as good as his truth is good as her truth as good as biblical truth. Well how can you be a Christian and have that belief cognitive dissonance? Doesn't make sense. Doesn't add up. Doesn't add up with the teachings of Christ.
And even the belief of many Christians when it comes to marriage. Marriage of one man to one woman. What percentage would say yes that is the way. Well the Bible says that but only 46% of Christians, according to that survey, believe that. How is that possible? Well it's like Barna, he said there's a big gap between what Christians believe the Bible may teach and what the Bible actually teaches. So to get to the point, if you haven't read the book you really don't know what it says. And trying to be a part-time Christian isn't a Christian at all. I mean how does that stack up with what the Bible tells us? If we claim to be a godly person, to be a Christian, Proverbs really challenges us. Proverbs 3:5. Notice what it says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding," it says, “in all your ways, acknowledge Him,” and then it says, “He will direct your paths.” And so it just emphasizes that point. Biblical doctrine must form the basis for what a Christian believes.
Now, that's only the beginning. Now when we start with the Bible we also recognize the fact that biblical teaching must also form your basis for living. I mean what determines the way that you live your life? What is it that frames your life? How do you have guidance for living? Well our day and age is pretty well described in 1 Timothy 4, right at the very beginning of that chapter. It says, "Now the spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons." That's that teaching word, the influence of the demonic realm. Do you see that in our world today? Do you see that in man's government? Do you see it in our culture? Do you see it even, unfortunately, in Christianity?
The Apostle Paul in the book of Romans said a similar thing. The common English Bible, he wrote, "Thank God, that although you used to be slaves of sin, you gave wholehearted obedience to the teaching that was handed down to you, which provides a pattern.” King James version says, "You obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine." The word of God, His guidance, His inspiration that's given to us in His book. And so when it comes to the teachings that we're going to follow, what we will obey, he says, here's what you need to practice. And of course, when you begin to compare that with what Jesus Christ Himself taught. What did He teach His disciples and then what did they teach the New Testament church? Well He taught a way of life, a way of living that was defined by doctrine. The doctrine of God. That's what they taught. And so that's the teachings we have to hold. What that teaching is, defines our pattern of living and how we act and what we think and how we behave. And Christ was very specific in His instructions, wasn't He? John 14:15, He said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." Keep my commandments. That's a guide for life.
In Luke 11:28 He said it a little differently. He said, "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it." And so biblical instruction, the guidelines of the teachings of Christ, His inspired word should instruct us on what we think and how we believe and more than that, how we live our life. And so when you think about marriage, does the Bible define how we should live when it comes to marriage? Yes. Not only one man to one woman but how do we treat each other? Absolutely the Bible defines that. It also talks about, what is sin? How do you define sin? Well, biblical doctrine defines sin. Or can I just come up with my own truth? What I think is right, what I think is wrong. You see, unfortunately that's what our world has done today. Doctrine, when you really read the book, even will tell us about best for us to eat. Because if we follow biblical doctrine, it's going to give us that instruction. And so when you put all of those pieces together you begin to see that biblical teaching, doctrine, should form the basis for our living. It should define our lifestyle. How we live our life and how we put it into practice.
But there's more, not only should biblical teaching be the basis for what we believe and form our lifestyle, when you read the book you find that biblical teaching must be the basis for our relationship with God. Yep. Goes that far. Whether we build idols or statues and use them in our worship, that's not biblical, but many do. Whether we pray to the saints. Is that in the Book? We pray directly to God and it's defined by biblical doctrine. And so whether we're a shaker or a holy roller or believe in holy laughter and all, that should be guided by what the Book says.
What is biblical teaching? Christ Himself zeroed in on what is best, and really how to have a relationship with Him, a close bond. In John 4:23, here's Christ recorded for us, His very words. He said, "The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” So where do you start when you read a passage like that? Oh yeah, John 17:17, “The word is truth.” Go to the book because it's going to define who we worship, and are we following His guidelines? It also determines when we worship, and the why behind our worship. It'll even determine the days which we worship.
Let's take a moment. Look at an example. How does God want to be worshiped? Because doctrine should form that basis for how we worship God and have a relationship with Him. Now if we look at Leviticus 23, here's an example. Should doctrine form the basis for how we worship God in our relationship? Well Leviticus 23:2 it talks about “the feasts of the Lord.” And it says “you shall proclaim these feasts to holy convocations.” And then God says, "These are my feasts." These are the feast of the Lord. They're not Israelite feasts. They're not Jewish gatherings. They're God's feasts. That's what the Book says. So when it comes to the very first one that's mentioned here, it mentions God's Sabbath. That's Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Well, do you observe the Sabbath? God says that's one of His feasts. And then it goes on to mention His Holy Days. They're holy convocations. They're sacred assemblings. They, they're gatherings that God has commanded. Do you observe them? I mean, that's what the Book says.
Now someone will say, "Oh, that's old, that's old Testament. That's old stuff, that doesn't matter today. That's all done away with." But that cognitive dissonance, wait a second. Christ, in the book of Mark said He is Lord of the Sabbath. So when you come down to the fact of the Lord's day, must be the Sabbath. It must be Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, and it's not Sunday. So how do you justify that? And in fact, if Jesus’ life was a perfect example for us, I mean, was it? Did He say follow me? I mean, over and over again, He said just that. So as the perfect example for us, why wouldn't we want to follow His example? Why wouldn't we want to live our life? And so we need to come to terms with that. Do we follow the example of Christ? Can we harmonize our practice and our faith and our worship and our relationship with God and explain the differences between what the Bible says our practice should be and what we're actually doing.
I mean, do you believe these days are commanded? Well you believe biblical doctrine, it says they are or are they just suggested or they're not relevant. I mean, they don't apply to me. Well, the fact is if you go to church on Sunday it's not honoring God. It's ignoring His direction in His Word. If you replace the Holy Days with man's holidays like Easter and Christmas can you really claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ? You see that's a challenge for all Christians. Are we following the book? 1 John 1:3 is a great reminder of that. Here the Apostle John, the oldest surviving apostle, writes something so amazing. He says “that which we've seen and heard and declared to you that you may have fellowship with us,” and he says, “truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. He says, “these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” And then going on in chapter 2 verse 3, he says, "Now by this, we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." Then he gets really strong. He says, "He who says I know him and doesn't keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in Him…He who abides in Him, ought to himself also to walk just as He walked." And so he is talking about having a bond, having a relationship with God, the Father in Jesus Christ. And what's right at the heart of it? An understanding of doctrine and putting that doctrine into practice.
His words show how He walked, how He lived. So doctrine should define that relationship that we have with God. And after all, how can I have eternal life and be given eternal life if I don't even know godly teachings? I don't know what God wants. I don't under...well, it's here in the book. And so it helps us to understand who and what God is and how to have a relationship with Him. And ultimately to understand His plan that we can ultimately be born into the family of God. And so as we see that it certainly leads us to the conclusion that doctrine must form the basis for our worship and our relationship with God Himself. You're going to find that in the book but I recognize, that can be a little challenging. Even though, even though you probably got more than one Bible in your home. The Bible is the most printed book. It is owned by more people than any other book in the entire world. But why would so many people own a book and not take time to read it? You see if we fail to study and read Holy scripture, what's happened to our world? All kinds of wrong ideas and wrong practices have come into play. And yet God tells us His word, Holy scripture, is the foundation of knowledge. It is God's revelation to us. So what does a Bible say? And what does it mean to you and what should you do?
Well it can be tough to put all those pieces together. And so we'd like to help you with our free study aid, "How to Understand the Bible." Request your free copy today, you can call us at the number on your screen. Otherwise, go to our website beyondtoday.tv. There online, you can download it. You can read it. You can order your own free copy. We'll send it right to your door. How to Understand the Bible. We really want to help you to understand the truth and discover those deep truths of God and when you do, it will change your life for the better. Don't wait. The Bible has the answers to those big questions of life and in fact, it's about the gospel. It's about good news. That's literally what the gospel is. In this world of trials and troubles and difficulties, in a world that's seems to be falling apart, there is good news. And when you find out the truth of the word of God, living by that truth, it's stabilizing. It will build a foundation for your life that the difficulties and events that are happening around us won't shake us, will have a foundation that's strong and secure, will be like an anchor that will hold us close to God the Father and Jesus Christ. Because God wants to richly bless you and this study aid will give you 15 vital keys to understanding the Bible.
In fact one principle is found in Psalms 111:10, “A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.” Wouldn't you like to discover the power of God's word for your life? Now's the time to read the book. So order, "How to Understand the Bible." Request your copy, call us at the number on your screen or go to beyondtoday.tv, where you can download it, read it or order your free copy.
Well how well do you know biblical teachings? Have you studied them? Have you looked for yourself or perhaps you've kind of taken them for granted? Well Proverbs 2:2 gives us some guidance. What should you do? Maybe you've had some of that cognitive dissonance. Well, how do I start? Where do I go? What do I do? Proverbs 2:2 gives us some guidance. It says, "Incline your ear to wisdom, apply your heart to understanding. Yes if you cry out for discernment and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver and search for her as hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God for the Lord gives wisdom from His mouth come knowledge and understanding."
Well, is biblical teaching important? Absolutely. There is no doubt, for so many reasons. True biblical teaching forms the basis of belief. It forms the basis for our practice and it should form the basis for our relationship with God. So I pray that you will hold fast to true godly teachings and not only read the book, but live by every word of God.
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