googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: February 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

How To Spot A Fake

In an effort to stay ahead of counterfeiters, the US Treasury periodically makes changes to the paper currency. Soon, a new $5 bill will be released in the US. I happen to work at a bank and before new currency is released, bank employees receive a detailed description of what the new currency will look like. We receive descriptions of what the bills will look like so that we can spot potential counterfeits.

Did you know that the best way to identify a counterfeit is to know what the real bill looks like? We don’t receive a description of what fake bills look like; they tell us about the real bills and anything that doesn’t look like it is a fake. This should apply to our doctrine as well.

In Acts 17:10-11, we are told about the Bereans. These noble folks were eager to receive the word, but they would always compare new teaching to the Scripture to see if the new doctrine was true. If anyone would bring a different gospel, the false teaching would be immediately exposed.

We need to be diligent about knowing what the Bible has to say. The world abounds with opinions and “feel good” doctrine but the word of God is true (Psalm 119:160). It’s easy to be deceived by something that might sound reasonable but is really a lie. The best way to avoided being tricked by false doctrine is to study the true doctrine. You don’t need to study a long list of everything that is wrong; you just have to know what is right.

The Sadducees in Jesus’ day did not believe there would be a resurrection. They thought they could be clever and stump Jesus by asking a hypothetical situation about the resurrection. Jesus, of course, couldn’t be stumped; He knew the Scriptures too well. His response to the Sadducees is interesting:

“And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? Mark 12:24

From there, He went on to show them – from Scripture – that they were wrong about the resurrection:

“And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.” (Mark 12:26-27)

Jesus is not only our Savior, He is our example. He was bold in His teaching. And whenever He was challenged, He backed up His teaching with Scripture.

Let me leave you with 2 Timothy 2:15:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

So you see, studying the Bible is not just a good idea - it’s a commandment.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Talking Rocks

I saw an interesting quote online the other day:
When the rocks say they are 4 billion years old and the Bible says they are less than 10,000 years old; who do you believe: the author of the Bible or the author of the rocks?
I thought it was odd. My family is from eastern KY and I grew up my whole life visiting the hills of Appalachia. I've literally seen mountains of rocks. In all my life, I've never heard one of them "say" anything.

When we dig up a rock, it doesn't come with a label. It doesn't tell us how old it is. What we can do is observe the rock, take measurements, and speculate about its age. For example, scientists can measure the ratio of uranium/lead in a rock. Uranium decays into lead at an observed rate. By knowing the ratio, scientists believe they can calculate how long it took for that ratio to be reached. They then say that is the age of the rock. But as the scientists are doing these tests, the rock itself says nary a word.

So scientists often wax eloquent about what the rocks tell us. But they're just dumb rocks - that is, they don't speak. So what we're really hearing is only what the scientists are telling us about the rocks. Rather than the quote above, I think it would be more accurate if a scientist said, "When I say the rocks are 4 billion years old, and the Bible says they are less than 10,000 years old, who do you believe: me or the Bible?"

I believe there is a lot of scientific evidence against evolution. But if I had to decide who to believe between the secular scientists and the Bible, then the Bible wins hands down. Call me a zealot if you wish but we have the written revelation of the One who created the rocks. I trust the clear reading of His word over what the dumb rocks say because ROCKS DON'T TALK!

Proverbs 26:4-5: To Answer or Not Answer

Critics sometimes cite supposed "contradictions" in the Bible as evidence against inspiration. They must feel that, if they can discredit a particular part of the Bible, then none of the Bible can be trusted.

One example of a "contradiction" often cited by critics is Proverbs 26:4-5

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

At first glance, these two verses seem to say exactly opposite things. One might wonder, "Do I answer a fool according to his folly or not?" But with a little thought, it's not difficult to reconcile these seeming conflicting verses.

I spend a lot of time discussing evolution online. I'm a staunch YEC (young-earth-creationist). While debating people who believe evolution, I sometimes encounter logically flawed arguments. If I'm not careful, it's easy to get caught up in these types of arguments. Let me give you an example:

Some evolutionists use the appeal to authority argument. They might say something like, "I'm a biologist and have studied evolution first hand. I also teach evolutionary biology at the college level. Evolution is real. You simply don't understand evolution and so you don't believe in it." Now, nothing in that statement proves evolution is true. He's implying that evolution is true because he's a biologist and so I should believe him. If I get into a debate about his qualifications to discuss evolution, I am answering a fool according to his folly - that is, I'm engaging in a debate around a flawed premise. If I do this, I'm actually giving the impression his argument has merit and I end up sounding like the fool.

Instead, I have found it useful to point out the flaw in the logic. So I answer a fool according to his folly - that is I show him why his argument has no merit. Hopefully, he will no longer continue using his fallacious argument nor "be wise in his own conceit."

In other words, don't answer a fool by sounding like him. Instead, try to show him how foolish he's being.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Matthew 7:21-23: Look What I Did!

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23

It’s going to be a sad day for some people when they stand before God expecting to be welcomed into heaven but instead they are condemned. It’s interesting when you think about the arguments they use to justify themselves:

We prophesied in your name.
We cast out devils.
We did good works.

These people believe they should get into heaven because of all the good things they did. But Jesus doesn’t seem to think their works were good but rather calls them workers of “iniquity.”

Some people argue that the people mentioned here are Christians who lost their salvation. That's a mistaken notion. Jesus clearly says, "I never knew you." The word "never" in that passage is the Greek word, oudepote. This is a compound word: oude, meaning "not even" and pote, meaning "ever." Jesus is saying, "I did not know you - not ever." They aren't people who believed and fell away; they never trusted Jesus as their Savior. They trusted in their own works to save them.

Jesus said that only he that does the will of the Father will enter the kingdom of heaven. But what is the will of the Father? Isn’t it to do good things? Jesus actually tells us the Father’s will in
John 6:40:

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

God doesn’t require us to earn our own salvation by good works. His will is simply that we believe in the Son and have eternal life.