Month: April 2015

When God opens eyes and ears

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<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/126371518″>When God opens eyes and ears – Isaiah 29</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user3461934″>Pastor Steve Schroeder</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

In spite of us having God’s word, false teachers abound

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2 Peter 2:1–3

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

Yesterday, Ben read a blasphemous quote from the great atheist, Richard Dawkins.  From inside the church we recognize Dawkins as both brilliant and against God.  We recognize that he does not recognize that even his brilliance is a gift from God before Whom even he will one day stand.

But the Apostle Peter is not talking about deceivers outside the church.  He is warning of false teachers within the church.  It is deceivers within the church who are far more dangerous than those on the outside.

Beware of any who: 1. Sneak in private teachings.  If someone pulls you aside to tell you their pet doctrine, take it to the pastor and ask the pastor if this pet doctrine is in line with the whole of scripture.  False teachers do teach the whole church just those whom they think they can influence. 2. Deny the Lord Jesus in either His person, He is 100% God, or His work, He fully paid the price for God’s judgment of our sin.  Anything less is heresy.  Those who teach that Christ is less than God and has done less than fully pay for our sin will bring destruction upon themselves. 3. These false teachers are covetous.  They are teaching for their own benefit.  Beware of preachers who get rich off of their congregations.  If they are in the ministry for personal gain they are in it for the wrong reason.  Their doctrine will follow their covetousness. 4. Use deceptive words to make their case.  The Bible is clear.  God intended for it to be clear.  When teachers begin using words that twist the clear meanings of scripture or use words with shady connotations beware.
God wants us to know that He is aware of all false teachers and that their judgment is in His hands.  In the meantime, we need to be aware that false teachers have been in the church for a long time and have infiltrated the people of God long before the formation of the church.  Thus we must be students of the scriptures able to discern truth from error lest we be pulled away by a deceiver.

I plan to be bringing a message from Isaiah 30 this Sunday.  We will see that God wants us to look to Him for all of our personal and national security.  When we trust God and God alone He is able to watch over us and care for us.  This timely message for us today was timely 2500 years ago.  Pretty amazing stuff.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

 

 

The Bible is God’s word carefully given to us

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2 Peter 1:20–21

20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

In this verse we have one of the most comprehensive statements on the inspiration of the Bible.  It teaches us that no one woke up and decided to write down the Scriptures.  No one, in a moment of frustration, decided to write something in hopes of getting the attention of his audience.  No one with a creative dream decided to write it down and start a religion.  No one had a vision apart from the Holy Spirit and wrote it down to be thought holy.  The Bible is a book that was written only when holy men of God spoke when they were moved by the Holy Spirit to do so.

With that understanding, we understand that the Bible is God’s words to man.  We understand that the book we hold in our hands is the inscripturated word of God.  We also understand that what we read in the Bible is God’s unique message to us.

There are a few points of verifying the words of a prophet.  One question we must ask is this, did his prophecies come true?  Many of the OT prophet’s prophecies did come true.  Those that did not were not supposed to yet.  Secondly, did the prophet’s prophecies agree with the prophecies of other prophets?  Again, as we read the OT we find a common theme of redemption throughout the OT and the NT.  Since the Holy Spirit of God was behind all true prophecies then the words the prophets spoke and recorded agree with one another, and they do.

Having said this, let’s look at the first part of this verse today.  “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.”  That means that no one has the right or authority to make the Scripture say what they want it to say.  I cannot make up an interpretation.  I must study the Word to find out what God meant when He gave it and seek to understand His meaning and interpret it from there.  When we determine what God meant when He gave His word then the word of God has the power and the authority to save our souls and to change our lives.

It is Wednesday and this is the first devotional of the week.  So sorry to be inconsistent with this. 

 

In reading for Sunday’s upcoming message I was reminded that God alone wants us to place our trust and our confidence in Him.  We cannot trust the Supreme Court, the politicians, the laws or even the Constitution.  God wants us to have confidence and security in Him.  As we pray for our country, and we had better be praying for it, we must at the same time place our confidence in the perfect will of God.  He is in control and is preparing the world for His ultimate plans and purposes. 

 

Join us for tonight’s prayer time.  We will be praying fervently for our country and for the souls of men and women in our community. 

 

Pray for a man named Tony who needs to make a life-changing decision.  It is difficult for him and we are praying that he will follow the Lord in this decision. 

 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

 

Do you believe the Word of God came from God? Peter did.

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2 Peter 1:17–19

17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;

The Apostle Peter was thoroughly convinced that the Word he heard was from God. Men and women from Peter’s day until today have questioned what he “really” heard and have cast doubt upon him having heard the voice of God. But Peter knew what he heard. He had no doubt about it and wanted the people of his generation to know that there was no doubt as to the Word of God that he heard.

Having made his point about the source of this Word, it was from God, Peter then tells what this Word does. He says that the Word of God is to be heeded, that is, it is to have attention given to it. To heed is more than just to hear. My kids often heard my voice but did not heed it. We need to heed God’s word, to give it the attention due it.

He also tells us how to heed this Word: we are to heed it as a light that shines in a dark place. Light keeps us from walking into things. When we heed the Word of God as a light we don’t bump into the things in life that bring destruction. Just as you would not intentionally walk into a wall in a lighted room so in life when we have the light of God shining before us we don’t walk into spiritual walls but are able to walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, discerning what the will of the Lord is.

Finally, Peter tells us how long to walk heeding the Word of God. We are to heed God’s word until the day dawns and the morning star arises in our hearts. We await the return of Jesus Christ who will be the morning star of eternity. We now walk in the light of the written Word of God but the day will come when we will walk in the presence of the living Word of God, the very Lord Jesus Christ. Heed the Word, walk in its’ light and do so until the Lord Jesus comes to make all things light and clear.

Today, I ask you to pray for a woman who has allowed my mother to take God’s word and to show her the Bible’s teaching on following Christ, man’s condition, sin, atonement and justification. This woman grew up in a culture that misused the concept of being saved to the point of bringing great confusion to many. Pray for my mom to have the power of the gospel flowing through her so that this dear and pained woman would give her sin and her life to follow Christ, find Him blood able to forgive her an come to hear God calling her to His offer of justification.

Pastor Bill has already finished at Spring Meadow but will have a service at Sunrise Assisted Living this afternoon. As always, keep him in your prayers.

RU will meet tonight. Pray for the darkness of sin in people’s lives to be held back so that they can see the Light of Christ, come and be saved from their sin. Pray for our staff to be spiritually ready to meet those whom God will bring.

Sunday morning I plan to bring a message from Isaiah 29. If you could read ahead it would prepare you for the message. Pray for God to use this for His honor and glory.

Finally, and of great importance, pray for our Supreme Court today to hear the voice of God above the voice of the sinful crowd. Our children and grandchildren will know of the verdict that comes from today’s arguments. May God be glorified and may we be spared.

Sunday, there is concert at Wentz Hall in Naperville. Both the Glee Club and a mixed chorus called the Voices of Hope will be performing. Voices of Hope is a chorus of cancer survivors who rejoice in the gift of life given back to them. If you are a cancer survivor tickets for you are free. The concert is at 3:00.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

What evidence do we have of our faith?

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2 Peter 1:16–18

16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

Of all of the religions in the world, Christianity is the most believable and the one under the most attack.  When was the last time you heard someone attacking Buddhism, or Catholicism, or Mormonism?  Yet Christianity is under constant attack. The world even defends Islam and permits its practice in the American schools and workplace.  But Christianity is the religion of fools, the whipping post of every liberal movement and the enemy of evolutionism.

And yet, of all of the religions in the world, Christianity is the faith system with the most evidence of truly coming from God to man.  In today’s verse Peter tells us that he and the other Apostles did not follow cunningly devised fables.  I submit to you that every other religion is filled with cunningly devised fables which people flock after.  Not our faith.  Our faith is based on eyewitness accounts of the very glory of God.  Peter was at the mount of transfiguration and saw Moses and Elijah but more than that he saw Jesus in His glory.  He was an eyewitness of Jesus’ majesty.  Not only did Jesus glow with glory but Peter also heard the very voice of God confirming the person of Jesus Christ.

All other religious systems lift up their founder, men or women who are lifted up as great and holy.  Christianity does not lift up men but lifts up God.  Peter could have started his own church but he did not do that.  No, he spent his life lifting up Jesus Christ as God for He was God.  Peter followed God and led others, even us, to do the same.  Do not be a follower of religious people and ideas but be a follower of God Himself.

Sandy’s surgery went well, thanks to God.  She and I prayed that we would know that the God of heaven stepped in.  Her surgery went long, four hours.  And after three hours the doctors were ready to give up and bring her back later for open heart surgery.  At that point the doctors decided to try one more time to insert the stint and the last try they were successful.  We thank God for interceding on Sandy’s behalf.  She will be going home today.

The Syroteuk’s granddaughter, Isabella, has contracted pneumonia.  Keep this little on in your prayers. 

Dear friends of our family are mourning the loss of their father.  Tom Verway went to be with the Lord yesterday.  Kris Korich used to attend our church, Tom is her father.  Keep the Verway family in your prayers this day. 

Keep our Supreme Court in your prayers that they will make a decision on marriage that is righteous in the sight of God.  Pray that they will not cave in to the desires of men. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

 

How much can “these things” be emphasized?

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2 Peter 1:12–15

12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, 14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.

The Apostle Peter is an old man now and is writing this letter knowing that his death is near. Both while he is alive and when he is gone he wants his dear friends in Christ to be reminded of “these things.” What were “these things?”   If you read back to the beginning of the chapter you will find that “these things” refer to the qualities that Peter admonished us to add to our faith.

2 Peter 1:5–7 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  If these things be in you abound…

The qualities of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love were vital points of Peter’s life message. He wanted these things taught in his life and he wanted them taught after his death. If the aged Apostle, Elder, leader of the Apostles, and pastor of the church in Jerusalem gave this much emphasis on “these things” we must give them more than a passing attention. It would do us good to meditate upon these things, write them out, put them in the car, on the desk, on the refrigerator, and on the computer. Wherever we go “these things” should be before us as we seek to add them into our lives every moment of every day.

Remember in prayer today Sandy Petrelli as she is having a stint put into her heart. One artery is 100% blocked. We are praying that they will not have to do bypass surgery.

Mark Massey’s dad died Monday morning. He is in Florida preparing for a memorial service for his dad on Saturday. If you want to email Mark you can do so at mm@vafb.org If you want his phone number ask me for it.

Pray for Victory in Mark’s absence. The enemy knows when to attack.

Join us in prayer tonight.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS