We’ve all heard the expression, but what does the oldest trick in the book really mean? Well, in all reality the phrase itself is so old that there is no conclusive answer where it came from, but I’ll give you my 2 cents. I believe that the oldest trick in the book is for our adversary, the devil, to get us to question God’s Word.
It is in fact the oldest trick in THE book…the Bible.
Satan’s words to Eve. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
And Satan does the same thing to us today.
“Did God really say…homosexuality was a sin?”
“Did God really say…Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven?”
“Did God really say…women can’t be pastors?”
“Did God really say…not to speak in tongues ”
“Did God really say…he created the world in just six days”
“Did God really say…”
“Did God really say…”
“Did God really say…”
And the thing is we believe these lies…now understand that I’m not talking about those OUTSIDE the church…Satan has those folks right where he wants them…I’m talking about those INSIDE the church.
You can see the results of this question from a quick survey of the state of evangelism in America today.
Entire denominations that claim to be Christian are being led astray by one simple phrase
A phrase that, on it’s head..seems harmless enough…I mean shouldn’t we be making sure God’s Word squares with today’s world?
And it’s that kind of backwards questioning that has gotten us where we are.
We should not be making sure the God’s Word squares with today’s world, we should be making sure today’s world squares with God’s Word.
THAT should be our starting point…otherwise we are being deceived when we ask ourselves “Did God really say…” Of course the phrase changes a bit from context to context, but it’s the same basic premise.
We question God’s Word, or its meaning, or its authenticity. or the education level of its authors…
We start playing word games with this verse or that verse trying to make them fit into our presuppositions…
Pretty soon we have undermined the entire authority of the Bible…
We are left without a leg to stand on when asked if God really created the world in six days
or if homosexuality is wrong
or if women can serve in the church
We are left without a foundation when we play cut and paste with God’s Word.
We are left without an answer when we can’t rely on the Bible as the authority.
BUT we can rely on the authority of the Bible…did you know science…REAL science…(not that waked out carbon dating stuff) has never disproven anything in the Bible…neither has archaeology. In fact there are a ton of resources and institutions out there that can show you how the Bible harmonizes with science and history.
Why would we trust our own mind anyway…there’s are tons of things I don’t know, but we think we know better than God? Really? I don’t think so.
Did God really say…
That is the real oldest trick in the book…indeed.
If you’ve missed the national news lately, go catch up on the ”Miracle in Cleveland.”
A Cleveland, Ohio man was eating supper when he heard screaming and went to investigate. He discovered a young woman trying to escape from a barricaded home. As he helped her get out, she said she was Amanda Berry, well-known in Cleveland as a young woman abducted as a teenager a decade ago. What followed is the stuff of Hollywood epics. The man called 9-1-1, then police arrived to rescue two more women from the home.Cleveland’s newspaper has extensive print and video coverage. Type in Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight into any search engine, and a laundry list of topics will appear.
Conversation around Northeast Ohio has centered around the amazing rescue of these three women, who were held against their will. Wherever people gathered, someone would eventually say, “Did you hear…?”
There has been a celebratory feel to today. People are genuinely happy these three young women are safe. They were medically cleared by physicians at a local hospital, and tonight – for the first time in a decade or more – they are with family.
It is by God’s grace that they are free tonight.
This story is also a great example of how we should rejoice when a brother or sister is rescued from sin and steps into freedom as a child of God.
All mankind is shackled by the chains of sin. We seek escape, yet are always confined. The sinful world surrounds us, constrains us and seeks to mold us into what it desires. Our bondage is all-encompassing, and though there may be others who also seek freedom, they too are trapped by chains that do not break. Until, one day, God draws near.
The Holy Spirit quickens our hearts to understand that we cannot escape the shackles of sin ourselves. We find that the only way of escape is to call out to a Savior. We learn that a perfect and loving Christ died for our sins on a cross, then rose again after three days to prove that He had beaten death, and paid the price for the sins of every man and woman. All He asks is that we accept Him and what He has done.
And, just like that, without having to do anything other than believe, we are rescued. The chains holding us are broken, and we are free. We are free to see that Christ is not merely a rescuer, but truly worthy of our worship as Lord and Savior. We are able to walk out of our bondage. We suddenly go from prisoners of sin to adopted brothers and sisters of Christ. We suddenly find that not only do we have a new future, but we have a new family. Everyone who claims the name of Christ as “Lord,” is now a blood-bought relation.
And we are loved, like we have never been loved before.
The celebration that has taken place in Cleveland has been amazing. People have been in the streets celebrating, bringing flowers and balloons and reveling in the rescue of these three women.
Why don’t we celebrate the salvation of a lost sinner in the same way – with celebrations in the streets – balloons and a party like no other?
How amazing a statement when a pastor stands before his congregation and says “Brother s0-and-so comes to say that he has accepted Christ as his Savior.” I’ve been in some churches where the amount of celebratory praise is based on how close the pastor is cutting it to noon.
Jesus gives us great examples in His Luke 15 parables of the celebrations that should take place when a sinner is saved – Heaven rejoices and there is joy among the angels. Why don’t we have that kind of celebration?
Have we become so blasé about being a Christian, that we have lost sight of what a miracle salvation truly is?
Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 of how we should act as Christians. Maybe it’s time we got back to some good, old-fashioned rejoicing.
Tonight, Cleveland celebrates the return of some of its lost girls. Remember that, next time you hear of a new brother or sister in Christ. Their chains are gone, and they’ve been set free – now that is worthy of rejoicing. It truly is a Miracle.
Seven solid blog posts from this past week that you should read.
Author Note: With the terrible news coming out of Boston yesterday, I debated on whether or not to have a post today. I believe it is in these times we are to do as called in Romans 13 and mourn with those who mourn.
1) Original sin, (or total depravity as we Calvinists tend to call it) is one of the issues people seem to have with Christians in general. Most people fail to understand how Adam acted as our federal head and how we are all guilty before God of sin. This blog post from Founders Ministries Blog, does a pretty good job of explaining just that.
2) The issue of a professor getting fired for ad-hearing to Biblical Christianity has hit yet another “Christian” college as Campbellsville University fires one of their professors for being *gasp* a Calvinist. You can read more about it here. All I can say is I can cross another college off the list to suggest to my children and students.
3) Of course it is to Campbellsville determent that they embark on a Calvinist witch hunt. As John Piper points out over at DG, wimpy theology makes for wimpy women...and, I say, Christians in general.
Seven great Blog posts from this past week.
1) This post by Erin Benziger figuratively blew me away as it explores the rich, fullness of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, it is a lengthy article but well-worth your time to read and bookmark, as you’ll want to reference it often.
2) I’ve been wrestling with the idea of jumping headlong back into more youth-oriented ministry at church…and this article by Greg Stier gives some compelling reasons why maybe you should consider doing so as well.
3) As I mentioned on last weeks edition of The Seven, the gay-marrige debate is being discussed by SCOTUS, here is a twin spin on the issue by TGC. The first article (When Did Idolatry Become Compatible with Christianity?) is by a guy who is quickly becoming on of my favorite writers over there, Joe Carter. The second article (Why the Arguments for Gay Marriage Are Persuasive) is by the ever thoughtful Kevin DeYoung.
4) The ever-so-brilliant Dr. Al Mohler adds his insight into the issue of gay-marriage in this article called Bracketing Morality — The Marginalization of Moral Argument in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate.
5) Of course the main issue in all this is sin, we, as humans, are born in a state of sin. Sin passed on to us because of Adams fall, but why is that? How does Adams sin affect us? This article over at Ligonier may be helpful answering that, it’s called: How is it just that all humanity is born into sin because of Adam’s fall? Read the rest of this entry
Seven Great Blog Posts from this past week that you shouldn’t miss.
1) One of the most important, and often least used tool in the Christian’s toolbox is prayer. This article from Past & Present Blog is an important Q & A on how to pray.
2) This past Sunday we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, this blog post from Via Emmaus looks at how evangelicals are trying to redeem the occasion from Rome.
3) Speaking of Rome the big news this past week, of course, the election of a new Pope by the
Arizona St. Louis Cardinals in Rome…a few false teachers “evangelicals” celebrated this occasion, but as Al Mohler reminds us, as evangelicals, this is NOT something we should celebrate or congratulate. And on that same subject a couple of friendly reminders from The Cripplegate, the first being that The Pope is Probably the Antichrist and The “Gospel” according to Rome. Lastly, I would remind you that I’ve covered this ground here at DPS myself.
4) And when you are discussing the above matter with your friends and co-workers here are some helpful ways to keep you from arguing like and idiot.
Seven Great Blog Posts from this past week you may have missed.
1) Legalism is one of the plagues of the church, some people mistakenly think they can contribute something to their own salvation, or worse yet help save themselves, but how do you spot legalism? This article by Greg Stier may be of some help.
2) Being a Small Group leader I will sometimes get asked what the benefits of Small Groups are, and as per usual when I’m put on the spot my mind goes completely and totally blank. This list of 13 Reasons Why Small Groups are Vital to your Spiritual Growth will now serve as a handy reminder.
3) Being a Calvinist I sometimes get the question “If God is sovereign why bother with evangelization?” After composing myself from spewing my coffee all over the place, I attempt to answer the ridiculous question. As if Gods sovereignty somehow usurps our responsibilities as a Christian, This blog post via Clint Letterman is a good reminder of why we evangelize.
4) I was born and raised as a Southern Baptist…and the church I now attend is still, technically speaking, a Southern Baptist Church…I know the SBC has a lot of good things to offer through its various programs and what not, but I find myself feeling , to say the very least, conflicted over the current state of affairs in the SBC, the Calvinist witch-hunt notwithstanding. This article by JD Hall sums up my feelings in a similar fashion.