FMH Childrenís Club International
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, thatís the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
17 January, 1999
Well for today Iím going to take a break in this letter writing, because the Lordís going to let someone else do it for a change. And it just so happens that this someone else is a dear brother in the Lord who God the Father introduced to me in a very unusual way at the Jimmy Swaggart 1996 Thanksgiving Campmeeting. You see it was the Lord who told me to talk with Brother Roger Andrews after one of the services... and thatís what I did... and of course weíve been talking ever since.
And just in case you donít know me too well by now, when it comes to these letters that is, for me to sit back and let someone else do the talking is going to be extremely hard. But this week the message that Brother Roger has prepared is what the Lord wants in this continuing series on The President, The People, And The Religion. So read it very carefully... and be very patient (like me)... because I can already tell you that this message for today is all in preparation for the message of next week, and itís a gonna be a real barn burner in the Lord!!! And having said all that, away we go.
Foundations of The Faith
(Psalm 11:3) "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?"
We will learn as we go on in these studies, that God is building a spiritual house. Now, no house can stand on a bad, or weak, or cracked, or crumbling, or rotting, or decaying foundation. A house built on sand, will not stand through the storm. A house must be built on a firm foundation, a rock that will hold it up through all the fiercest storms. (Matthew 7:21-27) "(21) 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. (22) 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? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (24) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: (25) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. (26) And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: (27) And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
Notice again verse 24, "whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them...... built his house upon a rock:" and verse 26, "every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not...... built his house upon the sand..." James 1:22 makes this same thought very clear, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." When we hear what God says and we do not do it, we are deceiving ourselves. But when we hear what God says, and do it, we are walking in truth. II John 4 "I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father."
So what am I saying? Simply this, Let us walk in truth! Let us hear and lovingly obey God, always! Keep in mind this idea as we study the Bible. We want to know what God says and obey. Let me ask you something? Does the idea of obeying God interest you? I know there are many questions concerning this, like, is it possible to obey God always? The answer to that is yes, but that is not my question right now. Do you want to obey God? I believe you do and I want to help strengthen you in your decision to do what God says.
Letís look at another Scripture verse, Jude verse 3, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude is saying here that there is "one faith" as it says in Ephesians 4:4-6 "(4) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (5) One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
The word "faith" means persuasion or belief, (that is) moral convictions of religious Truth. "The faith" Jude is telling us to "earnestly contend for" is The system of religious Truth, The Gospel, (that is) reliance upon Christ for salvation and constancy or ongoing steadfastness in believing The Gospel. In other words, what to believe and keep on believing in order to make Heaven our eternal home. This is very important!
Jude is talking about doctrine. Doctrine is very important! Doctrine is that which you believe in your heart as true. Doctrine is belief held in the heart as truth. Now, we must be very careful that what we are believing in our heart is indeed The Truth. False doctrine, to believe that which is not true, leads the heart away from God, and that is why Jude exhorts us to "earnestly contend for the faith". We want to draw near to God, face to face and not run or hide from him.
So, from the two Scripture verses, Psalm 11:3 and Jude verse 3, we get our title Foundations Of The Faith. Psalm 11:3 the word "foundations", and Jude verse 3, "the faith".
This is the beginning of laying down the foundations of the spiritual house that God is building, that you would be rooted and grounded in The Truth, foundations firmly laid and in place, so that your faith will stand through every storm. Praise the Lord! Glory to God!
The intention and purpose of this study on Foundations Of The Faith is to lead you by Godís grace, progressively closer and closer to Godís heart, that you would know Him and fellowship with Him, and continuously draw closer to Him. That you would walk with Him blamelessly, with a clear conscience and a pure heart. That there would never be anything between you and Him.
Now, before we go into the first lesson, let me say this, there is a difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus. Think about it. You can know all the facts about a person and still not know that person. Now, itís true that as we learn about someone, we come to know them through what we learn about them, and we need to know about them, in order to know them. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, 29 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Jesus also said in John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent..."
Now we must be very careful in learning about Jesus. The point in learning of Him is very simply to know Him, to actually intimately, personally, know Him!!! Donít let that frighten you. Jesus is wonderful and He wants you to know Him, and no one who has truly known Him or truly knows Him has ever regretted it. To truly know Jesus is to know true joy!
Let me try to say it another way. Knowing all the facts about Jesus and being able to repeat them is good. The more you know about Jesus, and the more you can relate to others, the better. It is a very wonderful thing to share Jesus with someone, even as I am doing right now. However, let me say this, sharing Jesus is utterly useless, and of no benefit or profit to you unless you enter into a personal relationship with Him using what you learn about Him. The whole point, our goal, is to know Him, to love Him, to walk with Him, to be with Him in this life and forever in Heaven. Praise the name of Jesus! Glory be to God!
OK, letís get into our first lesson. II Timothy 3:16,17 "(16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Also II Peter 1:20, 21 "(20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
The Bible is actually 66 books, 39 books make up the Old Testament, and 27 books make up the New Testament. There were about 39 different writers of the Bible, but only one Author, "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." All 66 books were written over a period of about 1600 years (that is) from about 1500 B.C. to 96 A.D.
The writers can be distinguished from each other, and most did not know of each others writings, and yet all 66 books, together, read as if one mind wrote the whole thing. Of course we know that God the Holy Ghost is the one mind. The Holy Ghost is the Author! Again "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Each writer contributed their part to the whole, with no contradictions.
The original languages the Scriptures were penned in are Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and a small portion in Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek. It is very helpful at times to look up Bible words in these languages and Strongís Concordance is an excellent tool for doing this.
Now, when we consider the facts about the Bible, we know that man, apart from God, cannot and could not have written it. Let me ask you something. Do you think you could get about 39 people, anywhere at anytime, to completely and wholeheartedly agree in all that we can come to know about God? Iím talking about perfect agreement on all points. As human beings, separated from God, we would argue and debate each issue to death. However the writers of the Bible are in perfect agreement and they do not contradict each other on any point. Only God could have caused this to be, and this is how He did it. II Timothy 3:16 again says "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God..." The word "inspiration" from the Greek means "divinely breathed in" or "God breathed". Simply stated it means the writers of the Bible breathed out which God breathed in. The words they wrote down were given to them by God to write down. Now, donít let that throw you. They were not marionettes or puppets, but holy men who yielded themselves completely to God and these "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Now listen carefully, we can fully trust the Bible as truth, because God has given it to us.
The very first basic and foundation of our faith is that the Bible is the Word of God and it is all true, and we must read it and study it as such. II Timothy 2:15 says "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Our walk with Jesus, that is our relationship to him, and our growth in Him depends on this. God has given us His Word, the Bible and He did not do so in order for the cover of our Bibles to collect dust on a shelf. Lets go a little further with II Timothy 3:16.
We have studied that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God", now letís move on to the rest of that verse "and is profitable for doctrine..." Now, this will simplify a little more what I have been saying. The word "doctrine" from the Greek means "instruction (the function or the information) (that is) learning, teaching, doctrine."
Letís look up these words in a dictionary and learn a little more about what is being said. Instruction from the dictionary means "(1) lesson, precept (2) command or order (3) direction." Precept from the dictionary means "a command or principle intended as a general rule of action or conduct."
The word learning from the dictionary means "knowledge", and the word teaching from the dictionary means "to cause to know a subject, to impart knowledge." And finally the word doctrine from the dictionary means "something that is taught, dogma, a tenet or belief."
Again, doctrine is that which you hold in your heart as truth. "All scripture... is profitable for doctrine." You could say "All scripture is profitable for holding in your heart as true." Paul is saying in this verse that the scriptures are trustworthy. It is profitable to believe all of the Bible, with all of your heart, all of the time, that is, to trust that everything you read in the Bible is true. The Bible is Godís Word and it is all true, Genesis to Revelation. Praise the Lord!
Now, before we continue on to the next word in II Timothy 3:16, it is necessary to put a parenthesis statement here concerning II Timothy 2:15 "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." The word "dividing" from the Greek means "to make a straight cut (that is, figuratively) to dissect, to expound correctly (the divine message)." This is very important!
Hebrews 4:12 says "For the word of God is quick, (living) and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
The Bible interprets itself. We must be careful not to put our own bias or opinion into it. The Bible is the very heart of God written down for us, and God the Holy Spirit is the One who reveals the true sense and meaning of every verse.
Actually, the Bible is a very simple book. It is not difficult to understand at all. If we are honest and genuine and sincere and wait upon God, He will make it very clear. God certainly wants us to understand what He is saying.
The Bible is misinterpreted, itís meanings made obscure and twisted by people, who at best are Christians, who have not spiritually matured or developed in one or more areas, and possibly honestly donít even realize it, and at worse by people who are not even saved. Which means they cannot possibly understand it, simply because they have no relationship with God, they just do not know Him.
We must be very careful that we are always "rightly dividing the word of truth".
John 16:13 says "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:".
The next word we will look at in II Timothy 3:16 is the word "reproof". "All Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof..." "Reproof". Greek meaning is "proof, conviction, evidence, reproof, (that is, to blame or criticize, to find fault), to confute (that is, to overwhelm by argument or to win the argument), admonish, (that is, to warn gently), convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, and reprove."
Now, the word "proof" from the dictionary means (1) the evidence that compels acceptance by the mind of a truth or fact and (2) a process or operation that establishes validity or truth. Surely, this makes sense! "All scripture is profitable" as evidence or proof of truth, because the Bible is all true! The Bible is the Truth written down for us. You can point to the Scriptures and prove what is true. The Bible has proven to be true, time and time again, on every point.
Of course, the Bible has been misinterpreted and verses have been taken out of context and made to appear to prove something that was not true. Many people, unfortunately, read into the Bible, whatever they want, and on the surface, they appear to be right. I said "on the surface". You cannot twist and bend the Scriptures and be right.
Peter warned about this in II Peter 3:15, 16 "even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."
The Scriptures can be rightly interpreted, but only when a person is led by the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit will never misinterpret, or twist, or shade the meaning of any Scripture. This is one reason why it is so important to really know God, personally and intimately. Only He can truly "guide" us "into all truth."
To continue our study of the word "reproof", we will now talk about our second word in the Greek meaning of "reproof", and that word is conviction. Not only "profitable" as evidence or proof of truth, but also for conviction. This word has a twofold meaning. To convict is to prove or find guilty, and conviction is the act of convicting. This is very important to understand, and not shrink back from, when we study the Scriptures.
As we read the Scriptures, we will see the proof that we are guilty and we will be convicted or under conviction. We will know we are guilty, and this is not a good feeling. Most people shrink from this feeling and refuse to go any deeper into the Bible. Although the Truth is plainly before them, they refuse to allow conviction to complete itís work. They run from conviction, instead of looking deeper into it. This is very, very, wrong. You see, although conviction is a strong and very bad feeling, yet it is a very good thing. Conviction is very necessary and very needful, and it is Godís loving hand that brings it.
Listen very closely to me. Conviction is designed by God to lead us to repent, so that we may be forgiven by God and cleaned. We have to see where we are wrong and face the issues. Donít ignore or try to run from conviction. Donít try to shake it off. Yes, you can run from conviction and eventually the sting of it will go away, but your heart will be hard toward God. The distance between you and God becomes greater, and thatís why you donít feel the conviction anymore. Oh, it is much better to repent and let God cleanse you. When you face the issue and deal with it, that is, when you do not ignore the Scriptures, and you confess your sin to God, and forsake your sin in your heart, that is stop the sin, stop doing it! Oh! How much better it is to be forgiven and cleansed than to know you are guilty and continue to be guilty!
I believe understanding conviction will help you tremendously as you read and study the Scriptures, because conviction is going to happen when you study as God desires you to. Donít be a sour face under conviction! Always let conviction do itís intended work, that is, repent and be cleansed! The word repent means to be truly, genuinely sorry, in your heart, to truly wish in your heart, that you never did it. (Not because of consequences, but because you offended God. All sin is, ultimately, against God.)
Also, to repent, along with what I just said, is to determine with all your heart never to do it again, while trusting God to provide the power and strength to never do it again. Repentance includes recognizing and acknowledging our continual ongoing utter helplessness and total dependence upon Him, that is, to completely lean upon Him to keep us from sin and bring us through. When He says "Go and sin no more", He also empowers us to do so.
The 2nd part of this word "conviction" is the state of being convinced, that is, strong belief. We went over this with the word "doctrine". All scripture is profitable to strongly believe. In other words we can have convictions, that is, strong beliefs based on "All scripture". Sad to say, too few people have strong convictions concerning truth. There are many strong convictions, which mostly amount to opinions, "I believe this" or "I believe that", "In my opinion", and so on; but very few will hold the Scriptures as their own personal convictions. By Godís grace, let us be one of the few!
The next word in II Timothy 3:16 is the word "correction". "All Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction..." "Correction" from the Greek means "a strengthening up again, that is, rectification, reformation, correction."
So far weíve seen from the words "doctrine" and "reproof", in this verse, that the Scriptures are profitable for knowledge and conviction. Knowledge leads to conviction, and conviction leads to correction. Very simple and basic truths, but we need to learn it and take it in.
The dictionary tells us that to rectify is to make or set right, and to reform is to make better or improve by removal of faults. Also, improvement or correction of what is corrupt or defective.
Correction or straightening up again is a good thing and we ought to want to be corrected. "A wise man is corrected and increased in wisdom". To rectify, that is, to make and set right any and everything that is wrong ought to be our goal, whenever we are made aware that something is wrong. Reformation or correcting what can be corrected is a work of true, genuine repentance.
Let me say this, you cannot study the Bible, as you ought to, and not be corrected. It helps us to know that we are going to be corrected, so that when we are corrected, we wisely accept it. If I am wrong, I want to be corrected. It would be foolish to want to continue to be wrong. Correction is very good, and the one who thinks that he, or she, does not need correction, is actually the one who needs it most.
Finally, the last word "instruction". "All scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness..." "Instruction" from the Greek means "tutorage, that is, education or training, disciplinary correction, chastening, chastisement, nurture."
Not only will the Scriptures tell us what is wrong, but also what is right. We need to know what we are doing that is wrong, but we also need to know what to do that is right. "Instruction" is education "in righteousness". All the information from all the books in all the world will not reveal or instruct us concerning the way of righteousness. What to do, what to say, what to think, what to feel, what to desire that is pleasing to God, this is "instruction in righteousness".
After we have gained knowledge, and have been convicted, and then have straightened up and corrected the wrong, then the Scriptures will instruct us, educate us, train us, nurture us in Godís ways. Then the day by day, practical, right where you live, ways of righteousness will be opened to us as God reveals Himself to us. Hallelujah!
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable"...!
And that was Brother Rogerís message from the Lord... and it fits so very nicely with where we are headed... so just wait until next week. But until then, please do as you have just been told, and by all means KEEP THE FAITH IN JESUS!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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