The past century or so has witnessed some of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries of the Christian era. No single discipline has contributed as much as archaeology to the interpretation and delight of reading the Bible.
However, the discipline has had its embarrassing moments as well. For example, in 1929 Sir Leonard Wooley declared while excavating in Mesopotamia, “I have found the flood!” Unfortunately for him and for the discipline of archaeology, there were embarrassed faces when other layers of flood sediment turned up at various strata throughout the area. Others have claimed to have found the location of the garden of Eden, the ark of the covenant and the like, but such claims must not be confused with real and legitimate discoveries throughout the ancient Near East.
The real role of archaeology is not to prove the Bible, for that kind of proof is available only in certain deductive sciences such as mathematics and logic. On the contrary, the role of archaeology is: (1) to supply cultural, epigraphic, and artefactual materials that provide the background for accurately interpreting the Bible, (2) to anchor the events of the biblical text in the history and geography of the times, and (3) to build confidence in the revelation of God where the truths of Scripture impinge on historical events.
Over the last century or so, archaeology has strengthened the case for biblical reliability. The myth of missing people that were mentioned in the Bible, but not known in history, is just one area. For example, it had been fashionable in some circles for many years to ridicule Isaiah 20:1 for its allusion to “Sargon king of Assyria.” Excavations of Nineveh had seemingly revealed all the kings of Assyria, but there was no Sargon. The Bible must have gotten it wrong. However, in 1843, Paul Emile Botta found a virgin site northeast of Nineveh, later excavated by the University of Chicago with details published in the 1930s. Sargon had built his own capital there in 717 B.C. His son, however, moved the capital back to Nineveh, so the site was lost as was Sargon’s name. Now Sargon is one of the best known Assyrian monarchs. (Kaiser Jr., W. C. (2007). How Has Archaeology Corroborated the Bible?)
In these days of intense scrutiny, and often rejection of the Christian faith, it is imperative that we know that God has been and will continue to be active in this world. As you grow and validate your faith, you remain a committed follower of Christ. You also will be able to boldly voice the reasons for which you have hope. -Dennis Baker
We are glad you decided to worship with the Lakeview church of Christ. If you are visiting, we invite you to be a part of the family. If you are a baptized believer, consider having a discussion with one of the elders. If you have not become a Christian, we hope something you experience today will help you with that decision.
Today, there are a few opportunities for fellowship and study. In addition to our worship assemblies, following morning worship, we will have an Ice Cream Social. The purpose of getting together would be reason enough, but our main purpose is to have a fund-raiser to support the compassionate ministry of ACTS. Our work with the Tacoma Rescue Mission serves the homeless, but also the poorest of our community, who go to the Mission for food and other support. Bob and Ann Riley have, with deep care, led this ministry for the past several years. They are looking for someone who would be willing to step in and take the leadership role. Please talk to Bob or visit the table at the Ministry Fair on Sunday, September 11th, during the Bible Class Hour (beginning at 9:00 AM).
Also, today at 4:40 PM, those who have been involved in the 30-Day Bible Reading Challenge will meet at Blue Steele Coffee for a discussion of the insights gleaned from the Bible Reading. Talk to Christopher Baidoo-Essien if you have any questions. Attend this meeting if you want to get started on the next challenge.
Below is a list of the Bible Classes we will have for the Fall Quarter.
In the Media Library - Young Adults/Young Professionals will meet to talk about Discipleship in the Body of Christ. Ray West will lead a study on the topic using the Book “Multiply” by Francis Chan.
In Room #4 – All believers will benefit from the Study “Connecting”. Imagine a day when God's people, ordinary Christians, connected in harmony with the Creator and with each other. God deposited in each Christian the power of the Holy Spirit to heal soul disease. Connecting teaches us how to unleash this power as we relate in revolutionary, yet practical ways. John Lakvold will lead this study. John works as a therapist and people helper and brings a lot of experience to this class.
In the Auditorium – The Sermon on the Mount has be referred to as a description of Simple Christianity. Kenny Coleman and Dennis Baker will co-teach this class that brings to life these simple yet profound teachings of Jesus.
Wednesday PM in Auditorium
Christian Evidences – Dan Fitzsimmons will be teaching an essential class on the important topics that build our faith and help us know that there is a God and He is at work.
2 Peter 1:8-9 (HCSB) - For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins.
This part of our theme verse, “A Work in Progress,” has a sobering admonition. It warns us about giving God anything less than total commitment. It implies that we develop the habits of godliness, because they will keep us on track with God and growing in our faith. Peter says it will keep us from being useless in the knowledge. The word, useless is highlighted because it is a harsh reference. We usually don’t think about faith in these terms. We say, “all you need is the faith of a mustard seed.” In the way the phrase is used, it appears that we are setting the bar pretty low, but that is not what Jesus is trying to teach. He chooses the mustard seed as a metaphor of faith because it is something that starts small and grows to something significant and useful. This is the same thing that Peter encourages. Your faith may start out the size of a mustard seed, but it shouldn’t stay there.
Oswald Chambers, in writing about this verse highlights the importance of developing the habits of godliness. He states, “When we first begin to form a habit, we are fully aware of it. There are times when we are aware of becoming virtuous and godly, but this awareness should only be a stage we quickly pass through as we grow spiritually. If we stop at this stage, we will develop a sense of spiritual pride. The right thing to do with godly habits is to immerse them in the life of the Lord until they become such a spontaneous expression of our lives that we are no longer aware of them.”
Sinful habits are automatic and spontaneous. We just act, without thinking. That is the same with the habits of godliness. They come from what is planted deep within us. What we plant and water will grow.
We should also think seriously about the words “useless and unfruitful.” What examples would you give of a Christian whose knowledge of Christ results in something that is defined by these words? What do these words mean to you personally? Is it lifestyle choices? Is it never teaching others about Christ? Is it being an ineffective leader in your family? Is it lack of genuine success in your life? Each person has to determine this, because it might help you move past some of the places where you are stuck.
Be determined to be useful and fruitful. Pray for these specific items in your life. We often pray for things we want or need. These are important, to be sure, but do not neglect what God wants.
This week I have spent time in two passages that focus on the importance of being involved in the Kingdom of God on earth. While both passages are addressed to the nation of Israel, the point carries over to present. We are to be active in the fellowship and work of the Church. While many say, “Jesus, yes, but not the church,” that is not a biblical principle. The church is the place for worship, equipping, and practicing. The Hebrews’ writer warns us against developing the habit of not meeting (Hebrews 10:24-25). It is as if the writer knows what was written in the Old Testament to God’s people of old.
Some people have asked, “How did God’s people get so far away from the standard of living?” The basic answer is they neglected the house of God. In Nehemiah’s time, they realized that this was the reason for the loss of home and status as a nation. Before the catastrophe of exile ever took place, they were neglecting the house of God. The worship, learning, and equipping that took place there was not important.
Maybe people had good reason to not be involved, and maybe not. Maybe people today have a good reason, and maybe not. Sometimes it is relational conflict and sometimes it is laziness. Some situations may call for a discussion and some may require you to take a stand and confront the issue. If there are problems, we are to be committed to finding solutions. The foundational belief has to be, I am an active and faithful member of the Church that belongs to Christ.
In Nehemiah’s time, as they were getting back to God’s way of doing things, they made many vows or commitments. It was their statements of faith to keep their part of the covenant. God had done much and will do much. It is for them, (and us), to commit to the things we read in scripture as the way to be faithful to God. After personally committing to a lifestyle of faith, it is important to make a commitment to the community of faith. We should make the same commitment that God’s people made as recorded in Nehemiah 10:39, which says, “For the Israelites and the Levites are to bring the contributions of grain, new wine, and oil to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are kept and where the priests who minister are, along with the gatekeepers and singers. We will not neglect the house of our God.”
Information is a good thing to have. We use information to make informed decisions, draw conclusions, and strengthen our positions and points of views. We also use information to strengthen and affirm things we have come to believe. What happens when each daily bombardment of information seems to render the believer discouraged, despondent or even shake our foundations and cause us to question our faith?
About a week ago my wife sent me an article about studies being conducted by some scholars to prove that there is no such thing as free will. The writer of the article hailed these new efforts as scientific efforts to challenge the lie that is the existence of free will. Citing a court where an accused criminal had his charges dismissed because the accused’s lawyer successfully argued that the guilty party’s brain made him commit the offense not out of his free will. Never mind that this writer notes that these studies are not conclusive and many questions raised by the studies have not been adequately addressed or lack sufficient evidence.
How does the Christian of today fend off these attempts to erode and dismantle all that is good and godly? Casting our vote and voicing our opinions, these are all great civil acts to engage in as citizens of our great country. God’s people must show the lost the way to God as well. The ill prepared Christian is like ill prepared teacher or the soldier that is not ready for battle, they cannot provide answers in season. For these and many other challenges that we face in our modern world, we need to immerse ourselves in the word of God. This will enrich us, strengthen and firm up our faith, broaden our knowledge and equip us with the love of God teaching us the good works God has prepared for us to walk in them.
The 30-Day Challenge reading opportunities are a quest to cultivate a lifestyle of readiness to answer when questions about our faith are raised. In this effort, we echo the Psalmist, “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple...”
You should be working on the first five books of the Old Testament (The Books of Moses). Reading schedules are available on the 30-Day Challenge Information Board
Christopher Baidoo-Essien, M.S. firstname.lastname@example.org
Justification and sanctification are two processes that must complete their purposes if we are to be mature servants of the Master. Justification can be seen as the process of salvation. We are made right by the gift of God, freely given on the cross. We cannot earn this and do not merit it. Being justified is a legal status, not a moral status. That is why our neighbors mock Christians. We say we are righteous, thinking that is a moral status, but often our actions are not righteous. That is why Paul reminds us that, “no one is righteous.” Becoming a Christian simply means you are on solid ground to build a good life. If you don’t build right, your building will collapse (1 Corinthians 3:15). Sanctification is the building process. Through prayer, study, application, correction all under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the follower of Jesus goes through this process. If any of those actions are left out, the building will be weak. Being sanctified means I understand my purpose and I work towards those goals. “Press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of you.”
Always keeping an eye on where you came from. Always remembering that you have a place at the table of the King. Always allowing the Spirit to convict you of your areas of weakness.
There is always going to be a battle where justification and sanctification meet. Quoting Jesus, Oswald Chambers says, “There is always a tremendous battle before sanctification is realized— something within us pushing with resentment against the demands of Christ. When the Holy Spirit begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle starts immediately.” (If anyone comes to Me and does not hate…his own life…he cannot be My disciple, Luke 14:26). This is why we struggle. It is good we struggle. Never give up that struggle.
“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.” In today’s socio-political climate, this is a favorite text of the religious left. Do not judge the attitudes and actions of others so you won’t be judged about your attitudes and actions. We cannot judge another because we don’t know what they have been through. This is not the point Jesus was trying to make. Notice, I referenced only part of the verse. “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3).
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus draws a bold line between the old life and the new. That means we have a new standard for all we do. This does not mean we have the right to exert authority over those who are not citizens of the kingdom. When we judge others, we usually use our own standard for good and evil. Jesus illustrates His point with a comical reference to a beam in the eye of one trying to remove the speck from another. Disciples are not given the role of judge. We are to focus on our own lives and our own failures. When we make judgments and cut others out, we cut off ourselves with the same sword.
The disciple only has righteousness based on the association of faith in Christ. We come to that association based on our acceptance of the work of Christ on the cross and the incorporation of God’s Word into our thinking. We agree to live in community based on these principles in the fellowship known as the church. There may be times when we have to uphold the standards of the Christian community and cut ties of fellowship. That only takes place after a process of spiritual conflict management (Matthew 18:15-20). Our casual relationships are based on the dynamic of unconditional love. The purpose of this type of relationship is it allows the best of who we are to come to the surface. When the church operates from this perspective, all people will know that we are His disciples.
Truitt Adair is with Lakeview this morning, sharing the next chapter in the story of the Solar Player and bringing the sermon during our morning worship time. Being a missionary at heart, the Solar Player caught Truitt’s attention and he immediately saw the benefit of such a device in the hands of a trained missionary. Here is a little of the back story to how the dream of the Solar Player became a reality.
About four years ago, Adair heard about solar players that were battery operated and the battery was recharged by the sun. These players were pretty large and had on them only the audio recording of the Bible. He thought that having players which could be recharged by the sun fit perfectly the many in Africa who are in areas without reliable electricity and for whom an audio Bible would be great because they cannot read. Yet, these were, he thought, too large and no instruction beyond the Bible could be placed on the players. So he asked the technical experts at Sunset to find a smaller and more versatile version and, after about a year, they did. The new players were solar, but were smaller and could have other materials inserted into the player. Sunset gave some trials of this unit and found that it worked very well, so they made a deal with Review Outreach in Atlanta to provide two-thousand Papyrus Solar Players for their use. On them they put the New King James Version of the Bible, 400 hours of audio covering the forty courses in training preachers which the Sunset Institute uses for their program, World Bible School lessons, two hours of hymns, and some additional resources.
The first 2000 Solar Players went to countries in Africa that have English as their official language. Countries including Zimbabwe, Ghana and Liberia. The next 2000 Solar Players went to Nigeria, Kenya, South Sudan, Zambia and Ethiopia. The Solar Players that were distributed in Ethiopia had materials available in Amharic, the language of that land. SIBI is in the middle of a third campaign to distribute Solar Players to Spanish speaking countries.
The cost of the Solar Player is $500.00 per unit. This covers the cost of the unit, the royalty for using the NKJV, putting additional materials on the player, cost of distribution and training. The investment continues to pay great dividends. The results from those who have received the players has been outstanding because they have brought many to Christ. One person alone baptized 113 in the first six months. Adair said it was like having “a missionary in a box, a library in a box, and preacher training school in a box.” And, of course, many of those who were already Christians were strengthened by having these players with the audio material they contained. (Excerpts adopted from an article by Stafford North)
An opposite to sound doctrine is false teaching. While the phrase is not in the bible, there are many warnings against false teachers. 2 Peter 2:1-3 is but one example. The insight we gain is that these individuals want to exert power over others. They are manipulators of words and deceptive with God’s Word. Peter mentions their unrestrained ways, which suggests an immoral lifestyle is at the center of who they are. Immoral acts and lifestyles are actually used to justify and distort the truth of God and the nature of God. False teachers say, “This is what I think so it must be true.” A desire to control others and unchecked moral failures are the way to identify these false teachers.
Peter also suggests that false teachers are opportunists. People are in need of shepherds. They need guidance and readily listen to whoever seems to have convincing words. Jude says of them; “These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. … These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.” (Jude 12-13, 16).
False teachers often hold legalistic views. They divide words and concepts, creating new ideas that they believe to be true. Jesus confronted this distortion of the truth of God when He exposed the corrupt side of sectarianism: “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God” (Luke 11:42). They often divide their families and the Body of Christ.
The proof of authentic discipleship is love (John 13:34-35). Understanding the message of the cross calls us to change inside. That change inside directs how we treat others…especially those of the household of faith. How can we know if we are authentic followers of Christ, holding the right doctrine and be teachers of truth? One word; love.
We are approaching several deadlines as we get full into the summer months.
DELANO SUMMER CAMPS - First, put on your prayer list all of the different camps that our young people will be attending this summer. The first camp begins this weekend, with STS (Senior Teen Session). Visit the Delano website for future dates. If you are thinking about having your kid(s) attend one of the camps, it is not too late (except for STS and of course, at this point, there may be a late fee for some of the camps). Pray also for our adults who will be supporting the camps as cooks, kitchen staff, counseling staff or leading (Ben, Brandon and Jeff). Several of our young people will also be serving at the camps this summer. Delano is a great place to get involved!
FaithBuilders Northwest – There is still plenty of time to register and attend this Christian growth workshop for churches of Christ in the northwest. It is hosted on the PLU campus and directed by the Puyallup and Springbrook congregations. The dates are July 7-9, 2016. Visit faithbuildersnw.com for registration information and program details.
Just Want Privacy Filing Deadline – This is the last weekend for you to sign the Initiative 1-1515 petition. It deals with common-sense legislation that recognizes the need for gender-segregated public shower and changing room facilities. It also establishes civil liabilities when the current ruling is violated by those who want to hurt woman and children in public shower and changing areas where privacy and safety should be guaranteed. Petitions are in the back of the Auditorium.