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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - Did God Really Say That?

James Meehan - Did God Really Say That?

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    James Meehan - Did God Really Say That?

When we stop trusting God's character and we stop obeying his commands, the devil wins. And doesn't take an expert to tell you that a whole lot of people doubt God's goodness and his existence and are blatantly disobeying his commands. So what do we do? Stick around to find out. Well, hello, My name is James Meehan and we are in a series called "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", where we are exploring the weird and wild parts of the Bible to show us how God uses all of it to tell a beautiful story of His grace and our redemption. In the message from this past week, we looked at the story of the fall, when Adam and Eve took the forbidden fruit from the tree in the garden. If you missed it, make sure you go back and check it out because it is super helpful.

Today though, we're gonna take a closer look at the strategy the devil used then to learn how we can guard against it now, because his strategy still hasn't changed. Genesis 3 begins with these words, that the serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden'"? Now, there's two things to note. First, the serpent, AKA, the devil is described as the shrewdest. That means the most cunning, crafty, and clever of all the wild animals that God had made. That means he's not some chump who's going to tempt you with something obvious that you would never fall for. He's way too smart for that.

So what does he do instead? Well, before the devil tries to get you to do something wrong, he will tempt you to believe something false because he understands that what we believe determines how we behave, which shapes who we become, so he starts with what we believe. And even more specifically, he starts with what we believe about God, that's what he did in the garden. He tempted Eve to believe that God was holding out on them, that God didn't actually have their best interests in mind, that God's commands were depriving her of something good, rather than protecting her from something dangerous, and actually helping her thrive and flourish. You see those same words from the serpent are echoing in our world today. Did God really say that? Did God really say there's only one way to heaven? Did God really say that we have to forgive our enemies? Did God really say that sex outside of marriage is wrong? Did God really say the Bible is true and authoritative? Did God really say that we need to go to church?

Now, the answer to all of those questions is yes, and the answer to all of those questions is found in the scriptures. Now, don't just take my word for it though, let's look together. When it comes to Jesus being the only way to heaven, in John 14: 6, he tells us that he is the way, he is the truth, and he is the life, that no one comes to the Father except through him. On forgiving our enemies, Jesus is asked the question by his disciple, Peter, Lord, how often should I forgive someone, like 7 times? And Jesus says, no, not 7 times, but 70 times 7. When it comes to the question of sex outside of marriage, the Apostle Paul writes, in 1st Thessalonians 4: 3, God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Other Bible translations say, avoid sexual immorality, which is kind of this catchall term that means any sexual activity that takes place outside of marriage. When it comes to the question of the Bible being true and authoritative, if you just look at the way Jesus talks about the Bible, you see that the answer to that question is yes.

In fact, in Mark 12: 36, Jesus is getting ready to quote from Psalm 110, but he prefaces it by saying, "David, speaking by the Holy Spirit". So Jesus is saying that David who wrote the Psalm was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Then in another place, he is asking the Pharisees the question, why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? Then quoting from the Old Testament, he says, "For God said, 'Honor your father and mother'," because for Jesus the commands in the Old Testament weren't just things written down by people. They were actually words that came from God. When it comes to the question of going to church, in Hebrews chapter 10, we read that we are not to neglect the meeting together, like we're not to neglect coming together as the people of God as some people do, but instead we are to encourage one another, especially now that the day of Jesus return is drawing near.

Did God really say? Yes, he did and he's inviting you to trust him. He's asking you to obey him because when you do, you'll discover that every law he gives is an expression of his love, that every command he offers is meant for your good. So in a world where lots of people are questioning the things that God has said, what are we to do? Well, my advice would be to be like the Bereans. This was this group of people that Paul and Silas interact with in Acts 17 verse 11. This is what we read, that the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. But then they searched the scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. The thing is, they were very open-minded, they listened eagerly and yet they still tested what these men of God were saying to make sure it was actually true.

So what does that mean for you? It means to be like the Bereans. Listen with an open mind, think critically and search the scriptures daily. As followers of Jesus, we can listen to what people have to say with an open mind, because we know that our God is the God of all truth. So if it's actually true, it will point to him. If it's not, then it won't. Now, at the same time, we shouldn't just take everything we hear as undeniable fact, like We still need to think critically and test what we are hearing with the truth God has revealed in scripture. That combination of being open-minded while thinking critically is incredibly powerful. So together let's commit to being curious and thinking critically. That's what the Bereans did and they were celebrated for it. If today's video was helpful for you, then check out some of our other videos where we talk about how to read the Bible wisely. Until next time, take care and stay nerdy.
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