Sermon Series – “Word” Devotions

This months Devotions Come from Chuck Swindol’s Searching the Scriptures. Click on link for the article.

January 2, 2017


Memory Verse: Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15


Psalms Become the Language of the Heart

The book of Psalms in the Old Testament swells with examples of deep human emotion — from the triumphant declaration of godliness in Psalm 1, to the strident questions of a doubting king in Psalm 13, to the fortress-like con dence which ows from Psalm 46. Each re ects a real-time human experience and the language of a believer going with God in prayer. Image and metaphor become the language of appeal for the faithful—and in the psalms, we nd a prayer language of our own as we wrestle with how to talk to God.
By becoming students of the Psalms, we can learn to pray and deepen our experience with the Lord. For instance, David cried out to the Lord in Psalm 42: “I hear the tumult of the raging seas / as your waves and surging tides sweep over me”
(Psalm 42:7).

This is the language of a prayer of desperation — the words of one feeling as if life, like a mounting wave, threatens to overtake him.
Psalm 37 contrasts the fate of the wicked with the favor of those who put their trust in God. David, Israel’s shepherd king, called on the Lord in prayer, rehearsing the promises of His goodness for “the one who delights in him” (37:23 NIV).

Any believer struggling to Find words to express the deepest loss or the highest praise needs only turn to the Psalms to find his or her voice and a holy script to bring to God in prayer.

Heart Essentials (Psalm 119:1– 2, 11– 12)
By observing the following key elements in the opening verses of Psalm 119, we discover certain conditions of the heart, or attitudes, essential for studying the Scriptures.
• Personal integrity and purity Joyful are people of integrity,
who follow the instructions of the Lord. (Psalm 119:1)
• A willingness to follow His commands Joyful are those who obey his laws
and search for him with all their hearts. (119:2)
• A commitment of time for prayer and meditation I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you. I praise you, O Lord;
teach me your decrees. (119:11–12)
Some Helpful Tools
Just as an archaeologist would never search for buried artifacts without the proper tools, we should never search the Scriptures without these helpful tools for study.
• A Bible. Make certain you have your own copy of the Scriptures in a translation you can understand.
• A Bible dictionary. This resource de nes and provides in-depth information about key words and characters in the Bible.
• A concordance of the Bible. This is virtually an alphabetical listing of every major word in the Bible.
• A set of Bible maps. Most study Bibles today include a very reliable set of maps, typically as part of the end matter. You can also purchase a Bible atlas, which not only includes an extensive selection of maps but scholarly contextual information too.
• Students can also consult important tools online or use very helpful Bible-study software found at,,, and many others.

January 3, 2017…/message…/09.28.2016-mm.pdf

“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”― Søren Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard

Personal Promises
As you do the hard work of digging deep into the Scriptures, personal promises will emerge from your study. By the way, when you are searching the Scriptures, be on the lookout for promises God offers to you. So many passages in the Bible are full of these truths. Psalm 119 is no exception. You can gain . . .

• The promise of spiritual wisdom (Psalm 119:97 – 98)
• The promise of spiritual insight (119:99)
The promise of spiritual understanding (119:33 – 40)

Ways We Absorb God’s Truth
From our study of Psalm 119, we nd ve speci c ways we absorb God’s truth:
1. We absorb God’s truth by hearing it (Romans 10:19).
2. We absorb God’s truth by reading it (Psalm 119:18).
3. We absorb God’s truth by studying it (2 Timothy 2:15).
4. We absorb God’s truth by memorizing it (Psalm 119:13).
5. We absorb God’s truth by meditating on it (Psalm 119:23).

Techniques That Reveal the Treasure

Now you’re ready to dig into the truths of Scripture on your own. To begin to discover the riches of God’s Word, you can use four simple techniques to help you in your study.

1. Observation—What do I see?
2. Interpretation—What does it mean?
3. Correlation — How does it relate?
4. Application—What difference does it make?

January 4, 2017

The Searching the Scriptures series is designed to help you not only gain a deeper and more substantive understanding of God’s Word but perhaps more importantly to teach you how to dig deep into the Scriptures for yourself. Over time, you will develop a skill and a style that will serve you for a lifetime.

Not unlike a skilled chef surveys the shelves of the kitchen for all the necessary and perfect ingredients for a delightful and nourishing meal, you can begin a process of learning to prepare spiritual meals for yourself. Ultimately, the goal will be for you to offer these truths to others in ways that are both palatable and enriching spiritually.
So before going any further, you need to put on your apron and ready yourself to try your hand at preparing a wonderful meal of biblical nourishment and encouragement. Are you ready to try your turn? Below are six practical exercises to get you started.

Take time to carefully read Psalm 119:1–40. Make a list of everything this psalm says about God’s Word. (Remember that God’s Word can also be referred to as commandments, laws, instructions, decrees, and regulations.) For example, “People who obey God’s Word are joyful” (verse 1), and “God has charged us to obey His commandments” (verse 4).

It will greatly help you to understand scripture if you note – no only what is spoken and written, but of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goes before and what follows. –Miles Coverdale, in his introduction to his Bible translation.

January 5, 2017

“Unless we read the Word of God, we cannot be instructed by the Spirit, and unless we are instructed by the Spirit, we cannot become godly and effective servants. To put it another way, loving the Word, learning from the Word, and living out the Word are interlocked in God’s plan for our spiritual growth.”

David McKenna
How to Read a Christian Book, p. 46.

2. What kind of wisdom can a person get from studying God’s Word? Use Psalm 119:97–105 as your guide.

3. In any substantive Bible concordance, you will and multiple Bible verses that include the word integrity. If you have a concordance, And this word in your volume and scan the references it includes. Also, look up each of the following references in your Bible and note God’s calling for believers in each one:
• Deuteronomy 9:5
• 2 Samuel 22:26
• 1 Kings 9:4
• 2 Chronicles 19:7
• Psalm 119:1
• Proverbs 2:7, 21
• Proverbs 10:9, 29
1 Timothy 3:8

Father, deepen my love for Your Word and give to me a greater desire to search the Scriptures on my own. Thank You for revealing Yourself in the pages of Your Word and in the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

January 7, 2017

Have we Learned Christ?…/message…/09.28.2016-mm.pdf

have we learned Christ? It ought to be a startling thought, that we may have learned him wrong. That must he far worse than not to have learned him at all: his place is occupied by a false Christ, hard to exorcise! The point is, whether we have learned Christ as he taught himself, or as men have taught him who thought they understood, but did not understand him. Do we think we know him–with notions fleshly, after low, mean human fancies and explanations, or do we indeed know him–after the spirit, in our measure as God knows him? The Christian religion, throughout its history, has been open to more corrupt misrepresentation than ever the Jewish could be, for as it is higher and wider, so must it yield larger scope to corruption:–have we learned Christ in false statements and corrupted lessons about him, or have we learned himself? George MacDonald The Truth in Jesus

As we learned in this message, it’s helpful to look up words in the dictionary, especially in a Bible dictionary, to learn their meanings. Note the key word sacrifice in the following verse:

This is real love — not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.(1 John 4:10, emphasis added)

Turn to this verse in your own Bible and notice the word that is used. Some translations use “atonement” while others say “propitiation.” Look up the word used in your Bible in a Bible dictionary.

How is it defined? _________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________

Once you understand the meaning of this important word that illustrates what Jesus accomplished on the cross, describe sacrifice (or whatever word is used in your Bible) in your own words, using these passages to assist you.

Romans 3:25 __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hebrews 2:17 _________________________________________________________________________________________

January 9, 2017

by Jack Cottrell (Notes) on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 3:59pm



Let’s begin with some history. Inerrancy was the general belief of Christendom from its beginning. In the early second century Clement of Rome (ch. 45) said, “Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit. Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them.” In the mid-second century Justin Martyr (“Dialogue with Trypho,” 65:2) tells Trypho, if you think you can get me to “say the Scriptures contradicted each other, you have erred. But I shall not venture to suppose or to say such a thing; and if a Scripture which appears to be of such a kind be brought forward, and if there be a pretext [for saying] that it is contrary [to some other], since I am entirely convinced that no Scripture contradicts another, I shall admit rather that I do not understand what is recorded, and shall strive to persuade those who imagine that the Scriptures are contradictory, to be rather of the same opinion as myself.”

Augustine (d. A.D. 430) grants that his own writings, and all writings since apostolic times, may contain errors. But “the authoritative canonical books of the Old and New Testaments” are different. “If we are perplexed by an apparent contradiction in Scripture, it is not allowable to say, The author of this book is mistaken; but either the manuscript is faulty, or the translation is wrong, or you have not understood.” “In consequence of the distinctive peculiarity of the sacred writings, we are bound to receive as true whatever the canon shows to have been said by even one prophet, or apostle, or evangelist. Otherwise, not a single page will be left for the guidance of human fallibility” (“Reply to Faustus the Manichaean,” 11:5, Works 5:196-197).

In his Journals for July 24, 1776 (vol. 4:82), John Wesley comments on a tract that says the Biblical writers sometimes made mistakes: “Nay, if there be any mistakes in the Bible, there may as well be a thousand. If there be one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth.”

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January 10, 2017


Devotions for Word Sermon Series. January 10, 2017 INERRANCY OF SCRIPTURE.

by Jack Cottrell (Notes) on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 3:59pm

In his Journals for July 24, 1776 (vol. 4:82), John Wesley comments on a tract that says the Biblical writers sometimes made mistakes: “Nay, if there be any mistakes in the Bible, there may as well be a thousand. If there be one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth.”

Such quotations could be multiplied for the first 1,800 years of Christian history, until around 1860, when Darwin’s work sparked open attacks on Genesis. From then on a sharp division began between Liberalism and Conservatism. Liberalism developed into a denial of the supernatural in all things, including the nature of the Bible. Around 1920 Neo-orthodoxy arose as a reaction against Liberalism; it restored belief in the supernatural elements of Christianity, except for the nature of the Bible. Conservatism in the early 20th century took shape as Fundamentalism, and was modified as Evangelicalism around 1950.
Evangelicalism at first continued to believe in inerrancy, but this changed in the 1960s. In 1963 Dewey Beegle wrote The Inspiration of Scripture (later edition: Scripture, Tradition, and Infallibility). He declared he was an Evangelical but denied Biblical inerrancy. Since then the most serious attacks on inerrancy have come from within Evangelicalism.

This same pattern has occurred within the Restoration Movement. Its founders (early 19th century) accepted the standard inerrancy view, but Liberalism entered and took control of most of its colleges and seminaries. Our Bible colleges, including Cincinnati Christian University (1924), were begun as a response to this Liberal takeover, and were originally committed to Biblical inerrancy. The by-laws of Cincinnati Christian University (Cincinnati Bible Seminary at the time) state that every trustee and faculty member must “believe, without reservation, in the full and final inspiration of the Bible to the extent that for each of them it is the infallible Word of God and, therefore, the all‑sufficient rule of faith and life;* in the deity and supreme authority of Christ; in obedience to the Gospel; in edification of the church; and in the restoration of its unity on the New Testament basis.”

January 12, 2017

“God’s speech to us by His Son is the culmination of His speaking to mankind and is His greatest and final revelation to mankind in this period of redemptive history. The exceptional greatness of the revelation that comes through the Son, far exceeding any revelation in the old covenant, is emphasized again and again throughout chapters 1 and 2 of Hebrews. These facts all indicate that there is a finality to the revelation of God in Christ and that once this revelation has been completed, no more is to be expected.”

Wayne Grudem


Devotions for Word Sermon Series. January 12, 2017 INERRANCY OF SCRIPTURE.

by Jack Cottrell (Notes) on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 4:03pm



I have said that a denial of inerrancy leaves us at the mercy of subjectivism and relativism. I.e., in the end each of us as individuals will ultimately decide, based on our own subjective inclinations and preferences, what aspects of the Bible we will accept and what we will reject. A good example of this is the book by Stephen T. Davis titled The Debate About the Bible: Inerrancy Versus Infallibility (Westminster 1977). Here I will give a synopsis of his view.
First, he makes it clear that he denies inerrancy, which he (rightly) defines as claiming that the Bible “contains no errors at all,” e.g., in history, logic, and geography. But that claim “is one that in all humility I cannot affirm,” says Davis (16). “I consider myself an evangelical Christian and yet I do not affirm inerrancy” (18). Instead, he believes the Bible is “infallible,” i.e., “entirely trustworthy on matters of faith and practice” (16).
Later he qualifies this by limiting infallibility only to “matters that are crucially relevant to Christian faith and practice” (118, italics added). But in the end this means nothing, since he says, “I admit that I am unable to stipulate a clear and infallible criterion to distinguish Biblical passages that are crucially relevant to faith and practice from those that are not” (125). But even if he could do so, it would not make any real difference, since he clearly says that his “faith and practice” distinction “does not necessarily mean that I find no theological error in the Bible as opposed, say, to scientific or historical error” (125).
In fact, Davis says, it is always possible that the Bible contains errors in any of its claims; the deal is that he has simply not found any yet in matters (crucially relevant) to faith and practice. “There are historical and scientific errors in the Bible, but I have found none on matters of faith and practice. I do not claim a priori that the Bible is or must be infallible, just that I have found it to be so. Perhaps someday it will be shown that the Bible is not infallible” (115-116). “I am open at any point to the possibility that the Bible is not infallible” (120).
What criteria shall we apply to determine if any given Biblical doctrine is indeed erroneous? His answer seems to be: human reason, i.e., an examination of the available evidence. “The only epistemological credentials a doctrine must have in order to be accepted by evangelicals is that it seem true on the available evidence.” An evangelical accepts “evangelical doctrines . . . simply because they seem true to him.” “I believe B, C, and D because I believe they are taught in the Bible and because I know of no argument or evidence that refutes them.” No Christian can accept a doctrine on the basis of the Bible alone. “He must hold to some other authority or criterion as well. That authority, I am not embarrassed to say, is his own mind, his own ability to reason” (71). A Christian must “accept whatever the Bible says on any subject whatsoever unless there is compelling reason not to accept it. That is, everything in the Bible is authoritative and normative for the Christian until he comes across a passage which for good reasons he cannot accept. . . . One should reject something that the Bible says only where, having thoroughly examined the problem, in all humility one cannot accept what it says” (75). “I believe that the Bible is or ought to be authoritative for every Christian in all that it says on any subject unless and until he encounters a passage which after careful study and for good reasons he cannot accept” (116).
Despite this ultimate appeal to and apparent dependence on the evidential use of reason, Davis acknowledges “that sin has corrupted all aspects of human personality, including reason, and that reason is not therefore an infallible guide to truth.” But this does not change anything: “Corrupted or not, we have no choice but to listen to and follow the dictates of reason” (72).
Where does this leave Davis regarding his use of the Bible for deciding matters of faith and practice? It leaves him in the bottomless and shoreless sea of doctrinal subjectivity and relativity. To change the metaphor, his feet are “firmly planted in mid-air.” He cites a kindred spirit, Daniel P. Fuller (whose father, Charles P. Fuller, founded Fuller Theological Seminary), who says that regarding doctrinal errors in the Bible, “he has discovered none yet and hopes he never will.” Fuller labors on “despite his clear belief that a discovered error on a revelational matter makes the whole Bible questionable” (42). Likewise, Davis says that he too must decide “whether or not there is compelling reason to reject some Biblical claim. For me this does not occur often, but it does occur occasionally. It has never yet occurred on a matter of faith or practice, and, like Fuller, I hope it never will” (76).
In the midst of all this subjectivity, relativity, and uncertainty, Davis makes his final appeal to the most subjective criterion of all: the inner guidance of the Holy Spirit. “I do affirm the traditional Christian claim that the Holy Spirit guides us into truth, although I do not wish to explore here the question of how this guidance works in relation to Scripture, reason, or any other epistemological authority” (72).
My point here is that Davis is simply accepting the consistent results of denying biblical inerrancy. Of course, many have denied and are still denying inerrancy, but have failed to see the end to which this will logically lead them and their disciples.

January 13, 2017

“Part of the problem is the way we use Scripture. We mistakenly treat the Bible as if it were arranged by topic—you know, the world’s best compendium of human problems and divine solutions. So when we’re thinking about marriage, we run to all the marriage passages. But the Bible isn’t an encyclopedia; it is a story, the great origin-to-destiny story of redemption. In fact, it is more than a story. It is a theologically annotated story. It is a story with God’s notes. This means that we cannot understand what the Bible has to say about marriage by looking only at the marriage passages, because there is a vast amount of biblical information about marriage not found in the marriage passages.
In fact, we could argue, to the degree that every portion of the Bible tells us things about God, about ourselves, about life in this present world, and about the nature of the human struggle and the divine solution, to that degree every passage in the Bible is a marriage passage. Every passage imparts to us insight that is vital for a proper understanding of the passages that directly address marriage, and every passage tells “us what we should expect as we deal with the comprehensive relationship of marriage.
One of our problems is that we have not used the Bible biblically, and this has set us up for surprises we shouldn’t have had.”

Excerpt From: Paul David Tripp. “What Did You Expect?.” iBooks.

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Read a free sample or buy What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp. You can read this book with iBooks on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac.
January 15, 2017

 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Hebrews 4:12-16 Message.

Christianity has become quite comfortable. Coffee shops in church lobbies. Shuttles to the sanctuary from the parking lot on rainy days. Games to entertain our children in Sunday School. Fine. Good. Enjoy.

But don’t be lulled to sleep. Don’t ever allow the lush settings of the culture to dull your alertness or curb the fighting edge needed to defeat your most formidable foe. Refuse to allow comfort and ease to make you apathetic, uninterested, and in some cases, unaware of the battle that is raging all around.

The lazy days of Christian culture must come to an end. Starting today. Starting with you. Starting with us.
The Armor of God – Bible Study Book
by Priscilla Shirer

January 16, 2017

“There is a way that theologians think about life in the here and now that is very helpful and can impart to us realistic expectations. Everything we say and do, everything we commit ourselves to, and every situation, location, and relationship we experience is experienced between the already and the not yet. You will never understand the things you face every day until you understand that you live in the middle. Everything in your life is shaped by what the middle is like. Perhaps you’re thinking, “Paul, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Permit me to explain.

Knowing that you are living between the already and the not yet tells you where you are located in God’s story of redemption. Stay with me; this is intensely practical. Already God has given us his Word as our guide. Already he has sent his Son to live, die, and rise again for our salvation. Already he has given us his Spirit to live within us. But the world has not yet been restored. Sin has not yet been completely eradicated. We have not yet been formed in the perfect likeness of Jesus. Suffering, sadness, and death are not yet no more.

It is hard to live in the middle, but that is exactly where we live. We live in a world that is still sadly and terribly broken. Your marriage will not escape its brokenness. We live with “flawed people. Your marriage will not be protected from those flaws. When you start unpacking what life is really like between the already and the not yet, you gain perspectives that are enormously helpful for understanding the things you need to face if you want a marriage that is wholesome and healthy in the eyes of God.”

“Now, I know it sounds like a contradiction, but it isn’t. You actually can be prepared for things that you don’t yet know you will face. You can be ready for things that you had no idea would come your way. In fact, I am persuaded that this is one of the main functions of Scripture. It enables us to be prepared to decide, think, desire, act, and speak well in a world in which we aren’t sovereign. Here’s how it works: if we have taken in what the Bible says about God, ourselves, life, sin, and the surrounding world, we are ready to deal spontaneously with things we didn’t know we would be dealing with.”

Excerpt From: Paul David Tripp. “What Did You Expect?.” iBooks.

January 17, 2017

God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring. Acts 17:17,28 NIV

“This is one place where I think the Bible is so helpful. The world of the Bible is like your world—messy and broken. The people of the Bible are like you and your spouse—weak and failing. The situations of the Bible are like yours—complicated and unexpected. The Bible just isn’t a cosmetic religious book. It will shock you with its honesty about what happens in the broken world in which we live. From the sibling homicide of Cain to the money-driven betrayal of Judas, the blood and guts of a broken world are strewn across every page. The honesty of God about the address where we all live is itself an act of love and grace. He sticks our head through the biblical peephole so we will be forced to see the world as it really is, not as we fantasize it to be. He does this so that we will be realistic in our expectations, then humbly reach out for the help that he alone is able to give us.”

“The Bible says that God is near, so near that in your moment of need you can reach out and touch him because he is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:27). Yes, you live in a bad neighborhood (fallen world), and the two of you are less than perfect (sin), but in all this you are not left to your own resources. The God who determined your address lives there with you and is committed to giving you everything you need.”

Excerpt From: Paul David Tripp. “What Did You Expect?.” iBooks

January 18, 2017

One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 28:13 KJV But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept..upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and bebroken, and snared, and taken.

Inputting scripture is like painting the inside of your mind with God’s colors, one brushstroke at a time. Just like painting, there are multiple tools to apply God’s hues to your life. We paint our minds with God’s paint by hearing, reading, studying, meditating and memorization.

But the fuchsia pink precept of scripture is found in 1 Corinthians 7:18 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.Unless obedience is practiced the colors of God will not stain our life.

January 19, 2017

Malcolm Gladwell, In his book the Outliers: The Story of Success wrote; “In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.”

This quote reminds of a Bible verse in Psalms 119:97 KJV O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Satan has deceived us into thinking the Bible is only understood by the preacher. That if we only had a secret code of the Bible, we could unlock its mysteries. The code is simple; it is spending ten thousand hours in the text.

I have people who say to me; I wish I knew the Bible like you do. I humbly say thank you, but I think to myself of all the advantages I have. As a preacher, I am forced to spend a substantial amount of time in the word each week to prepare a sermon. The secret of knowing God and His word is spending time in their presence.

I have also known men and women in my life who have put my meditation of God’s word to shame! Why? Once, again I confess that it is simple they have spent more time, practicing and meditation on God’s truth. In 1989, I was present at one of Don Dewelt’s last revivals. He preached without notes or the Bible; because he knew the book of Acts by heart!

The secret of understanding God and his Word; is Time!