Gettysburg may have plenty of reenactments of the Civil War and the battles fought there, but the Christian life is a continuous battle ground where real fighting is happening all the time. It isn't pretend. I'm not going to write about the Christian battle right now, just throwing that statement out so that it will be clear that the verses I'm about to quote from God's Word to us, will be read in that light.
The first verse is about faith, and faith is probably the least understood part of being a Christian in America today. I could be wrong, but I haven't met too many church goers here who have it, so I'm praying that God would revive real faith in our people, just as He sovereignly and graciously did for me in a dramatic way a number of years ago. I have never been the same since.
I came across this verse while reading this morning in Acts:
"Since they [everyone on the ship] had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.' So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island." (Acts 27:21-26 ESV).
That is another example of faith in the WORD of God. Paul was not saying he 'hoped' it would be as God said, or that it will 'probably' be as God said, or that they 'ought to believe' that it will be so, and then it will be. No. Paul said, "it will be exactly as I have been told."
I'm pretty discouraged by all the people running around saying, "God told me this," and "God told me that." Now, I've been caught up in that kind of excitement before in the past. I've even had supernatural dreams and other experiences I could boast about, but that would be a sickening thing to do in light of real love for others. So I want to simply say that by grace, we believe God's written words in the Bible are absolutely, positively certain. Everything will be exactly as it is written. And faith believes that. Do we believe the written word of God?
Paul, being an apostle and chosen vessel of God in order to write words of truth said, "assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit." (Ephesians 3:2-5 ESV).
So, I'm not discrediting supernatural experiences if they are genuine, but I am emphasizing that real faith must be solidly planted in the sure words of God, and not in anything less. And for us, those words are to be found only in the Bible. Now, of course, it will do us no good if we simply believe the words of Scripture are true, but we must trust Him who is faithful, "who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification." (Romans 4:24-25). Of course, as the verse on the header says, "it is the gift of God."
Grace to you and God bless.