Rethinking Your Life | Week 8: The Problem of Sin


What would you say if you were asked what the biggest problem in your life is right now?

You might have a list of problems that you’re facing… BUT… that is not your biggest problem. Your biggest problem is you. You cause yourself more problems than anybody else does.

We cause those problems by the way we think. Because wrong thinking causes wrong feelings, wrong feelings leads to wrong actions, and wrong actions create all kinds of problems. Most of the problems in your life are caused by the way you think.

Not everything you think is the truth. Just because you think or feel something doesn’t mean it’s true. We lie to ourselves all the time. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?”

We lie to ourselves far more than we lie to anybody else. Sometimes we tell ourselves things are better than they really are. Sometimes we tell ourselves things are worse than they really are.

Not everything you think and feel is the truth. When you act on thoughts and feelings that aren’t correct, you’re going to have behavior that’s not correct. That will cause problems in your life.

This is called your sin nature and we all have one. It’s not your fault that you sin, you didn’t create your sin problem, you inherited it from Adam and Eve.

Since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, every human being has been born with a tendency toward sin. For instance, when you know the right thing to do, do you do it? Not always! When you know something is the wrong thing to do, do you still do it… or eat it? Yes, you do.

That is your old sin nature. And that is your biggest problem!

What Is Sin?

Even though sin is the biggest problem in your life. God has provided the solution to your biggest problem. God has provided the solution to your tendency toward sin.

Let’s start with a definition of sin. We usually think of sin as a behavior. We think of bad actions like murder, adultery, rape, and stealing. When we think of sin we think of mean, bad, nasty behavior.

But the Bible tells us that God is far more interested in your thoughts, feelings and words than even in your behavior. In fact, in the Bible has a lot more to say about sins of the tongue than sins of any other part of your body.

1. Sin is the opposite of God and good.

God is always good, He is never bad. So sin is the opposite of what God is.

“Everything God does is good and fair; all His commands can be trusted.” Psalm 111:7

“The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation.” Psalm 145:9

God is good to everyone. Are we good to everyone? No. God shows compassion to all people. We try, but we fall short of that standard.

When God created the world in Genesis 1, He looked at what He had created and said, “This is good.” What we do is we take what God created as good and we use it in bad ways.

We take the good that God made and we misuse it, abuse it and then we lose it.

Money in itself is neither good nor bad but it can be used for good or used for bad. Sex isn’t bad or dirty, sex is holy. It was God’s idea. Drugs can be used to heal people or to relieve pain. But if we misuse it and abuse it then instead of being beneficial it’s destructive.

We get hurt when we subvert and pervert the good that God does. Sin is always a perversion of God’s good gifts.

It is impossible for God to do anything evil. He cannot sin or do wrong. Job 34:10

God wants us to be like Him, so anytime I’m sinning I’m being the opposite of God and that’s a bad thing.

2. Sin is the opposite of love.

One day a man asked Jesus, “What’s the most important commandment in the Bible?” Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Life is all about love. If those are the two most important commands, then sin is the opposite of those two commands. Not loving God and not loving your neighbor is sin.

As sin and evil increase in the world, people’s love will grow cold. Matthew 24:12

Are we seeing that today? People are more rude and critical than ever. Civilization is becoming uncivil. Why? Because as sin increases… love decreases.

They’re the opposite of each other.

3. Sin is always selfishness.

“Wherever there is selfishness you find disorder and every kind of evil sin.” James 3:16

Sin is self-centeredness. The middle letter of sin in English is I… S-I-N. It’s a visual representation that the “I” centered life is the sinful life. We all have an “I” problem. I want it my way… I will do my own thing… I think this… I feel that…

4. Sin is always unbelief.

Specifically, it is an unbelief in who God is.

The Holy Spirit will show that the world’s sin is unbelief in Me.” John 16:9

Sin is when we don’t believe God is who He says He is and we don’t believe that God will do what He says He’ll do. When we become fearful or anxious, we’re showing our unbelief in God’s promises.

There are over 7,000 promises in this book and if you claim them you won’t be fearful or anxious. 365 times the Bible says, “Do not be afraid.” That’s one for every day of the year.

When I get impatient that means I am doubting God’s perfect timing. God has a plan for your life and He is not in a hurry. His timing is perfect.

When I get resentful or bitter it means I am doubting God’s wisdom. God is a wise, good, loving God and He has a wise, good and loving plan for your life. But you look around at others and compare their lives to your own. It can make you resentful and bitter.

When I doubt that God can bring good out of bad, I get resentful.

What about carrying guilt? How long should a follower of Jesus Christ feel guilty? About one second. That’s how long it takes to confess a sin once you’ve done it,”Sorry, God, that was wrong. Please forgive me.” Boom, it’s gone, it’s forgiven.

But people carry guilt around for years! God doesn’t want you carrying guilt around like that. Confess the sin and get rid of the guilt. What does it mean when you carry guilt around like that? It means you can’t forgive yourself because you doubt God’s forgiveness, and that’s a sin.

What about when I feel inadequate? When you have feelings of inadequacy you’re saying you doubt God’s power to help you. Sin is really all about unbelief.

What’s The Problem With Sin?

Is sin really that big a deal? Let’s look at six problems with sin and then we’ll look at the solution.

1. The first problem is that I was born with a selfish desire to sin.

The classic Bible passage on this in Romans 7. The Apostle Paul, one of the greatest Christians who ever lived says,

“I feel that I’m a slave to my sinful desires. Sin masters me. … I can’t help myself because of my sinful nature inside me. … It’s a law at work in me that is at war with my mind.”

There is a battle raging in your mind between your old nature and your new nature. Between your desire to do the right thing and the natural human inclination to do the wrong thing.

This problem is not a new thing… it has plagued humankind since Adam and Eve. We were born with the tendency to make wrong choices and every one of you could give an example of that.

2. The second problem with sin, It breaks my fellowship with God.

Sin is a relational issue. Have you ever walked into a room when a couple has had a fight? You’re not even in on the fight but you can tell there is some tension in the room. Why? Because when you sin against your spouse it breaks your connection.

The same is true with God. Sin breaks our connection with God. That’s why when you pray your prayers bounce off the ceiling. That’s why you don’t feel God in your life.

“Your sins are the roadblock between you and your God. That’s why He doesn’t answer your prayers, or let you see His face.” Isaiah 59:2

Your sin matters. It affects your relationship with God, others and yourself.

3. Third problem, every time I sin something dies inside me.

The Bible tells us that sin is a silent killer. The wages of sin is death. There was no death on this planet until sin entered the world. If Adam and Eve had never sinned, they would have lived forever. Sin and death go together.

“Our evil desires make us sin and when sin is finished with us,… it leaves us dead. James 1:15

We’re not just talking about physical death here, a lot of stuff dies when you sin. Your passion for God dies. Your dreams of being closer to the Lord die. Your relationships die when you sin. Sin kills your potential. Sin kills your joy.

4. My sin may be a secret but it’s never private.

Our sin always affects other people even if nobody else knows about it. The reason why it’s never private is because it’s going to come out eventually. Either here on Earth or at the Judgment Day, every sin will be known.

You may be sure that your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23

The Bible says that if you cover up your sin you cannot be successful. But if you confess it and forsake it you get another chance.

“None of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.” Romans 14:7

Some people think as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, it shouldn’t matter. But you are hurting other people when you sin.

5. That leads to the fifth one, sin does long term damage.

We think if we don’t see the damage right away maybe there won’t be any. Sometimes sin destroys your life suddenly like an earthquake. Sometimes it destroys your life over time like erosion or dry rot.

Sinning is like sowing seeds. When you plant a seed it takes time for the seed to germinate and grow to maturity. It takes time to produce a harvest. But whatever you sow, you will reap. Whatever you plant is what you’ll harvest.

Don’t deceive yourself, you can’t make a fool out of God. Whatever you plant is what you will harvest. If you plant in the soil of your sinful nature, you will harvest destruction. But if you plant in the soil of your spiritual nature, you will harvest everlasting life.” Galatians 6:7-8

You don’t plant apple seeds and reap tomatoes. You don’t plant bitterness and reap love.

6. Disobeying God is neither fun nor funny.

Disobeying God is neither fun nor funny. We often fall for one of Satan’s biggest traps. Satan wants us to laugh at sin because if we laugh at it lowers our resistance to it. When Satan wants to take society to a new low he does it through comedy. He’ll put it on a sitcom, or in a standup routine, or on Saturday Night Live.

Because when you laugh at it sin it doesn’t seem so bad. But sin is not a laughing matter. Sin killed the Son of God on a cross. And that’s not funny.

“A fool’s fun is in being bad.” Proverbs 10:2

The ESV says, “Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool.”

The fool thinks sin is a joke but it’s not. How much of our entertainment today is watching people commit sin?

“Because of your stubbornness in refusing to repent and turn from your sin,   you’re storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For there’s going to come a day of judgment when God will judge all people according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who seek God, but for those who are self-seeking, and reject the truth and practice sin, they will face God’s anger.” Romans 2:5-8

That’s pretty sobering. Nobody likes to read that verse, but it’s there. Now, here’s the good news… God has solved your sin problem! You can’t solve it but God has solved it for you.

Jesus dying on the cross is the answer to everything. God doesn’t want you to be a slave to your sin nature. God wants you to find freedom in Christ.

How Do I Break Free From My Sin?

There are three things you need to do.

1. Understand what Jesus did for me.

On the cross, Jesus not only paid for the penalty of your sins, He also broke the power of sin in your life. By paying the penalty for your sin Christ broke sin’s power over you. On the cross Jesus Christ broke Satan’s power in your life so that you now have the power to say “No” to sin, that’s a power you didn’t have before.

If you trust in Christ you have the power to say “No” to sin that you did not have before. It’s more than willpower, it’s Holy Spirit power in your life.

“Jesus personally carried away our sins in His own body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.” 1 Peter 2:24

“Although Jesus died on the cross in weakness, He now lives by the mighty    power of God. We, too, are weak, but we live in Him and have God’s power.” 2 Corinthians 13:4

2. Let God give me a new nature.

“Those who have been born again into God’s family will not continue in habitual sin, because God’s life is in them now.” 1 John 3:9 NLT

“If you have the Spirit of God living in you, you are controlled by your new nature!” Romans 8:9 LB

If you have the Spirit of God living in you you’re controlled by your new nature. You don’t just have your own sin nature that wants to do the wrong thing, you have a new spiritual nature that wants to do good things. You want to walk in the Spirit so that you

It’s off with the old nature and on with the new nature. And that battle is won or lost in your mind.

3. That’s why I must change the way I think about sin.

“Jesus died to defeat sin once for all. Now He lives in and for God. In the same way, you should think of yourselves as dead to sin but alive to the power of God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:10-11 NIV

“Do not let sin control the way you live anymore or do what your sinful nature wants to do. Don’t let any part of your body become a tool of evil used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. Offer your body as a tool for doing good for the glory of God.” Romans 6:12-13 NLT

Sin is the opposite of God and good. Sin is the opposite of love. Sin is always selfishness. Sin is always based in unbelief toward God. Sin is my biggest problem. But God solved that problem for me through Jesus Christ. And when we understand what Christ truly did for me, we choose to live life with the new nature God has given me.

When we change the way we think about sin we can be free from the penalty and the power of sin.

Check Back

Briefly check back on your discussion from the last week, “Five Lies of Relationships.” Any more thoughts or observations?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Big Idea

What is sin? 1) Sin is the opposite of God & good. 2) Sin is the opposite of love. 3) Sin is always selfishness. 4) Sin is always unbelief in who God is.

What’s the problem with sin? 1) I was born with a selfish desire to sin. 2) Sin breaks my fellowship with God. 3) Every time I sin, something dies inside me. 4) My sin may be a secret but it’s never private. 5) Sin does long term damage. 6) Disobeying God is neither fun nor funny.

How do I break free? 1) Understand what Jesus did for me. 2) Let God give me a new nature. 3) Change the way I think about sin.

Discussion & Application

1. Jesus said, “As sin and evil increase in the world, people’s love will grow cold.” Matthew 24:12 (NCV) Take a few minutes and think about how you would define sin. Write down your personal definition. Share with your group.

2. Which of the problems with sin did you resonate with the most?

3. “Everything God does is good and fair; all his commands can be trusted.” Psalm 111:7 (NCV) Everything God creates is good. We are the ones who have twisted His good creations, using them for bad. Think of a recent selfish, unloving, or unbelieving act. Looking back, how might you have chosen differently?

4. Sin stands in the way of communicating with those who love you. What are some of the roadblocks that exist in your relationship with God?

5. Jesus personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross, so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. 1 Peter 2:24 (NLT) One or two of you brave souls share a time in your life when you sought to break free from sin in an area in your life. Briefly tell how you found freedom in Christ.

Prayer Focus

Ask how you can pray for and support one another this week. In your closing prayer, ask Jesus to help you live Godward, God-centered lives, to change the way you think about sin, and to live as Christ before others.

Next Steps

Reflect and take seriously the three ways to break free. Next, join us next week as we look at how fight against persistent temptations.


Why the Bible Can Be Trusted


Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

Today we’re going to talk about God’s word, the Bible, and why we can trust it to be the lamp and light we need today. The word “Bible” means Book. The greek word is “biblos.” But it’s not a lowercase ‘b’ book but a capital ‘B’ book because it’s a book like no other.

It’s the most read, the most translated, the most sold, most shoplifted, and the most talked about book in history. It’s actually made up of several books.

66 books, 1600 years, 3 languages, 3 continents, 40 writers — 1 Author & Message

If you step back and look at the Bible from simply a literary point of view, that is remarkable. How could you get that amount of people over that long a period of time, speaking Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek to have the exact same theme?

Group authorship normally doesn’t work out. You don’t see group authors on the best seller list. But the Bible’s author is God. It’s inspired, only God could have done it.

Man held the pen, but God wrote the Bible.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT

These 66 books have two major divisions: The Old Testament and The New Testament. The books that make up the Bible are not in chronological order. They are grouped by the type of book they are.

The Old Testament

Law – 5 books – Genesis through Deuteronomy – It’s written by Moses. This has creation, the flood, Abraham, Moses, the ten commandments, and the law.

Historical – 12 books – Joshua through Esther – This has Israel’s history after Moses all the way to the temple being rebuilt in Jerusalem.

Poetical – 5 books – Job through Song of Solomon

Prophetical – 17 books – The prophets all lived in that historical section. There are five major, meaning that they’re long and twelve minor because they are smaller.

The Old Testament was put together by the Jews long before Jesus time. They had very strict criteria. We have the endorsement that they got it right because Jesus affirmed every section of the Old Testament.

Then, there was 400 years where no Biblical books were written. If you come from a Catholic background or another background you might have a Bible that includes the Apocrypha.

The Apocrypha are writings that happened between the end of the OT and the beginning of the NT. They weren’t considered scripture, but added on as an appendix. But, in the 1500s during the Protestant Reformation the Catholics decided to include the Apocrypha in the scriptures.

The problem is no apocryphal book was written by a prophet. None of these books were included in the Hebrew Scriptures or cited as authoritative by later Biblical writers. Jesus, who quoted from every section of Old Testament Scripture, never once quoted from the apocrypha. Neither did any of His disciples.

The New Testament

Gospels – 4 books – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – Four different accounts of Jesus life, death and resurrection.

Acts – historical record of the early church – After Jesus Ascended into heaven, churches were planted and letters were written to these churches.

Epistles – 21 books – Romans through Jude – They give us instruction and teach us how to be the church and how to live and spread the gospel while we wait for Jesus return.

Revelation – prophecy of the last days and eternity

Many have this picture in their mind that a bunch of guys got into a room and held a vote on which books they liked and which they didn’t and that’s how the New Testament was formed.

Different things have given us that impression, like The DaVinci Code. The DaVinci Code is a problem because it’s fiction, it was written to be fiction, but people take it like it’s not. The story he tells is that it was a political thing. How do we even know the right books got included?

What we actually have historically is lists from people who had nothing to do with each other, yet their lists for the New Testament books are the same. It was only when some other books tried to weasel their way in that church counsels made official what was already known – that there was only one set of books that everyone has agreed on for hundreds of years.

Three Criteria for the New Testament

1. New Testament books had to had to be written by an apostle or someone affirmed by an apostle. 

That’s huge because Jesus had chosen the apostles and they understood that the disciples, and later The Apostle Paul were the ones to give us the faith.

2.  It had to be accepted by the early church.

The early church, those first Christ followers, were able to affirm these letters. They were there when Jesus spoke and did these things. They heard Paul preach. They confirmed and accepted these writings and started sharing them.

3. It had to be in agreement with the rest of the books.

You couldn’t have one book say something different than the rest of the books.

Maybe you say, “I don’t know if I can trust the Bible.” Here are some reasons why you can trust the Bible.

1. It is historically accurate

Many will say it’s all made up, but history proves the Bible. It’s not just a book of great principles. It’s historically accurate. Now if you want to know if anything is historically accurate it has to pass some tests like:

  • Eyewitness accounts.

Other religions, false religions, started with one person having a private dream about God, a private idea about God and sharing it with others.

Christianity isn’t some made up story that built momentum over time. Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven were witnessed by many people. Those who witnessed it shared it and it spread like wildfire.

These are not hearsay stories that someone heard and wrote down. Almost all of scripture is written by people who were actually there or written by people who interviewed the people who were there.

The gospels for instance were written by people who lived and walked with Jesus. Or, in the case of the gospel of Luke, he went to investigate and interview Jesus followers. They saw and heard these things for themselves.

So that’s why the gospels align the way they do. However, they don’t say word-for-word the same thing. If they did, that would mean they weren’t true.

If you were to take four different witnesses one-by-one into a room and ask for their side of the story and all four said word-for-word the same thing you would know instantly that they had all gotten together beforehand and corroborated the story. But if you talk to each one and they all saw the same thing but maybe a different part of the event stuck out to them from their point-of-view, you would know it’s true.

The second test for historical accuracy:

  • It has to be recorded and copied with extreme care.

The Jewish scribes had a standard that no one else ever has ever had to record history. They didn’t even copy word-for-word. They did it letter to letter. They had systems to make sure it was copied correctly and they weren’t afraid to throw out the whole thing if it didn’t line up.

Maybe you ask, How do we even know if that’s what the original authors even wrote?

People think that it’s a giant game of telephone. But, when a committee goes to create a Bible translation, it’s translated from the original language to the language you speak. It doesn’t get translated from Greek to Latin to German to English.

We don’t have Paul’s piece of papyri that was touched by Paul’s hand. So, how do we know the copies we have accurately reflect what the original author wrote? There’s a science to this. This is an academic field called textual criticism. These scientists study and compare the ancient manuscripts that have been copied from the original.

You might say, well people can make copying errors. Yes, they can, but 24,000 people don’t make the same error. That’s how many ancient manuscripts we have.

  • The third historical test that something has to pass is archaeological confirmation.

Sites, events, people, places, and names have been found where we have dug in the Bible lands. King David’s palace. Luke will talk about a governor, we have his name. Pilot, we have an inscription with is name on it.

There are some things in scripture of a historical nature that haven’t been verified archaeologically. But there are more and more discoveries made that don’t disprove the veracity of scripture archaeologically, but bear out the veracity of scripture.

For instance, they’re still excavating areas where Biblical events happened. The Old Testament talks about a Hittite empire and many have said the Bible writers just made them up because it wasn’t anywhere else. And that was the only empire they couldn’t prove. But, in the early 1900s they dug around in Turkey and found 10,000 tablets and a 1,200 year civilization. What they found was the Hittite capitol and all their records.

It was said that the Bible can’t be true because of the sophistication with which Moses writes in the Pentateuch. Then they discovered the code of Hammurabi which was written 300 years before Moses writings and it’s one of the most sophisticated levels of writing that people didn’t believe existed.

You have Solomon who supposedly had the stables of a thousand Arabian horses and skeptics said, we’ve been digging for a lot of years, if that’s true that should be found somewhere. Then a number of years ago in Megiddo they found 1,000 plus stalls where all these horses were.

We don’t have time to go through many of the archaeological discoveries. There are over 25,000 specific places in the Old Testament alone that are verified in history.

2. The second reason it can be trusted is because it is scientifically accurate

The Bible has an answer for origin. It has an answer for how the first cell began. When Hubble discovered the universe had a beginning that of course lined up with scripture.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 NIV

What we see is that creation is ordered. It’s designed. What we’ve learned about our world and living organisms at the DNA level is incredible. The complexity of living organisms doesn’t just happen by chance. There is an intelligent designer. 

3. It is prophetically accurate

The Bible is predicated on a setup and a payoff. If man wrote the Bible it’s a great risk for them to fill it with things that are foretold and then have to come true. Because if anyone of the prophecies doesn’t happen it’s not reliable.

There are over 1,000 specific prophecies in scripture. They’re not generic prophecies like a team with red on its jersey will win the Super Bowl. There are over 300 specific prophecies for Jesus alone. How would the prophets know all that?

“For Prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21 NIV

It takes more faith to believe the prophecies of the Bible are coincidence than to believe that God planned them. 

4. It is thematically unified

There is a 1600 year span that somehow hangs together as one book. The first page and the last page use the same image as bookends.

Well couldn’t the people who wrote the later stuff read the early stuff and made it fit? In some cases no, they didn’t even have access. But even if they did have access, some of the stuff that was written doesn’t even make sense until you bring in the other parts of scripture.

If it were only one person who wrote it, that would make sense. The Quran was written by one person. The writings of Buddha. One person. As you look around at all the sacred texts from other religions, most of them are written by one person.

Some have the contributing factors of several different people. But as you read the Bible you get the symmetry of one powerful story and that is how Jesus is creating and restoring all things, from people who never met each other dealing with different issues under the influence of one God.

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:27

5. It has survived all attacks

There have been people and governments who have tried to burn Bibles and persecute and kill Bible translators. It’s supernatural work that it’s here. It’s still changing lives. No one has been able stop it. And it will change your life in Jesus name.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever. 1 Peter 1:24-25

6. It has transforming power

There is no cause that has done more good for the human race as a whole, in tangible ways, than God’s church following God’s word. There’s a lot of misinformation on this point. Sometimes people get away with making the absurd claim that the Church has done more harm than good.

This is laughable statement. Because where Jesus is exalted and the Church flourishes, there is inherent value of human life and caring for the handicapped and the sick and dying… Slavery and racism are intolerable… Women and children are defended and cared for… There is justice and legal systems…

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NIV

If you go all in on the Bible it will transform your life for the Good. Many think that the principles in this book will ruin your life. That God is out to steal the fun out of your life. Wrong. The Bible will set you free.

7. It is trusted by Jesus

Jesus believed the Old Testament to be the very words of God and predicted the New Testament to be likewise. Some Christians claim that, “The Bible contains the word of God, but it is not all the word of God.” They say, “We believe the words of Jesus, but everything else we’re not sure about…” They’ll say things like, “The Apostle Paul was writing to the cultural backdrop of his day. His words aren’t for us.”

But Jesus handpicked Matthew, Peter, Mark, John, and Paul. He inspired them to write the New Testament.  Jesus believes it all. God inspired it all. The whole thing is the word of God, not just the red letters. For those who don’t trust the bible its not usually due to one of these seven reasons.

What actually happens is our feelings tell us there are things that contradict our basic values, beliefs and culture. We get offended. So, we couldn’t possibly believe it all. But, If the Bible is really God’s book and written by Him, then its not a product of any one culture. It would contradict every culture on some point. Different cultures — different points.

The fact that the Bible contradicts your personal feelings or cultural values, that doesn’t cut against it being the word of God, that proves even more so that it is indeed the word of God. If you have a God that agrees with you on everything, never agues with you, always does what you want him to do, and perfectly fits your image of what you want a God to be, you know one thing for sure… you don’t have the real God. You have a product of your imagination.

The only way to get the real God, the God who is sometimes hard to understand or sometimes calls you out is to take the Bible as it is and don’t edit. Because, if you don’t believe the parts you don’t like, how can you really believe the parts you do like?

Some people struggle to believe that God is gracious and that we can be forgiven. We want to believe we are children of God. The Bible says these things but we may struggle to believe them. This happens when people choose part of the text and slash out the rest. 

This does violence to God himself, just like we did with Jesus. He came, people followed him by the thousands because he said all these wonderful things. Then he started saying some hard teachings and things that were difficult to understand, and we fell away and eventually killed him.

We have the option to do the same thing today – kill the real God and invent a God of our imaginations. If you do that, initially at least, this new God you make up for yourself, will have a lot more in common with you and be a lot easier to get along with. But you will miss so much if you do that. You will miss the warmth, love, relationship, and grace of the true God. You miss salvation.

The only way you get those things, is if you take Him as He is. Because, that’s what He does with you. He takes you as you are. Or at least, that’s what the Bible says.

Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week, “It’s Time To Get Together?” How do you think the challenge to, call out the best in each other, call out to God for each other and call out the truth to each other might impact your group this semester?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)

Almost all Christians believe this verse is true, but were never taught the fundamentals of the Bible. How did this sermon help you in your basic understanding of the Bible?

Which of the seven reasons why the Bible can be trusted stood out to you the most?

  • It is historically accurate.
  • It is scientifically accurate.
  • It is prophetically accurate.
  • It is thematically unified.
  • It has survived all attacks.
  • It has transforming power.
  • It is trusted by Jesus.


  • What stood out to you in this message?
  • Which of the seven reasons stands out to you the most?
  • Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (NIV) Could you point to a verse, Biblical principle or sermon that had transforming power in your life?
  • The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
  • Have you ever been in a discussion or argument with someone about the validity of the Bible? Was it productive? Why or why not?
  • Which version of the Bible is your most favorite? Is there a study Bible or a Bible study tool that has been helpful for you that you would recommend to your group.

Tell Someone Else

With whom could you share this message? How might this change your defense of the scriptures?

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #9: Honesty


Today the value we’re talking about is honesty. The irony of honesty is that all of us make a big deal about it and we want it but really, in practicality, we give it very little value. 

It is amazing how many opportunities there are in our day to be dishonest. Every conversation, every phone call, every interaction we have dozens and dozens of opportunities to be dishonest.

“Would you like to enjoy life? Do you want long life and happiness?  Then keep from speaking evil and from telling lies.” Psalm 34:12-13 GNT

When you tell a lie, you’ve got to commit to the lie. Then every time the phone rings, every time someone wants to talk you wonder, is this it? Is this when I get caught?

Dr. Leonard Keeler, inventor of the lie detector machine, determined after testing 25,000 individuals that human beings are basically deceptive. At the core of humanity there is dishonesty.

To those of us who have read the Bible, this is no surprise. We know that in the book of Genesis we’re told that dishonesty has plunged this world into the mess that it’s in. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful. We have wickedness that lives within us because of the fall of man, we have a resistance to truth. 

Lying is not only in our culture and nature, dishonesty is part of our spiritual structure. It’s much bigger than ourselves. There’s a struggle going on in the cosmos. Call it what you will, it’s light versus darkness, good versus evil, Satan versus God.

We are the object of this spiritual battle. It’s an eternal combat that is bigger than most of us are capable of understanding. Basically it comes down to this: truth versus falsehood. The Bible tells us that God is the father of truth. The Bible also tells us that Satan is the father of falsehood.

“He (Satan) has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NLT

The Bible doesn’t sugar coat it, God is on one side and Satan is on the other and we have a choice, do we follow the culture or do we follow the creator? When it comes to the Creator, God says He hates dishonesty. That is not  a word used very often in the Bible.

The word “hate” means it’s disgusting, detestable, utterly and thoroughly repulsive. Dishonesty is repulsive to God because He is the Truth and dishonesty is a perversion of His character.

Steps Towards an Honest Life


Being honest 80% of the time is not integrity. The little boy who cried wolf is a classic story. Eventually you don’t know whether the guy’s telling the truth or not so you don’t believe him at all. 

So you must tell the truth consistently, honesty is a lifestyle. Nobody has a good enough memory to be a good liar. If you lie you have to remember what you said to each person. If you tell the truth at all times you don’t have to remember anything because you’ve always told the truth.

“People who can’t be trusted are destroyed by their own dishonesty.” Proverbs 11:3 GNT

Every relationship is built on one word — trust. Truth telling produces trust building. Deception destroys trust. If you are a dishonest person pretty soon you have no relationships because nobody can trust you.

“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” Proverbs 12:19 NIV


God says lying is an intention to mislead and when you’re just telling a half a truth you’re telling a whole lie. You can lie by falsifying or you can lie by concealing. When we deliberately hold back half the truth, we’re being deceptive.

You can lie without even saying a word. God says, in the end people appreciate honesty. God says tell the truth completely.

“In the end people appreciate frankness more than flattery.” Proverbs 28:23 TLB

It may be unpleasant at first. You have an employee that’s not fulfilling their job and you have to correct them. They may not appreciate it then, but if it helps them build their character it will help in the long run.

“Someone who holds back the truth causes trouble.” Proverbs 10:10 GNT

What kind of trouble can come from concealing the truth? You cause resentment, mistrust, and superficiality. You get into trouble by not saying what you mean and not meaning what you say. 

Marriages often get in trouble because during the engagement period, they lie to each other. Not overtly, but lie by not facing the issues. There may be major differences in the relationship that they just ignoring.

Once you understand the motivation behind your lying, then you can deal with the real issue.

Lying is not your real problem. It’s the symptom of a deeper problem.

“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Jesus 

Jesus is saying the real problem is not our mouths but our hearts. What’s coming out of our mouths, these lies, are really an indication of what’s inside of us. If we are going to become people of integrity, we have to deal with what motivates us to lie. 

Why Do We Lie?

The Cruel Lie Resentment
The Cowardly Lie Fear
The Conceited Lie Insecurity
The Calculated Lie Greed
The Convenient Lie Laziness
  • The cruel lie – This is the kind of lie that is intentionally destructive and malicious. You tell it to get revenge. They’ve hurt you so you’re going to get even. You misrepresent them, this is called slander. Slander means when you make up something about somebody that’s not true with the intentional purpose of damaging their reputation. The Sadducees did this to Jesus. They brought false charges so they could hang Him on the cross. The cruel lie is an intentional mischievous lie.  The motive behind that kind of lie – resentment.
  •  The cowardly lie – This is the kind of lie you tell to escape consequences. You’re trying to protect yourself, prevent pain and avoid punishment. Adam told this kind of lie in the Garden of Eden, when he sinned and blamed his wife. The motive behind that kind of lie – fear.
  • The conceited lie – This is when you lie to impress. You’re trying to create an image or cover for a mistake. What may come off as pride and ego is actually a frightened, insecure person. The motive behind that kind of lie – insecurity.
  • The calculated lie – This is the kind of lie used to manipulate other people. It is a calculated lie to get what we want or think we need. The motive behind that kind of lie – greed.
  • The convenient lie – The convenient lie we tell because it takes effort to tell the truth. To not have to explain yourself or talk more, you shrug off the truth. Sometimes you don’t want to get involved with something or you’re too busy to check the facts so you tell something you haven’t really checked up on. This is often called diplomacy. This is the kind of lie you tell when you don’t want to offend anybody. The motive behind that kind of lie – laziness.


Don’t use the truth as a club. Don’t beat people over the head with the truth. People change easier and faster when you speak the truth in a spirit of love. People always perceive truth without love as an attack.

Truth without grace is mean.

It doesn’t matter if it is the truth. People don’t receive it if it is yelled and beaten over them. They resist it, become defensive against it, don’t want to hear it, because they perceive it as an attack.

“We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 NLT

How do we know if we’re speaking the truth in love? Ask yourself the question, Who am I trying to benefit from this? Think through the motivation. Is it to change them so things are easier on you? Or is it because you care about them and want them to be the best they can be.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 NLT


Being honest does not mean being brutal. Whenever you have a need to share a tough truth the solution is never deception. The truth sets you free. But, when you speak the truth you must speak it completely, consistently, lovingly, and tactfully. 

“Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.” Proverbs 12:18 GNT

You have an option with your words: you can either hurt people or you can heal them. Develop people or you can destroy them. Build them up or you can tear them down. Delight or you can devastate. He’s saying your words have tremendous power.

If you think about it, emotional wounds last longer than physical wounds. When you speak the truth in love and with tact you can learn how to make a point without making an enemy.

  • Plan your presentation

“The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.” Proverbs 16:21 GNT

Planning your presentation doesn’t mean you come up with come backs to all the potential ways they might respond. Instead, write down the issue and a few points to that issue. That way when things get off track, you can keep the problem on the issue rather than the person or some other thing.

  • Choose the right time

“Intelligent people think before they speak.” Proverbs 16:23 GNT

Put your mind in gear before you put your mouth in gear. Timing is everything. Don’t try to start a tough conversation with your spouse late at night when you’re both tired, overwhelmed and frustrated. Plan a time to allow for constructive conversation. 

If you’ll do these four things, the Bible says you will begin to be an honest person.Speak the truth completely, consistently, lovingly and tactfully. The beginning of honesty is the confession of dishonesty. If you want to be a person of integrity, first admit to God that you don’t always tell the truth and ask Christ to forgive you.

He will give you the power to change and put a new heart in you. He will begin to replace the deception with truth as you begin to let Christ more and more control your heart. You do that by making a choice and saying, God help me to be more interested in character than in reputation. 

If you’re more interested in reputation you’ll lie to build your reputation. Reputation is what other people think you are. Character is what you really are. Character is what lasts for eternity. 

God Blesses Honesty

  • By guarding me – “He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.” Proverbs 2:7 NLT

That word means to be a bodyguard whose soul purpose is to protect you. If we’re honest, He’ll shield us. It’s not going to be easy but He will be our shield. 

  • By directing me – “The godly are directed by honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin.” Proverbs 11:5 NLT

When we’re honest we see God’s way.  The direction becomes very clear.  That’s a reward.

  • By sustaining me – “Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.” Proverbs 12:19 NLT

Honesty will outlast dishonesty. There was a story some years ago about a newlywed couple from Chicago. They had opened their presents before they went on their honeymoon, gathered all their cash, put it in a suitcase, loaded up the car, then left the cash on the top of the car and drove away — $12,000. It fell to the street and was found by an honest man. This man was unemployed.  But he returned the money. 

The city of Chicago went hysterical about this guy. When the story broke, this guy got job offers from Sony, Hilton, Hyundai, Motorola and more. He was rewarded for his honesty. 

In a kind of physical way this is an example of what God does in a spiritual way. God is in the business of rewarding honesty. Some people will receive a reward for their honesty in this life, and sometimes we have to wait for the next life for our reward. But, that reward will be more than we can imagine. Honesty will last for eternity. 

Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week about fairness and injustice. How has that message and discussion impacted the way you see the world and process injustice in the world?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

We would all probably agree that honesty is the best policy and a value worth building our lives on. But in practice, it’s often a different story. It’s easy to find an excuse not to tell the whole truth. Other times, it can be tempting to intentionally deceive people. But honesty is essential for the success of any relationship.

Dishonesty has many different faces in our life but it has one common result. Dishonesty strangles life out of us. One of the main reasons it runs so fast through our culture is because dishonesty is present in our nature. It’s deeper than just our culture; it’s in our nature. There’s something about you and I that is so warped and flawed that we are drawn to untruth. There is a wickedness about our nature because of the fall and because of sin, but there is also a wonder about our nature. We’re created in the image of God and something deep down within us really wants truth.

“Would you like to enjoy life? Do you want long life and happiness? Then keep from speaking evil and from telling lies.” Psalm 34:12-13 GNT


  1. Why do you think people tell “white lies” and then expect there to be no consequences?
  2. When we understand the motivation behind any lie, then we can deal with the real issue. Lying is just a symptom of something else. Here are five types of lies and the motivation for each one:
  • The cruel lie is motivated by resentment.
  • The cowardly lie is motivated by fear.
  • The conceited lie is motivated by insecurity.
  • The calculated lie is motivated by greed.
  • The convenient lie is motivated by laziness.

What motivation might be most tempting for you? Why?

  1. What kind of reaction would someone have if you spoke the truth without love?    What might the response be from someone if you spoke the truth with love?
  2. Proverbs 12:18 says, Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal. Can you think of a time when someone spoke healing words to you? How did that person’s wisdom impact you?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to be honest with? Plan your presentation and choose the right time. How will you ask God to help you?

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #2: Trust


Who are you going to trust?

According to Forbes & Gallup, what is the most trusted profession? The answer…nurses, doctors, pharmacists then teachers. Then, Readers Digest set out to name the 100 most trusted people in America based on integrity, character, exceptional talent, drive to personal excellence, internal moral compass, message, honesty and leadership.

Who did America say was the most trustworthy person in America? Tom Hanks

Even the most trustworthy man in American is going to let you down. You can’t always trust people. People are people and they will let you down.

Who are you going to trust?

When God created you, He wired you in such a way that you have the capacity and the desire to trust in something greater than yourself because He wanted you to have a relationship with Him. 

If you never learn to trust God, you will create something to trust in. You will find something to give you security. It may be money in the bank, a beautiful spouse, a career or a goal. But you will create something to worship and value. You will idolize something.

Anything I trust or value more than God is an idol.

“For your own good…do not sin by making for yourselves an idol in any form.” Deuteronomy 4:15-16 GNT

Why does God want us to trust him? For our own good. He wants us to have a correct understanding of what He’s like in our minds.

In this post, we’re going to answer three questions about trust.

  • What happens when you trust something other than God?
  • Why don’t you trust God?
  • Why should you trust God completely?

What Happens When You Trust Something Other Than God?

There are two negative effects of trusting something other than God.

1.  You are disappointed

Any time you expect other people to meet a need in your life that only God can meet, you are going to be disappointed. Any time you take anything and base your fulfillment on that thing, you’ve idolized it. You’ve given it a place in your life it can’t hold up to.

“…those who make idols are disillusioned…” Jeremiah 10:14 GNT

“Of what value is an idol… For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation…” Habakkuk 2:18 NIV

We look at a person in the jungle who carves out a little god and then bows down and worships it and we say, “That’s dumb! You made it!” But we do that all the time with our careers. We get a job that’s fulfilling and then say, this job is my purpose for living. This job is why God created me. We act as if that is what gives us meaning in life and significance.

The poor, deluded fool…trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?” Isaiah 44:20 NLT

When we trust in anything besides God to take care of us, ultimately we’re going to be disappointed.

2. You are controlled

What you put your trust in and what you value is going to lead and influence you. You are controlled.

You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 1 Corinthians 12:2 NIV

If you made a list of the top ten most important things to you, and put them in order, whatever is in first place is your god. If it is not The God, you have just built an idol.  Whatever is in first place in your life, whatever you value most, eventually controls you.

This is how addictions start. Something becomes so important and pretty soon you think you’re controlling it, but it’s actually controlling you. 

Those who make idols end up like them. So does everyone who trusts them. Psalm 115:8 GW

Whatever you value the most in life, you’re going to become like. If you value money most important in life, you will be a materialist. If you value pleasure most important in life, you’ll become a hedonist. If you value what works most important in life, you become a pragmatist. If you value Jesus Christ most important in life, you become a Christian. You become like Christ.

Whatever you put in top value in your life is going to shape you. If it’s not the one true God it’s going to warp and distort you.

Why do we start trusting in all these other things to give our life meaning and significance? The reason we create idols is we want a god we can control. We want to shrink God down so we can manage Him. We want to reduce Him to our size so we can put Him in a little box. We want to assign Him to a location,

Some want to assign God to a big box called a “church building.” But God is everywhere whether you want him there or not. Answer this question for yourself –

Do I exist for God or does God exist for me?

Who made who? God made you. So you exist for God. If you think God exists for you, you don’t have a God  – you have a box. You have imagined Him. You have created an idol who serves you.

At creation, God decided to make man in His own image. Today, we do the opposite. We think we can make God into our image We think our god will act and think just like us. That’s called making an idol and God tells us no to do that. 

Don’t misrepresent God. He wants everybody to know the truth about Him. He takes it very, very seriously. For our own good.

Why Don’t I Trust God More?

Why do we end up trusting all these other things instead of trusting God? 

Because we don’t really know God

If you don’t know God and you don’t know what He’s really like, or you’ve got some of these phony ideas about Him, you’re not going to trust Him.

When God says things like, “I thought up sex and it’s to be reserved only for marriage.” If you don’t really know God, you’re going respond by saying, “Who are You to tell me what I’m to do with my sexuality?  Who set You up as judge?” You’re not going to trust Him. 

If you don’t know God, you tend to question all the things He says to do.

On the other hand, if you really know God and you really know how much He matters to you and how much you matter to Him. If you know what He’s got in store for your life that He has your best interest at heart, then you don’t have trouble at all following what He says. 

You will always do the right thing when you follow God. 

“Those who know the Lord trust him…”  Psalm 9:10 NCV

There are so many images of God we make up. People say, “I like to think of God…” and they fill in the blank. That’s just their guess. We’re supposed to stake our eternity on someone else’s guess? Just because “you like to think of God…” doesn’t mean that’s the way He is. 

What matters is not what you think God is like. What matters is what’s true. What matters is what God says He is like and He’s very clear about it.

Why Should I Trust God Completely?

The alternative to trusting God is worry, conflict, and feeling like you’ve got to control it all.  It’s a very stressful, miserable way to live. God has a better idea. Trust Him!

1. Because God always tells the truth.

God is truth incarnate. Truth is defined by God. He is the essence of truth. The nature of God are those things that are right. The things that are not right are those things that are anti-God, anti-His nature. They are opposite.

It is impossible for God to lie. Hebrews 6:18 NIV

Is there anything God can’t do? He cannot lie. Why? Because God cannot deny His own nature. God cannot contradict Himself because He is the essence of truth. There is no way God could be untruthful. Is there anything God can’t do? Yes. He cannot lie, because He is absolute truth. 

“God will continue to be true even when every person is false.”  Romans 3:4 NCV

2. Because God loves you

He says it over and over in the Bible in many places. He demonstrates love in your life every day. You were created as an act of God’s love. The greatest expression of that is Jesus Christ Himself. If you ever want to know what God is really like get a good, long look at Jesus Christ.

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. Colossians 2:8-9 NLT

The picture God gave us is Jesus. Sometimes people wonder how we can say that Jesus is the only way. Because Jesus said that. He said,

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.No one comes unto the Father except through Me.”  John 14:6

If you have a problem with that, you don’t have a problem with te church. You have a problem with Jesus. If you check out Jesus’ story in the New Testament He’s either a liar or He’s telling the truth and you’re betting your eternity on it.

What keeps us from trusting God is fear. We’re afraid to trust God completely. The three greatest fears people have if htey really gave their life to God are:

  1. I’ll lose my freedom
  2. I’ll lose my fun
  3. I’ll become a fanatic

The more you know about God, the more you trust Him. The less you know, the more you’re afraid of Him.

We know the love that God has for us… Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear. 1 John 4:16,18 NCV

3. Because God is in control

He created the whole universe. He could snap it out of existence if He wanted to. God is working His purpose and plan in history and He is moving history to a historical climax, a destiny. One day Jesus Christ is going to come back to earth. Nothing is going to stop that. He will work in your life for a purpose if you will allow Him to.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT

It doesn’t say everything is good or that God causes everything. God does not cause evil.  God doesn’t cause war or cancer. He does not cause rape or abortion. God has given us the freedom to choose and sometimes we make evil choices and innocent people get hurt. 

The Bible says God causes everything to work together for good. This is not a promise for everybody. All things don’t work together for good for everybody, because next the Bible says “for those who love God”,

He causes all things to work together for good for those who trust Him. The more you trust God, the less you will worry when you see the headlines and the news, because God’s in control.

You’re free to make choices in your life, but you are not free of the consequences of your choices. Once you make a choice you’re no longer free. God causes the consequences to happen. There’s certain laws in this universe. 

If you get drunk, you will have a hangover whether I want it or not. Every time, God says, “Here’s a line. Don’t step over it.” You are free to step over it but, not free from the consequences of stepping across that line. God is in control, and that’s good news if we trust Him.

4. Because God will help me

Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success. Proverbs 3:5-6 NCV

How do you know if you’re really trusting God? You’ll know by observing how quickly you obey when He tells you to do something. Is it immediate or delayed?

When you do the hard things that take courage, regardless of the consequences, you will see that you really trust God.

Maybe you’ve been burned in the past with some phony image of God or a religious system that taught you a warped view of God and you don’t really want to love and trust Him. You’re afraid of Him.

He’s worthy of your trust.

This post isn’t just for those of you who are seekers, but for those of you who have been Christians 20, 30, 40 years. You’ve never really given everything in your life to God. You’ve held back your finances, your career and your time. Today you can make a choice to trust that God is for your good and give it all to Him.

But my trust is in you, O Lord; You are my God”  Psalm 31:14 GNT

Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Any more thoughts or conclusions about the message on responsibility? Have you had any opportunities to control your reactions, guard your mind or accept mistakes?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

The values you build your life directly depend on who you put your trust in. And trust is only as strong as the truth it’s based on. Where is your trust? Have you ever noticed there’s only one letter difference between truth and trust? You trust people who tell you the truth. You don’t trust people if you don’t think they’re telling you the truth.

When God created you, he wired you with the capacity and desire to trust in something greater than yourself because he wanted you to have a relationship with him. But because we have the capacity, if we don’t learn to trust God, we end up creating something to trust in. However, any time we trust anyone or anything more than God, the Bible says we’re creating an idol.

The poor, deluded fool…trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”  Isaiah 44:20 NLT


  1. What stood out to you in this message? What do you remember?
  2. When we trust or value anything more than God we end up disappointed or controlled. How have you experienced these two negative things in your life?
  3. In what situations or relationships do you have the hardest time trusting God?
  4. Can you identify what is holding you back from trusting God? Could you relate to the three fears listed in the message?
  5. God always tells the truth, loves you, is in control and will absolutely help you. Are you ready to trust him fully? What’s holding you back?

Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success. Proverbs 3:5-6 NCV

Tell Someone Else

Who can you share this message with? You could send them a link to the message at or share the podcast with them, or you could share with them a truth from this message yourself. You might consider giving them a Building Your Life On Values That Last study guide.

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Preparing to Build | Week 2: How God Anchors Us


Jesus said that the wise man built his house upon the rock, but the foolish man built his house upon the sand. When the storms of life came the wise man’s house, it stood firm. But the foolish man’s house went splat. All around us we see people who’s lives are going splat including in situations of financial trouble, marriage trouble, kid trouble, and moral trouble. Today we will look at Ephesians chapter 4 to find six ways God anchors us to help build our lives upon a solid foundation.

1.God anchors us by giving us COACHES.

All around us in life we see the value of a coach; someone encouraging us to persevere, stay the course, and finish well. Superstar athletes who get paid millions of dollars have coaches. Famous singers all have vocal coaches. The top CEOs have life coaches. All the great leaders in the Bible had coaches.

Joshua was coached by Moses.

Elisha was coached by Elijah.

David was coached by Samuel.

Solomon was coached by David.

The twelve disciples were coached by Jesus.

Paul coached Timothy and Timothy coached others.

It’s a biblical pattern laid down in 2 Timothy 2:2 where Paul tells Timothy he wants him to take the things that he has learned from Paul and pass them on to other faithful men who will be able to pass them on to others. We pass it on from generation to generation. You are a link in an unbroken chain of coaching that has been passed down from generation to generation for 2000 years.

We don’t want to be the one who breaks the chain. Everybody needs a Paul and everybody needs a Timothy. We all need somebody we’re learning from and somebody we’re passing it on to. In Ephesians 4:11-13, we see that God has given five coaches to the church.

“Christ gifted some of us to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, so that His people would learn to serve and His Body would grow strong. This will continue until we’re united by our faith and understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like Him.” Ephesians 4:11-13 CEV

God gives the Church five coaches: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. He gives these coaches so that the people will learn to serve, grow strong, be mature, and become like Christ.

2.God anchors us by teaching us THE TRUTH.

If you want your finances to be secure you’ve got to know what God says about finances and apply that truth to your life. The same is true for your marriage or your job. In any area, you’ve got to know and apply the truth.

“Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or made a lie sound like the truth. Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more like Christ, who is the head of His Body, the Church.” Ephesians 4:14-15 NLT

One of the marks of spiritual immaturity is people can sway you from the truth. A spiritually immature believer is always changing their mind about what they believe because of something someone else has said. Somebody makes a lie sound like the truth and they fall for it because they don’t really know the truth. If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.

God says you’ve got to know the truth to weather the storm because every self-defeating behavior in your life is based on a lie. If you want stability in your life you’ve got to identify the lies and replace them with the truth. Every time we believe a lie about something the world says instead of what the Word of God says, we lose our footing and our lives start to collapse.

Jesus said, “The truth will you free.” He also said, “I am the truth.” Jesus didn’t say I teach the truth, I point to the truth, or I’m one of the ways to the truth. He said “I AM” the truth.  Truth is not simply a principle. Rather, Truth is a person.

“Since you have heard all about Him, you have learned the truth that is in Jesus.” Ephesians 4:21 NIV

3.God anchors us through NEW THINKING.

Both the stability and the instability you have in your life start in your mind. You’ve got to build your life on a biblical worldview. You’ve got to see your life through the lens of Scripture. If you want your life to be stable and built on a strong foundation, the battle is won and lost in the mind.

“But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV

The news media, talk radio, television, Facebook, video games, music, etc., are all worldly things that invade our minds and impact the way we think. Whatever you watch, listen to, and read the most is what you’re going to become like. If your primary sources are secular, then you’re being conformed to the world not transformed to become like Christ. If you want to stand firm you’ve got to let God teach you the right way to think.

“So don’t keep living as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused in their thinking. Their closed minds are full of darkness; they’re far away from the life God gives because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against Him. They don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they’ve indulged themselves in all kinds of immorality, evil thinking, and the constant desire for more.” Ephesians 4:17-19 NIV

They have built their lives on shifting sand and one day their lives are going to collapse! And if you don’t want your life to collapse right along with them, look at what Ephesians 4:23 says.

Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.” Ephesians 4:23 NLT    

If we’re going to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, it’s got to come from the Spirit. It’s not something we just attach on the outside, Spiritual fruit is an inside job, it happens in the mind first.

“Let the Spirit change your way of thinking.” Ephesians 4:23 CEV

4.God anchors us by CLEANING HOUSE.

“So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires.” Ephesians 4:22 TEV

To get healthy in your life you need to get rid of some things, this is a concept found all throughout the Bible. If you want a healthy body you have to get rid of the junk food in your house. If you want a healthy mind you have to avoid a few magazines. Cleaning house may mean you need to block some channels on your television. You may need to set a parental guide for yourself or put a filter on your Internet. That’s cleaning house mentally.

You may have to clean house in your schedule. Many of us are trying to do too much and could actually accomplish more if we just did less.  Make a list of everything on your schedule and prioritize A, B and C. Then, focus on the A’s and forget the B’s and C’s, do what matters most!

You may have to do some house cleaning in your heart. Maybe there are things you need to confess to God or confess to someone else. Don’t carry unconfessed sin in your heart. Don’t carry emotional baggage around with you, get rid of it. Confess it.

“We must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially any sin that distracts us, so we can run the race that lies ahead of us!” Hebrews 12:1 

God has an exciting race for you to run but you’ve got to get rid of the stuff that slows you down, distracts you and holds you back. Have you noticed it’s easier to pick up bad habits than it is to get rid of them?

Why is it so hard to give up bad habits? There are four main reasons.

  • Because I’ve had them a long time.

You didn’t collect your hurts, habits and hang ups overnight. Many of your bad habits you’ve had since you were a kid. But what works when you’re a kid doesn’t work when you’re an adult.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV

A lot of our bad habits may be self-defeating but they’re familiar. You know them and you are used to them.

  • Because I identify with them.

We often confuse our identity with our defects. When you tie your identity to your bad habits you set up a self-fulfilling prophecy about how you will act. If you’re going to break that bad habit you need a new identity. You need to know who you are in Christ. You need to get rid of the old self and it’s sinful habits and put on the new self that is yours in Christ.

  • Because they have a payoff.

Whatever gets rewarded gets repeated. So for any negative behavior in your life there’s some kind of pay off. Maybe it’s masking your pain or giving you an excuse to fail. Maybe you’re getting attention or temporary relief or pleasure. But anything negative in your life has a payoff, otherwise you wouldn’t keep doing it. So you’ve got to change the payoff to break the habit.

  • Because Satan fights it.

Satan does not want you to be set free. He wants you bound up in your sin. He doesn’t want you to become more like Christ. He wants your life to collapse. So the moment you get serious about making your life secure in Christ, Satan’s going to start feeding you negative thoughts like,  “Who do you think you are? “You’ll never break this habit, it’s just the way you are.” “You’re never going to be like Christ.” “You may as well give up.”

The Bible calls Satan “the accuser of believers.” But if your life is going to be secure and stable you’ve got to clean house and it’s not going to be easy but the Bible says that in Christ we are more than conquerors in Christ we are a new creation.

5.God anchors us through HONEST COMMUNITY.

There are some storms you can’t handle on your own, some life storms are so big you have to gang tackle them. That’s why we encourage everybody to get in a small group.

“No more pretense! Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s Body we’re all connected to each other. So if you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.” Ephesians 4:25 MSG

Everybody needs a community where they are accepted unconditionally. We waste a tremendous amount of energy pretending we’re better than we are.

“Never use harmful words but speak only what’s helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 NIV

Be kind and loving to each other, forgiving each other just as God forgave you in Christ.”  Ephesians 4:32 NIV

In a small group you don’t only speak about the things that build you up. You speak about things that build others up according to their needs. It’s not just about you and your needs, it’s about the Body of Christ being built up.

6.God anchors us through FAITH.

You must believe that you can stand firm with God’s help. The person who says “I can” and the person who says “I can’t” are both right. God says you’ve got to believe and not give up.

“Now, by His mighty power at work within us, God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” Ephesians 3:20 LB

By His mighty power at work within us God is able. Notice that this has nothing to do with your will power. It’s not you mustering up the will to stand firm. This is God working in your life. Think of the biggest thing you could ever think that God could do in your life and God can top that. That’s faith!

Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. What steps are you going to take to get the most out of your small group this Fall?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

Read Ephesians 4:11-32 together.

The six ways God anchors us are: 1) Coaches; 2) The truth; 3) New thinking; 4) Cleaning house; 5) Honest community; 6) Faith.


Identify which components of change you need God’s help with the most.

1. God anchors us by giving us COACHING.

Christ gifted some of us to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, so that his people WOULD LEARN to serve and his Body WOULD GROW STRONG. This will continue until we’re united by our faith and understanding of the Son of God. THEN WE WILL BE MATURE, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him. Ephesians 4:11-13 CEV

2. God anchors us by teaching us THE TRUTH.

Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or made a lie sound like the TRUTH. Instead, we will HOLD TO THE TRUTH in love, becoming more and more like Christ, who is the head of his Body, the church. Ephesians 4:14-15 NLT

Since you have heard all about Him, you have LEARNED THE TRUTH THAT IS IN JESUS. Ephesians 4:21 NIV

3. God anchors us through NEW THINKING.

Don’t keep living as the ungodly do, for THEY ARE HOPELESSLY CONFUSED IN THEIR THINKING. Their CLOSED MINDS ARE FULL OF DARKNESS; they’re far away from the LIFE God gives because they have SHUT THEIR MINDS and HARDENED THEIR HEARTS against him. They don’t care anymore about right and wrong, and they’ve indulged themselves in all kinds of immorality, evil thinking, and the constant desire for more. Ephesians 4:17-19 NIV


Let the Spirit CHANGE YOUR WAY OF THINKING. Ephesians 4:23 CEV

4. God anchors us by CLEANING HOUSE.

So GET RID OF YOUR OLD SELF, which made you live as you used to — the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Ephesians 4:22 TEV

We must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially any sin that distracts us, so we can run the race that lies ahead of us! Hebrews 12:1 GW

Why Getting Rid of Bad HABITS is So Hard:


5. God anchors us through HONEST COMMUNITY.

No more pretense! TELL YOUR NEIGHBOR THE TRUTH. In Christ’s Body we’re ALL CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER. So if you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Ephesians 4:25 MSG

Be KIND AND LOVING to each other, FORGIVING EACH OTHER just as God forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Never use harmful words but speak only what’s helpful for building OTHERS UP ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS, that it may BENEFIT THOSE WHO LISTEN. Ephesians 4:29 NIV

Small Group Ground Rules:

  • What is said in the group stays in the group!
  • No quick answers, snap judgments, or simple fixes.
  • No politics, no controversial topics.
  • No selling products or services to other members.

6. God anchors us through FAITH.

Now, by His mighty power at work WITHIN US, God is ABLE to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of ̶ infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. Ephesians 3:20 LB

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