Taking God at His Word

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Francis Chan is a pastor and the best-selling author of Crazy Love and Erasing Hell. In this session from the 2012 Passion Conference, he implores college students, and all of us, to read God's Word diligently and faithfully. If we trust the Bible as God's literal instruction to us, we will be prepared for all of the lies that our world would prefer we believed about who God is.




Francis said that we should expect that people are going to lie to us. Our best defense against these lies is to read Scripture voraciously and take God's Word as literal truth.


1 Kings 13:15-24 (ESV)

15Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.”16And he said, “I may not return with you, or go in with you, neither will I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place,17for it was said to me by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by the way that you came.’”18And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he lied to him.19So he went back with him and ate bread in his house and drank water.

20And as they sat at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back.21And he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command that the Lord your God commanded you,22but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’”23And after he had eaten bread and drunk, he saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back.24And as he went away a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his body was thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside the body.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Does the story of the Prophet of Judah seem fair to you? Why would God allow the old prophet to tempt the Judah prophet in this way? What lesson should we learn from this account?
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1 Kings 22:6-18 (ESV)

6Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.”7But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the Lord of whom we may inquire?”8And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.”9Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah.”10Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them.11And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron and said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘With these you shall push the Syrians until they are destroyed.’”12And all the prophets prophesied so and said, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.”

Micaiah Prophesies Against Ahab

13And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.”14But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I will speak.”15And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go up and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.”16But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”17And he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’”18And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?”

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


When have you been in a situation when every "Christian" person around you seemed to be saying something that you just knew was wrong? How did you respond?
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2 Timothy 4:1-4 (ESV)

Preach the Word

1I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


How has this world moved toward myths about God because it cannot stand sound doctrine? What are the common myths of our day?
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Do you read and study enough that you feel you are prepared to see lies for what they are? If not, what needs to change about the way you study the Bible?
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Read chapters 13 and 14 of 1 Samuel. Francs pointed out three groups of people that may correspond to the modern church.

  • Those few out on the fringe, trusting God wholeheartedly
  • The large group that sees what God is doing in the lives of the courageous few and runs out to support them
  • The fainthearted masses who cower in hiding but come out after the battle is done to claim part of the victory

Which of the three groups do you most identify with? Why?
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We are going to be susceptible to lies if we don't pay close attention to our study of God's Word. Then, as careful readers of the Bible, may we follow the Word and one day hear, “Well done. I was hungry, I was enslaved, and you actually went after me. Well done. Come and inherit the riches of the Kingdom.”



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