The B-I-B-L-E

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The Bible is the only book that introduces us to the person, work, and mind of God

A common claim is that all religions are basically the same. Yet there are mutually contrary beliefs so that if one is true, the other can’t be true.
In some religions death is neither a period or a semi-colon, it is just a comma as one is reincarnated over and over again. In other religions death is a period - it is the end and there is no afterlife. In yet another religion (Christianity), death is a semi-colon - the soul continues on in either Heaven or Hell. In other religions, death is a semi-colon - but Heaven and Hell are not the only 2 destinations. A person may be given his own planet to replenish with his celestial wives or 72 virgins.
Then within Christianity the divisions occur like a tree stump that divides into branches that divide into switches that bear multiple leaves and fruit.
The main branches of Christianity include the Orthodox (Eastern faith), the Roman (Western Faith) that divided in 1054.
In the 16th century, some split off from the Roman church as 1 central authority. As kings rose to prominence and expanded their empires, each one had a unique relationship with Rome. Presbyterians thrived in Scotland under the teaching of John Knox. The Reformers in Holland held closely to the teaching of John Calvin. The Influence of Martin Luther expanded from Germany toward the North. The Anglicans (England) split off from Rome because the Pope wouldn’t bless the Kings marriage. And the Methodists were a revival movement when the Anglicans prohibited preachers like the Puritans or Quakers.
As these Europeans immigrated to America our Country saw a majority of Catholic and Mainline Churches (Presbyterian, Methodist, and Lutherans) as well as other groups like the Baptists and Congregationalists in Colonial and Territorial regions.
By the late 1800s many in America noticed that the Mainline churches (namely the Presbyterians of New York) were starting to adopt an attitude of Science and Empiricism that was leading Christianity into new understandings.
This cartoon from 1910 famously depicted the path of the Modernists, which prompted a renewal group to emerge based upon the Fundamentals that were disappearing in the churches and among the clergy. For example, 3 preachers being considered for ordination in the Presbyterian church declared that they did not believe Jesus was born to a virgin.
I know several denominations who claim “In essentials unity, in non-essentials charity, in all things Christ”. But what are the “essentials” We have discussed in great length in Fellowship Hall S.S. about theological triage. First level are the things that are Gospel essential; 2nd tier includes things that may not be essential but they define who we are a body; and 3rd tier are things that we can agree to disagree.
In response to the Modernists/Mainline decline, the resurgent groups united around 5 first level Fundamentals. To these believers any preacher, church or person who denied one of these 5 was shifting into a zone that was NOT Biblical Christianity. These 5 Fundamentals will be the topics of our sermons for the month of July.
Transition: The first foundational truth we must defend is The Bible is God’s Unique Word

As God’s Word it is Inspired

The Bible is not a human endeavor (2 PT 1:21)

A common misconception by both scholars and self-proclaimed experts who haven’t even read it, is that the Bible is only a work of human effort intended to control others.
The Bible is primarily as revelation of the God who created all that exists, and loves you enough to forgive our rebellion by paying an unimaginable price so that He could adopt you into His family for eternity.
2 Peter 1:21 ESV:2016
21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
3. The Bible is self-initiated expression of affection for you and your best.

God is the source of Scripture (2 Tim 3:16)

When humans attempt to persuade another we exaggerate our positives and minimize our shortcomings.
It has probably been a while since your first date with the person you are now with. For those who have been married for a while it may have been too long since your last date with your spouse. But if you can recall that first date, it probably included extra bathing, clean clothes, attention to teeth and breath, selecting a location or activity where you would not look foolish. It is natural for us to accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative. Somewhere along the process you probably were mentored in making a good impression for a job interview.
2. The Bible paints its heroes with feet of clay, not as mythological deities
2 Timothy 3:16 ESV:2016
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
3. Where religion is man trying to find his way to God, The Christian Bible is God telling man how to be restored.

The Bible is unique from Deutero-canonical and Gnostic texts (Rev. 22:16)

The 39 books of our Old Testament are the same collection [although in a different order] of the Hebrew Bible that is revered by religious Jews to this day. The last book was written 400 years before Christ and left God’s chosen people waiting for their Messiah.
While the Jewish Scripture was complete, Jewish history and religion continued right up until the arrival of Messiah. The record of events during this span are helpful, but NOT the same authority as Holy Scripture. These are included in some Translations as “books of the Apocrypha”. As a matter of fact, the earliest King James Bibles included these extra history books that bridge from Ezra-Nehemiah’s rebuilding up to the Caesar Augustus mentioned in Luke 2.
Likewise, there were other historical and opinion gospels and epistles written after the 27 books of our New Testament were considered complete. King Herod.
It seems like every Spring we are told about a discovery of another “gospel” that contradicts the 4 that were accepted by the early Christians (those who lived within the same generation of Christ). It is these other gospels that speak of Jesus having some relationship with Mary of Magdala other than the altruistic one depicted in the true Gospels.
4. Rev. 22:18 warns against seeking further books that some may call “another testament of Jesus Christ”
Revelation 22:18 ESV:2016
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,

Nothing magical about ink and paper, the power is in the Words (Ps 119:130)

Psalm 119:130 ESV:2016
130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Much mysticism has developed over time surrounding items connected to Christ. Last Sunday afternoon Ann and I watched the newest Indiana Jones movie. It is a good thing this was the last, because just like the Rocky and Rambo franchises, the late ones are not near as good as the early ones. But this movie begins with a scene depicting Nazis who are obsessed with the spear that drew Christ’s blood, just as they were bonkers over the Holy Grail, the chalice that supposedly was used at the Last Supper, in a previous film.
Holding your Bible in front of you will NOT ward off evil. The presence of a Mezuzah, and icon or statue of a Saint in your home may be a great reminder for you, but offers no mystical power over your property. A cross around your neck, or a metal of a patron saint, or a tattoo of a Bible verse have no power over evil. At best they are a reminder to place your faith in the WORDS of Scripture.
Transition: I spent a little longer on this first point, because the next 2 are actually dependent upon the Author of our Scriptures.

As God’s Word it is Inerrant

God cannot lie (Ti 1:2)

Titus 1:2 ESV:2016
2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began
If the words of the Bible come from God, and if God cannot lie, then we can rely on the Content of the Bible containing no errors.
This claim of the Fundamentalist is a response to Modernists who over emphasize the human element of copying and translating Scripture.
Very few claim that any translation of Scripture is inerrant (contains no errors). But many (as we do) claim that the Bible as originally given by God does not promote any falsehood as being true.

God directs human endeavors (Pr 16:9)

Some explain apparent contradictions by claiming human authors had inspired ideas, but their humanity may have communicated those ideas in false ways.
Some would claim Paul over emphasized faith because of his journey from persecutor to Apostle. Some claim that James over emphasized works because he experienced some people leaving or watering down their obedience.
Because we believe Proverbs 16:9 to be true...
Proverbs 16:9 ESV:2016
9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
4. We believe that God superintended the writing (verbal), and the compilation (plenary) of Scriptures over time, so that we can trust what we have (while admitting our current edition may have some missed letters, etc.).
I like Dr. Wayne Grudem’s illustration of this. If the original copy of the Declaration of Independence were somehow destroyed, do you think experts have studied, quoted, and written about that document that we could compile a reasonable facsimile today?
5. If we could humanly reproduce the founding document of our country, don’t you think that God could oversee the preservation of His revelation to man?

God’s Word provides a crossroad

When you open your Bible or scroll through it in an app or listen to it on an electronic device, you have to ask yourself if you can trust what you are reading. Satan’s scheme is predictable! He started back in the Garden of Eden convincing Eve to doubt what God had said. When Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days, the enemy attempted to distract Jesus into 3 falsehoods. Just remember...
The enemy is a liar (Jn 8:44, 10:10)
God provides life (Jn 6:68)
Transition: Because our Bible comes from God and is reliable, we also believe...

As God’s Word it is Infallible.

Will Accomplish (Is 55:11)

I love the ministry of Gideons International who for decades has been printing and distributing Gospels, Testaments and Bibles. Why do these business men invest their own money in these ventures? Their core verse is
Isaiah 55:11 ESV:2016
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
2. God’s Word is not only encouraging, it is EFFECTIVE!

Certain (2 Cor 1:20)

2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV:2016
20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
God keeps his promises so that we can say “Amen” (let it be) even before it has happened.
The study of Bible prophecy is not a dive into possibilities, it is a collection of promises!

Enduring (Mt 24:35, Mk 13:31, Lk 21:33)

The 3 synoptic gospels (summary of Jesus’ life) all include this statement.
Matthew 24:35 ESV:2016
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
We hear a lot today about climate change and what role cows, people and production may impact the future of our earth. All positions about carbon, petroleum and alternative energies assume that the earth may change, but it is going to be here for a while.
2. Jesus said that the earth WILL pass away, but His words will last even after the earth is gone!
3. That’s another way of saying, “The Word of God is infallible, because it is enduring”.


We started this message with a reading from Psalm 119, then that Psalm was not mentioned in detail during the rest of the message. Rather than exposit the longest chapter of the Bible in a verse by verse manner, the whole Psalm talks about the beauty and the value of the Scriptures. I commend the whole thing whenever you begin to wonder if the foundation of your faith is unsure.
Two things that come from that Psalm that were also included in our musical worship before the sermon is that God’s Word is a lamp and a light. What is the difference? You can think of it as the difference between a pen light and a yard or street light. They both illuminate so that items may be seen. But one is designed for up close and the other for big picture.
God’s Word is adequate to illuminate the overall path of your life, and it is specific enough to direct the next step of your journey.
The Modernists denied the authority and inerrancy of the Bible. The Fundamentalists claimed the Bible IS reliable! This is why the first point of our Doctrinal Statement boldly and without apology claims:
We believe that the Bible, Old and New Testament, is inspired, infallible, and the authoritative Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is true in all it affirms and is the believer’s source for faith and practice (2 Peter 1:20-21). The Bible itself speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, and is the final source of all that we believe.
Because we believe this, we stand on the promises of God.
Song of Response #271. “Standing on the Promises”
Benediction: 1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV) — Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
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