Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 17th - Why the Bible

Prayer Requests -
- Pastor Aaron
- KSU Outreach with Jud and Canyon
- Middle School Class Start-up

The main reason we need to know the Bible is so that we recognize when people are using it wrongly. For example, Psalm 14:1 very clearly says, "There is no God"

When we read it in context, we learn that what it actually says is,
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.

There are a lot of things people come up with, like the Emergent Church and Christus Victor which believes Christ came to save us from sickness and sadness instead of the wrath of God.

There will always be attacks on the Bible, but it has survived so far and I promise you will survive until Christ returns. It has been called, "The anvil that has been wearing out hammers for 2000 years."

I found a write-up I liked a lot from 1891 in a Messianic Jewish journal,
If the permanency of Scripture itself is a marvel, no less marvelous is the romance of Criticism with whcih it is inseparably associated. We call it romance, because there as been no theory too wild to be fastened to it, no view too absurd to be connected with its stories and chronicles. The rise and decline of such schools of criticism have been constant. Each believe that it has discovered a secret; each prides itself on superior scholarship. Each claims to be based on the latest discoveries, and lo! each passes away with all its positiveness and erudition and the Bible remains.

Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith's door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime.
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers worn with beating years of time.

How many anvils have you had? asked I,
to wear and batter these hammers so?
Just one, said he, then said, with twinkling eye,
The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.

And so, I thought, the Anvil of God's Word
For ages sceptic blows have beat upon.
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed - the hammers gone.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 As for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

-The Bible will make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
-It reveals everything we need to know about life, Heaven, holiness, and especially God.
-It is valuable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.
-It will straighten out weird and wrong views just by reading it, and you can find the answer to the questions you have about God contained within.

John 1:1,14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Here we see that Word is referring to Jesus. He was in the beginning, he was with God, and he is God. It is great mystery on how Jesus relates directly to this Bible, because the Bible I hold before you is not physically God, but it does contain the revelation of God and words that can lead to Eternal Life.

Hebrews 1:1-2 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Everything we need to know is recorded in this Bible. It is the only revelation of God to mankind, and it is all we need. It is sufficient to bring us to repentance and faith in Christ, and when people say they've heard from God, if it didn't come out of the Bible, they have not heard from God.

John 14:23-26 Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. "These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

There is a direct correlation to loving Christ and his Word, and God welcoming you into his family.

Everything that Christ said was from the Father.

What Christ spoke was later written down by his Apostle's and direct disciples, what they wrote was straight from the Holy Spirit helping them to remember. While I can write something with a pen, it is the pen actually marking the paper, but I am controlling the pen, the same with the writers of the Bible, they were doing the work, but the Holy Spirit was controlling them to write accurately and truthfully.

I think it was probably a joy to be writing, like the Apostle John, and saying, "I forgot Christ said that!" It must have been a treat to be used by God in such a powerful way as to convey the revealed Word of God to so many.

John 21:25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

What we have here is a snippet of Christ's life, and what is written is what God wants us to know. He has purposefully chosen the parts of Christ's life that we will know and learn from. It helps us to have a book we can be familiar with, instead of a library which would be impossible for a person to learn in a lifetime. When different books come up, like the Gospel of Thomas or other books that haven't historically been in the Bible, you can know that God specifically chose the Bible for you to read and know. He is in control.

Hebrews 4:12-13 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

We're not trying to convince people the Bible is true, because it is impossible to convince someone into Heaven, you have to use the Bible as it is intended, as a weapon to defeat their self-righteousness.

I was with my friend Aaron at a Starbucks and he witnessed to the cashier, Merideth, and he asked her, "Have you ever stolen anything?" And she answered, "Well, maybe someone's boyfriend..." and I said, "Uh-oh, that leads to the next one." Aaron quoted Matthew 5:27-28 to her and she physically deflated, you could see her pride go away and she was wounded by the Word of God. Until that moment the Good News of the Gospel didn't make sense to her, but now I am fairly certain we will see her in Heaven.

Charles Spurgeon said, "Defend the Bible? Would you defend a lion? Loose him, and let him go!"

Isaiah 55:10-11 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
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.

You never know which verse might get someone saved, for me it was 1 Timothy 3:16 quoted by a nut in a park screaming that the reason the world is going to Hell is because women are allowed to speak in the church! Obviously he has no scriptural precedent, the reason the world is going to Hell is because of rampant sin, but he quoted, "Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh..." and it rocked by world-view.

For David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam", who murdered six people, he read the entire New Testament and then got saved while reading Psalm 34:6, "This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles."

It's not our job to convert anyone, we must preach the Word, because Paul said that faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

Philippians 2:16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

We hold fast to the Word of Life, we know that we have eternal life if we do what it says. Just as the Olympians right now are competing, we are also competing for crowns in Heaven with the end goal of giving them to Christ. The Bible contains everything we need to know in order to live a God-pleasing life that will end in him being glorified and us going to Heaven.

John 12:48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

The final judgment will be done by the Word of God. It is unchangeable, and we know that there will be no extra rules on Judgment Day.

We won't get to Heaven, having repented and trusting in Christ and his payment on Calvary's cross, only to be turned away because we failed to get the memo that we had to do a pilgrimage to Bethlehem in order to get in. No, the Bible tells us everything we need to know, and the Book of 1st John contains the word "know" 32 times, God wants us to know we have been saved.

Psalm 19:7-11 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

All of these are about the Bible,
The law is perfect for conversion,
The testimony is sure, it gives us wisdom,
The precepts are right, they bring us joy,
The commandment is pure; it enlightens our lives,
The fear of God is clean, it lasts forever,
The rules are true and are entirely righteous,
The Bible is better than gold, sweeter than honey, and reading and doing it will result in a great reward.
James said, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only..." (James 1:22)

Therefore, read your Bible everyday, but make sure you're putting what you read to practice.

On how the Bible was translated, it was originally written in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament), the Roman Catholic Church translated it into Latin, and Latin it stayed for 1,000 years. John Wycliffe realized that England needed an English Bible and set out to translate the Bible from Latin into English. His translation was far from perfect, being a translation of a translation, but it was better than nothing and the Catholic Church began to fight the translation. Wycliffe died of a stroke before he could be executed.

About forty years later John Huss of Hungary translated the Bible into his native language, he was not so fortunate as Wycliffe and was taken prisoner by the Catholic Church after being promised safe passage to discuss his translation efforts. Their reasoning was that they did not have to keep their promise to enemies of Rome. (See Matthew 5:33-37 for rebuttal) Huss was burned at the stake and his ashes thrown into the River Swift. At the same time the Roman Catholic Church decided to make an example of translators and dug up John Wycliffe and burned his bones to ashes.

Then the Muslims sacked Constantinople and the Eastern Orthodox Church fled into Europe. They brought original Greek and Hebrew copies of the Bible. Meanwhile the printing press was invented which turned making a copy of the Bible from a year long endeavor to several Bibles a day. Desidarius Erasmus, a Roman Catholic, got ahold of a Greek copy of the Bible and translated it into German. Martin Luther read it, and started the Reformation.

Meanwhile, a small group of scholars was meeting in Zurich. They were studying languages and needed a good book written in Greek. They got the Best Book written in Greek, the New Testament, and nearly all of them were converted. Amongst these were Felix Manz, Michael Sattler, Ulrich Zwingli, Balthasar Hubmaier, and many other famous names of the Reformation.

Felix Manz became convinced that the Bible taught that baptism follows faith, and for his ardent preaching against baptismal regeneration and state-sponsored churches, they decided to baptize him to death in the river in Zurich. He preached all the way, despite opposition pleading with him to follow man-made religion instead of the Bible. His mother followed on the opposite side of the river encouraging him to continue preaching the truth and to stand for God. Manz preached until being pushed into the river with hands and legs tied.

A few months later, Michael Sattler was sentenced to be burnt at the stake. In order to keep him from preaching, they cut out his tongue. By the grace of God, he was still able to preach without a tongue. His friends were not afraid of death, because they knew they would be resurrected with Christ, but they were afraid of dying, because they knew it would hurt. Sattler told them he would give them a sign if dying was bearable. His hands were tied behind his back and he was set ablaze. After a little while the rope burned through and his hands were free. He gave his friends the promised sign by pointing skyward until the flames consumed him.

Maekyn Wenz was a few years later, but she was a great preacher and threat to state sponsored religion. She was sentenced to be burnt at the stake, and her preaching the Gospel was so threatening that her persecutors enlisted a blacksmith to make a tongue-screw which would keep her from being able to preach. It worked, and after the flames had died down, all that was left was the tongue screw.

In conclusion, the Word of God is offensive, those that know it either love it or hate it, and those that are in the middle aren't paying attention. Women are just as capable and responsible to preach the Gospel as men, and we should be prepared to lose friends, property, and life for the Bible, which contains the only Way to Everlasting Life and reconciliation with God.