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May 16, 2004 AM

ACTS 17:1-4

INTRO: When I preach or teach, I usually make frequent references to the Bible, the scriptures. Suppose, though, that someone in the assembly or class has little or no background in things religious. He hears these references and wonders, Why does he refer so often to the Bible? What is it about the Bible which commands such a prevalent place in his teaching? And I think these are fair and honest questions which I should be willing to at least attempt to answer. If people are going to acknowledge the authority of the scriptures, they must have some of their basic questions about the scriptures answered. They must come a belief that the Bible truly is unique in Authorship, content and purpose. They must have confidence in what is revealed in the scriptures. So, what about the Bible?


A. The Bible is historically accurate

1. the science of archaeology has proven it so over an again

2. Dan 5:29 - third ruler in the kingdom - why third? why not second?

3. Isa 20:1 - Sargon the king of Assyria - only one Biblical reference - not known from secular sources until mid-19th century

B. The Bible is accurate in its statements of a scientific nature

1. the Bible does not purport to be a science textbook - but includes some notations about nature, etc.

2. Job 26:7 - and hangeth the earth upon nothing (not common belief)

3. Ps 8:8 - the paths of the seas - streams within the oceans

C. The remarkable unity of the Bible

1. numerous human authors - hundreds of years covered - etc.

2. yet, the Bible has a unity of message and purpose from book to book, from writer to writer

3. Eph 3:11 - the entire Bible revolves around this axis - Jesus Christ

D. The fulfillment of prophecy

1. here is a critical point which determines credibility - authorship

2. Deut 18:22 - the scriptures issue their own challenge to credibility

3. Mk 15:28 (cf. Isa 53:12) - multitude of prophecies concerning Jesus fulfilled in exacting detail ... how could the prophets, hundreds of years before, have known such details?

E. The noble moral, ethical demands

1. 2 Cor 6:14-18 - the contrast between the moral, ethical values of scripture and those of pagan, secular, worldly systems is dramatic!

2. Mt 7:12 - the underpinning of Biblical morality and behavior

3. secular morality, ethics thinks of self - Biblical morality always looks beyond self to a concern for others


A. Jno 5:39 - The authoritative information about Jesus Christ

1. Acts 18:28 - ...shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ

2. without the scriptures there simply is no authoritative information

3. yes, there are so many speculations ... but only one authoritative word (note Jno 20:31)

B. 2 Pet 3:15-17 - The authoritative information about discipleship

1. Peter here recognizes the New Testament writings as scripture

2. Gal 6:11 - the written word ... scripture ... written with authority

3. 1 Cor 2:12,13 - words revealed by the Holy Spirit - recall Mt 28:20 with Jno 14:26 ... I have no reservations about teaching that the scriptures are authoritative!

C. Rom 1:17 - Following the example of apostolic preaching

1. why do I, then, cite so many scripture references?

2. I simply follow the example of both Jesus and the apostles who cited scripture as the authoritative basis for what they taught, proclaimed

3. 2 Tim 1:13 & 2:2 - if I abandon the written word, I am abandoning the pattern of sound words ... if I abandon the written word, I have no authoritative underpinning for any preaching, teaching

4. without scripture I have nothing to offer but opinion ... fragile, frail, finite

CLOSE: After years and years of study, reading, research and such, my conviction about the Bible, the scriptures, has only grown stronger. And I recall Peters words at 1 Pet 4:11 - If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God... So, I will continue to study the scriptures (2 Tim 2:15) and to preach the word (2 Tim 4:2).

Cecil A. Hutson

16 May 2004

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)