MT 22:29 & ACTS 17:11
INTRO: I love to read. Reading permits you travel to places you have never been, to enjoy adventures you could never experience otherwise, to feel the emotions of others in situations in which you will not likely find yourself, to accumulate personally the knowledge of the ages. My favorite book of fiction has been for many years Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. My favorite book of non-fiction is Mark Twains autobiography. My favorite book for continued reading is the Bible. Now, which one of them has really made a difference in my life? Thats easy ... the Bible. However the fact that it has made a difference in my life is the result of what I believe about the Bible! It does matter what you believe about the Bible, my friends.
I. SOME CONTEMPORARY POINTS OF VIEW...
A. It is great literature - but not significant beyond that
B. It is filled with Jewish legend and lore - great stories
C. It is not historically reliable - most red letters not really Jesus words
D. It is filled with errors and contradictions - no dependable
E. It is out of date - not in step with contemporary culture and times
F. It has no real authority
II. THE BIBLE IS THE PRODUCT OF INSPIRATION
A. But wasnt Dickens inspired when he wrote his great novels?
1. this is certainly what many, many people would say
2. and with our contemporary definitions I suppose that would be correct
B. However, we cannot use contemporary definitions for such discussions
1. consider three texts: 2 Tim 3:16,17 - 2 Pet 1:21 - 1 Cor 2:10-13
2. the Bible, its contents, its very words, are breathed out by God - the Holy Spirit revealed, and faithful men of God recorded
C. How can I have confidence in this when the world is scoffing?
1. contrary to what may have been said, the Bible is absolutely accurate
2. the errors and contradictions simply do not exist
3. the various internal and external evidences are too compelling to ignore
4. I hope you will forgive my zeal for this book in calling it a great miracle!
III. THE BIBLE ISGODS WORD TO HUMANITY
A. It is not a word of God as some might propose
1. there are, it is true, many other documents purporting to be from God
2. writings of Joseph Smith, Ellen G. White, Mary Baker Eddy, etc. claim to be revealed from God - typically, there is contradiction with the Bible as well as other serious, obvious deficiencies
B. 1 Cor 2:9,10 with 2 Pet 1:3,4 - Bible is the all sufficient word from God
1. indeed, we are repeatedly warned against adding or deleting
2. Deut 4:2 - Prov 30:5,6 - Rev 22:18,19 - the Bible is all we need - anything more than this will ultimately take us away from Him!
IV. THE BIBLES DIVISIONS ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT
A. There are three very distinct divisions
1. each of these divisions is specific to a particular period of time
2. the specific religious ordinances in each period are not specific to the other periods (Mosaic not specific to Patriarchal or Christian, etc.)
B. You and I live in the period of the new covenant
1. Heb 8:1-7 with Heb 1:1,2 - the ordinances of the old covenant (law of Moses) are no longer keepable - see also Heb 10:1-4
2. Mt 17:1-5 with 28:18-20 - the OT certainly has its contemporary uses - but the NT addresses the period in which you and I now live!
V. THE BIBLES DIRECTIVES, TEACHINGS DO HAVE AUTHORITY
A. Listen to 1 Thes 2:13
1. this verse sets out the choices - either from man or from God
2. if it is from God (and it is), then, it must have authority
3. the compliment to these people was that they recognized the difference and acted accordingly
B. Jno 12:47-50 - This sounds like authority to me!
1. further, rejecting Jesus teaching (NT) is to reject the Father
2. at the judgment the Bibles importance and what you have believed about it will become so very clear ... perhaps even painfully clear
3. how many of us say we believe the Bible is Gods word ... but whose lives do not reflect the authority of the word?
CLOSE: Why do I read the Bible, then? For the simple reason that I believe that in order to spend eternity in heaven with the Father I must conform my life to that which is taught and directed in scripture. Dear friends, it does matter what you believe about the Bible.
Cecil A. Hutson
June 26, 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
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
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
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
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)
You Must Be Baptized
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!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
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)