1 PET 1:22,23
INTRO: Over the past several months my family and I have been clearing out the house in which my mother and dad lived for nearly fifty years. In the process we have come across a number of pieces of memorabilia from their years together ... and ours with them. Among the things we have found and will cherish are several Bibles ... with, as you would expect, various notations. I was turning through the pages of dad's Bible not long ago ... reading some of the notations there. On one page I found a brief list of some of the ways the scriptures are described. As I looked at the list and thought of it, it occurred to me that there are great and valuable lessons in each of those descriptive expressions. In these days of attack on the genuineness and authority of the scriptures those lessons need to be heard again. The most common expression is perhaps "word of God".
I. THE WORD OF GOD - CAN WE BE SURE?
A. That is the "burning" question for many
1. and the skeptics abound with their many "skepticisms"
2. they blatantly claim the presence of multitudes of errors, mistakes
3. and because they are often learned men, their claims are assumed true
B. Ah, but there are so many evidences that God is the "Author"
1. it is not our purpose her to explore the evidences
2. it is, however, my intention to affirm in the most positive way my own confidence that the book we call the Bible is from God ... from the evidence
3. 2 Tim 3:16,17 - this is my firm, unshakeable confidence
II. OBSERVATIONS FROM THE BOOK OF ISAIAH
A. Isa 51:16 - "...I have put my words in thy mouth..."
1. re: Jer 1:9 and Ezek 2:7
2. God did not put His thoughts into Isaiah's head
3. He put His words into His mouth - literally, the word of God
4. so, 2 Cor 2:12,13 - the word of God is revealed, expressed in the very words which God chose for His revelation
B. Isa 45:18,19 - "...I declare things that are right"
1. this, of course, in contrast with what human sources might reveal
2. notice what the apostle Paul says at 1 Thes 2:15 - a contrast
3. human sources are not the origin of "right" - and are often far from "right" in declarations
4. another confidence I hold? what I read in God's word is right - what He declares is correct
C. Isa 46:10,11 - "...I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass..."
1. notice that God declares "the end from the beginning"
2. this, of course, would be a reference to prophecy in God's word
3. careful study of prophecy and history indicates that He did bring it to pass
4. 2 Pet 1:21 - men may predict, but God declares!
D. Isa 55:8-11 - "...it shall accomplish that which I please..."
1. Heb 4:12 - note that the word of God "is powerful"
2. Gen 1:3 - this is the sort of "power" which exists in God's word
3. notice Jas 1:18,21 - the begetting power of the word - the saving power of the implanted word
4. His word always has purpose ... and that purpose will be accomplished
E. Isa 66:1,2 - "...and trembleth at my word"
1. who is the person whom God will bless?
2. Isaiah gives us the answer here - and the answer has not changed
3. that person who respects His word with meekness and contrition
4. back to Jas 1:22 - a person respecting His word will be a doer of it -obey
III. OBSERVATIONS FROM THE PSALMIST - PS 19:7-11
A. V. 10 - "...sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb"
1. here is a challenge to our view of the word of God
2. in its use in your life, to what would you compare the word of God?
3. does it have the appeal to you of gold? of honey?
4. has the word of God become "just another book" to you? has it become a religious "thing" in a largely irreligious life?
B. V. 11 - "...warned ... great reward"
1. the value? the great and needed warnings it reveals from our Maker
2. we should all be appreciative of warnings in life: "danger", "beware", "caution", etc. - the warnings keep us from tragic mistakes
3. just so, the warnings of God's word, if heeded, will keep us from so many mistakes in this life ... and from the greatest mistake of all - loss of heaven
4. so, the psalmist acknowledges that "in keeping of them there is great reward"
5. the reward is a happier life now ... and the security of eternity
CLOSE: The word of God ... or, the word of men? Which? I prefer to have my Maker directing my life. It is when I neglect my Maker's instruction, direction that the rough places come into my life. "Oh how love I thy law. It is my meditation all the day."
Cecil A. Hutson
17 December 2006
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)