Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Bible - God's Word To Us

The Bible- God’s Word to Us



“I have never heard an audible voice of God, seen a vision, had a dream, been approached by an angel, or any other thing others sometime claim. But one thing I have - the written Word directly from God.”……..Steve


.When we confess the Bible, “The Word of God” we are confessing that the very words of the Bible are from the “mouth of God”. We are also confessing that the Bible is inspired. Inspiration is an act of God by which He revealed to his creation His word. He breathed-out His words speaking with divine authority in order to give revelation and instruction to the world but in particular to His people. Paul gave this instruction to the young disciple Timothy concerning the scripture and its purpose - “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The inspired scriptures are spoken about as if they are God Himself. Notice the activity of the word to the the statement that there is no creature that is not manifest “in his sight”. Hebrews 4:12-13 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” God has spoken and His truth is revealed, the scripture can never be separated from the Creator. The creator can never be separated from the scripture. So do you want to know how that you are being led by God? Read the word and follow His direction.


.The men which God used to write the scripture did not act alone. In the writing of the Scripture they were superintended by the work of the Holy Spirit in such a way that the words of more than 40 writers, Moses, David, Paul, Peter, etc.; are the very words of God. 2 Peter 1:19-21 “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” God directed the writers not in a dictatorial manner so that they just jotted down facts, He led them so that their individual personalities and character showed forth in their writings. Jeremiah’s weeping can be felt as you read him and John’s desire to fellowship face to face is made known in his writings are two examples. Can you think of some personalities of the writers you have read? I am sure you get the idea! The scriptures closed with St. John. The scriptures are complete and final. God’s revelation is complete. We have His word to us and He directs us by it.


.A timely questions and statement you may be asking at this time is perhaps, “How can I know that the Bible is what you say it is? How does anyone know? I do not see any way you can build a case for the Bible to be the word of God simple upon the testimony of a person or any men.”


.We know that the Bible is God’s Word. Evidence of this is given as a. God Claims to be the Author; b. The Scriptures Give Evidence that the Bible is God’s Word and; c. 3. The Holy Spirit Gives Testimony to Our Hearts

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1. God Claims to be the Author



.a. Of the Old Testament Scriptures -

.The Bible, in both Testaments has the signature of God upon it. The signature of God in the Old Testament is expressed in one way in the Old Testament phrase “thus says the Lord” stated thousands of times.

.Jesus taught that the Old Testament Scriptures are the final, authoritative and infallible word of God. Notice what Jesus said to Satan three times in the temptation in the wilderness :

.Matthew 4:1-10 Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

.Jesus declares that he does not want to do anything contrary to “what is written: in the Scriptures - God’s word. In this he proclaims God’s word to be, authoritative and directive for life. The Scriptures were Jesus rule of faith and practice.

.In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught to the people from the secure and sure Scriptures of the Old Testament: Matthew 5:17-18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Also in John 10:35 Jesus said that, “The Scripture cannot be broken.” Even when Peter, the impetuous disciple, tried to prevent Christ’s death the Old Testament Scriptures were again referred to regarding the prophecies. Matthew 26:48-54 “Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? “

.Paul and Peter spoke of God as being the author of the Old Testament scriptures: Paul declared, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Timothy 3:16 And Peter acknowledged the move on the Holy Spirit in the writing of the scriptures when he reveals that “ prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (1 Peter 1:21).

.b. Of the New Testament Scriptures -

.Now the New Testament was not yet written so what does Jesus say about that, and how do you explain that they are the very words of God?

.Christ promised the disciples that the same Holy Spirit that inspired the writers in the Old Testament would be sent to inspire the New Testament Scriptures. His promise concerning the work of the Holy Spirit : John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He also gave the disciples authority to act and speak on His behalf : Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. The New Testament was written by men given which were given authority by Christ, being guided and directed by the Holy Spirit.

.Notice the statements of the Apostles concerning the Scriptures:.1.) Paul’s writing of the Scriptures which included the Old Testament:.2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:.2.) Peter speaking of the Scriptures reveals:.2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost..3.) Paul’s writing concerning his own message and writings:.1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe..4.) Notice what the Apostle Peter said concerning Paul’s writings. He classified them in the same category as the Old Testament Scriptures :.2 Peter 3:15 -16 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction..

What then are we to conclude? We are to conclude that the Scriptures both the Old and New Testaments are the very words of God. They are to be believed, and to be obeyed as the only rule of faith and life practice. God is the author and it is upon this testimony and not the testimony of any individual that this doctrine rests.


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2. The Scriptures Themselves Give Evidence that the Bible is God’s Word:


.
All the teachings within the Bible give evidence that it is the very word of God. To state only that which has been stated above in itself would be enough evidence! However there are other factors concerning the Bible that give evidence that it is the very words from God. The Bible contains information that could only come from God..

The first thing that can easily be determined is that the whole contains a unity. The sixty-six books by many different authors over sixteen hundred years are unified in all of their teaching. Well known unified doctrinal themes are God’s character, the sinfulness of man, prophecies of Christ, eternal redemption through the shed blood of the Messiah, of His returning again and of judgment upon those who do not believe, love and fear The Lord as well as the teaching of the eternal blessedness of heaven.

.> Prophecies concerning Christ


1. His nation tribe and family
2. The place of His birth
3. Birth to a virgin
4. His offices of a

> prophet
> priest>
king

5. His ride into Jerusalem on a donkey
6. Sold for thirty pieces of silver
7. Be betrayed by His friends
8. Forsaken by His disciples
9. Mocked and insulted
10. Not plead at His trial
11. Scourged
2. Crucified
13. Offered gall and vinegar
14. Would have His garments gambled for
15. Would be mocked at the place of the skull
16. Would be pierced
17. Not a bone would be broken
18. He would die with malefactors
19. Buried with the rich
20. There would be an earthquake at His death
21. Would rise again from the dead
22. That He would ascend into
23. That His betrayer would die suddenly and miserable.

> The times and circumstances surrounding the writings
> The Bible being written in many different countries in many different customs and different circumstances never once contradicts itself.

> It was written by prophets, apostles, a doctor, individuals under persecution, men while in prison, etc.

>In all of this diversity with the Bible being unified, we are given evidence that what was written was from the superintending Holy Spirit and that it is it is the Word of God.

> The emphasis on the Old Testament and the New Testament

1. Old Testament - Points to Messiah (Jesus) and His coming for redemption
2. New Testament - Looks back and gives a description of that which the Messiah (Jesus) came to do and did!

> The teaching concerning who and what is man

1. Made in the image of God2. Fallen from a state of innocence3. Totally depraved.

> The teaching concerning the grace and salvation of God1. The redemption of believers according to the pleasure of the Father2. The accomplishment of the redemption by the Son3. The application of the redemption by the Holy Spirit

> The evidence of the scientific and historical truth of the Bible

1. Our understanding of the creation of the earth and man and animal kingdom
2. The early civilizations uncovered are understood by the accounts of them in the Bible
3. The great kings of many of the great empires in the past are spoken of in the Bible
4. The travail of the animal kingdom that is known as the wild kingdom.

Here is something to do - Take a closer look at some of the prophecies and fulfillments in the Bible. For study purposes take your Bibles and search where these prophetical passages are and then find their fulfillment. Grab a good Bible dictionary as needed.



3. The Holy Spirit Gives Testimony to Our Hearts
.
There are two foundations upon which we stand concerning our faith. There is the external objective truth , which never changes. This objective truth is the inspired word of God. There is also the internal witness which is the witness of the Holy Spirit to the truth of the word of God the Bible. The Holy Spirit does not give us any new truth but evidences or witnesses to our minds / hearts that the Bible is God’s word and therefore truth. It is only true believers that read the word of God and are convinced of the truth contained in them. You may know men and women that have studied the Bible and said that “it is just another book of good pithy sayings concerning decent moral manners and ethics”. Some say the Bible is only a book with many parts that are bloody, hard and without any real substance to life. And some say that Jesus was a good teacher but and that his example is good to follow but man is not really sinful but good deep down inside. It is these people that are dead to the things of God and the Spirit. To them your objective Holy Spirit testimony is “real subjective and not factual”.


The way nonbelievers perceive the Bible is not, nor should it be shocking to me nor any Christian. They do not have a heart renewed and regenerated by God. God only reveals Himself in this special way to His people. Your internal evidence is as real as the word of God which is evidenced by the direct statements of the truth of the word in the proclamations about itself that we have been over. This two way evidence I like to call “ the objective subjectivity of the Christian faith. Objective to me in both external and internal witness , but subjective to all others that truly do not believe.


In conclusion remember the Word of God has been revealed to us. We need nothing else but the work of the Holy Spirit to illumine us to the Wprd and the empowerment to will and do God's pleasure. The Apostle Paul has stated that “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:9-10)

Let us pray for the illumination of the Holy Spirit upon the Word for our continual understanding and witness of the Scriptures and for the empowerment for spiritual application of them to our lives so that we may live and do all the Lord’s will.

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