Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Word of God P7 (02-22-21)
We are studying A Closer Look at the Word of God. If you believe the bible is true, but your only understanding is to why you believe the bible is true is because you just believe it or the pastor said it, then you are on flimsy ground. If you do not believe the bible is true, then also follow along with us on this study. Either way, you need to know why these scriptures are true. The internal testimony of the writers themselves and Jesus Christ Himself, who is God, are the only people who can effectively convince that to your heart. But the word of God is not like any other book you read for information, to get a grade to get a degree so you can get a good paying job. No, this book is read to get to know the author, the divine author, who is God.
We are going to look at the internal evidence, which can be understood by reading what was recorded through the prophets of the Old Testament. There are over 300 prophecies that were all fulfilled in the person of Christ Jesus. Then we read what Jesus Himself had to say. He quoted from the prophets, concerning what had to be fulfilled in Him, that had been written down.
Then we have the eyewitness of Jesus Christ, who saw all these things with their own eyes, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus, who even promised to send the Holy Spirit to them to bring to their remembrance all that they had seen and heard. Then we have the apostle Paul, almost too late for all of that, yet Jesus Himself met Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. We have the New Testament scriptures written down through the apostles, and with the epistles, what the apostle Paul also wrote down. It should be noted that Paul also received direct revelation from God, that what He said was from God, and not from consultation with the other apostles, although they confirmed that what he said was true, confirming him to be an apostle to the Gentiles.
So it is important to know that the scriptures we hold in our hands today are not of human origin. All the prophets and the apostles wrote down, as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit, direct revelation from God of all that God wanted all mankind to know concerning Himself. And the scriptures all point to one person, Jesus Christ, who is God, the promised Messiah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and who is the fulfillment of the unfolding plan of God to restore mankind unto Himself, that all men might have life in His name.
To have life in His name is more than knowing you will go to heaven some day when you die. When you are born again, you have eternal life, Christ Jesus Himself, living in you by His Holy Spirit. So with that understanding, it is equally important to know the word of God has implications for our lives today, in how we live.
The word of God had to be confirmed and it was, but all scripture points to Jesus, in what He came to do for us through His death, burial and resurrection for us, so we may live a new life. All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, correction, rebuke and training in righteousness. The word of God that we hold in our hands will teach us. Teach us what? Truth. That will do what? Set us free. It is teaching for rebuking what is taught. We have gone off the road, and it tells us we are off the road. It is useful for correcting. What is that? Getting you back on the road. Training for righteousness. What is that? Keeping you on the road. So the word of God truly is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, and Christ in us reveals to us the meaning of the word of God so we may live a new life.
What an exciting bible study book this is, on A Closer Look at the Word of God, for many, many reasons. We are studying, first of all, of who Jesus is, and that He is God. If He is indeed who He says He is and that is God, then for us to have full confidence in the word of God, we had to take a look at what God had to say about the word of God we hold in our hands today. Otherwise, the scriptures that we call the word of God could be up for grabs. On the other hand, if Jesus is exactly and precisely who He claimed to be, God, and He testified concerning the scriptures that we hold in our hands that contains the word of God, the bible we hold in our hands, is not not word of God, but it is scripture containing the word of God.
46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
We need to take a look at God’;s testimony concerning the scriptures. If Jesus is who He claimed to be, God, and He said the scriptures were true, then the scriptures are true. If they are not true, then He is not God because God cannot be lying to us. So God is not a liar. He is truth.
17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
We studied in our first lesson together concerning the word of God, the scriptures we hold in our hands, what was Christ testimony concerning the scriptures. We, of course, heard the fact that He said they were absolutely true. As a matter of fact, Christ quoted from almost every book from the Old Testament So when Jesus was testifying concerning the scripture, the very ones we hold in our hands today and are being confirmed every day by archaeological discovery, such as the dead sea scrolls. He quoted from the word time and time again.
(Recall what He said to the two men on the road to Emmaus, after He had risen from dead, and walked on the earth for a period of time.)
26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
The early church fathers, Ignatian, Polycarp, Clemence, nnd all of those early Christian writers, you could reconstruct the bible just from their writings, quoting from the scriptures. My understanding is, although not verified from personal study, but from reading from those who have, they contain 98% of all the scripture, just by reading the early church fathers writings. The scriptures that Jesus held in His hands were Old Testament scriptures. It is not that He did not like the New Testament. He did not have them yet. They were not written yet.
The validity of scripture depends on the testimony of God concerning those scriptures, not the testimony of man. Man comes along and says, “I do not believe the scriptures.” That is fine, because man is dumb. But what does Christ say? Jesus Christ gave testimony concerning the scriptures and said they were true.
2 Peter 1:21
21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote on a scroll at Jeremiah’s dictation all the words of the LORD that he had spoken to him
The same would be true of the testimony of the apostles. The majority of the New Testament was written by apostles or an amanuensisof an apostle. That was one of the criteria for New Testament writings to be put in the canon. In the Old Testament, there were other criteria for putting the books to be considered scriptures. In the New Testament, it was written in Greek and it had to be written by an apostle or an amanuensis of an apostle.
22 I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
Those were the twelve apostles, and out of those twelve there were those who wrote scriptures. Then there came Paul, and Paul, as he said himself, was out of sync.
1 Corinthians 15:8 (TLB)
8 Last of all I saw him too, long after the others, as though I had been born almost too late for this.
1 Corinthians 9:1
1 Have I [Paul] not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?
Galatians 1:12 (TLB)
12 For my message comes from no less a person than Jesus Christ himself, who told me what to say. No one else has taught me.
Yet through direct revelation from God, revealed the truth of God in his writings, and once again, the validity of his writings confirmed by the apostles.
1 Then fourteen years later I went back to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas; and Titus came along too. 2 I went there with definite orders from God to confer with the brothers there about the message I was preaching to the Gentiles. I talked privately to the leaders of the church so that they would all understand just what I had been teaching and, I hoped, agree that it was right. 3 And they did agree; they did not even demand that Titus, my companion, should be circumcised, though he was a Gentile.
Now if Paul had not received that confirmation from the apostles, then there could be some room to doubt in regard to his own writings, outside of there is no way to read his writings without knowing they are inspired. But they did verify that and Christ Jesus also verified it, and so too today, by the Holy Spirit to our spirit, to those who are born again.
8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles.
1 John 5:6-12
6 This is the one who came by water and blood – Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Therefore, the New Testament writings, and there would be no faith at all if we had in our hands the writings of an apostle that were not true, and would not be inerrant in this delivery. If Jesus is God, and indeed He is, and His testimony of the Old Testament was totally inerrant. And the apostles were converted by God and hand-picked by God and also told, which Jesus recorded in the gospels.
25 All this I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.
Jesus is saying, “I will cause everything to come back to your remembrance that I told you.” In other words, everything that was written down by Peter, Paul and any of the writers of the New Testament, that He said the Holy Spirit of God is the one who is going to be the initiator of that. In other words, there is no scripture that came about by the prophets’ own interpretation.
So in chapter 2, the key verse is 2 Peter 1:20, a testimony from Peter himself as an apostle.
2 Peter 1:20
20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.
Prophecy never had its origin in the will of man but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. So Peter testified to the fact that the word of God is true.
2 Peter 1:19
19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
The psalmist called the word of God a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Peter, once again, testified that all men are like grass but the word of the Lord endure forever.
1 Peter 1:24-25
24 For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”[Isaiah 40:6-8] And this is the word that was preached to you.
So, we had the testimony of not only Jesus Christ testifying to the validity of the truth of the word of God that we hold in our hands, the scriptures, but we also have the testimony, of course, of the apostles, who were the writers of the New Testament, as to the validity of the word of God. We just studied last week about the testimonies of Peter.
Now, we are going to talk about the testimony of the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul is the one who wrote the majority of the New Testament scriptures that we hold in our hands today. As we begin to enter into this study today, we are going to be talking about the apostle Paul and the implications of the word of God upon our lives.
The reason that this is important to study is this. If your only understanding is to why you believe the bible is true is because you just believe it or the pastor said it, you are on flimsy ground. You need to know why these scriptures are true. The internal testimony of the writers themselves and Jesus Christ Himself, who is God, are the only people who can effectively convince that to your heart.
In Acts 24:14, as Paul was challenged in regard to his belief in the Old Testament scriptures and the prophets, he testified this.
14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors
Once again, to the Jew, who was God? He was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Paul is now saying that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that was their God. You say it is your God, but it was their God. Now I want to teach you who that God is. He revealed Him as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, which could only be so if Jesus is who He claimed to be, and that is God, and yet calling Him the Son of God. Now there is a Triune God introduced to a community of believers, at least in scriptures, who only saw God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not knowing a clue as to who He really was. So Paul was introducing Him as to who He is, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, the one God, yet manifested in three persons.
14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way
As a follower of Jesus, Paul is saying, “I worship the God of our fathers”, which they call a sect. In other words, they are saying he is not a follower of their God. Paul is responding, “Yes, I am. I am a follower of the Way and a worshipper of the God of our fathers.” The Way is what they called being a Christian back in those days, probably a better term than we have today. But they are followers of the Way, who is Christ Jesus. So he is saying that as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect, “I say I worship the God of our fathers, and there is no contradiction to that at all.”
which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,
So what was the testimony of the apostle Paul in regard to the Old Testament writings. He says, “I agree with everything.”
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
How much then did Paul say that the bible was worthy of teaching? Everything. Everything was written in the past to teach us. Again, but who did he say it was going to teach us about? Jesus. That was the same thing Jesus did when he met with the men on the road to Emmaus. He taught from Genesis to Malachi, teaching where he fit in in the entire scriptures. All scripture is pointing to Jesus.
11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.
Paul testifies of the completeness of the gospel, the final revelation of Jesus Christ, that was given to the apostle Paul, which we will study later. It is an explanation of what salvation is, Christ Jesus alive living in you, which is your only hope of glory.
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Paul is saying that he did not get that from the apostles. He said, “The gospel I preached to you is not something I made up.”
12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
Paul is saying, “I did not get that from men. I was not taught it. I did not receive it from a man. I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.” Again, the validity of that revelation confirmed, which it would have to have been, by Peter and the rest of the apostles.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
How much scripture did Paul say was God-breathed? All of it. Once again, folks, if Paul was just an ordinary guy, if Paul had not received direct revelation from God, and that is not the kind of revelation that people are talking about today, where people get a phony revelation. This is a revelation that was confirmed, and had to be confirmed, by those who walked with Christ, called the apostles. Those men were set apart for that distinct purpose, to confirm everything that Jesus said was true, to have the Holy Spirit of God given to them, revealed to them, and in so doing teaching them everything that Jesus Christ wanted them to know and remember.
So all of that had to be confirmed and Paul was saying, “All scripture is therefore God-breathed and is useful teaching. The word of God that we hold in our hands will teach us. Teach us what? Truth. That will do what? Set us free. It is teaching to rebuking what is taught. We have gone off the road, and it tells us we are off the road. It is useful for correcting. What is that? Getting you back on the road. Training for righteousness. What is that? Keeping you on the road.
So the word of God is useful as a light unto our path, of not only showing us where to go, showing us when we are getting back into the dark, but getting us back into the light and keeping us in the light. It is teaching us truth about ourselves, about God that will absolutely set us free. So scripture is totally profitable for us. When something is useful and profitable, it is because God knows us, and He knows what is useful for us and profitable to us.
Folks, today, take a look at it. Where are we going for our teaching? Where are we going for our rebuking? In this day and age, God forbid you would ever rebuke anybody because nobody is guilty of anything. What is being said is essentially this. “I am not guilty. It is mom and dad and my dysfunctional family. Do not rebuke me, as I am not to blame. The butt does not stop here. It never got here.” We are talking about all of these types of things.
Look at this kind of reasoning. How can the word of God be active in your life to do what it says it is to do, and that is to teach you truth, when the world is saying that is not truth but this is truth. How can I ever be rebuked when I am never guilty of anything? Correcting me? Why would I need correction when I am not at fault to begin with? If I am going to be corrected, it is to see myself as not as guilty but as a victim of some kind. So I will just need to go back and forgive everybody for all the bad things done to me. That is supposed to be correction. Then look at training in righteousness. Who needs to be trained in righteousness when you can just be trained in some behavior modification. I do not need to be trained in righteousness. All I have to do is get my behavior modified.
All this type of thing that goes on, teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, is underneath the skin. No one is dealing with human behavior and action. You are dealing with attitudes under the skin. Unless attitudes under the skin are changed, what good does it do to change your action? But when attitudes are changed, your attitudes will change your action.
We have to realize, my friends, we act according to what we believe. If a child believes or does not believe there is danger in playing in the street, then he is oblivious to it and will run right out into the street. He does not know. He has not been trained in truth. If you and I believe that the whole world is against us, if we believe that somebody of a certain race hates us, then we are going to enter into that community with fear and trembling because of our belief. It has no validity at all as to whether that is true or not. It is just true in my mind, and because it is true in my mind, I am going to be scared to death to enter in.
If I believe something as a child, I can act on it being true even though it is not true. I can remember walking from school to home. I would go by some woods. When the winter months came, it would be dark before I went though there. I was convinced there was some burglar in there. So I learned to run track through that place. I flew by that thing. Have you ever noticed when you think someone is behind you, he is breathing down your neck. But nobody was there, but I believed there was. We will act out what we believe. I do not know why that is a mystery to people.
If we are going to believe in order to correct action, that is God’s way. But if we are talking about changing action without changing the belief system, that is not God’s way. Scripture is used to teach me, rebuke me, correct me and train me, to show me where I have faulty thinking, to correct that with truth, and then train me with righteousness. That is the bible’s testimony about what the word of God is for.
When Paul tried to persuade the multitudes, what did he do? Paul tried to persuade the multitudes. If I was trying to persuade anyone of anything, which I can’t, the Spirit of God has to do that, but it would be to convince people that this word of God is true and it is a testimony about Jesus, who is true.
23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus.
Paul used the Old Testament and his knowledge of scripture to understand that everything in the law of Moses, and everything spoken through the prophets, was a testimony about Jesus Christ. He spent his life testifying of the truth, and was abused, beaten, mistreated, and everything else. He was spending his life trying to convince people that Jesus was sufficient. And entered into objection, which is still taking place to this very day.
We were talking about everything you think you will act upon. You can see that in a little child. I could not help thinking about watching grandchildren growing up. There are a terrific number of programs on today, children’s cartoons. Many times the people producing them are really trying to help children out. You do not have to fear monsters. Guess what that does? “You do not have to fear monsters?” The child says, “What is a monster?”
I remember when I was a child. It was my sister’s birthday. My sister was ten years older than me. At that time, she might have been sixteen. That means I was six. I can remember she was playing the piano one day, and I was sitting next to her and her birthday was coming up. I said, “Eileen, you will not get a new bicycle for your birthday at all.” Mom and dad had a bicycle planted in the closet. “There is no bicycle in the closet.” I was telling her what there wasn’t and she immediately knew what it was. So obviously she did not get surprised on her birthday.
So someone says, “You do not fear alligators under the bed.” And the child says, “What alligator under the bed?” “You do not have to fear this.” That is the same thing Paul is saying about the power of sin is the law.
7 Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.
So when I say, “You do not have to fear monsters”, sin ceases that opportunity and stirs up any fear in regard to monsters. You do not have to fear because you were now told what you do not have to do, fear. That stirs up what I do not have to do. Although the intent was good, it would be a lot better not to talk about monsters to begin with because their aren’t any. It is amazing how we have forgotten that putting in that input would change the behavior of a child. What kind of behavior? Go to bed and be scared of a shadow.
There is a night light in grandma’s bedroom and there is one of those open-back chairs and light reflects back there and puts stripes up there. A child looks up and gets scared. Why are they scared? Because they had fearful thoughts put into their minds. You go to a movie and see psycho in the shower, and the next time you get in the shower, you will be looking around a little bit. Fear is created in our minds through the input into your minds by this world and also by the word of God.
So what we are talking about here is for us to think about that input and what we think and our attitude toward things does not affect human behavior is absolutely ignoring the truth of something that is as obvious as the nose on our face. That is exactly why the word of God, which is God-breathed, not man-oriented, is what is useful. The only thing that is profitable for proper teaching of the mind, of rebuking of thoughts that are not true, of correcting those thoughts with truth and training us in righteousness.
Now Paul, again, testifies about the gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
He went ahead to explain the gospel. In every one of those cases, as he talked about Christ’ death, s burial and resurrection, that all of those things took place according to the scriptures. What scriptures was he talking about? The Old Testament, whereby the prophecies in the Old Testament were pointing to the event of Christ the Messiah, his death, burial and resurrection. So, Christ’ death, burial and resurrection, even though it could have occurred without that declaration, but the fact of the matter is, if it had not been for the Old Testament, how would you have ever known for sure that was Jesus, because anyone could have died on a cross as a martyr. But the fact that there were over 300 prophecies connected with Christ’ life, and His death, burial and resurrection, is a fact that is an absolute mathematical impossibility for those things to be fulfilled in any one man.