Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Word of God P6 (02-17-21)
What conviction do you have that the scriptures are the word of God, are inerrant, and are applicable today as it was over 2000 years ago? Are the problems of man we face today in our lives, anxiety and depression, any different than back then, since the fall of mankind? Yes, we may have advanced technology that can cause more devastating destruction, but deep down is not the root cause of all the problems of man rely inside the heart of man? Do you think that God had a solution to our problems only in today’s world through psychology or philosophy, or that we have become so sophisticated, that we can solve our problems through science and psychology and relegate God to just our initial salvation, such as a guarantee of a new life after we die, but then He just leaves us alone for us to figure out and solve our problems on our own?
So what confidence do you have that God left us His word, the scriptures, as a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Jesus also identified Himself as the Light of the world. Why would He describe Himself that way? This world is a dark place and without the Light of Christ in us, we too are full of darkness, without hope, without God in this world. If we do not have access to God because of sin, and Jesus is the Creator, who holds the world together, what kind of trouble are we in? No wonder our bodies wither away like the flowers or the grass.
But we were created by God to be eternal beings, with the Spirit of God living in us. That is how we are designed. So again, let us go to our designer to find out how we were meant to function. Where else can we go to find out about how we were designed to function but the owner’s manual, the scriptures, that explains the plan of God to restore and redeem fallen humanity?
So as we read the testimonies of the prophets, of Jesus and the apostles, we have a completed picture, a completed roadmap of God’s amazing plan of redemption and of complete restoration, of a recreation of a new life and eventually a new world. This world is not all there is ever going to be, but while we are in this world, Jesus showed, by example, how we are to live and be overcomers of this world, to be a light to others. As Jesus puts His light in us, that same Light that is in Jesus, is to be a shining light to a dark world, that mankind, whom God loves, will have the opportunity to enter into that new life, life in Christ Jesus.
Now, as we think about all that the prophets wrote, and how Jesus spoke of those same scriptures that testify of Himself, and how He fulfilled all that was spoken by God the Father through the prophets, and fulfilled in precise detail all that was spoken. As we read the words of the apostles, who are now filled with the Holy Spirit, who was promised to them and received on the day of Pentecost, and has brought to remembrance all that Jesus said to them while He was with them on earth, the word of the prophets becomes more certain, fully understood in all its glory.The full glory is in Christ Jesus, for the former glory faded away, now that better promises are now ours in Christ Jesus.
The Holy Spirit revealed truth to men, to the prophets, to the apostles and to us. God recorded the completed revelation that man needs to know, the plumbline of truth, not only for a future day of eternal life, but eternal life now, which is Christ in you, to know how to live in the new way of the Spirit, to be overcomers in a dark world, to shine light on darkness that all men might come into the light, to be led internally by the Spirit of God, to live under grace and not by the letter of the law, as children of God, new creation, with minds continually being renewed with truth.
Who is the divine author of the scriptures we hold in our hands? From the testimony of eyewitnesses of Jesus, of His death, burial and resurrection, who had seen the risen Christ, of all that was done through the prophets and through what was spoken through the prophets, in addition to the testimony of Jesus, affirming all that was prophesied concerning Himself, we form convictions that indeed the word of God we hold in our hands was not from human origin but came directly from God through the Holy Spirit and came to be written down.
Although written down on scrolls through the hands of men, the message of truth in Christ Jesus, of all that was prophesied and fulfilled and will be fulfilled came through the Holy Spirit of God, a message so clear. That message is there to shine the light of truth into the hearts of men, so that the blind see and the deaf hear, and I am not talking about mere physical healing, but a new resurrected life in Christ Jesus, the opening of spiritual eyes and ears. The Holy Spirit reveals to men the completed picture of what Jesus accomplished not only for the apostles but for the entire world, a message of good news, of Christ in you, our only hope of glory.
Can we have faith in that written word of God? In other words, if the origin and interpretation did not originate with man, although the apostles were the scribes of it, who wrote it down. In the scriptures is the canon. That word is used in every country of the world. It means it is the standard. The canon was what books went into the word of God. In that the bible had to be written by an apostle, the New Testament, or by an amanuensis of an apostle, which is a scribe. You will see in the writings of Paul where he would say so. Tertius is an amanuensis, who wrote down what Paul was saying as God was dictating to him.
22 I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.
So the bible we hold in our hands today, they had to be written by an apostle. What is an apostle? Someone who has been with God in the beginning, who had witnessed His death, His burial, and His resurrection. That is the criteria for an apostle. Paul, as one out of sync, he did not get his revelation direct from the apostles.
1 Corinthians 9:1
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.
He got it directly from God, and who appeared to Paul directly and proclaimed to him the fullness of the gospel. Not a different gospel, but a fullness of the gospel, which enables us to understand Christ living in us is our 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.
The truth is that was revealed by God was confirmed by the apostles, who said that Paul’s writings was on the same basis as any of theirs.
6 As for those who were held in high esteem – whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism – they added nothing to my message. 7 On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised,[Gentiles] just as Peter had been to the circumcised.[Jews] 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. 9 James, Cephas[Peter] and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me.
So we have a bible that was written by either an apostle, an eyewitness to Christ, or an emanuisserant to an apostle, a scribe, and in Paul, one who was revealed and whom Christ appeared to him, took him to heaven and revealed to him truth that today is setting us free.
The book that we hold in our hands is as reliable as the author and this is Christ Jesus who is the Word who became flesh.
Now, Peter also wrote in 2 Peter 3:1-2.
2 Peter 3:1
1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.
Is that interesting that Peter wrote that I want to stimulate you to wholesome thinking? He did not say wholesome behavior. He could have said to wholesome behavior, but God is wise enough to know you can get a monkey to behave. But if you get your thinking changed, your behavior will be a by-product of who you are because who you are is a by-product of your thinking. That is why as a man thinks so he is. That is why He came to renew our minds and not to renew our behavior. As our minds are renewed, our behavior will be renewed.
It is interesting that how people get into the behavior mode and want us to act holy, and that we need to be teaching more holy living, are the ones who are also walking in such an unloving attitude toward people that you would not want to be around them if your life depended on it. They have no problem of keeping records of wrongs, have no problem of always thinking the worst of people, no problem at all about being impatient, unkind, not trusting, no problem at all with those things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. <sup.5< sup=””> It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.</sup.5<>
8 Love never fails.
Those people keep saying, “I want some holy behavior.” The fact of the matter is that holy behavior you are talking about can be faked like a monkey. But love cannot be faked like a monkey. To be patient, long-suffering, not keep records of wrongs, not be easily angered, believe the best and trust the best, that is the fruit from the Spirit of God and has nothing to do with my godly behavior. It has to do with wholesome thinking. So the word of God said that I want to stimulate to wholesome thinking.
2 Peter 3:2
2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
So once again, reminding his friends to stimulate to wholesome thinking and to remind them that words that were spoken by these holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior was given through your apostles. So the word we hold in our hands today, written by an apostle or an emanuisserant of an apostle, where did he get those words? They were directly from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Would you conclude then that the same God who spoke words in the Old Testament is also speaking words in the New Testament? It would appear to me that is what it is saying. I want to remind you of the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets. So you have Old Testament prophets. Then the command given by our Lord, who is Jesus, and now passed on through the apostles, and that is New Testament passed onto us.
It is interesting as we talk about the word of God and the Trinity. In the Old Testament, we saw God the Father spoke through the prophets. Then Jesus Himself, the Son, spoke His own words concerning Himself. Then the apostles went out and proclaimed what had occured in Christ Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit that was given to them at Pentecost. Today, the message of Jesus is still being proclaimed by His servants, who through the Holy Spirit of God is still revealing truth of that message and is still being proclaimed by God’s servants.
So God testified in the Old Testament. The Son testified about Himself when He was here on earth. Today, the Holy Spirit is still testifying about His Son through His servants. What a privilege we have.
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.
So he is talking about, again, the words of the prophets made more certain. In other words, what was taught in the Old Testament is more certain as to what it means now. Because Jesus, like when He spoke to the two men on the road to Emmaus, what did He do? He gave them a bible lesson. And did what? He told them every place where He was in the Old Testament. So the testimony of the prophets is more certain. So we have the word of the prophets made more certain than it has been. We stop to think about how Christ, when he was here on earth, He was explaining the scriptures. I keep going over that verse of scripture.
39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
He said to the Pharisees, “You search the scriptures in hopes to find eternal life.” You became students of the word but you missed the Word. You became custodians of the written word, and the living Word is standing in front of you, but the living Word is not in agreement with your interpretation of the written word, so what do you do? You crucified the living Word to protect your own interpretation of the written word. Is that not crazy? We do the same thing today.
Christ explained the Old Testament. He explained what it meant. People did not know what it meant. It is like asking, “Who did it?” The last chapter was not written yet. When Christ came, He explained the Old Testament and then proclaimed the good news of the New Testament. The words of the prophets of the Old Testament were made more certain. Now they have been made more certain in relation to the fact that the whole book is about Jesus. It says, “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.” Now he compares that to Psalms 119:105.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
So when he is talking about the fact that this word of the prophets that has been made more certain and you will do well to pay attention to it just as you would to light shining in darkness, that the word of God, therefore is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. It is interesting when you look at night, and that is the condition of the world. It is dark. That is why we do not pay dark bills, but light bills.
The condition of the world is total darkness. If you want to think about something powerful. This darkness is all consuming. What is the only thing darkness has to give into every time? The Light. It cannot hold up to light. As strong and permanent as darkness appears to be, it is no match to light. The sun comes up and the darkness gives way to light. And you and I can see. You go into a dark room and you turn on a lamp or a flashlight or a lightbulb and the darkness gives way to an overpowering light. It is no match for light.
Now he is equating darkness to this world in which we live. And in many cases, he talks about our minds becoming darkened. In the book of Romans it says this.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
All that means is that our minds are totally at the disposal of the philosophies, the psychologies of the world. That is called darkness. It is not truth. It is darkness. False religion is darkness. It is not truth. Now the only solution to darkness is not to try to understand it necessarily. It is to put light in it. The word of God is the lamp to my fight and a light for my path.
There are people today, in the name of Christ and under the auspices of a Christian banner, are casting doubt and dispersion upon the word of God, stating that the only thing it is good for is initial salvation but for dealing with day to day problems, you need psychology or philosophy or something else, in order to deal with the problems of man today, as if problems of man today is different than problems of man 2000 or 4000 years ago. The bible says nothing has changed, that there is nothing new under the sun. The same depression we have today, Job had back then, and he did not have to wait for some chemical to come along or some psychological thought to come along. If that is true, let me tell you something. It is like the gospel. If this message is new, it would cease to be the gospel.
It is the same thing with these man-made solutions. What do people think people did before we had these solutions today? If it was of God, why was God so blatantly unreceptive to man, blatantly hard to man that He did not give us those solutions years ago? He just waited until the 1970s to give them to us. What was He thinking back in the 50s, 40s and 30s? What was He thinking back then? Because all those people, for their love for money, were jumping out of the buildings during the depression, did He not know they were going to be depressed? Why did He not have this stuff back then for them? What is wrong with Him? Did He just think, maybe this group today, in the 80s and 90s, those are the ones who really needed something new?
What do we think people did back in those days? How do you think Mary and Joseph did? Do you think Mary was not depressed? Here she is 19, in essence, pregnant out of wedlock, and everyone accusing her as an adulterous. And she just said “Oh, praise God”. And Joseph was going to put her away, saying “Praise God”, but I am going to put her away. He was depressed quite a bit I would say. What do you think people did back then without modern day technology? They trusted the Lord. They went to the Word who was a Light for their path. The path they were in was dark. The condition they were in was dark. But when there is darkness there is a light, a lamp, and it is not called modern day psychology. It is called the Word of God.
Do not let anybody, regardless of how many degrees they have, con you into thinking that the Word of God is strictly to get you saved, and then after that, you have to go to something else. If that was true, why was there something else back there 2000 years ago, unless the only conclusion you have is that God did not care about anybody until the 1980 and 1990s. That lamp is the Word of God.
1 Peter 1:21-25
21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 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.
Friends, I might add, is still being preached to you. Men are like grass. They fade. They are like flowers. They fade. We wither away. We fall away. It is like that Old Testament priesthood, that death prohibited them from continuing in office.
23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office;
But we have a priest who lives forever. We have the Word of God that will stand forever. That means, my friends, the same sufficiency of the word for you today was the same sufficiency for people 2000 years ago. It has not changed. It was not given to us for interesting reading. It was given to us as a light for our path and a lamp for our feet.
As we walk through this dark, perverted world that we live , with man-made philosophy, man-made psychology, man-made thoughts, man-made tradition, man-made morality, man-made everything, that is the world in which we live. In the midst of that darkness, as great as it looks, as immense as it looks, you just let the sun come and see what happens to the darkness. That is why, we as Christians are to be the light of the world. We are to be a lamp. A person indwelt by God, His word, going into a dark world and proclaiming the good news, that the Word of God is as applicable today in this century as it was 2000 years ago. Our decision is which one of the sources are we going to go to? Are we going to go to man that withers and falls away, or are you going to depend upon the Word of God that lasts forever?
43 All the prophets testify about him [Jesus] that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
There is another thing that plagues man. Am I forgiven or am I not? The book of Acts says that all the prophets testify about Him, that everyone who believes in Him, comes to Him for who He is, receives the forgiveness of sins through His name. It does not say, incidentally, that everyone who comes and asks God to forgive him receives forgiveness. It says that everyone who comes to Him, believes in Him. There is a by-product of believing in Him. You receive forgiveness. It was provided 2000 years ago by His physical death. Today, through our spiritual birth, we receive that forgiveness. That is good news.
How many prophets testified about that? All of them. What does man do? He says, “No, that is not true. No, you just receive partial forgiveness.” If you are in Christ, in Him, you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Are you in Him? If you are, you have forgiveness of sins, through His name. The best news on the face of the earth.
As we were talking about in Acts 10:43, Peter then again verifies the fact in his witness to Christ in the forgiveness of sins, that all of the prophets testify about that, that whoever comes to Him by faith, believing in Him, receives forgiveness of sins through Him, in His name. That was a once and for all act done for the forgiveness of sins, not only for ours but the whole world, and whoever comes to Him, to what He came to give us, life, which is the only solution to the wages of sin, death, is life (Romans 6:23). Through the one who came to give us life, in that resurrected life, we receive the forgiveness that was provided for us 2000 years ago by one act never to be done again.
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
He is not going to die again. When He comes again, He comes not to bear sin but to bring salvation for those waiting for Him.
28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
The reason He is not coming to bear sin, deal with sin, is because He already bore the sins of the world. He already took the wrath of God upon Himself. He is not coming to deal with it. It has already been judged. The verdict was guilty. The punishment was death. Christ took it for everyone, so that, having done that, we could be saved by His resurrected life. All the prophets have testified to the fact that in that life we receive forgiveness of sin.
In Act 3:12-18, it talks about the reliability of the Old Testament scriptures. Let us look at that.
12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you?
Peter, if you recall, just healed a cripple.
Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?
“Do you think we are so godly or have so much power in and of ourselves that we made this man walk?” Again, he identifies to the Jew how they identified God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers.
13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus.
“Look guys, you men of Israel, what you saw today, healing this cripple, was not done by my power, my might or my godliness, but by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, your God, Israel. That God who you say is your God is the one who glorified his servant Jesus.” Just as Jesus said, “If you had believed Moses you would have believed me because Moses wrote about me.” “This is your God, folks, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This God, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is the one who pointed out to you this is the Messiah, who gave you the Messiah, and absolutely confirmed every miracle and wonder you can think of, including raising Lazarus from the dead, and if that was not enough, raising himself from the dead, and you still do not believe! Here is what you did to the servant sent by your God.”
You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life,
What a statement, the author of life!
16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
but God raised him from the dead.
You killed the author of life, but God raised Him from the dead. Whose God? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the one you say you believe in, raised him from the dead.
We are witnesses of this.
I do not think when he said we are witnesses of this that he was just talking about the apostles. I believe he was talking to a whole group that were witnesses of that. If you do not believe the empty tomb was explored and looked at, then you have another thing coming.
16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name
In the name of Jesus. He is talking about Christ because just as Jesus did not do anything unless the Father told Him to do it, Peter did not either. The Lord told him to heal this man. By faith in the Lord, who said do something, he acted upon that by faith in the one who said, “Do it. In the name, in the authority of Christ, this man you see has been made strong. It is Jesus name.
and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.
He was saying to the men of Israel, you have always believed that your God, the one God, is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and indeed that is true, but that God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, I want you to know your God. That was their God. Do you realize that is your God? All you know about that God is that is their God, but He wants you to know who that God is, and He has a name and His name is Jesus.
17 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer.