From the Pastor's Desk 

Is the Bible True?

6-25-17

 

            Let's pray.

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            Pontius Pilate once asked one of the most important and penetrating questions ever asked:  "What is truth?"  He asked this question while interrogating Jesus right before the Lord's crucifixion.  Jesus had just said that He came to testify to the truth and that everyone who is of the truth listens to Him.  It's a good question:  what is truth?  Our goal this morning is not going to be to fully answer that question.  But we are going to look at one aspect of the truth. 

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            Earlier this spring, we hosted a live webcast of one of David Platt's secret church broadcasts.  It was titled, "Scripture and Authority in an Age of Skepticism."  The entire five hour evening was focused on Scripture and the importance and relevance of God's Word in the world today.

            This morning we're going to ask and answer the question, "Is the Bible true?"  That is the second question that David Platt posed during the live telecast.  We've already looked at the first question which was, "Is the Bible Divine?"  That is a very important and impactful question.  Everything that we believe as Christians; every truth and doctrine that we hold dear hinges on whether or not the Bible is actually and fully God's Divine revelation.  If the Bible is divine, then we need to obey it, follow it and live by it.  If it is not divine, then it is nothing more than an interesting fiction book.

            Obviously, the answer to the question "Is the Bible Divine?" is yes!  As we've already said, that makes all of the difference in the world.  Because the Bible is divine, we can know God.  Because it is divine, we can trust what it says.  Because we can trust what it says, we can live our lives in accordance with God's will.  God's Word, which came directly from Him, provides for us everything we need for life and godliness.

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            Is the Bible divine?  Yes.  Is the Bible true?  That's what we're going to look at now.  As we move on this morning, I'd like to begin by looking at a Psalm.  Psalm 119:160 says, "The entirety of Your Word is truth and all of Your righteous judgments endure forever."  The entirety of Your Word is truth.  That is a pretty powerful statement.  This is one possible answer to Pilate's question.  Pilate asked "what is truth?" and the Psalmist would say that God's Word is truth.  He is declaring in this verse that the entirety of God's Word; everything that He has to say to us is true.

            That is a powerful statement.  It is also a very important statement.  But we must ask ourselves, is it a true statement?  Is the entirety of God's Word true?  Is everything that God has to say to us absolute truth?  We need to know the answer to that question because it matters.  We need to know whether or not the Word of God is true because the answer to that question impacts every area of our lives.

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            Even before taking a closer look at it, we can answer the question "is the Bible true?" with an emphatic yes!  The Bible is divine and the Bible is true.  But we're not going to leave it at that.  Hopefully, by the time we're done today, we'll have some reasons for why we believe the Bible is true.

            To begin to understand this, we need to lay a foundation.  There are three parts to this foundation.  For one, God is true.  Titus 1:1-3.  The key line in this passage is "God who cannot lie."  The fact that God can't lie is self-evident because of God's very nature.  He is holy and He is righteous.  If He did, or even could lie, He wouldn't be perfect.  If He is not perfectly holy, then He is not God. 

            It is also confirmed for us by Scripture.  Samuel reminded King Saul of that fact.  In 1 Sam. 15:29 he says, "The Glory of Israel will not lie."  In Hebrews it says that "it is impossible for God to lie."  God is the source and the measure of all truth.  Whenever God speaks the truth, He speaks from His own nature because He is the Father of truth. 

            A second aspect of this foundation is that the Bible is the Word of God2 Tim. 3:16.  Scripture is inspired by God.  This literally means "breathed out by God," or simply, "God-breathed."  Whatever that exactly means and however exactly God accomplished it, we can know for certain that God inspired the accurate recording of His divinely breathed truth by His divinely chosen men.

            Scripture first of all and above all else is from God and about God.  It is His self-revelation to fallen mankind.  The Bible is not a collection of the wisdom and insights of men.  It is God's truth, His own word in His own words.  God's Word is divinely revealed to men on earth and divinely authenticated in heaven.  All of Scripture is inspired, that includes all of the NT as well as all of the OT, even those parts that don't seem to have much relevance to our lives.   

            Scripture is inspired and inerrant in everything it teaches and reports.  The Bible isn't primarily a textbook on subjects such as history, geography or science.  But it is inerrant and inspired when it does speak to those topics.  For instance, until the 16h Century, man assumed that the sun rotated around the earth because that's the way it appeared to be.  Because we now know that the earth rotates around the sun, many scholars accuse the Bible of error.

            One place they say that the Bible is wrong is in regards to what happened in Joshua.  Joshua 10:12-13.  Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and the moon to be stopped.  But if everything is the way we now know it to be, this must be false, right?  The sun can't stop, it's the earth that is moving.  People today, even scientists and experts on weather refer to the sunset and sunrise.  Yet even though those terms are not actually accurate, no one accuses them of being wrong or meteorologists of being ignorant.  The Bible isn't wrong.  God created everything so certainly He could easily do what He did for His purposes and to His glory.

            The third part of this foundation is the Word of God is trueJohn 17:17.  Jesus here refers to God's Word as truth.  In doing so, He was speaking not only of His immediate words, which of course are truth, but He was also speaking of the entirety of Scripture.

            Jesus' revelation was in perfect harmony with that of the OT.  His disciples were authorized by Him to record the revelation He would give them through His Spirit.  All of it, from Genesis to Revelation, is truth.  All of it is necessary for the believer's sanctification.  These three foundations lead to one implication:  The Bible is truthful and without error in all of its teachings2 Sam. 7:28

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            I think we've pretty well established that the Bible is truth.  But what does that mean for us?  Well, it means a number of things.  For one, since the Bible is true we can be assured that the Holy Scriptures are the authoritative Word of God1 Thess. 2:13. 

            The books of first and second Thessalonians were written by the Apostle Paul to the church that he had founded in the city of Thessalonica.  Paul had visited that city on his second missionary journey.

            When he visited there, he had along with him Silas and Timothy.  The three men had only ministered a short while when they saw miraculous results from their preaching.  God was using these men and more importantly, He was using His Word to bring about salvation and transformation in the lives of the people living there.

            But after the three of them left Thessalonica, Paul began to become a little bit concerned about where the people truly were spiritually.  Because of their pagan background and the fact that Paul hadn't spent much time there, he was worried that their faith might have faltered.  So he sent Timothy to check on them.  Timothy brought back a good report.

            We see in this section of the letter especially, Paul expressing his thanks for where the people were spiritually at that time.  He mainly expresses his thanks that the people willingly received the Word of God.  They were open and receptive to the preaching of God's Word.  The missionaries spoke the words, but those words came directly from Almighty God.  As the word of God, it was infinitely superior to the words of human opinion that the Thessalonians were used to hearing.

            They didn't just hear and acknowledge the word; they accepted it.  The word accepted in this verse connotes an "inward welcome of the message."  It wasn't just a mental understanding, it was a heart acceptance.  That was proof of the work of salvation and regeneration that God had done in their lives.  What the Thessalonians heard really was the Word of God.

            The Word of God is the authoritative Word of God.  That means we just can't hear it or read it and nod our heads and then go on with our lives as if it doesn't matter.  It's not just another book and we can't be reading it or considering it like it is.  It has authority in our lives and as we read it, we need to think about it; meditate on it; memorize it; consider how it is to be applied to our situation.  Obedience is our only viable response to what God is saying to us through His Word.  That's because it's His authoritative word.

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            The fact that the Bible is truth also means that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by God.  1 Cor. 14:37.  The context here is in relation to what Paul had been teaching in reference to prophets and to tongues.  He is specifically addressing those who spoke in tongues, the special spiritual language that the Corinthians prized so highly. 

            They prized it above and beyond how they prized Scripture as a whole.  It was more important for them to be speaking in tongues as proof of their spirituality than it was for them to obey God and submit to His authority in their lives.

            So what Paul is basically saying here, the point that he is trying to make is this:  if anyone claims any calling as a prophet of some sort, or if they claim to have any spiritual gift, like speaking in tongues, the true mark of that calling or that gifting will be acknowledging the truths of God.  If someone is sincerely trying to follow God, he will submit the expression of his calling or gift to the principles God has revealed as His commandment.

            Paul wasn't commanding them to follow his words or do what he said.  He was not God.  He was not perfect and was not omniscient.  Paul had personal limitations and blind spots which he fully recognized.  But when he spoke for God, his views were not his own but they were the views God wanted him to express.  The commands of God that Paul was passing on were not tainted by cultural or personal bias.

            For instance, Paul taught that a wife should be submissive to her husband.  Paul did not teach that because he was a Jewish man; he did not teach that because he was a male chauvinist.  He taught that because that is what God had taught him and what God wanted him to teach.  He claimed that everything he taught about God, about His gospel and about His church was God's own teaching.

            That's the way it should be with us today.  The things that we believe as Baptists, the things that we hold dear as Christians here in America, shouldn't be based on what we think or what the cultural thinks or what seems good and sensible to us.  We believe the things that we believe because God says so in His Word.

            That's why we believe that abortion is wrong because God's Word places a high value and high importance on the sanctity of human life.  That's why we believe homosexuality is wrong because God says it is a sin in His Word.  The only way we can say that God doesn't say homosexuality is a sin is if we change and alter the Word of God.  See, it's not us or what we think or the way we want things to be.  It all has to come from God and from His Word and from what He thinks and the way He wants things to be.

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            The fact that the Bible is truth also means the Scripture is what we call infallible.  Inerrant and infallible are words used interchangeably that basically mean the same thing.  God's Word is "free from all falsehood, fraud or deceit.  It is free from error and in fact, incapable of error.  Scripture never misleads, deceives or disappoints.  It is incapable of error in defining doctrines touching faith and morals. 

            The words of Scripture are always inerrant.  Sometimes that infallible word is not fully revealed to us.  Sometimes, we are unable to fully comprehend or understand all that God is saying to us because of our limited comprehension.

            Numbers 23:19.  God is not like man; He never lies in any way, shape or form.  He doesn't change His mind.  What His will and what His plan are will be done and accomplished the way He desires it to be done and accomplished.  He will keep all of His promises.  We can count on that and we can depend upon that because His Word is true.  When He says something, we can trust that it will be done.  When He makes a promise to us, we can be certain that it will be fulfilled.

            So when God says that our sins are forgiven because of what Christ has done for us, we can be certain that is the case.  When God promises us that as believers we will spend eternity with Him in heaven, we can count on that actually happening.  When He says that He will never leave us or forsake us, we can know without any shadow of doubt that He will always be there for us, whether we sense His presence in our lives or not.  When He promises to protect us and to provide for us, we can count on that even if He doesn't provide the way we think He might or the way we think He should.  If Jesus says He is going to come back again, we can take that to the bank because it will happen.

            Here's one last thought concerning this:  If we deny the inerrancy of Scripture, then we cannot trust the Word of God.  If we deny the inerrancy of Scripture, then we also cannot trust the God of the Word.

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            What is truth?  That is a topic that quite frankly is much bigger than we have time for this morning.  But one aspect of truth that we can count on and depend upon is that God's Word is true.  Whatever God says to us is absolutely true and without any sort of falsehood or error. 

            That means we can count on God and we can count on what He has to say to us.  Because of what God has done for us through the life and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can live our lives with confidence in our forgiveness and we can live with boldness in our eternal security.  Nothing can separate us from God or from His love or from His forgiveness and salvation.  Nothing can keep us from heaven, because God has promised to finish and complete the work of salvation that He started in our lives.  Since God's word is true, we can believe that to be the case.

            If you're not doing so already, begin to look at God's Word with new eyes and with a fresh outlook.  It's not just another book; it's not a work of fiction; it's not stories told by men to make some sort of religious point.  It is the truthful, inspired, inerrant Word of God.  He didn't give it to us to sit on a shelf or on a nightstand in order to collect dust.  He gave it to us to change, impact and transform our lives through the Holy Spirit's applications of its truth to our lives.

            As our singers and musicians come now, we invite you to live the truth that God's Word has to offer to us.  If there are any decisions that need to be made regarding anything God is doing or has done in your life, we invite you to come now as we stand and sing.

 

            Prayer.