We Stand on the Shoulders of History in Believing that God’s Word is True

For me, the greatest reason to believe that the Bible is God’s Word is history. We stand on the shoulders of those believers who lived much closer to the time of Christ’s time on the earth. Here’s the big thing: The early church believed that these 66 books were inspired by God. They preserved them, protected them, and were willing to give their life for these books all because they believed that here are the very words of God. This is very important to me. It was not one man who said, “I have the word of God.” It was not one man that said here are the books that are authoritative. The church in unified agreement said “Here are the books.” They didn’t choose which books were. They just began to recognize which ones were and which ones were not. How did they recognize you ask? When it comes to the New Testament, here are four criteria that looking back appeared to be used.

1. Apostolic Origin—Apostle or close relationship with Apostle
2. Universal Acceptance—The Church recognized together that these were books or letters from Apostles who spoke for God
3. Use by the Early Church in worship
4. Orthodoxy of Message

Another historical factor is the preservation of these ancient texts before the invention of the printing press. The care with which the believing community treated these ancient texts is without rival. One of the leading evangelical scholars in this area of study (textual criticism) is a man by the name of Bruce Metzger. He died in 2007, but he was one of the church’s greatest scholars on the subject of the ancient texts. Lee Strobel asked him, “All these decades of scholarship, of study, of writing textbooks, of delving into the minutiae of the New Testament text—what has all this done to your personal faith?”

Metzger answered, “It has increased my faith. It has built it. I’ve asked questions all my life. I’ve dug into the text, I’ve studied this thoroughly, and today I know with confidence that my trust in Jesus has been well placed—very well placed.”

I believe that too!

(This post is based on the message “How Do We Know the Bible is God’s Word?” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

Fulfilled Prophecy Points to God’s Word Being True

One reason that I believe that the Bible is God’s Word, that is “true,” is that the Bible validates itself with the accuracy of prophetic predictions. Among the multitude of examples I could give, let me focus on just a few.

  1. God very clearly entered into a covenant with Abraham about the promise of land in a little strip of land now called Israel. Over the scores of years that have passed, there have been numerous threats to the security of that land and at times discipline from God involving that land, but the descendants of Abraham continue to occupy that land.
  1. The prophets of the Old Testament prophesied (predicted) that invaders from the North would overtake the land of Israel and send many of the inhabitants of Israel into exile.
  1. Specifically, the Prophet Daniel prophesied the existence of four major kingdoms of the world that would follow from his lifetime to the time of Jesus.
  1. Finally, another feature that dominates the prophets of the Old Testament is the correct prophesy of the Messiah—details of Jesus’ birth, life, and death are all prophesied with accuracy centuries before Jesus’ coming.

A person is going to have a hard time developing a convincing proof that all of this is mere coincidence.

(This post is based on the message “How Do We Know the Bible is God’s Word?” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

The Consistency of Theology Points to God’s Word Being True

People who give their lives to the study of theology often use the word systematic to explain their theology. So, in Seminary, we study “Systematic Theology.” As the word suggests, systematic theologians attempt to put their thinking about God into a system (a logical system of thought) considering the whole of Scripture. A beginning theology might sound like a faith statement.

1. We believe that God is the only one true God.
2. We believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation.
3. We believe that the Holy Spirit Completes the Trinity. God has come to us in the Holy Spirit to be the very power and presence of God.
4. We believe that salvation is by grace and grace alone.

All of these things together are part of what we call “theology.” I have come to believe these things because these are the things that the Bible teaches. So, what about the person who does not believe the Bible? That’s our point today. So, I also want to say, “I have come to believe these things as a result of the resurrection of Jesus Christ—the ultimate pillar of our faith.” For me, as a Christian, it reasons that every theological thought hinges on the resurrection of Christ. Because I believe in the reality of the resurrection of Jesus, then I trust and believe in the One who was raised from the dead. And, I believe what He said and what His closest disciples said came from Him.

What does this have to do with the truth of the Bible? The Bible is consistent with the things that I believe about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, salvation, and other theological points that are affirmed in the resurrection of Jesus. For me, there is only logic in believing all or nothing. If I believe that Jesus rose from the grave, then I believe in what He has said.

So the question about the Bible being true begins with this question: Why do I believe in the resurrection? The great thing for me is that I don’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus just because it is in the Bible. There is credible proof in the resurrection outside the Bible. I always use what I call the 4 E’s to explain my belief in the resurrection.

• The Empty Tomb—Many have tried to disprove that Christ rose from the grave, but none have been successful. Why? Here’s why…The Eyewitnesses.
• The Eyewitnesses—The early eyewitnesses believed in the resurrection to the point that they were willing to die for that belief. The earliest of eyewitnesses believed in the empty tomb. People die all the time for what is a lie, but the difference here is that if the resurrection was not really true and those who said that it was true knew that it was not true, then they would be dying for a lie that they knew to be a lie. Big difference!
• The Emergence of the Church—How could the church take off as it did without the reality of the resurrection?
• My own personal Experience—As the hymn writer said, “He walks with me and talks with me. You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.” Or as the modern song writer said, “I know my Redeemer Lives—I spoke to Him this morning.”

What’s keeping you from believing in the resurrection of Jesus?

(This post is based on the message “How Do We Know the Bible is God’s Word?” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

What’s Happening This Week at FBC?

perryToday, February 22, would have been the birthday of Bro. Perry Sanders. I am thankful for his lasting legacy in our city, church, and beyond. Those who knew him have their favorite stories. Today is a good day to tell one of those stories. Today, as every day, is a great day to do what Bro. Perry did better than anyone—tell someone about Jesus. I can’t think of a better way to remember his life. Who can you talk to today about the Gospel?

Thursday night, John Frank Reeve and Dustin Lee leave with a group of students from our school to go on a mission trip to Romania during their Mardi Gras break. We are excited for this opportunity that our high school students have to experience cross-cultural missions during their high school years. Please pray that this trip will be a life-changing experience for all involved.

This Thursday, February 23, is our monthly JOY Club gathering. Lunch begins in the Fellowship Hall at 11:30. This is a monthly time of fellowship and encouragement for our senior adults. Join us Thursday.

(If you would like to listen to some of Brother Perry Sanders’ sermons, view a photo gallery or videos of milestones in his ministry, go to www.perrysanders.org.)

Trusting God’s Word – Genesis 7

Noah’s story is much like our story. We must trust God’s Word. Sometimes all we have is God’s Word. Our faith hinges on whether we trust God’s Word or not. We’re like Hudson Taylor, a missionary of the China Inland Missionary. He wrote his wife during an especially trying time, “We have twenty-five cents—and all the promises of God.”

Noah’ Story shows us . . .

Clear Evidence that God Keeps His Word
Noah’s example gives us a clear example that God keeps his word.

  • God keeps his word even though His word is sometimes delayed.
    Noah is 500 when has children. (Genesis 5:32) Noah is 600 when the flood occurs. (Genesis 7:11) We don’t know when he gets the message to build the ark, but could be 100 years or so before God’s Word is fulfilled.
  • God keeps his word even though sometimes His Word is difficult to accept.
    None of what God asks Noah to do is easy.
  • God keeps his word even though His Word is sometimes disliked.
    Many times we will find that God’s Word is not liked. But just because a group of people decide that they do not like God’s Word or that God’s Word doesn’t fit the times does not make His Word any less true.
  • God keeps his word even though sometimes ¬His Word will be doubted by others.
    Genesis 7:1 reveals the word of God, “You alone I have seen to be righteous.” (NASB)

Clear Effect of Believing that God Keeps His Word
Noah’s story not only shows us clear evidence that God keeps His word, but also indicated the clear effect of believing that God keeps His word. What will be the outward result when we come to accept that God always keeps His word?

  • Accept Warnings of God’s Word.

When we believe that God’s Word is true, we are going to abide by His Word. Knowing that His word is true, we will obey His Word.

  • Awed by the Wisdom of God’s Word.

Noah obeyed exactly. He didn’t understand all that he was being told to do, but out of reverence for God, he obeyed.

  • Act upon God’s Word.

The main thing is that when we believe that God’s Word is true, we will act. The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith.The two are opposite sides of the same coin.

  • Anticipate the salvation promised.

Finally, we will believe that God will save us according to His Word.

This year on Wednesday nights, I am leading a Bible Study on the book of Genesis. You can join us at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, Lafayette. We have a dinner ($6) beginning at 4:45 p.m. This week (February 22) we will take a look at Genesis 8. Come walk with us this year through this book of beginnings.

(This post is based on the message from Genesis Chapter 7, which you can listen to at fbclaf.org/genesis)

How Do We Know the Bible is God’s Word?

One Sunday years ago, about 30 seconds after the closing “Amen,” I met a young man who said to me these exact words: “I am Muslim. How can you say that the Bible is true? I say that the Koran is true. How can you know?”

His question is an important one. His question is the question of many. It is not just the question from a Muslim perspective. It could be from an atheist or agnostic perspective. It could be from an extreme liberal perspective that holds to a philosophy that we cannot know real truth.

It is an important question. In fact, his question is important because we are using the Bible to answer all manner of other questions about faith. So the way that we answer this question of the Bible’s authority becomes by default the answer to so many other questions.

This question must be answered if we are serious about our faith. How would you answer this question?

Yesterday I preached on this subject. I listed my reasons as “Why I personally believe the Bible is God’s Word.” Here are my five reasons.

1. Theological-Logical Reasons
2. Prophetic Reasons
3. Historical Reasons
4. Personal Reasons
5. Scriptural Reasons

Check back later in the week as I elaborate on these 5 reasons.

(This post is based on the message “How Do We Know the Bible is God’s Word?” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

What’s Happening this Week at FBC?

Our student ministry, under the direction of our Student Pastor Brad Gill, has their annual D-Now emphasis this weekend. Please pray with me this weekend that every student who participates will be a life-long disciple of Jesus.

2017-02-19 Bible----480Sunday morning is going to be a great day. We will baptize in both morning services—a total of 6 new believers, all adults. I am preaching on what I could argue is the most important message I could ever preach. I am preaching on the subject: “How Can We Know that the Bible is God’s Word?”

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Beginning Again – Genesis 6

Noah is introduced as a righteous man, blameless in his time, and one who walked with God. In six chapters, this is already the second time that someone is said to have walked with God. God must want us to know that He longs for us to walk with Him. Amazing is the thought of God wanting us to walk with Him, isn’t it? As you find yourself walking today (anywhere—in the mall, for exercise, from the car to the office), think about the fact that you are walking with God. You are, aren’t you?

Later (Genesis 6:22), we are shown one of the true hallmarks of a person who walks with God. As Noah did, that person does everything just as the LORD commands.

This year on Wednesday nights, I am leading a Bible Study on the book of Genesis. You can join us at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, Lafayette. We have a dinner ($6) beginning at 4:45 p.m. This week (February 15) we will take a look at Genesis 7. Come walk with us this year through this book of beginnings.

(This post is based on the message from Genesis Chapter 6, which you can listen to at fbclaf.org/genesis)

Grace, Not Works!

Yesterday, I preached from Ephesians 2:1-10. This is one of those texts that everyone must wrestle with at some point in life. In fact, after preaching from this passage yesterday, I am more convinced than ever that if I knew I had but one more sermon to preach, this would be the text that I would want to use.

One of the crucial questions that we must encounter as people of faith is the question of salvation. Salvation is a word that Jesus used to refer to eternal life. We use the word, “saved,” to communicate a relationship with God through Christ that results in eternal life. In short, “to be saved” is to have the assurance that at the end of your life, you will be “saved” for eternal life. I believe that all religious thought can be divided into just two categories—those who teach a salvation by works and those who teach a salvation by grace. We unequivocally teach that the Bible proclaims that salvation is by grace and grace alone. When asked about grace versus works, we can validate two truths according to the Word of God. First, salvation is by grace, not works. Second, we believe, though, that grace works!

Salvation is a Gift: Grace, not works

To properly understand the full impact of grace, we probably ought to realize life without grace—life before grace. Ephesians 2:1-3 gives us these four realities.

1. We were dead in our sins.

2. We walked according to the world.

3. We were controlled by Satan.

4. We were children of wrath.

“But, God” begins verse 4. What beautiful words! God changes everything. He loved us, and because He loved us, He made a way for us not to stay in that helpless condition without grace.

So, we reach some definite conclusions about grace.

1. We do not deserve salvation.

2. We cannot earn salvation.

3. We would boast if we could earn salvation.

4. Salvation would not be a gift if we had to earn God’s grace.

5. We must receive God’s grace.

Then, we come to verse 8 where we encounter the channel of that grace. We receive that grace through our faith. In other words, God’s grace is available to all, but it is not automatic. Grace, just as any gift, must be received.

Salvation has a Goal: Grace works (2:10)

When we have discovered God’s gift of grace, then we discover the point of that grace. We discover that this grace has goals. There are two goals actually: Heaven and Holiness.

· These goals are the purposes of our lives.

· These goals are the products of our salvation.

So, then, “What’s the difference in a salvation by works and a salvation by grace?”

A person with an understanding that salvation is by works is always asking, “What is the least I can do to earn and keep my salvation?” People saved by grace are always asking, “What is the most I can do to show my love and thanksgiving toward my Savior?”

Thanks be to God for His amazing grace!

(This post is based on the message “Life’s Most Important Word” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

What’s Happening this Week at FBC?

We have a special day planned in worship Sunday morning. We are calling Sunday, FBCS Day at FBC. We have made a special plea to our school families at First Baptist Christian School to join us for worship this Sunday. If they heed our call, we will have lots of guests with us Sunday morning. As we journey together as school and church, it is imperative that we support one another.

fbcs logoWe have a few special plans in place for our school families. They have been invited to a reception in between our two services. We will use this opportunity to share with them information about our church ministries, most especially our preschool, children, and student ministries. Join me in prayer for this Sunday.

In addition, we are inviting you to give a one Sunday love offering to our school scholarship fund. I urge you to join me in making an offering. You can use your regular giving envelope or use one of the green envelopes that are in the pews. Please make sure that you mark the “other” section of the envelope, “FBCS Scholarship Fund.” Every gift will be a huge blessing.

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