Part 3 of the series “Why the Scriptures Are Trustworthy.” Hebrews 11:1 asks that, in our approach to God, which includes our approach to the Bible, that we value both evidence and faith. This is one of many paradoxes, or apparent contradictions, whereby we are to enter into and embrace the presence and reality of God. To better understand this, this sermon looks at another paradox: the person of Jesus, himself. Jesus is God come into this world as a human being. He was, and is, fully divine and fully man. But Jesus isn't just known as "God made flesh," he is also the "Word made flesh." So to understand this mystery in Jesus is to understand the Word of God, the Bible itself. Within the incarnation of God's living Word, we find the inspiration for God's written Word. Through Jesus, we can approach the Bible depending upon both faith and evidence, divinity and humanity, mystery and reason. Through Jesus and the testimony of the Holy Spirit, our confidence in the written Word becomes sure.
Part 4 of the series “Why the Scriptures Are Trustworthy.” Just a few years after Jesus appeared and spoke words of life here on earth, Peter had to defend the integrity of the Word of God. He said, "We have not followed cleverly devised myths...but were eyewitnesses to his majesty...We have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place." (2 Peter 1:16, 19). If Peter had to make such a defense of God's Word so close to the time of Christ, what about the believers of today some 2,000 years after the events of the Bible? How can we be certain that the Bible of today isn't some "cleverly devised myth" as so many in our world believe? This message seeks to examine the physical evidence for the integrity of the actual written text of the Old and New Testaments. From the standpoint of evidence, can we be certain that the words we read in our bibles today are the words inspired by God so long ago? And should there be evidence in favor of this, is that all we need to fully trust in the written Word? Put on your investigative hats as we explore these and other important questions about our faith and practice in light of the Bible of today, yesterday, and forever.
Part 7 of the series “Why the Scriptures Are Trustworthy.” This series has provided many tools to help build our trust in the source and integrity of the written Scriptures. But the ultimate test of truth is whether the Bible actually delivers on its stated purposes: whether the Bible leads us to an eternal, saving, transformational relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and whether the Bible answers to our satisfaction fundamental life questions such as our origin and destiny, life's meaning, and how we should live. Ultimately, our fullest confidence in the integrity of the Scriptures can't be derived only through a search for evidence or a desire for faith. It must ultimately be discovered through an abiding relationship with the author of the written Word, God himself. This relationship must begin with the belief that there is something...or Someone...greater than ourselves. It is only in submitting to him where our ultimate certainty that the Bible is true will come.
Part 6 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. Jesus came to restore us to relationship with God by dying on the cross. He opened the door for us to belong by experiencing aloneness throughout his life and in his death, aloneness even from God. But while belonging to God absolutely starts with the cross, the spirit of the cross should never leave us. We too must take up our own cross with a spirit of sacrifice that infuses every part of our lives. In this way we will model the life Jesus lived, and we will, like Jesus, better identify with others in their aloneness when inviting them to belong (sermon recorded in 2018).
Part 11 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. Words have power. They shape our world. They inspire and instruct. They create and destroy. God's words, or God's Word (the Bible), does all these things too. But God's Word also transforms us. And God's Word ultimately, as the living embodiment of Christ himself, is the chief means God uses to invite us to live in relationship with him...and belong to him (sermon recorded in 2018).
(Note: We're taking a break from the "Belonging to Him" series for the holiday season and will pick back up with Part 2 on January 17th. This week, you’ll be hearing the third sermon John shared from the series, "A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven" while pastoring a church in the country of Honduras.) If you knew you had 24-hours to live, how would you spend it? What if you had 50 years left to live? Making the most of every opportunity involves living with both priorities in mind. We must live in utter dependence upon God's providence over time. And we must step out and take risks in both our daily lives and in our long-term plans to ultimately sanctify time with a view of eternity in mind.