What is the Bible? pt 2 - Arrival Series [6-28-20]

Updated: Jul 29


Today, we're going to look at four reasons why we can trust the Bible as God's revealed Word to us.


First:

The Bible is the Gospel.

Faith begins with God. God speaks faith into people's lives. God is the faith initiator. When someone is feeling that nudge…when someone feels God's pull to believe…the first thing to do is turn to the gospel. In other words, one of the first four books of the New Testament - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - one of these four books is the best place for a new believer or seeker to read. Probably not Leviticus. Or Romans. But one of the four gospels.


We meet Jesus in the gospel. Here's how Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

The gospel is the story of Christ's life and death for sinners. It is the testimony to his resurrection and what it achieved and how it is enjoyed and what it leads to. The gospel is nothing less than the story of how much God loves us and what He has done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is the trajectory of your life, set by God, from birth to eternity.


The gospel is one story. One story only. There are not many gospels. It is one story. It is about how Jesus saves us from sin and death. And then, having saved us, it is about how Jesus calls us to live lives of service and gratitude. I love what Tim Keller said a few weeks ago {I can't believe I'm following people on Twitter!}:

"Does your prayer life include much praise and savoring of Jesus, or is it mainly a time of asking for things?"

We love and trust the Bible because it leads us to a life of savoring and serving. I think that's a great way of putting it. Savoring and serving.

As we spend time in the gospel, something happens. We are changed. Our

outlook changes. Our worldview changes. When we read the gospel in all its fullness, the Glory of Christ becomes the foundation for our trust in God's Word. Again, as Paul puts it, this time from 2 Corinthians 4:3-6:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

In other words, we treasure and trust the Bible because we see the glory of God reflected in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When our worldview is shaped and informed by God's Word, we gain greater clarity about our purpose. Life makes sense. Sin and its remedy come into sharper focus. We're no longer blown about by the winds of new ideas or old prejudices. We are unshaken by trouble or hardship. Here's something

you might want to write down - Life makes sense when the Bible makes sense.


Here's how that plays out. Life is funny, right? People make all kinds of mistakes, falling short of the glory of God. Phil Robertson, of "Duck Dynasty" fame, fathered a child he knew nothing about 45 years ago. Through one of those genetic testing companies, one thing led to another and now he has reconnected with the daughter he never knew he had.


People play these developments a variety of ways. Some get all pissy and closed off to the new family narrative. But the Robertson's acted the way you would expected people whose lives have been shaped by God's Word would act. After appropriate vetting, they welcomed her into the family. It is a beautiful thing to see.


The Bible is spiritual light. It is real knowledge. It guides and guards and informs our steps. It is like the opening of the eyes of the blind, to see what is really there. The gospel of truth exposes the false narrative of this broken world, revealing the fullness of life in Christ.

Picture for a moment the dead and blind heart. Christ and the cross and sin are boring and foolish and a stumbling block. Then the Word of God, with the power of the Spirit, touches the heart. It opens our eyes to the Good News about Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:23-25 says:

Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

We love the Bible because it is the gospel.


Second:

The Bible Contains the Witness of Paul.

We turn to Paul as a contemporary {meaning he was alive when Jesus was alive} witness to Jesus. More than any other witness in the New Testament, Paul lets us see into his transformed heart. Because he is so transparent about sharing all of who he is, he wins our trust. We can trust his witness to who Jesus is and what Jesus did. Are you with me on that? Paul doesn't come across as some lunatic or liar. He is reasonable and rational. And he did everything at great risk to life and reputation.


Here are Paul's credentials:

Paul, an apostle - not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. - Galatians 1:1
Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” - Acts 9:3-6

Paul's message was taught by the Risen Christ. It was absolute and without error. As he goes on to say in Galatians 1:11-12:

For I would have you know, friends, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

And there's more. You do a survey of the New Testament, you will find abundant evidence of the authority and authenticity of Paul's teachings. It is consistent with what is taught throughout the Bible. As he says in 2 Corinthians 10:8, it was given by God for the building up of the churches. And so, here we are today, resting in full confidence in God's revealed Word to Paul in the Bible.


The third reason we can trust the Bible as God's revealed Word to us is:

Jesus Christ Believed in the Inspiration of the Old Testament.

Of course, Jesus did not talk about the Old Testament. He talked about the Torah, the Law and the Prophets, the Scriptures. Here are some of the

things Jesus said:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. - Matthew 5:17-18
For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. - John 5:46

Again, there's more. A thorough survey of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John will show how Jesus devoted his life to fulfilling what the Scriptures said about the Messiah. Because Jesus treasured the Old Testament, we have full confidence that it is the Word of God.

The fourth reason we can trust the Bible as God's revealed Word is:

The Entire Movement of the Bible is to Give All Glory to God.

From Genesis to Revelation the trajectory of the Bible is that God gets the glory, we don't. That's exactly how the Westminster Catechism begins:

OUR CHIEF END IS TO GLORIFY GOD, AND ENJOY HIM FOREVER.

The whole scope of the Bible is about glorifying God. Here's what that means:

  • God is Creator of all there is.

  • God is totally self-sufficient in all He is.

  • All we are and have are dependent in every moment on God.

  • The good that we have is undeserved; therefore all of life is a gift

from God.

  • God is a Personal God, who is perfect in His love for us.

  • That love is undeserved and unearned, solely rooted in the goodness of God's character.

  • God is all-knowing.

  • God is worthy of all honor and glory and praise.

  • God overcomes our evil impulse to resist him.

  • In Jesus Christ, God provided a way for us to not be punished for our cosmic treason.

We find in the Bible the centrality of the glory of God. The entire push of

Scripture is the salvation of all of creation. For us, God is redeeming a holy people…a chosen race…a royal priesthood, adopting us, through the cross of Jesus Christ, into His forever family. That's where the glory rests.

Today, we have seen four reasons why we can trust the Bible as God's revealed Word to us:

The Bible is the Gospel.
The Bible Contains the Witness of Paul.
Jesus Christ Believed in the Inspiration of the Old Testament.
The Entire Movement of the Bible is to Give All Glory to God.

Or as Jesus said in John 10:27:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
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