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Sermon No: 42208-God's Word - Part 2



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SERMON TOPIC: God's Word - Part 2

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 24 February 2019

Topic Groups: THE BIBLE, APOLOGETICS

Sermon synopsis: The three most basic Christian truths

1. God actually exists.
2. He has revealed Himself in a way that is understandable to people.
3. His revelation has been preserved for us in the Bible

It is a great privilege to have the Bible, many died to get this message to you.
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God’s Word Part 2.

The three most basic Christian truths

1. God actually exists.

2. He has revealed Himself in a way that is understandable to people.

3. His revelation has been preserved for us in the Bible

It is a great privilege to have the Bible, many died to get this message to you

Characteristics of the Bible.

1. Indestructibility.

We looked at some of the examples of those who tried to destroy The Bible.

2. The Consistency of the Bible.

The consistent message of the Bible throughout is “Through Jesus, God is restoring everything that sin destroyed”

3. Fulfilled Prophecy.

Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies from the Old Testament.

4. Historical Reliability.

The Bible is historically reliable. We can be sure that we have the text of the Bible that was written down in the first century.

Peter and Scripture.

2 Peter 1:19-21.

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.Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.

For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Paul and the Scripture.

11 Tim 3v16, 17

All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Jesus and the Scriptures.

Luke 24:44.

He said to them, This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

The authority of the Bible.

One of the reasons the Church is making so little impact is that the authority of the Bible is been undermined.

In some cases this is been done by making something else as valid as the Bible, like Church tradition.

Jesus himself spoke of this..

Matt 15:6,9. Thus you nullify the Word of God for the sake of your tradition.

They worship me in vain, their teachings are but rules taught by men.

Liberal academics

So-called academics delight in trying to tear the Word of God apart.

The Apostle Paul warned

Acts 20:29-30.

I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise who will distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

The consistency of The Bible.

The Bible is not a single book, but actually

66 individual books,

written on 3 continents,

in 3 different languages,

over a period of approximately 1500 years,

by 40 authors who came from many walks of life (shepherds, kings, scholars, fishermen, prophets, a doctor, a military general, and a Pharisee)

One unified book from beginning to end without contradiction.

CONTRASTING THE BIBLE AND THE KORAN

BIBLE

66 Books

40 Writers

Written in 3 languages

Written on 3 continents

Written over 1500 years

Many prophecies

Many miracles

An empty tomb in

Jerusalem

Full atonement for sin

Love for enemies

commanded

Produces liberty

KORAN

1 Book

1 Author

1 Language

1 Country

Over 23 years

No prophecies

No miracles

A grave in Medina

No atonement

Hatred for enemies

Slavery

Historical Reliability of The Bible.

Reliability of a historical document is judged by a few things:

1. Does it contain eyewitness testimony?

The New Testament consists of 27 books that were written by authors who were either eyewitnesses to Jesus or interviewed eyewitnesses of Him

2. How early are the copies we have?

Any writing of history is judged by how close the writing is to the events it records.

The New Testament events all occurred in the first century (0 – 100 A.D.) and all of the writings were written in the first century.

Historical Reliability of The Bible.

3. How many copies do we have? Historical documents are viewed as more reliable if they have more copies of them. The reason for this is that mass printing wasn’t invented until 1440 A.D., by Johannes Gutenberg. In fact the first book printed on the printing press was “The Bible”. Before that, scribes had to copy the writings by hand so that they could be distributed to other areas. The New Testament has been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work. There are over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian. (Wikipedia)

The Bible is a very old book.

The books of the New Testament were written between 55 and 96AD.

Between AD100 and 200, they were collected and read in the Churches. This can be seen, for example in the writings of Irenaeus of Lyons (AD130-200) He mentions all the books of the New Testament except for 3 (Hebrews, 2 Peter & 3 John)

The canon of the Scriptures.

Over the next 100 years these books were carefully examined and compared with spurious writing, like the “fake gospel falsely attributed to Thomas.”

Only those which were penned by the Apostles or were a direct by-product of an Apostle’s input (like Mark, which is based on Peter’s account of the life of Jesus) were accepted as authoritative.

The canon of the Scriptures

Tertullian one of the early church fathers wrote in about 200AD:

We Christians are forbidden to introduce anything on our own authority, or to choose what someone else introduces on his own authority. Our authorities are the Lord’s Apostles, and they in turn chose to introduce nothing on their own authority. They faithfully passed on to the nations the teaching which they had received from Christ.

The canon of the Scriptures

In the early centuries of the church, Christians were sometimes put to death for possessing copies of Scripture. Because of this persecution, the question soon came up, “What books are worth dying for?”

Some books may have contained accurate information, but were they inspired as stated in 2 Tim 3:16?

The canon of the Scriptures

Throughout the early centuries of the Church, few books were ever disputed and the list of canonical books was basically settled by AD303

By un-canonical books we mean those books not included in the canon such as the Apocrypha, the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabus.

The canon of the Scriptures.

Church councils played a role in publicly recognizing the canon of Scripture, but often an individual Church or groups of Churches recognized a book or letter as inspired from it’s writing.

Colossians 4:16.

After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the Church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter to Laodicea.

The canon of the Scriptures.

No single Church council was responsible for collecting and proclaiming the list of books which made up the New Testament. The choice was made by a consensus among Christians over about 300 years.

The Holy Spirit witnessed to them what was inspired and the choice was made by the early Church and ratified by the 3rd Council of Carthage in AD397.

The Apocrypha.

The Roman Catholic Church did not officially canonise the Apocrypha until the Council of Trent (AD1546).

This was in part due to the fact that the Apocrypha contained material which supported certain Catholic doctrines, such as purgatory, praying for the dead, and the treasury of merit.

The Apocrypha.

The books, mentioned below, are found in some versions of the Old Testament, but not in the Hebrew canon. They are called the Apocrypha.

1 Esdras

2 Esdras

Tobit

Judith

Additions to Ester

Wisdom

Ecclesiasticus

Baruch

Song of the 3 young men

Susanna

Bel and the dragon

The prayer of Manasseh

1 Maccabees

2 Maccabees

The Apocrypha indicates that it is not Scripture.

Catholics include these books in their Bible, while Protestants do not? Because much confusion exists around the Apocrypha, let me give four reasons why I believe the Apocrypha shouldn’t be included in our Bible.

1. THE APOCRYPHA ITSELF INDICATES IT’S NOT SCRIPTURE

The authors of the Apocrypha acknowledge that they aren’t prophets and don’t speak with divine authority like the Old Testament authors.

Ryan Leasure (http://jesusisnotfakenews.com/)

Grace Bible Church

1. The Apocrypha indicates that it is not Scripture.

The author of 1 Maccabees writes: (1 Macc. 9:27).

So there was great distress in Israel, the worst since the time when prophets ceased to appear among them

Prophets only existed in their ancient memories.

This text, written around 100 BC, refers back to a time when the prophets were in their midst. The logical conclusion is that no prophet existed at this time who could speak from God. 1 Maccabees 14:41 says as much:

The Jews and their priests have resolved that Simon should be their leader and high priest forever, until a trustworthy prophet should arise.

Again, none of the Jews knew of a prophet who was speaking from God during the time of these events.

1. The Apocrypha indicates that it is not Scripture.

Additionally, these books contain theological and historical errors.

For example, the Book of Wisdom indicates that God created the world out of pre-existing matter (11:17) which contradicts the rest of Scripture’s teaching that God created the world out of nothing.

Moreover, the book of Judith incorrectly states Nebuchadnezzar was king of Assyria, when in fact, he was king of Babylon (1:5). It’s hard to imagine how the Spirit could inspire documents containing both theological and historical error. When you couple the errors with the authors’ acknowledgement that no prophets existed during this time, we have good reasons to reject the Apocrypha as sacred Scripture.

2. Jews never accepted the Apocrypha as Scripture.

The Jews don’t believe the Apocrypha belongs in their Bible, and they never have. Josephus, the greatest Jewish historian of the first century explained:

It is true, our history has been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but has not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers.

Josephus’ quote is especially helpful here. He indicates that ever since the reign of Artaxerxes (465-424 BC), the Jewish writings (the Apocrypha) have “not been esteemed of the like authority with the former (the Old Testament) by our forefathers.” In other words, the Jewish consensus was that while these writings might contain some helpful history and content, they don’t belong in the same category as the Old Testament texts.

2. Jews never accepted the Apocrypha as Scripture.

Rabbinic literature during the first couple of centuries also affirms this distinction.

The Babylonian Talmud reports:

After the latter prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi had died, the Holy Spirit departed from Israel.

Based on this text, the Jews recognized that the Spirit stopped speaking through the prophets after Malachi died. Thus, the Apocryphal documents, which were written after Malachi, are not Spirit-inspired Scripture.

In fact, no early or recent Jewish canon includes the Apocrypha.

That the Jews reject these Jewish documents as Scripture is a strong indication that they don’t belong in our Bible.

3. Jesus and the Apostles never referred to it.

3. THE NEW TESTAMENT DOESN’T REFER TO THE APOCRYPHA AS SCRIPTURE

When reading the New Testament, you will find hundreds of quotations from the Old Testament. According to one count, Jesus and his apostles quote various portions of the Old Testament as Scripture 295 times.

Not once, however, do they quote a text from the Apocrypha.

The absence of references to the apocrypha speaks volumes. After all, if these books were from God, why wouldn’t Jesus or his apostles quote from them?

They don’t, because they believed the Old Testament canon was closed, and it didn’t include the Apocrypha.

3. Jesus and the Apostles never referred to it.

Jesus indicates what the Jewish Scripture include:

Luke 24:44

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

In other words, Jesus breaks down the Jewish canon into three sections.

The law, the prophets, and the Psalms. Notice he doesn’t mention the apocrypha.

3. Jesus and the Apostles never referred to it.

Jesus gives another indication of a closed Jewish canon in Luke 11:51. When talking to the Jewish leaders, Jesus says the Jews will be held accountable for all the martyrs from Abel to Zechariah. At first glance, it might appear that Jesus is making an alphabetical list, but that’s not what he’s doing. Remember, his alphabet was different from ours. Instead, Jesus makes a chronological list. Abel was the first martyr in Genesis (the first book), and Zechariah was the last martyr in Chronicles (the last book in the Jewish Bible). Note, the Jewish Bible contains all the same books as our present Old Testament, but their ordering of the books is different.

Again, the New Testament provides strong evidence that the Apocrypha doesn’t belong in our Bible.

4. Only canonized by the Catholics in AD1546.

4. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DIDN’T DECLARE THE APOCRYPHA WAS SCRIPTURE UNTIL THE REFORMATION

The Roman Catholic Church officially declared that the Apocrypha was canonical at the Council of Trent in 1546.

One must ask though, if these books were authoritative, why wait over fifteen hundred years to declare their authority?

It seems that Rome declared their canonical status as a direct response to the teachings of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformers who rejected these books and their teachings.

4. Only canonized by the Catholics in AD1546.

Perhaps the biggest reason these books were even up for discussion is because St. Jerome hesitantly included them in the Latin Vulgate Bible in AD 404.

Because this was the official Bible of the Western Church for over a thousand years, it’s not hard to imagine how Christians began to think the Apocrypha was also Scripture.

While Jerome included these books in his Vulgate, he specifically differentiated them from the rest of the Bible. He indicated that these books were “not for the establishing of the authority of the doctrines of the church.” That is to say, Jerome recognized that these books didn’t carry the same authority as Scripture. Only Scripture establishes Christian doctrine, the Apocrypha doesn’t have authority to do that, another reason to reject these books as Scripture.

Reasons why The Apocrypha is not canonical.

They were never in the Hebrew canon.

They are not quoted in the New Testament.

Josephus, the Jewish historian, expressly excludes them.

None of them claims to be Divinely inspired.

They contain historical, geographical and chronological errors. They teach and uphold doctrines that are contrary to Scripture (For example, lying is sanctioned, magic is practiced etc)

As literature we may classify them as myth and legend.

Their spiritual (and even moral level) is far below that of the Old Testament in General.

These books were written much later than the Old Testament books, after the closing of the canon.

The Apocrypha.

The Apocrypha contains offensive material unbecoming of God’s authorship.

Ecclesiasticus 25:19. Any iniquity is insignificant compared to a wife’s iniquity.

Ecclesiasticus 25:24. From a woman sin had it’s beginning, because of her we all die.

Ecclesiasticus 22:3. It is a disgrace to be the Father of an undisciplined, and the birth of a daughter is a loss.

Apostolic authority.

Matthew 16:19.

Iwill give to you the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

Binding and loosing.

Binding and loosing was something that the Jews were familiar with, it was a practice of the Pharisees to bind and loose, that is to declare certain things forbidden and certain things allowed. The Jews who converted to Christianity had been governed by the Law of Moses and Jesus was giving the Apostles the “Authority to declare what was allowed and what was forbidden.”

Binding and loosing.

In the following passage we see binding and loosing being done by the Apostles.

They sent out Judas, Silas, Paul and Barnabas to give believers instructions regarding the dispute in Antioch that had arisen regarding the teaching requiring those who converted to Christ, to be circumcised.

Acts 15:28,29.

It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements.

You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You do well to avoid these things.

Binding and loosing.

In Acts 15:28,29 we have just seen how the early church was loosed from the law of circumcision, and bound to not eat meat offered to idols, not to engage in sexually immorality.

In 1 Corinthians 8:4-13 Paul makes the criteria of eating meat offered to idols, the believers conscience, and also been careful not to cause a fellow believer with different convictions to stumble, further loosing them in this regard.

Binding and loosing

Binding Satan and demons is supposedly done by modern day Christians on the basis of Matthew 16:19. This is not what this scripture is referring to, and is not something Jesus or his disciples practiced. Instead we are told..

The Bible is God’s Revelation to man

The greatest revelation of God to man is the Bible.

Paul speaks of the Apostles as 1Cor 6:1.

“Stewards of the mysteries of God.”

But Revelation is not enough, even Satan knows Scripture

When he tempted Jesus, Satan said “it is written”

Yet Satan was taken by surprise by what happened at Calvary.

God’s Revelation to man.

1Cor2:6-8.

We do however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature….

None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Satan thought he could outsmart God, others have been deceived to think the same.

God’s Revelation to man.

Ephesians 3:8-10.

This grace was given to me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.

His intent was that now, through the Church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.

Satan now knows the gospel

Revelation however is not enough

Illumination.

Beyond the pages of the Bible is God himself, this is not a rule book, but God revealing Himself.

1 Cor2:11-16.

…. we have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. …..

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned……

Illumination.

Mark 4:11-12.

The secret of the Kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding

Illumination.

Mark 4:21-25.

Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead don’t you put it on it stand? For what is hidden is meant to be disclosed and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought into the open. If anyone has ears to hear , let him hear. Consider carefully what you hear, he continued. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you and even more.

Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.

Illumination.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4&6.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ….

For God who said “Let the light shine out of darkness,” has made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Illumination is not enough.

John 3:19.

This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, but men preferred the darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.

2 Peter 1 :19.

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you 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.

Appropriation.

John 12:42,43.

Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.

But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the Synagogue for they loved praise from men more than praise from God

Appropriation.

Romans 10:8-10.

The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is the word of faith we are proclaiming. That if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Revelation: Jesus is “A Saviour.”

Illumination: Jesus is “The Saviour.”

Appropriation: Jesus is “My Saviour.”




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