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The Bible Part One: The Ultimate Resource

Date: 12/31/2005 
The first in a two part series on the Bible, the ultimate resource where Christians get their power to live for Christ. It is based on a personal relationship with Jesus. Reading the Bible is a life-changing experience.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Morning. I’m glad to see you here. We had a couple of phone calls this morning from some of our church family that woke up to discover that they were headed for Gilligan’s Island. So we want you to remember to keep some of our families in prayer. A lot of our folks around Sacramento, this is a river city, live by creeks and rivers and we have had a lot of flooding. I woke up before sunrise this morning and I woke Karen up and said, “You’ve got to look out the window, dear.” We live right on Arcade Creek and they just built a retaining wall about a year ago to help keep the flood back and the water was just about at the retaining wall so those of you who’ve been to our home know what we’re talking about. The water is pretty high.

This morning we’re going to be talking about the Bible, “Bible Part One” today. I’ll give you part two next year which will be next week. And the message today is more specifically “The Ultimate Resource.” “The Bible, the Ultimate Resource”. You know I’m intrigued with the concept that the church is something like a ship in the ocean in that the church is in the world but the world is not supposed to be in the church. It makes me think of a submarine even more than just a ship. You know I’m fascinated with nuclear submarines. I remember reading an amazing fact about the Nautilus. One time we took our boys and we actually got to look at a maritime museum. We went on the Nautilus. That was the first nuclear submarine that actually went across the arctic under the North Pole, it didn’t have to go under the North Pole, it went under the ice and navigated by a special gyro compass that they had developed.

You can’t use GPS navigation because there’s no satellite reception so they had to develop this internal gyro compass that was very precise. And while they’re under the north pole they’re powered by a nuclear reactor that is the dynamo for the whole ship and they’re able to of course purify their air and purify their seawater and just about anything that happens on one of these nuclear submarines is driven by this reactor. And if you have a problem and you’re under the North Pole you can’t just surface and ask for directions. There’s hundreds of feet of ice and you need to know that you can come out the other side. You know, it made me think a little bit about what place does the Bible hold in the church? How important is it? I’ll submit that it is both our internal gyro and our nuclear reactor all wrapped up in one. Where would we be as a church without this book? Would we be meeting today or would we maybe participate in a social gathering another day, another place.

How much of your life is governed by this book? I want to submit that it is for the Christian the ultimate resource. This is where we get our power. Now there’s no accident in why I’m picking this subject for this time of year. I’m going to be covering this in two parts. I would like to encourage you. I want to do everything I can humanly do and I’m praying that God will do the part only the Holy Spirit can do to impress, inspire, convict that we need to read our Bibles more and we need to study our Bibles. It’s not the same thing as reading as you would through a novel. And we need to study them together. Next week we’re going to have a list out in the foyer. If you’re not part of a weekly Bible study group I’d like to encourage you to consider being part of one. Just take an hour, an hour and a half once a week, get together with others of like faith and read the Word of God together. You have no idea what that will do for you.

Not only is it a great means of strengthening and fortifying your own soul, but it has tremendous evangelistic potential because you’ve got friends and neighbors that you could bring to those home and group Bible studies. So I’m telling you in advance what my goal is so there’s no doubt. I want you to read your Bibles more. You’ve got a new year to make a commitment. I’m pretty good about exercise. Karen and I both belong to a gym. It’s interesting that the enrollments at health clubs spike during this time of year. Do you know why? Who knows why? Because people are virtually gorging from Thanksgiving through New Year’s and they have a tendency… this swelling happens and as a result of that they realize they need to compensate and so they have the best of intentions and they sign up at these health clubs and they offer specials to get everybody to sign up and often some people think membership at a health club is a substitute for actually exercising. The health clubs love this because they’ve got more money coming in but there’s no more people coming in to maintain. Some people think membership in a church is a substitute for reading the Bible and it’s not.

You need to have a personal relationship with Jesus where the Bible is your nuclear reactor that’s driving what’s happening in your life from day to day and it’s guiding you as that internal gyro compass. This is the ultimate resource for us. This week I’m going to talk to you about the miracle of the Bible and what it is and the symbols of the Bible that you find even in the Word of God. Next week I’m going to talk to you a little more about how do we study our Bibles and what are some of the challenges and ways that you can approach Bible study. I don’t know everything about it but I’ll share what I do know. This is a very important subject to me because if it was not for the Bible I would still be a pagan out there somewhere, maybe some part of some new age cult, who knows? But it was the Bible that really turned me into a Christian. And it wasn’t the Bible plus the church. It wasn’t the Bible plus anything else. It was from finding a Bible and picking it up and reading it just as it is with the very worst preparation for understanding the Bible. I’m a high school dropout when I started reading the Bible.

Came from a Jewish background where I already had a lot of cynicism about Christianity. I’d been taught evolution and believed it was full of fiction and fantasy. And with that kind of background I picked up the Bible and it is such a dynamic, powerful book it changed my life. And so I would like to recommend that you, if you haven’t already discovered what a wonderful thing the Bible is, that you rediscover it. Some of us go to church because maybe our parents went to this church. Some maybe out of some obligation and it’s good to have that commitment, but if you don’t know Jesus and He is the Word then it can be drudgery. You’re missing such a wonderful blessing if you’re not reading your Bibles.

A little history about the Bible. The word Bible comes from the word, it’s sort of a Latin variation of the Greek biblo or biblos which means book or books. It’s a collection of books. It’s the diminutive form of the word biblos which was the ancient word for the Egyptian paper. You know for years they used cuneiform where they wrote by pressing in soft clay and they’d write like that, make tablets or they’d chisel in stone. But the Egyptians developed a way to make paper out of this papyrus reed. The paper or papyrus was exported from a Phoenician port and the name of that port was Biblos. Isn’t that interesting? Way back there there was a port named paper and it became the word for book which is where you get the word Bible. Now for years the Word of God, the Message of God to man was communicated orally. God spoke to Adam face to face in the Garden of Eden. Keep in mind the brain that Adam possessed was more powerful than any supercomputer.

Here is a brain that has come from the hand of God. His memory, I’m confident that Adam had a photographic memory. I really believe that. I mean there are people in the world today that have virtual photographic memories. And I think for that first two generations before the flood when their lives were measured by a millennium that men had vast capacity to remember everything said or seen. They say if you’re placed in a state of hypnosis even with our defective brains that we have today that virtually everything that you’ve ever sensed in your life is stored somewhere in your brain. Our problem is recall, right? It’s there but we don’t know how to access the hard drive. Adam had that ability. And so God communicated truth to Adam vastly, of course he was pre-wired with a lot of truth, who he then communicated to Seth and then on to his offspring all the way down to Lamech and then to Noah who communicated orally to his sons. Well after the flood something started happening to man. His lifespan began to shorten. His lifestyle changed. The environment changed and you’ll notice that man’s ability to remember was damaged.

Well, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, they communicated all that God had done for them orally. They remembered it photographically. By the time you get to Moses after the years of bondage in Egypt and after all of the false teachings of the Egyptians had sort of corrupted the truth God saw the need to cartify to write down the messages of God and so Moses became the first great scribe. The book of Job was probably the first book. It tells about the great controversy between the devil and God over man and then Genesis the account of creation and Moses wrote these while he was in the wilderness along with Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and man then began to write the Bible on paper, leather, or cuneiform. The Ten Commandments of course were in stone. Then about five hundred years ago, up to that point everybody who wrote the Bibles had to write them by hand. They were written by scribes. Now sometimes you might find what would be a scribal error in the Bible. You’ll read in one place where it says somebody was fourteen years old when he had a son. And you go to another place and it says, no he was forty years old when he had a son.

You think, now wait a second, he couldn’t have been fourteen years old. That didn’t make much sense and then you find out that in Hebrew the fourteen and the forty were almost identical except for a dot. Well there were a few examples where there were scribal errors and they’re easy to recognize but for the most part God did an amazing ability of preserving the accuracy of His word. Eventually five hundred years ago Johann Gutenberg developed the printing press and then the Bibles began to be duplicated in great quantity and provided for the people. To have scripture up to that point was such a privilege that I don’t think we really appreciate how important it was. Every Bible had to be written by hand. I heard about a minister who before communism entered into Poland he went to Poland, went to this one village, nobody there had a Bible. He gave them a Bible, one Bible, this village with several hundred people. Came back several years later incognito to minister among the people there. He was an American polish speaking gentleman and he found out there was already a church gathering, a Bible believing church, and he said, “So you’ve learned the Bible?”

I guess they had hand written different parts of the Bible. They had one to work from and they didn’t have typewriters so they wrote out, different families were assigned different pages. And they said, “We’ve remembered it.” And so he said, “You’ve memorized the Bible?” “Yes, we’ve memorized the Bible.” And so he said, “Well, read me” and he told them to read a verse from John chapter 17 and they seemed confused. They said, “Are you wanting us to read a verse or do you want us to read all of John chapter 17 because we’ve memorized the whole chapter.” And he found that between the people in the village they had virtually memorized the entire Bible because they had been writing it out. Well, it’s wonderful that we’ve got our Bibles in print now but you know you can take it for granted then. Never has there been a time in history where we have had more of the Word of God available to us and more commentaries on the Word of God. I was tempted this morning to bring to you my little pocket pc, you know these palm pilot things? Because not only I have the Bible on there in several versions, I’ve got Bible commentaries and Bible dictionaries.

I’ve also got the Bible where I can click and a guy will read the Bible to me while I’m listening on headphones from my little pocket pc and if I really wanted to I could get Bible videos and play them on there. I mean we’ve got so much… and the Internet, free Bible software. There’s this one program, I don’t mind telling you, it’s called e-sword.net e dash sword dot net. You can download the Bible for free. All the commentaries, Adam Clark and Jamus, Fawcett, and Brown and Barnes free. The only thing that frightens me is we’ve got so much knowledge now I wonder if we’re accountable for all this. There is such a wealth. You know what can happen though? You can get where familiarity breeds contempt. There is such free access and such abundant access to the Bible and inspired commentary. I’ve got all the writings of the Spirit of Prophesy on my laptop, I’ve got some on my palm pilot I was just telling you about and you’ve got such an abundance of information at your fingertips you can get where you take it for granted and it’s sort of like you go through a buffet and all you do is pick up a few carrots. We have so much that we get where we take it for granted. We think that being surrounded with available scripture and truth is a substitute for reading it and we don’t read it. You’re better off to cling to and memorize and treasure a few verses than be surrounded with a lot of scripture and it never reaches your heart. So I’d like to challenge you to read your Bibles and I’ll say more about studying the Bible.

The Bible is miraculous in its origin. It comes to us by divine inspiration. It is not like any other book. II Peter 1:21 God tells us here, “For prophesy never came by the will of man but holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” It is Spirit breathed the Word of God. It’s not like another book and I can’t explain this.

The Word is a weapon that we must appreciate. Every time Jesus was tempted in the wilderness He quoted from the Word of God. It is the sword of the Spirit. What did Jesus say whenever He was tempted by the devil? “It is written! It is written! It is written!” and did Jesus say, “Just a moment here. Let me access my palm pilot”? How did He know what to say to the devil? “Thy word I have hidden in my heart.” Christ read the scriptures from a child like Timothy he had known the Holy Scriptures. He learned them at the knee of His mother and His father no doubt. He was in the synagogue. They knew Him there. And Jesus I think had the whole book of Deuteronomy memorized because every time the devil tempted Him He quoted from Deuteronomy. So it’s the weapon we use to fight off temptation. You know there’s a favorite passage in scripture you have in Revelation 19 and it’s a very close parallel between Jesus and the word itself. Revelation 19:11, “Now I saw heaven open and behold a white horse and He who sat upon him was called faithful and true.” This is a vision of the word of God. “…faithful and true and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

His eyes were like a flame of fire and on his head were many crowns and he had a name written that no one knew except himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and his name is called the Word of God.” Now who is that rider on the white horse? Jesus or is it the word? Or is there a difference? Is Jesus the Word? And the word is an expression of Christ. Notice what it says about the word, “true, faithful, in righteousness he makes war.” Does the word of God make war? Didn’t Jesus say, “I came not to send peace but a sword”? The word of God is a weapon that we use to invade the devil’s territory. If you read in Revelation 13 what is it that causes a deadly wound for the beast? The “beast received a deadly wound by the sword.” What is that sword? “The word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.” And Ephesians chapter 6, “the sword of the Spirit that is the word of God.” And so the word is our primary weapon of defense and offense for the enemy.

The Bible is a light. It illuminates us in this dark world. Psalm 119:105, how many of you know that one? “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Similar verse, Proverbs 6:23, “For the commandment is a lamp and the law is a light.” Is this world dark? You know it doesn’t matter if you’re standing outside twelve o’clock noon at the equator in a desert, compared to heaven, it’s dark. You know the Bible seems to say that in heaven the sun will be seven times brighter and that the light of the moon will be like the sun now. So when there’s a full moon in heaven it’ll be as bright as it is during twelve noon here. We’re living in a dark world right now and it’s hard to negotiate our way around without the word of God. Have any of you ever been in absolute darkness? I’ve got a little light on my keychain. It’s a little light, matter of fact, it’s pretty bright for a little light.

It’s one of those LED lights. And I was back east, oh probably two years ago, doing a camp meeting. I had some time during the day and so I went to investigate something that I saw signs everywhere called “Endless Caverns”. “Endless Caverns” and I kept thinking I can’t sit in my hotel all day reading. I’ve got to get out and do something so I went to explore “Endless Caverns” and I like caving as you know I was converted in a cave so I went to see “Endless Caverns” and I got there and it had been raining all day like this and it was I guess the end of the season and I went in and she said, “Well, we’re supposed to have one more tour but there’s nobody here.” And I thought, oh, man! I said, “I’m from California and this is my last chance to see your endless caverns.” It was Friday afternoon and I didn’t have any other opportunity. There was a college student who was the tour guide there. They volunteered during the summer. She said, “Look, I’ll take you on a tour.” And so she took me down. I got this private tour of the “Endless Caverns”. It’s not endless, in case you didn’t know that because I made it back.

I don’t think I found the end of it, but we did make it back. But while we were down there and we’re hundreds of feet below ground. She said, “Here, let me show you what happens. If you want to know what absolute darkness is…” She turned off the light. And you never really appreciate that you’re never really in complete darkness. Even when you go to sleep at night you’d be surprised but through your eyelid you can even be sensitive to the little nightlight, the little light that’s coming off your clock. That much light can make a big difference. When you get in absolute darkness it is a surreal feeling. It’s like you lose your perspective for reality and I reached down and I got my little nightlight on my keychain. After sitting in absolute darkness for a minute I said, “Just leave it. Wait. Wait.” I told the gal, “Don’t flip the lights on.” I said, “I just want to experience absolute darkness for a minute here.” And then I found my little keychain. It happens to be a blue light. And I pressed that thing and it was almost like you ever seen those lights when they’re opening up some new event they have these lights that go against the sky?

That’s all they do is go against the sky. They’re so bright. It was like turning one of those things on. Your eyes become adjusted and your pupils dilate. That little bit of light made such a tremendous difference. Well this is what the Bible is in this dark world. You know it’s so encouraging to me when I encounter somebody who’s been out in the world, they’re a pagan, they don’t know about Christianity then they get a hold of the Bible. Then they start reading through the Bible, and they go, “Wow! This is really good stuff! Now everything is starting to make sense. I see what’s going on! Life has purpose!” For those of us raised in the church we’re so used to the light we don’t appreciate it. For those who have been coming out of that abject darkness when they realize what the light is they wonder why we’re not more excited. The word is a lamp; it guides our feet.

God’s word is eternal and it’s also enduring. I’ll get to that in a minute. Psalms 119:89, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” It does not change. Settled in the heavens. Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands” for how long? Jesus said Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away but My words will not pass away.” God’s word does not change. It is Jesus is the Word. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. You know you’ve got something in your kitchen that doesn’t spoil. Now you might think is it the stuff that has vinegar in it? Well, that’ll last a while but it will eventually spoil. You know what it is you have? Honey. Honey is a natural preservative in itself and honey does not go bad.

It may crystallize. You can put it in the microwave. I’ve done it. or you can even heat it up. You just take the jar of honey and put it in hot water and it’ll reconstitute and it’s spreadable again and it takes just like honey. It’s got this miraculous food/mineral combination to it. And the Bible tells us the word of God is like honey. It’s enduring. “How sweet are your words to my taste; sweeter than honey to my mouth.” The word of God, the law of the Lord is sweeter than the honey comb. Ezekiel 3:3, God said to the prophet, “Son of man, feed your belly and fill your stomach with this scroll.” He gave him a prophecy of the word. “As I ate it, it was in my mouth like honey for its sweetness.” God’s word is compared to honey because it’s enduring. They’ve gotten honey out of the pyramids. They warmed it up and you know what it was? Honey. It might have tasted musty but it was still edible. It’s enduring. It doesn’t matter how often it’s attacked.

It’s like an anvil. Someone said, “The Bible is like an anvil that has worn out many hammers.” Some of you have heard of the skeptic Voltaire. In France one time he said he was going to overthrow the Christian religion and the Bible would soon be extinct. Pretty bold statement. He was a bright guy. It’s a shame he wasted his brilliance on the wrong side. I understand right now the very place where Voltaire made that prediction that the Bible would soon be extinct is a Bible warehouse, but he’s dead and buried. The word of God is enduring. Somebody said one time, very adequately, “The Bible has passed through many intense fires and has come out with so much even the smell of burning.” You know Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the furnace and not even the smell of smoke was upon them. The bible has passed through many fires and it comes out without even the smell of fire upon it. It does not change.

You know something else that is very hard to communicate but Jesus said it so I’ll do my best. The words in the Bible are not just words in the Bible. When you look at the words in the Bible someone might look at it and they might see black ink on white paper or if you read the Bible on computer you might see digital pixels on a television screen. But it’s not that. It’s deceptive in that sense. It’s more. You’re looking at a message that is spirit and life. That’s what Jesus said. John 6:63, “It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you they are spirit, and they are life.” Something about the Bible that’s different. When you read the word it comes alive. It’s real. You know it’s amazing to me that some people read the bible and they get nothing out of it. Someone said, “It’s not how many times you’ve been through the Bible, it’s how many times the Bible has been through you that matters.”

It’s different. When people read it with their hearts open to hear what the Spirit is saying… and you should pray before you read the Bible that God’s Spirit will speak to you. It comes alive. A. W. Towser said, “A loving Personality dominates the Bible walking among the trees of the Garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present speaking, pleading, loving, working and manifesting Himself.” Now eternal life comes from Jesus. This is Christ. No, I’m not saying this book here, but He is the Word. “The Word was made flesh.” Do we know what Jesus looked like? Do we really know what He looked like? Is anyone sure exactly what color His eyes were? His hair? I know that sometimes we think that it’s going to be something like the pictures we see, but we don’t know exactly what He looked like. What do we know? What changed the world was what He said. They sent soldiers to arrest Jesus and they came back and they said, “Never a man spake as this Man.” It’s the word that changed everything.

It’s spirit and life. It’s the only book that will make a restful pillow when you’re dying. Every other book will be hard.

The Bible is soul food. You’ve heard that expression before. It really is soul food. Jeremiah 15:16, “Your words were found and I ate them and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart for I am called by Your name, O Lord, God of hosts.” Like Ezekiel eat the scroll, Jeremiah said, “I found Your words and I ate them.” Job 23:12, “I’ve not departed from His commandments of His lips. I’ve treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Now while we’re talking about Bible reading I won’t ask how many of you ate anything today. Don’t want to put you on the spot, but we usually don’t miss too many meals and if we do miss a meal, we’re not going to miss the second one because you begin to hunger for it. Do you have that hunger for God’s word? If you visit a doctor and you say you haven’t been feeling well, he may do a little poking and prodding and ultimately he might ask you the question, “How is your appetite?”

Why is he asking that? Because if you say, “Well, you know, Doc, it’s funny you should ask. I haven’t had any appetite lately.” Do you know what he’ll say? “Maybe we need to run some tests.” Because a sign of bad health is no appetite. A sign of bad spiritual health is if you’ve got no appetite for the bread of life. It’s food for our soul. Matthew 4:4 Jesus said, “It’s written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” You know as I travel around different parts of the world I wonder sometimes how different people can develop a taste for things that I think are awful. You go to India, they got some food there that will just burn you from the inside out and you think, “How do they ever get to the place where they relish this?” I’ve been to some islands where they eat this stuff from some pounded roots saguaro and some other things and I think, “This is so bland. How do they ever develop?”

Oh, they just start to salivate when they think about eating it. They’re craving it. I’m going, “Well. Can’t understand it.” You go to Germany. They make some of these strange sauerkraut dishes. In my opinion it’s like intestinal torpedoes. I don’t know how they can do it but oh, they get so excited when they see it set out on the table. And then of course you can go to Mexico or China and everybody’s got their favorite food. You know why it’s their favorite food? Because they eat it. What do your parents tell you when you’re growing up and you say, “I don’t like my broccoli or Brussels sprouts”? “Eat a little bit.” Why do they say that? How many of you tell your kids that? “You’ve got to eat a little. Gotta try it.” Because you’re hoping, you know, that they’ll develop a taste for it and get where they... There are things, I grew up, I wouldn’t eat growing up, I really like now. I seek it out. Because my parents made me eat it.

You can only feed so much to the dog and eventually you have to eat some of it. You can only hide so many of those peas in your mashed potatoes. And you develop a taste for it. You might be saying, “Doug, I have no appetite for the Bible.” Read it anyway and as you read it you might find you start developing a taste for it. Amen? I’d also say at this point it could be you don’t have a taste for it because our appetites are so perverted by the overstimulating things that we get through television and the media and radio and all these other things that by comparison the Bible, as healthful as it is, seems bland. Say amen. I think that’s one of the big challenges.

The bible is miraculous in its harmony. Even though it is a book that was written over a period of sixteen hundred years by about forty different authors on three different continents speaking three different languages when you go through it the harmony of the scripture, what’s a word I can use? I use amazing a lot because of Amazing Facts. How about astounding? Flabbergasting, incredible. I read the Bible a lot and so I can tell you that when you read Genesis and then you jump to Revelation and you find reference to Genesis then you go to Jesus and you find reference to Genesis and all through the Bible there is, it’s overlapped. It’s like little electric wires that are crossing everywhere and all of the circuits connect. It’s one book. The unity of it is astounding to me. Even though it was written… it was written some of it by kings that were educated like Solomon and then you get shepherds with no education gathering sycamore fruit like Amos and even though you’ve got this broad spectrum of backgrounds and geography and history, the harmony is astounding. Miraculous in its harmony.

It’s miraculous in its message; the message of salvation telling of many occasions when God supernaturally intervened in the affairs of men to accomplish His redemptive purposes. Woodrow Wilson said, “I am sorry for men who do not read the Bible every day. I wonder why they deprive themselves of the strength and the pleasure.” George Mueller said, “The vigor of our spiritual life will be an exact proportion to the place held by the Bible in our life and thoughts.” Did you catch that? The vigor, the vitality, the health of your spiritual life is going to be directly in proportion to the place held by the scriptures. Not only is that true in your life, I believe it’s true in a congregation.

I think if God has done anything good here at Central, I’m sure there is a lot we can improve on, but any good that has happened through the ministry of this church, I think it is because of the primacy we give the scriptures, because we believe in the scriptures, because we proclaim the scriptures. Matter of fact, I think we’re doing a lot of things wrong, but God compensates because the power of this reactor is so phenomenal that it seems to cover some of the deficits. Faithful to preach the word, teach the word. This is where the power is. And if it’s true in a congregation, it’s true in your life. Show me a Christian that is backsliding, that’s losing their first love, I’ll show you one that’s neglecting their Bible devotions and their prayer, personal prayer life.

It’s miraculous in its accuracy. Sin entered our world because man doubted God’s word. We should never doubt the accuracy of the Bible. Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself but because it contradicts them. A lot of people it’s not that they think the Bible is inaccurate. It’s because it conflicts with their life. John Wesley said, “I am a man of one book.” That doesn’t mean he never opened any other book but there was one book that governed everything he did and if you’ve read anything that Wesley said you know that’s true. You know I put out, I printed out something just from one of the Amazing Facts study guides that can’t improve on very much, prophesies in the Old Testament and then their fulfillment in the New Testament.

These are just prophesies that deal with Jesus’ first coming. Look at the accuracy here. Old Testament said that He would be born in Bethlehem, Micah 5:2; it happens of course you know Matthew 2:1. That He’d be born of a virgin Isaiah 7, Old Testament, five hundred years earlier foretold; happened in the New Testament. He would come from David’s lineage prophesied in Jeremiah 23, fulfilled in Revelation 22. The attempted murder by the Roman power in Jeremiah 31, fulfillment Mathew chapter 2. Betrayal by a friend Psalms 41:9, New Testament many places in the gospels where Judas betrayed Him. The price for His betrayal, thirty pieces of silver foretold in Zechariah. We know from the Dead Sea scrolls this was prophesied long before He was born. Did it happen? Yes!

That He’d be crucified. “They pierced my hands and my feet,” foretold both in Psalms and Zechariah 12:10. We know He was. They’d cast lots, they would gamble for His clothing foretold a thousand years before it happened. We know it was written before it happened Psalm 22:18. You read in Matthew 27 there at the foot of the cross they’re gambling for His clothing. None of His bones would be broken even though they broke the bones of those on His right and left again prophesied in Psalms 34:30, Exodus 12:46. John 19:31 you see the fulfillment. That He’d be buried in a rich man’s tomb. Who could predict that? That’s Isaiah 53:9; fulfillment Matthew 27, the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. The day, year, and hour of His death, Daniel 9:26-27 again in Exodus 12; fulfillment in Matthew 27. That He’d be raised the third day Hosea 6 and many others; Acts 10:38. And not even just these prophesies about Jesus’ first coming.

If you’re even faintly acquainted with the book of Daniel look at the prophesies that are made about the empires of the world that there’d be this sequence of Babylon would rule and then the Mede-Persian Empire then the Greek Empire and then the Romans that would not really fall but would be divided into ten empires and all of these things happened with western civilization just as the Bible foretold. And we know the book of Daniel was written before these things happened. The accuracy of the Bible is miraculous. Amen? Why would you want to neglect something like that and when it’s so precise regarding the first coming of Jesus do you think we can trust the prophesies regarding the second coming? The Bible is miraculous and it is accurate.

You know I… They say one of the most dangerous kinds of diving you can do, I mentioned a minute ago that I like caves, but scuba diving in caves is very dangerous. And when Karen and I got our scuba certificate that one of the, they have a special certification for open water and they’ve got a special certification for training and the highest certification you can get is cave diving because it is extremely dangerous. If you are way down in a tunnel underground in a cave in water you’ve got the combined danger of being enclosed by earth and water and if you are not able to breathe or you have some problem with your gear or if you panic and some people panic very, very dangerous. What often happens is these divers get in the caves and because you are wearing a weight belt, you’re supposed to put just the right amount of weights on this belt when you’re diving to reach what they call, you want to achieve “neutral buoyancy” so that when you’re under water you don’t float up, you don’t float down, but you just are suspended. You get your weight where you just are suspended.

As you breathe in you go up a little bit; you breathe out you go down a little bit and so you have this neutral buoyancy. When you’re not too deep in the water and you’re scuba diving you can see the light. You know which direction is up because you see the light. You get down deep enough all the light is diffused and you can lose orientation about what direction is up. When you’re in a cave it is very easy to be swimming upside down and not even know it. And some of these divers have lost their sense of direction because all of a sudden they see their bubbles going sideways. They say, “Will you look at that! There’s something about this cave. The bubbles are going sideways here.” And one of the things they tell you is bubbles don’t go sideways.

They say, “Trust your bubbles.” Trust your bubbles. If you’re diving down deep and you want to get to the surface, follow your bubbles because you know where they’re going? They go up. The bubbles are going to go up. Well my, I just want to change that a little bit. I’m not going to tell you to trust your bubbles. I’m going to tell you to trust your Bibles. They’re accurate. Can you remember that? Bubbles, Bibles. That’ll help you remember. They always go up. It’ll always point you to God. If you trust your Bibles, if you can stand on the word then you won’t have anything to fear.

The Bible is miraculous in its results. You know the greatest testimony in the power of the Bible is the way that it changes lives. I never cease to marvel at the stories and testimonies that come in. The examples that we see here at Central Church, the letters that come to Amazing Facts of people who say, “I was studying the Bible and my life was a total mess. I was out there in the world. I was a pagan, hopeless situation and I started reading the Bible and it completely turned my life around.” And when you see people coming from families where they’re on the verge of divorce, they’re beating each other and there is abuse, there’s drug addiction, and there’s irresponsible spending and I could just go through a whole litany of disasters that come into a family.

You introduce the Bible and conversion and all of a sudden there’s victory over the drugs, there’s victory in the relationship. They stop yelling and cursing and hitting each other and instead of not being employed they become employed, the house is cleaned up and just everything seems to change and you say, “What caused that?” It was the nuclear reactor. It’s the Bible. The power is in the Bible and yet in spite of the fact that we know that this is the book of books we neglect it. This is the anchor for our souls. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Jesus said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” This is the bread that came down from heaven. This is the soul food. And we can get to the place where we take it for granted. I’ll say a little bit more next week about how to study the Bible, but right now I’d like to appeal to you, would you like to know Jesus better? Let me show you how this works. You can’t obey Him.

We know that God wants us to obey Him, but you can’t obey Him if you don’t love Him. The Bible says, “Love Me and keep My commandments.” It’s right in the Ten Commandments. You can’t love Him if you don’t know Him. You will not know Him unless you take time to know Him. This is the primary way that God reveals Himself to fallen man. We’re at the beginning of a new year. Maybe you are studying your Bibles but you’re just picking up a few crumbs that fall from the children’s table. Maybe you’re not studying at all. Whatever you do to increase your time in the word of God is going to react in a blessing for you spiritually, but you need to choose to do it. Now if you join a health club that’s going to cost you something. Not only will it cost you time, it usually costs you money.

But you can really get a lot of spiritual health by making a commitment to say, you know we’re on the verge of a new year. I am going to take time on a regular basis every day to read the word of God. I’ll talk maybe more specifically about prayer next week. But I want to know, matter of fact, before we sing our closing song I’d like to invite you to bow your heads for just a moment. See if for a moment if you could just put out from you anyone that might be sitting around you or any extraneous sounds that could be distracting (or the siren in the background) and I just want you to hear the Lord speaking to your heart. Do you want to know Me better? God is saying. Do you really want to know Me? The promise is, “You’ll find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart.” He’s not very far away. Not any further than your Bible. If you really want to get to know God better all you have to do is choose to say, “Yes, Lord, help me get to know You better.” The devil is never more afraid than when you’re picking up God’s Bibles. With your heads bowed right now I just want to ask you before the presence of God if you’d like to say, “Lord, I’m afraid to make a covenant I’m not going to keep, but by Your grace I would like to promise that I am going to get to know you better by reading Your word every day.” Would you lift your hand in His presence if that’s your desire? Say, “I want to read Your word every day and get to know you.”

Let’s pray together. Father in heaven, Lord, we want to begin by praying for forgiveness for neglecting the incredible treasure, this powerful dynamo, this virtual nuclear reactor of truth that you’ve placed within our reach. Through the ages people have died to hear the words of God. People have laid down their lives and poured out their blood to preserve and to protect the word of God and yet we’re surrounded with the availability of your word and so often neglect it. Lord, I pray that You will help us to recognize how crucial it is for our souls that the Bible has a primary position in our minds and in our thinking and in our hearts and that we will do what we can humanly to get to know You better through Your word, to read our Bibles as never before this year, to better understand where we’ve come from, what we’re doing here and where we’re going. Bless this church, Lord, that it may be a church of the Book and I pray that You’ll be with each person in their lives. Help us do what we can to develop an appetite for the sacred pages and get to know Jesus through the revelation of His word. Bless us, Lord, that these desires and commitments are not resolutions that will evaporate but that they will endure. And pour out Your Spirit on us as we seek to know You better. Reveal Yourself as You’ve promised. We thank you and we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

For our closing song we’re going to sing one of my favorites “Give Me the Bible” 272 and we’ll stand together as we sing.

Give me the Bible, star of gladness gleaming, To cheer the wanderer lone and tempest tossed, No storm can hide that peaceful radiance beaming, Since Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Give me the Bible--holy message shining, Thy light shall guide me in the narrow way. Precept and promise, law and love combining, ‘Till night shall vanish in eternal day.

Give me the Bible, when my heart is broken, When sin and grief have filled my soul with fear; Give me the precious words by Jesus spoken, Hold up faith’s lamp to show my Savior near. Give me the Bible--holy message shining, Thy light shall guide me in the narrow way. Precept and promise, law and love combining, ‘Till night shall vanish in eternal day.

Give me the Bible, all my steps enlighten, Teach me the danger of these realms below; That lamp of safety, o’er the gloom shall brighten, That light alone the path of peace can show. Give me the Bible--holy message shining, Thy light shall guide me in the narrow way. Precept and promise, law and love combining, ‘Till night shall vanish in eternal day.

Loving Father, Lord, today we are praying that You will give us hearts that yearn, hunger and thirst for Your word. And I pray then we will do what we can to satisfy that inner yearning. Bless this people that we may be a people of the Book and I pray that the words that are Spirit and life will come alive in our hearts and in our lives that we’ll be able to live them out. Help us to appreciate that we have the words of life within our reach. Bless every member here, Lord. We’re about to embark on a new year.

We’ve seen a lot of evidence of Jesus’ soon coming in the year behind us and I pray that we will be by Your grace resolved to do everything we can to live in harmony with Your will and Your word. Bless each person, Lord, we know that there are struggles with health. Many are struggling in their families, perhaps with their work, in their spirits and I pray, Lord, that You will bless them with the power of Your Spirit and minister through Your miraculous ability in each of their lives. Be with us now through this day and through this new year in Christ’s name we pray. Amen. You may be seated.

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Adam's Synchronological Chart or Map of History by Sebastian Adams

Adam's Synchronological Chart or Map of History by Sebastian Adams
God's Promises




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