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Mar, 2023

Together for Absolute Truth

So is the Bible true is the Bible true. Yes, the Bible is true. Does everyone believe that the Bible is true? No, everyone does not believe that the Bible is true. Can we persuade you to believe that the Bible is true? If you do not believe the Bible is true? Well, we hope we can, can we convince you that the Bible is true? No, we can't do. We want you to be convinced that the Bible is true. Absolutely. And why? Well, we want you to be convinced that the Bible is true because the Bible contains two of the things that you need and want the most and no matter how hard you try, you cannot and will not find those two things in any other place or any other person or any other thing outside of the truth that is contained in the Bible. We can graciously try to persuade you that the Bible is true, but we cannot convince you that the Bible is true. That is the work of the very spirit of God at best. We as a church, we are, we're just a waiter and, and our responsibility is that we work for the greatest chef in the universe. And so our responsibility is just to get the food to the table. And so we do that. But what is the food or maybe more specifically, what are these two things that you need and want the most? We continue our series together For Good, where we're focusing on the values of a healthy local church. And one of the reasons that we are focusing on the values of a healthy local church is because we live in a world that is bad. We live in a world that's, that's full of bad things. So we wanna be together for good. We don't want to be together for the good of the gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ. And the way that we find out about that gospel is in the truth of the Bible in the pages of the Bible. And the church is the living organism that Jesus established so that we might proclaim and maintain holy, healthy, humble, happy view of the truth, the absolute truth of the Bible. That's why today's messages together for absolute truth. We'll be looking at second Peter chapter one verses 20 and 21. And I asked the question again before we listen to Peter, what is that thing? Those two things that you need the most and you want the most, those two things that we can find out in the world, but we cannot find perfectly outside of the truth. Of the Bible. Well, those two things are freedom and love, freedom and love. What does the Bible have to say about freedom and love? Let's see if we can find out. Simon Peter says this beginning in verse 20. But know this, first of all, in other words, this is super important. What I'm about to tell you is something you really, really need to pay attention to. That's the language that Peter is using here. It is believed that possibly within a year of Peter writing this letter, he was executed for following Jesus. He was executed for his faith in Jesus Christ. So in a life that was full of persecution and suffering for following Jesus when death was kind of always around the corner, what do you think Peter thought would be really important for us to hear? What did he stop and spend time writing about? Because he felt it would be so important for us today to know as death neared, as death was always around the corner in light of all the persecution and suffering. What is it that he really wanted to be sure that we got listen to the next part of verse 20 that no prophecy of scripture becomes a matter of someone's own interpretation. So the super important thing that Peter wanted us to know was the truth of the Bible. The super important thing that he wanted to be sure that Christians knew were that the scriptures, they matter. Now, someone may say, yeah, but Peter, you know, he's not talking about our Bible because the Bible didn't exist. So he's, he's not talking about the Bible. We have, well, technically, he, he was talking about the Bible that we have. Someone has said that the Bible is not an authorized collection of writings that were put together and approved by a group of people at some point in time. But, but rather, the Bible is a collection of authoritative writings. It's a collection of writings that already have authority. The Bible, it exists. The Bible, we have exist because over the course of more than 1500 years, men and women, they look at the authoritative writings and they said, Yes, this lines up with who God is. These 66 books contained in the old and new testaments, these things are authoritative. We see that these have the inspiration of God behind them. By the time Jesus was born, it was pretty widespread, agreed upon that the 39 books of the old testament that we have in the Bible were the authoritative inspired words of God that God was behind those words. And the new testament in a similar way, those 27 books again, over many years, men and women affirmed that those books passed all of the test to say that they had the authoritative inspiration of God behind them. What do those tests look like? Well, for the New Testament, it kind of broke down in four different categories. One the letter, the book, it, it had to be written by an apostle or someone who is super super super connected to an apostle. Secondly, it had to be something that was accepted by the vast majority of Christians. Not just a little group of scholars somewhere that said, yeah, we we think this is the Bible, most churches widespread across Christianity, they said, yeah, these things, these books, these writings, they are the truth of God. The third test they used, but it had to be consistent with the overall doctrine of God. All that had already been written about the truth of God, the inspiration of God. And it also had to be consistent with the overall teachings of Jesus. It couldn't just be something that was off on its own. And fourth, the book had to have the moral and spiritual evidence that the Holy Spirit of God had been involved in this, that the work of the Holy Spirit was there. In other words that the Bible is not just a random collection of fairy tales and legends that were put together by a group of people who were hoping to start a neat religion. You know, from everything that we see. The origins of the Bible are God inspired. That's what Peter means with the word interpretation. It's not how I would interpret something or how you would interpret something. It means that the origin story of the Bible is God himself. That God is the breather, the inspirer of the truth in the Bible. What does that mean? Peter goes on in verse 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will. The word for prophecy. Here, it doesn't mean a bunch of predictions about something in the future. The word for prophecy here means a proclamation. It is a message that is being proclaimed, a message that is being taught. The Bible does not come from a bunch of random profits that were trying to put together some random predictions that hopefully they would find would, would be about religion or, or finances or, or health or government or any other topics in the world. And they thought, well, if we can do these things, maybe just, maybe we can make some money and we can build some buildings, maybe we can get some street cred and some political cred and some social cred out there in the community. I was listening to an interview with a cold case investigator and he said that the one way that you always discover who's lying in an investigation is the person that is doing whatever they're doing for sex money or power. And he said, when he approached the Bible as an atheist that was in his mind, these guys are a bunch of liars. These people that wrote this book, they're, they're a bunch of liars. But the deeper he got in the more he investigated, he couldn't find those three things. He couldn't find that the sex and the money and the power were what they were getting out of saying these truths about God. So the Bible is not this random collection of random predictions in hopes that these guys could start a religion and maybe get a little kickback on the side. Now, the Bible is God's message about himself. It's a message that's defined by glory and power. And it's a message that contains the perfect and ultimate freedom and the perfect and ultimate love that you need and you want the most. It's a message from God for us. And Peter says that didn't come about by human will. So if it didn't come by human will, where'd it come from? Where did this message come from? He continues in verse 21, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. The word here in the original language removed, it means to move or carry a ship by, by the wind. In other words, this picture is that the writers of the book of the Bible, they just hoisted their sails and the Holy Spirit of God blew the wind in the sails and, and it blew exactly perfectly where God was inspiring those words to go. Reportedly, Joseph Smith is the only one who viewed the golden plates. Reportedly, Muhammad is the only one who viewed the revelations, but God and his gracious kindness. God spread the same perfectly inspired truth to many people over many centuries, God and His kindness as they hoisted their sails, he gave them his truth. And so it's not just one person we're dependent on. It's not just one moment in history that we're dependent on God and his kindness. He has really spread his truth out over many centuries through many people to make sure that we would know. This is not a book of fairy tales and that matters, it matters because that's what makes the Bible above all other books. So stunning, so amazing, so helpful. If you've been a Christian for a number of years, then you know, some of this is true. You can read the exact same verse of scripture 1000 times and on the 1001 time, it's like the light bulb comes on. It's like, oh, I've never seen that before. Listen, all of us have something we're struggling with in life. All of us, we all have difficulties in life. Every single one of us have one or two things right now that we're facing this afternoon or, or maybe we're facing tomorrow, maybe we're facing in a few weeks. We all have difficulties. It may be at home, it may be at work. It maybe at school, maybe in the church, maybe with our health, maybe with our emotions, but we all have difficulties. We all have something we're struggling with and I do too. And, and one of the greatest difficulties in my life right now, it is breaking my heart. It is, it is frustrating my heart. It is, it is twisting my heart in 100 different directions. And as my, my heart is just so undone in so many different ways, I promise you what I do not need is a better spouse and a better family or better friends or a better house or a better car or better government or better health or more money or for my favorite team to win a game. And I can promise you as my heart is undone and broken. I do not need an ancient book of clever fairytales. I don't need a book written by a bunch of people who are just trying to get an angle at sex or money or power. No. What I need more than anything else is I need truth. I need absolute truth. That was true 1000 years ago. That was true 100 years ago. And it will be true 10,000 years from now. And I will never find that truth in America or Washington D C or China or Russia or the Ukraine or at my house or with my favorite team. The only place I can find the truth that is steady and reliable. Always has been, always will be. It's in God's book, his inspired book, When our hearts are broken, we need truth. We need truth and that truth. That that's something that we need. It comes from, from God's book. And that's something that we need is actually a someone And that someone is the Lord Jesus Christ. And the way we know about the Lord Jesus Christ is because of the truth of the Bible, because God made sure that when his saints hoisted the sails that he breathed the inspired truth so that we would find Jesus in the 66 books of the Bible. Why is Peter writing this? Why? Why is he making sure that, that we get this thing that, hey, this wasn't made up by a bunch of people who were, you know, looking for an angle. He's doing that because he wants us to make sure that we understand Christianity is not about your experience and it's not about my experience. Christianity is not about our experience, far too much of a church and culture. And Christian culture today is based on experience. This is my experience. I know what the Bible says, but this is my experience. Christianity is not about your experience. Never has been, never will be Christianity is about your experience with Jesus. That's a big difference because your experience with Jesus is defined by who Jesus actually is, not who we want Jesus to be, but who Jesus actually is and everything that God wanted us to know about. Jesus is found in the pages of the Bible. The things we need to know the most about Jesus are found in the pages of the Bible in that interview with that cold case investigator. He also made an interesting statement. He said, you know, some people approach the Bible with this notion of trying to, to prove whether it's right or wrong or, or whether it's true. And, and he said, you know, a good way that I realized that I began to investigate the Bible was I had to switch gears a little bit. He said, I was trying so hard to just prove that it was all a bunch of lies. He goes, when all of a sudden as I began to read, I realized there was something in that book for me that that book was showing me something that I needed. And he said, when you discover from reading the Bible, what you need the most trying to figure out its truth gets a lot easier because it's your need that defines how your mind begins to work at this one moment in history. Long before there was a Christian bookstore with hundreds of Bibles on the shelves. Peter wrote this down so that we would know we are not believing in a book of fairy tales. Our faith and our hope are not built on Fairy Tales, our faith and our hope are built on the blood of Jesus and his righteousness and our faith. And our hope. It has been carefully and purposely written down in a book that for more than 2000 years has been sure and reliable and steady. This, this book that we call the Bible, it's sure it's steady, it's reliable for your heart. And that's one of the reasons that in every generation, the Bible is attacked and the Bible's question, every generation, it looks at these truths and it says, well, this, this can't be right. These things can't really be true. But the reality is in every generation is not always the truth of the Bible where the biggest rub is many people will, will cooperate with the truth and the origins of how everything came together. In other words, the biggest question is not always is the Bible true. The the bigger question and one that we face again today is this is the Bible. Good is the Bible good is the Bible a a good book. See, the questions we hear today, we think their new we do, we don't know any better. This is when we're alive, you know. So it, it just all feels so real to us, but none of the questions are new. None of the challenges against the Bible are new. Today. We hear that the Bible is an unfair book that it's a demeaning book that it's a cruel book and none of those accusations are new. They've always been around. And as someone said, it's, it's not the God nous of God that's being called into question. It's the goodness of God, that's being called into question because there, there are things in the Bible that don't seem to match up with culture and they, and they really never have. And so all of a sudden it's like, well, wait a minute, then the, then the goodness of God, it has to be in question. Christianity is no longer beautiful. It's no longer good. It suddenly becomes the source of everything bad in our society and culture. Oh If you're, if you're looking for the worst of the worst of everything, we'll just, all you have to do is look back at that Bible and look back at that Christians, Christians. That's where it all came from. Ironically, it doesn't take a lot of historical reading to discover that, that when it comes to the hottest topics of any generation. But when it comes to human rights, when it comes to legal justice, when it comes to equality of humans, when it comes to health care for people, you don't have to look very hard to discover that those things in history kind of began with the followers of Jesus from his church when the church was formed. Now, does that mean that Christians have always done the right thing? And the church has always done the right thing. Nope, it doesn't. But you know what atheists have not always done the right thing and agnostics have not always done the right thing and, and no other faith based group has always done the right thing. And the reason I say other faith based group is because if you're an atheist, it requires a tremendous amount of faith to deny God. If you're an agnostic, it requires a tremendous amount of faith to be indifferent to God and any other faith based group, it requires a tremendous amount of faith to believe in what you say. You believe in. Everyone puts their faith in something but the sin and the failure of Christians and the church in no way, removes the truth of the Bible or removes the goodness of God. And this is just one sermon. So there's no way I can fully and completely address the attacks on the goodness of God that have been coming for more than 2000 years. So, what I'll do is is hopefully just keep things super simple because I'm super simple. And I'll take those two questions and just give two answers and hopefully try to give some encouragement behind them. And the two questions again are, this is the Bible. True. Yes. Is the Bible good. Yes. The Bible is true and the Bible is good. I cannot convince you of that. That is the work of the spirit of God. But I do know that there is something about the Bible that's kind of nice if you listen to uh the podcast this week, if you haven't a little shameful plug, make your own headlines wherever you listen to podcast. Um, it's less than three minutes. It's like Caleb, it's positive and encouraging. Uh, it'll be good for your soul and it's corny and cheesy at the same time. Uh, it's just a little devotion that I, that I want to use to encourage you every day. But, but earlier this week I, I used to quote and the quote was something along these lines. The gospel is strong enough to fight for itself. The Bible is strong enough to fight for itself. I don't have to fight for the Bible. The beauty is we really are just waiters. Here's the truth of God and God does what he will with his truth. So I can't convince you that the Bible is true. I can't convince you that the Bible is good, but I would love to persuade you. I'd love to compel you with, with two proclamations and those two proclamations are about what you need the most and what you want the most. And the only place you can find them perfectly is in the truth of the Bible. And those two things again, our freedom and love. I was reading something by Tim Keller uh last week and he said that generally speaking, when you look at western civilization, their view of the Bible can be broken down into three categories and the three categories or something like this. A person believes in the Bible, they believe in the truth of the Bible, but they don't follow the Bible. What does that mean? Well, for instance, you might be someone that gets fiery mad. You march right over to the front of the statehouse and you protest. If you hear anything about a law that's bringing a frame plaque of the 10 commandments in a courtroom down off that wall, you lose your mind over that. You'll go crazy over it. But the reality is you do not obey the 10 commandments in your life. You don't lead your family to honor the 10 commandments. So you believe in the truth, you just don't do anything with it. Jesus had a lot of things to say about people like that. None of them are real good. So you can believe in the truth of the Bible, but yet do nothing with it. Or the second group of people, you believe in the truth of the Bible and you strive to be devoted to it. You, you strive to follow after it. And the third general category is, is people who do not believe in the truth of the Bible and they reject every part of what's said in it. So which one are you? Where are you in those general categories of life? This is what Jesus said about the truth found in the Bible. John chapter eight verse 31. If you continue in my word, then you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. What makes you happy. Just, just think over the last week, man, what, what is it that made you happy this week? What, what is it that makes you happy in life? Is it your family? Is it your friends? Is it money or sports or food or, or whatever it may be and whatever it is that makes you happy. Can that thing make you happy forever? In other words, when you come to your moment of final death, and I say final death because you know, if they figure out some way to to freeze us and bring us back, when they find all the cures, you're still going to die again. Okay, still going to die eventually. So in the moment of a final death, can your friends, can your family, can your money, can food, can sports? Can those things save you from final death? They can't, they can't. So if they can't, if the most perfect and ultimate freedom can't be accomplished by the things that make you happy in this world, there's got to be something else that can make you free enough to be happy forever. John Piper said this to be fully free. We must have the desire, the ability and the opportunity to do what will make us happy forever. That's that's important. We have to have the desire, the ability and the opportunity to do what will make us happy forever. The things of this earth that make us the happiest we might desire them. We might have the ability and the opportunity and we might engage with all of them, but none of them have the ability to make us happy forever. Piper goes on to say this, only Jesus, the son of God who died and rose for us can make that possible. Why, why is Jesus the only one that can make happy forever possible for us? Well, it's because only Jesus can make things right between us and God. Only Jesus can make things right between us and God. And, and that truth means that only Jesus can make you fully free, not just free for a few hours or free for a few months or free for a few years or free from a lifetime on this earth. But only Jesus can make you fully free forever. There are a lot of things in our culture promising you that if you will just believe in this, it will make you free everything from sexual orientation to denominations in religion to whether you eat plant based or animal based food. Okay. We have, we have all kinds of things screaming into our lives, do this, do this, you'll be free but you won't, you won't because the only full freedom can be found in Jesus Christ because only Jesus makes things right between us and God. Only Jesus can do that. And that truth, that absolute truth is found in the pages of the Bible. And we don't find that truth anywhere else someone may say, well, what if I don't believe in God? Well, I would graciously say that that's not possible. And here's why See the Bible in Romans Chapter one, it, it actually says that every single human being past, present or future technically believes in God just because of creation. In other words, the evidences of the existence of God are clearly seen in creation. So it's not so much that we don't believe in God rather, we would choose to not believe in God. And as long as we are choosing not to believe in God, our hearts will be restless. We will never find the freedom that we want the most. We will never be fully free because we've been created to enjoy God and glorify God forever. And until we do that, we will be restless and we will not be free. That truth is found in the pages of the Bible. And that truth directs us back to the person of Jesus Christ. So the first gracious proclamation that I would give about the truth of the Bible, that the Bible is true and the Bible is good is because the Bible is the only place that reveals to us. The only way we can be fully free, full freedom, not partial but full, everlasting eternal freedom. The second proclamation that the Bible is true and that the Bible is good, basically boils down to this, that the Bible is the only place that reveals to us the way that we can be fully loved, fully loved. Rebecca mclaughlin is a wife and a mom and an author. She's not Sarah mclaughlin, the lady that does the animal commercyal singing, you know, different ladies just want to be clear here, Rebecca was writing about the picture of why the Bible becomes so significant when you have a broken heart because when you have a broken heart, you don't call the ambulance right now. If you have a heart attack, you call the ambulance, right? And the ambulance comes and, and a lot of great people who have learned all the right things from the science books. They, they begin to help you in a way that, that your heart physically needs. But science books aren't designed to help us. On the other side of final death. Science books aren't, aren't designed to help us when we eventually die once and for all, they're helpful. They're, they're just not helpful with, with the most important moment of life. Ey Mullen said this, if Christianity is false, it cannot be saved by theology. If it's true, it cannot be destroyed by science. In other words, the truth of God is just there and, and we can't persuade and convince you through theology nor can science destroy the truth of the Bible with a science project and a hypothesis. And well, we can't, you know, measure things from the Bible. If it's true, it's true because God inspired it and there's no way for it to be pulled apart. So when our heart is broken, what we're saying is that nothing in this world can ultimately get down to the deepest part of who we are. We'll try, all of us will try. We'll try this afternoon, this week, we'll try with food and drink and sports and, and friends and hobbies and, and so many other things. Well, we'll try. But the, the one thing that can actually get to the deepest part of who we are is the absolute truth of God. And that absolute truth is found in the Bible. But some people will say, I don't know when I, when I read the Bible, the language, it kind of sounds fairytale ish. You know, it sounds like, well, this isn't a real book. I mean, I'm having a hard time in life. I mean, this, this language is, is a little flowery. What Rebecca mclaughlin says is this. She said, you know, when you look at the book of John, as the account begins, the very first thing that has said is what in the beginning was the word. And then John goes on to describe the word as Jesus. And this is what Rebecca says. She says, John identifies the word as Jesus and then he floods our understanding with metaphors. Jesus is the light of the world, the lamb of God, the temple, the true vine, the good shepherd, the way, the truth and the life kind of flower, the language, right? I mean, Jesus isn't really a physical temple. You know, he's not a, he's not a lightbulb. Jesus isn't a, an actual land that gets sheared and, and bas and yet he's all of these things. And when your heart is broken, discovering that Jesus is the light of the world, it changes your darkness. When your heart discovers that Jesus is the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, it changes your second guessing and your first guessing and your stress and your anxiety. When your broken heart begins to see that Jesus is the temple that will never be destroyed. When everything on this earth gets destroyed and when your life feels like it is being destroyed, you'll have something you can be confident in. And when your broken heart sees that Jesus is the true vine. When you're just feel like you're dying inside that there's no life. You can. No, that's not true because the vine of Jesus never stops growing. It is full of energy and life. And when your broken heart hears that Jesus is the good shepherd. When your parents quit leading you, when your pastor lets you down, when your boss gets on your nerves, when your spouse begins to rebel or, or just ignore you, when, when every other person that you depend on in life begins to not do what you think you need them to do the most. Jesus is the good shepherd. He never stops leading, he never stops caring. He never stops guiding. And when your broken heart begins to see that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life will friend. Everything changes the absolute truth of Jesus being the way and the truth and the life, it changes everything. He is the only way. He is the only truth. He is the only life that can bring you to full freedom. And he is the only way and the only truth and the only life that can fully love you, Rebecca goes on to say this. So if you've ever been heartbroken but not needed an ambulance, try reading the Bible, you might find the passionate words. You need to know how truly you are loved. See the reason as a church, we wanna be together for good is because the absolute truth of the Bible, it contains the words of God, the inspired truth of God. So when we say we want to be together for absolute truth, we want to absolutely be together for this truth because it is sure and steady and reliable has been before. The foundations of the world will be for the next 10,000 years to infinity and beyond. That's truth. That's truth that we can build our life on and far greater than a historical or statistical or, or exige ethical argument about the veracity of the Bible, which all of those things are true, maybe far more greater for our hearts and minds. The reason we would want to be together for absolute truth is because the absolute truth of the Bible is the only truth that reveals to us how in Jesus Christ, we can be fully free and fully loved today and forever. That's great and that's good. So let's be together for good.


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