Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Many who doubt the Scriptures need to deal with the Christ who had no doubts about them. Today, more about the Christ who believed what the Scriptures said and examples of how He viewed the veracity of the entire Old Testament.
Please stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, Jesus said that not the smallest letter or least pen stroke would disappear from the law until everything is accomplished. And you know, Dave, that certainly gives us confidence to believe the Word of God and what is known as verbal inerrancy. Of course, I can imagine that someone listening today says, well, didn't the different writers have their own styles?
The answer is yes. But even as they wrote with their own styles, God so superintended them that they never wrote that which was wrong. As the Scripture says, men of God were carried along by the Holy Spirit when they wrote God's Word. That's why the Bible is so dependable. Let me ask all who are listening, do you have children? Do they believe the Bible is the Word of God?
What about those who are in colleges and universities? I've written a book entitled Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible. The Bible is a book with answers. It is not a book with questions. It answers the deep needs and the questions of the soul. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours.
Simply go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. God's Word is God's Word to us. He has spoken and he has not stuttered. You know that little word must.
I preached a message on it a couple of years ago. Just the little word must. And you look how often Jesus said that I must die, that the Scriptures would be fulfilled and the Son of Man must go as it is written of him.
Because Jesus believed that the Old Testament law and the Old Testament predictions would happen to the exact descriptions that would be given, they would be fulfilled. And when he confronts Satan, what does he say three times? It stands written.
Be gone. It is written. And for Jesus, that was the end of the debate. I don't know how I could put it any clearer, but to say that for Jesus, if the Scripture said it, God said it.
That's how clear it was. Now what I'd like to do, because I must of necessity limit this, take your Bibles and turn to two other passages. And one is the fifth chapter of the book of Matthew. Matthew chapter 5, I just want you to see the extent to which Jesus Christ was willing to lay his reputation on the line for the accuracy of the Scriptures. He said in Matthew 5, 18, do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets.
I did not come to abolish but fulfill. Verse 18, for I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law until all is accomplished. When he says the smallest letter, that's the way our translators have tried to get at the idea that it is really the dotting of an I. It is the smallest letter.
In Hebrew, there is a letter that is about the size of our comma, though it does not occur on the bottom of the line but rather near the top of the word. But that is what Jesus is referring to and he's saying that that or a stroke, a stroke if I could put it in English equivalents, it's the crossing of a T or it's the line that separates the letter P from becoming an R. All that you need is a stroke and Jesus is saying that none of this will be tossed out, none of this will be annulled until it is all fulfilled. You know, even in evangelical circles today, you know, by the way, that we here at the Moody Church, we're a bit of a minority.
I don't think we're a persecuted minority but you just need to understand that not everybody is with us on this because even in evangelical circles, there are those who say, well, you know, I don't think the words are inspired, I think just the thoughts are inspired. And some of us, you know, who like logic, we struggle with that. We say, sure, the Bible is the thoughts of God. We grant that but the thoughts of God were given in words and therefore, if we're going to have an accurate representation of the thoughts, we have to have an accurate representation of the words.
I mean, could you imagine a contract that you have and you sit down with this contract and your attorney reviews it and you go over every single word and if you know anything about contracts, you know that all of those words should be read carefully by people who are smarter than we are so that they can tell us what the words say and you go over it and then at the end of the day, somebody wants to break the contract because they say, well, you know, I'm not going by the words. I just thought that I signed on the dotted line regarding the thoughts and not the words. You see, games like that that we would never tolerate in real life are being forced upon the scriptures today to get away from that word that people don't like and that is the word inerrancy. That is to say that it is without error in the original manuscripts. Now, as manuscripts have been copied, there have been some changes and I hope to comment on that in more detail in a future message but the point is that the original manuscripts are inspired by God right to the dotting of the I and the crossing of the T. Now, Jesus believed that. Jesus believed that. And by the way, when I say that there are changes, I just mean that there are variations in some of the copies. We have a very reliable text but notice what Jesus believed about the Bible.
Now, one last one and this is all that I shall have time to show you though of course this message could be much longer than many of you would ever want it to be. In the 10th chapter of John, Jesus is using some rabbinical argumentation and I mention this text because folks who come at your door, to your door sometimes in twos, like to also use this text to try to convince you that Christ isn't God and so we will take up that challenge in John chapter 10 verse 31, Jews took up stones to stone him. Now, the reason they did that is because well in fact the reason is given it says in verse 32, Jesus answered them, I showed you many good works from the father for which of them are you stoning me? The Jews answered him for a good work we do not stone you but for blasphemy because you being a man make yourself out to be God.
They got the message. That's exactly what Jesus wanted them to conclude but in order to needle them a little bit, he used a form of argumentation that was sometimes used in medieval times. He says in verse 34, has it not been written in your law I said you are gods? Three times in the Old Testament, people are referred to as gods, judges are referred to as gods and it's not because they are God like God, it's just that they represent God, so it says you are gods. That's what it says in Psalm 82 where Jesus is quoting and so his point is simply this, he's saying in light of the fact that your own law says the judges can be God, you really don't have any right to accuse me of blasphemy because I say I am God. In other words, he was buying himself a little bit of time using this form of debate. It isn't that everybody's God obviously or that Jesus was denying that he was God, a very God, but Christ is simply making that argument for the purpose of the discussion as it is happening here.
But I want you to notice something. He says in verse 35, if he called them gods to whom the word of God came, and now this little parenthesis and the scripture cannot be broken, do you then say of him whom the father has sanctified and sent into the world that you are blaspheming because I am the son of God? What Christ is saying is if human judges can be called God, how then can you accuse me of blasphemy since I am the one who has been sent into the world by the father as his son and I'm calling myself to be God? But the point that I want to emphasize is the words which in my Bible are in parenthesis. The scripture cannot be broken. The scripture cannot be broken. Now to break a scripture means that you annul it, you ignore it, you do whatever you like, but Jesus said that the scripture cannot be broken. And he's not just talking about that one psalm. What he's saying is that the scripture generally cannot be broken. You say, did Jesus have the same Old Testament as we do today? Same books?
Yes. And if you continue in this series of messages when I speak on the canon, which is a message that's coming up, I will show you a text that proves that the Old Testament that Jesus had had the very same books as our Old Testament today. And for Jesus, all of it was scripture. All of it was scripture. Now I need to bring this to a very quick conclusion because I have not been able to share all that I have on my notes today.
But let us make three concluding observations very quickly. Number one, Jesus believed in the infallibility. Now there's another good word, the infallibility of the Old Testament. That is to say it was without error. To be fallible means mistakes. To be infallible means that it was absolutely trustworthy.
It could not be broken. Right to the jot and right to the tittle, right to the crossing of the T and the dotting of the I. Now Jesus knew that the authors of the Bible had all kinds of frailties. But when they wrote under the inspiration of the Spirit, they wrote the words of God.
When I was in college, I was part of a group of people in a secular university that was something like InterVarsity and we're trying to have Bible studies. And there was a liberal minister who was in charge of this and he was very, very upset with me because he wanted it to be more broad-minded. He didn't want us to hold to the inerrancy of scripture. So one day when I was discussing with him original sin, I said, well, you know, David said in Psalm 51, in sin my mother conceived me. And this liberal said to me, if you don't agree with everything that David did, and you don't, do you, then why do you think, why do you agree with everything he wrote?
Well, that was pretty good for a liberal. And at that time I was kind of just stunned and I just let it pass. I knew that he was wrong but I didn't know exactly how to respond to him. Well, you know, the answer is of course the writers of the Bible were humans and they were very fallible in their individual lives but we already learned in the first message that when the Holy Spirit of God inspired them though they wrote using their own styles, they wrote infallibly the word of God. Now I have to ask you who are doubting today, I have a question for you. And it is simply this, if Jesus believed in the infallibility of the Old Testament, that it was the word of God, why are you struggling with the infallibility of the Old Testament? If he believed it, isn't that good enough for you? Do we really know more about God and science and history than Jesus did?
I don't think so. So that's the first conclusion. He believed in the infallibility of the Old Testament. Secondly, our confidence in Christ determines our confidence in the Scriptures, right? You have confidence in Jesus as your Savior, you have confidence in Jesus as your teacher. I don't know about you and I don't want to be naive and I don't want to be accused of being non-intellectual or whatever but to me if Jesus said it, I believe it. If he is the word of God, if he came from the Father and he gives us all kinds of evidence that indeed he did, then of course whatever Jesus believed, I want to believe. I just wish I knew more about what he believed so that I would know more of what I should believe.
And that's the confidence that we have in him. I mean, what are you going to do with this Jesus, you folks, who may be here still doubting whether he is what he claimed to be? Just think of it, you know, Hitler made some fantastic claims but he never had the nerve to say, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me. Lenin said that if communism came to Russia, there'd be enough bread for everyone but he never had the nerve to say, I am the bread of life. He that cometh to me shall never hunger and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Muhammad said that he descended from Abraham but he never said before Abraham was, I am. Freud believed that someday psychiatry would actually help people. Seems kind of funny today that somebody believed that but Freud actually believed that but yet he never said, peace I leave with you. My peace I give on to you. Not as the world gives give I on to you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.
I mean, who would have the nerve to say such things? New Age people say that they are going to be reincarnated. Well, I don't think that they are but they have never said, I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth on me though he were dead yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die. What do we do with this man who is called the Christ? And I ask you today to make a decision about him and if you make a decision about him you make a decision about the whole Old Testament. So our confidence in Christ is determined by our confidence in the scriptures and finally you either read the Bible, you either read the Bible with, what shall we say, with your mind made up, with your mind made up or you read the Bible in order to make up your mind. You read the Bible with the intention of letting it make up your mind.
It's the difference between supernatural religion or natural humanistic religion. That's the bottom line and the bottom line is we always go back to the Bible because if it is a revelation from God it with an explosion explodes all the other books in the world and there is no other book like it and it just shatters everything else because if God has spoken, if the words of the Bible are God's words, what a treasure we have. Some people have asked, why are you preaching this series of messages? You know why I'm preaching this series of messages because I want everybody at Moody Church associated with Moody Church and as many people beyond the Moody Church as possible to be proud of the Bible. I want you to be proud of Jesus. I want you to be proud of the Bible. I don't want you to be working in your office and your factory and hiding it and saying, oh I wouldn't want anybody to see that I have a Bible here so you bury it under some other books. I want you to take this book and put it where some people can see it and let it sit there. That's what I want you to be able to do.
And what we need to do is to keep coming back to the book, the book, the book. Now, a long time ago I told you this story. I always like to witness to somebody who's sitting next to me on the plane. I always pray that God will lead me to the right person. In fact, I think it happened just the other day but let me tell you about one man.
I like him especially if they're a little bit on the cocky side. Those are the kind that I pray God, send me someone who thinks he knows it all. And one day God answered my prayer. So I asked this man if he were to die, you know, and God were to say why should I let you get you into heaven, so forth, you know, what would you say? He was very, very self-assured and said, well I've done the best I can and of course God would let me in. That was about the essence of his answer and I said, well, I said, you know, what if God demands more than that and he was quite confident that God wouldn't and he said there's just no doubt in his mind that all that you do is the best you can, the best you can and you'll get to heaven. And I said to him, well, you know, I said if what you are saying is true, that's obviously a message that we have to get out. I mean we have to preach it far and wide because it's very important. I said I write books, I said I'm on the radio, I could help you actually get this message out to as many people as possible. But I said before we do, I said I do have a question to ask you, namely, how do you know? How do you know? You know, that's important. Well, he said that's my opinion and just for fun I kind of flipped my pen in the air and I kind of laughed and I was shocked.
I mean can you imagine that? It's his opinion. Like I've said many times, you get 20 people together and you've got at least 30 opinions and here a man is telling me his opinion. And I said to him very lovingly, much more lovingly than this will probably come across, I said to him, I said don't you realize that you were just speaking in God's behalf when you said that all that you needed to do the best you can. I said the only way that you could possibly know that that's the way to get to heaven is if God were to reveal that to you. So I thought that you were going to tell me that God revealed this to you, that you could authenticate the revelation, that it could be investigated, that indeed it was a revelation from God because how else could you know God's mind about such intricate matters unless he showed it to you? Well, there was a little pause and then being a typical American, oh Americans, Americans, he said well okay then what about your opinion, you know? And I said don't you realize that my opinion is of no more value than yours?
I mean aren't we all like ants on a Rembrandt painting seeing only the color of the canvas beneath our feet and the roughness of the canvas but not understanding the picture? I said we need to bring into this discussion somebody whose opinion is trustworthy and reliable, somebody who has the qualifications to speak on behalf of God. And I said there is somebody like that and his name is Jesus Christ and you see once I begin there then I can talk about all the qualifications of Jesus, all of the reasons why his opinion is so much better than ours. And I face this on in my discussions with unbelievers all the time. I always say to them lovingly, you know whenever they say well no matter what you believe you'll go to heaven, I always say you know I'm faced with a decision. Do I believe you or do I believe Jesus?
That's the tough and frankly the decision isn't as tough as it might appear to be. I don't know about you folks but I'm going with Jesus. If Jesus said it, I believe it and that settles it. And so I close today by asking are you all going with Jesus? Are you all going with Jesus? Are you saying if he said that it's God's Word, it's God's Word, I'm going with Jesus?
I hope you are. And if you've never believed in Jesus, if you're still one of these people who think oh if I do the best I can I'm gonna make it, I'd say you're not going with Jesus. Jesus said unless you believe in me, unless you believe in me giving up all hope to be saved in any other way, to trust me alone, unless you do that you'll be lost. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. No wonder the scholars don't like this. Listen, he who believes on the Son is everlasting life. He that believes not the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abides on him. What are you going to do with him? Either believe him or get quoted in Time Magazine and say we know nothing about him, we know nothing about him.
That's the choice, that's the choice. Let's pray. Father, we pray that you might stimulate within us a great sense of admiration for the fact that you've given us your Word, that Christ has spoken. We pray, Father, that moody people might be witnessing people. We pray that they may be people unashamed of the Gospel, unashamed of their Savior. We pray, Father, that they might be able to openly, lovingly and sweetly defend him and to be able to speak well of him and to openly acknowledge him as being their Savior, their Lord and their God. Grant us that kind of tempered courage and boldness. And we pray that even those listening to this message who still don't know what to do about Christ, we pray that they might believe on him and be saved. In Jesus' name we ask, amen.
Amen. Well, this is Pastor Lutzer. In my book entitled Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible, I quote one writer who said, This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. We here at Running to Win believe very deeply that the Bible is the Word of God.
We have a sure word from outside of the universe. We want to help you to have faith in God's Word, and that's why I wrote the book that we are making available to you so that as you run the race of life, you can do so confidently. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. As I like to emphasize, for a gift of any amount this book can be yours, Seven Reasons You Can Trust the Bible.
Go to rtwoffer.com or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. In a day of skepticism, a day of hopelessness and conflict, we have a sure word from God. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win comes to you from the Moody Church in Chicago to help you understand God's Word as the roadmap for your race of life. Next time, reason number five, why creation shows the divine design of the universe and the truth of the Bible that reveals it. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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