Today on Insight for Living... Scriptures will provide something that nothing else will provide. Every single day there's a new piece of software that comes out... an astounding new app for our cell phone or some other gadget designed to make our lives easier. Never before has information been so readily accessed on a whim.
And yet, when our health fails or we have a falling out with someone we love... it's not technology that offers relief or healing. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll reminds us that God authored a book... and it contains a wellspring of life and wisdom. His message is titled, God's Book, God's Voice. ... Back in Isaiah 65, 16, the prophet Isaiah calls God the God of truth. Our Heavenly Father reveals his truth to us primarily through the Scriptures, God's Word. In Matthew chapter 4, verse 4, Jesus attested to the truth and the authority of Scripture... when he said, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. God desires for every person on earth to come to a knowledge of the truth. So, not surprisingly, he reveals his truth to us through his Word. In preparation for today's message, listen carefully to 2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 16 and 17. I'll read these two verses for you from the Amplified Version. ... You're listening to Insight for Living.
To study the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures Studies... by going to insight.org slash studies. And now, the message from Chuck titled, God's Book, God's Voice. What is your final authority in life? When you're cornered and you're really up against it and you're forced to face reality, upon what do you lean? Now, don't answer too quickly.
Think about it for a few moments. For example, you discover that on your side, about the level of your belt line, you have a dark mole. On occasion, it bleeds. It's becoming increasingly more sensitive.
You're disturbed about it. You finally talk yourself into seeing a physician. The surgeon probes and pushes, asks a few questions, takes a few x-rays, and finally says to you with a frown, I don't like the way this looks and I don't like the way it feels. I have to remove it and we'll have to do a biopsy, but I should tell you, it may not be good. He does that and it isn't. In fact, he tells you it is melanoma.
It is the worst kind of cancer. How do you handle that? Upon what do you lean? To whom or to what do you turn?
Here's another. It's in the middle of the night and your phone rings, say one or two in the morning, and it's a police officer. He tries to be tactful, but it's obvious that someone you love very much has been in a terrible head-on collision. And he tells you he has the unhappy and unfortunate responsibility of asking you to come and to identify the body.
And indeed, it is your loved one. What do you do in the hours that follow with your grief? What do you do?
Here's another. You've worked very, very hard in your business. It's been marked by integrity, diligence, sacrifice. You've given up so that the business might grow. You've plowed what little bit of profit you've made back into the business and you've maintained your integrity all along. And you discovered in the process of a few weeks that your product, which has taken much of your life and labor, is soon to be obsolete. In fact, it appears that within the next few months, you may lose everything. Where do you turn with the awful news of financial bankruptcy?
Upon what do you lean? Just one more. You've been married 25, 26 years. You and your partner have reared three now adult children.
One is about to finish college and the other two are gone. You're thinking that the future holds for you some refreshing and relaxing moments. You've, as it were, paid your dues. You've worked hard. You've given yourself to this marriage. And your partner sits down some dark evening and says, I can't keep something from you any longer. There's someone else in my life. In fact, I don't I don't want to be married anymore. I don't love you. I don't I don't want to be in this home anymore.
I'm divorcing you. What is your final authority? How do you handle that? I've worked with people for 25 and more years and I've seen them in the worst kind of crisis. I've seen some who could not take it and they took their lives and I've buried them. I've seen others who lost their minds and I've visited with them and tried to help them through it. I have seen some dodge the reality of the pain and in fact live most of their later years denying the awful truth of what they've had to face. But I've observed in these years that people usually do one of four things when they are faced with information like this.
I call this popular crutches upon which people lean. The first I would call, for lack of a better title, escapism. Most people at least initially escape the reality of the pain. They run.
They either run mentally or they literally run in physical ways through alcohol or drugs. They deny the horror of what has happened. They refuse it to take its toll on them.
They escape. Secondly, I've noticed many people turn to cynicism. They face it. In fact, they live in it and they turn the surprise into disillusionment and they let that fester into resentment.
And finally, it's downright bitter for them and they look for someone to get back at or even with. They become victims of their own lack of forgiveness. Whether it's some other person, whether it's God or whatever, they turn to cynicism. They ship the faith in trying to deal with it.
Third, the most common of the four is humanism. They listen to the counsel of man. They get their logic and their reasoning from a man or a woman or a book. They turn to self-help, people's opinions, self-realization. They try human reasoning. And all of that counsel and all of that logic is based on the horizontal wisdom of man. And it leaves them empty, leaves them lacking. And they do not really come to terms with the truth of what they could learn through that. Humanism. Fourth, rare, but it does occur, is supernaturalism.
Some people turn to mediums. They seek information from the other world. They get in touch with witches and wizards. They try astrology and other marks of superstition. They even move into the occult as they are trying to cope with their world of pain. Escapism, cynicism, humanism, and supernaturalism, however, do not provide a nice final authority. They leave you in quicksand.
You become, in fact, more confused than at the beginning. What is your final authority? To what? To whom do you turn? Now you know where I'm going with that, and I'd like for you to see it for yourself in several passages of the scriptures. And I have in mind first Psalm 119. If I could have one wish for God's people, it would be that God's people return to the Word of God.
That would be my wish. That God's people would realize God's book has the answer, the Bible is the authority, the final, if I may, resting place of our cares, our worries, our griefs, our tragedies, our sorrows, our surprises, our feelings. Turning back to the scriptures will provide something that nothing else will provide. Psalm 119 verses 81 and following, I read about a man who goes through similar situations. The specifics may be different than I've described, but generally speaking, he's been hurt. He's suffered pain.
He's going through hard times. He says, My soul, verse 81, Psalm 119, 81, My soul languishes for thy deliverance. I wait for thy word. In other words, I think it's meaning I wait for the truth of it to come to pass. I wait for help to return. I wait for the promises to become a reality. I wait for the wisdom to take its shape and to make sense in my life.
I wait for your word. Notice he waits for God's word, not human reasoning, not his own feelings, but for God's word to help him. My eyes fail with longing for thy word while I say, When wilt thou comfort me? It isn't always sudden.
He doesn't come swiftly at every cry of ours. Verse 85. The arrogant have done have dug pits for me. Men who are not in accord with thy law.
All thy commandments are faithful. They have persecuted me with a lie. Help me. Here is a man being criticized.
He's under the gun. They almost destroyed me on earth. But as for me, I do not forsake what thy precepts. I come back to thy word.
O God. Verse 89. Forever, O Lord. Forever. Thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness continues throughout all generations.
92. I love it. If thy law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. You ever been there? If I hadn't had the eternal foundation of the book of God, I would have been finished. The Bible talks in terms of right and wrong, good and bad, yes and no, true and false, sinful and holy. It doesn't corner you and graze and leave you with a fuzzy wonderment about life. It says, this is the way it is. That is the way it is not to be. This is the way to walk.
Do not walk there. It tells you straight. It provides the kind of solid foundation I need and you need. Now, thinking about this and realizing the importance of establishing ourselves in the word, a couple or three things seemed important to me. First, it seems important to me, and I think it would be to you, that we know the identity of the Bible. By the way, Bible is never found in scripture.
Never. It's not a biblical term. So what does the Bible call itself? What is its identity? Second, what about its truthfulness?
Is it really inerrant? I understand there is some sort of inspiration about it, but is it free from error? And thirdly, can I really rely on it? Now that I know what it is and now that I have heard what it said about its own veracity, can I rely on it?
Does it come through when I am wall to wall with reality, facing the horrors of my life? Let's look. The book of Luke, chapter 24, the last chapter of that gospel, is a good place to turn for the identity of scripture. And we won't linger in all of these places. We'll just stop and take a look, make a few comments and pass to yet another, just to get a general understanding of the identity of scripture. Jesus is speaking in chapter 24, or it is speaking of Jesus, verse 27, beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, Jesus explained to them the things concerning himself in all the scriptures.
That's an identity. That's a title, the scriptures. Drop down to verse 32. And they said to one another, these same two men who later reflect upon it, were not our hearts burning within us when he was speaking to us on the road while he was explaining the scriptures to us? Very interesting term translated the scriptures, grafe.
We get our word graph from it. It means that which is written, in other words, the sacred writings. Now I linger here because I think it's significant that God didn't simply think his message. He didn't simply speak his message or reveal it for men and women to read in some physical manner, but he wrote his message down. He put it in the language of people so that it could be read.
He graphed his word. The scriptures, we're grateful we have a book that contains the very mind of our God in written form. From Luke's gospel, turn to the next, John chapter 17, and look at verse 14.
1714 of the gospel of John. It's a chapter of prayer. It's the longest recorded prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ in all the Bible. While praying, he says to the Father, verse 14, I have given them thy word, and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Now the verse, sanctify them in the truth. Thy word is truth. I am so grateful that verse is in our Bible. Now that is an absolute statement from the lips of Jesus.
If you have to have it in red letters, that's in red letters. That is an underscoring of the veracity, the reliability of scripture. This is not human counsel, it is divine counsel. It is honest. It has integrity. It is absolute.
It is timeless. Your word, O God, is truth. I appreciate what James Montgomery Boice once wrote. We talk about the word of God as truth.
We are right to do so. But we have to acknowledge, when we speak along those lines, that the world of our day no longer strictly believes in truth. And he adds, Francis Schaeffer has said the same thing in more philosophical terms. He's pointed out quite rightly that today, unlike previous generations, people, though they speak of truth and falsehood, are not speaking of truth in the biblical sense or even in the traditional sense. To mean that which is true now and will always be true universally. Rather they mean, and this will sound familiar, rather they mean that which is true now but not necessarily tomorrow.
Or yesterday. For it may be true for me but not necessarily for you. In other words, truth for contemporary men and women is relative.
Now that sounds familiar. I mean, after all, a thinking person shouldn't cut off his head when he starts getting serious about religion. There are lots of things out there that we have to consider. There are lots of things beyond the bounds of this book, surely there are. But truth, real truth, truth you can rely on, truth that will never turn sour, that will never backfire, truth you can really rely on, that's in this book. That's what this book is about. That's why this book provides us with the constant and the needed crutch. Do you turn to it for truth? The longer I live the more I realize there are more and more people on this earth that have an amazing ability to twist truth. They have an amazing ability to change things so that white isn't really white, it's kind of a light gray.
Black isn't really black, it's sort of a dark gray. And in the grays I'm sort of left to make up my mind with my own moral standard or my own ethical compass, or the direction I want to go and no one's going to lay any trip on me because nobody knows where the lines are. And therefore I am left not free, no not free, but in bondage. What does it take to free me? It takes truth. It takes truth. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. I have lived just long enough to realize that I desperately need truth in my life. I've gotten just enough intelligence to be dangerous. I've gotten just enough man's wisdom not to trust in it. I've gotten just enough authority to begin to question it myself. I need truth. I need God's yes and God's no and God's light and God's dark.
I need it. His word provides it. Now you know in all of my study, and I've checked with a number of books in this preparation, I did not find one that made much of the next verse I'm going to have you look at.
And it's surprising because it's one of the best. 1 Thessalonians chapter 2. We've looked at Luke 24 and we've heard that the Bible is God's written scripture, the sacred writings. We've seen in Jesus' words of John chapter 17 that God's book is truth. I find in 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, just one verse, verse 13, that this is God's message. This is in fact God's word.
1 Thessalonians 2, 13. For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God's message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God. Isn't that great?
Isn't that great? Which also performs its work in you who believe. When I stood to speak and I delivered to you God's message and I unrolled the scrolls and I pointed out the truth of what Moses has written and what Jeremiah has said and what Amos has pointed out, when I presented that to you, you didn't take that as the word of man. You saw it for what it really was, the word of God. Now, ladies and gentlemen, that does something to you. That does something to you when you realize that the readings or the print that you are reading is in fact God's message, God's word, it stands alone.
It's all by itself. Think of it this way, God's book is, as it were, God's voice. If he were to make himself visible and come and stand in this place where I'm standing and speak to you, his message would be within this book.
His message of truth would tie in exactly with what you see in scripture. His opinion, his counsel, his commands, his desires, his warnings, his very mind in this book. Now, one more and it's the practical side of this identity, 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 22. Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls, look at that, just in passing, look at the standard for obedience.
How do I know what to obey? You obey the truth. Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. For you have been born again out of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is through the living and abiding word of God.
For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord abides forever. And this is the word which was preached to you. Here is another reference to the everlasting nature of God's message. You're listening to the daily Bible teaching known as Insight for Living.
We're midway through a message from Chuck Swindoll. The title is God's Book, God's Voice. This is message number three in a 22-part teaching series called Growing Deep in the Christian Life. If you'd like to learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. Did you know that along with this broadcast series, Chuck has written a book by the same title?
It's filled with humorous stories and down-to-earth applications. Chuck's book reveals how the practical side of theology is what helps us grow deeper in the Christian life. And if you're looking for a book that'll help accelerate your spiritual walk, this is a great choice. To purchase a copy of Chuck's book, Growing Deep in the Christian Life, give us a call.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or you can go online to insight.org slash store. By the way, were you aware that Insight for Living provides a free daily devotional every day by email? By reading Chuck's devotional, you can either start or end your day by spending time reflecting on God's word. To sign up, just follow the simple instructions at insight.org slash devotional. You know, Chuck's personal mission is to help you learn more about the Bible and its relevance to your life.
It's all made possible, of course, because people just like you give voluntary donations. And we're especially grateful for our regular monthly givers. We call them monthly companions of grace. And through your gifts, you're providing a constant source of reliable Bible teaching for people who've come to rely on Chuck's daily presence. To provide for someone else what was once provided to you, we invite you to become a monthly companion of grace right now by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or you can sign up online at insight.org slash monthly companion. I'm Bill Meyer. Tomorrow, Chuck Swindoll reminds us that to hear God's voice, we need to read God's book. That's our topic Thursday on Insight for Living. We'll be right back.
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