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The Reliability Of The Bible Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
January 17, 2023 1:00 am

The Reliability Of The Bible Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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January 17, 2023 1:00 am

How important is it that we know the Scriptures are a reliable? The Bible makes claims about both history and spiritual truth. In this message, we explore why we can trust God’s Word and the gospel we proclaim. Ultimately, faith in God is a work of the Spirit, not empirical evidence.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Is the Bible historically accurate? Lots of scholars say no until new findings prove otherwise.

What's the bottom line? It's this, you can trust the Bible. Today, we'll see why the Bible is reliable in both history and in spiritual truth, and why you can and must stake your eternal destiny on its teachings.

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, the record seems clear. Archaeology invariably backs up what the Bible says about places, geography, people, and events. You know, Dave, that's absolutely true, and that's why the Bible can be verified in many different ways, and that distinguishes it from other books. For example, many years ago, do you remember when we talked about the Gnostic Gospels and the Gnostic Gospels that supposedly taught that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene? Did you know that the Gnostic Gospels do not make one single historical reference?

Not a river, not a mountain, not a country. But here in the Bible, there's a whole constellation of issues that can be checked out. And as Jesus told us, if you can believe that which is earthly, you must also believe that which is heavenly. The Bible is the Word of God. That's why I've written the book entitled Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible. And for a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. And thank you, by the way, for supporting this ministry.

Or if you wish, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. When you hold the Bible in your hands, you are holding the Word of God. I believe that long before Moses, God revealed himself to the human race. I can't believe that century after century would go on without a revelation from the Almighty. And so God revealed himself to these people. He explained the days of creation. He perhaps even gave them other information about himself during those periods of time. And as a result of that, you have this tradition of the creation story, which was not accurately recorded.

It went along by word of mouth for a while, and then it was written down. But it became contaminated with all kinds of pagan ideas. And so here's the story floating out there before the time of Moses. In a sense, it verifies the fact that God has revealed the creation story because these stories would not have happened simply on their own. There are flood stories in almost every civilization. That only makes sense because you have the flood, you have Noah, you have his sons. As they begin to spread out and nations begin to build, of course they begin to, they continue to tell the story of the flood and the experience that was had. But of course those stories are corrupt with all kinds of pagan ideas as well. And when you read the Bible, you can see its simplicity, you can see its accuracy. There is evidence that indeed there was a worldwide flood.

In fact, there's much that a worldwide flood can explain that no other phenomenon can explain that has been uncovered by archaeologists and scientists. So there are stories of the Tower of Babylon that have seeped into society and oftentimes are found in other cultures as well. Again, understandable.

Understandable. What I'd like to do today for just a few moments, and as you know, as I mentioned, if you're visiting today, this is a bit of an unusual message, is to give you only two instances of where archaeology has helped us confirm the Scriptures, one from the Old Testament and one from the New. I want you to take your Bibles for a moment and just turn to the book of Deuteronomy chapter 27. Deuteronomy chapter 27. You'll notice the text tells us there that God spoke to Joshua. No wonder critics would say that this book, this book of Deuteronomy is a fabrication because almost on every page God is speaking.

The word of the Lord came to Moses and he said, and once you discount all that and say that that's impossible, why then indeed you get to that slim Bible that we talked about earlier. But in chapter 27 verse 4 it says this, so it shall be when you cross the Jordan you shall set up on Mount Ebal these stones as I am commanding you today and you shall coat them with lime. Moreover, you shall build there an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones and you shall not wield an iron tool on them. Did Joshua do this? Well, turn to Joshua chapter 8 where we have a reference to this altar. Joshua chapter 8 verse 30. It says, then Joshua built an altar to the Lord the God of Israel in the Mount of Ebal.

Just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the sons of Israel as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of uncut stones on which no man had wielded an iron tool and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings. Would you believe that in the mid 80s that altar was discovered on Mount Ebal. It is about 25 feet by 30 feet in terms of its area and several feet high, exactly 942 bones in terms of been discovered, bones of sheep and goat and oxen and there it is. Now that might be a minor point but isn't it interesting that once again you see as archeologists have gone back and they've been able to date all of these artifacts and the artifacts go back to the time of Joshua, they have means by which the date can be ascertained. It's a small point. It's a small point but again it's just like the Bible says it is. So today I tell you now that archeology has confirmed it.

You can breathe a sigh of relief. You can believe finally that Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal. Now let's take the New Testament. The stories of Jesus Christ have often been severely criticized. Years ago Luke chapter 2 was said to be totally fallacious. Luke got it all wrong.

It was popular by those who are quoted in national magazines. They would say that Luke was wrong and this was their criticism of Luke chapter 2 verse 1. Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. Critics says that Augustus did not order a census at this time.

Quirinius was governor of Syria at a later date and during this census people could pay wherever they lived and even if they had to go somewhere the husband would not have had to take his family. And so for years as scholars dug around in this they said that Luke was wrong. You know there was a man by the name of William Ramsey who was an unbeliever who set out to prove that the Gospel of Luke was filled with errors Luke and Acts. You know that Luke also wrote the book of Acts and he was going to show that it was really a book full of errors. Sir William Ramsey after years and years of painstaking archaeological investigation said these words quote Luke's history is unsurpassed regarding its accuracy and he became a believer in Jesus Christ through those investigations. What they discovered in this instance was they came across a decree in Egypt. They discovered that Quirinius was governor twice. He was governor when Christ was born but he was also governor later so that explains that.

They discovered that the copy of the census which I read this week but do not have with me it's found in archaeological books basically says that indeed the families have to return to the cities of their origin if they want to keep the titles of their land and it confirms the fact that a decree did go out from Caesar Augustus at that time and it was while Quirinius was governor of Syria. Now my dear friend do you understand how important it is for us to believe and to be convinced that if all the facts were known if all the facts were known we have in our hands a very very very reliable book. It is the word of God. It is the word of God. I conclude with another quote from that veritable treasure of theological wisdom and knowledge namely Time magazine. It says few scholars believe that the miracles like Moses burning bush or Jesus resurrection will ever be proved scientifically. That's Time magazine.

I don't understand why they wrote that. I don't want to be too hard on the author but either there is something going on here that we don't perceive. This is if I may say so quite foolish to prove these things scientifically. The scientific method is dependent upon observation, the gathering of data, the repeated experiments, the hypothesis is developed and the hypothesis is tested. Not only will the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the burning bush not be proven scientifically but I can tell you with absolute certainty that the existence of Napoleon cannot be proven scientifically either. You don't prove historical events scientifically. Scientific investigation has to do with that whole duplication of events, the repeated experiments if you want to know whether or not ivory soap floats you buy some ivory soap and then you get your neighbors to buy some ivory soap and then you test it and you test it until you're convinced that it floats or that it doesn't float.

You can't do that with these events. They cannot be proven scientifically. Of course they cannot be but they can be proven historically in the sense that the manuscript evidence for the New Testament is overwhelmingly strong in comparison to all other manuscripts that have been found regarding ancient literature whether it is the writings of Plato or Greek history or whatever. Now that of course would involve us here in a lecture and this is to be a sermon and not a lecture but I can assure you the fact that that if you approach the New Testament manuscripts with an unbiased mind and you say to yourself you know I am willing to believe if the evidence is compelling you can believe but if you say I will not believe no matter what nothing will convince you.

I like the words of Bernard Rann. He says no other book has been so chopped, knived, sifted, scrutinized, and vilified. What book on philosophy or religion or psychology or classical literature or modern times has been the subject of such mass attack as the Bible and the attack has been with such venom and skepticism with such thoroughness and erudition upon every line, every chapter, every tenant. He says a thousand times over the death knell of the Bible has been sounded, the funeral procession formed, the inscription cut on the tombstone, and the committal read but somehow the corpse never stays put, just never stays put.

It's always there, it's always there. I'd like to make two conclusions today. First the Bible has enough evidence for those who are open to belief, it has enough evidence for those who are open to belief but not enough for those who are close to belief.

We've already made the point. If you're here today sitting with your arms crossed and you're saying to yourself you know I'm a skeptic, I cannot prove you otherwise. If you want evidence for some of the patriarchs we've already learned, you can't substantiate it, no inscriptions have been found, I can't convince you.

So enjoy your skepticism. If you approach the Bible and say you know I don't know whether or not it's God's word but I'm going to read it and ask God to show me, to show me about Christ because I'm open to the possibility that God has spoken, why indeed for you there is much evidence, much evidence. You know we sometimes refer to Thomas who was a late comer in the believing of the resurrection and he said except I shall put my hand in the print of his nails. He said I will not believe and then Jesus very graciously came through the closed door without opening it and said Thomas reach hither thy finger and behold my hand and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side and be not faithless but believing and Thomas your member said my Lord and my God, my Lord and my God. You see the disciples were not wooly minded gullible fishermen, they were hard-headed, they wanted evidence but thank God that Thomas was at least an honest doubter. He was a doubter who was willing to believe if the evidence was there and Jesus very graciously granted him the evidence and said here it is and he confessed I believe and by the way your your name is in the Bible. All of us I suppose would like to have our names in the Bible but it's there in the 21st chapter of John because Jesus said blessed is the person who is not seen and yet has believed.

Blessed is John, Mary, and Peter, and Paul, and Daryl, and Doug, and others who who haven't seen and yet they believed. You see there's enough evidence for those who are open to faith but not enough evidence for the people who say I will not believe period. In fact if we had 100% proof we wouldn't need faith. There is faith but it's a reasonable faith, it's a sensible faith, it's a faith based on good evidence but it is not absolute for those who do not want to believe. Secondly to take the final step of personal trust in Christ that is actually a gift of faith that God gives.

What do I mean? Let's suppose that we could go back 2,000 years and we could go up to the hill of Calvary and watch Jesus die. Or or let us suppose that there was some archaeological find that said Jesus died on a cross and it even gave the inscription above the cross when he died.

Let's just suppose that that that were found. Would all the skeptics be saying oh I believe I believe. No all that they do is believe that Jesus was crucified. They would not believe that he was crucified for our sins.

You see? To believe that Jesus was crucified for our sins and for you to personally believe it that is actually the work of the Holy Spirit because Jesus said no man can come to me except the Spirit draw him. That's a miracle of God. You say well if it's a miracle of God then why do you even preach? Why don't you just let God do his miracles? It's because during preaching God may do a miracle. I'm going to tell you a story which I've told a couple of times now in prayer meeting and so forth and since various versions of it are now floating around the church you might as well get it from the person who was active in its instigation.

I teach once a week this semester up at Trinity International University. I teach preaching and one day I was trying to think of how I could impress upon my students the fact that it is while we were dead in trespasses and sins that God raised us and unless God raises the dead spiritually speaking preaching is useless. So I decided to take them to a cemetery in Deerfield and I didn't know where the cemetery was but I went early. Finally found a place to park.

The story is a little longer than I'm making it. Saw a woman come out of a restaurant just asked her cold turkey could you tell me where the cemetery is here in Deerfield and she said I can't believe that you're asking she said because just she said we were just talking about that and a man steps out of the restaurant and she said he's he's the caretaker of the cemetery. Just one of those little things that God does once in a while to let you know that you're on track. So I said to him I said you know I teach just up the way at Trinity I would like to bring my class to the cemetery. I said where is the cemetery he said if you'd have kept going two more blocks he'd have found that and then he told me where to park and said that the cemetery would be open and I could have my class in the cemetery. So after lecturing for a while I told the students to pack up their books I told them we were going to the cemetery told them how to get there they arrived. They are all gathering around we come to a tombstone that's maybe four feet high with a man buried in it Jonathan I believe was his name and his wife Adrian at least we'll say that I do remember they died in 1912 Jonathan and Adrian and so I read the text where it says we're dead in trespasses and sins and God sovereignly made us alive and then I read Ezekiel 37 where God says Ezekiel preached to these dry bones. So I said to one of the students Tom I said Tom would you preach to Adrian and Jonathan and tell them it's resurrection morning and it's time to get up and I stared at him and you know he wouldn't do it seriously he just stared back as if to say you can't be serious. So I said well if you don't I will so I went over there and I shouted I said Jonathan and Adrian rise up it's resurrection morning and then I paused boy I'm ever glad nothing happened and then I said to the students you know the problem is they couldn't hear me that was the problem and I went over and I shouted more loudly I said Jonathan and Adrian wake up it's resurrection morning with all of my might waited there was no resurrection then I said to the students how do you think I felt doing that pretty stupid yeah so stupid that Tom wouldn't even do it and I said that's the way it is when we preach the gospel to people we're doing something that is absolutely silly apart from the fact that God in his grace might create a resurrection and then I read the rest of Ezekiel 37 where when he preached to dry bones God took flesh and put it on the bones and then after the flesh God came and breathed life into the bones and they lived you know that there could be here today somebody whose heart is prepared to believe and God is working in your life and that's why you feel so guilty that's why you feel so alienated from God because you don't know where to turn and I want you to know today that even at this moment while I'm speaking God could quicken you and say and you say yes I believe and if you say that and you are saved it is a gift of God it's a gift of God and that's what the gospel is we could argue for hours about the historicity of the Bible and no matter how much evidence I gave you could turn away and walk away but the real issue is this if you come today with a hungry heart willing to believe and say God I long to believe believe in Christ who died for us who died for us you could have a camera and have picked up resurrection morning a skeptic could look at Christ coming out of the tomb and saying well isn't that interesting we have a very very confusing natural occurrence which we have not been able to explain you could explain it away but if you desire to believe believe in Christ today and be saved let's pray father we ask that you shall take these words and brand them into the hearts and the minds of all who have listened we pray in Jesus name amen my friend the bottom line is this the Bible gives us ample reason to believe that it is the word of God if there's an openness to belief but if you're absolutely determined to not believe you don't have to I want to ask you today do you have an open heart are you willing to consider the fact that the Bible is the word of God and read it check it out I believe very deeply it is important for us to help our young people to understand that there are good reasons to believe that the Bible is indeed God's word that's why I've written a book entitled seven reasons why you can trust the Bible for a gift of any amount this book can be yours and I need to emphasize that we here at running to win make these resources available to you to help you in your Christian walk we all need to be able to guard the truth because there is much error out there here's what you can do go to rtwoffer.com that's rtwoffer.com of course rtwoffer is all one word rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and let me thank you in advance for helping us when I think of running to win is not the ministry of a church or a person or an organization it is your ministry the people of God coming together to help us get the gospel to many go to rtwoffer.com or as I mentioned call 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 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 why no Bible code is needed to discern the divine origin of a book full of fulfilled prophecy don't miss our next program for pastor Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the moody church
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-17 03:53:41 / 2023-01-17 04:02:12 / 9

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