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The Sacred Book

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
December 9, 2020 12:00 am

The Sacred Book

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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December 9, 2020 12:00 am

Through the diligence and meticulous work of Jewish scribes, the Scriptures were preserved throughout the ancient world in their entirety. But how do we know that what was preserved are God's words and not man's? Can we have confidence that the Bible we hold in our hands is everything God wanted us to know and nothing else? Stephen continues to answer these questions in his series, "How We Got Our Bible."

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Paul told us those would come along claiming to be men of God and they would lead the flock astray in Acts 20. The greatest danger perhaps facing our church in this decade is the same thing that occurred at the very first temptation when Satan slithered in personified by that serpent and said to Eve, Has God said? Has God spoken? Did God deliver the truth to you? And does it have any authority in your life? So today, probably one of the key questions we're asked is, Did God really speak? How do you answer the question Stephen posed a moment ago? Did God really speak?

And if so, how can you know? Through the diligent and meticulous work of Jewish scribes, the scriptures were preserved and passed on throughout the ancient world. But how do we know that what was preserved are God's words and not man's words? Can we have confidence that the Bible we hold in our hands is everything God wanted us to know and nothing else? This is wisdom for the heart and Stephen continues to answer these questions in his series, How We Got Our Bible. Today's lesson is called The Sacred Book.

Stay with us. When Bergman, the Swedish film director was in Europe, he was in a cathedral one afternoon staring at an ancient painting. It was an old portrait of Christ from the imagination of the author. He stood in front of that painting and he whispered passionately, repeatedly at it, Speak to me. Speak to me. Speak to me.

Of course, never spoke. I read recently that his experience that day would become the motivation of his movie entitled Silence, which portrayed disillusioned, despairing people who were wandering around trying to hear from God. I think of another film director by the name of Woody Allen, who once lamented, We have no spiritual center. We are drifting alone in the cosmos.

We're all alone. When the Jew asked Paul the question in Romans 3, 1, what advantage is there to being a Jew? If you have told us our bloodline to Abraham isn't good enough, if our rituals and observances do not gain us a place or reservation in heaven, if our suffering, which we cataloged last time as a nation, does not somehow get us in favor with God, what good is it to be a Jew? And in verse 2 of Romans 3, remember that Paul told them, Oh, listen, great in every respect, you are the people that received the word from God. You were given the sacred oracles of God, a reference to inspired text. And that statement alone opens up a lot of questions, and I wanted to pause a little bit and talk about that. Just what is that phrase and what do we mean when we talk about the Word of God?

Can we have confidence in it? Now, there are four views that are out there in society based on the Bible, four different basic views. Number one, the Bible is the Word of God, inspired and fallible and errant. We believe that here.

It's one of our fundamental beliefs of our doctrine. Secondly, there's a view that the Bible is a collection of fables. The Bible is a collection of myths. Perhaps you had a philosophy professor who showed you perhaps some similarities in the Genesis flood with Akkadian literature, and he said, see, it's all make believe. It's simply their version, their Jewish folk tale.

It's rejected outright. Perhaps a more challenging view is this third one, and that is a growing popular view that the Bible is a combination of both. It is a combination of both God's Word and man's legend or fable. Of course, the problem with this view is that no one has any apparatus whereby they can determine objectively what it is in the Bible that is legend and what it is in the Bible that is God's Word. Once you get in that canoe, the raging waters of disbelief or unbelief will eventually drown you.

You will eventually walk away from it all as those do who start out this way. But others out of their unbelief have rejected the New Testament outright and the claims of course of Christ of being messianic. Some have written that he was just a Jewish reactionary. Some have said that he was at best a moral teacher. Some a charismatic rabbi. Some even suggested a homosexual magician. I've read one author who said that he was a drug addict who simply had found a drug that he introduced to these 12 men who then followed him.

He was sort of their dealer. The famous Albert Schweitzer wrote his own biography of Christ. Again, when you go to the Bible to determine what it is that you believe is true, you have no objective standard for the Bible says of itself that it is all true. He wrote a biography of Christ and concluded that Christ actually went insane. And in his insanity, out of his insanity, he declared himself to be divine. One British author wrote that Christ was simply a good lad with a brilliant flair for moral teaching but he would have been shocked to think that people would ever worship him as God. One woman who's taught on the collegiate level once wrote that Jesus was part of the sect living in Palestine.

He was actually married, had three children, divorced and remarried. One author believed that Jesus never died on the cross but lived and traveled with Paul on his missionary travels, which is interesting that they would believe the travels of Paul. And what would Paul talk about?

He would talk about Jesus dying, being buried and what? Rising from the dead, which this author denied. Several authors such as some I've referred to were at least honest enough to admit, quote, In order to reach such speculations, we are obliged to read between the lines, fill in certain gaps, deal with omissions and with references that are at best oblique. One author made an interesting jump and definitely filled in a few gaps when he wrote from John 11 where Mary came in and anointed Jesus's feet and then dried his feet with her hair, which was an act of the slave, an abject act of servanthood and submission.

We don't conceive of that in our culture, but it was there. He sort of took the jump that Jesus then married her and they had six children. That's reading an awful lot between the lines.

But why not? As soon as you view the Bible as anything less than the word of God and not the word of man, it is the word of man. Believing that you're open to all sorts of fanciful and even blasphemous options and notions. You have, in fact, placed yourself, whether people want to admit it or not, as the authority over the Bible, who now determines what is in fact true and what is false. Augustine said centuries ago to his generation, if you believe what you like in the gospels and reject what you don't like in the gospels, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. A fourth view that has unfortunately found a warm reception inside the evangelical church, at least in the last two generations, that also leads to great doctrinal danger.

In fact, ignorance and abuse is the view that the Bible is the word of God, but it is not the last word of God. That he is still giving revelation. And men who believe this, this Lord's Day, will be parading about their church platforms announcing the latest revelation from God. God told them this and God told them that. They are given additional revelation then to their congregations, unfortunately, without realizing it.

And I think now we will see some of the effects of that. They have opened the door for the Muslim who says, yes, we believe the Bible too, but we believe God has also spoken through his prophet Muhammad. And what will they say then? Of course, the Muslim believes that Jesus will one day come back to earth as a Muslim, marry, have children, die and be buried near Muhammad.

Other Muslim traditions believe that when Christ comes back, he'll kill all the Jews, convert the Christians to Islam and reign as king. But what can the Christians say after having been implicitly and maybe even explicitly taught that God is still speaking to their leaders? If this is not God's final word, who can say anyone who comes up with a revelation from God isn't in fact receiving fiat truth from God. It is the last word Hebrews tells us spoken through Christ and his apostles until Christ appears.

This is enough. In fact, the Bible says it is sufficient to equip the believer for every good work, not a few things and a little more, but every good work. It is sufficient for life, for faith, for practice. The one thing the true teacher and preacher of God will do is simply teach what God has already said. The Mormons believe that God spoke again to Joseph Smith, again along the same lines and what God spoke to him became the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, Doctrines and Covenants, which again are placed either on top of or alongside of, certainly not underneath, the scriptures. The Christian scientists follow Mary Baker Eddy, who believed that she was, quote, the revelator of truth for this age. She said, quote, My book, The Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, has God as its author.

I was only the scribe. What would you say to that? The evangelical church has opened the door years earlier for no one to be able to say anything. The Jehovah's Witnesses believe that their publication, The Watchtower, is, quote, a magazine without equal on earth because God is the author. David Berg, who leads the Children of God, refers to himself as a latter day prophet. He said in an interview with Christianity Today that his letters written to his followers are God's word for today.

Paul told us that those would come along claiming to be men of God and they would lead the flock astray in Acts 20. The greatest danger perhaps facing our church in this year, perhaps this decade, is the same thing that occurred at the very first temptation when Satan slithered in personified by that serpent and said to Eve, Has God what said? Has God spoken? Did God deliver the truth to you? And does it have any authority in your life?

Are you going to obey it? Did he say what he meant or did he mumble? Did he leave something out? Have God said? So today, probably one of the key questions we're asked is, did God really speak? And has he spoken?

Is he still speaking? I'm not talking about the inward impression of the Holy Spirit as you study the word. I'm talking about revelation from God. Thus saith the Lord. Is there a verse we ought to add? A book? Is there a 67th book that needs to be found and added? These are the four views about the Bible. The Bible alone is the word of God. The Bible is a collection of fables and legends. Third, the Bible is a combination of God's word and legends. And fourth, the Bible is the word of God but not the last word from God.

We believe here in our body of truth that the Bible is in fact a closed book. It is the last word from God until Christ appears. One of the verses that would indicate that is in the very end of your Bibles. Turn to Revelation and just look at the last few verses. In fact, you ought to just check me out and see if there's a period at the very end of the Bible.

And then maybe you ought to circle it and show it to some of your friends that think it's a comma. But in this great text John is summarizing the prophecy. And by the way, most of the Bible is what? Prophecy. He says, I testify verse 18 to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book.

And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, this is Christ. Yes, I am coming quickly. Amen. Come Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all.

Amen. Well, some would say John is referring to just this book of the prophecy. In other words, and there is quite a debate about that. He's just speaking of the book of Revelation. These 22 chapters don't add anything to that.

Well, before you go too far down the river, remember that John was the last prophet at least recorded in scripture that we would hold to. And this prophecy is the apocalypse. This is the end of the story. This takes us from the end of human history into the beginning of divine eternity. We're taken all the way up to that point and then therefore it is placed at the end of this great book. It is the end of human history. It is the beginning of divine eternity.

Therefore if you add to the book of Revelation you are in fact adding to the Bible. Those that say that beg the question. Someone would say well then where are the plagues that would affect them. Perhaps in this life not. But in the eternal life to come.

I can't imagine the horror the plagues and the torment upon those who have trifled with the Word of God and invented their own system with themselves as the great godlike authority so that people would follow them. Where is Nostradamus now my friends? A man who came from a long line of astrologers and occultic soothsayers who claimed to know the future of the world and future events up through the year 8000 A.D. and admitted by his closest followers to be wrong on many counts. How often by the way could a true prophet of God be wrong. Never. If he predicted something and it didn't come true according to the Old Testament what did they do.

They took him for a picnic lunch and told him it was his last meal and that was it. Well was it possible for a false prophet to get it right. That's where it gets a little trickier. Is it possible for a huckster for a deceiver to predict some near event some long term event and for it actually to come true.

The answer is yes. We have no idea what happens with the underworld the underworld does not know the future because it is not omniscient but they can read the signs. And God had an answer for them. Listen to his warning if a prophet arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder a miracle and the sign or the wonder comes true concerning which he spoke to you and also saying to you let us now go after other gods whom you've not known and let us serve them. Don't listen to him. This would be quite a test because in the Old Testament as God was revealing his word one could come along and say I'm a true prophet and you happen to be following an outdated God. Follow me and you'd say well how do I know you're a true prophet and he'd say well look I'm going to predict three things that will happen in your life tomorrow.

And if they come true follow me. You'd tend to do that wouldn't you. I would. What if he told you look tomorrow your cows going to run away and lightning is going to hit your barn and you're going to break your leg.

You wouldn't want to get out of bed I'm sure the next morning but suppose you did and come to find out your favorite cow ran away and lightning hit your barn and started a fire and you went to put out the fire and you fell out of the hayloft and broke your leg. What would you think. I wonder if that guy is a true prophet. And God said this. Don't listen to the words of that prophet for the Lord your God is testing you.

He is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear him and you shall keep his commandments in other words keep what he's already delivered that points to him serve him cling to him in other words it is possible for a prophet to predict something that comes true. And if it does it becomes a test to the believer. Will they continue to follow the revealed word of God or will they say this guy must be the truth even though he leads me away from Christ. And all other supposed sacred writings ladies and gentlemen you can put in a pile.

They all have the same thing in common. They all lead you away from Jesus Christ as the incarnate God period. And the Bible leads you to the Redeemer who is your God. Is it possible for miraculous things to happen even in the name of Christ even in our generation.

Yeah. Jesus said in Matthew 7 many will say to me on that day speaking of the judgment Lord did we not prophesy in your name in the name of Jesus in your name cast out demons in the name of Jesus perform many miracles and I will declare to them I never knew you. So you need to be alert ladies and gentlemen be aware what if an angel did actually come and visit Mohammed and deliver to him in the Arabic language the Quran. What of an angel actually did come. And in those writings discover that Christ in his deity is denied.

What of an angel then centuries later did come to Joseph Smith actually appear and deliver to him in some Egyptian markings that which would become the Book of Mormon a book that denies the uncreated Christ. Paul said in Galatians 1 perhaps more appropriate words for our generation than ever before. I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting him who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel which is really not another gospel. Only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we listen or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you he is to be accursed. As we have said before so I say again now if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary literally in addition to what you received he is to be accursed. You know what's interesting about all the other religions. They would tell you England keep this book.

That's fine. I mean who would you listen to if they came along and said you need to burn this. You wouldn't listen. So they say yeah you keep that. But then we're going to preach another gospel.

In addition to that that explains that. And Paul said even if an angel appeared and said I've got a new revelation he said let that angel be accursed. What of the true prophets of scripture. How do we know they told the truth. Well as you study the scripture you find out number one they led people to worship God Jehovah. And how often were they right.

One hundred percent of the time. One author I was reading this past week pulled a story out of something he had learned from the CIA files that illustrates proof of identity. It's an interesting illustration and it actually happened a Soviet double agent was stranded in Mexico and he was without his passport and he received his instructions about how to identify himself as being truly that double agent to the secretary of the Russian ambassador in Mexico who would meet him and then secretly hand him his passport. So five prearranged signs were delivered to both the ambassador and separately by different courier to this double agent and they weren't told what those signs were.

They weren't told that the other one had them but they were told to look for them and so there could be no collusion and both had to perform perfectly. Sign number one. When in Mexico City the spy then was to write a letter to the secretary confirming his presence and signing his name on the letter as I period Jackson.

Number two. Sign two. After exactly three days beyond the postmark he was to go to the Plaza de Colón in Mexico City. Sign three. He was to stand before the statue of Columbus.

Sign four. He was to have a guidebook open with his finger pointing to a particular paragraph in the guidebook. Just standing there in front of that statue with his finger pointing to a paragraph. And when approached he was supposed to say isn't it a magnificent statue? And after the response he would then add that he had traveled to Mexico from Oklahoma.

That sounds like a get smart program doesn't it? You can just see that guy standing there with his finger pointed in and telling people that came up to him I'm from Oklahoma. But the secretary of the Russian embassy went out there and identified the man with those five signs who said those things and then was proven in his identity and handed him his passport. Following just those five surely two people from Oklahoma could have been standing there by that plaza in front of that statue pointing at the same paragraph I suppose. But the more you add to it the more difficult it would be to have two people doing the same thing wouldn't it.

So they felt it was safe with only five. Well let me give you five signs from the prophets that speak of Christ and his identity as true Messiah. Number one Micah in Micah 5 2 said but as for you Bethlehem from you one will go forth for me to be a ruler in Israel. In other words the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and that came true fulfilled in Luke Chapter 2. Ah but someone might say yeah but that verse also says that he will go forward to be a ruler in Israel and he didn't go forward to be a ruler in Israel. Well the prophet John will tell us that he will be a ruler in Israel in the kingdom. You have to keep reading the prophets to find out what happened between that prophecy and the one yet coming. A second sign Isaiah said he was oppressed and afflicted yet he did not open his mouth. That was fulfilled in Matthew 27. Pilate said to him Do you not hear how many things they testify against you.

And Jesus did not answer him with regard to even a single charge so that the governor was quite amazed. A third sign comes from the pen of David again these men writing centuries before Christ. David wrote in Psalm 22 a band of evil doers has surrounded me. They pierced my hands and my feet.

They divide my garments among them and for my clothing they cast lots. Can you believe that in that one sign there are actually three more. Now we're up to eight. Those things were fulfilled at the crucifixion of Christ centuries later. A fourth sign would be the words of Christ on the cross. David began Psalm 22 that which we call the Messianic Psalm by those words My God my God why has thou forsaken me.

He speaking as fully man is agony of being separated said what we would have said. Fulfilled in Matthew 27 where Christ uttered those very words. The fifth sign that Christ was in fact the Messiah comes from the prophecy of Isaiah who wrote with incredible precision these words.

This is one that's often overlooked. Isaiah 53 9 his grave was assigned with wicked men. In other words they said the Messiah would have an have an assignment to be buried with wicked criminals and that would be the day of Rome. Isaiah not knowing the culture of Rome but he would know that perhaps just as they did in his day they had that valley where they would keep an open fire burning and they would throw the bodies of criminals who died or those that they had put to death into that valley and it was just sort of a terrible place.

It became a picture later in the New Testament of hell where the fire never goes out and it's great suffering and this text says his grave will be an assignment with wicked men he's going to be thrown into that kind of open grave. But he then says however he was with a rich man in his death. He would be a rich man in his death because Isaiah adds he has done no crime fulfilled in Matthew 27. Listen when it was evening there came a rich man named Joseph. A lot of times the Bible doesn't care whether they're rich or poor but here he wants us to know as a rich man.

Why? Because Joseph went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given over to him and Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb which he had hewn out in the rock.

Christ was with a rich man in his death. My friends what is your view of the prophets? What is your view of the Bible? Do you believe it's a combination of God's word and legend and you're going to be the authority to determine what's true and what's false. Do you believe it's God's word but you want more and you're into whatever the latest revelation is from some prophet or seer or some miracle worker or is this the word of God completed finished and sufficient. You are discovering to equip you for every good work. Have you found in these pages the Redeemer calling to you.

Have you found light in these pages for your path. Have you found conviction as the words of this book wound you for your sin. Have you known the forgiveness of God that comes from these blood stained pages. Have you felt the pleasure of God as you've meandered through the valleys from peak to peak. To love this book my friend is to love its author.

The two are inseparable. This is God's breath the scriptures tell us. He breathed this as holy men were moved by him. I want to encourage you to pick up your Bible today. It's God's word to you.

This is Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. Our ministry is centered on the proposition that the Bible is God's word and it's our desire to teach it as accurately and faithfully as possible. In addition to being our daily Bible teacher Stephen is also an author. His newest book is called In Living Color and we're making it available this month as our gift to those who make a special year-end contribution to our ministry. If you'd like to support us call today at 866-48-BIBLE that's 866-482-4253. We also have a website where you can learn more about us and interact with us online. You'll find us at wisdomonline.org. Stephen has one final lesson in this series called How We Got Our Bible. That's tomorrow here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-05 00:40:37 / 2023-12-05 00:51:12 / 11

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