Not too many months ago the Congress of the US “pulled the plug on NASA’s elaborate search for radio signals from alien life”. SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence project) has been an American scientific community priority for many years. Because of the evolutionary belief system so prominent in our culture there is also a desire to find even higher evolved life forms. The newspapers at that time reported: “Some speculate that alien intelligence might beam vast streams of coded information, a virtual encyclopedia galactica, with insights into THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE AND IMMORTALITY.”
SUCH AN ABSOLUTE DISREGARD FOR THE INDISPUTABLE FACT THAT SUCH A STREAM OF INFINITE KNOWLEDGE HAS ARRIVED IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE! The Intelligence of the Universe HAS beamed us about our origin and offered immortality freely to all.
Thus we have here this morning not only crystal clear details on the opening day of the Cosmos but also:
- the secret of how to live forever
- the secret of how to have a joyfilled marriage (Proverbs 5)
- the secret of how to experience real love (I Corinthians 13)
- the secret of how to be prosperous and successful (Josh 1)
- the secret of how to never fear the future (John 14)
- the secret of how to resist Satan (I Peter 5)
- The Immense God who is vastly beyond all that exists, and has always been before all the Universe began, has revealed Himself in the Scriptures.
- The Awesome Creator who has attested to His might by the countless stars, galaxies and mysteries of the Cosmos out there, has opened His mind for us to explore.
- The Endless of Days who sees us who are as frail as dust and fleeting as shadows has placed before us the Eternal Word to have, to hold, to love and to live.
But why is it so few have heard and seen this truth? Listen to the apostle Paul:
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (KJV)
Ephesians 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (KJV)
What does that virtual encyclopedia galactica have to say?
Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (KJV)
Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, (even) his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (KJV)
Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether (they be) thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (KJV)
Colossians 2:3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (KJV)
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture (is) given by inspiration of God, and (is) profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (KJV)
2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake (as they were) moved by the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received (it) not (as) the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (KJV)
I believe the Bible is true. It is all it claims to be. There are seven reasons why you can believe this too. The first reason is also the ultimate one. Jesus believed, and taught and practiced personal belief in the book you now hold in your hands!
JESUS CHRIST: Because our Lord Jesus Christ said so! Jesus believed the Scriptures were FLAWLESS from Genesis to Malachi (Matthew 23:35 Jesus refers to the Jewish Scriptures which started with genesis ‘Abel’ and ended with II Chronicles ‘Zechariah’. In this sweeping statement He encompassed all the Old Testament Scriptures and said He believed it as we would say from Genesis to Revelation). The words of our Lord Jesus were filled with the Scriptures. He used them –
- To pray His Mighty Intercession of John 17 He uses the Scriptures (Psalm 41:9).
- To prepare for Gethsemane He sang from the Scriptures at the Last Supper with His disciples. (Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26 = 5214 humneo singing of paschal hymns these were Psalms 113 – 118 and 136, which the Jews called the “great Hallel”)
- To endure the horrors of Golgotha He had the words of theScriptures flowing from His lips on the Cross. (Matthew 27:46 and Luke 23:46 quote Psalms 22:1 and 31:5. )
- To comfort the confused and sorrowful disciples in Luke 24:44 He reminds them that the Scriptures often speak of Him.
Turn with me to Matthew 5:18. We can learn alot about what Bible Jesus used from this passage. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shah pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.”
- EVERY WORD OF GOD IS Until heaven and earth pass away represents the end of time as we know it, the end of earthly history. As God’s Word, the law would outlast the universe, which someday will cease to exist. “The present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Pet. 3:7; cf. v. 10). Even the psalmist knew that “Of old Thou didst found the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. But Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end” (Ps. 102:25–26). Isaiah said, “Lift up your eyes to the sky, then look to the earth beneath; for the sky will vanish like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a garment, and its inhabitants will die in like manner, but My righteousness shall not wane” (Isaiah. 51:6; cf. 34:4; Rev. 6:13–14).
- EVERY WORD OF JESUS IS EQUALLY AUTHORITATIVE: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Matthew. 24:35). What was true of the law, in its fullest meaning as the Old Testament, was also true of Jesus’ teaching. It is timeless. It is incredibly foolish to ask, “What does the Bible, a two–thousand–year–old book, have to say to us today?” The Bible is the eternal Word of the eternal God. It “is living and active and sharper than any two–edged sword” (Hebrews. 4:12). Phil Johnson says, “It has long preceded and will long outlast every person who questions its validity and relevancy.”
- EVERY WORD WILL COME TO PASS! Not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, Jesus continued. The smallest letter translates the word ioµta, the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet. To Jesus’ Jewish hearers it would have represented the yodh, the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which looks something like an apostrophe. A stroke (keraia) literally means “little horn” and refers to the small marks that help distinguish one Hebrew letter from another. God is Jeremiah 1:12 Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.” (NKJV)
- EVERY WORD OF GOD WILL BE PRESERVED. As one noted theologian has stated, “In other words, not only will the smallest letter not be erased, but even the smallest part of a letter will not be erased from the Law. Not even the tiniest, seemingly most insignificant, part of God’s Word will be removed or modified until all is accomplished. But without the smallest exception, every commandment, every prophecy, every figure and symbol and type would be accomplished.”
- EVERY LETTER OF GOD’S WORD IS TRUE! No other statement made by our Lord more clearly states His absolute contention that Scripture is verbally inerrant, totally without error in the original form in which God gave it. That is, Scripture is God’s own Word not only down to every single written word, but down to every letter and the smallest part of every letter.
- EVERY BOOK OF GOD’S WORD IS TRUE! Jesus referred to the Old Testament at least sixty–four times, and always as authoritative truth. In the course of defending His messiahship and divinity before the unbelieving Jewish leaders in the Temple, He said, “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
- EVERY VERB TENSE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT IS TRUE! John MacArthur has stated “When the Sadducees tried to trip Him up by asking which of seven successive husbands would be a woman’s husband in the resurrection, that is in heaven, He replied, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God” (Matthew. 22:29). In that confrontation with the Sadducees, Jesus’ whole argument is based on a single verb tense. In the book of Exodus, which He was here quoting, God told Moses that He is, not was, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (3:6). Hundreds of years after those patriarchs had died, the Lord was still their God. Obviously those men were still alive. God’s Word is therefore authoritative not only down to the smallest part of every letter, but also to the grammatical forms of every word. Because Scripture itself is without error, when it is believed and obeyed it will save us from error.”
- EVERY MORAL PRECEPT IS TRUE! Over and over again, Jesus confirmed the accuracy and the authenticity of the Old Testament. He confirmed the standard of marriage that God established in the Garden of Eden (Matthew. 19:4), the murder of Abel (Luke 11:51), Noah and the flood (Matthew. 24:38–39), Abraham and his faith (John 8:56), Sodom, Lot, and Lot’s wife (Luke 17:29), the call of Moses (Mark 12:26), the manna from heaven (John 6:31, 58), and the bronze serpent (John 3:14).
What should be our response to these truths?
- YIELD TO THE WORD! Christ and His Word are inextricable. You cannot divide Him from the Scriptures. He spoke them, defended them and affirmed them. To accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is to yield to what He taught about Scripture. Scripture’s authority is Christ’s authority. To obey the Lord is to obey His Word. “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God” (John 8:47). To trust in Christ is to say of Him as Peter did, “You have words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
- TRUST THE WORD! The Old Testament cannot contains any errors. If there were any we would have to decide one of two things about Jesus Christ. Either He was ignorant of those errors, in which case He was not omniscient and was therefore not God. Or else He knew of the errors but denied them, in which case He would have been a liar and a hypocrite, and therefore not holy God.
- RECEIVE THE WORD! Always remembering that it is “the word implanted, which is able to save [our] souls” (James 1:21). We should receive it because of the infinite majesty of the Author and His authoritative statements about it. We should receive it because of the price that God paid to get it to us, and because it is the standard of truth, joy, blessing, and salvation. And we should receive it because not to receive it brings judgment.
- EXALT THE WORD! Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. (NKJV) Charles Spurgeon said, “ Is the infallible revelation of the infallible Jehovah to be moderated, to be shaped, to be toned down to the fancies and fashions of the hour? God forbid us if we ever alter His Word.”
- Martin Luther never feared men, but when he stood up to preach he often felt his knees knock together under a sense of great responsibility to be true to the Word of God.
- OBEY THE WORD! We should be diligent to present ourselves approved to God as workmen who do “not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Like Jeremiah, we should find God’s words and eat them (Jeremiah. 15:16), and “let the word of Christ richly dwell within” us (Col. 3:16).
- DEFEND THE WORD! We are to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Like Jude, we should fight for the integrity, purity, and authority of Scripture. Spurgeon said, “The everlasting gospel is worth preaching even if one stood on a burning fagot and addressed the crowds from a pulpit of flames. The truths revealed in Scripture are worth living for and they are worth dying for. I count myself thrice happy, to bear reproach for the sake of the faith. It is an honor of which I feel myself to be unworthy, and yet most truly I can say the words of our hymn, ‘Shall I to soothe the unholy throng, soften Thy truths and smooth my tongue to gain earth’s gilded toys, or flee the cross endured my God by Thee?’”
SHARE THE WORD! We are to have as our constant goal to share the Word. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 I charge [you] therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season [and] out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching. (NKJV) Says Spurgeon again, “I cannot speak out my whole heart on this theme which is so dear to me, but I would stir you all up to be instant in season and out of season in telling out the gospel message, especially to repeat such a word as this: ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.’ Whisper it in the ear of the sick, shout it in the corner of the streets, write it on your tablet, send it forth from the press, but everywhere let this be your great motive and warrant. You preach the gospel because the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”
Book you can trust #2 Transcript
Not too many months ago in the newspapers a congressional event took place, and I’m apolitical myself, but I do note sometimes with amusement what happens in our country as we pray and ask God to do His way. And it said in the paper, quite a stirring article, that congress in their budget cutting had pulled the funds on the “SETI Project.” Now most of us probably aren’t even aware of the “SETI Project,” but it’s an amazing search by NASA, and the article says that U.S. Congress today pulled the plug on NASA’s elaborate search for radio signals from alien life. SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence project has been an American scientific community priority for many years.
I think it’s very interesting that because of the evolutionary belief that has been so embraced by our country and sadly by even some Christians, that the belief that if we’re evolved there must be perhaps some life form that’s evolved beyond us.
And so they have, as I was sharing yesterday with the men in the Bible study, they have these huge, radar things linked all over the globe just waiting like big catching basins for some radio signals to come. And this is what the newspaper said. “Some speculate that alien intelligence (out there somewhere) might be vast streams of coded information and that these big dishes might receive a virtual encyclopedia galactica.” Listen. The newspaper writer wrote this. “And perhaps we could get some insights into the origin of the universe and immortality.”
Listen. I want to announce something this morning. Right here in Tulsa, I want to announce it, okay? If there are any newspaper writers, take this down. Such an absolute disregard for the indisputable fact that such a stream of infinite knowledge has arrived is just incomprehensible to me. The intelligence of the universe has beamed us all about our origin, and He has offered immortality freely to every human being on this planet.
Well, there are a lot of people really sad when they pulled the plug on that project. But what they don’t realize is that we have here this morning, and you I trust brought with you – I hope you always do – your own personal copy of a virtual encyclopedia galactica beyond that. Crystal clear details on the opening day of the cosmos. But that’s not all. We have here how to obtain immortality.
Now I was interested as I was typing along. There’s only one letter difference between immorality and immortality and it’s the letter “T” that looks a lot like the cross. And that really is the only difference between immorality and immortality. Right? The cross of Christ.
Also we have before us how to live in an absolute intoxicatingly joyful wedded bliss. That’s in Proverbs five. Wow! Not just where the universe came from and how to have immortality, it’s how to have an incredibly indescribable life here on earth. How about how to have a live-in perfect love? Or how to be prosperous and successful, Joshua one. How to never fear the future, John 14. How to resist the roaring lion devil serpent Satan in 1 Peter five. And there’s so much more.
The immense God who is vastly beyond all that exists, who has always been before all the universe began, has revealed himself in the scriptures. The awesome creator who attested to His might by the countless stars, and the more complicated our detection devices are, and the more clarifying are their detecting lenses, and the more computer enhancement we use, they only find out there’s more out there. And there’s further clusters, what they used to think were stars then they thought were galaxies, they find out are clusters of galaxies. And they just, it’s incomprehensible and the mysteries of the cosmos out there, the one who created all that has opened His very mind for us to explore and He said we can have the very mind of the creator. And the endless of days who sees us as frail as dust, as fleeting as shadows, He has placed before us His eternal word to have, to hold, to love and to live. That’s what He offers us.
But why have so few heard and seen this truth? Listen to the apostle Paul. You might want to jot some of these down. Second Corinthians 4:4 says this, “Why are people…,” I mean they’re putting out their antennas and it’s already arrived. How come if the message from God started being written down fifteen centuries before Christ, it’s the oldest extant book on the planet. It’s the most remarkable book on the planet. It’s the only indisputable, supernatural revelation on the planet. Everything else is bogus and can be proven to be so. Why is it nobody’s reading it? Well, 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “In whom the God of this world the devil’s serpent deceiver fallen Lucifer Satan has blinded the minds of those who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” If Satan wants to do anything, he wants to keep people from getting this book open and getting the light shined on them. He doesn’t want that.
You might want to write down Ephesians 4:18. “Having the understanding dark and being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that’s in them because of the blindness of their heart.” You know it’s amazing that the people that work in the realm of science constantly see the hand of God. Constantly. And because of the blindness of their heart, they’ll take any explanation except one. They’ll believe the most obtuse, bizarre, ridiculous things, and they’ll change them in every edition of their books. But they won’t believe one. And that’s the only one that’s true.
Well, what does this virtual encyclopedia galactica have to say? Now, if you don’t know these verses, these are ones you ought to look up. Let me read ‘em to you. Hebrews 11, in verse three. This is what was beamed to us by God. “Through faith we understand that the worlds,” everything out there, all of the incomprehensibly, immense staggeringly infinite universe, the world, “were framed by the word of God so that the things which are seen were not made out of things which do appear.” That means they did not evolve, that this place did not take fourteen billion, twelve billion, eight billion or seven or six or two or three. It was instantaneously created as it is by God. That’s what the Bible says. It says, so that the things which are seen were not made out of and not slowly percolating, and suddenly, and water coming from somewhere and raining down, and pools of primordial nutrients… no, no. It came from nothing. And they appeared.
Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made even His eternal power and godhead, so that they are without excuse.” You see if you deny the divine fiat of creation, God made everything from nothing instantaneously, then you miss the idea. Because the way He made the universe clearly reveals his eternal power and godhead. It also deprecates His honesty because the creator himself, he didn’t just beam down the book. He came down here, too, and walked and talked as we’ll see this morning.
Colossians 1:16, “For by Him were all things were created.” That means that God did not, that Jesus Christ, God the son, did not spin off the universe and then let it take over. For by Him everything was created, Paul says, that on earth that are visible that are invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or power, all things were created by Him and for Him.
Colossians 2:3, “In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” That’s what He beamed down to us.
Second Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by the breath of God and all of it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.” All of it. That’s why I encourage you to get acquainted with all of it.
A dear friend of mine who teaches the Bible well said something a few months ago and I wrote it in my Bible. He was teaching one of the BCF classes and this is what he said: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine. That means it tells us what is right. For reproof, it tells us what is not right. For correction, it tells us how to get right. And for instruction, it tells us how to stay right.” I thought that was clever. That’s what God gave us.
First Thessalonians 2:13, where we started on all this, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing.” Because when you receive the beamed down word of God by inspiration, “…which you heard of us,” the apostle Paul, “you received it not as the word of men.” This book is not on the same level as Socrates and Hippocrates and Shakespeare and the great literary giants and the mystics. It’s not on the same level as the occultic books. It supercedes, transcends, it is alone from God. “…you received it not as the mere word of men down here on this shelf, but as it is in truth, the very word of God which effectually works also in you that believe.”
So why is it that people don’t accept this? ‘Cause they don’t believe. And what’s the problem is faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. And so basically they have closed their minds to the only way that God can reveal himself to them.
Well, I believe that the Bible is true. I trust you do, too. It is all it claims to be. We saw last week that there’s seven reasons why you can believe this, too. And the first reason and the ultimate one is one we’re going to spend our time on this morning and that is because the book that you hold in your hands is the very same Bible that Jesus affirmed and believed. Did you know that?
Did you know that in the 40’s when the Bedouin shepherd boys were playing with their rocks and threw rocks in a little hole in a dry gulch, coming down from Bethlehem in a place called Qumran, and heard a crack and breaking sound, and when they went in those caves and pulled out these dusty, crumbling leather deals, and when that shepherd Bedouin boy carried it around perhaps the leather could be used to make, you know, a bag out of or a shoe and finally sold the thing and it got into the hands of scholars. Did you know that those manuscripts that were 1,900+ years old turned out to have exactly the same words that our Bibles we hold in our hands have? That the Bible that Jesus read is word for word the same as the Bible you hold this morning.
And Jesus Christ had a lot to say about this Bible we hold this morning. And I wrote down as our sermon title, “What Bible did Jesus Use?”. And I want to answer it right now for those of you that only can tune in for so long. The one you’re holding in your hand is the one He used. And what did He preach from? The one you’re holding in your hand. And what did He believe? The one you’re holding in your hand. And what did He share and what transformed the world? The book that you hold in your hand this morning. It’s the word of God. And Jesus Christ believed the scriptures were flawless from Genesis to Malachi because the others had not yet been written.
In fact, just to show you, it says in, you want to turn somewhere, look at Matthew 23 in verse 35, it’s a great verse. You know how you hear someone preach and they say, “I believe the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.” Jesus said the very same thing. It’s interesting Matthew 23, verse 35, Jesus refers to the Jewish scriptures which started with Genesis, and that’s where we learn and meet Abel, and Christ’s Bible ended with 2 Chronicles. Now they had three divisions of their Bible and they put the law and then the megillah, the writings and then they put the prophets at the end. And their last book was 2 Chronicles. But they had all the very same books that we do. They had the prophets in a little different order than we do, but the very same words in there. They just moved the order around a little bit. But this is what Jesus says in Matthew 23:35, “…that might come on you all the righteous blood shed on the earth from the blood of righteous Abel (Genesis) to the blood of Zechariah’s son of Berechiah whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” And that’s the last thing in 2 Chronicles, and you know what? Jesus said all that from Genesis to Malachi, he said it’s all true and it’s all going to come to pass.
The words that He believed were as we would say it, from Genesis to Revelation, the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ were filled with the scriptures. Christ used scripture to pray from. In fact if you look in His intercessory prayer in John 17, He’s praying from the Psalms in John 17 to prepare for Gethsemane. He sang the scripture at the last supper with His disciples. He sang the scriptures. You can read about that in Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26. To endure the horrors of Golgatha, He had the words of the scriptures flowing from His lips on the cross. They were so important to Him. He read them, He embraced them, He knew them and He used them. Jesus believed the Bible. To comfort the confused and sorrowful disciples in Luke 24, He turns their eyes back to the scriptures. He said, you missed me. You miss your Jesus. He said, He’s all over that book.
That’s why it’s a real tragedy when people don’t read the Old Testament. The Old Testament is the book that Jesus meditated on, lived with and used. The Old Testament is the book that the apostles preached from, taught doctrines from, saw Christ in every corner of it. It’s an often neglected book in our lives.
But let’s turn to Matthew chapter five, and I want to spend some time in Matthew chapter five, if you’ll turn there with me, please. In verse 18, because we can learn a lot about what Bible or what the Bible was like that Jesus used from this passage. Listen to what He says in this one verse, Matthew 5:18. “For truly 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.”
Now, I’m going to give you a successive list of things that describe what Jesus believed about the Bible. And if Jesus believed them, my encouragement to you would be that that’s what we should believe, too. And we should say my hope is built on nothing less than what Jesus believed about this book, because I don’t want to believe anything He didn’t believe. And I don’t want to believe less than He believed. And I don’t want to believe more than He believed. I just want to believe the book like He believed it. 1) Jesus believed that every word of God is absolute. Every word. Every word. I don’t mean the thoughts. I don’t mean the ethical and moral underpinnings, and I don’t mean the traditions. And I mean Jesus believed every word in the book that you hold, the word of God, was absolute, was absolutely authoritative. Let me show you what I mean. He said this, verse 18, “until heaven and earth pass away…”. You know what that means? That represents until time ends as we know it, the end of earthly history. God’s word, the law of God, He said, is going to outlast the universe, because the universe as we know it, that all of our radio telescopes are peeping at, is going to cease to exist. So don’t invest a lot in it. It’s all going to burn up. All of it. All of it is… God says none of it is going to come in to the eternal state. All of it has to go through the fire and be burned up, because sin permeates this universe. That’s why there’s decay. That’s why right down to the atomic level there’s dissonance.
You know, the only perfect thing that ever got on this planet was Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ could walk through solid walls and yet He was in a physical, corporeal body. Do you know why? He was perfect. There wasn’t all that dissonance. There’s enough space between the nucleus and the electron shells of matter that really my hand should just go right through the other one, but it won’t because of the dissonance. Jesus was perfect and He could just walk right through walls. He could just go into the eternal state and come right back and He just, He’s perfect.
He said, but you know what, this universe, the present heavens, 2 Peter 3:7, are by his word being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. Even the psalmist said of all thou didst found the earth, the heavens are the works of thy hands, even the heavens will perish. But you, God, will endure and all of them will wear out, the universe, like garment and like clothing. And you will change them and they will all be changed, but thou art the same. Thy years will not come to an end. Psalm 102:25-26. Isaiah the prophet said, lift up your eyes to the sky. Then look to the earth beneath for the sky will vanish like smoke. The earth will wear out like a garment. It’s inhabitants will die in like manner, but my righteousness shall not wane. Isaiah 51:6. Compare that sometime with Isaiah 34:4 and Revelation 6:13-14. You’ll see what happens. The whole sky is going to roll up like a scroll and God’s going to destroy this after He pulls His people out. And then He’s going to resurrect all the lost and they’re going to stand one by one before Him and He’s going to cast them one by one by one into the lake of fire. Because they didn’t receive the message He beamed down and came in person to reveal.
Number 2. Not only is every word of God absolute, every word of Jesus is equally authoritative with the rest of the word of God. Did you know that? Did you know that it says in Peter’s writings that holy men of old spake as they were moved by the spirit of God searching what or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify when he testified beforehand his sufferings and the glory that would follow? Did you know that when Moses sat down and started writing the first five books, and by the way, he wrote the first five books, they’re not an editorial compilation over centuries. Moses wrote the first five books and Joshua came along and put in Moses’ death. And Joshua picked up and started writing and then the priest took over and put down his death, and on it went. But when Moses sat down and started writing and started writing about the creation of the world, it was the spirit of Jesus Christ that inspired him to know what happened when God began the universe. Every word of Jesus is equally authoritative with the word of God.
Look what He says in Matthew 24 verse 35. It says, “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words shall not pass away.” Did you know He put Himself right on par with the rest of the Bible. He said heaven and earth are going to pass away but the word of God and my words which are the same will not pass away. What was true of the law in its fullest meaning is the Old Testament was also true of Jesus teaching. Jesus’ words are timeless. The Bible is the eternal word of God.
A good friend of mine, Phil Johnson, says the word of God is long preceded and will outlast for a long time every person who questions its validity and relevancy. I think he said it well, don’t you? All these people that say, “Oh, you know, you can’t believe this book, and what effect does it have on me?”. This book predates and postdates all occupants of this planet and it will endure. It will endure. Jesus’ words are equally authoritative.
Number 3. Every word of the Bible will come to pass. If you look back at our text, we’re looking at Matthew five in verse 18, it says this, It says, “For surely I say unto you, heaven and earth will pass away, but one jot or one little tittle will not pass away until it’s all fulfilled.” Did you know that God is going to accomplish every single thing He said in this book. He staked His name on it, His eternal character, His eternal power. Not the smallest letter or stroke will pass away from the law, Jesus said.
The smallest letter translates into the word iota and the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet was the iota. To Jesus Jewish hearers, they would have thought of the yod, which is a little like apostrophe thing in Hebrew. That’s the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet. A stroke where He says not the smallest letter which is either a yodh or a yod or a stroke Jesus says. That’s the word keraia. And you know what that was? That was just on their Hebrew letters a lot of them look like a little box, you know. A tent actually. Just a little like that. And to tell the difference between one tent and another they put a little dot on the corner, the upper right corner, or between a sin and a shin the thing that looks like a “w” to them, you know, a three pronged deal. If they put a little dot over the right, it was a shin and if they didn’t, it was a sin. That’s the way they said the word in Hebrew or the letter of the alphabet. And so what He’s saying is the Bible, right down to the smallest letters in the strokes, is never going to pass away. Even the letters, not just the words, are inspired. The letters that make up the words are inspired. That’s really interesting to think about.
You know what it says in Jeremiah 1:12? “Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well for I am ready to perform my word.’” God says every word of this book is going to come to pass. Jesus said that the word of God is absolute. Every word of it. And He said every word he spoke was equally authoritative. And thirdly He said, every word is going to come to pass.
Fourthly, He said every word of God will be preserved. You notice that’s what He says. He says heaven and earth is going to pass away but one little letter and one little stroke is not going to pass away from this book until it’s all fulfilled. He said, I’m going to preserve it. I’m going to preserve this book.
Well, when they found the dead sea scrolls, we found out that all of our Old Testament was preserved. No noticeable differences. But then they started excavating and looking for scrolls of the New Testament during the Renaissance and the Reformation times. They wanted to see whether or not that had been preserved as well. And all together there are over 10,000 different forms of manuscripts, about 5,000 Greek manuscripts and about 5,000 other Latin and early fathers and everything else. And they took all those things and boiled them down and put them together in about 1880. And they put them all in one place and copied them all together and then compared everything, and they found out that the entire difference between all 5,000 Greek manuscripts and all 5,000 other manuscripts that quote the Greek manuscripts is one half of one page of text of a 500 page book. So, take a 500 page book someday and take one page out and tear it in half. That amount is how much difference there is between all the manuscripts of the Bible. Between your New King James, your Old King James, your NIV, your New American. That’s all the difference there is between them. And you know what? Not one single doctrine is effected in any of the changes.
Yes, it might be and there are seven laws of textual criticism and one of them is dictatious and the other is homeoteleuton. And there’s lots of big words and you know what they mean? It means the scribes were all sitting there in rooms with these big tables in front of them with their quills and ink pens, and they were paid pittances to copy. And they’d be sitting there and they’d, some would be up front reading and they’d go “in”, you know this is before Xerox machines, “in…the…beginning…beginning.” He’d write it again. That’s called dictatious? Where he would write the same thing. And then others would be sitting at the boards looking at one here and they would be looking over here and they’d be copying and all of a sudden… and he’d copy the same line over again. And if you look in textual criticism all this big hullabaloo between all the different manuscripts comes down to just normal human errors in the transmission and copying. But God said what I gave originally was inerrant and maybe you have got some copying mistakes, but after comparing all the manuscripts the only copying mistakes we can find is a half a page. And did you know what? There’s not one single doctrine effected by those mistakes. Most of them are just differences in spelling and variations on word order, and a lot of them have to do with whether Jesus said the same thing in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John or if it’s just recorded in Matthew and the scribes carried it over and put it into the other gospels. But we know for sure He said it. But we don’t know if He said it three times in three different gospels or just once and the other guys put it in marginal notes. But it doesn’t matter because every word of God will come to pass and every word of God will be preserved.
One noted theologian has stated, in other words, not only will the smallest letter not be erased, but even the smallest part of a letter will not be erased from the law. Not even the tiniest seemingly most insignificant part of the word of God will be removed or modified until every bit of it is accomplished. But without the smallest exception, every commandment, every prophecy, every figure and every symbol and every type will be accomplished. God said it. It’s all going to happen.
Now a lot of it already has happened. There’s a lot of fulfilled prophecy, a lot of history in the Bible. But there’s a great deal yet to come. And we need to be concerned and considering how we can obey and be a part of His plan.
Well, next, every letter of God’s word is true. No other statement made by our Lord more clearly states his absolute contention that scriptures are verbally inerrant and are totally without error in their original form which God gave it. That is, the scripture is God’s own word. Not only down to every single written word, but down to every letter and even the smallest appendage on the letter. I hope you realize that. And I hope that you’re careful about that.
And I hope you realize that you need to make sure that you have an edition of the Bible that has the principle that every word in your translation corresponds with the Hebrew or Greek word, because the new Bibles coming out in the popular burgeoning business of … because there’s no copyrights on ‘em so you can make many, many millions of dollars on Bible versions, if you just come out with a new one. Remember, that there is a new concept of float in the marketing of the Bible that you don’t have to have a word for word correspondence anymore. Somewhere after NIV they’ve jumped off the word for word correspondence, and all these new editions coming out, they don’t have a word for word correspondence so you don’t have the Bible when you have those. You have to be very careful. The Living Bible is not the Bible. Eugene Peterson’s word is not the Bible. Those are not Bibles. Those are great stories about the Bible. They’re not Bibles and you shouldn’t carry a non-bible for a Bible. You should carry the word of God. And basically the King James, the New King James, New American, New International, those are word for word correspondences. The new ones coming out after that are called dynamic equivalents. And what they say is, well that word kind of means this. It doesn’t have to correspond. Jesus said, every word and every letter is true and that’s what we should hold to.
Next every book in the word of God is true. Every one of the 66. Jesus referred to the Old Testament 64 times and always He said it was authoritative. It was true. In defending his messiahship and divinity before the unbelieving Jews, He said in John 10:35 the scriptures, all of them from Genesis to Malachi, cannot be broken. He looked at them as an entirety and 64 times Jesus said the scriptures, all of them, every book is true.
And here’s something else interesting. If you want to see it, look in Matthew 22. This one was really, really amazing to me. Because, especially if you don’t like English and you don’t like grammar and everything, you wouldn’t even catch this one. But listen, Jesus also said every verb tense in the Bible is true. You say, what? I don’t like English, you know? I don’t even like all that grammar. Well, Jesus said it’s true.
Listen to what Dr. MacArthur has stated. When the Sadducees tried to trip Jesus up by asking him which of seven successive husbands would be a woman’s husband in the resurrection, that is in heaven, Jesus replied, “You are mistaken not understanding the scripture or the power of God,” Matthew 22:29. In that confrontation with the Sadducees, who were the religious liberals of the day that didn’t even believe in inspiration, they didn’t believe in miracles, they didn’t believe in the supernatural, which is kind of like a lot of the pastors, you know, in our day, that only talk about social issues and politics and they never say anything confrontational. And they have huge stone churches, and they don’t preach about sin, or the blood, or death of those who don’t know Christ, and eternal destruction. The religious liberals of our day were just like the Sadducees then, and they don’t understand the power of the word. But in that confrontation with the Sadducees, Jesus’ whole argument is based on a single verb tense. Jesus was quoting from the book of Exodus and God told Moses that He is, not was, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, Exodus 3:6. So Jesus quotes Exodus 3:6 and says you’re mistaken. You don’t understand and you misquoted the Bible. Because the Bible doesn’t say God was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The tense of the verb Jesus said is present. He is the God. Hundreds of years after these patriarchs had died, the Lord was still their God. Obviously Jesus was saying those men were still alive.
God’s word, therefore, is authoritative not only down to the smallest part of every letter, not only down to every word, but also to the grammatical forms of every word because the scripture itself is without error. And when it’s believed and obeyed, it saves us from error.
Well, every moral precept is also true, Jesus said. Over and over again Jesus confirmed the accuracy and authenticity of the Old Testament. He confirmed the standard of marriage that God established in the Garden of Eden, in Matthew 19:4. He said what the Old Testament taught morally is true. And He confirmed that and on and on He goes: the murder of Abel, Noah and the flood, as I mentioned last week, Abraham and his faith, Sodom etc., etc.
Now, in the last five minutes, and this is the most important, so you know, kind of stir yourself up. Get the blood flowing again, wiggle around. What should we do with what we’ve learned about what Jesus thought about the Bible? What, what response… you know I always say, so what? Right. Do you ever do that? When I read the Bible, I say, so what? So what should my response be to the book that I can trust, the book that Jesus used, the Bible, is the same one I have? And He believed all this about it. He believed that every word was absolute. He believed His words were equally authoritative with the other words of God. He believed that every word would come to pass. He believed that every word would be preserved. He believed that every letter of the word was true. He believed that every book was true. He even believed that every verb tense and every moral precept. He believed all that. So what should that do to me?
Number 1. You and I must yield to the word. We cannot sit in judgment on it. It sits in judgment on us. We should yield to the word. Christ and His word are inextricable. You cannot divide him from the scriptures. He spoke them, he defended them, he affirmed them, and to accept Jesus Christ as savior and Lord is to yield to what He taught about scripture.
Did you know there are people today on this planet that say that they’re Christians. They just don’t believe the Bible is true. They say that they’re Christians but they say that this book is full of mistakes. You cannot extricate the saving work of Jesus Christ from the authoritative word of God. It’s like trying to cut someone’s heart out. You can’t do that. It destroys them both. Scripture’s authority is Christ’s authority. To obey the Lord is to obey His word.
This is what Jesus said in John 8:47, “He who is of God hears the word of God.” For this reason you don’t hear them because you’re not of God. And so that’s the indictment. People that say that this book cannot be trusted, it has flaws, it has errors, it has historical inaccuracies, scientific inaccuracies, are not of God. Because if you cannot trust this book, this book is the very word of Christ. To trust in Christ is to say of Him as people did, John 6:68, you have the words of eternal life.
Secondly, not only should we yield to the word, we should trust the word. The Old Testament cannot contain any errors. It there were any, we would have to decide one of two things about Jesus. Either He was ignorant of the errors, in which case He is not omniscient and He wasn’t God. Or else He knew the errors and denied them, in which case He would have been a liar and a hypocrite and therefore not a holy God. If Jesus blew it as far as creation or the flood, or the utter heinous sinfulness of Sodom and Gomorrah, or anything else that’s addressed in the Old Testament, if He missed the mistakes, He wasn’t omniscient. And if He knew about them and didn’t warn us, then He’s not telling the truth. And we know that our God is omniscient and also truth. And so we know that the Old Testament and thus, by what Christ appointed with his apostles the New Testament and thus the entire book you hold we can trust.
Thirdly, not only should we yield to the word and trust the word, we need to receive the word. This is what it says. It’s the word implanted, James 1:12, which is able to save our souls. (or James 1:21, I mean). We must receive the implanted word which is able to save our souls. That means it’s not good enough to tuck it here under the arm, you have to come and open it up and receive, and let the word of God be implanted in you by the Holy Spirit.
Next, we need to exalt the word. Psalm 138:2 says, “I will worship toward your holy temple and praise your name for your lovingkindness and your truth for you have magnified your word above your name.”
Wow! This book is an important book. I alluded to it last week. You shouldn’t flip it on the coffee table. You shouldn’t use it to put your coffee cup on. You shouldn’t sit on it, you know? You shouldn’t let it get all…
I remember when I delivered 1,800 Bibles once in a courtyard in Poland, and there were armed guards around and looking for us. And I was in a hurry and I remember dumping bags of Bibles into this man’s, that was receiving them, living room in the dark. And I remember coming with my second bag to dump it and the man was down on his knees and he was like this… straightening every page. He said, he says you’re dumping these things out. He said, I’ve never held a Bible, complete Bible in my whole life. He says, don’t bend the pages. And we don’t worship the book, we worship the God of the book. But if you revere someone, what’s precious to them is precious to you. We should exalt the word.
This is what Spurgeon said, “Is the infallible revelation of the infallible Jehovah to be moderated, to be shaped, to be toned down to the fancies and fashions of the hour? God forbid us if we ever alter his word.”
Martin Luther never feared men, but when he stood up to preach, he often felt his knees knock together under the sense of responsibility to be true to God’s word.
Well, yield to it, trust it, receive it, exalt it, here’s another one. We should obey it. We should be diligent, 2 Timothy 2:15, to present ourselves approved as workmen to God that don’t need to be ashamed handling accurately the word of truth. We should labor over this book. We should labor to obey it.
As I shared yesterday, or Terry Devitt shared yesterday with the men in the BCF, we should be like the great missionary, C.T. Studd, who gotup every morning and as he read his Bible, whenever he’d come to a part that addressed him, he’d put a little line by it. And when he knew he was obeying it, he’d put a checkmark by it because he wanted to obey God.
Jeremiah said we should find God’s word and eat them, Jeremiah 15:16.
The apostle Paul said in Colossians 3:16 we should let the word of Christ richly dwell within us. And I tell you what, you can’t have a lot of things richly dwelling in you.
My knowledge of baseball card scores started diminishing when I decided to let the word of Christ richly dwell in me. My ability to pull up every well-known actor, player… I used to try and know the names and makes of all cars. When we’d drive down I’d say, look, …. And you know what? How utterly worthless that is in comparison to something that’s going to last forever. Can you imagine strolling down the streets of gold saying, you know who won the World Series in ’33, huh, do ya, huh, huh? They’ll say, ’33 what? You know you’re talking to Nahum or something, you know? He’d say, no, but I know how Ninevah didn’t accept the prophecies of God. And God destroyed ‘em and that’s what I wrote my book about. And you say, oh, you were in the Bible? I’m sorry I was studying my baseball cards, you know? I never knew that.
We should also defend the word. We are to contend earnestly for the faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints, Jude 3. And like Jude, we should fight for the integrity, the purity and the authority of the scriptures. Spurgeon said this, “The everlasting gospel is worth preaching even if one stood on a burning fagot and addressed the crowds from a pulpit of flames.” The truths revealed in scripture are worth living for and they are worth dying for. I count myself thrice happy to bear reproach for the sake of the faith. It is an honor for which I feel myself to be unworthy, and yet most truly I can say in the words of a hymn, so shall I soothe the unholy throngs soften thy truths and smooth my tongue to gain earth’s gilded toys or flee to the cross endured my God by thee. An old hymn that says either I’m going to soothe it down and please the throngs, I’m going to say it like it is and please God.
Finally, we should share the word. Don’t just yield to it, and trust it, and receive it, and exalt it, and obey it, and defend it, but we need to share it. We ought to have as our constant goal to share the word. Paul charged Timothy, I charge you before God and the lord Jesus Christ who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing in kingdom, preach the word. Be ready in season, out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and teaching.
I have to quote Spurgeon one more time. “I cannot speak out my whole heart on this theme which is so dear to me. But I would stir you up all to be instant in-season and out-of-season in telling the gospel message especially repeat such a word as this, God so loved the world He gave his only begotten son that whosoever will believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. Whisper it in the ear of the sick. Shout it in the corner of the streets. Write it on your tablet. Send it forth, but everywhere let this be your great motive and warrant. Preach the gospel because the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.”
If you’re wondering what you should talk about, what you should spend your time doing, spend your time, invest your life, fill your heart, your eyes, your soul, with the absolute inerrant eternally preserved very breath of God and it will bear eternal dividends in your life and everyone you share it with.
Let’s bow before the Lord in prayer. Holy Bible, book divine, precious treasure thou art mine. Oh Lord, you believe this book. You trust it, every book of it, every word of it, every letter of it, every tense of it. And you built your church upon it for your church is built upon you, oh Christ, and your word is the word of Christ. May we build our hope, our lives, our dreams, our goals, our treasures beneath your word, not above it, for you have exalted your word. But may we go no further than your word allows. And may we find in it the wonderful words that lead us to your everlasting habitations, and may we share it with many around us this week. There’s someone dying to hear the wonderful words of life. Let us be faithful in sharing them, we pray, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
 San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/5/93.
MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.