Bible…The Word Of God.
1 Thessalonians 2:13
13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
We’re a church that stands on the Bible as the Word of God. Here’s the deal. If you believe the Bible is just made up by a bunch of people, you can sit in judgment of it. On the other hand, if the Bible comes from God, we must bow in submission to it.
Remember this, what you believe about the Bible will determine your beliefs and your behavior. If you don’t believe the Bible, you will make up your own beliefs and behave however you like! If you believe the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant, infallible and authoritative Word of God, then your beliefs and your behavior will reflect that.
Have you ever wondered why Bible-believing Christians declare God as the Creator… that all of us are sinners, that marriage is between one man and one woman, that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, that He was crucified, raised from the dead, ascended to Heaven and is coming again? How do we know Heaven and Hell are real, that demons and angels exist? And life begins at conception? Because that’s what the Bible teaches.
Here's where this message is headed…
• Proof: Why should we believe the Bible?
• Purpose: What does the Bible say about itself?
• Picture: How does Jesus view the Bible?
“We believe the Bible from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 as the verbally inspired and infallible Word of God.” Do you believe that? We all know that, from cover to cover, every word that is written in the Bible is the word of God.
There are many reasons to believe the Bible. Here are some proofs.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, the most important archaeological find of the 20th Century, contain more than 1,400 original documents including the complete scroll of Isaiah and fragments from every other Old Testament book with the exception of Esther. The text of these scrolls hardly differs from the version we have today!
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
What you believe about the Bible will determine your beliefs and your behavior. But for what purpose. Why is it so important that we have to believe everything this book says?
What Does the Bible Say About Itself? In order to understand the purpose of the Bible, it’s important to define some key terms.
There’s a revelation. God has revealed Himself through general revelation by putting His existence on display outwardly through creation and inwardly in our conscience.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [a]Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
God has also made Himself known through the special revelation of the Scriptures and through His Son. One pastor writes… “In an age of moral and spiritual anarchy, we believe there is a God who has spoken to the human race.”
There’s Inspiration. Inspiration has to do with the recording of God’s special revelation.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [a]instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Here’s a helpful definition: “God’s superintendence of the human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error His revelation to man in the words of the original manuscripts.” When we read the Bible, we are hearing the very words of God.
Here’s one important fact that we should all remember and keep to heart…
18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
Simply put, the Bible is binding on us. Since God has spoken in His Word, we must submit to His ways.
Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.
The Bible alone is all we need to equip us for a life of faith and service. What you believe about the Bible will determine your beliefs and your behavior. Charles Spurgeon was asked to defend the Bible, he replied, “The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself.”
H ow does Jesus view the Bible? Well, lets look and see..
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
Let me make the obvious point synagogue attendance was part of His regular weekly schedule. Because this was His passion, He didn’t join a travelling sports team, He didn’t get up in the morning and wonder if He should go, or allow anything else to get in the way of going, or not go if He was tired, or stay home because He didn’t like something in the service last week. It was His love to go, no matter what. I love seeing how so many of you have made a commitment to gather with God’s people each week. Regardless of how tired you are. And believe me, I know…I watch as your eyes shut from time to time. But yet, you are here, listening to Gods message.
What you believe about the Bible will determine your beliefs and your behavior. We need the word of God. This is our life… “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”.
Listen…times are changing. Through the message today, God is still reminding us to stay firm on His word, regardless of how the world changes. We will face challenges that will make us doubt our beliefs, but regardless of those doubts, Gods words remain true.
It’s way too easy not to take the Bible seriously when you’ve been swimming in it many years. Read it again as if for the first time. Admit you need it. Keep it fresh by not only reading, but also feeding from it and heeding what you read. Are you still hungry? Or have you grown cold?
The Song Of Mary
46 And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name. 50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him. From generation to generation.
Happy Mothers Day to all our moms & grandma’s. Today is the day that has been set apart to honor our mothers. For some of us our mothers may have all-ready gone to be with our Lord, for others your mother may be here with you today. Most of you ladies here today are mothers and grand-mothers. Being a mother is a noble and honorable profession. God even chose a young girl named Mary to be the mother of His only Son, Jesus.
The customary age for marriage among Mary’s people was around thirteen or fourteen, so probably she was a young girl when her parents arranged her engagement to Joseph. The angel Gabriel visited her shortly afterwards and announced that she would bear the Savior of the world.
Jewish society treated unmarried pregnant women with shame and scorn, yet Mary remained strong in her faith. Expecting the worst from Joseph, her family and her society, she gratefully accepted God’s will for her life.
Mary was an ordinary girl with extraordinary godly character that gave her an uncommon faith. Completely trusting in her God, in every way Mary was a good and faithful servant.
Mary provides a model of inspiration for ordinary women who can fulfill their deepest vocation by placing themselves at the service of others. She lived her life in relative obscurity, yet the world has celebrated her obedience to God for nearly two thousand years.
Mary was called blessed, because God honored her by choosing her to bear His Son. God is the creator of all life. Every time a woman conceives a child, God blesses her. God is the one who determines who will bear children, when and how many. Because of the sin that Eve committed, mothers must bear an increase pain in childbearing. Our mother’s pain starts at childbirth and it never ends until the Lord calls her home.
A mother feels every pain that her child feels twice over. If a child gets sick or is hurt the mother feels the child’s pain and nurses the child back to health. Even when the child grows up to an adult, the mother still feels every pain and hurt that her adult child feels.
It is said that a man is a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but I tell you that a mother is a master of all.
A mother is a nurse. A mother is a teacher. A mother is a Chef. A mother is a janitor. A mother is a helper. A mother is a counselor. A mother is a chauffeur. A mother is a mentor. And, A mother is blessed.
For the children here today, I want to tell you what God says about the way you are to treat your mother. Of the Ten Commandments, the first four are what we call vertical commands pertaining to God. The first of the lateral commandments says this….
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
God considers your parents, especially your mother to be very important in your life. This is even the first commandment with a promise of a better life for those who honors and obeys their parents….
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
Children and youth, you may think that you have the meanest and dumbest parents in the world, but if they didn’t love you, then they wouldn’t care what you did with your life. Only perfect children can require perfection from their parents. The only one that has ever lived a perfect life is Jesus Christ. Because your mother loves you, she disciplines you. Sometimes as parents we make mistakes with our children because we are not perfect, but as parents our love for our children never fades.
5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son.”
Just as God disciplines His children that He loves, we as parents disciplines our children because we love you and want the very best for you. I see many families today that the children even very little ones shows no respect or authority for the parents. I tell you, it’s a very sad scene to watch. When I see little kids disrespect their parents in public…I tell you…the Filipino in me comes out. (Show the joke)
We should always thank God for allowing us to have a Godly mother. Do you know that Jesus Christ also honored His mother…
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
As Christ was suffering and dying on the cross, He still was concern about the welfare of His mother. To John, the disciple that He cared for greatly, Jesus gave the responsibility to take care and provide for His mother. Christ showed great love and respect for His mother. Today let us follow our Savior’s example and show respect to our mothers and tell them how much we love them. Don’t wait until it is too late. Do it now. Not just on Mother’s Day, but every day of the year. Love is the greatest gift that any one person can give.
1 Corinthians 13:13
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Love is the greatest gift that we can give our moms, wives, and grandmas on this very special day.
“Take Up Your Cross And Follow Me”
34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
There are basically two kinds of sermons on the Christian life. The first type of sermon views the Christian life as a kind of puzzle to be solved, with the message going something like this… Life is full of hardships, and frustrations, and obstacles. But if you do this one thing, if you understand this “one trick” (whatever that may be), then you can unlock the secret to living a victorious Christian life. That secret may be any number of things… prayer, offerings, fasting, or regular devotions, or Bible reading, or “name it and claim it”, but the gist of this kind of sermon is that once you put into practice whatever it is that’s being promoted on that particular Sunday, your life as a follower of Jesus Christ will be simpler, and easier, and more fulfilling.
Obstacles will fall away. Frustrations will vanish. The life of faith will be transformed into a daily adventure filled with joy and delight. I’m exaggerating, but you get the idea. The theme of this kind of sermon is that if your life as a Christian is hard, or frustrating, or less than fulfilling, then you’re doing it wrong. That’s the first kind of sermon on the Christian life. And It’s very popular.
The second kind of sermon is different. This kind of sermon says that life isn’t hard because you’re doing it wrong. Life has been hard ever since Adam and Eve bit into that fruit. Our lives on this earth are often painful and disappointing. We go through times when just making it through the day requires all of our willpower, and joy is hard to come by. Things often don’t work the way they should. People don’t keep their promises. The promotion you worked for never comes. The lab results come back and they’re not good. Your family is in conflict. Or maybe nothing’s really that bad, but you just feel vaguely dissatisfied, and impatient for something better. And that’s life.
But this life isn’t the whole story. In fact, it isn’t even most of the story. There is much more to come, an eternity to come. And in the meantime, our faith can help to sustain us in a world that ranges from very bad, to not so great… to just OK, to pretty good. In the end, if we continue to trust God, and listen, and follow, we will find that it was all worth it. That’s the hope and the promise.
Every choice to continue believing, every choice to continue obeying, every choice to continue persevering in the midst of whatever circumstances we find ourselves, in the midst of whatever mental and emotional state we find ourselves in – every act of faithfulness will be rewarded. And someday not so far from now we will look back on all of this, all the toil, and suffering, and heartache, mixed with joy, and gladness, and times of refreshment, and we will testify that it was all worth it, every bit of it. The good and the bad, the happy and the sad.
Please don’t misunderstand me. There is real value in things like prayer, offerings, regular devotions, and Bible reading. Our faith does bring a measure of joy and peace. Christianity does relieve us of many burdens, burdens that God never intended us to bear. The burden of guilt. The burden of shame. The burden of fear of death. The burden of thinking that we have to earn God’s acceptance by doing good things, and thinking good thoughts, and saying good words – which often translates into trying to please all the people around us, an effort which is doomed to fail.
Faith in Christ does relieve us of many burdens. There are real benefits in this life to following Christ. But we can’t escape the fact that following Christ means following Him in a journey to the cross.
From our opening text. Are you trying to hold on to your life, to keep it? Are you trying to save your life? You might say, well of course I am! But Jesus says that if you are holding tightly onto all the things that the world thinks of as “life,” then you will lose your life. Why? Because you will be unwilling to let go of those things in order to embrace Christ.
You see, we can’t do both. We can’t live for this world and also live for Christ, we can’t seek first what this world offers and also seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, we can’t live as if this life is all there is, and then…gain entry into the next one. We really can’t. We have to choose. And what Jesus is telling us is that when we extend our hand to grasp the life to come, then by necessity…we will also be releasing our grasp on this one.
What does it mean to “lose your life” for the sake of Christ? Jesus says that we must “take up our cross” in order to follow Him. What does that mean? Roman executioners would sometimes require a condemned man to shoulder his own cross, and to carry it to the place of execution where he would be nailed to it, and crucified. That is exactly what they did to Jesus. The cross, then, was a symbol of death. Verse 34 explains the metaphor… “34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Losing our life for Christ, then, means choosing to deny ourselves, relinquishing things that we could legitimately claim and hold on to, things that the world around us considers to be the essence of life.
It means, for example, yielding our right to do we you please with our time. Benjamin Franklin, in his Poor Richard’s Almanak, wrote, “Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of”. Ben was right. Time is life. And so “losing” our life means giving up the right to set our own priorities, and instead ordering our days and years according to God’s priorities. Being willing to relinquish our goals. Accepting the loss of opportunities for personal advancement.
Notice I’m not saying we should have no priorities or goals, no hopes for achievement. I’m not saying we shouldn’t invest in a career, or that we shouldn’t engage in secular pursuits. What I’m saying is that we hold those things with an open hand, so that if called upon to give them up, if presented with a choice between following God and following our goals, we let the goals die.
Sometimes God endorses our passions, sometimes God rewards our pursuits. But we need to be willing to accept the death of those dreams when God has other plans for us. That’s part of what it means to “lose your life” for the sake of Christ and the gospel. It means first of all investing our time…our hours and days, our weeks, and months, and years…as God would have us to do. And it means accepting that even when we have been pursuing what seemed to us to be godly and faithful goals, God may have other plans. Our time, and our lives, belong to Him. “Man proposes, but God disposes”.
Let’s pause for reflection. How do we view our time? Do we view it, first of all, as “our” time, to use however we wish? Or do we view it as belonging to God, to be used as He wishes? Let me give you a scenario. You’ve worked all week. You have a demanding job. Maybe you have children who need to be cared for, helped with homework, driven to soccer practice, Maybe you have older parents who need help and support. Church commitments. A house and yard to take care of. Bills to pay. Etcetera, etcetera. But you’ve managed to carve out a precious couple of hours on Sunday afternoon to relax and watch a game on television or whatever it is that you planned. And just as you’re sitting down on the couch with some chips and a cold beverage, you get a call. Someone in your life is hurting. They’re dealing with an issue. They need someone to talk to.
You know what it feels like to say “yes” to that request? It feels like something is dying. It’s the death of your beautiful vision for how you were going to spend the next two hours. The death of that brief opportunity to relax and kick back. It doesn’t feel joyful. That’s the thing about death. It feels like dying! It doesn’t feel good. It feels bad.
It feels like disappointment, and loss, and seeing something you were counting on, and looking forward to, slip through your fingers. And that’s the kind of choice we are faced with every day. Live for ourselves, protect what is ours, hold onto the things we want and feel we need, no matter what. Or be willing let them go. That’s what it means to lose our life for Christ, and in so doing, to save it.
Dying to self also means yielding your right to do as you please with your possessions. But someone might object, shouldn’t we work, and study, and strive to better ourselves and improve our circumstances? Of course! Paul instructs us in this way…
28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
1 Timothy 5:8
8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.
Yes, God wants us to work, and to be productive, and to earn a living, so that we can provide for our own needs, and the needs of our families, and so that we can help those in need. At the same time, despite that fact that we worked to earn what we have, we should not regard it as belonging to us, but to God!
Think about it. What happens when we die? We lose all of our possessions. We lose all of our rights. After the funeral, our family members gather together in the lawyer’s office for the reading of the will, and everything we own will be divided up among our heirs. Our bank accounts, our house, our car… all of those things will be given to someone else or sold to the highest bidder and the proceeds distributed. What about our rights? We have no rights. We’re dead.
What Paul is telling us in these passages is that in order to follow Christ, we need to live as though that had already happened, as if we had already departed from this life, and had therefore lost everything. Listen to what he writes in Philippians 3:7-8
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
What rights do we have? Do we have a right to be free from danger? Free from suffering? Free from false accusations? Free from mistreatment? Free from false imprisonment? God may call us to relinquish those rights for the sake of Christ. Even today, He is calling on Christians in many parts of the world to suffer the loss of those rights.
And so, let me ask you again… are we holding on to our life with a clenched fist, with an iron grip? Are we holding on to our time, and our possessions, and your freedom, our privileges, and our plans? Or… are we holding them with an open hand, offering them up to God to do with as He wills? Remember what Jesus taught us…
35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
Let’s be specific. Is there something that God has been calling you to give up for the sake of Christ and the gospel, something that you have been unwilling to let go of? Is there some right that God has been calling you to relinquish in order to advance his kingdom? Perhaps a right to safety and security, or a right to be well thought of, or a right to be untroubled by other people’s problems.
Perhaps it’s simply a right to have a peaceful life free from worry, or a right to protect what you’ve worked so hard to acquire. Do any of those resonate with you? What Christ is telling us is that the more we try to hold on to those things with a clenched fist, the more our lives will squeeze through our fingers and ultimately be lost. If we serve ourselves and our own lives only, we will in the end lose everything, we will lose ourselves and will be lost forever. I pray none of us will suffer that loss.
But there is more to Christ’s words here than just a warning. There’s also a promise. Let’s read it…
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.
What I want to tell you this afternoon is that our life can be that grain of wheat, that kernel of corn. Our life can have a positive influence on the world, that is a huge multiple of what we could ever accomplish by serving only ourselves. We can produce “many” seeds. But there’s just one catch. We have to die.
We have to give up our claim to our own life and to all of the things that comprise it, our time, our possessions, our plans, our rights. Are we still willing to do that? Are we willing for God to use our life in ways we never could have imagined? He can and He will. But in order for Him to do that, we have to relinquish our “ownership” over our life and turn it over to Him to use as He sees fit. And at times that’s not pleasant. Again, it’s hard. It feels like dying. It feels like losing, or risking the loss, of everything we have and everything we hope for.
But in reality, it’s just the opposite. It’s not losing everything, it’s gaining Christ, who is worth far more than everything in this world put together, it’s gaining eternal life. Will we decide, today and every day, to do that? Are we, as Paul wrote in Philippians, willing to suffer the loss of everything because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus?
When Jesus calls on us to give up our lives, to lose them for His sake and for the gospel, He is calling us to follow His example. He is calling us to do what He has already done, to follow the path He already laid out. He gave His life for us, He sacrificed everything in order that we might have forgiveness of sins and have eternal life.
In giving His life, Christ purchased eternal life for us. Like a seed falling to ground and dying, His death resulted in untold millions of souls being saved. But God did not permit His death to be final. God raised Him from the grave and exalted Him to the highest place in heaven.
In the same way, God will raise to eternal life and everlasting honor those who relinquish their claim on their own lives in this world in order to gain Christ. Will you choose today to be among them?
Pastor Richard Santos
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