Summary: The Bible is God’s introduction of himself to us. If God speaks, don’t you want to listen?
First Things First #5
“God Speaks Through His Word” Hebrews 1:1-4
Have you ever found yourself right in the middle of a problem, a storm of life and just the right Scripture pops into your head… at just the right time to comfort, to encourage, or to strengthen?
• I love the account in Matthew of Jesus’ temptation by Satan. In Matt. 4, the former tax collector tells us that Jesus has been led out into the desert by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil… and he was hungry!
Read Matt 4:1-11
• At perhaps his darkest hour up to that point, at his weakest, at his most vulnerable… Jesus not only resisted the temptations of the tempter, but he overcame and put the devil in his place!
• And he did it by drawing on the Word of God! “…it is written” he said over & over, quoting from Deuteronomy. Have YOU ever quoted Deuteronomy to the Devil?
• Isn’t it a coincidence how sometimes the right Scripture comes to mind just when you need it the most? Scripture is like that, isn’t it? Can you think of a time when the words of Scripture have particularly encouraged you? Or comforted you? Or given you strength to endure?
• Have you ever found that its just the thing that you needed to hear?
What is it about this book that is so special to Christians?
• As we continue our look at “First Things” this morning… those core principles of our faith, I want us to take a fresh look at the Bible and at the role that it wants to play in each of our lives.
• What is it about this book? Christians believe that it is MORE THAN A BOOK! It is so much more than paper & leather! So much more than a collection of words & sentences & chapters & verses!
• Jesus found in these words LIFE! “Man does not live by bread alone… but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
• In these words are LIFE because they are God’s words… and in Him is LIFE!
• We believe that God speaks through His Word.
So, let me see your Bibles this morning! I want us to do like we used to do in Sunday school and raise them high for me to see. Who brought their Bibles to church with them this a.m.?
• If you didn’t bring yours this morning, why not? Are you planning on just believing everything that I tell you? What if I’m wrong?
• I’ve got to tell you that I’m concerned about the lack of Bible literacy in churches today. We used to be known (in churches of Christ) as a people of the book! If there was one thing we were strong in, it was our knowledge of the Bible.
• That’s one of the things I appreciate the most about our heritage in churches of Christ: our plea to go “back to the Bible” when it comes to faith & practice. But, I wonder if we’re still a ‘people of the book’??
I’m afraid many Christians today are intimidated by Bible study.
• Maybe we’re intimidated by the language… all the ‘thees’ & ‘thous’. We don’t understand it, so we shy away from it.
o But folks, there is really no reason today to be intimidated by the language of the Bible. There are any number of good, very accurate translations in contemporary language that every one of us can understand. They may not sound as pretty as the language of the King James that we grew up with, but what good is pretty language if we don’t understand what it says?
o Translations like the NIV, the NLT, and the NKJ are excellent and they are no less ‘Holy’ than the KJ was in 1611 when it first came out. When it came out it took it about 100 years to really gain acceptance. People didn’t want to put down their old translations to take up a new ‘modern’ one!
o So, the language shouldn’t intimidate us.
• Maybe us preachers have contributed to this intimidation as well.
o We like to talk about ‘hermeneutics’ and ‘exegesis’ and throw around the Greek. We want you to know how much we know and how much we’ve studied.
o Maybe some of us have left the impression that the average guy on the street can’t possibly understand all of the nuances of the text. You should just leave it to the professionals.
• But, you’ve got the same Bible I’ve got & that the scholars have and people have died in order to make that possible.
o A fellow by the name of Tyndale, in 1536, was burned at the stake for the horrible crime of translating the Bible into English and trying to get it into the hands of the common man. That threatened the power of the church hierarchy, particularly the Pope.