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Summary: This is the first of a 5 part series on basic bible doctrines for our new congregation. (New Church Plant as of 4-6-03)

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BASIC TRAINING: THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WORD

PSALMS 119:9-16 & 2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

NOTE: The drama used in this sermon can be obtained from www.willowdrama.com

INTRODUCTION OF THE SERIES:

Vince Lombardi, who was the head football coach of the Green Bay Packers for many years, produced one NFL champion after another. He motivated his men to play every moment of every game to the best of their ability. No matter what the circumstances, the Packers were as strong and tough in the last 2 minutes of the game as they were at the opening kickoff. They never wavered in their sense of purpose. What was their secret? A reporter once asked Lombardi the secret of his success. He said, “It’s simple. I begin each opening season practice session by holding up high a football and saying, `This is a football!’" When asked why he did that Lombardi responded, "So the new players will understand how crucial I believe the fundamentals of football to be and so the returning players will be reminded of how strongly I hold to the basics."

Well, for the next 5 weeks I want us to hold high, the fundamentals of our faith and say, "These are the basics, this is what we believe." The purpose of this series is two-fold.. (1) So that our new people may have an opportunity to clearly know what we believe and why we stand where we do on these basic Biblical issues. God has blessed us with some dynamic growth this year. We are averaging 21% more people in Sunday attendance this year than last and have had a 400% increase (from 10 to 40) in baptisms. Now, with those blessings come responsibility. So, it’s my prayer that these messages will answer a lot of questions for our new members and visitors.

(2) The second purpose though is to remind those who have been in the faith and in the church a long time of these timeless truths. It is a proven fact that we learn best by repetition. 2 Pt 1:12- "I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth.. I think it is right to refresh your memory.."(NIV) Repetition is a strong learning tool. Plus, when you understand why you believe what you do you’ll be better able to explain them to others. PRAYER

INTRODUCTION TO SERMON:

Let’s get started this way. Drama: Jeopardy Game

Now, I’m going to assume that a lot of you wouldn’t do much better at that game then our contestants. I don’t mean to insult you, I’m just trying to be realistic. George Barna wrote The State of the Church in 2002. Barna conducted a survey of self-pronounced Christians and here’s what he found about their knowledge of the Bible.

Now, remember these are Christians..

• 48% could not name the four Gospels.

• 52% cannot identify more than two or three of Jesus’ disciples.

• 60% of American Christians can’t name even five of the 10 Commandments.

• When asking graduating high school “born again Christians” over 50% of them thought Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.

• 61% of American Christians think the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.

• 71% of American Christians think “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.

No wonder George Barna said, “Americans revere the Bible but, by and large they don’t know what it says. And because they don’t know it, they have become a nation of Biblical illiterates.”

I think the real problem is that we are simply not convinced of the Bible’s value. If I offered you $500 a day to spend 15 minutes a day reading and studying the Bible on your own do you think you would find the time? Would that make it important to you? You see it’s really a matter of priority and motivation. So, I’d like to convince you this morning that a regular time of reading and studying the Bible will be much more beneficial to you than any cash gift I could give you. Psa. 19:9-11- "The words of the Lord.. are more desirable than the finest gold.. they are sweeter than the purest honey. They are a warning to those that hear them; there is great reward for those who obey them."(NLT) The Psalmist also says in vs:10 of our printed text: "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might sin against You."(MSG) A lot of us could only say the first 5 words- “I have hidden your word.” So, let’s look this morning why we should accept & value the Bible and then close by looking at how we can practically & effective read and study the Bible.

I. ACCEPTING THE BIBLE AS GOD’S WORD:

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