Summary: Message as COVID 19 lockdowns began. In answer to the question: It seems like we put an awful lot of weight on what the Bible says. What makes it different from any other religious writings? It’s so old, and there are so many different ones, how can I even be sure that it’s worth trusting?
Question to be asked: It seems like we put an awful lot of weight on what the Bible says. What makes it different from any other religious writings? It’s so old, and there are so many different ones, how can I even be sure that it’s worth trusting?
What a week this has been! We came back from a trip, and in a matter of 48 hours, life as we know is has been changed - at least for the time being. And in the midst of that, our governor closed schools statewide at least until March 30th. College and university campuses also are closed - many for the rest of the year. It’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out.
But I want to tell you something about students in IL, and nationwide, that’s of even greater concern to me than a virus named Covid-19. It’s some statistics that I was reminded of at the Iron Sharpens Iron conference last weekend - that some 2/3 or more of young people who grow up as a part of the Church drop out for a year, or forever, when they reach college age.
I was at a workshop last weekend where the presenter talked about that and then asked us “Why?” Answers varied. But I think we should probably be asking, “Why not?”
Why wouldn’t they drop out? Think this through. They grow up, learning the stories, learning to act Christian, and learning that being around their Christian friends helps them to keep that up. Then, they leave for college. For all those years growing up, they accepted that the Bible was reliable, or at least they were consistently told that. Suddenly, that’s not what surrounds them, and their faith collapses.
Sure enough, we rely, completely, on the reliability of the Bible, yet there are huge numbers of people, young and old, who follow Jesus who really aren’t sure why they believe what they believe.
And, at times of crisis or challenge, they’re confronted with the questions: why should you believe in a literal creation of the earth like Genesis talks about when so many smart people don’t? Why should you believe in the story of the flood, the Exodus, water from a rock, bread from Heaven, walls falling down, children raised from the dead, Jonah and the whale? Why should you believe that we have the actual story of Jesus and words that He actually spoke? And why should you believe that the words He spoke are true?
Faced with those questions, and having no adequate answer, the faith of many people collapses.
When CCC’s leadership studied together and clarified our “Core Values” about 18 months ago, the first one on the list was this: we follow biblical authority.
That means, we’re not some kind of democracy. We don’t determine what’s true and right by voting.
I saw a church cartoon that showed a meeting of people around a table. One of them was saying, “It says here in the bylaws that the will of God can’t be overturned without a 2/3 majority.” No. We’re doing our best to follow an authoritative standard. That’s the Bible.
There’s a verse in Ephesians that describes the church being…
Ephesians 2:20 …built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
So, the Church a rich history, but we’re built on something more. We’re structured and organized a certain way, but we don’t exist because of the way we’re structured. We’re more than an organization. We uphold some good traditions, but those aren’t the foundation. We’re together this morning because together we believe some important truths, and those truths are unchanging.
Pull the Bible out from underneath that, and what happens?
Well, the Church splits into countless denominations. Young people approach adulthood and decide that what they believed no longer holds their loyalty. Others move from church to church, because whether a church teaches and practices what the Bible says is no longer an important focus.
It leads us to this important question - one that you really need to be asking and that you really need to settle just as soon as you can. Can I trust the Bible?
If you haven’t ever thought this through before, I hope that today you will leave with a much more solid appreciation for why this book can and should be trusted as God’s word.
Some groups will tell you that in order to believe their Scriptures, you should read them, and the Lord will just cause you to feel good about it - a kind of enlightenment will come upon you and you’ll have assurance that it’s true.
Some groups will tell you that to deny their Scriptures or to desecrate them in any way makes you worthy of death!