“A BIBLE BELIEVING CHURCH”
ACTS 2:37-42 - When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (NIV)
One will find recorded in the book known as the “Acts of the Apostles”, the 40 day post-resurrec-tion ministry of Jesus the Christ of God up to and including His ascension to glory from a hill outside the small community known as Bethany.
Also recorded there are the events surrounding the descent of the Holy Spirit, the empowering of the Church, the spread of the Gospel in Asia, parts of Europe and even into the dark continent known as Africa.
Therein we can also read of the ministerial acts of the Apostles and early missionaries that had the responsibility of advancing the cause of the kingdom until Jesus’ return.
Acts 2 records the words of the Apostle Peter as he preaches the first evangelistic sermon of the new age. The closing verses of chapter 2 shows the effects of the sermon upon those who, first of all, heard it,…and secondly, believed it!
My bros. & my sis., something is always going to happen to a person when they hear the Word of God and they believe the Word of God.
In contemporary times there has been much discussion in secular and religious circles as to whether or not the Bible and the Biblical story are truly the source of “God’s Word” for mankind.
With the discovery of ancient societies in Africa and South America that offer-up legends about supreme beings or gods that will, one day, come down from the sky and restore love, peace and harmony between the sons of men and within nature, many scholars are asking the question, “Just how much of the Bible is fact and how much of it is fiction or fable inspired?”
With the increased teaching of the writings of Middle East and Asian philosophers, such as Mohamed and Buddha within our communities, many former believers are now even saying that the Bible is totally erroneous or, at the very least, packed with inexcusable errors!
They claim that the apparent contradictions within it’s pages to accepted historical facts have made the Bible irrelevant to today’s expanding and advancing scientifically intellectual society.
The Bible’s intolerance to cross-cultural philosophical positions has caused, even those of African-American descent, to take the controversial stance that the Bible is long outdated for people of third-world origin.
But, my bros. & my sis., I truly believe that I speak for the traditional Christian Churches of all denomina-tions when I say, “Don’t include us in with those groups I have just described!”
We may not be as well versed in the scholarly criticisms used to examine and prove or disprove the authenticity of a text as many of those who “poke-at” rather than “pray-over” the Bible’s revelations …but we, who have truly been born-again, know what we believe!
My church has heard me say, on many occasions while standing behind the sacred desk during the period of my pastoral emphasis, that we are a Bible believing, Bible teaching, Bible preaching and Bible practicing church. And now, that the scholars, scientists and cynics of the 21st century want to put the banner of Christendom on trial, we are not going to be among those that desert Her in Her hour of need.
The Bible’s attention to physical and historical details may not be as pointed as Einstein’s theoretical examination of the principles of relativity, but the principles of life about which she teaches, when faithfully applied, has landed “many-a-ship” upon safe shores.
The historical events about which she speaks may not be recorded completely or accurately in every instance, but the prophetic effects upon the lives of those who encounter her revelation of these events, has shown us that there was a divinely guided reaction to each of .
And, when God speaks, something always happens…
When God moves, something always responds…
When God gives a command, all of nature comes to attention and seeks to do His will!
That’s why I’m willing to stand here and declare on behalf of myself and the traditional Church today, that if someone is needed to be a character witness for the B-I-B-L-E, then they need to look no further!
We who are of the traditional church are willing to boldly stand upon the Word of God while humbly kneeling beneath the cross of Calvary in any courtroom upon planet earth!
Oh yes!…my bros. and my sis., we are not ashamed to tell anyone that we believe the Bible is unmistakably the revealed manifestation of God’s inspired Word.
The Bible reveals the origin of time and the eventual destiny of all creation.
Within it’s revered pages, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are uncovered!
The Bible is still known as the traveler’s map and the pilgrim’s staff.
It is the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter!
I can’t help but wonder, how could anyone challenge her validity? Yet, and still, she is on trial today in one arena after another!
Ivey league institutions of higher learning are asking us over and over again;
Do we really believe that the Bible is God’s Word?
Do we really believe that there is power in verbalized prayer?
Do we genuinely believe that somebody hears and answers our prayers?
Do we truly believe in divine miracles?
And do we really believe that a living Jesus is coming back to earth for a second time?
In this world of scientific revelation and secular humanism we are being asked to step forward and become credible witness in support of the Book-of-books!
I wonder, children of God, just how credible of a witness many of us here today would make?
Can any of you here today image yourselves being called into a court of spiritual values and being asked to support our position that the Bible is the only work among mankind that sincerely reveals the plan of God for the salvation of human souls?
Well, even if you haven’t done it before, try to do it for me today. Try to picture, in your mind’s eye, a courtroom setting similar to “Court TV”. Here we all are, as a unified body, sitting on the witness stand, when the court officer says, "In order for us to authenticate the facts revealed in the Bible, we need to hear the testimony of someone who was there when the events recorded in it first occurred."
Now, we would have to be honest in our response and say, "We were not there when the flames of the sun were first ignited and the moon was hung up above the earth like a pearl without a chain!
We were not there when the stars were flung against the black velvet of space and the darkness was separated from the light.
We were not there when God made the firmament and divided the waters that were above the firmament from the waters that were below the firmament.
We were not there when the earth began to rotate and the mountains were pushed-up and the valleys were gouged-out and the rivers and the streams began to flow down, down, down, to the seas."
And then the examining officer of the court will surely look at us and say, "Well, since you weren’t there at the creation of the cosmos, then you surely must have first hand knowledge concerning the creation of nature?"
And we would have to answer back in the only honest way that we can! "We were not there when the birds began to sing or the rabbits began to hop or the dogs began to bark or the fish began to swim or the black cow began to eat green grass and give white milk that would make yellow butter!
We weren’t there when the trees first began to sprout leaves and the flowers began to open their blossoms and the plants produced their fruit and the hens laid their eggs and the bees made honey for the honey combs, and the birds split the air with their wings as they flew!"
By now the examining officer is starting to wonder whether or not we are genuinely credible witnesses. So he says to us, "You’re sitting as a witness within this courtroom before this tribunal telling us that you were not there at the creation of the cosmos and you were not there at the creation of nature. Did you, by chance, witness any of the events surrounding the Bible’s history?
And again we would be forced to say, "Well sir, in all honesty, we were not there when Elisha made the iron axe head float upon the water and the widow’s meal barrow and oil cup to over flow.
We were not there when the red sea was parted by Moses’ staff,…
or when the Jordan river stopped flowing to allow Joshua and the children of Israel to cross into Canaan Land,…
or when the Sun stood still to show the power of the Lord to Joshua’s enemies,…
or when the walls of Jericho came falling down,…
nor when the great fish regurgitated the prophet, Jonah, upon the dry shore.
We did not actually see David slay Goliath with a smooth stone and a little boy’s sling-shot…
We did not actually see Elijah pray down fire from Heaven…
We did not actually see Samson carry off the gates of Garza or Jacob wrestle the angel of God all night long!
We were not there the night that the angelic choir sang at the birth of Jesus…
We were not there the day the trinity appeared at the baptism of Jesus…
We were not there when Jesus called Matthew from the tax tables or
…when Jesus made Peter and Andrew fishers of men or
…when Jesus called Zacchaeus down from that sycamore tree or even…
…when Jesus called Lazarus out of a decaying grave!
It’s true that we were not there when Jesus turned water into wine on one occasion,…walked on the water on another,…and then told the raging water to lie down and be calm on then another!
We were not there…
…when Jesus healed the man at the pool of Bethesda or the blind man on the side of the Jericho road.
…when Jesus forgave the adulterous woman and then told another woman by Jacob’s well all about herself!
We were not there…
…when Judas betrayed Jesus in the Garden of prayer…or
…when they drug Him from judgement hall to judgement hall….or
…when they accused Him of blasphemy…or
,,,when they beat Jesus all night long…
…when they placed a thorny crown upon His brow…
…when they draped Him with a purple robe….
…when a Black man named Simon of Serene was pulled out of the crowd to carry Jesus’ cross to Calvary…
…when they drove great spikes through His hands and feet…
…when Jesus prayed to His Father to forgive those who crucified Him…
…when His precious blood came flowing down…
…when the sun refused to shine for three long hours…
…when the earth rocked and rolled and the moon dripped away in blood
…when Jesus gave up His spirit for your sins and mine!
Oh yes, my bros. And my sis., by "conventional standards", we are poor witnesses in defense of the Bible, indeed. Is there no wonder that the children of the 21st century are finding it so hard to trust in the Bible as the righteous guide to lead them through this life?
Our Scripture, today, says that those that heard Peter preaching were cut to their hearts. And then 3,000 souls repented and were baptized that same day.
And as the Church devoted them-selves to the Apostles teaching, to fellowship one with another, to the breaking of bread and to prayer and to the giving of their possessions to the ministry of God, God stepped in and blessed them by adding to their numbers daily.
But God did not stop there, for the Bible says that God empowered their Apostles to perform many wonders and miraculous signs.
My bros. & my sis., I stopped by here today, to let you know that…although there is much that the Bible reports that has happened before our time and in our absence that make us poor first-hand witnesses, …I’m still a Bible believer!
I’m a Bible believer because there are “some” things that we do know that make us good spiritual witnesses for God’s Holy Word even before this adulterous generation.
There are events that have happened in our personal lives that we have been witnesses of, that the world can’t take away from us! God has done some things for you and He’s some things for me just like He did for the early Church that believed when Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost.
That’s why I’ve got complete confidence today, in all that the Bible says. For the world does not know like the Church folks know….
And we church folks can testify to the fact that there was a time when we were lost in sin, but Jesus met us on our Damascus road….
We may not have been there when the Bible was first written….but we were there…
…when the Holy Spirit washed away our sins and saved our souls….
…when the Lord picked us up from the miry clay and set our feet on a rock to stay…
…when the Lord heard our prayers and met us in a sickroom situation,…
…when the Lord became our lawyer in the courtroom and pleaded our case,…
…when the Lord met us at the bill collectors office and paid our debts...
…when the Lord met our needs, put food on our tables, clothes on our backs, healed our bodies, got our children out of jail…
We all can remember…
…when the Lord protected us from dangers seen and unseen..
…when the Lord calmed our fears and spoke peace to our weary souls
…when the Lord lifted our burdens, ….washed the tears from our weeping eyes,…
….and in the dangers of the mid-night hour, God sent His angels to stand guard over us!
…all day and all night, His angels keep watching over me!
We know for ourselves, what the Lord has been doing for us this year!