All scripture marked NKJV: The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
All scripture marked NLT: Holy Bible: New Living Translation. 1997 Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House.
We are in a series of message called, “From the Heart”. The messages are of topics that I believe strongly that I should take time to preach during this year together. Many times these subjects appear in sermons throughout the year, but I wanted to take the time to focus of them.
Tonight, we look to the subject of the Bible.
In the book, Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, Jim Hawkins finds a treasure map that leads him and his friends to a deserted island where the adventures begin as they find the treasure.
I believe, we treat the Bible as a Buried Treasure. We say that it is important. We hold it in high regard. We treat as something worth fighting for.
But, we seem to keep our Bibles buried. We keep it literally buried in the back of a closet, or we keep it figuratively buried, keeping it an arms distance away at all times. We doubt that it has true worth in our lives.
We approach the Bible as something to difficult to grasp, too lofty to obtain. I have had many people ask me how to read the Bible, because they simply think that there is something difficult or mystical about it.
I truly believe that this is not so. The Bible is within reach, it is simple to understand—for children to understand. The trouble is our arrogance that we can live without it.
As Christians, we need to be guided by the truth of the Bible. We need to use it in everyday life—not just on Sundays or when things turn bad.
The Bible gives some strong words about itself and its importance to our lives. Look at 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which is found on page 1057 in the Red Bible underneath your chair.
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Ti 3:16-17, NKJV)
Tonight we are going to look at uncovering the secrets of the Bible so that you can begin to use and apply it to everyday life.
We uncover the secrets of the Bible by remembering that the
1. Bible is true.
The Bible says “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God”. That is a very clear way to say that the Bible was voiced from God and that every word from the original writing was true and perfect.
Now on May 19, the “Da Vinci Code” Movie opened in the United States. In its opening weekend, the movie grossed $77 million. There is a media fire storm swelling around this movie, because of the contents of the book and consequently, the movie.
Now I need to make some comments. Does the movie contain elements that are factually untrue about the Bible? If the movie contains what the book does, and I expect it does, then yes. The book and the movie are fiction. They are marketed as fiction and classified by genre as fiction.
My concern is that people will believe a book that is documented and admittedly fiction, and refuse to believe a book that is documented and admittedly true.
There are those that struggle with this issue of the truthfulness of scripture. We are relentlessly bombarded with false accusations of scripture and some of you may have some doubts.
But the re are others of us that freely acknowledge its truthfulness, but seem to ignore its impact on our lives.
I want to ask a question.
What if the Bible really was true—have you ever thought about it?
What if it were true that God created the world in seven 24 hour days—what difference would that make?
What if it where true that man rebelled against God and was doomed to death by that sin?
What if it were true that God made a provision to satisfy that death through his only son?
What if it were true that Jesus is the only way to the Father and to eternal life?
What if it were true that we have a responsibility to “go and make disciples”?
What if it were true that we are to live holy and blameless lives?
Do you think it would make a difference? In your words, in your worship, or in your life?
Now, The Bible is true.
The Bible is externally verifiable; archeology has documented the truth of the Bible time and time again. The Bible is also internally verifiable; it testifies many times of its own truthfulness—primarily through the fulfillment of prophecies spanning hundreds of years.
Therefore, I believe our focus is misdirected. We should not be so concerned that people may believe that a book or a movie that is fiction. We should be concerned that people may not believe this book that is true!
Once we begin to realize that the Bible is true and makes it clear that God desires more from us, we realize that
2. The Bible is Useful.
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (2 Ti 3:16, NKJV)
• is useful to teach us what is true and
• to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.
• It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.
(2 Ti 3:16,NLT).
…says the New Living Translation.
Over the last decade, America has become fixated on particular self help books.
Familiar titles include:
• The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
• Life Strategies, by Dr. Phil McGraw.
• Self Matters, by Dr. Phil McGraw
• Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, by John Gray
• Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, by Richard Carlson
All of these books were taken from the 100 best selling books of the decade list from USA Today. (www.usatoday.com) They all have good advice and I would probably recommend all of them—even though I haven’t read several of them.
But we get fascinated by the latest trend and the latest advice. Then there is The Bible, which has sold 6 Billion copies since the Guttenberg began printing the Bible for missionaries in 1450. (Askmen.com)
There is a reason why. It is not simply because it contains stories of God—we have other books that do that. It isn’t even because it contains truth—there are books that speak truth, as well. The Bible is different because it changes lives.
It is more than a quick fix. It is more than a self help book, it is truly useful.
Verse 16 says that the Bible is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.
As we are daily opening the Bible, it exposes to us areas where the truth is not active in our lives. The Bible is not a book that you read through and get the understanding and move on to the next. The Bible needs to be read daily so that the truth will be exposed little by little, and the Holy Spirit will have a foot hold to conform our life to the desire of God.
And as the Bible is useful in every area of our lives, it is primarily useful in that
3. The Bible completes you.
Look at verse 17:
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Ti 3:17, NKJV)
The Bible is inspired by God so that we may know the truth—that we may be complete.
One definition of complete is that to be complete is to have every necessary or normal part or component or step. (wordnet.princeton.edu)
I have been researching my ancestry. One of the circumstances that is amazing to me is that while I am researching, I can find one record of a particular ancestor, and once I certify that I am sure that this person is the one I’m looking for, many times someone else has looked for that same person and the tree opens up completely in that area and I am able to assume several generations of research to be complete. Every name suddenly becomes filled in.
It is the same way with the scriptures and our life. When we are daily studying the scriptures, we will have a break through and the truth will illuminate many areas of our life. We find the necessary parts begin to become known.
And we find the decisive puzzle pieces that we have been looking for.
We are made to be complete through the scriptures.
But are we just complete to be complete? Many times, I have a hard time doing puzzles because I don’t get the point of the process. Why go to all the work and the trouble to complete a puzzle—that will simply go back in the box when I’m done. What is the point in that?
The verse 17 says:
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Ti 3:17, NKJV)
The emphasis is that we pursue good works. We are not to become complete for our own sake, but so that we may do good works and brings more glory to God.
Many times, we take our faith only as far as ourselves—and no farther…nothing more. We are to make an impact to those around us—we are to do good to others. We see throughout the New Testament.
We have the Bible that is true, that is useful—so that we may be complete to do good works.
So how do we use the Bible is our daily walk?
I would recommend that you first start by taking the time to read the Bible. Not the whole thing in a night, but little by little, each day of your life. Develop a discipline of spending time seeking a word from God each day through his word. What this looks like is truly up to each individual—God made us all different, and God speaks to us in different ways.
Some people may want to read larger portions than other. I don’t think there are rewards given out for those who read the most, but there are reward for those who did more with what they gained from scripture.
I read a chapter a day. That has been a good fit for me. It fits in my schedule on a daily basis, it is not too much for me to absorb. It is just right. As you begin to read God’s word on a daily basis, you will find what work for you. But, I do recommend a daily time of reading scripture.
But we also need to follow through with what we read, committing some to memory, practicing some portions as we interact with other people, and being consistent in our worship of God.
One of those most important things to know about scripture is that it focuses on Christ. The story of Christ is at the beginning, middle, and end of the Bible.
In the beginning, after God made the heavens and the earth, he made man. Man rebelled against God and since then all of us are sinners before God. The Bible says that the payment for sin is death.
In the middle, Jesus Christ died on a Cross to pay the penalty for our sin. We can have forgiveness of sin through accepting this payment.
In the end, Christ comes again. Those who have accepted his payment can live with Him forever.
Tonight, you can accept this payment for your sin. You can invite Jesus to forgiver of your sin and the leader of your life.
After the service, I will be down at the front and will be happy to discuss how you can accept this payment.
Let us pray.