Summary: Uses a Supreme Court decision to illustrate the critical nature of Scripture in our lives.
OPEN: I have a test for you this morning. I’m going to give you certain common phrases and ask you to tell me whether or not they came from Scripture. If it will make you feel any better, I had lunch with two preachers last Wednesday and they missed about half of the references… so don’t feel too bad if you miss a few.
1. “To the victor go the spoils.” (William Learned Marcy in his Life of Jackson)
2. “Can a leopard change his spots?” (Jeremiah 13:23)
3. “The apple of his eye” (Deut. 32:10)
4. “No rest for the wicked (Isaiah 48:22)
5. “A heart of gold.” (Partial credit - Proverbs 17:3 speaks of refining our hearts like gold)
6. God helps those who help themselves (Aesop’s fables. It literally says: “The GODS help those who help themselves.”)
7. “The blind leading the blind.” (Luke 6:39)
8. “Money is the root of all evil.” (This sounds like it comes from 1 Timothy 6:10. But that verse literally says, “For the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”)
9. “Tempted by the Serpent, Eve to eat the apple and gave to her husband, and he ate also.” (False—Genesis 3 only says that they ate from the FRUIT of the tree of knowledge)
10. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (TRUE - though commonly identified with Abraham Lincoln, it is from Mark 3:25)
11. “Keep the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7)
12. “No man is an island.” (Line from a famous poem by John Donne)
13. “Flies in the ointment.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1, KJV)
14. “In the twinkling of an eye” (I Cor. 15:52)
APPLY: The goal of that little exercise was to help you realize two things:
1st - there many Biblical phrases that are common in our society
2nd - there are times when people quote certain phrases, mistakenly believing that they actually are in Scripture. Now that may seem innocent, but I’ve found that when people replace God’s thinking with human reasoning they often end up some pretty warped theology and lives.
For example: I’ve known people who not only believed the Bible said “God helps those who help themselves” but they used it to justify some very unChristian thinking and behavior
· they would avoid giving to the poor, because – “God helps those…”
· they would explain why they didn’t pray very often because – “God helps those…”
· they would even engage in dishonest and abusive business practices because – “God helps those…” and they were quite comfortable with helping God in way they could.
David recognized the danger of this tendency. In Psalm 119 he wrote:
“Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying YOUR decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands…
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you… Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” verses 5-6;10-11;24
What David was telling us was this:
If we want to live the right kind of life we need to hide His word in our hearts because wrong thinking is based on wrong information, while good thinking/good living is based on good information.
And God’s Word is the best information you can get.
Let me repeat that: Wrong thinking is based on wrong information.
ILLUS: Back in the early 1600’s the Catholic church put Galileo on trial for heresy. Do you remember what heretical concept Galileo was accused of?
He said the earth circled the sun, but the church of his day taught that the sun orbited the earth.
Why did the Catholic church believe this? Not because of Scripture… the Bible never taught this... and that wasn’t really why the church of that day believed this falsehood anyway.
So where did they get that idea?
Well, they believed that the Sun circled the earth because that’s what Aristotle – an ancient Greek philosopher - taught.
Why would they build their theology on the teachings of an ancient Greek philosopher? Well, by this time in European history, people were not considered educated until they were educated in the reasonings of Greek and Roman philosophers. Frankly, knowledge of Scripture just wasn’t sufficient for someone to be considered intellectually superior.
Thus, because the church that day felt the best education was based on human reasoning, they accused Galileo of heresy…in spite of the fact that Galileo staunchly believed in the Bible.
About 20 years before he was accused of heresy, Galileo wrote a letter to a Benedictine monk who was also a pioneering scientist of the day. And in his letter Galileo wrote:
“The holy scriptures cannot err, and the decrees therein contained are absolutely true and inviolable.” (Translated by Mary Allan Olney, "The Private Life of Galileo London, England", 1870, p. 73 quoted by James Brodrick, S.J., "Galileo, the Man, His Work, His Misfortunes" New York City, NY: Harper & Row, 1964, pp. 76-77)