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Summary: I recall reading that Billy Graham wanted to stay relevant in his evangelism ministry as he held crusades all over America and the world for so many years. He held the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other hand. He stayed anchored to the rock a

INTRODUCTION

Opening Statement: I recall reading that Billy Graham wanted to stay relevant in his evangelism ministry as he held crusades all over America and the world for so many years. He held the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other hand. He stayed anchored to the rock and yet he was geared to the times. I believe that this is also our calling. We live in a culture that loves story. If you can produce a great story, and embed your views and theology into that story, whether you are right or wrong, you stand to influence a lot of people toward your view point. This is what is happening today. All the questions sharply debated at the beginning of Christianity in the first century are now being reopened. Is Jesus God? Is the Bible reliable? Is the church credible?

Quotation: The Da Vinci Code will confuse lots of people, but Jesus will become the centerpiece of many conversations. For those who are prepared to explain that Christianity rests on solid foundations, the opportunity will be tremendous (Erwin Lutzer).

Explanation: Perhaps, you have heard about a book that was written in 2003 by author Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code with over 7 million copies in print. As mystery, this book is enthralling. It is a 450-plus pages page-turner. I read my copy in 3 or 4 days. I was hooked. As a mystery, it is exciting. Brown is a great novelist. His story is going to come out as a movie in a few weeks. I am not endorsing the movie because I don¡¯t know what is contained within it. But if the movie is similar to the book, it will be engaging. However, whether in book or movie form, as theology and history, The Da Vinci Code is appalling. Behind The Da Vinci Code there is another code or agenda at work that is designed to demolish God¡¯s redemption story. Here¡¯s why. Just let me tell you now, I¡¯m going to spoil this book for you.

1. It questions the deity of Jesus using other gospels not included in our Bible. The church chose only those gospels that would strengthen the deity of Jesus, thus excluding other gospels that show him as a mere man. One of Browns leading characters, Teabing, states on page 234: ¡°Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ¡¯s human straits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. The earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up, and burned.¡±

2. It undermines the reliability and authority of the Scriptures by overlooking the canonization process (canon: officially accepted list of books). Brown believes that other Gnostic gospels reveal more about the Jesus story than we know and that they should be listened to.

3. It challenges the integrity of the church that existed from the first century to the fourth century. ¡°History is told by the winners,¡± Brown would assert. Brown suggests that the church has lied to us. The church has stolen Jesus from his original followers ¡°hijacking His human message, shrouding it in an impenetrable cloak of divinity, and using it to expand their power (233).¡±

Summation: So the controversy really centers on these three issues: Is Jesus God? Is the Bible reliable? Is the church credible? If you want to just read only those pages that speak to these issues in The Da Vinci Code, just read chapters 55-58, and 60 in Browns book.

Key Word: God¡¯s word has spoken to these issues. Rather than being diverted from our Christian mission by some novelist with aberrant theological viewpoints and a strange reinterpretation of church history, the Scripture¡¯s themselves spell out what we must do in order to keep our focus and decode the Code.

Title: Decoding the Da Vinci Code

Series Plan: Here¡¯s our plan.

May 7 ¨C Remember the Manual ¨C The Scriptures are Reliable!

May 14 ¨C Listen to Your Mother ¨C Mom Knows Best (Not Dan Brown)!

May 21 ¨C Walk with the Master ¨C Jesus is God and the Church is Credible!

May 28 ¨C Guide the Misled ¨C People are Lost!

If we are going to navigate successfully cultural trends and values, we must first turn to today¡¯s topic ¡°Remember the Manual ¨C The Scriptures are Reliable!¡± We have to start here.

Recitation/Text: The key call of the book of Jude is found in v.3 where it says ¡°Contend [The word for contend comes from a root that means to agonize. The picture is of a wrestler grappling with an opponent, determined not to give up an inch of territory.] for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.¡± [The complete body and beliefs of Christian truth. ¡°The faith¡± is a non-negotiable completed body of information. We know it as the Word of God. You¡¯ve got something in your hands far more valuable than a Holy Grail! It¡¯s called a Bible. It has been supernaturally preserved over time and has endured persecution and textual criticism and deconstructionists theories.] Jude 17- 23 17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you," In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts." 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.

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