Don’t Ask Me That: What Now?

That is where a lot of people are at… We have found so far that because of what was—events rooted in history, because of what is—reliability of the words, that all that is left is whether we should trust the Bible for in our own lives.

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What Now? In 2 Peter 1:21 he makes a pretty powerful claim about the promises in the Bible-21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

You know people just like I do, they look at the Bible like a speech from a politician, with distrust. They assume that Scripture to come together so perfectly around the historic figure Christ had to be altered after the fact.  A change here, a detail there, and BOOM! They figured all those OT prophecies could say whatever was necessary. The only problem was a young shepherd boy lost one of his sheep. In 1946, he not only found his sheep, but he found the Dead Sea Scrolls, caves full of 981 manuscripts in the modern day West Bank—from hundreds of years before Christ lived—with the exact promises from the OT.  Promises like from where the Messiah would be born, raised, tribe he would descend from, how he would arrive in Jerusalem, what would happen while he was there, how he would die (before crucifixion was invented),  where he would be buried, what would happen on the third day, what would happen to his followers, where their power would come from, etc. Hundreds of promises. Continue reading “Don’t Ask Me That: What Now?”

Don’t Ask Me That: Trust the Bible?

Not only do we get internal claims, but also external proof that the events actually happened—reality instead of mythology, closeness to the actual events rather than centuries later, but next we get to take on…

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 What Is? People will often say, “The Bible has been copied over and over again-it is like the game telephone that you probably played in school—What started off “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”—becomes “Waltzing in a White Bagel Bag.” Isn’t the Bible—over 2,000 plus years the very same thing?  We have the eyewitnesses like John who said in 1 John—“that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this is what we proclaim—how does that information get to the next generation or down through the next 20 centuries. You’ve probably heard people make those types of arguments, there is no way I can trust that what happened back then is what I am reading today. If you’ve desired that type of certainty you aren’t alone.   The Bible actually gives us a clue to the link between 1st generations to 2nd generation. In the opening words of Luke’s gospel we see his purpose: Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. That certainty is what a lot of people are looking for. When there is a quote in red—did Jesus really say—Love your enemies? Did Jesus really say “I’ve come to serve not to be served?” Continue reading “Don’t Ask Me That: Trust the Bible?”

Don’t Ask Me That:Why Should I Trust the Bible?

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A few months ago, I was sitting at a coffee shop in town with a friend. We were doing a weekly Bible study together. We had just started talking about discipleship, trying to be like Jesus when a lady stopped us and asked if we were talking about the Bible. She was pretty forward; she asked to sit down with us because she happened to be reading some books that strangely related. She pulled up a chair, apologized for interrupting, and then unleashed on us a fury of reasons why she didn’t trust the Bible. She had been a child in VBS and memorized Scripture, but now she said, “I believe in God, but I don’t need the God of the Bible…I’m beyond that!” She isn’t alone. It isn’t a new phenomenon. Thomas Jefferson famously had the Jeffersonian Bible where he cut out everything that was miraculous or supernatural, later on the Jesus Seminar, a group of self-appointed scholars came together and voted on what they thought the Jesus in their image would have said.

A lot of you might be able to relate with that honest outburst. The Bible might be a family heirloom, might have in the front cover family history, but for most people it is only busted out on “holy occasions, Christmas and Easter, maybe,” but generally people seem to have moved beyond that” outside of the church. Today, we continue in our sermon series called DON’T ASK ME THAT! Sometimes that are first response when our faith is challenged. Today we take another step in being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for the reasons for our hope in Jesus Christ. We take on the dreaded question that maybe stopped you dead in your tracks as you opened your Bible to share an important verse: Why Should I Trust The Bible? How do I know that what’s written in the Bible isn’t just a myth that developed with time.

It all beings with:

Move #1: What Was? People want to know if what the Bible writes about actually happened! Was Jesus death and resurrection widely accepted in the early church, was it’s importance realized? Paul starts to answer that question in more than one way  in 1 Cor. 15:3-7, it is a passage written in 55AD, about 25 years after Christ was crucified, but there is more than meets the eye:  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Paul gives us what is agreed on by scholars to be a early church creed. Think of a creed like the early slave songs, passed along as a way to teach a mostly illiterate group important information in a memorable pattern. Paul highlights the most important teachings that he had received and was now passing along. But what’s even more interesting is the timing of the creed–how early did Christians hold to these core teachings. Walk through the timeline with me. Paul was martyred in 64 AD, wrote 1 Corinthians in 55 AD, gave them the teaching when he visited in 50 AD (second missionary trip), and first received it as Galatians 1:18-19 remind us that three years (after his conversion), I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles–only James, the Lord’s brother.  15 days of comparing experiences, talking about doctrine, seeing how the Gospel had changed lives—and receiving a creed from the early church at the latest 36AD. James D. G. Dunn went so far as to point out, “we can be entirely confident (this creed), was formulated as tradition within months of Jesus death.” The closer to the actual events, the most precisely they can be remembered. Continue reading “Don’t Ask Me That:Why Should I Trust the Bible?”

Don’t Ask Me That: Boundary

Hopefully you are starting to see answers to the question (Check out the first two parts of this message) Does God exist start to be formulated. Our existence didn’t happen by chance, accident, or random generations. Since we have a beginning there has to be a cause. Our creation points to the creator of Scripture who masterfully united the things around us to be perfectly suited to our needs, but let’s move from experience and science to philosophy—because everywhere we look God has put within us…

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 A Boundary (Romans 2:15) 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.
We live in a world where people are uncertain if there is a truth that transcends their momentary whims. The Burger King philosophy has taken root–You can have it your way. Truth like a transformers–constantly shifting, like sand filling up the container, and yet Paul argues for a universal law rather than a universally changing one. Not written on a slab of concrete but chiseled into the human heart.  Why is it that every culture throughout history has had laws, that murder, lying, immorality have been discouraged? Even what we would consider aberrations such as human sacrifice was done with a universal in mind: Why is it that all people around the world desire to worship something? Continue reading “Don’t Ask Me That: Boundary”

Don’t Ask Me That: A Beauty

Instead of an accidental creation, there is a…

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A Beauty (Psalm 19:1-2) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.We aren’t quite sure when David wrote these words, maybe when he was spending time in En Gedi, his desert Oasis and looked up into the night sky and saw the innumerable number of stars or early in the morning saw the sun rising up on the horizon. David saw in the midst of the mundane of the everyday the magnificent of the Mighty one who daily showed his power, love, and care through creation. It smacks against common sense to look at the intricacy, detail, and order and chalk it up to an accident. Let me put it like this, claiming that the world was accidentally created would be like walking through the gates at Disneyland and looking at the expansive lawn—and claiming that the huge flower garden which makes up the face of Mickey Mouse was all because of the last good rain. Instead Paul wrote in Romans 1: For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what is made, so that man is without excuse. Continue reading “Don’t Ask Me That: A Beauty”

Don’t Ask Me That: Does God Exist?

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5AVWCHb180 (beginning to 1:20) The movie God’s Not Dead presents a scenario that some of you might have lived through. There are moments where our faith is challenged, where we are put on the spot, left on the hot seat searching for answers or wavering as we search for the words. Challenge from a biology or philosophy professor, from a new neighbor after you invited them to church, or maybe from a family member over Thanksgiving dinner.

If you haven’t, get ready. Researchers and pollsters lately have determined that in the Western world the fastest growing demographic when it comes to religion are the NONES, not the Catholic nuns in the convent, but those who mark down “none” on religious affiliation. No longer can we simply assume that people around us have heard the same Bible stories, see the world with the same Judeo-Christian values, or believe the same foundational principles.

Today, we are starting a new sermon series called DON’T ASK ME THAT, all about those questions that people outside of the church have and that we hope they will never ask. We are going to be wrestling with questions that make us uncomfortable, leave our brains racing, and chest hurting. Based on the book The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask by Mark Mittelberg, we are going to step out in faith, hopefully preparing to give “an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that you have.” We are going to start with the biggest question of all: Does God Exist? Now my hope is that many, if not all of you, would be able to answer that question from your own personal experience with the Risen Lord and the Holy Spirit, but are there any objective reasons to believe in God? Are there any reasons that your atheist friend or agnostic child would have to stop and ponder? I think so…so let’s jump right in…Does God Exist? Instead of Don’t Ask Me That, we find that the answer lies in a…

BEGINNING (Gen. 1:1-3) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. No more famous words have been penned, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible doesn’t start with a question; it starts with a statement of fact. God created. The implications are profound, that the universe isn’t eternal, the universe hasn’t always been, and that which is created, needs a creator or a cause. Scientist Carl Sagan bitterly rejected this arguing mocking Scripture, “The cosmos is all that is, and was, and will forever be.” Continue reading “Don’t Ask Me That: Does God Exist?”