Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How Important Is The Bible?

Just how important is the Bible? Isn't it just another book filled with words that people believe in but is really just a book written by men? How can reading a book change my life?

The one thing that has forever changed the way I view the Bible was a illustration that Pastor Jack Hibbs, Pastor and Teacher at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills used.

If you take your Bible and skip all the introductions that proceed the first chapter and take the Bible and start at Genesis 1:1 and move to Genesis Chapter 3. Hold those pages up. It should just be a couple of pages. It illustrates the creation of the world by God and everything in it, up to the falling away of Adam and Eve when they sinned in the Garden of Eden. Creation and the Fall. In just those couple of pages.

Now look at all the pages that remain from Chapter 3 to Revelation. That is God calling you back to Him. To redeem you and save you! WOW! Did that just blow your mind at how hard God is working on the salvation of mankind.

From creation to salvation each time you look at your Bible. Hopefully you will never look at it the same again. What a testimony to the power of the Bible and the love of God.

So isn't there a cheat sheet, some cliff notes that some up the Bible's importance without having to read it all. I mean why does it matter anyway.

1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (NIV), "For what I have received I passed on to you as of first importance: 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 Peter and then to the Twelve."

It sums up everything as believers in Christ understand.

1. That Jesus died for our sins.

2. That He was buried.

3. That He rose again on the third day.

4. That He was seen after His resurrection by witnesses.

The Bible is the answer to everything happening in the world. When the world takes a pill, believers take to the Scriptures.

The Bible insulates us from financial collapse, from violence and crime and from death itself.

It is the gospel, itself, that transcends this world and takes us from this world. The gospel will announce to the world, the end of time.

Psalm 23:4 (NIV), "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," This life is only a shadow. 

Matthew 24:14 (NIV), "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

Revelation 14: 6-7 (NIV), " Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth - to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of judgment has come. Worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."

The Gospel is Important because it is the very origin of God, Himself. It's origin is in God,

"For God..." It is God, it originates in Him, from John 3:16.

Even when we do right in this life, our motives are wrong. We are self centered and self focused.

God is sending us a message. It is a bold message of the power of absolute love. No other gospel shares this message of unconditional love and redemption in it.

"Whoever believes in Him"...applies to every single person on the face of the earth. YOU are a whoever! God is speaking to YOU! Are you hoping that by living a good life will get you into heaven? We don't live for us, but for God!

In Psalm 23:4 (NIV), "WE, as believers, walk through the valley of the shadow of death." Christians will NEVER see the grave. 

2 Corinthians 5:8 (NLT), "Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord."

The Gospel provides hope. As Christians, even though we still struggle with the same challenges as everyone else, we have hope in our challenges. God can so transform us with a hope that forever changes us from the inside out. We don't need any other outside fix, like drugs or alcohol, to get us through the day as long as we are plugged into the Word of God. Spending time in the Bible fills us up with the power we need to get through the day.

Romans 15:4 (NIV) " For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. "

Romans 10:17 (NIV), "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." 

There is power in the Bible through Christ. Don't believe me? Take your Bible to any restaurant, lay it on the table or even better open it up and watch the reactions of your server. Without doing anything, the Bible changes people. Why are so many nations burning Bibles? Because there is power that lies inside if you take the time to examine it and read it for yourself. Don't take any other persons word for it. Do the homework and see for yourself.

The Old Testament is a letter of man's inability to redeem himself. It's man's last will and testament. It points to (1) man's sinfulness and (2) that one day God will come one day in the future, and fulfill the promises of the Old Testament with the Redeemer.

A Last Will and Testament is simply a paper written by you before you die. It lacks any power until a coroner announces your exact hour and date of your death. Then the power is unleashed with a declaration of power in all types of legal issues from lawyers, banks and government only upon the moment of your death. Before then, it's simply a piece of paper. 

When Jesus announced on the cross, " It is finished, Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit." God recorded that precise moment of Jesus's death and set in motion that the God of all Creation was appeased for all the sin of mankind, past, present and future. It was an agreement between God and His Son. Sin was killed. We no longer have to stay under the burden of the shadow of this world.

No one can take away the resurrection of Jesus. His resurrection was to ensure as our advocate that those who believe in Him, can take part in the benefits of what He accomplished on the cross. He didn't leave it up to a will, Jesus is our Living Trust. It defines the very benefits of what we, as believers in Jesus, have in putting our trust in Him alone.

That is why we hold onto the Words of the Bible. It is living, it can change lives, transform addictions, and promise the gift of eternal life to those who believe. Let us take comfort in knowing that in the Bible, all the promises of God are yes and AMEN through Jesus Christ!

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