Introduction to the Foundations Series

Authority of the Word Of God

Everything having to do with Christianity is under attack. Deconstructionism(the act of defining words as meaning different things to different people) is out of control in our society and colleges. This act itself is seeking to make the bible an ordinary literature book rather than the word of God. Let’s start out by looking at a few of the examples Jesus used to establish His authority and the authority of the gospel. We will start out by looking at the golden verse of the Bible.

John 3:13-21 says "And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, {even} the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." This scripture shows that Jesus is the light and has been to heaven and back, which establishes his authority on the subject. Also, in here, we see why people are trying to change the impact of the Bible. Everyone who does evil hates the light(of the gospel) and they do not want to be judged by it.

Next in John 10:26-38, in response the question, how long are you going to keep us in suspense if you are the Christ, let us know. And Jesus responded: "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given {them} to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch {them} out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me? The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out {to be} God. Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father."

Then in John 12:46-50, Jesus said: "I have come {as} light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."

It’s obvious that Jesus came as the light into a darkened world. He came and through many miracles, wonders and great teaching, he proved that he was the son of God that had been prophesied about so many years ago. He spoke that He and the father were one; He also told us in John 10:35 that the scripture cannot be broken, and we will be judged based on the words He spoke.

How is it that God’s word is spoken? "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in {His} Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world." (Hebrews 1:1-2). So God at one point used to speak through the prophets up to the point of Jesus’ birth, and since that time, the word has be spoken through His son.

"And He came and preached peace to you who were far away[Gentiles], and peace to those who were near[Jews]; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father." (Ephesians 2:17-18). He came and preached peace to the Jews and the Gentiles. Does that sound like a true statement? Has anybody heard anything that refutes that last scripture? Matthew 15:24 contains the answer to these questions. So Jesus was sent only to lost sheep of Israel(Jews). However the Bible talks a lot about him proclaiming the gospel to both sides. "And so, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, {and} that by reason of {His} resurrection from the dead He should be the first to proclaim light both to the {Jewish} people and to the Gentiles." (Acts 26:22-23).

So how is it that Jesus speaks to the Gentiles, since while he was in Earth he only spoke to the Jews? He is speaking to all of us right now, from the right hand of God, through the written word. Everything pertaining to life and godliness is held right here in our hands. A lot of people in the world are waiting for God to send them a message, but they won’t stop and read the note he left.

 

Interpreting Scripture

The Sign on the Cross

But first a word of introduction. Sometimes verses or portions of scripture on the surface seem to be contradictory. Consider, for example, the four accounts of the sign above Jesus as He hung on the cross.

"And they put up above His head the charge against Him which read, ‘THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.’" (Matthew 27:37).
"And the inscription of the charge against Him read, ‘THE KING OF THE JEWS.’" (
Mark 15:26).
"Now there was also an inscription above Him, ‘THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.’" (
Luke 23:38).
"And Pilate wrote an inscription also, and put it on the cross. And it was written, ‘JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.’ Therefore this inscription many of the Jews read, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and in Greek" (
John 19:19,20).

Which one of the four accounts is correct? All four differ.

Some try to handle the problem by stating that each account simply described the sign as the writer saw it, or as he was informed concerning it. Implicit in the Bible’s being the Word of God is that not only must each account be from the perspective of the author, but also that each account must be singularly accurate!

Let’s go back through and note how the four accounts are individually accurate, different from one another, and yet perfectly consistent.

We’ll begin with Mark’s account, and note the changes in the succeeding account in italics:

THE KING OF THE JEWS - Mark.
THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS - Luke.
THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS - Matthew.
JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS (in Hebrew, Latin, and in Greek) - John.

Note that this is what the sign said: THIS IS JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS (in Hebrew, Latin, and in Greek).

Note also that none of the four accounts records the total message of the sign. All four accounts are individually accurate, but all four must be put together to have complete information as to what was on the sign.

This illustrates a very important principle in interpreting the Bible. All verses of scripture are accurate, and no one verse may be placed in juxtaposition to another.

For example, to throw out Matthew’s account of the lettering on the sign because it is different from John’s is a subtle denial that the Bible is the Word of God. "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16). To say that one verse of scripture is not true "because another verse of scripture says something different" is to place the scripture in opposition to itself. The scriptures do mesh perfectly - any problem is in the mind of the interpreter, and not the Bible.

The evangelist Dick Chambers once said "No one scripture says everything there is to be said about any one subject in the word of God." (All for Christ Weekend, 1994)

The following selection is taken from "The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth", Robert L. Hartman, Evangelist, 1997:

Some of us like to study scripture like they play checkers - we like to take our scripture and jump all the other scriptures, knocking them out of the game. The problem is they are all God’s checkers and the rule is "You cannot jump your own man." No new testament scripture eliminates another new testament scripture. We can TRY to jump it with another scripture all we want but it will still be there and we must do SOMETHING with it.

Remember the statement: "No one scripture says everything there is to be said about any one subject in the word of God." Jesus said in Luke 13:3 "...unless you repent you will all likewise perish." That is a true statement but is it all the truth? Jesus also said "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). We cannot take the Luke 13:3 checker and say we can jump over the John 3:16 checker. We must obey both.

We are warned throughout the word of God to neither add to nor take away from what God has said. It is written in Deuteronomy 4:2 that "you shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it, that you may keep the Commandments of the Lord your God which I command you". John warned of the impending doom to those who would add to or take away from God’s revelation in Revelation 22:18-19.

We can take away from God’s word by simply not doing or teaching what God’s word has said. We can simply ignore the teaching of God’s word to repent and tell people that God overlooks their sin in spite of their unrepentant heart. We can ignore God’s command to be immersed for the forgiveness of sins and teach others to do the same. But, by so doing we will reap the wrath of God for what we have sown. We will be guilty of not telling the whole truth.

 

What does the Bible say about the truth?

What was it that caused the following persons to be killed?

Jesus?
John the Baptist?
Peter?
Paul?
Stephen?
The rest of the Apostles?

In John 8:31-32, it is stated: "Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, {then} you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’" So if the truth is going to set us free, we had better find out what it is.

Why are there so many denominational churches in the world today?

The reason there are so many churches today - created by men, rather than the one church setup by Jesus - is because men want to fulfill their fleshly desires and do not want to bear the heat of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They simply do not choose to take God’s word as it is - the truth.

What has happened to the truth of the gospel? The next section was taken from a book called "The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth." by Robert Hartman.

There is one more scenario from our introduction yet to be considered: "Nothing but the Truth." When someone is convicted by the word of God and confronted by the influences of their life the devil likes to cloud the issue with opinion, conjecture and speculation. The devil has developed a special breed to enhance his work in the field. We call them "scholars." Jesus called them "vipers." Did you ever wonder why Jesus called them vipers? It is because their doctrine was poison. Today we have a lot of poison doctrine coming from "scholars." The teaching coming out of most Bible colleges today is poison. Do you think I am being too hard on them? I read an article in the January 10, 1994 issue of time magazine titled Jesus Christ Plain and Simple. The article pertained to a gathering that occurs twice a year - of what are supposed to be the top biblical ‘scholars’ of the day - called the "Jesus Seminar." These scholars have created a Bible that is color coded. They vote on what is written and they color code it as to its authenticity. There were four categories:

  1. "Jesus undoubtedly said something like this;"
  2. "Probably from Jesus;"
  3. "Doubtful;"
  4. "Jesus never said this."

The "scholars" concluded that "precisely eighty-two per cent (82%) of words attributed to Jesus are judged unauthentic." The writer gave an example of the Lord’s prayer. The only words that received the highest mark of "Jesus undoubtedly said something like this" were "Our Father."

The article speaks for itself quoting many of the statements made by these so-called "scholars:"

While Jesus may have been a carpenter, that probably meant he was illiterate and belonged to a low caste of artisans. He did not preach salvation from sin through sacrifice; he never said, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God"; neither did he say "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." For that matter he probably never delivered the sermon on the mount. As for the question posed to Peter and the disciples, ("Who do you say that I am?") Jesus never asked it. And he never cured any diseases. As for other miracles? No loaves and fishes, no water into wine, no raising of Lazarus, and certainly no resurrection. What happened to his body then? Most likely it was consumed by wild dogs... The Romans had him crucified. Jesus -a peasant nobody - was never buried, never taken by his friends to a rich man’s sepulcher. Rather, according to John Dominic Crossan (a theology professor at De Paul University), the tales of entombment and resurrection were latter-day wishful thinking. Instead, Jesus’ corpse went the way of all abandoned criminals’ bodies; it was probably barely covered with dirt, vulnerable to the wild dogs that roamed the wastelands of the execution grounds. (Jesus Plain and Simple," Richard Ostling, Time Magazine, January, 1994, Vol.143 No.2).

Ostling also quotes author Burton Mack as stating that "the gospels are imaginative creations."

In another part of the article Ostling quoted John Dominic Crossan as saying "The scholars are coming out of the closet." Ostling goes on to say "...demanding public attention for the way they think."

There is a lot to be said about this statement. They want attention of men for what they THINK. What they think would not be permitted in a court of law, and it will not be permitted in the court of the Almighty.

Many people who consider themselves conservative would never follow such an extreme view of the Bible, yet many follow various concepts of this same liberalism. They read commentaries that explain away scriptures with conjecture and opinion. They may throw in a Greek word-meaning here and there as garnish, but the rest of what they say is filled with "I think..." or "I feel..." and "I believe..." and "probablies..." They believe what commentaries represent because that is what they want to hear.

If not a commentary then perhaps a preacher - a preacher that has attended a Bible college and has learned from some of the best "Bible scholars." They will take a scripture and bury it in "I think", "I feel ..", "I believe..." and "probably..." The average churchgoer will suck it up because it is just what he wants to hear. As the poem so clearly expresses:

Preach a sermon, preacher; make it short and sweet;
Our stomachs are hungering at 11:00 to eat.
Preach a sermon, preacher; make it round or flat;
We love to play at hide and seek and guess just where you’re at.
Preach a sermon, preacher; and tell it with some jokes;
Tell us a few anecdotes to entertain us folks.
Preach a sermon, preacher; don’t get too specific;
As long as you will generalize we’ll think you are terrific.
Preach a sermon preacher; make it smooth and fair;
For theory we are thirsty; for scripture we don’t care.
Preach a sermon, preacher; tell us what we like to hear;
And we’ll pat your spineless back as you scratch our itching ear.
(Author unknown)

Crossan said they are coming out of the closet. Their doctrine did not come from inside the closet. It was hatched in the incubators of hell.

Many people will desperately cling to false teaching and idealism with great emotional fervor no matter how much concrete spiritual evidence is stacked against them.

I have heard of many ministers who have been to Bible Studies and will admit that Baptism is necessary for salvation but they will not teach it because they will be dismissed from their congregation or have to admit they were wrong.

Your emotions have no bearing on the truth of the word of God. If you are doing something contrary to the word of God, even though it feels good, it is still wrong and disobedient to the word.

Also, we cannot allow the opinions of men or women to be exalted over the word of God. Hell is littered with the souls of those who put their faith in humans rather than God. They usually do this because they are attracted to the leader’s personality or because they proclaim the gospel the way they would like to hear it.

The Bible has a lot to say about the truth. We will start with John 1:17 where it says "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ." Jesus Christ came to Earth to bring the truth and the lost sheep of Israel were not ready to hear it. A comparison of Ephesians 1:13, Colossians 1:5, John 17:17 and Ephesians 6:17 will show the truth is also called the Word, the Gospel and the Sword. Let’s take a look at some of the other passages of the Bible that deal with these subjects.

The Scriptures talk about how important the Word is to our Salvation. Ephesians 1:13 says that "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise." And also Ephesians 6:17 says "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Also, Jesus considered his Word very important when he said "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life."(John 6:63)

According to the scriptures, Christ came to fulfill the truth of the promises given to the Patriarchs. It says in Romans 15:8 that "For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises {given} to the fathers…" And the Bible also says that God desires all men to know the truth. "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (II Timothy 2:3-4)

The Word also had a part in the creation of the World and Man. Hebrews 11:3 says that "By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible." And also in II Peter 3:5, it is stated "For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God {the} heavens existed long ago and {the} earth was formed out of water and by water…" The Bible also spends time equating the Word with Jesus himself. John 1:1-4 says "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." That is why the Bible talks about our salvation only being found in Jesus (Jesus, the Word, the Truth, the Gospel are the same thing). The Word also had a part in the creation of Man as well. James 1:18 says "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures."

As we will find out in our study, true Christians are considered to be in the light and the rest of the world is in darkness. The Bible stresses that you are either a part of the light or a part of the darkness. I John 1:6 says that "If we say that we have fellowship with Him and {yet} walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth…" And John also mentions in his gospel that "But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." (John 3:21)

The Bible also states that the Truth hurts and divides, and that the world will not want to hear it and cannot understand it. I Corinthians 1:18 says "For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." The book of Hebrews also talks about the cutting power of the word of God. "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) And II Timothy speaks of this subject as well: "preach the word; be ready in season {and} out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but {wanting} to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths." (II Timothy 4:2-4) And what about those people who are following false religions: "that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness." (II Thessalonians 2:9-12) And also in Matthew, Jesus said during an answer to the apostles’ question about the Pharisees "But He answered and said, ‘Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.’" (Matthew 15:13-14)

A lot of Christians believe that once you become a Christian, you can sit back on your hands and keep all of the unChristian habits you always did. But the Bible seems to be adamant about teaching Christians to practice the truth. "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth." (II Timothy 2:15) Also in I John 2:4, it says "The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him…" And last but not least from the book of James "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for {once} he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the {law} of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does."

There are a lot of times when we set around and talk about God’s love and about how much we cannot believe he would send good people to hell. That is what we are normally taught in church, but the God of the Bible is a God of Judgement. He said in Matthew "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me." Revelation 19:15 says "And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty." There are primarily two groups of people the judgement is going to fall on: "For after all it is {only} just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and {to give} relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed." (II Thessalonians 1:6-10) The same God who judged the world at the time of Noah is the same one that is in control now. Just remember: God is the same: yesterday, today and forever.(Hebrews 13:8)

The following study is going to study of the foundations of our faith beginning with the Genesis and moving through the Old Testament. For, the scripture says in Psalms 11:3 that "If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?" Let's work on those foundations.