Part 1 - The Bible
It seems only right and proper that as we begin this teaching series dealing with the fundamental basics of the Christian Faith, we do so by looking first at the Bible. After all, in answering the question what we believe and why we believe it, as a Christian, our only source of full reliability is the Bible. Most certainly there are other credible sources from which to draw our knowledge, but all must be run through the litmus filter of God’s Word! Since we are going to be building this teaching series upon the foundation of the Holy Bible, it seems only right therefore that in starting, we begin by answering the question, what is the Bible?
In this first part of this teaching series, we take a look at the character and nature of this precious book. We take a whistle stop tour through the Old and New Testaments before going on to look at the claims of Divine authorship. We then conclude by looking briefly at the manuscript evidence to support the reliability of the Bible.
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Kings and Potentates, Popes and Emperors have all tried in vain down through the ages to silence God’s unfaltering Word, yet the fact of the matter remains true,”…The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever” (Is. 40:8). For many calling themselves evangelicals, belief in the inerrant Word of God is a given and Bibles abound in their multitudes, stacked on the shelves of Christians. Yet despite this, the biblical literacy of the average Christian has never been so poor! The first task of the Christian must be to obtain knowledge of the Word of God but having obtained knowledge to then walk in the light of that knowledge.
The Psalmist declares, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). I fear that the grave error of fundamentalism in our day is that we’re content at best to hold the knowledge of God’s Word in our heads yet the light never makes it down to our feet! This sermon is a challenge to us all; let us not be hearers only deceiving ourselves, but let us also be doers of the Word!!
The question of all questions; the question that demands an answer…Whom say ye that I am? Opinions abound of who THEY say the Son of man is! The Jehovah’s Witnesses say you’re Michael the Archangel, the Mormons say you’re brother of Lucifer, the Muslims say you’re a prophet, the New Agers say you’re an enlightened master, the religionists say you’re a moral teacher, the humanists say you’re a good man, and the socialists say you’re a revolutionary! Yet, when everything is said and done, the Lord demands from us personally an answer to the question…Whom say ye that I am? Get this wrong and you’re wrong for all eternity, but get this right and you’re right for all eternity!
1 Corinthians 10:1-14
There exists a single verse in that pages of Holy Writ that men ought always to have at the forefront of their minds. The proud man thinks that it could never apply to him and the naive pass over it without a thought, yet its truth remains fixed and constant for all men without exception and the innumerable testimonies of those who now lie in the gutters and the side walks cry out in one accord to take heed; ”Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 12:10).
Dear Brethren, it is incumbent upon all who name the name of Christ to watch diligently over their souls with much prayer, for no Christian ever falls in a day! Rather, through neglect and pride, a man tells himself I’m alright and have no need to watch; through much business, a man takes his eye off the mark and begins to drift into danger. This sermon is a warning and an encouragement for believers to remain vigilant when it comes to watching over their souls in regards to sin. Failure to watch here has proven to be the downfall of many!
Fanaticism has been defined as a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, a person who has very strong beliefs that may lead them to behave in unreasonable ways. Fanaticism is built into the very fabric and DNA of Christianity, the Master Himself has set the bar to which all coming after Him must strive to reach. There can be no serving our Lord in half measure, the one setting His hand to the plough must not look back but go on in the way of full obedience to Christ!! Yet, to do this will inevitably earn him the title “fanatic”, a derogatory label reserved for those whose conduct or opinion is deemed extreme and unacceptable in by today's society!
This sermon is an encouragement to the body of Christ to never be ashamed of wearing the label of a fanatic for Christ’s sake. As we see the days darkening, we are called to shine the more brighter. Lift up your head and feel no shame in representing the King of Kings!! We are ambassadors for Christ, citizens of His heavenly Kingdom, and without apology, we should never be ashamed!!
Man has concocted many tests by which to gauge his spirituality; self-made indicators by which he presumes to ascertain the height to which he has ascended in his religious service and devotion to God. Church attendance, financial giving, prayers and fasting, the study of God’s Word and the sharing of ones faith. Yet, admittedly, all these disciplines can be done out of a self-seeking heart of pride as a means to add notches to ones spiritual belt and to get one up over our neighbour. Brethren, there is one litmus test that is sure to never fail in giving an accurate reading of where we really are in our Christian experience; one member in our human body that is sure to give us away, that of the tongue!
This sermon is a challenge to the Christian to set guard over the words of their mouth. Gossip and slander, strife and division, lies and deception, ought not to be found in the life of a Christian. God is calling His body to a standard and the challenge is laid down by the Word of God!
Over the last three decades, we are witnessing at an unprecedented rate, the speed and rapidity at which the Judaeo-Christian foundations of the West are been ripped up before our very eyes. Those in the seat of power and governance who have the power to change and effect laws are passing laws that are forcing Christians to have choose between Christ and a law that is at odds with God’s. In the mid-19th century as the British Empire was moving towards its height, Queen Victoria was asked by an African prince, “What is the secret of England’s greatness and Britain’s glory?” Our Queen did not speak of the number of her fleet, nor the strength of her armies. She did not mention her abundance of merchandise, nor of her inexhaustible wealth. Instead, she handed the prince a beautifully bound copy of the Bible and said…”this is the secret of England’s greatness”. Sadly, this is no longer the case as righteousness has made way for ungodliness and iniquity of every filthy kind.
This sermon is a great encouragement to the Body of Christ who find themselves in such an hour as this. As the light rains are felt before the storm clouds break, so already, Christians in the Western world are beginning to experience their first taste of persecution in what will be an unleashing of Satan's wrath in the days and years ahead. Be of good cheer dear Brethren, God will give us the wisdom, power and boldness to be witnesses for Jesus Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit which He has promised. This is no time to cower, in that hour of testing, we must be found seeking the Lord in prayer!
Obedience and the blessing attached to it, can often get lost amidst the many admonitions and warnings found in Holy Scripture against disobedience. So often we have as Christians the mindset, ‘I’d better obey or else...’, rather than seeing the blessing of obedience!!
What has God been speaking to you about about in your life? What sin sin has He been pleading with you to forsake? What act of love has He been calling you to undertake? Oh! dear soul...without further delay, set you heart and mind to obey and think not of temporal loss in light of the blessing that awaits when God's people walk in obedience!
The heart of man is designed such that it can only serve one master. Our Lord stated emphatically: “No man can serve two masters: for he will either hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon”.
This sermon delivers a very serious challenge, calling forth the body of Christ to make a choice whom they will serve!! There is no place in the vocabulary of Christianity for mixture! We’re either hot for Christ or cold; we have either both feet in or both feet out, we cannot serve God in half measure!! As this sermon draws to a close, practical steps are offered on how to revive and maintain the flame of burning love in our hearts for Jesus Christ.
A bruised reed and a smoking flax...two emblems employed by our Lord denoting the weakness and frailty of man. Sin laden and burden borne with the cares of life - Christ came into the world to seek and save such as these!! Oh what hope for sinners, glad tidings to the meek! For those who stoop to receive Him eternal life but for the proud and impenitent, a certain looking for of judgment when He shall appear the second time in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God.
Oh! dear soul...now is the acceptable time; behold now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2). While the door of mercy is open, let us seek the Lord, for there is coming a day when mercy shall cease. In that day there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth!