If I had preached a traditional Easter sermon today, I would have preached about the Bible as evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Believing in Jesus Christ is as much or more than anything, believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The defeat of death could be described as our salvation. If Jesus defeated death, and can defeat death, then He can save us from death. He did. He can. Can we trust the Bible as evidence? People treat the Bible like it can’t be evidence. Instead, to them that must come from outside of the Bible to be legitimate. However, faith comes by hearing the Word of God, not by hearing external evidence, non-scriptural evidence (Rom 10:17). We should not bow to secular, pagan faithless rejection of scripture as evidence. Even as a matter of history and science, the Bible stands as greater evidence, sufficient evidence for anything. As ancient evidence, there is nothing like the Bible. Everything else shrinks in comparison.
Bethel Baptist Church ~ El Sobrante, CA
Men by themselves don’t know what is the right or correct standard of evidence for the truth. As this is applied to believing the Lord, most men would say that they want more. If God gave more, would that be better? That is where God is right and we are wrong. The people God saves are those who believe the evidence He gives. This isn’t necessarily the most evidence or even the amount that men want. It is what God gives, what He wants to give, that is, therefore, perfect. God gives the exact right amount. If that’s not enough for a man, it’s not that it’s not enough. It’s just not enough for him. It’s enough, just not for him, and he’s wrong. He’s proven to be a rebel by what it takes for him to believe. From my perspective, there is far more evidence than man needs for what he normally says he needs. He’s being dishonest about the evidence. There’s a lot. The amount of evidence God gives is enough for the believer, the one who believes and pleases God.
When the most fundamental, foundational truths no longer are received or accepted as true, that is, we will not believe the truth, then we are left with a world of lies. The truth doesn’t matter any more, except as a matter of personal taste. In that sense it is just relative truth. It’s truth relative to me, if it is convenient for me. We start with truth about God and His Word, because this is most fundamental. Even if men construct a world of lies, it doesn’t mean that we can’t know the truth or that we are not responsible for knowing it. There is still the truth and we are supposed to know it and we will be judged based upon it. It also, as Jesus said, sets us free. We are free to live just like God wants us to live and not be fooled by the lies. We are free to believe the truth about ourselves so that we can either repent of our sin or persevere in the faith. We can live with confidence, knowing that God does not lie and our eternity is set. We can look at a world of lies and diagnose it.
I’ve preached on this in different ways in the last year, but I also talk about it with various people out in evangelism. God doesn’t want knowledge of His existence like knowledge that your foot exists, that is, recognition that He’s here. We see this all over scripture, which is the major means by which God reveals Himself. He has already manifested Himself in numerous ways satisfying to Him. He wants to be sought. He will be found by those who genuinely seek Him, but all over the Bible we can see that He has shown Himself through general and special revelation, and He wants us to seek after Him. The people who want Him are the ones who will get through that gauntlet, pass through the threshold into life eternal. They believed. Those that wait for God to jump through their hoops, do the dog and pony show, come beckoning life a heavenly bell hop – they aren’t going to find Him, know Him, or receive Him. When you do know Him, you’re life will change
Instagram started in 2010. For most of human history, people lived without it. You could say they were missing nothing, except that instagram isn’t nothing. In general, I’d say that it causes problems. In and of itself it’s not wrong, like a piece of paper isn’t wrong—it depends on how it is used. Social networking sites like Instagram have become little Towers of Babel, bringing people together very often in a bad way. In 2012 Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg paid $1,000,000,000 for Instagram, which amounted to 25% of Facebook’s cash at hand. In 2013, Instagram grew by 23%, while it’s parent company, Facebook, grew by only 3%. It has grown to 150 million users. Like anything else, the morality of Instagram depends on its user. Like what scripture tells us, if it isn’t about Jesus Christ, then it is about Satan. There is no middle ground. There is no neutrality. You either love or hate Jesus with anything in your life, as far as He is concerned. And what He says is the truth.
What’s the main point of the Bible? This is a common discussion among Christians, church leaders, and theologians. The Bible has a unified meaning if it is not a hodge-podge of literature culled from disparate sources, and it is not. It has a central theme, unified around its one Author, God Himself. Nothing in scripture contradicts anything else in it. As you read it, you see an ultimate end to which subordinate ends serve to highlight. Judgment is a theme. Salvation or redemption is a theme. The end is the glory of God. God will be glorified through salvation, which comes by means of judgment. Everyone is judged by His standard and those who are saved are those who submit to His judgment. God will judge sin. When we stand before God, justice must be done. Jesus died for us so that justice for sin would be done and redemption still could be paid. He receives the glory through this in many different ways, but in general for His holiness and for His love.
I was listening to a question and answer with prominent conservative pundit, Ben Shapiro. He is an orthodox Jew. He was asked a question about religious freedom. In talking about the attack on religion in America today, he said the following, word for word, in his answer to a question: “When they say that you are a fool for believing in God, the truth is that belief in God is belief. Right? You have to take a leap of faith. It can’t be proved. It’s not something you can make a scientific hypothesis and then fulfill that hypothesis. But atheism can’t be proved either. There’s no way to prove these sorts of intangibles.” I’m writing this short essay, because he is so wrong. Faith is not the absence of proof. Faith is scientific. Hebrews 11:1 says that “faith is the evidence of things not seen.” The Bible does not describe faith as a leap. Scripture is certain, having itself been proven to be true. Our faith comes from scripture. We believe it, because it is true, so we are certain. It isn’t a leap.
The English word, “worship,” in its various forms occurs over 198 times in the King James Version. It’s obviously a theme of scripture, something important. Everyone worships something. If you are not worshiping the true God, it doesn’t mean that you are worshiping nothing. You are still worshiping. Exodus 34:14 is the first time the English word appears, and it says, “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” God is jealous if something or someone is worshiped beside Himself. Romans 1:25 says that you worship and serve the creature, if not the Creator. In the same context of Romans 1 and then in the epistle of 2 Peter, we see people want what they want. They don’t want a boss. They don’t want anyone telling them what to do. In the word “worship” is the word, “worth.” God is not being valued. He is not being feared. He is not being recognized for the goodness He supplies. All of that relates to not giving God what He wants and deserves.
The unbelieving religious leaders of Jesus’ day asked Him what was the greatest commandment in the law, and He said, love the Lord thy God, first, and, second, love thy neighbor as thyself. Jesus wasn’t saying that no other commands or teachings mattered. There were prohibitions punishable by death in God’s law. Those were serious. When Nadab and Abhi offered strange fire unto the Lord, they were both killed. You can’t get all of the commandments, words, and sayings obeyed, if you won’t start with at least minimum objectives. I hesitate anymore to talk about minimum objectives, because someone might think it is permissible to do only the minimum. I’m saying the minimum is a benchmark. My wife and I know that we have certain benchmarks in our marriage. If I didn’t do those things, I would assess myself as failing at loving my wife. For awhile, I’ve listed minimum objectives as Bible study, prayer, evangelism, and faithful church attendance. Do those every week.
Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:19-20, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” If you are breathing, you have noticed an extreme uptick in the United States in severe, radical, crude, loud, threatening, violent, and dangerous behavior as protest and opposition. Why? These are discontent people, who can’t be happy, without a standard or means of civility. If they don’t get their way, they feel justified to throw a fit like they are. You see this portrayed in 2 Peter 2, a lot of the description there a perfect explanation of what we see in our culture. They must have their way and without condemnation or opposition. They don’t want opposition even spoken, warning of punishment for that. This is the trend we see today, growing like it hasn’t in decades. “Be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled,” 1 Peter 3:14.