What if the Bible is true? That might seem like an odd sort of question to ask a room full of people sitting in church on a Sunday morning, but that’s exactly the question that I want to ask today. What if the Bible is true?
Last Sunday we began a new fall focus entitled “Your Spiritual Journey.” And as we’ve noted in your bulletin, if you missed last Sunday, please go online to davetrenholm.com and you can either read the message from last week or download it and listen to it as an mp3.
But just to refresh your memory – we talked about how everyone of us is on a spiritual journey, no matter what our beliefs. We’re always headed in some direction – either towards God or away from Him. There is no standing still. We’re always moving in some direction. We’re on a spiritual journey.
And of course, as in any journey – it’s important to know where you, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there.
So one of the first things we did last week, was to spend some time trying to figure out where each of us are in our own, personal spiritual journey. We used this little handout to help us. Your Spiritual Journey Handout Inside it has seven different phases of a typical spiritual journey. Of course, everyone’s journey is unique, but this booklet gives us some good general guidelines. And if you happened to have missed last week, I’d encourage you to grab one of these booklets from the back before you leave today.
But using this book, last Sunday everyone here tried to figure out where they were in their spiritual journey. Were they “not interested” in a relationship with God? Were they “curiously seeking? Were they “searching assertively, making a faith commitment, experiencing new life, growing in community, or making disciples.”
Well, we all tried our best to figure out were we fit in our own personal journey. Then I collected up everyone’s answers anonymously, and on Tuesday I read through them all, and do you know what I found? I found this a little surprising. Of all the responses that I read through, of all the people that were here last week, over 25% of them were either curiously seeking, or searching assertively. That means that one in four people here today are searching for truth. They are trying to figure out the reality of life.
And I think all of us have either been there – or we are there still. What is life all about – really? What is the truth? You talked to 20 different people and you get 20 different answers. Everyone believes something different. According to the internet, there are 22 different major religions in the world today – but there are thousands of different beliefs within those religions. For example, there are over 38,000 different Christian denominations. Which one is right? Is anyone right? What is the truth? Or can you even know the truth?
Those are super questions! And I am so glad that there are people here that are asking those questions. Judging by the fact that you are sitting here in church this morning, my guess is that you’re hoping that we can help you find some answers. Well, I hope so too.
Now as you probably know, this church believes that God is the source of all truth and we also believe that God has given us the Bible – which is His Word – to reveal truth to us. Now, I don’t know if you personally believe that or not, but that’s what I want to explore this morning. There are two parts to what I want to talk about today – two questions that I want to answer. The first question is: Why do I believe that the Bible is truth? (This will be a bit of my own personal testimony.) And the second question is: So what if it is? What difference does it make? If the Bible is true, how does that effect my life? What are the ramifications? So that gives you an idea of where we’re going today.
Now in the short video clip that we watched earlier, this guy, Randall Niles, gave you several of the reasons why he came to the conclusion that the Bible is true. What he didn’t tell you in this clip, was that he was a practicing atheist for most of his life. But now after doing all this research, he couldn’t help but come to the conclusion that the Bible really is true.
Well, I didn’t grow up as an atheist. When I was a kid, my parents taught me that the Bible was true. And of course, I believed them without thinking much of it. I just accept what they taught me. And I can’t tell you that I went through a stage in life where I doubted the Bible and went through all this research to discover the truth. Not really. But through the years, the more I learn about the Bible, (and the more I experience the truth of the Bible for myself) the more I am convinced that it is the absolute truth.
Let me give you just a few quick reasons why I believe that the Bible is true. I’m not an apologetics expert, but here is four quick reasons why I believe that the Bible is true.
#1. The places in the Bible are really there.
It’s not like you’re reading the Lord of the Rings – or even the book of Mormon – where all the places that you read about are these far away distant lands that no one has ever heard about or have been to.
But the places in the Bible are really there. I can walk down the streets of Jerusalem. I could go fishing the sea of Galilee. I could be baptized in the Jordan River. I can climb mount Sinai. (I could do that all next week if I so desired.)
I haven’t been there personally yet, (I’d like to one day) but I know people who have. I’ve seen pictures. The places in the Bible are real places.
So if the places are real, maybe the stories are too. That takes me to the second point.
#2. The people of the Bible actually existed.
The Philistines for example, are not really part of the secular history book. They were kind of a lost people. In fact, until recently, we had no evidence outside of the Bible that the Philistines even existed. But archeology in the last century has really helped prove the Bible. In just the last century or so, they’ve begun to find Philistine cities and artifacts. Actually, in just 1996, archeologist discovered the city of Gath. If you remember the story of David and Goliath, Goliath was from the Philistine city of Gath. But until just now, we had no proof that Gath even existed. But now they have found this city.
And one of the interesting discoveries that they made in this Philistine city was a temple. And what’s interesting about this temple is the way it was built. This Philistine temple was built in such a way so that there are two center pillars that hold the whole structure up.
Now let me read for you a passage from Judges chapter 16:29-30.
Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, 30 he prayed, “Let me die with the Philistines.” And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people.
Now of course, it’s not likely that this is that temple, but it sure add credibility to the story when we find a Philistine temple that’s built just as the Bible describes. It’s further proof that the people of the Bible actually existed.
#3. The timeline of the Bible is accurate.
Look at Matthew 2:1…
“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod.” Matthew 2:1
That’s what the Bible says. That Jesus was born during the time of King Herod.
And if you open up your high school history book, you can read that in 37 BC, a man named Herod was appointed as King of Judea by the Romans. He ruled until 4 AD.
The timeline of the Bible is the same as the timeline we know today.
Another example: In the Bible, you read about the story of a young man named Daniel who is taken captive when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem. He eventually rose to power and served the Babylonian kings until the Babylonians were taken over by King Darius of the Medes and Persians.
You look in your history book and you find that in 588 BC, the Babylonians conquer Judah and deport its citizens to Babylon. Fifty years later, in 538, the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon.
Again, the timeline of the Bible matches the timeline of history.
#4. The Principles of the Bible Work.
In my personal life, I’ve found that the principles taught in the Bible work. The Bible is full of principles for daily living. Things like how to manage money…. For example, the Bible teaches that it a bad idea to have debt. It says in Proverbs 22:7 that
“The borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7
This is one of Dave Ramsey’s main principles. If you borrow money, you become a servant to the person who loaned you money. If you’ve ever borrowed money before, you know that this is true. How how about this one?
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” Malachi 3:10
In my own life, I have tried to follow this principle, and you know what? It works. I have found that when you give generously to God and to others, God blesses you right back. He pours it out on you until it overflows! The principles of the Bible are true.
Or how about marriage? The Bible has lots to say about that too. For example:
“Each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33
I have seen and I have experienced that when the husband loves his wife as much as he loves himself, and the wife respects her husband, marriage works really good! But when that love or that respect is lacking, things don’t go so good. And even secular marriage counselors will tell you the same thing.
The principles of the Bible work. And these are just a few examples. There is lots of other evidence for the truth and accuracy of the Bible, but these have been some of the most convincing for me. It just makes sense. It fits. It works.
I believe that the Bible is 100% true.
So what I want to do right now is turn the discussion over to you for a few seconds.
1. Do you believe that the Bible is 100% true? 2. Why? Or why not?
And what I want you to do, is discuss these questions with your neighbor sitting beside you for just a couple of minutes, and then I want you to write down your answers on that little piece of paper. And please don’t write down “THE RIGHT ANSWER” – don’t write down what you think I want to hear – please write down honestly what you think. I’ll give you about 3 minutes to do this, and then I’m going to collect your answers.
It sounds like you guys had some interesting conversations! I’m excited to read some of your answers. And it’s quite possible that some of you might not believe that the Bible is 100% true. And that’s ok. But what if it is?
What if the Bible IS true? What difference does it make? How would that effect my life and yours?
Well, ramifications are massive. The Bible says a lot of things that, if they’re true, should completely change the course of your life forever. Literally.
And while I certainly can’t fit them all in one sermon, let me just touch on three key, life-changing points.
#1. If the Bible is true – then there is a God.
If you read through the Bible, you cannot miss this point. It’s a given. In fact, the very first words of the Bible are…
“In the beginning, GOD… created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
If you accept the Bible to be true, then you have to accept the fact that there is a God. And the Bible describes Him in many ways.
In Genesis 1:1, we read that God is our Creator. “In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and the earth.” Go down to verse 27 – “God created human beings in his own image.”
If the Bible is true, then God is our Creator. And if God is our Creator, then God is also our authority. We must answer to Him.
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” Hebrews 4:13
And in Romans we read:
Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say, “As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.” Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. Romans 14:10-12
As you can see, if the Bible is true, there are some serious ramifications. We can’t just live for ourselves anymore. Because if the Bible is true, then there is a God to which we must all give an account.
The second life-changing ramification is that…
#2. If the Bible is true, then there is an eternal after life.
The Bible is very clear that when our life on earth is over, we have an eternal future waiting for us. The last few chapters of Revelations paint a very clear picture for us. (And maybe you want to read through that later today.) If the Bible is true, then each of us has a future of either eternal life or eternal destruction.
In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus talks about how, on the final judgement day, God will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And of the goats, it says in verse 46…
“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” Matthew 25:46
Even the most famous passage in the Bible points to this truth. John 3:16 says…
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
If the Bible is true, then you have an eternal future of either eternal life or eternal punishment.
The third life-changing ramification is this:
#3. If the Bible is true, then there is only one way to have eternal life.
Contrary to what many other religions may teach, the Bible teaches that only by faith in Jesus Christ can a person have eternal life.
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” 1 John 5:12
We don’t earn eternal life by going to church or by doing good deeds. We don’t secure our place in heaven by donating large portions of money to charity. If the Bible is true, the only way to have eternal life, is by putting our faith in Jesus Christ.
So I don’t know where you are in your spiritual journey this morning. I don’t know if you believe that the Bible is 100% true or not. But I would ask you today to examine the evidence. Determine for yourself if the Bible is true. Because if it is, the ramifications on your life are profound. Your decision to believe the Bible or not, will impact your eternal future.
So I encourage you: do your homework. Test the Bible. Start by reading it, and then examine the evidence. Don’t take my word for it – see for yourself if the Bible is true.
In fact, on that note, I’d like to challenge anyone who hasn’t read through the Bible cover to cover to do so. If you’ve been a Christian for more than ten years now and you haven’t read through the entire Bible yet, shame on you. Get into that book. You gotta know what you believe.
Even if you’re not a strong reader, that’s no excuse. The New Living Translation that I usually read from is made for about a grade 8 reading level, so I think most of you can handle that. If not, there are lots of audio Bibles available and you can just listen to the Bible while you work or drive.
Because if the Bible is true, don’t you want to know what it says? If the Bible is really God’s Word to you – don’t you want to hear what He’s saying?
Take that next step in your spiritual journey – read God’s Word. Test it. See if it’s true.