Never in the history of humanity have there been so many voices calling us
in so many directions and all at the same time. In days not too far removed from our century, before the advent of the printing press, information was typically conveyed only by word of mouth, from one person to another. It took days, sometimes weeks for news to travel from one community to another – IF that news even reached outlying communities.
But today, on June 25, 2023, email, text messages, cable news networks, radio talk shows, multiple social media outlets, electronic billboards, and dozens of other sources of information inundate our eyes and ears clamoring for our attention. And, to add to the confusion, all of those voices claim to be telling you the truth.
And let me say it right up front, at the beginning of this message: Anyone who tells you anything about God, about the incarnation of Jesus, about sin, righteousness, and eternal judgment – ANYTHING that is not supported by the whole of Scripture in context with the rest of Scripture and the historic teaching of the Christian Church from the first centuries – then they are liars, frauds, and deceivers who wittingly or unwittingly are workers for Satan.
Yes, those are severe accusations I make. But I stand with the apostle Paul who wrote to the Christians at Galatia: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8-9)
And let me also add this word of warning – every heresy that has ever been whispered from the bowels of hell gets its strength by denying the inerrancy, infallibility, and full divine inspiration of the entire Bible.
Satan’s most often used strategy to lead people into moral and theological error has always been to convince them that the Bible is not the very words of God to us in printed form. That it is full of error, myths, and archaic philosophies and culturally assigned attitudes.
At Jesus’ trial before Pilate, the Roman governor said to the Lord, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
At that last statement, Pilate mocked, “What is truth?” he scoffed. (John 18:37-38) Then he turned and walked away without waiting for an answer.
But the faithful follower of Christ knows precisely where truth can be found – truth about God, about faith, morals, sin, forgiveness, and eternity . . . We know such truth is found only in the pages of the Bible. And THAT is precisely why the enemy of our souls works tirelessly, tenaciously, and quite effectively, to seduce men and women away from confidence in the inerrancy and the infallibility of the Bible.
For millennia, Satan has convinced huge swaths of humanity – and a growing number of people in church pews and pulpits – that the Bible is untrustworthy, unreliable, and filled with myths and archaic ideas and attitudes unfit and unworthy for modern cultures.
Listen, my brothers and sisters –none of us is too old for Satan to have given up on trying to win us back to himself. And one of his strategies is to confuse you and me about the full inerrancy, infallibility, and inspiration of the Scriptures. That is why, as your pastor, I am focusing our attention once again on the Bible’s complete reliability and trustworthiness. I feel it necessary, especially as heretics and liars circulate in various churches around the country, I feel it is necessary to reinforce that foundation of our Christian faith because if we don’t stand firm on that point, then we will each remain at serious risk of losing the prize for which we have labored in Christ all our lives.
As I said at the beginning of this message, I’m referring to Psalm 11:3 for my primary text: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
Let me remind you what the Lord Jesus said about foundations in His Sermon on the Mount? “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Jesus told everyone there who was willing to hear – as He tells everyone today in this place who is willing to hear – His words are truth, and are the foundation of our life, AND of our eternal destiny. And because Jesus is Almighty God incarnate – Almighty God in the flesh – that means ALL of His words, from Genesis through Revelation are truth and are the foundation of our life and our eternal destiny.
But from the first days of human history, Satan implemented a nearly flawless strategy to beguile men and women away from truth. What was that strategy? He seduced Eve into questioning God's word, and all humanity has suffered because she got the answer wrong. And we suffer today because WE also continue to get the wrong answer.
I’ve spoken on this subject of Biblical inerrancy and infallibility dozens of times and in many contexts, but let me take a few minutes to review our terms:
Inspiration of the Bible means that “God breathed out” the words of the scripture, using human writers as His instruments. This does NOT mean the writers robotically wrote what God dictated. Divine inspiration means God ‘moved’ on these writers who then wrote as God the Holy Spirit guided them, using their personalities, their educational levels, their experiences, even their particular grammar and rules of language. However, the final result of their writing was the fully and final authoritative word of God.
Inerrancy means that, in the original manuscripts written by the hand of the original authors, such as Moses, Daniel, Isaiah, Matthew, John, Paul, or Peter – in the original manuscripts the Bible is without error. Period. This includes references to geography, history, science, and theology. The entire Bible, from Genesis through Revelation does not declare anything to be true that is, in fact, not true.
Infallibility means that the Scriptures are not only fully and finally authoritative when it comes to morality, sin, and judgment, but that God's laws are permanently binding on humanity. What was true of morality in the 15th century B.C. is just as true in the 21st century AD. When the Lord Jesus said, “the Scripture cannot be broken,” He meant it. And when He said further that not even a jot or tittle can pass away until all is fulfilled, He was not joking (John 10:34-35, Matthew 5:18).
The reason this doctrine of inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility is so vital to our salvation is that if we cannot trust the word of God to BE the inerrant word of God, then who gets to decide what is TRUTH about anything related to faith and morals, about sin and judgment? As the Psalmist wrote, and as I mentioned at the beginning of this message, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)
If we succumb to Satan’s lies about the Scriptures, then we can end up following men like popular spiritual author Richard Rohr, who teaches a New Age heretical Christ, or we will follow some local false shepherds and pastors I have heard in the last couple of years who preach principles of pantheism and Hinduism; or another local pastor who told his congregation that homosexuality is a legitimate sexual expression.
For good reason, St. Jude warned the flock of God: “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 4)
Christian! Beware. A sure sign of a false teacher is one who does not believe in the full inerrancy, infallibility, and divine inspiration of the Bible. So then, let’s take a few minutes to remind ourselves WHY we can and should have confidence that the Bible is God's inerrant words to us.
The skeptics you challenge your faith in God's word are most often people who have NEVER actually even looked at the abundant evidence well- documented in theological and historical textbooks and journals, and all across the internet, evidence that proves to any open-minded and honest person that our Bibles are fully reliable and trustworthy.
First, let me also say this: It is a totally logical and rational position to believe the Bible is without error. Why? Well, consider for example what St Paul said when he stood trial before King Agrippa and Governor Festus. Paul’s defense centered around the resurrection of Jesus. As he looked across the faces of the religious clergy, the Roman politicians, and dignitaries before whom he stood, the apostle asked them all: “Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8)
There could not be a more reasonable question. After all, God is, by very definition, omnipotent. That means He is ‘All Mighty.’ And it was this All Mighty creator who simply SPOKE and thereby created the entire heavens and the earth, the seas, the skies, the birds, the animals, and all the rest. It was this All Mighty God who created the first Man from the very dust of the ground, and then the woman from one of his ribs.
So, the crux of Paul’s defense rested on one specific detail: The All Mighty Creator did all that He did at the beginning of creation, so WHY is it so difficult to believe He could do something as SIMPLE as raising a corpse to life?
Likewise, if the All Mighty Creator merely spoke worlds into being – surely He is capable of doing something so simple as to preserve His words through the pages of Scripture to His creatures, and to preserve them intact and without error.
If for no other reason than that, every Christian can and should have total confidence in the trustworthiness of the Bible they hold in their hands.
Yes, there are certainly more, shall we say, ‘scholarly’ reasons we could offer the skeptic for our confidence in the Bible’s inerrancy and infallibility. I will mention some of them now only in passing, and I do so to simply demonstrate that the work of multiple historians, archeologists, linguists, and textual critics merely corroborate what any honest and rational person ought to know intuitively and instinctively – the Bible is God's infallible, inerrant, and inspired communication to humanity.
For example: “Archaeological finds in the 1920s confirmed the presence of cities much like Ur, described in Genesis 11, which some skeptics doubted had existed so early. Engravings discovered in an Egyptian tomb depict the installation of a viceroy [ruler] in a manner that exactly matches the biblical description of the ceremony involving Joseph (Genesis 41:39–42). Clay tablets dating to 2300 BC have been found in Syria strongly supporting Old Testament stories, vocabulary, and geography. Skeptics doubted the existence of the Hittites (Genesis 15:20; 23:10; 49:29), until a Hittite city, complete with records, was found in Turkey. [found at https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-reliable.html ] And these are only a few of the archeological evidences that support the Biblical narratives.
Then there is the favorite argument used by many skeptics to try to dismiss the Bible’s reliability – the parlor game known as ‘telephone.’ They argue that just as a phrase can become corrupted when whispered along a line of participants, so the Bible became corrupted after being copied by hand over the course of centuries.
However, such an excuse does not fit in the least with the known history of how the Scriptures were copied. More than a millennia ago, Jewish scribes solidified a process for creating copies of Torah which was carried through for centuries.
For example, each column of writing could have no less than forty-eight, and no more than sixty lines. The scribe had to verbalize each word aloud while they were writing. They also counted the letters, words, and paragraphs in each completed page, and the entire document became invalid if two letters touched each other. And finally, and only for the sake of time now, the scribes ensured that the middle paragraph, word, and letter had to correspond to those of the original document.
Then the ‘telephone’ skeptic has to explain what the Dead Sea Scrolls demonstrated about the transmission and copying of the Biblical texts. Until 1948, the oldest manuscripts of the Old Testament dated back to 895 A.D. In 1947, a shepherd boy discovered some scrolls inside a cave West of the Dead Sea. These manuscripts dated back nearly 1000 years earlier than the earliest OT manuscripts scholars had available. The scrolls comprised every book of the Old Testament except Esther.
And guess what the biblical archeologists discovered when they compared the Dead Sea scrolls with the later manuscripts they had? The later manuscripts displayed a meticulous precision of copying. Only a miniscule number of differences could be found between the older and the newer manuscripts, and none of those discrepancies affected theology in any way.
How many skeptics who mock the idea of a reliable Bible know the history that supports the Bible’s reliability and trustworthiness? More important is the question, “How many are happy to simply scoff at the truth than to do a little investigation themselves?”
SO, why so much doubt and confusion about this fundamental and critical issue? Well, let’s go back to the Bible and we’ll find the answer. Since the very beginning of earth’s history, humanity’s mortal enemy has attacked the very foundation of what would define and nurture our relationship with our loving heavenly Creator.
What was it he said to Eve? “Indeed, hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1) And with only minor permutations, he has used the same strategy to seduce men and women to doubt God's word, or to add to God's word, or to remove from His word, or to neglect it, avoid it, burn it, or despise it.
Again, we ought to ask ourselves the question, “Why is it so incredible to believe that God has spoken to you and me through the Scriptures, and that He has also preserved those Scriptures intact over the millennia?
Reader: You CAN trust the Bible to be the very word of the All Mighty God to you. It remains inerrant, infallible, and fully inspired. So, humbly read it. Study it. And practice what it says.
It is the foundation of your life now, and into eternity.
You will remember what Jesus said of the devil: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) And please also hear what the Lord said to those who followed Him – which is the same promise He makes to you and me: “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
As I close this message for today, I want to warn all of us: Satan still wants to enslave us to sin, to spiritual darkness, and to eternal agony. His strategy to accomplish those things is wrapped neatly in the package called: The Bible can’t be trusted.
Satan does not want us to know truth. He doesn’t want us to be free. He doesn’t want us to know he exists. He doesn’t want us to know about sin and about God's forgiveness. He doesn’t want us to know who God is – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He doesn’t want us to be convinced that God loves us, that He yearns to be reconciled with sinners. That He has prepared a place for all of us in that realm called heaven.
Listen – why is it so unreasonable to believe that God, who spoke everything we can see and cannot see into existence – why is it so unreasonable to believe the All Mighty God could ensure an accurate copying and transmission of His words to us in 2023 as written by the prophets and apostles?
Archeologists, linguists, historians, and textual critics only corroborate what every rational person should already know – the Bible we have in our hands is the very same Bible given to us by those prophets and apostles.
Are you consistently reading your Bible? Are you hiding it in your hearts? Do you believe what it says? Do you obey what it says?
Next time we will look at some of the things it does say – especially what it says about the incarnation of Jesus, and why it matters.