Tag Archives: Truth

Why Followers of Jesus Believe the Bible…

A few weeks ago I was out to dinner with three other pastors, and we got to talking about how Jesus proves that there is life after death. The Lord was arguing with the Sadducees (who said there isn’t a resurrection), and Jesus brought them to that moment where Moses was at the burning bush, and God said, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Then Jesus said, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” In other words, God didn’t say, “I was the God of Abraham…” (read all about in Mark 12)

And like theological nerds, we were delighting and laughing together about how Jesus hangs the entire argument for the resurrection on a Hebrew verb tense. Not “I was” but “I am”.

To paraphrase the Lord: “There, dummies, that proves it – people are still alive after they die,”

Pastor Tim Keller beautifully sums up what this means…

Tim Keller on why followers of Christ must believe the Bible is true…

“When you pricked Jesus Christ, when you stabbed Jesus Christ, he literally bled Scripture. He knew the Scripture so well, he thought about the Scripture so pervasively, it so saturated and permeated his whole being and his imagination and his feelings and his will and his knowledge that it shaped him instinctively. The Scripture shaped every part of him. It was who he was, and that’s how he was able. He didn’t have to sit and think, ‘Well, now how should I act?’ His nobility, his courage, his peace, his faith all happened because he was just saturated with the Scripture.

“I have people constantly saying to me, ‘Well, I have problems with the Bible. You can’t take the Bible literally here.’ Some of you might know I just went to a number of college campuses over the last few days, and I had Question and Answer times on all these campuses about Christianity. That came up all the time. ‘How can you believe when the Bible says this? Aren’t there legends in the Bible? Aren’t there things you can’t take literally? Aren’t there regressive things in the Bible that really offend you now?’

“What I always want to say to people is, ‘Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe Jesus was Lord of heaven come to earth? Do you believe he was raised from the dead? Figure that out, would you? You decide whether he’s the Son of God. You decide whether he was Lord from heaven. You decide whether he was bodily raised from the dead, because if he is, there is absolutely no way to follow Christ, to admit he’s the Son of God, without accepting the authority of the Bible. Jesus Christ submitted to the Scripture. He loved the Scripture. He knew the Scripture. He bowed to the authority of it at every point. If he is the Son of God, so are you going to have to.’

“Anybody who says, ‘Well, I believe in Jesus. I love Jesus, but I have trouble with these parts of the Bible,’ then you don’t believe in Jesus. You don’t love Jesus. You don’t know who he is. You’ve created a figment of your imagination. If he’s the Son of God, you have to deal with the authority of the Scripture, or you can’t follow him. If you love the Son of God, you have to love the Scripture, because he loved the Scripture. It’s what he was made of.

“On the other hand, if he wasn’t the Son of God and he wasn’t raised from the dead, who cares whether you can take the Bible literally? Be offended all you want. Why are you struggling with it? The authority of the Scripture rises and falls with the person of Jesus Christ. If he is who he said he is and if he needed the Scripture to face everything in life, how much more do you need it?”

– Keller, T. J. (2013). The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church. (Keller’s sermon on John 19:28-37)

Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? Mark 12:24 (ESV)

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Posted by on March 23, 2018 in Bible, Uncategorized


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Keep An Eye On Yourself, And This Is How…

Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 2 John 1:8 (ESV)

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on yourself. Not only did John tell us this, but Paul told Timothy to do the same…

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:16 (ESV)

So what does it mean to watch yourself? Presumably, John would want to pay attention to what he has been talking about:

  1. Do you love your brothers and sisters? Is there love (and forgiveness!) in your heart? Do you behold your brother in need and close your heart against him? (1 John 3:17) This is one of the great messages that John comes back to again and again, for a very good reason – it is a message he heard from the Lord (John 13:34, 35).
  2. Do you know the true Jesus Christ? He came in the flesh and arose bodily (2 John 1:7). His resurrection was not “spiritual”. He was truly dead and truly came back to life. If you do not know the true Christ, you are not one of His.
  3. Does the truth abide in you? This truth would include…
    1. confessing (agreeing with God) that you are a sinner (1 John 1:8)
    2. believing in Jesus as the propitiation for your sins (1 John 2:2)

For Monday, November 30th: 3 John

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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Test the Spirits to See Whether They Are From God

Don’t believe everything you hear. This truth, coming either from a pastor or a parent is good advice, and it’s the advice that the Apostle John passes on to his followers:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 (ESV)

Here is John’s warning against false teachers, but notice he doesn’t say teaching; he uses the word “spirits.”  What John is saying is that whenever you hear someone teaching, there is a spirit behind it. It’s either the Holy Spirit or it’s an evil spirit. So test it. See if it is truth. Don’t accept every teacher who claims to be speaking for God, because everyone says that their message is true. But many teachers are spreading false ideas, so you can’t believe everything you hear.

A Very Prominent False Teaching

We should know that there is bad teaching out there, and one of the most prevalent messages is very subtle: today we are told that there are two realms of information: facts and values. Facts are the hard sciences like chemistry and biology and of course math. These things, people say, are a matter of truth, right and wrong. But then there are values. And that’s a whole different realm, these people say.

“You believe in Jesus?” They ask. “Well, I’m glad you found something that works for you! But I don’t think that would work for me.” So religion is put in the area of values. “It’s nice, and I’m sure it’s helpful to you,” they say somewhat condescendingly, “but let’s keep it out of the public square, and please keep your views to yourself, because your thinking is only a matter of personal opinion. It’s not in the true/false realm like science and math.” Ah, but Jesus is either risen from the dead or not. That’s not a value – that’s a true/false question, and the answer to the question is more important than all the quadratic equations in the world. So don’t believe every spirit.

Like every other age, we are living in an age of ideas. In John’s day it was Gnosticism and the Judaizers, who wanted to add works to faith. Both of these teachings are still going strong today, though they have morphed into something John and Paul might not recognize, but we should be able to. And there are many more things to suck us in – the strange appeal for some to radical Islam and everything else, from Oprah to Dr. Oz.

The moral of this story is that Christians need to be interested in doctrine.  Don’t let anyone say to you, “Well, I am just happy in Jesus. I’ve got my Bible and my Christian friends…and doctrine?…well, doctrine is boring. I don’t pay attention to that. I don’t get all caught up in theology and that sort of thing. I don’t need to be interested in doctrine.”  But you see, that’s just not true.  John says, “Test the spirits.”  But you can’t test the spirits unless you have something to test them by. Truth matters.

And more than that, whatever you say about doctrine, you do believe certain things. Not everyone likes the word doctrine, nevertheless, everyone has a doctrine, even those who say they don’t.  Because you see, theology is the study of God.  He’s the most important subject we can study, and everybody has thoughts about Him, even those who say they are not interested in theology.

So be careful to test the spirits, to see if they are from God.


For Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 26th: 1 John 5



Posted by on November 25, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Do You Have a Fire in Your Bones?

There are moments during worship at Edgewood when I just can’t wait to get up behind the pulpit and start preaching. It often happens when we’re all singing (and the worship through song is great at our church), and true confessions, I just can’t wait for it to be over because I’ve got something that I need to get up and say. At the impetuous risk of mentioning myself in the same breath with Jeremiah, it seems similar to what he describes…

If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. Jeremiah 20:9 (ESV)

I’m guessing that this is something that God does with His spokesmen and women: He gives them something to say and then they feel like they will die if they don’t get it out. I vaguely remember hearing the story of a pastor who fell ill and was unable to preach anymore, eventually dying. To his great lamentation, he had prepared a sermon that he was, of course, unable to preach. Talk about a bad way to go – he had a fire in his bones, and he couldn’t put it out.

So I think I know what’s happening to John when he says this…

And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:4 (ESV)

He’s writing to a congregation of his spiritual children, and some from their midst have left the faith (2:19). Surely that was enough to make those remaining discouraged, so John has a message of truth and encouragement to pass on to them and make them spiritually strong. He’s got a message he needs to get out, and he’s bound and determined to do so.

Apparently, his joy is on the line.

All true believers have probably experienced this phenomenon at some time or another. When you understand that eternity is on the line for someone you love deeply, you get blood earnest to pass on the message. I often run into parents whose children are straying, and who are anxious to correct them with the truth. Oftentimes they aren’t quite sure how to get the truth to them, but they are raring and ready to do it one way or another. Overall, I think this is healthy, though of course there is a way to pass on truth without overwhelming someone, and we need to be careful to heed the Spirit in our communication. Jesus didn’t unload everything all at once on His disciples (John 16:12).

How about you? Do you have a passion to communicate truth to those you love? You’ll know you’re on the right track when you find you can’t be happy until the ones you love know and believe the truth of the gospel.


For Monday, November 23rd: 1 John 2


Posted by on November 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


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