Why the Bible?
By Bobby Blakey on December 27, 2015
Why the Bible?
By Bobby Blakey on December 27, 2015
This is a rush transcript.
[00:00:00] While you're grabbing that seat, maybe you could grab a Bible and open it up to John 7:53, who's got a Bible? Hold it up. Here you go. And anybody got a Bible here, a church this morning. All right, let's open it up. That might be the most precious possession that you own right there. A copy of God's word to you. And if you come here and you don't have your own Bible, you can always grab one at one of these tables when you're walking in. In fact, you don't have a Bible. You can just take that copy with you and keep it as your own copy of the scripture. So I just got to give a little warning here. A little spoiler alert is that today's sermon is not going to be our ordinary sermon here at the church here at CompassHB Bible Church. We have a very specific goal when we preach a sermon, and it's that we won't use the Bible to preach our message, but that God would use the Bible to preach his message through us. That's that's what we're trying to do. We don't think you need to hear the opinions of men or more thoughts. We think you need to hear straight from God. And so we try to cut the words straight and tell you exactly what it says. And we think the best way to do that is we pick a book of the Bible, one of them at a time out of the 66 different books that make up this one book. And we just start preaching through that whole book. So you get every single verse. And right now, we're going through the gospel of John and we're working our way through. And so usually when you come here on a Sunday, we just pick up where we left off the Sunday before, or we say, here's what happened next and here's what God saying to us through this passage. And that worked out pretty great for us at Christmas time. Like if you look at chapter seven, verse 52, if you look at Evers, there was an argument going on among the chief priest and Pharisees with Nicodemus here, one of them. And they said, are you from Galilee to search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee? I mean, there's an argument here about where Jesus is from, right? The Sunday before Christmas, that worked out pretty well for us here. And as we got to see that he was born in Bethlehem. And then if you were here at our Christmas Eve service, look at chapter eight, verse twelve, Christmas Eve. We got into this chapter eight, verse twelve. And again, Jesus spoke to them saying, I'm the light of the world. And that's what Ryan wrote that song about, to just proclaim the glory that Jesus is the light of life and that if we follow him, we won't walk in the darkness. But we have the light of life. We just work our way through passage after passage. Now, you might have noticed that we skipped chapter seven, verse 53, all the way down to chapter eight, verse eleven. And so let's look at that today and let me read that for us now. Please follow along with me.
[00:02:44] As I read says they went each to his own house. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives early in the morning. He came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and taught them how scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and placing her in the midst. They said to him, Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say this they said to test him that they might have some charge to bring against him. And Jesus bent down and he wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, Let him, who is without sin among you, be the first to throw a stone at her. And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones. And Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. And Jesus stood up and said to her woman, Where are they? Has no one condemned you? And she said, No one Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you. Go. And from now on, sin no more. Usually we would take that passage right there and we'd explain the meaning of it, and we'd preach it with a call to action of what we should then go and do in our lives. And if we were going to preach this today, then it would. You can see there's the makings of a great sermon here.
[00:04:18] It's another episode of Stump Jesus. That's what's going on right here. And we found this woman caught in adultery. Should we stone her? And that's a trap right there that nobody. They weren't stoning women who were committing adultery at this time in Israel. But that's what the law says. So there's really no good way out of this one for Jesus. If he disagrees with the law, we've got him. If he says the stone, the woman, he's too harsh. And we've got him to quote one of my favorite Star Wars characters. It's a trap. That's what's going on right here, Admiral Ackbar. This is a this is a trap. That's a net we're trying to catch. Jesus. And what's he going to say? We got him either way. Well, Jesus makes two. Awesome points here. First point is, OK. You guys want me to judge this woman, whoever is without sin, cast the first stone. Booyah! Number one right there. Nobody was cast in any stones. Right. Another beautifully executed response from Jesus Christ. Destroying their their traps. And then the second great point that we would make if we were preaching this verse eleven, he says to the woman caught in sin. Hey, from now on, sin, no more turn from that sin in repentance. Live in a new way. What a great message that would be if we were to preach that.
[00:05:35] But there's one problem with Preach in this passage. And it's what's right before. If verse 53 Jesus see that there in the parentheses and it's not even the curved parentheses, it's the bracket one. So, you know, it's serious when it says this. The earliest manuscripts do not include 753 to eight eleven.
[00:05:55] Here to tell you today that I don't actually believe this passage is scripture. I don't think it was actually written by John.
[00:06:02] I think this got added into the Bible later warning. I told you this is gonna be a little bit different. OK, now, maybe some of you guys alarms are going off right now. What? They've tampered with the Bible. They've added to it. What else could they have put in here? That's not true. Can I believe any of it? This is, ah, mental breakdown happening right now.
[00:06:24] Let me just encourage, you know, the fact that we caught them adding this should not discourage you about the scripture. It should actually increase your confidence that the word of God has been preserved.
[00:06:38] It's been passed down from when it was originally written to us today. And if anybody tried to mess with it, if anybody tried to take away from it, if anybody tried to put something in it, they got busted. They got caught. There's nothing in here that that we can't catch that guy. If he got added in there, we'll catch it so we can know that what you're reading comes straight from God. So when it says here the earliest manuscripts do not include 753. What does that mean? Well, it's talking about the Codex Synaptics, which you can see right here behind me. OK. This Codex Synaptics is the earliest manuscript of the complete New Testament that exists that we found in the world today. This manuscript was written. It's an unsealed manuscript written in a 300 A.D.. And it's a complete copy of the New Testament in Greek. And you can see they don't even need spaces here. They just slam all the letters together. And this is an amazing discovery. So I'm going to give you three reasons today why I think you should believe the Bible, even when it says interesting things like the earliest manuscripts do not include this. What does that mean? Well, let me give you three reasons to believe the Bible. First one is the manuscripts. The manuscripts evidence shows us a faithful preservation of the scripture down to us today in 2015. Perhaps you've heard this idea that's going around, but talking to some guys who were Muslims and they were saying this to me, that the Bible has been corrupted over time, that you can't trust it anymore because it's been translated so many times. We don't really know if that's what they really said. Who's heard that basic argument from somebody before? Look at that show of hands for quite a few people who heard that, that's not true. When when we translate the Bible today, this is a relatively newer translation that came out in the history of the church, the English standard version that we're using here at this church, which I believe to be a good translation. They're looking at ancient Greek manuscripts like Codex Synaptics, and they are translating straight from this source material of ancient documents. It's not like they translated it into Latin. And then it went to German and then it went to English, if that's what somebody is telling you. That's not how the process works. We're looking at a bunch of men who are scholars in the Bible who do something called textual criticism. Can we all write that down under manuscripts, if that's a new phrase to you? That's the study of how can we understand the validity of these documents, these ancient documents that get preserved and passed down over time. How do we know what they really said? Sometimes there's slight variations. How do we know things didn't get off? Over time, textual criticism is that study. OK. Now, here's some of the key fact you need to know about textual criticism is there are over five thousand ancient manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. Let me just say that one more time. You can write that down. There's over five thousand ancient manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. That's significant because nothing else even comes close. No other famous work of antiquity, whether you want to look at Homer's Illiad or Odyssey works of Plato, Aristotle, like we're talking about hundreds of copies of those things and nobody questions their authenticity. Nobody wonders if it's really what they said. And there's just a few hundred copies. We have over five thousand ancient manuscripts of the New Testament. And we have ones like this Codex Synaptics. There's a few of these unschool manuscripts. These codex is that are just mind blowing. They're amazing archeological discoveries that in in this. And let me tell you how it happened. Now, how this codex got found, because it's a pretty cool story. Somebody should make a movie out of it. It kind of involves a real life Indiana Jones, an archeologist named Count von Titian. Dorff, like there is a great lead character right there. Count von Titian Dorff. And he goes to St. Catherine's Monastery, which is on Mount Sinai in Egypt. And the reason he does this is this guy's a scholar of ancient Babloo. Documents and he's looking he's on the search for more ancient manuscripts that will prove the validity and the preservation of the New Testament as it's been passed down over centuries. Now, down to us from God all the way down to us. He goes into this monastery and he finds in the monastery a basket, and they're using this basket with little pieces of scrap, little vellum in their little parchments. And they're throwing these parchments in the fire to help light the fire, to keep the monastery warm. So this is their trash bin. This is their fire pile here. And he finds in the fire pile 43 copies of Vellum of the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament, 43 different little pieces of vellum. They're making this amazing discovery of an ancient copy of the Greek Septuagint. And it puts him on the map and he becomes this famous Count von Titian door. OK. And you can read about this all over the place online or in any books about the history and preservation of the Bible.
[00:12:03] Count von Titian door, I believe the first time he went to the monastery was 1844. Well, after he kind of milk that discovery for a while, he began to think, you know, if they're burning the scraps of awesome ancient documents. Who knows what else they might have in those monastery walls. And he went back in 1853 looking for more treasure, for more ancient manuscripts. And he didn't find anything that time. But he went back a third time in 1859, searching for more documents that they might have in this monastery, still thinking there's gotta be something even better here.
[00:12:39] And as he was getting ready to leave, perhaps thinking he was going to go home empty handed again, the steward of the monastery comes and presents to him, what is the Codex Synaptics, which is the amazing discovery that Count von Titian. Dorf was looking for a complete copy of the New Testament in ancient Greek that is dated to the three hundreds. This is a discovery that took place in 1859. That's a one thousand five hundred year old ancient manuscript that now you could go home to your Internet browser today and you could type in Codex Synaptics, one of the earliest fullest manuscripts we have of the New Testament. And you can read the entire thing online.
[00:13:28] In fact, maybe some of you guys were reading it while I was reading the scripture earlier.
[00:13:31] You were just like, oh, yeah, that's John. Seven and eight right there. Totally. I'm just reading it. So I had us capture here the page that is John seven and eight.
[00:13:40] In fact, let's zoom in and give you a little closer here on that top Left-Hand column so you can see a number 70 there, a little marking there. That's right about the place where Jesus is saying I'm the light of the world. And if you back it up a little bit, you'll read John seven 52. And then it goes right to what we could consider. John, chapter eight, verse twelve. So if you go and look this up, I'm not making this up. You can go research this for yourself. Online typing Codex Synaptics. In fact, let's write that down, everybody.
[00:14:10] Codecs guy code with an X at the end and then Synaptics. It sounds kind of funny, but it's Sinai. That's the mountain where it was found in the monastery. Sinai famous mountain from scripture s i n a i and then tickets. I'm assuming you can figure out how to spell that Synaptics. Go look it up online. Read it. Typing John. Seven fifty three. It's not going to come up for you. This manuscript goes from 750 to straight to twelve and it proves that this passage, 753 to 811, it got added in later.
[00:14:46] And we Cottam see we have manuscripts.
[00:14:49] The earliest manuscripts don't have it. And then later manuscripts do have it, which, if you study textual criticism, is a sure 100 percent clue. This got added because if it's not in the earlier ones and it's in the later ones, it appeared along the way. In fact, part of how I can say to you today with confidence that that story of a familiar story of this woman cottin adultery, Jesus Marken, things on the ground. Maybe you've heard it before. Maybe you've even heard it preached at church before. Well, what if I told you that in some ancient manuscripts, that story shows up after chapter seven, verse 36 on some ancient manuscripts. It shows up after John seven 44. In fact, I would argue it even makes more sense in those places, because if you were here when it said and on the last day of the feast, Jesus stood up. That was when we talked about rivers of living water. He did that on the last day. Well, then this says then on the next day. Well, that doesn't make sense if the feast is already over. And I think as people were adding it in, they realized that doesn't really make sense. So they started moving it earlier in the chapter for it to make sense.
[00:15:54] In fact, some ancient manuscripts have this passage after Luke, chapter 21, verse 38 in a completely different book entirely. So if you study textual criticism, those are big clues that this doesn't belong here. One of these things is not like the other, right?
[00:16:10] I mean, this is this is different. And so we rule this out. And it's amazing. And there's a few other passages in the Bible. The most famous of them is Mark Chapter 16, the end of the Gospel of Mark, where we are able to show that, hey, somebody added something to the scripture here and this shouldn't be there. And it's clearly marked for you. OK. And in fact, a lot of times maybe you'll be reading it. And I think it happens in Acts Chapter eight, where you could be reading like verse 36. And then it skips straight, diverse 38. And you're like, whoa, where did verse 37 go or where? Well, there's a couple of versus missing here. Well, if you look down, they're footnotes and it's like, yeah, some scribe somewhere he put this in. And then when he put it in, it started getting copy from there. But when we take it all the way back to the earliest manuscripts, we don't see this as an amazing thing. Count von Titian Schodorf. He comes away from Mount Sinai with this codex and he starts studying the Greek and this codex. And this is in 1859. This is a discovery from the three hundreds. He takes the Greek that were used in in 1859 to translate the New Testament. He compares it to the Codex Synaptics here from the three hundreds. And guess what?
[00:17:23] The count finds out. Wow. These are pretty much the same exact thing, in fact, in the study of ancient documents. It is remarkable how similar our New Testament in 1859. And this document is this has been well preserved by God throughout time.
[00:17:40] And now it's like God just gave us this discovery just to convince us, just to prove to us, just to give us that little extra encouragement that this hasn't been tampered with. In fact, if it has, I'll show you where it's been tampered with. It's an amazing process. And I can't get to the depths of it. I can just start kind of cluing you into how awesome it is, the manuscript evidence that supports the scripture. And so I want to recommend some resources for further study. One is up with this book.
[00:18:10] Why the Bible right here? Everybody is going to get a free copy of this book when you leave the service. And it's a basic introduction to using arguments even outside of the Bible as to why we can believe the Bible.
[00:18:23] OK. Now, the people at the 9:00 service were greedy and they took a bunch of these books. And so you guys can only take one. So sorry about that one. We're gonna have to limit it to one per person. But maybe you could read it and then pass it on to somebody who might not believe the Bible. Now, if you really want to get deeper. And you want to get into every. I want to hear about all the poor piracies and all the Velas and all of these ancient manuscripts, if you want to get into it, papyri is actually how we refer to them. And they'll tell you that in this book, From God to US. Okay, well, we'll take it all the way back to the original autographs and the inspiration and then we'll bring it all the way up today to us in what English translations are good translations and that we can use.
[00:19:05] And here at the church, we use the English standard version.
[00:19:08] But we believe that there's a lot of accurate translations right now in our language. We're really blessed with an abundance. We think the new American standard is a great translation. The new international version was a great translation. New King James King James. We think there's a lot of good, accurate translations.
[00:19:24] Where and where people scholars are studying the Greek. They're looking at the Greek. They're looking at all of these ancient manuscripts, 5000 of them. And we don't have to go to the British Library to see the Kota Synaptics later today.
[00:19:37] You can do it with a little coffee, perhaps in your slippers and your Internet browser. You can look through the entire manuscript and you can feast yourself on this information that God has given us through archeology, that the scripture has been preserved.
[00:19:53] The New Testament has been faithfully passed down to us. And there's even more things we could start referring to, like church fathers who quotes scripture even before 300 that verify it as scripture. There's a lot that we could study. But I want to jump to what I think is probably a big problem that people have as well. What about the Old Testament?
[00:20:15] You're telling me there's all these manuscripts of the New Testament. You're saying that adds up. You're saying something like Codex inadequacies. Pretty impressive. Well, what about the Old Testament? I heard there's not that many manuscripts of that. And I know what you're going to do is you're going to try to say that the New Testament proves the Old Testament. Well, how do we know that they didn't change the Old Testament later to match the New Testament?
[00:20:40] So maybe there's a lot of skepticism here this morning. I don't know if we got a bunch of skeptics here among us, but there definitely was a lot of skepticism in the mid nineteen hundreds at the height of German scholarship, where people were basically ready to write off the Old Testament. How? We know it's been passed down even longer than the New Testament, going back to at least 400 B.C., how can we know it hasn't been changed along the way?
[00:21:03] In fact, in the middle of the nineteen hundreds, there was a healthy amount of skepticism that was growing because the earliest documents we had of the Old Testament, the Mazor erratic text, they were like four and five hundred B.C.. So we're saying that's something that was I mean sorry, four or five hundred A.D. after Christ was the oldest copies of the Old Testament that we had. So we're saying that something that was finished being written 400 B.C., 400 years before Jesus and the earliest copies we have is 400 years after Jesus.
[00:21:35] Well, I'm pretty sure something could have got changed in those 800 mystery years. And so people were ready to really doubt the Old Testament and to throw it out. A lot of people started to argue this way and then it just so happened. Coincidence. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, this boy out in the middle of the Judean desert, he finds one of these caves at Khumra. Anybody ever heard of the Kumaran caves before? Anybody ever been there before? It's out in the middle of nowhere. And I've been out there and all testify. It is a barren wasteland of nothing. I don't know why anybody would be out there for any reason. But this boy was and there's different reports. Some say he was just throwing rocks and he heard his rock break something. Some say he was following one of his lost sheep, but a boy ended up wandering into a cave there in this area called Kumaran, where there's these rocks out in the middle of the desert.
[00:22:29] And lo and behold, what does he find in this cave? He finds a jar. And what is the jar have in it? Well, it's got scrolls in because the caves are near the Dead Sea. They ended up being called the Dead Sea Scrolls. One of the great archeological discoveries in the history of archeology. And it turns out we haven't just found one cave. We found 11 caves. We've found an entire ancient Jewish library out here in the desert with all of these beautifully well-preserved, preserved scrolls, in fact, contained within this vast library of scrolls. Is the entire Old Testament minus the book of Esther is in this library.
[00:23:11] In fact, some of these scrolls are just amazing and how they're still intact after all of this time. And here's one that I'd like to show you. This is the great Isaiah Scroll at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. OK, now, I had the privilege of going in here and I got to walk around that entire circle and I got to try to read Isaiah in ancient Hebrew as I followed it around in Hebrew goes from right to left. So you walk around the circle this way. And it's fascinating. And I wanted to take a picture of myself right next to it. But I was told we weren't allowed to take pictures in there. And then some day later on the news, I see this guy in there and all of a sudden he gets to take his picture. But I guess that's how it works. Right. But back to the Isaiah scroll, because that's really the thing to behold there. This is an intact copy of the Book of Isaiah, which if you've read the Old Testament, one of the largest books in the Old Testament, just one of the greatest works of literature in the history of the world, like a mini Bible within the Bible is the book of Isaiah.
[00:24:22] And here it is contained in a whole school right at the time that people are saying, I don't know about the Old Testament. We just happened to find it there. Preserved for us in the desert. Are in Israel.
[00:24:37] What a coincidence. That is, my friends, that we would make that discovery in 1947.
[00:24:42] And now, I mean, the whole world understands Christian or not. The whole world understands the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In fact, many people date these scrolls. This great Isaiah scroll is dated to one hundred B.C. one hundred years before the time of Christ. And that's not Christian people, archeologists who are just hoping that is before the time of Christ. No, this is understood in the science of archeology that this was an existing library at the time of Jesus Christ. Nobody could have changed it based on what happened in Jesus life. It was already there. And it proves to us that the Old Testament that we had in our Bibles through the Mazzarelli text in nineteen forty seven, and then we start comparing it to the Old Testament in the Hebrew here and these scrolls. And guess what?
[00:25:27] We find that God has faithfully preserved his word.
[00:25:31] And the accuracy is remarkable to anyone who studies ancient documents. The comparison between the copy of the Old Testament we had and what we read here in these Dead Sea Scrolls is amazing.
[00:25:45] There's no reason that you should ever doubt if what was written by the original authors has been faithfully passed down to us. The manuscript evidence for the Bible is overwhelming and it blows away the evidence for any other ancient document.
[00:26:01] This is real archeology. This is an argument outside of the Bible as to why people should investigate the Bible, because we can prove that the old things were really written before the new things.
[00:26:13] And what that does is that sets up something really exciting. Go to the book of Isaiah with me. Go to the Book of Isaiah. Now, let's start to dove into this. Let's pretend we can all read Hebrew and we're all there in Jerusalem and we're looking I mean, you should go on to the Dead Sea Scroll Web site and type in Isaac. The great Isaiah Scroll and this nerdy guy in Israel. And this guy is awesome. He will be like, I am about to take you into the holy of holies, the Mona Lisa of Israel. And he'll like take you into it looks like a big closet. But to him, it's awesome. And he'll, like, take you through and he will give you a peek through the Internet of the great Isaiah scroll. It's a family. You'll end up laughing at the video. It's awesome. And go to Isaiah, Chapter 40. Let's pretend we could all go along with this guy and see his excitement for this amazing discovery and how it validates the Isaiah that have been in our Bibles faithfully preserved down to us. And here in Isaiah 40, which is a key chapter in the book, really the turning point, because Isaiah has been writing about judgment that is going to come upon Israel and now he starts to write of a future hope that there's still gonna be good times and there's still gonna be someone who reigns in Israel in the future after this time of judgment. And he says this served me in verse six of Isaiah, Chapter 40, a voice says Cry. And I said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass. And all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades. When the breath of the Lord blows on it. Surely the people even fade like the grass. The people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades.
[00:27:59] But the word of our God will stand. What does it say there? That's what it says. Something that God has shown true by how He has preserved his word and how he has convinced us of it, even through the study of archeology.
[00:28:14] It's an amazing promise. You can write down Matthew Chapter five, verse 17, where Jesus says that not one little jot one little iota, one little small mark of the pen is not going to fall away from the law. That's referring to the Old Testament. Not until it's fully accomplished. And he says that in Matthew 517, reaffirming the Old Testament in Matthew, 24 35. He says that even the heavens, the skies that we look at and the earth, the ground that we walk on, even the heavens and the earth will pass away. But my words will never pass away. That's what Jesus says. So this is the eternal word of God passed down to people like me and you. And you can hold the word of God in your lap right here today. You can read what he has inspired men to write over 40 different authors, over 1500 different years of writing this book. And now it's been passed down all the way to the year 2015 for us to read. We are living in the greatest time of access to the Bible in the history of the world. Everybody can have a Bible. We're giving them away for free today if you don't have one. You do now. Everybody here can have a Bible and get on your phone. You can get on your tablet. You can get it on your computer. You can get study Bibles. You can get books about the Bible. You can go online. And you can look at the ancient manuscripts of scripture that the very scholars themselves are translating so that we can read them in our own language. It's awesome the access that you have to the Bible. And here's why. It's important that we that we talk about things like this and why you study the Bible and theology is the study of God. OK, now, hopefully everybody knows that. And hopefully maybe you've had some kind of introduction to systematic theology. Like, if we had to organize all of the information about God, all the we can know about God, how would we put it all together? Well, that's what's systematic theology is it's an attempt to organize the biblical data about God. And they put it together in a list of a lot of other all ages that are all these different ways we break down theology. Well, the first one, if you do any kind of systematic study of theology, the first one is always biblio ology. Can you write that down? Biblio ology is the study of the Bible. And that has to be the first step in theology because we have to start with accurate information about God. You and I can't make up the God that we one of our own imagination of God as we would like him to be. You and I just can't hear things about God and pick the parts that we like and reject the parts that we don't like, know that we can't even figure God out for ourselves.
[00:30:59] Logically, we could not even come up with God as he is because his ways are higher than our ways and his understanding is above our finite understanding. The only way that you and I can know about God is he has to reveal himself to us. And that's what we have here in this book. And so we study the Bible. And the reason it's so important that the Bible's been well preserved down to us is then we can know God and we can say, hey, I don't get to decide if I like God as he is. I just get to deal with God as he is. This is who he says he is. I got to decide if I'm gonna believe it or not.
[00:31:35] But here's an accurate accounting, a word of the Lord that will stand forever from God, through men through time. Right down to you today. God wants to speak to you. And the first thing it says here in Isaiah 40 is, hey, let me tell you, the grass, it's going to fade. And in fact, even the people are going to fade. But let me tell you something that's going to endure forever. The word of the Lord is going to deter forever. In fact, if you've got this book, look at where it goes in verse nine, it says, Go up on a high mountain. No Zion Herald of good news. Hey, tell the world. Get up on a mountain and tell him. Lift up your voice with strength. Shout it out. Jerusalem Herald of good news. Lift it up, Fearnot.
[00:32:14] Say to the cities of Judah. Behold your God. See, when I have the the word of the Lord. When I have the word of God. I can tell people, Hey, you want to see God. Look, he's right here. He's revealed himself to us through this book. You can see God in the scripture.
[00:32:33] That's what we believe here at this church.
[00:32:36] That's why we call ourselves CompassHB Bible Church, because we want to point people to God. And we think that the way people see God is right through this book as we just let this book speak for itself. It'll be like God is speaking to people right here in this room and they'll be like gods revealing himself to them. And they start to know God and to love God and to worship God as they learn who he is, as they will hold him right here in the pages of scripture.
[00:33:00] Now, that's just the first point, that's the manuscript's go to Chapter 44 of Isaiah. OK, because one thing God wants to say here in Isaiah, 40 and 41, it's like God speaking. So it's like he's addressing us in the first person, not even through the Prophet Isaiah, but straight from God himself. One thing God wants you to know is there's no other God. You don't have options. You can't take your pick. If you're worshiping some kind of idol, if you're worshiping something else, you're wasting your time because they're not a God like God. That's what he wants you to know. In fact, look at how he says it here in Isaiah, Chapter 44. Start with me in verse six. You could see the heading besides me. There is no God. Here's a point God wants to make very clearly. Thus, says the Lord Yahweh, the king of Israel and his redeemer, the Lord of hosts. I am the first and I am the last. Besides me, there is no God who is like me. Anybody else out there like me. We'll go ahead and proclaim it. Let him declare it and said it before me. Since I appointed an ancient people here. Here's how they can prove that they're like me. Let them declare what is to come. And what will happen. You want to prove your God. Tell me the future. Fearnot. Nor be afraid. Have I not told you? I've told you from of old and declared it. Have I not even told you from old what's going to happen? You're my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? There is no rock. I know. Not any.
[00:34:28] So God says here in this book, I want to speak straight to you. I want you to know me. And one way that I'm going to put my fingerprint on this book that you're going to know, I'm the author of it. Not all these men who wrote it, but really it's from me, as I'm going to tell you the future before it happens. Pretty impressive trick.
[00:34:46] If someone could tell you the future before it happened. Would that convince you that they were God, that they were sovereign, that they were in control? Well, that's what God says he's going to do. And he does it all over the place in the Old Testament, particularly in the book of Isaiah. In fact, we just celebrated some of these prophecies at Christmas time. Maybe you got a Christmas card from somebody or maybe you saw a Facebook status that said for unto us, a child is born and unto us a son is given and his name shall be called. You know where I'm going here. Wonderful, counselor. Right. Isn't there like some famous song, one devil you guys know I'm talking about counselor. Right. The mighty God. The everlasting father. The Prince of. Who are we talking about?
[00:35:29] It's Isaiah, chapter nine. Verse six. We're handing it out at about Jesus being born. That's New Testament stuff when Jesus is born. No, but that's a verse in Isaiah. Chapter nine, verse six. Isaiah was written like 600 or 700 years before Jesus was born.
[00:35:48] And we're predicting his birth.
[00:35:50] In fact, if Isaiah Chapter nine, verse six, doesn't impress you, how about chapter seven, verse 14, which is a very controversial and debated passage that says, therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. You want to know I'm God? You want to know this is my son. Let me prove it to you. Behold, the virgin shall conceive. That doesn't typically happen. And bear a son and she'll call his name Emmanuel, which means God with us. Hey, wait a minute. That sounds like Matthew. Chapter one. Hey, wait a minute. That sounds like Luke. Chapter one and chapter two. But it's Isaiah. Chapter seven. Verse 14. Here's God trying to prove to you this morning that he is God. Hey, I want to tell you I was celebrating Christmas six or seven hundred years before it happened.
[00:36:36] Somebody went and they shared that prophecy we learned last week. Michael five to that prophesied that the savior, the king who is going to come would be born in Bethlehem. And somebody was excited about that. They shared that with somebody else and the person kind of started shooting them down. How do you really know about that? Maybe they just went to Bethlehem to have the baby to make the prophecy true. No, you can't make prophecies like this true.
[00:36:59] Mary, the Virgin is not choosing to have a baby. Say this is something that God's doing and he's doing it on purpose and he's doing it in such a way that you will be forced to acknowledge. And he's even proving that the Old Testament was clearly established before the New Testament. So we couldn't rewrite anything. No, I called this before it happened. I'm God. That's what he's trying to say to you this morning. Grise at 53, perhaps the most famous prophecy in all of the Bible, and rightfully so, because you would think it would come at the end of the gospel of Mark. You would think this would be the climax of the gospel of John, because it's such a vivid description of what seems to be Jesus being crucified on the cross for our sins.
[00:37:42] Read it with me and think if you think this is describing Jesus, paying for your sin, paying it all on the cross, his blood, purchasing your righteousness.
[00:37:53] Star with me in verse three, Isaiah 53, verse three. Jesus now was despised and rejected by men.
[00:38:01] He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And as one from men from whom men hide their faces, he was despised and we esteemed him, not surely describing the long march of Jesus toward the cross as he was mocked and ridiculed. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows bearing his cross for a while. Yet we esteemed him stricken, stricken by soldiers, but also smitten by God and afflicted. He was pierced for our transgressions, literally. They put a spear in his side. He was crushed for our iniquities. They beat a crown of thorns into his skull.
[00:38:38] Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace and with his wounds by the blood flowing, flowing from his hands and his feet by his wounds.
[00:38:49] We are healed all we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way. But the Lord has laid on him wherever it is being prophesied about here. God is laid on him. The iniquity, the sin of us all.
[00:39:04] He was oppressed and he was afflicted. Yet he opened not his mouth. He didn't say a word through all of the injustice, like a lamb that has led to the slaughter. And like a sheep that before it shears is silent. So he opened not his mouth 600, 700 years before Jesus was born. We have a vivid account of how he is going to die. Now, something you're like, yeah, I know this. This is familiar. Well, just because it's familiar doesn't mean it's not awesome.
[00:39:34] My friends guy. This is awesome.
[00:39:37] This is God calling what he's gonna do. Way before he ever does it. Now, some people might still be skeptical. People you talk to people here this morning. Well, really, all you're doing is you're saying that the Old Testament is validated by the New Testament. All these prophecies you're reading happened in the New Testament. Well, I don't believe any of it. I don't think it's from God. I, I don't really matter to me if it's just validating itself from one testament to the next. That doesn't matter to me. I don't believe it. Well, what if there were prophecies that we could prove happened based on extra biblical sources, based on historians and what they say happened in the world? What if all the prophecies aren't just proven to us in the pages of scripture and facts? What if there's prophecy is not even about Jesus? Maybe you're thinking, well, that's just religious stuff. Well, what if there's prophecies, even just about current events and world events in the world at that time that end up happening?
[00:40:28] Like, let's go back to Isaiah 44 and I want to make sure that everybody here knows a great example of this kind of prophecy. The Cyrus prophecy, let's call it. So the second reason you should believe the Bible is prophecy. And specifically, I want to get into the Cyrus prophecy, OK? Because in this chapter that we already read a little bit of where God says, I'm going to prove to you that I'm God and there's nobody else, because I'm going to tell you the future before it happens. In fact, if you want to be God, you stand up and you tell me the future right now, because that's how I'm going to prove that I'm God is by telling you what before it even comes to pass. Well, later on in that same chapter, here's God showing off, OK? This is God. He's jealous for his glory. He's Zellous that you would believe in him. He doesn't want you giving glory to anybody else. And so he says this in Isaiah 44, verse 28, he says of Cyrus. This guy named Cyrus. He is my shepherd. And he shall fulfill all my purpose, saying of Jerusalem, she shall be built and of the temple, your foundation shall be laid. Thus, says the Lord, to his anointed to Cyrus. Here is now God speaking straight to this guy, Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him, to lose the belts of kings, to open doors before him, that gates may not be closed. I will go before you, and I'll level the exalted places. And on it goes God. Now, speaking straight to Cyrus. Now, this is a really interesting prophecy to be in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah is written at a time where Jerusalem eventually is going to be destroyed. But when Isaiah is writing it, that's what he is prophesying about. That's the judgment is warning the people to repent before that judgment comes. But while he's writing Isaiah Jerusalem's fine.
[00:42:18] It's there. It's the built city of Jerusalem that everybody knows and loves.
[00:42:22] And here it says that some guy, Cyrus, is going to build Jerusalem. Did you see that there in verse twenty eight? God's gonna have some kind of leader, some kind of shepherd who God has a special purpose for some guy named Cyrus. And this guy is gonna say about Jerusalem, she shall be built. This is a fascinating prophecy to say while Jerusalem is built.
[00:42:43] That's some guy. Cyrus is gonna say she shall be built. Not only are you prophesying that Jerusalem is gonna be destroyed, invaded, wiped out, decimated walls torn down, temple defiled. But then you're calling the guy who's gonna say that we should rebuild Jerusalem.
[00:43:00] Now, this is interesting stuff because this was written, but I mean, this was written 100 years before Cyrus was even born.
[00:43:09] Very fascinating.
[00:43:11] If I go to Ezri, chapter one and we might not know where Ezra is. Turn to the left with me. You've got to go past the solms here. You've got to go past the book of Jobe and you're going to get to this book, Ezra. Everybody, please grab your Bible and turn there with me. It's on page three hundred and eighty nine. Three hundred and eighty nine. If you've got one of our Bibles. And here's a book maybe you've never even heard of about a guy you've never maybe heard of before, Ezra.
[00:43:37] Maybe you didn't even know Jerusalem got invaded by Babylon and they took Daniel and some of the guys back to Babylon and they defiled the temple and tore down the walls and they just destroyed in 586 B.C. and now all of a sudden at Babylon gets invaded by Persia and all of a sudden a king comes along and guess who the king is of Persia?
[00:44:00] Guess what his name is? Everybody.
[00:44:03] Well, yeah. Yes. I mean, you guys are with me as your chapter one, verse one. Everybody, let's read it together here. Look at it.
[00:44:09] This is your chapter one, verse one. The proclamation of Cyrus and I know and are the way we have the books arranged in the Old Testament. This seems like he came before is Isaiah, but actually it was Isaiah was writing before Jerusalem's destroyed.
[00:44:24] Ezra's about people going to Jerusalem after it got destroyed. So they're there in that order, in the chronology of how they were written. Look at what it says in the first year of Cyrus King of Persia. That the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled. The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus King of Persia so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and put it in writing. Now maybe you're like, Hey, I'm onto you. That doesn't make sense because we were just looking at Isaiah where it talked about Cyrus.
[00:44:54] But that just said the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled. What are you talking about? What does it say, Jeremiah? Well, that's because I'm glad you asked Jeremiah. I had a whole nother prophecy about Cyrus. Isaiah prophesied that the guy's name was gonna be Cyrus Jeremiah, who also wrote about the destruction of Jerusalem before it happened and then while it happened.
[00:45:17] Jeremiah predicted that there would be 70 years from when Jerusalem was destroyed to when they were told to go back to Jerusalem. He called it prophesying by the power of God, that the exile would last 70 years. So not only did we call the guy's name over a hundred years before he was born, but then we predicted exactly how long it would be from destruction of Jerusalem till the proclamation to go back to Jerusalem, 70 years.
[00:45:44] So there's multiple prophecy is being fulfilled here. Sorry if it's confusing, but God showing off. All right. And look what cyber says, this is not a Jew. This is not a man who has some kind of interest in the nation of Israel. This isn't some man who would be a worshiper of your way. This is the maybe the most powerful man in the planet at this time. This is the leader of the king of Persia. And look what he wants to say that says Cyrus King of Persia. The Lord, your way. The God of Heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. I'm the most powerful man in the world. And yet he acknowledges that God gave them to him and he has charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah, whoever is among you, of all his people. Hey, we got any Jews here. We got any of God's people here. May his God be with him and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and go rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel. He is the God who is in Jerusalem.
[00:46:38] I mean, is this not amazing? Why would some foreign king encourage people to go back and rebuild their homeland that's been destroyed now for 70 years? Why would it be a guy named Cyrus? Because that's what God said was going to happen.
[00:46:51] That's why.
[00:46:53] And you think, well, again, you're just using the Bible to prove the Bible, well, actually, it just so happens that there's a historian you might have heard of him. His name's Joe Seif's. Anybody ever heard of Joseph is before famous Jewish historian quoted by all kinds of people. And he actually says, just to take it even more deep, that what happened is when Cyrus became the ruler there and remember Nat King, Nebeker Nasr, he came in, invaded Jerusalem.
[00:47:18] He brought Daniel and some of the Israelites back there. That was Babylon, then Persia. Com came and invaded Babylon. Now, Cyrus is the king of Persia. Well, Joe CFS says this isn't in the Bible. This is Jose Office's historical account. He says that Daniel one day walked up to Cyrus with Isaiah 45 and said, hey, God was talking about you way before you were ever born.
[00:47:40] Can I read you what Isaiah prophesied about you?
[00:47:43] And that's what stirred up the heart of Cyrus to send God's people back to the land of Jerusalem. Was Daniel quoting him the prophet Isaiah? Your name's in here, buddy.
[00:47:56] So you go check it out. You go find the most liberal sources that you can look up and you're going to see that Cyrus was a real guy and he was the king of Persia. And this book called it before it happened.
[00:48:08] That's God trying to convince you here this morning that this book is unlike any other book, OK? There is no other book that has rent been written by God. So we've got the manuscripts. We've got the prophecies. And now, you know, I was getting here. So now I'm just going to say, hey, a third great reason that you should believe the Bible is from God is because it says so, my friends. No, not really. Any book making the claims that this book claims to make. I mean, these are these are amazing statements like this one. This is a main verse that I would encourage everybody to write down. Second, Timothy, 316. It says all scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching. These writings, these collected writings, these 66 different books are God breathed like he just spoke them. That's the idea here. Like we should take these things so seriously.
[00:49:07] In fact, they should teach us. They should instruct us. We should see it straight from God to us. And it says they even correct us. They reprove us. They train us how to live in righteousness that the man of God, the man, the woman, the child, the person who wants to live for God. If you study this book, if you come to know this book, he will know who God is. You will know what he calls you to do, and you will be equipped for every good work that God expects from you.
[00:49:33] That's the claim of this book.
[00:49:35] And when you read it and you start to understand it in its context and you start to get the history of how it works and who wrote what and where they were in the history and how this guy, what he wrote, goes with what this guy wrote and they never met each other and they never planned it out. And it all comes together perfectly. You come to the conclusion that this is a unique work of literature, a singular masterpiece in all of creation, that there is one book written by God and it's this book right here.
[00:50:04] This book claims to be from God in a way that no Book of Mormon Koran or anything else claims to do. And if you will, just give it a chance to prove itself. It does every single time.
[00:50:18] And we have it right here. We have it you have it in your hands.
[00:50:22] You could be hearing what God has to say to us as his people. You could be reading this book every single morning. No one is stopping you. There's no law in this country making it illegal. You can have your own copy. You can you can get a journal Bible these days. You can get it on a tablet. Put your own notes in it. I mean, you could do it how ever you want. You have the word of God at your fingertips, his fingerprints on it, and it's at your fingertips straight from God to you.
[00:50:48] What a connection. Is that how you view this book when you come in here?
[00:50:53] Is that how we view the book in the church today when it seems to me that more and more people don't even bring their Bible to church anymore?
[00:51:01] More and more people don't even really follow along with that with the Bible when they preach. In fact, a lot of preachers have given up asking people to turn in the Bible to pages because it's just too much work and nobody really knows those books anyway.
[00:51:16] Is that how we want to do it?
[00:51:18] Is that how we should do it? Should we dumb it down? Should we bring it down to an all time lowest common denominator and act like, well, God's got stuff to say, but that's too hard to get to. So let me just tell you the summary. Let me just give you in fact, people are now writing versions of the Bible that you can read that are stories of the Bible. Just in case you can't read the whole thing, because that's too confusing. Let me just give you like a Cliff Notes version.
[00:51:40] And this is Church in America.
[00:51:44] People come here to our church all the time and they're like, hey, you guys have a problem. Your church has used the Bible too much. Like, how do you expect people to follow along? I mean, you're turning them to Ezra loser to that guy. I mean, let's just keep it about Jesus, let's keep it on point around here. I mean, that's what people think of her. I mean, people say, you know, your church was pretty friendly, really like to donuts, really like the coffee. Some of the people were nice. Directed me to my parking spot that took away one thing I was going to complain about. But I do have a problem in that you just quote the Bible, too. But this is I believe this is the word of God. I believe this is God speaking straight to you. Now, the problem is not that we're quoting the Bible a lot.
[00:52:25] The problem is that we don't know the Bible. That's the problem, it's a big problem. The problem, maybe even you have maybe even you that sit here right now with a smug look on your face.
[00:52:36] Oh, I've heard all this sermon before. No, this stuff like that was just telling this to somebody the other day.
[00:52:44] Yes, I know the Bible.
[00:52:47] I hear a lot, a lot. I grew up at churches where people used to say that a lot. I know the Bible. I've read the whole thing. I know what's in there. Right. The point of the Bible is not to know the Bible. OK. The point of the Bible is to know God.
[00:53:01] And the way that it describes knowing God is a walk like one foot in front of the other, your lifestyle, your pattern, your conduct.
[00:53:09] So what matters is not do you know the Bible? What matters is, do you know God? And if you know, God will see you living a certain way because what you'll be doing is you'll be doing the Bible, not knowing the Bible, doing the Bible.
[00:53:20] What's your goal? Some people go to church their whole life. They think they know the Bible. They think they've got it figured out and they're on the way to destruction the entire time because they don't do what it says. They don't really know the one who wrote the book.
[00:53:35] They just get caught up in the information of the book and they get deceived because there are herer and they're so familiar with the information, they get deceived into thinking they're a lot closer to God than they actually are.
[00:53:48] And it's terrible, it's deceptive and it's happening all over the place.
[00:53:52] We've got some places where people aren't even getting in the Bible. They're not even opening it. They don't even know the books. And then we've got other places where people are like, oh, yeah, I know at all. I could tell you all 66 books right now.
[00:54:03] In fact, I can say it faster than you can. It's like we get Bible nerdy. I want to out Bible nerd, you know, that's not that's not the goal. Go back to Ezra. You still there? And Ezra, go to Chapter seven, and I want to introduce you to this guy, Ezra.
[00:54:15] If you've never heard of him before, well, he's put in the scripture as an example, too, was as a great man of God that we should aspire to be like because he's the man that God uses to lead people back. Now, when they come back to Jerusalem, there's three waves and they start in Ezra in Chapter one where cyber says you guys can go back and rebuild Jerusalem. There's a guy named Probable that leads the first group back. Well, the guy who leads the second group back, his name is Ezra.
[00:54:45] Look at what it says here. And Ezra, Chapter seven. Start with me in verse one. It says Now after this and the reign of our desert sees king of Persia. So we've got another king of Persia now, Ezra. And now it's gonna give us the lineage of Ezra here, the son of a.. This all these different names here. Let's skip on down verse six. This Ezra went up from Babylonia.
[00:55:06] He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel had given. Now, that's an amazing statement that the Bible and what would good call someone skilled in understanding the Bible? What a compliment there. OK. He said he was skilled in the law of Moses tradition. Now, this is extra biblical. The Bible doesn't say this, but tradition says that Ezra actually had the law, which is the first five books of the Bible, what Moses wrote, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus numbers and Deuteronomy, that Ezra had those five books memorized. That's what tradition tells us.
[00:55:46] That he could quote chapter and verse from any of those books off the top of his head. That's the idea of this guy.
[00:55:55] This is the kind of guy that we should try to be like here, somebody who knows the word, but then watch how he lives it out. Right. And verse seven. And there went up also to Jerusalem in the seventh year of already Xerxes, the king. Some of the people of Israel, some of the priests, the Levites, the singers. So as leading a whole group gatekeeper's temple servants and as came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which is in the seventh year of the King. And on the first day of the first month, he began to go up from Babylonia. And on the first day. So it's telling us about his journey from Babylon to Jerusalem. And then it says something very key here at the end of verse nine for the good hand of his God was on him.
[00:56:32] Well, doesn't that just make sense, my friend? Maybe the hand of God was on this man using this man to do great things, to lead the people back to the promised land of Jerusalem again, because he was a man who knew the word.
[00:56:44] And it doesn't it make sense that if God wrote this book, God would look for men who know his book and his hand would be on those men, those women, those young people to use them to to guide them for his good and for for his glory and their good, that his good hand would be upon people who go who know his word.
[00:57:03] Look at the heart of Ezra here. And Ezra, chapter seven, verse 10. Here's an example for us. Ezra had set his heart. He had made it up his mind.
[00:57:11] He'd he'd come to a firm resolve, a direction, of course, that he could not be swayed from to the right or the left. Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. Here's one thing I'm going to do in my life, Rom�n, to die try and I'm going to study the law. I'm going to do the law. And I'm going to teach the law. That's the heart of Ezra right there. He said his heart, that direction. And this guy's an example. If we believe that this is God's word, if we believe that all scripture is God breathed and profitable for us to live how God wants us to live, then we should have the heart that Ezra has here.
[00:57:49] In fact, turn over to the next book. Maybe you've heard of this one. Nehemiah, turn over to Nehemiah. Chapter eight. Look at it with me.
[00:57:57] Neumeyer. Chapter eight. So a third wave of people are going to come back.
[00:58:01] Nehemiah is going to come back and he's going to focus on rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem so that the city can stand secure again, so that no one can come in and invade. And that's what Nehemiah is doing. And then when that's done, they set up this this exciting time where Ezra is going to come and he's going to read now the Bible. They're going to gather everyone there in Jerusalem. And he's going to read to them the law. Look what happens here in Nehemiah. Chapter eight, verse one. And all the people gathered as one man. I mean, can you imagine a whole city full of people really representing the whole nation of Israel? They gathered as one man into the square before the Watergate and they told Ezra, this is the people wanting it. They say, Ezra, describe bring the book of the Law of Moses. Man, we know you've got it memorized. Give it to us. We want to hear it that the Lord had commanded Israel. So, Ezra, the priest brought the law before the assembly, both the men and the women, all who could understand what they heard. Anybody old enough to sit still, hear what's going on.
[00:59:04] They all assembled on the first day of the seventh month and he read from it. Facing the square before the Watergate. From early morning until midday. None of these weak sauce. Hour and a half long services. We're just doing the whole morning of church here. From early morning to midday.
[00:59:23] And the presence of the men and the women and all who could understand and the ears of the people. And it was it was silent so you could hear a pin drop. They were attentive to the book of the law. And as you describe, he stood on a wooden platform. They had made for the purpose. And in fact, there were a bunch of other guys, men up there standing with him, looking verse five. And Ezra opened the book in the side of all the people he's got the copy of the law there for. He was above all the people. And as he opened it, they all stood up to hear him read from the law. And Ezra, bless the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered. Great thing for people to say in church when they're feeling it. A man. A man. This clearly wasn't an Orange County crowd here. These people were into it lifting up their hands and they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. And then we have a whole list of other men here. And what they did was they helped the people to understand the law while the people kept standing there, kept listening. They read from the book The Law of God, clearly. And then they gave the sense. They explained it. They communicated the meaning behind it so that the people understood the reading.
[01:00:34] I mean, can you imagine something like this? We're back now in Jerusalem, we've got temple back, we've got the walls there and we get everybody together and we're going to read the law together and want to be great to see something like that happen in the city of Huntington Beach. Won't it be great to see something like that happen in the country called America when we like to see a great revival of people turning back to what God has said? Well, every great revival comes from a rediscovery of the Bible. That's where it comes from.
[01:01:04] And if we want to see revival spread in our land, it needs to start with us saying I'm going to set my heart to get into this book.
[01:01:12] I'm going to eat this book up. I'm going to know it. I'm gonna be skilled in it. No more excuses about I'm not really a reader. No more excuses about why I can't really memorize. Right. All right. When our kids are out memorizing us, you hear people say, well, that's because they're young and they can absorb more information.
[01:01:31] Right. I've heard that memory is a muscle. That's what I've heard. You build it through hard work. You build it through determination. I've heard that you become a reader when you put your nose in the book and you get serious about it.
[01:01:45] We want to see revival, if you want to live on fire for God, then you've got to know him in the one way to know him is through the scriptures that he's inspired and passed down to you right here that he proved were his by calling things in the future before they ever happen, that he's now given you a copy of a church where people would be happy to talk with you about it.
[01:02:06] You want to know what the response was when the people read that book of the law that day? They started weeping. They started mourning because their hearts were so convicted. They were so broken because here's who God was and here's what God had done for them. And here's what God was saying they should go and do. And they weren't doing any of it. And their heart was broken. And Nehemiah and Ezra, they had to run around and they had to say, hey, stop all your crying.
[01:02:30] This is a this is a feast that we have to celebrate. We have to celebrate right now.
[01:02:35] Because when they were reading and if you keep reading here, Nehemiah A, what you'll see is that they realized while they were reading the law that they were reading it on the same day they were supposed to be celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, the feast, the booths where everybody lives in tents and remembers how God provided for his people to bring them to the promised land.
[01:02:56] And they were supposed to be celebrating. And so Nehemiah starts running around as the governor and says, hey, stop crying about how about your sin?
[01:03:03] Stop weeping over your conviction. We need to celebrate. That's what God commands us to do. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength. Let knowing that you're obeying God be the joy that keeps you going. Be the strength that keeps you moving forward in life.
[01:03:18] That's what it's all about here, and revival breaks out the long prophesied revival that Cyrus would send them back after 70 years of exile. And here they are and they get back to the book and they feel the life of God in them. Once again, you want to have a revival. You've got to get in the Bible.
[01:03:38] And you got to set your heart. Go back to Ezri, chapter seven, verse 10. Just turn back over to the book right before. Let's just dove back into that verse where it describes this man, Azra, that God used to spread a revival among his people. Look at Azour, chapter seven, verse 10. This is the heart that I would hold up that we should all want to have. This is your church. Then this is the heart that we want to have here. That's for Ezra had set his heart. Now, this isn't just some kind of resolution. Now you're going to start for a few days and then you're gonna you know, it's gonna by February, you're gonna have forgotten it. All right. We're not encouraging people to do New Year's resolutions necessarily here. We're encouraging people to do things where they they resolve. They make up their mind. They decide this is who I'm going to be and this is what I'm gonna do.
[01:04:27] They set their heart in a certain direction. And let's just break down what Ezra had said. His art, Ezra had said, is art. First of all, to study the law of the law. Let's get that up here. Caleb, start building a little thing that here's the example of Ezra, a glimpse into his heart. He was studying the law.
[01:04:44] Hey, this wasn't a casual reading. This wasn't a. Oh, yeah, I've read that. Read that one time. Yeah, it was interesting. Crazy stuff in there, man. No, this was like I'm studying it. And that's why I would encourage everybody maybe. I mean, you got if you got any extra money or gift cards for Christmas or whatever, go buy yourself a study Bible, go by yourself, maybe even some commentaries on the Bible diving a level deeper.
[01:05:07] Get to know more if you if you've become a reader of the scripture. And I know some you guys are just getting started. You're just starting reading. That's great. But anybody who would say I've been a Christian for like four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years, beyond that, I mean, we should be students of the scripture. We should have resources helping us drive a level deeper. We should be students of God's word. That's what Ezra was. He he decided, I'm going to study this. I'm going to know it when I know where it comes from, how it got here, what it says, who the characters are, how the books all go together. I mean, really, if I asked you right now, there's 66 books in the Bible. How many of them can you name? I'm not even asking in order. Like, how many could you just name?
[01:05:48] Could you get over 50? Could you name 40 of them?
[01:05:52] About 10. Right where we are.
[01:05:55] I mean, this is God's word to us. Let's study it. And then he says after he studies it, he wants to not just know it. That's not the goal. He wants to do it. Let's put this down. He wants to obey whatever God tells him to do. That's what he wants to do. He's searching not just for information. He's searching this book for transformation. He's looking for marching orders. He's looking for a call to action when he gets into this book. He wants to study it. He wants to obey it, to do it. And then it says he wants to teach it. That's the third thing that Azor wants to do. He wants to teach. He wants to pass on what he learns about God to other people so more people can know God.
[01:06:33] You know, some people who need to know God. Well, you should want to teach them. Particularly if you've got kids growing up in your home. You've got people live in there that you are called by God to teach the word of God.
[01:06:47] And so you've got to study. You've got to obey. You got to teach. And this isn't just like maybe I'll do this every once in a while, maybe I'll do it once a week. No. He set his heart. This is going to require discipline. This is going to require diligence. It seems like this is something that he's doing on kind of a daily level. Let's get that down. He's studying. He's obeying. He's teaching. And he's doing a daily. And sometimes when we talk about getting in the Bible and we talk about study in the Bible and we say daily, I think people think that we mean 100 hundred percent every single day. You never miss a day. No. Anybody who's tried to read the Bible, you miss a few days. Don't you say we're not we're not looking for 100 percent every day. We're looking for on the average day to standard operating procedure of your life is in the morning when you wake up. You want to get in the word and you want to get to know God in the evening before you want before you're going to bed. You want to get in the word.
[01:07:37] He want to know God in the middle of the day, when you find an unexpected pocket of free time or maybe even block out a break in the middle of the day, debt just to get your mind reoriented, renewed on the word of God so that you could be thinking his thoughts throughout the day and obeying his commands. And who's stopping you from waking up in the morning and getting in this book? Who's stopping you from looking at it before you go to bed at night?
[01:08:01] Nobody stop you but you from getting into God's word, to study it, to obey it, to teach it, to do it daily, to make it a lifestyle.
[01:08:10] We call it as so T.D.. That's what we call it. It's it's patterned after the heart of Ezra. Maybe you've heard it tossed around here at our church. We refer to it as Scripture of the day. That's what we call it. And we invite the entire church. We say, hey, we can all go read whatever we want to read from the Bible. Nobody's stopping you from doing everything, anything in the scripture. You want to learn it? Go for it.
[01:08:31] But what if we were also reading the same thing together and we were encouraging one another and we were holding each other accountable and we were getting in the word in such a way that it really felt like there was a conversation going on in this church about the Bible, people texting each other, e-mailing each other, calling each other throughout the week, getting together at coffee shops and people's houses and saying, man, let's get into this. I want to know what it says. God's spoken throughout thousands of years through prophets all the way down to me. I want to hear him. Who's ready to make that kind of commitment? Well, we invite you to we do this thing called Scripture of the day. In fact, if you got a hand out, flip it over and you'll see we're going to do something right now, starting tomorrow morning. And here at this church called the Bible overview, that's what we're going to do. OK, the Compass Bible overview. Hey. So a lot of times at the beginning of a year, what a church will do is it will say, hey, let's try this reading plan. And a lot of times what they say is, hey, let's read through the Bible in one year. Let's read through the whole thing next year. Well, down. That's like one thousand one hundred and eighty nine chapters. OK. Sixty six different books you've got to read two, three, four, five chapters a day. And I've seen a lot of people, a lot of new zealous Christians get started Amen to read through the Bible this year. This is going to be the year and they get going in Genesis and it's like, wow, can you believe what's in Genesis? There's some this is amazing. This is crazy. I didn't expect some of this stuff. Exodus. Wow. OK, Egypt, there's a lot of laws over the Vatican. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah.
[01:10:13] So what I would like to do right now is I would like to deliver you from where I am, a new pastor, where a new church, we're not ready to say, hey, everybody, let's read the Bible in a year this year. We're going to build up to that. That's what we're gonna do. I'm announcing it now. Lord willing, we're still here. That's what we're gonna do in 2017. All right. So we're going to build up to it. And what we're gonna start with is an overview. I'm not asking you to commit to reading something for a year. I'm just looking for 13 weeks. Okay. I think I can take you through the Bible in 13 weeks. And all I'm asking you to do is read one chapter of each of the 66 books. And what we'll do, you can see there's a Web site on their compass, HB dot com slash. Read one of us that you see up here myself. Ryan Shane, one of us will give you a summary of that book of the Bible. And then we'll pick a chapter from that book. And that's a good sampling of what the rest of that book would be like. So we'll start with this overview. I'm talking about the exile. I'm saying names like Ezra, Nehemiah, some you guys think I'm still speaking Greek up here at this point in the sermon.
[01:11:15] Right. So we'll help you realize the story, how it's working. How did it begin? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. They become Israel. They go to the promised land. The temple is built. David Solomon. There's the destruction of the temple. There's judgment. There's the rebill. There's Jesus Christ. The apostles will get it all. Thirteen weeks. Sixty six days. We're gonna be through Leviticus. By Wednesday, everybody. So I'm asking you if this is your church. Join with us in reading through this Bible overview. This week, we're going to go through the law. And when you look at these books, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, numbers, Deuteronomy. Just think there was a man back in the day that God used a good hand of God was upon him to lead the people in a great revival. And he had those five books memorized. All we're saying to start with is let's get five chapters in. So I hope you'll do the Bible overview with us and then I'll help you get the big picture of how God works from Genesis to Revelation. So I hope you will prize this as God's word and you'll read it accordingly. Let me pray for us right now. God, we thank you so much for this book that you've given to us. And God, we thank you for this different kind of sermon where we could just step back and we could see how this book got passed down to us in the prophecies in this book that prove you must have written it. And that when we read this book and we start to understand how it works and how all of it beautifully comes together, we realize that it's way more than just the writings of men. But it's scripture breathed doubt by you that cuts to our hearts, shows us who we are. Shows us how to live. And most importantly, God, it shows us you. In all of your glory. God, thank you for revealing yourself to people like us. Thank you for making yourself known throughout history to people and preserving that revelation all the way down here to us in 2015. God, what blessed people we are to come to a church where we can teach the Bible, where there's people who want to talk about the Bible, where there's great resources we can pick up after the service that teach us even more about the Bible. God. We are blessed people. How dare we take for granted your goodness and giving us this book? Got convict us in our hearts. If we've had a lukewarm attitude about you and the scriptures, fire us up, make us students who do what the Bible says. And as we become students, make us teachers of others who need to know you through this book.
[01:13:46] We do pray for a great revival in America. We pray that there would be a great revival even here in North Orange County, in the city of Huntington Beach, and that it would start with us rediscovering the greatness of your Bible. We pray this in Jesus name a man.
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