What do you know for sure?
I KNOW FOR SURE THE BIBLE IS THE PERFECT WORD OF GOD. The Bible is the manual I have based my life on for fifty years. It contains warnings for and expectations of those who love God and has something to say on every topic and on every day living. It reveals the person of God, the plan of God and the heart of God for all people. You cannot know God apart from His Word. The Bible is timeless and is relevant throughout every generation. It is one of the key ways we know God, understand our life’s purpose and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. What did Paul say to his protege, Timothy?
2 Timothy 3:14-17 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become CONVINCED of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I’m with Timothy. I am with Paul. I know for sure the Bible is the perfect Word of God. There is more physical evidence for the Bible than any other ancient manuscript. More original, ancient manuscripts have been found of the Bible than for any other writing. In fact, the New Testament has been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work of literature. There are over 5800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts that have been catalogued, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages. Few people would argue or doubt that Plato really wrote the works ascribed to him, and yet the Bible is far more authenticated in terms of the number of original writings that have survived from the time during which they were written than the works of Plato.
Though the Bible was written over the course of many centuries, over the span of about 2000 years, and though it was written by 40 authors, the messages contained on its pages are coherent and consistent. 40 authors tell the same story. If we were to put 40 people from this room in different rooms with a paper and pen and tell them to write down what was on their hearts or minds or what they had seen and experienced with the goal of them all sharing one continuous story. How many different stories would you have? The Bible is one, continuous story because although men wrote it down, it was the Holy Spirit who authored every word. That is why it has incredible continuity.
Archaeologists have confirmed that the Bible is an accurate retelling of history. Excavations of the city of Jericho reveal that the walls did in fact fall as the Bible claims. Other historical books, non-sacred writings, also corroborate what the Bible has to say. There have been some Bible passages which critics once called a myth, but through archaeological digs and discovery, it has been revealed that the Bible told the truth. For example, there were five cities of the plain that Genesis 14:2 described. Secular scholars called them non-existent myths, but ancient documents that have been uncovered have listed those cities as part of ancient trade routes.
Sir William Ramsey is regarded as one of the greatest archaeologists ever to have lived. Skeptical of the authorship and accuracy of the gospels and Acts, Ramsey set out to investigate. Yet he concluded after 30 years of study that “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy…this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.” (Ramsey, W.M., The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, 1953, p. 222, as cited in McDowell, 1991, p.71.)
The Bible is also a self-authenticating book. If you read it with the intent to hear from God, the Holy Spirit will speak to you and confirm that it can be trusted.
(This next section is excerpted from the following site: https://www.gotquestions.org/which-book.html)
The real determination of the Bible’s claim to absolute inspired truth is in its supernatural evidence, including prophecy. God used prophets to speak and write down His Word and God uses miracles like fulfilled prophecy to authenticate His messengers. For example, in Genesis 12:7, God promises that the land of Israel was to be for Abraham and his descendants. In 1948 Israel was returned back to the Jewish people for the second time in history. This may not seem so astonishing until you realize that no nation in the history of the world has been scattered from its homeland and returned! Israel has done it twice.
The book of Daniel predicts with accuracy the coming of the four great kingdoms from Babylon, to Medo-Persia, to Greece, to Rome centuries before some of those kingdoms came on the scene with details concerning how they would rule and be broken. This includes the reigns of Alexander the Great and Antiochus Epiphanies.
In Ezekiel 26 we can see in astonishing detail how the city of Tyre was to be destroyed, how it would be torn down, and how its debris would be thrown into the sea. When Alexander the Great marched on that area, he encountered a group of people holed up in a tower on an island off the coast near there. He could not cross the sea, so he could not fight those in the tower. Rather than wait them out, the proud conqueror had his army throw stones into the sea to build a land bridge to the tower. It worked. His army crossed the sea and overthrew the occupants of the stronghold. But where did he get so much stone? The rocks that were used for the land bridge were the leftover rubble from the city of Tyre . . . its stones cast into the sea!
There are well over 200 prophecies about the coming of Christ. Some say as many as 270. Each one was fulfilled. Jesus would have had no control over many of the prophecies such as His birthplace or time of birth. **(end excerpt) How could anyone doubt the Word of God?
It is astonishing that so much of the plot to this beloved book, the Bible, was told before it ever actually occurred. I am convinced that the Bible is the inherent and inspired Word of God.
I KNOW FOR SURE NOTHING CAN GET BETWEEN ME AND THE LOVE OF GOD
Romans 8:37 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am CONVINCED that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul was convinced that there was nothing that could come between him and the love of God. There was nothing more powerful than the love of God. There was nothing that had authority to put a wall or roadblock between him and the love of God.
Paul said that nothing that was presently happening to him could ever separate him from the love of God. He knew because he was experiencing its power to hold on to him and to even give him fuel to keep doing what he was doing in spite of the consequences that were coming to him because of his preaching of the Gospel.
Sometimes, when life is hard, when prayers aren’t answered the way we want them to be answered or in the way that would seem consistent with a loving God, Satan wants to tempt us to doubt God’s love. No one was probably more consistently persecuted than the Apostle Paul. He had it hard not just because he was a human, but because he was a follower of Christ. Whenever he faced beating, stoning, imprisonment, or shipwreck, he didn’t question, “Does God love me?” Are you faced with a present circumstance that has caused you to doubt God’s love for you? God has sent me to remind you of what the Scriptures say. God is for you. Nothing can separate you from His love. God is never not loving. God is love.
Paul had been convinced of the love of God back on the road to Damascus. If God could come to Paul, whose name was Saul at that time, and call Him into ministry, during a time when Paul was anti-Jesus and was persecuting and killing Christians, if God could reach out to Paul in love in that state, Paul knew he was forever secure inside the love of God.
The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8 that God demonstrated His love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. What that means is, when you were at your worst, when you didn’t know God and weren’t even looking for Him, when you were living in ways that were offensive to God’s holiness, when you snubbed your nose at God, He came to you in love. He sent Christ to die for you. When your actions said to God, “I don’t love you and never will,” or worse yet, when you told God you hated Him, God came to you in love. Paul had experienced the grip of sin and self, and then he experienced the grip of the love of God. Once gripped by the love of God, Paul never wanted to be gripped by anything else again and knew that he would never have to be because the love of God won’t go anywhere. When we are faithless, He will be faithful. He will pursue us in love even when we are headed in the wrong direction.
And Paul said here in Romans 8 that nothing that could come up in the future could separate him from the love of God. Not any sin he would commit. Not any persecution or hardship. Not even death itself could rip him apart from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Isn’t that comforting? There are things yet un-faced for all of us, challenges we have yet to experience, difficulties yet ahead, but we will never face them apart from the love of God. We will never have to do life alone. We will never have to do life without the love of God to motivate us and comfort us in times of struggle. Do you know what I am talking about this morning? There may be some times that we find ourselves squeezed by the pressures and cares of life, but we will be kept safe inside the love of God. He will never leave us or forsake us.
Satan cannot separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. No political power can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. No sickness can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. No cultural shift can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. No external pressure can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. No disappointment or drama can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. No suffering I endure will eclipse God’s love for me. It goes deeper than any pain. It runs higher than any mountain I will face. It is stronger than any force I will come up against. I’m good to go because God loves me! Oh, God’s love is a game changer.
I KNOW FOR SURE GOD CAN DO EVERYTHING HE HAS PROMISED
Romans 4:18-21 18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded (CONVINCED) that God had power to do what he had promised.
Abraham was fully convinced that even though he and Sarah had never had a son and even though they were a gazillion years old, that he and Sarah would have a son and that from them would become an entire nation of people. I love the obvious emphasis Paul made here in Romans 4 when he said, Abraham faced the fact that his body was a good as dead and that Sarah’s womb was dead also. As I have aged some and have now turned 50, I am having to face some facts of my own. Can I get an “amen” from anyone who can identify? Paul wants us to know that against all evidence and against all odds, Abraham was convinced God would do what He promised He would do for Abraham and Sarah.
Here is what I get from that passage: It takes faith to live fully convinced. Abraham knew God had all power. Say “all power.” We have so much evidence, scientific evidence, that God has all-power. It God has all power, then God can do anything. All power trumps no power. All power trumps some power. All power trumps a lot of power. Just think about what God does on a daily basis. Our energy on earth begins with the energy of the sun, right?
Watch this: https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/sun/
Amazing, right? The Bible tells us in Genesis 1 and Romans 1 that God created the sun by His power. By God’s power, He controls the power of the sun so that it does exactly what He has designed it to do for us. That’s just one of the things on His daily to-do list. That is just one of a multitude ways He expresses His power every day. If God can keep the earth spinning on its axis in relation to the sun and be in charge of every galaxy and star (of which there are billions) and if God can be ruling and reigning in the atmosphere to keep us from colliding with other planets, to keep us alive by giving us what is needed like the energy from the sun in order for life to be sustained, if He can maintain the delicate balance of every fireball in the atmosphere, then surely, He can enact His power on any human body, on any human heart, on any human desire or dream, on any relational circumstance, on anything, anywhere, at any time. We serve the God of the impossible because we serve the God of all-power.
I am fully convinced that what God says, He will do. What He promises, He will deliver.
I KNOW FOR SURE WHO GOD IS
2 Timothy 1:12 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED, and am CONVINCED that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
Notice how Paul begins this verse. He doesn’t start with WHAT he knows, but with WHO he knows. It is important to know what we know, but it’s far more important to know in whom we have believed, and not just to know about Him, but to know Him. I spoke with a young twenty-something this week who doesn’t attend church. He was very committed to a set of beliefs, but I will tell you those beliefs weren’t attached to anyone but himself. They were his best guess in the dark. To have a set of convictions that aren’t anchored in the person of Jesus Christ will only take you as far as your creativity, your intellect or your grit. But to anchor your convictions in the person of Christ who can never fail, is the only way to know that one day when this life ends, you have chosen to believe the One who knows the way out of this life and into eternity in Heaven.
Many people know what they believe, but they don’t want the accountability and responsibility that come in having a relationship with a Sovereign and Holy God. Your beliefs won’t take you anywhere if they aren’t anchored to Jesus.
Paul said, “My God can keep safe when I have entrusted to Him.” What was it that Paul had entrusted? Paul banked his life with the Lord Jesus Christ. He gave his very life to the Lord Jesus Christ. He said of himself that he was crucified with Christ. He no longer lived. (Galatians 2:20) Think of it like someone going into the witness protection program. That person gets a whole new life and is counting on the powers that be to take care of that person and keep them safe in their newfound life and freedom. Our God is the God that does that for us. Paul knew he wasn’t able to keep himself safe and to take himself from this life to the next, but he knew God could and would.
Paul gave Jesus everything-his skill, his passion, his reputation, his life’s work—everything that once had been important to Paul, he surrendered to Christ. He deposited his life into Christ’s hands, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would yield a great return. He knew it was the life with the greatest benefits. He knew there would come “a day” when either he would go to Jesus or Jesus would come for him. Until that day came, Paul knew whatever he would surrender to Jesus would be safe in His hands.
I also know that our God can keep whatever we entrust to Him. When we pray and share the longings of our hearts, when we dream and ask for God’s desires and blessing, when we dedicate our children and marriages to Him, when we surrender our gifts and talents to Him to use—all of these are rightly placed within the capable hands of our loving God.
Are you convinced? Living convinced brings me great peace. I don’t have to wonder if I am loved, if I have a purpose for life, or if Heaven awaits. Living convinced keeps me in a state of hope because it keeps me connected to the Person of Jesus Christ. Living convinced puts me in a state of expectation which adds excitement to my life. Living convinced gives me a positive track to run on. Living convinced helps me be spiritually, relationally, and emotionally stable because living convinced keeps me from ever having to panic. Living convinced provides a legitimate testimony to others around me that God is real and that He will do what He has promised. If I am not living convinced, how can I convince anyone else of who God is?
What do you know for sure and Who do you know that can keep you safe as you journey through life to live out your convictions?