The Breath of God - Part 4

Selected Scriptures

Tom Pennington  •  January 4, 2004
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Well, tonight we're returning to our study of the doctrines of the Bible, and specifically, what the Bible says about itself. As you all know, we came from Los Angeles, and while you had to endure the trial of O J Simpson, we had to endure it in great intensity. Everything in LA is entertainment, including what should have been a serious occasion, and you saw it as entertaining as well, I'm sure. Probably tired of hearing about it when it was going on.

But as I thought about that trial, in terms of what we're going to talk about tonight, I was reminded that part of the defense strategy was to attack the credibility of the witnesses. For example, if you heard anything about it, or you read anything about it, you saw that part of the strategy was to attack the crime scene investigators, and the professionalism with which they went about their task. Another part of the defense strategy was to undermine the integrity of the forensic laboratory that actually took those samples and tested them and came out with results.

And then, ultimately, the attack of the defense attorney against those who were bringing the charges was to undermine the credibility of Mark Furman, one of the lead detectives on the case. The primary strategy which they set out to complete, to undermine the case that was presented against O.J. Simpson, was to undermine the credibility of the witnesses. Because ultimately, the credibility of the witness determines the credibility of the testimony.

As we have looked at a defense of inspiration, we called some remarkable witnesses: Moses, the Old Testament prophets, David, the apostles, Christ's half-brother James, and even the brilliant mind of the apostle Paul. But as strong as their testimony was, tonight we call, what we could say is our star witness, Christ Himself, whose integrity and credibility cannot be impugned. And we need to look at what Christ has to say about the Scripture.

Let me remind you of what we've studied so far. I'm not going to review everything. Let me just briefly remind you that as we have talked about a defense of inspiration, we've taken three basic lines of evidence. We are currently looking at the internal evidence, that is what the Bible has to say about itself. The content of the Scripture, about the Scripture. Next week, Lord willing, we'll look briefly (because I don't think we need to spend as much time here) we'll look briefly at the external arguments. That is, those arguments for inspiration from outside the pages of Scripture, or at least start outside the pages of Scripture, and argue in. And then, finally, the Spirit's authentication. Next week as well, I hope to get to that. But ultimately, the greatest evidence of the integrity and the inspiration of Scripture is the work of the Spirit of God in the heart of those who believe.

But we're talking about the internal arguments. When you look at the internal arguments, we've looked at two of them already. The first was the Bible's claims to be the Word of God. Unequivocally, when you look at the pages of Scripture, it claims to be God's infallible, God-breathed words.

And then, when you look at the New Testament writers, and you look at what they have to say, they identify the Old Testament as God's Word, and, as we saw last week, they, in addition, identified the New Testament as God's word as well.

And then finally, the third, sort of internal argument for the inspiration of Scripture, is what Christ has to say, and that's what we're going to look at tonight. Just to remind you briefly, when we looked at the Bible's claims, we looked at a number of texts in both the Old and the New Testaments, where the Bible claims to be God's Word. We also looked at the New Testament's identification of the Old Testament. It viewed the Old Testament as fixed and authoritative, and it viewed the New Testament as equal to the Old Testament Scripture, and we looked again at a number of texts in line with this argument.

Now, let me just tell you that next week, Lord willing, I will have for you the print-outs to bring you up to date, these print-outs that I'm showing you now. They'll bring you up to date, and we'll have them in the back. Because of the short week this week, we weren't able to get that to you, but we'll do that next week.

Now, that brings us to where we want to start tonight. All of that's review. Let's look now at Christ's authentication of Scripture. If you ask most Christians why they believe the Bible, they'll take you to two texts. There's nothing wrong with going to those texts. Those are valid arguments, but what are they? Second Timothy 3 and 2 Peter 1:21. They'll quote those texts. Those are crucial texts, but early in His ministry, Christ laid down the infallible test of His truthfulness, and the truthfulness ultimately, of the Word of God, the truthfulness of what He taught. I want you to turn to John 2, John 2:13. This is Christ's first Passover as part of His ministry. But He does something remarkable. In verse 13 it says,

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple….

Now you understand the background of this, those of you who have been a part of the church for a while. You know that essentially, people coming to Jerusalem for the Passover wouldn't want to bring an animal with them, or perhaps they were afraid that in the transit the animal would somehow be injured, and it would not be acceptable to sacrifice. And so, they would purchase animals for sacrifice once they arrived at the temple. This was a convenience for them, and also a great way to make money for both the temple and the people who ran it, as well as for the people who were actually selling the animals.

In addition, they needed money-changers, because many of the Jews were not merely coming from their own area, that is from Israel, but they were located outside of Israel, and they were coming with money that needed to be exchanged so that they could purchase these animals. And of course, as the records tell us, often these moneys were changed at exorbitant rates. There's even a hint that there was an insistence, at least at one period of the temple's history, that you had to use temple money to buy these sacrifices. So, you couldn't even use normal everyday money. You had to exchange your normal money for temple money, if you will, monopoly money, so that you could buy these animals. And of course, the exchange rate was against you if you were making that exchange. And the person sitting on the other side of the table was making a hefty little profit. What a racket.

I saw this in person, by the way, working in India. I won't go into a lot of detail, but when I was in India, (I was in Calcutta and one of the darkest places on earth, unquestionably), but I went to the temple of Kali. Kali is one of the Hindu gods, one of the most evil and wicked of the Hindu gods. And I stood from here to that first row from an animal sacrifice. But the point of this animal sacrifice wasn't to atone for sins. Rather, it was someone paying this priest to sacrifice this animal to put a curse on someone they hated. And I watched this happen, and I talked to my guide and found out that, in fact, you had to buy the animal from this priest, and then you paid the priest to kill it, because only the priest could kill it, and then you got back only a few portions of the animal that was slain, and the priest got the rest, and he sold it in the back. We went to the back where they were selling it out the back door. Quite a racket. The same thing was true in Jerusalem.

[So Christ] … made a scourge of cords and He drove them all out of the temple with the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the coins of the moneychangers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business." His disciples remembered that it was written, ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME. [now watch verse 18] The Jews then said to Him, "What sign do you show us as your authority for doing these things?" [Wait a minute. Who are You to show up on the temple grounds. You're not one of the hierarchy of the priests--you're not one of the Sanhedrin--the 70 who oversee Israel. By what authority do you come in here and drive all these people out. Notice Christ's response.] Verse 19, Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

Now, you have to admit, if you'd never heard that and you were standing there, that would sound like a pretty bizarre response to the question. By what authority do you do these things? Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Could you just answer the question? But this was His answer. Notice verse 20. "The Jews then said," [They were confused even about His response, this temple.] "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"

This was, in what's called the second temple period. Basically, and I won't go into all the history, but basically, when they returned from Babylon, they started rebuilding the temple. But it was a meager representation of the temple that stood in Solomon's construction. Then, a few years before Christ, Herod the Great embarked on a thorough-going renovation of the temple. That's what their reference is here. This construction process has been in place for forty-six years, and will You raise it up in three days? Verse 21 is the key verse.

But He was speaking of the temple of His body. So [that] when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken.

Here's the point. Jesus staked the truthfulness and authority of everything He did and everything He said on one historical event. He says, you believe Me, you respect My authority, you believe the words that I have spoken, if one thing comes true. If the temple of My body is destroyed, and three days later I'm raised again. If that happens, then you understand the authority by which I do this, and that will be the authentication of the truthfulness of what I'm telling you, and of what I'm doing. Part of what Christ taught (follow me carefully), part of what Christ taught was the inspiration of the Old Testament, and since He rose from the dead, we can believe His claims about, not only Himself, but also about the nature of Scripture. We're going to look tonight at some references where Christ is crystal clear about the nature of Scripture. Why do we believe that? Because He authenticated what He taught with the miracle of His resurrection. That was the source of authority as He began His ministry for everything He would do: the resurrection.

So, with that in mind, let's look at what Christ taught about the Scriptures. First of all, of the whole. Let's look at some references that deal specifically with the whole of Scripture. Let's start with Matthew 5. Matthew 5:17. In the sermon on the mount, Christ says this. "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets…." Now that phrase is the usual Jewish phrase for the Old Testament. That title, the Law and the Prophets, or similar ones like "Moses and the Prophets" occur fifteen times in the New Testament. Sometimes the entire Old Testament is simply called "the Law". For example in John 10:34, Jesus quotes a passage outside of the first five books of Moses, and calls it "the Law". So sometimes the entire Old Testament is simply called "the Law".

But when Jesus says, "The Law and the Prophets," He is clearly referring to the entire Old Testament. That was a designation for the 39 books that are in our Bible. They weren't divided as 39 books in the Jewish Old Testament, but that was the content. So, what is Christ saying? Notice what He says. The entire Old Testament, the law and the prophets: I didn't come to abolish it.

"I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law [watch this] until all is accomplished."

Everything the Law and the Prophets teaches. You see what Jesus is doing? He's affirming the entirety of the Old Testament. He's saying that it will all be fulfilled, and in so doing, He's underscoring its inspiration. We'll come back to this text later, but let's move on for now.

What else does He say about the whole of Scripture. Turn to Matthew 22. Matthew 22, and we're going to race through these tonight. Matthew 22, and notice verse 23. "On that day some [of the] Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him," Let me just remind you that we're now in the last week. We started in the first events in Christ's ministry, and now we're in the last week in Christ's life. On Monday and Tuesday of the passion week, Christ essentially, as I've told you before, took over the temple grounds, and He took all comers. He answered all questions, and they came at Him with a number of questions. That's what's happening here in Matthew 22. It's the Monday or Tuesday of the passion week. Actually, this will be Tuesday of the passion week, and He's responding to questions. Notice, on that day, some of the Sadducees came to Jesus, and here was their question. Verse 24.

"… Teacher, Moses said, IF A MAN DIES HAVING NO CHILDREN, HIS BROTHER AS NEXT OF KIN SHALL MARRY HIS WIFE, AND RAISE UP CHILDREN FOR HIS BROTHER." [So far, so good. Verse 25.] "Now there were seven brothers with us, and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother; and also the second, and the third, down to the seventh." [Do you believe this story? I'm not sure I believe this story.] "Last of all, the woman died." [Verse 28.] "In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they had all married her." [This sounds like something seminary students invent to stump their professors. Verse 29.]

But Jesus answered and said to them, [now watch what He says] "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven."

Did you see what Christ said? He charged the Sadducees with erring concerning the resurrection because they did not know the Scriptures. What's the clear implication of that? That the Scriptures do not err. You follow that line of reasoning? If you had understood the Scriptures, then your thinking wouldn't be wrong on this. The implication is, the Scripture is always right. The Scriptures don't err.

Let's look at another one. Luke 24. Again, this is what Christ had to say about the entire Old Testament. We'll narrow our search in a moment. Luke 24:44. This is His appearance after the resurrection, and He has just eaten with His disciples at the sea of Galilee, "Now He said this to them," verse 44. "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." There, again is that all-encompassing statement about the Old Testament. The Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms. With those three designations, Christ encompasses everything we know to be the Old Testament, and He says, they wrote about Me (that's for another message.) But He says, they will be (all of those things will be) fulfilled. Every part of the Old Testament spoke about Him, and it must all be fulfilled.

John 10:35. You remember the context. Verse 30, He had claimed I and the Father are one, which is an obvious claim to deity.

The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. [verse 31] Jesus answered them. "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me? The Jews answered Him, for a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God. Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, I SAID, YOU ARE GODS? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming, because I said, I am the Son of God?'"

Now, we'll come back to this text, and to Christ's argument. What I want you to see right now is what He said about the entirety of the Scripture. "The Scripture cannot be broken". The Greek word translated "broken" is the common word for breaking the law or breaking the Sabbath. What Christ is saying is this: It is impossible for the Scripture to be annulled, for its authority to be withstood or denied. It will stand. The Scripture, (and remember that's that technical Greek term for the Old Testament) it will stand. It cannot be denied. It cannot be broken.

Luke 16. This is the last reference that I'll give you in terms of the support for Christ's comments on the whole of Scripture. Notice Luke 16:31. This is at the conclusion of the story of the rich man and Lazarus. These words are really quite fascinating, because you remember that he begs, that is, the rich man begs for Lazarus to be sent. Verse 27,

"… '… I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house--for I have five brothers--in order that he may warn them, so that they will not come to this place of torment.' But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' But he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!'" [Now notice verse 31.] "But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets [there's our term again for the Old Testament] they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'"

He said that if someone refused to believe what was written in the Old Testament, then they wouldn't be convinced even if there was a miraculous resurrection. By the way, that's a compelling argument that evidences to prove Christianity, no matter how compelling, will not convince those who have not submitted in faith to God's Word. No amount of archeological evidence, or any other kind of evidence is going to convince a person of the truth and integrity of what God has said, even a miraculous resurrection.

So, Christ's comments about the whole of Scripture are clear. But I want us to move beyond that, and I want us to look briefly at the parts of Scripture. What did Christ have to say about even the parts of Scripture, individual passages. Well, first of all, Christ often quoted from passages in the Old Testament, and He stakes His entire argument on the integrity of the Old Testament text. By doing this, Jesus affirmed His belief in the inspiration of the Old Testament. You see this in many places. For example, (and we won't turn here, but) you remember in the temptation of Christ He responds three times to Satan from Deuteronomy. And He began each quotation with, "It has been written". A phrase that was often used to mean it is certainly true--it is unquestionably true. It has been written. It is to be believed. It is true.

I do want us to turn to Matthew 19. And notice verse 4, let's start at verse 3. "Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and [saying] … 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason all?'" Again, (the common wisdom of the time) one of the rabbis had said that's perfectly legitimate. If she burns the toast, if she doesn't appeal to you, as a warped interpretation of Deuteronomy 24. If she finds no beauty in your eyes, was the idea of the interpretation that they gave it.

And He answered, verse 4, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning "MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, (now watch this. He who created said) 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'?"

Here's the point. You go back to Genesis 2:24, and you'll discover that either Adam said this, or more likely, Moses said this. But God didn't say this. The point is that Christ regarded the words of either Adam or Moses in Genesis 2:24, probably Moses, as being ultimately from God. Christ was affirming the inspiration of that passage.

John 5:39. He's rebuking the people for not listening to the witnesses that have been given to them about His person. The witness of John in verses 33 to 35, the witness of works in verse 36. The witness of the Father in verse 37 and 38. And verse 39, the witness of the Scripture. "You search the Scriptures because [and that's again that technical term, a reference to the Old Testament Scriptures] because you think that in them you have eternal life. It is these that testify about Me;" You see, Jesus constantly taught that the Old Testament talked about Him. And in fact, He spoke of His own life fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. Keep your, well you don't need to keep your finger there. Turn briefly to Luke. Luke 18, and let me just give you one example of this. There're so many in the New Testament, but let me just give you one example, Luke 18:31.

… He took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again."

He's saying, listen, I am fulfilling (my life and what's about to happen to Me is a fulfillment of) what the Old Testament spoke of. Christ was authenticating (when He quoted those Old Testament passages, He was authenticating) them as the words of God. Matthew 26. Notice verse 47. This is the night of Jesus' betrayal and arrest. And verse 47,

While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him." [Verse 49.] Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. And Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you have come for." Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. [Now notice verse 51.]

And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off is ear. [We know this is Peter.] … Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" [Now watch verse 54.] "How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?" [He says, Peter, listen, if you continue to act this way, then how is it possible for the Scriptures to be fulfilled which have predicted that this will happen. Verse 55,] … [Why]

"Have you come out," [Jesus said,] "with clubs and swords to arrest me…." Every day I was sitting in the temple teaching and you didn't seize me. [Verse 56,] "But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets."

You see what Jesus is saying? Jesus clearly believed that the Old Testament spoke authoritatively about Him. So much so, that He thought it was more important that the Old Testament prophecies about Him be fulfilled, than that He escape arrest and the horrible death of crucifixion. Think about that. Think of the weight He's giving those Old Testament prophecies when He says, don't fight to rescue Me. Let Me go to My death because this will fulfill what has been prophesied and written about Me. Christ affirms not only the whole of the Old Testament, but also individual texts as you go through the flow of the gospels. And those are merely representative of them.

But I want you to see that He also affirmed the history of the Old Testament. And I won't spend any time here, I'm just going to reference these for you. But I think it's interesting, because Jesus regarded the history of the Old Testament to be unimpeachable. In fact, He often chose His illustrations in His sermons from the very passages that are most often attacked by the critics of the Bible. I just think that's ironic, certainly intended. Let me just give you a brief list.

Look at the history of the Old Testament that Christ affirmed. First of all, the creation of man. He speaks of it as a literal historical event. The murder of Abel, those were not mythological figures. Those were individual persons, Christ says. Noah's flood. Christ refers to and affirms the validity of Noah's flood. Sodom and Gomorrah, He refers to in a sermon illustration. Affirming again the historicity of what occurred there. The situation with Lot's wife turning to salt, which is one of the most bizarre of the miracles of the Old Testament, you have to agree, and yet Christ specifically mentions it and affirms what happened there. And Jonah and the great fish, which is again a hot button for many of the critics of the Bible.

Christ affirmed the history of the Old Testament in many different ways, but I just think it's very interesting that He chose to affirm those very incidents, those very situations, that are so hotly criticized by those who would attack the Bible. Without question, Christ authenticated the history of the Old Testament. And, by the way, these events are throughout a wide span of Old Testament history, Old Testament years. But let's move on in the interests of time.

Let's look at Christ's affirmation of the words, the individual words of Scripture. Now we're to remember what we studied when we looked at a definition of inspiration. Now we're down to verbal inspiration, that is, the words themselves are breathed out by God. Christ affirms this in His ministry. Turn to Matthew 22 as our first text. Matthew 22:23. This is that story that we read. I won't read it again, but I want you to skip now to the end, where we left off, where He's confronted by the Sadducees about this odd marriage situation. Notice what He said in verse 31. He says,

"But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read [as I mentioned to you last time, I just love that phrase. I mean, you talk about a dig at these men who said that they were experts in the law. I mean, haven't you read this part of the text? Have you not read] what was spoken to you by God: verse 32] 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB'? [quoting Exodus 3:6 Christ says] He is not the God of the dead, but of the living."

Now notice what Christ is saying. He's quoting that verse, and when God, in Exodus 3:6 at the time of Moses, long after the death of Abraham, says, I AM the God of Abraham, Jesus is making the argument that that means that Abraham lives on. That Abraham isn't truly dead. God still is his God, not was his God. You see what Christ is doing? He's making an argument on the basis of the present tense of the Hebrew verb. He's affirming the individual words of the Old Testament in His rebuke of these Sadducees. I love that.

Notice the next text. Matthew 22:44. Again, He comes to the words of the Old Testament themselves, the specific words. Verse 41,

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: "What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?" They said to Him, "The son of David." He said to them, "Then how does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' [now notice what He says, verse 44. This is a quote from Psalm 110:1.] THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET"'? "If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his son?" No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question."

What is Christ saying? Basically, His entire argument is based on the words "my Lord" and really on the pronoun "my". Because David is quoted as saying, The Lord, that is, the Father, said to My Lord, that is the Messiah, Sit at My right hand until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet. Christ's entire argument rests on one small Hebrew expression, really the pronoun, "My". He's affirming the inspiration of even the words of the Old Testament.

One more, and that's John 10:34. We looked at this text briefly before, but let me give you His argument now. John 10:34, You remember that He's claimed to be God. They've said that He's blaspheming because He's claiming to be God, and Jesus gives a rather cryptic response in verse 34. "Jesus answered them, Has it not been written in your Law, 'I SAID YOU ARE GODS'? Christ quotes Psalm 82.6. If we were to turn there, we're not going to take the time to do that, but if we were to turn to Psalm 82:6, basically, God, in that text, calls unjust judges gods. And then, He calls down judgment on them for their lack of justice. Christ is making His entire argument here on the basis of the plural "gods". He's affirming the authenticity and inspiration of the words of the Old Testament.

What about the letters. I skipped making a comment on this when we were in Matthew 5, but look back there for a moment. Matthew 5:18, He said He didn't come to abolish any of the Old Testament, but to fulfill it. Verse 18, "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished." The smallest letter refers to the Hebrew letter "yowd". You can look up here, and I'll illustrate it for you. Watch the arrow. That little curlicue that the arrow is pointing to the letter "yowd" in Hebrew. It's the smallest letter. But He says also, not a stroke will pass from the law until all is fulfilled. You know what a stroke is? Again, watch the animation, and you'll see. It's the little foot on that letter that distinguishes it. It's the difference between an "o", a capital O in English, for example and a capital Q. That little small curlicue at the bottom that differentiates the two. Christ is saying, not the smallest letter and not the slightest pen stroke will pass from the Old Testament until all is fulfilled and accomplished. How can you more radically affirm the Old Testament than that?

One more text. Luke 16:17, he basically says the same thing, "But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail" There was that little "foot" again. Not even one stroke is going to fail. Heaven and earth would pass away before that happens. It's impossible to imagine a stronger way to affirm what the Old Testament says.

So, Christ is clear. He authenticated the Old Testament. But you say, well, what about the New Testament? Did Christ have anything to say about the New Testament? It wasn't written when Christ ministered on the earth. Well, that's true, but He did have something to say about it. I want you to look briefly at Christ's pre-authentication of the New Testament. Turn to John 14, John 14. This is the night before our Lord's crucifixion. Notice verse 25. He's talking to the apostles. He says "These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you." Verse 26, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring [all to your remembrance, or bring] to your remembrance all that I have said to you." Now this is not a promise to us. You know, some Christians come to this text and they imagine that God is going to somehow open up their brains and sort of pour Scripture into it. It has nothing to do with us. This text is to the apostles. Christ is saying, when I leave, the Holy Spirit is going to come, and He is going to teach you all things, and He's going to bring to your remembrance all that I taught you when I was with you. Everything I said to you over the three and a half years that I've ministered to you, He is going to bring back to your recall.

He says it a little differently in John 16. John 16:12. Same night, same opportunity to teach the apostles, he says to them,

"I have many more things to say to you but you cannot bear them now." [So how are You going to say them, Lord?] Verse 13, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." [Anybody here had something disclosed to them which is to come? Obviously this isn't a reference to us. This is a promise to the apostles.] "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you." Verse 15, "All things that the Father has are Mine, therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you."

You get the idea? Christ is promising the apostles that they will have the benefit of the Holy Spirit, who will both teach them what they do not yet know, reveal to them what is yet to be, and help them recall everything that Christ taught. In saying that, Christ is pre-authenticating the product of their writing.

But I think He says it even more interesting in a text that isn't often looked at, and that's in John 17. I want you to see how He, again, pre-authenticates the New Testament. Notice verse 6. Now, let me remind you of the context. John 17 is the high-priestly prayer of Christ. That is, this is the true Lord's Prayer. The prayer that we normally call the Lord's Prayer is really the disciples' prayer. This is Christ's prayer to His Father on the night before His crucifixion. Now notice what He says in verse 6.

"I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word." [Not notice what Christ is saying. He's saying, I communicated Your word, Father, to these apostles. I've communicated Your word to them, and they have obeyed that word.] Verse 7, "Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You;" [In other words, they have agreed that the words I've taught them originated with You, Father. They agreed, they acknowledged the divine origin of the words of Christ.] Verse 8, "for the words which You gave Me I have given to them;" [There again, He's talking about words now. He's talking about revelation. … the words which You gave Me I have given to them.] "And they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that you sent Me."

So, not only did the apostles receive this word communicated from God to Christ and from Christ to them, they received it, they obeyed it, and they believed it. They believed it to be in fact the words of God. Now skip down to verse 14. "I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." Christ made a divine deposit of the word with these men. Verse 17, and Lord, I want You, Father, I want You to use this word that I have communicated, that I have deposited with them. I want You to use it in a specific way with them. I want You to use it to sanctify them, to set them apart. Your word is truth. It's Your word I gave to them, Father, and I want You to use it to set them apart, to sanctify them, just as We are sanctified by the truth. Now, notice verse 20. This is building. Notice verse 20. "I do not ask on behalf of these alone" that is, the apostles "but for those also who believe in Me through their word;"

Now follow what Christ is praying. He's saying the apostles, or let me back up. Let me give you the full picture. Christ is saying, Father, You gave Me words. I have taken those words and I have deposited them with these men. I have taught them. I've poured Myself into them. I've given them these words. They have received them as if they were the words of God. They have affirmed them to be that, and they have believed them. I've made a deposit of that word with these men. Now, these men, the apostles, are going to take that word which I gave to them, and they're going to pass it on to others, and many of those who hear will believe, just as the apostles did through the word. You see what He's saying there in verse 20? That word that I gave them, they're going to take, and it becomes their word in their mouths, and many are going to believe through the words which they hear. Notice the track that Christ describes. That's what I want you to see. Christ says, Father, You gave Me words. I received them. I gave them to these men the apostles, and they're going to take those words and give them to those who will believe their words, the words of the apostles. Christ, in all of these texts, I believe clearly and unequivocally is authenticating the New Testament. These men (and we'll talk about this when we get to the canon of the New Testament, that is why the books of the New Testament that are in the Scripture are there) these men were proxies for Jesus. They were His "sent ones" His appointed ones. And what He's saying in these texts are, listen to their words. Their words come from the Father through Me and the Holy Spirit is recalling what I taught them to mind. He's revealing things I didn't have time to teach them, and He's even telling them things which are going to be hereafter. Listen to them.

Christ could not have been more direct about His confidence in the inspiration of the Scripture--both the Old and the New Testaments. To reject the inspiration of Scripture is to reject the testimony of Christ. When you look at the internal evidence, that is what the Bible and it's authors say about the origin of Scripture, there is absolutely no question. It claims to be the very words of the living God. And Christ claims the same thing for it. To borrow C.S. Lewis' language from his argument about the deity of Christ,

You can say that the Bible is a vicious deceitful fraud, fabricated by evil sadistic men, or you can embrace it as the authentic infallible breathed-out word of God, but let us have none of this patronizing nonsense about the Bible being great moral literature. It does not leave that option open to us, and it did not intend to.

It is the word of God.

There are implications to that, and we'll talk about those in the coming weeks. Let's pray together.

Father, we thank You for the living breathing word of God, that it's alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword. We thank You that You have made it so clear within the text of the Scripture itself what its claims are.

Lord help us who know You and believe You, not to take Your word lightly. Lord, don't let us neglect it for unimportant things. Help us to give our lives away to understand it, to treasure it, to teach others, to guard it, and defend it against those who would attack it with error. Lord, help us to be faithful and pass it on to the next generation.

And Lord, my prayer is, that from this church, from the young men in this church, that You would raise up a new generation of men who would guard this treasure and teach it and who would in turn pass it on to the next generation.

We pray these things in Jesus' name, Amen.