Hey, welcome friends. Man, this group is excited. I'm just confused. Thank you. Good night everybody. Thank you. If you're joining us from elsewhere you're confused like I am. We are so excited to continue the series Asking for a Friend. Welcome in the room. Welcome in Fort Worth, El Paso, Houston, where ever you are joining us from, as we continue this series. Man, you guys, that was great. Let's close in prayer.
Let me start by saying this. Before I got married there were certain purchases that were allowed in my life. One of them was I, at some point in time, was into remote control helicopters. Gentlemen, that's going to go. At that time in my life I was single. I had gone and purchased one. I had brought it home. It was this enormous one that for some reason I was really excited about.
I had a friend that was hanging out that night. I was like, "Dude, let's go fly this thing and see how far and how fast and how well it flies." So we go outside. We take it out, and we begin to fly this helicopter. Things are going fine. I'm controlling it, and it's up in the air. I begin to realize, I'm not sure I have control over this thing. I'm moving the buttons around, and it's not corresponding with the things that I am moving my hands around.
I begin to realize that this thing, it's just beginning to take off. It has a mind of its own. True story. It's just going off, aimlessly flying through the air. It's sailing past. For whatever reason it had gotten disconnected from the controller while this thing was trying to guide it. So I just begin taking off running after it to try to get back within distance to allow the signal.
You would think it would just drop out of the air. It didn't drop out of the air. Probably because I bought it at Walmart. (Nothing against Walmart.) This thing just took off, and it began flying. I'm chasing over, and it begins to go over the houses behind our house and past some trees, and it's gone. I'm like, "What just happened?"
We get in my buddy's truck, and we begin driving up and down the alleys. I'm holding the remote out the window hoping that we're going to cross some house and I'm going to reconnect with the signal and be able to pick this thing back up. I know it's either still flying somewhere or it's in someone's backyard. Eventually it's going to run out of batteries, or it's going to get run over if it lands on the street. All the fun that was to be had was not going to take place. We spend the next few hours trying to do that.
The reason I start there is because in that scenario what had happened was this helicopter…this is such a ridiculous story…had lost connection with the controller, the thing that was supposed to guide it and direct it, to be providing instructions on where to go. In doing so, it spiraled out of control, began to wander aimlessly, and eventually ran out of batteries. We never found it. True story. It was a one-hit wonder. There we go.
In being disconnected from the source of instruction (which was the controller) and disconnected from the source of guidance or something to guide it, it just spiraled out of control and eventually ran out of batteries somewhere on somebody's house or something. It was no longer connected to something that was there to provide it direction and guidance.
Now what does that have to do with what we're talking about tonight? When you open the Bible, the way that the Bible talks about itself…in other words, the way that the Scriptures speak of itself…is that they are to be much like a control (or controller in that situation), a source of direction and guidance in your life to keep you from aimlessly wandering, to keep you from eventually burning out and running out of energy, and to keep you from not experiencing the purpose you were created for.
The Bible is there not to be a source of control in your life but a source of guidance inside of your life to protect you from spiraling out of control just like that helicopter in that situation. This is what the churches always really believe: the Bible or New Testament, the writings of the Scripture in general, are there to lead us to life, to be a source of guidance and direction in our life.
Tonight, as we continue this series, we're going to talk about why you and I can trust the Bible. Why believers can trust the Bible. Just like in that scenario, or just like the Bible tells about itself, if we can't trust the Bible…in other words, if it's not true, if it's not really a source of guidance inside of our life, and we can't trust the words that it says…there is a lot at stake.
Not just eternity. As if that wasn't enough of eternally in heaven or eternally in hell. In other words, if the Bible is not true, it's not trustworthy, it's not reliable, then there is not just eternal life at stake, there's this life at stake. There's meaning, purpose, a relationship with God, direction in life, the point of you knowing or experiencing having an understanding what life is all about.
If we can't trust that, all of that is gone. If we can't trust the Bible, really candidly, all we're doing right now is wasting our time. There's a lot at stake. In other words, there's a lot better things. There are margarita deals on Tuesday night. There are a lot better things we could do on a Tuesday night if the Bible is not true. We should probably shut this thing down and get on with it.
If it is true, then there is no length or no… We cannot go far enough to live by it, to allow it to guide our life. If it is true, it says it is a source of guidance from God himself who wants to lead you and me to life, who doesn't want to rip you off, and is not sitting around being like, "Man, I just really want to control you and keep you from fun." He's a God who wants you to experience the greatest life possible.
So we're going to talk about…_Can you trust the Bible? _ If we can't, everything's lost. Why and how can Christians trust the Bible?We're going to look at five P's that will be a starting point for why Christians trust the Bible.
We live in a world (I live in the same world that you do) that constantly is saying, "The Bible's been changed over time. It's been translated so many times. Can we really know what it says? There are so many different interpretations of it. Who really knows? Wasn't it written by men? Are we sure that these are the words of God? I'm sure there's some great stories in there, but can we really trust it?"
I'm going to be my best to present the evidence that God has made it abundantly clear, history has showcased that it is abundantly clear, that God's Word can, should, and must be trusted. We're going to look at five principles, if you will, around why Christians trust the Bible. They build on one another. If you take notes, you can write the five things why Christian's trust the Bible. The first will just be a launching pad into the conversation, establishing the fact about what the Bible professes to be. What does the Bible profess about itself? In other words, what does the Bible say that it is?
1._ Profession._ The Bible professes to be the Word of God. Here's what the Bible says in 2 Peter 1:20-21.Peter writes and he says this, "…that no prophecy of Scripture [the Bible] comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
What are you saying Peter? Peter is saying that the way that the Bible was recorded was that God directed man to write down certain things, certain things to be included in the Scripture. That's just what the Bible says about itself. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Timothy says this, "All Scripture is breathed out by God [or God-inspired] and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Now what does that prove? It doesn't prove anything. If you're going, "Oh man! So the Bible claims to be the Word of God. Does that prove it?" No. I mean, you could have a crazy uncle who claims to be a billy goat; that doesn't mean he's a billy goat, but it does establish into the conversation that the Bible claims to be... In other words, if people are like, "I don't think the Bible ever says it's that big of a deal," it says it's a big deal.
In fact, Peter, writing in 2 Peter 3 (later on in that same book), further establishes that the New Testament writings (the writings of Paul he specifically addresses) are considered Scripture. Here's what he says. It's 2 Peter 3:15-16.
"Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes in the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction."
What are you saying? I love what Peter says. He really says what a lot of us, if you've ever read Paul's letters, have experienced from time to time. Where it's like, "Man, what are you trying to say?" Even Peter is like, "Look, I hear you've been reading Paul. I get it. It's a little confusing. Does he realize we're fisherman?"
At the same time, it may be a little complex, but they are the words of God. Peter believed that Paul, in his letters, was writing Scripture. What does that prove? It proves that the Bible professes to be the Word of God. Is that conclusive evidence? No, but it's a starting point as we investigate the truth and why Christians trust the Bible. So the first is that it professes to be the Word of God. The second reason I think gives us grounds for why we can trust the bible is…
2._ Production._ The production of the Scripture is unbelievable. If you spend any time… Regardless of your faith background, regardless, really, of what you believe, the 66 books that make up the Bible that were written over 2,000 years ago by 40 different authors in 3 different languages on multiple continents…that all profess the same story line, that all tell of the story line of the God who has made provision for humanity, the God in the story line of the Bible…are essentially God's pursuit and God's plan for redemption in our world of sending his own Son to be the Savior of that world. The Old Testament, all of it, points to Jesus. The New Testament, all of it, talks about Jesus.
Even the production as a remarkable thing that it would have that same consistent message over thousands of years by different men who'd never met each other, who wrote in different centuries and yet spoke of the same story line. They spoke from palaces, prisons, wildernesses, places of exile. They spoke of history or they wrote historical books, law books, poetry, prophecy, proverbs, New Testament letters and gospel accounts all with this underlying cohesive message together of God's plan to redeem the world by sending his Son, Jesus.
The Bible is not a single book, in other words. A lot of times you hear, "Man, it's just this one single book." It's not like Harry Potter. It is a collection of 66 books that God, throughout history, preserved and provided for his church to know. In fact, the word Bible means the books. La Biblia. Where we get that word from. The books.
Evenin the production we see it smacks of divine order, that you would have spread out over centuries the same message from different men in different languages on different continents. Even some of the authors in the New Testament are, I think, some of the strongest evidence for why we can trust the New Testament and what it says.
In other words, the story line of the guys who are writing the Bible… I don't know if you know this, but the guys who wrote, particularly, the New Testament (really, all of it) weren't straight out of vacation Bible school. These dudes were all guys who had a past. I mean, you look at them and each one of them provides some evidence for why this could be trustworthy.
Let's take Matthew. I don't know what you know about Matthew. Matthew wrote the gospel of…Matthew. There we go. This is a sharp audience. Matthew was a first century mafia member. That's what Matthew did. He was a tax collector. He was a guy who had no religious background, had nothing to do with God, didn't want to have anything to do with God.
He meets Jesus. His life becomes transformed. He sees his resurrected Savior, Jesus. He gives his life for that Savior, gives his life for that message. A guy who did not grow up in church, did not want to have anything to do with God. He's essentially in the mafia. That's what a tax collector would've been in that day. He encounters Jesus, and everything changes.
Who else? Who else has a story that would be involved there? Let's look at James and Jude. James and Jude were the baby brothers of Jesus. As we said before… We said recently around here that they were the baby brothers of Jesus, and you know what? They didn't believe that their brother was anything special. We're told, even in the Gospels that the family of Jesus was like, "Dude. What are you doing Jesus? You're embarrassing us. You're claiming to be God. Get him back in here. Mom, let's bring him home." They did not believe.
What would it take for you to believe that your sibling was the Son of God? Think about it. Anybody have a sibling? They're like, "Yep. They're pretty special. I'll be…" You'd be like, "I don't care what anyone says. I grew up with the guy. I know him and…not Son of God." Until, James and Jude saw their big brother die and come back alive, and everything changed. They said, "My big brother is my Messiah. He's my Savior." These weren't men that always believed. They didn't ever believe until the resurrection, and everything changed.
What do you think about Paul? Even the New Testament author Paul smacks of God's divine intervention in someone's life, testifying to the truth of Jesus, who he said he was, of what the Scripture promised, of the resurrection. Paul was the artist formally known as Saul. Saul did not like Christians. Maybe you're in the room and you have had bad experience around church, around Christians… Pales in comparison to Paul.
Paul, or Saul (he had a name change midway through) spent half of his life trying to stomp out Christianity. He wasn't just like, "I'm not the big religious guy." He was like, "Oh I'm a super‑religious guy and I'm an anti-Christian guy." He spent his first half of his life trying to stomp out Christianity. He oversaw the death of Christians. Then one day he meets Jesus, and everything changed. God used him to write close to three-fourths of the New Testament.
Author after author. These weren't men who were just like, "I've always been a part of this, and I really believe in the cause." They were men who didn't believe, and their life was transformed. The production itself smacks of the divine intervention of our God. As we continue…Why do Christians believe?First, it's the profession. Second, it's the production, which clearly seems to capture something extraordinary taking place. Thirdly, it's…
3._ Preservation_. This next one is remarkable to me. This is crazy. In other words, what do I mean by preservation? New Testament is written. I'm going to focus primarily on the New Testament, which is the second half of the Bible. The New Testament is written, and all of these different letters and gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and then the letters that are written inside of there…
Christianity explodes. It goes from this Jewish carpenter peasant who all of a sudden rises from the dead. Things begin to take off pretty well, and it explodes everywhere. People are coming to faith left and right. It really begins to spread all throughout the Roman Empire. So what happens?
This letters and these accounts, these four gospels and the letters of Paul, people begin to go, "I want a copy of those." So copies are made of the letters of Paul and of the gospel accounts. They're spread all over the place. Copy after copy is made because people are like, "If I can have one of those letters…one of those letters…we'll read it every day in church. Please, can you get us one?"
So these letters are all of a sudden are spread all over the ancient world. We call them manuscripts or just copies. That's just a big word for copies. What does this have to do anything about why we can trust the Bible? The manuscripts that we have… If we can't trust the preservation of those manuscripts because of the extraordinary amount of them and the extraordinary quality of them, we can't trust any book from the ancient world.
The manuscripts that we have are an unbelievable abundance of riches as it compares to… We not only know what the original said, we have thousands and thousands of copies that confirm that the message of the Bible has not been changed. Copies that go back…not to the Da Vinci Code, AD 400 or 1000…go back to AD 90. We have copies unlike any other ancient book of the world.
What do I mean by that? Well let's compare copies from the ancient world. When you look at other books by comparison… Let's talk about some of those. Who's heard of Caesar in the room? Okay. Good. I was about to make a joke that would be inappropriate. Okay.
Caesar was a guy, and he was the, essentially, emperor of the day. There's a book called Caesars' Wives. If you've ever studied anything about Roman history and the caesars, we have 10 manuscripts from which we pull all of our understanding of Caesar. Everything that we've ever know about Caesar, everything you've ever studied on it, comes from 10 manuscripts.
Who has heard of Plato? If you've heard of Plato in the room. What do we have from Plato? What types of copies or manuscripts do we have from him? Seven. We have seven ancient manuscripts, which is pre-printing press. Seven from the ancient world. Tacitus. If you were a history major (like me) you would have studied Tacitus. Tacitus was the primary source for all Roman history that we have.
How many copies do we have of Tacitus' writing? Twenty. All right. Well how many do we have of the New Testament? You guessed it…24,633. You might be going like, "Aw man, is that really a fair comparison? Maybe those are just __________." (18:38) Let's look at second place. Second place, the second most widely documented book from the ancient world, is Homer's Iliad, which has 634.
We have 24,000 more copies of the New Testament than we do of the second closest book in all of manuscripts or copies from before the printing press, partly because of the explosion of Christianity. People saw this is as the living, active word of God. They said, "We need to hold onto this. We need to preserve it. We need to do everything that we can to protect it."
These aren't copies that were dated years later. They're copies that were dated all the way back to AD 90. One has been arguably dated at AD 60, right around the time of when the Gospels and all these things were being written. Are there changes inside of the 24,000? If you've ever heard somebody before… I don't know if you turn on the TV and someone's like, "Well the Bible's been translated so many times. How can we really know?"
You've probably heard there are a bunch of changes inside of the different manuscripts. The bad news is there are changes. There are differences. There are thousands of differences. Do you know what the differences are like? In case it just got you a little bit, "What? There are some changes inside of there?"
Let me walk through what the differences are. This comes from one of the leading New Testament paperologists and New Testament scholars in the world (Dan Wallace is his name). He says 99.5 percent of the changes (the differences between those manuscripts) all fall into three categories.
This is about to be really boring, what I'm about to say, but it's the only way I can actually answer intellectually to someone who's like, "No, dude. My grandma told me the Bible's been changed." It hasn't been changed, and your grandma's wrong. Stay with me. Between those 24,000 differences, 99.5 percent (that's not a made up stat) fall into these categories.
First, spelling differences. John being spelled with two N's. "Oh, that's a mistake. That counts." That's the biggest difference, spelling differences. Spelling differences make up 70 percent. Secondly, changes that are not even translatable into English. They deal with the particle thee. In other words, sometimes it said, "Hey. This one says, 'Thee John loves Jesus.' This one says, 'John loves Jesus.' Time out. Not God's Word. Okay? Done here." That what, when people say this, they're saying. Go research it for yourself.
Maybe the best encouragement, you could leave it or not with this, (21:05) is begin to research and think for yourself. Stop trusting YouTube comments that are like, "Bible is wrong. User09," and trusting that that guy is right. Just go research it for yourself. It feels like our world continues to not paint the truth. Just tell us the facts. Stop painting some narrative about how the Bible's been changed. It's ridiculous.
What about that 0.5 percent? It may not be much, but that could be something significant, couldn't it? Stay with me, because this is about to get even more boring. In grad school we had to study that 0.5 percent. You may be like, "Oh, that could be cool. I want to see what the big differences here are inside of the New Testament that have been changed." Let me give you a couple of them. These are about as exciting as it gets.
Here's one. It comes from a manuscript that covers 1 Thessalonians 2:7. Most of the manuscripts say this, "But we were gentle among you. Like a nursing mother taking care of her own children." We found an older manuscript that says this. "But we were like infants among you. Like a nursing mother taking care of her children."
In Greek, the word between gentle and infants is one letter difference. Nepios or ēpios. So which one is it? I guess we can't trust the Bible. We had one outlier. I mean, that truly is it. Let me give you another one. Go research it for yourself. This is another one. It comes from Mark 9:29. It's Jesus replying to his disciples, who were like, "Hey, why couldn't we cast the demon out?" He said, "This kind can only come out by prayer."
Then we found a manuscript out of those thousands that said, "This kind can only come out by prayer and fasting." So which one is it? Probably not a bad idea to fast. I don't know. At the end of the day, it doesn't change anything significant. Even that right there… Look in your Bible. It's footnoted. Some say, "Prayer and fasting," at the bottom.
If you're sitting there, you're experiencing what I experienced sitting in class in grad school going like, "All right, dude. Give me the hard one. I want the big one. I want the one that's like… Where's the one about Jesus being married?" You're like, "We've all heard that from TheDa Vinci Code." It doesn't exist.
Where's the one about… This one says Jesus died on a cross. This one says he fell off a cliff. Where's that one? Where's the one that says Jesus had 12 disciples? This one says he was part of a biker gang. Where is that one? They don't exist. All of the differences are a trivial as that. The idea that the Bible's been changed is, candidly, intellectually lazy.
It has not been changed, and you can not believe it for a lot of reasons. Believing that someone can rise from the dead, that's a good enough reason if you can't get there, but to say that it's been changed is a smoke screen and, candidly, you've either bought propaganda or you're being intellectually lazy. The fourth reason why Christians can believe and trust in the Bible is…
4._ Proven._ It is proven historically reliable time and time again. This is something else that's remarkable about the Scriptures. Unlike any other religious book that's out there. The Bible makes these predictions and then pulls them off, over and over and over again. In other words, there's these sayings called prophecies inside of the Old Testament. Where there are these prophecies that are given, and they're hundreds of years before the event would take place and then the event takes place.
Some of the most common ones you probably have heard are around the life of Jesus. Where hundreds of years before Jesus was around, there were 360 prophecies that he, one after one after one, fulfilled. Some of them deal with things that you have no control over, like where you're born. Him being prophesied to be born in Bethlehem. No one controls where they were born. No one can be a part of that. Yet it took place.
Other ones, even more remarkably, deal with how he would die. Why do I say even more remarkably? This comes from a thousand years before Jesus was alive. It comes from Psalm 22, where David writes about Jesus being crucified. It says, "…a pack of villains encircles me…" Speaking in a messianic way. "…they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare at me and gloat. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment."
It reads almost identically to Matthew 27:35. It's 1,000 years before. What is even more remarkable is he speaks of crucifixion. "My arms are pierced, and my feet are pierced." This is 300 years before anyone had ever been crucified. It was invented in the 700s. The predictions that are contained inside of the Old Testament are remarkable, one after one. Historically, the Bible has proven true over and over and over again.
Maybe you've read the words of Isaiah, who wrote 700-plus years before the life of Jesus, and would say this in Isaiah 53, speaking of Jesus, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." That entire passage points to Jesus. Hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born.
There was a guy who was head of mathematics and another part of the sciences at Pasadena college in California. He basically began to allow mathematics and include them in the conversation of what are the odds that someone would be able to complete eight of the messianic prophecies that are there...eight of the messianic predictions…let alone 360.
What he found, or his conclusion, was that for someone to complete eight of them would be the equivalent of having the chances of one in ten to the seventeenth power, or one in one hundred quadrillion, which would be the equivalent of taking the state of Texas and filling it up about a foot and half with quarters, telling someone to walk as far as they want to into that sea of quarters after having marked one and placing it in a random place, blindfolding them, telling them to walk as far in any direction as they want then allowing them to bend down and pick one out of that hundred quadrillion. Those are the odds that they would pick it. He concludes it's an undeniable fact of the remarkable history and prophetic conclusions, or the prophetic completions, of Christ.
Not only that. You can even look outside of the Bible and see how things that were predicted in the Bible were even confirmed. This is super nerdy, but let me give you one, and then we'll move on. Just to get this off my chest here. Who has heard of Alexander the Great? This is crazy. Alexander the Great. He was a Greek, essentially, conqueror. By age 30, the dude takes over the world. We know Alexander went all over. He literally conquered the known world. He went very far east. He went very far west. He conquered the known world.
You know what's in the middle of the known world at that time?Jerusalem. Everywhere that Alexander went he would make people pay things. A lot of times he would destroy villages. A lot of times he would destroy things. You know what happened when Alexander the Great showed up in 332 to Jerusalem? The high priest of the city of Jerusalem went out to Alexander the Great, and he showed him Daniel 8. He said, "We knew you were coming."
Daniel 8 speaks of how there would be a Greek conqueror who would come into the land and would take over. He allowed Alexander the Great to read it, and Alexander said, "All right, have a good day. We're good here," and he allowed the city to stay intact. Josephus talks about this inside of his writings. It's not just something that has been made up. It's not something that's not anchored in history.
There is more evidence for life of Jesus outside of the Bible than there is for the emperor that was around the same time that he was. There are 42 references outside of the Bible, many by non-Christians. There are 10 for the emperor Tiberius. Think about that. This isn't some, "Oh, we made it up. It's not anchored in history."
Think about that. That would be like within 150 years of President Trump or President Obama there are 42 references of some dude from Mabank, Texas, or nowhere-ville. There are 42 references outside but there are 10 of President Trump or President Obama. The leader of the land. The ruler of the known world.
It is an undeniable, unmistakable reality of God's intervention into the world. The Bible has been proven historically accurate over and over and over again. There are reasons to not believe it if you can't get over the resurrection, but the historical reliability is not one of them. Finally, the reason why Christians believe that the Bible is true is because of…
5._ Personal testimony._ Those of us who have put our faith in Jesus and we've begun to live by God's Word, we've experienced the transformation that comes by living according to what God's Word says. We've experienced it when it says, "It's here to give you life. It's here to lead you, and it's here to guide you. Like a remote control with the helicopter. It's true.
In other words, we've experienced the life…personally experienced the life of what it looks like to experience freedom from pornography addiction and experience freedom from anger and bitterness from past hurts, from family divorce, from all the things in our past. Personally for me, to experience freedom and increasing peace in the midst of a world that feeds anxiety and can fill that anxiety.
We've experienced that there is truth contained here that no amount of evidence could convince otherwise because we've experienced it. The fifth reason why Christians believe in the Scriptures is because of our personal experience and personal testimony with it. All over this room right now, there are men and women who, by the thousands, have experienced the transforming truths that are contained in God's Word. They've experienced in their own life.
I was talking with a new friend I just met tonight, earlier this evening. He was saying about how a year and a half ago he came, and he trusted in Christ here. He was depressed. He was addicted. He was miserable and lonely, he said. He trusted in Jesus and began to live by God's Word, and his life began to change. It's happening all around you.
People don't come to The Porch because we give opinions. If you do, the day we do, stop coming. We try to just open God's Word and say, "He's preserved it throughout history for us." He's a God who entered into human history for us, who displayed his love perfectly for us on a cross, who preserved his teachings in order to tell us and to guide us to life. The personal testimony that we've experienced, which may be the strongest, candidly, inside of the room.
Here's what I know. If you're inside of the room and you're like, "I just don't know that the Bible is true," I would love to talk with you. I'd love to speak with you, because usually, most of the time, it's a smoke screen. Let's be honest. It's not like, "Oh, the Bible's been changed," is your deal. You're afraid it may require you to change, and that's why you don't want the Bible.
That's, candidly, why most of the conversations with family over Thanksgiving are where people are like, "You know it's been changed." It's because they're afraid it may require them to change, so they don't want it to be true. Not because of some convincing teaching that provided that it was true. In conclusion, the Bible declares it is the Word of God. Its production and its preservation smacks of it. It is anchored in history like no other work is, and it's transforming the lives of everyone who applies it and lives by it.
I took that helicopter back and… Well, I didn't have the helicopter; I had the remote. I took it back to the store, and I explained what happened. I was like, "This is all I have." They said, "Huh. Man, that's bizarre," and they gave me another one. They were like, "We'll give you a second one."
I don't really know why they decided to do that. Maybe just because it's Walmart and that's it, but they gave us a second chance. If you're in the room and you've been hiding underneath this cloud of, "Do I really trust the Bible? Can I really believe it? I'm just going to keep living for myself," this is God screaming at you. This is your second your chance. He's not angry at you. He's crazy about you.
He wants to make sure that you know it. He wants you to know it so badly he died in your place. He wants you to know his love for you so badly, he wrote it so that you would never have to wonder. He's anchored it in history. This is your second chance. He's not here to rip you off; he's here to lead you to life.
You have been sold a lie if you think the God of the universe is out there being like, "I don't want anyone to have fun." You have been sold a lie. He's the God who made you, who loves you, who died for you. He wants to allow anyone who will accept his Son and his death and resurrection in your place to experience that new life. He wants to guide you to it through his Word, through his people, and through his Spirit. Let me pray.
Father, thank you for the amazing gift of your Scripture. Father, I just confess for all the times that I have not seen it as an amazing gift and I haven't taken advantage of it. How many millions or billions of people throughout the ages would've given anything to have a Bible, and they fill my home and they fill my desk and they fill shelves, often unused. Father, would you make us people who live by your Word because we've encountered your Son, who all of the Scripture and all of your Word points to.
I pray for anyone in this room right now who's never had a moment where they trusted in Christ, they never had a moment where they came to accept Jesus as their Savior, that you would stretch out your hand right now. You would move them past the excuses and move them past all the different reasons that they tell themselves about why they can't believe that it's true, and they would at least begin to seek answers, because there's a God who wants to know them, and whether they realize it or not, they want to know. Father, thank you that you have revealed yourself and you would lead us to life if we would let you. We love you. Amen.