Fixed, Faithful and Firm Forever

Psalm 119:89-96

Every day, fewer people and denominations actually believe sermon title. In just one day this past week:

“a controversial choice by American Baptist College (NBC, USA) leadership to invite three active proponents of same-sex marriage to speak and lead worship at the College’s distinguished annual Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series and preach at the worship services” 03/17/15

“The senior pastor and elders of City Church, identified as the largest evangelical church in San Francisco [formerly in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and now in the Reformed Church in America (RCA)], will no longer require members to abstain from homosexual practice, so long as the homosexual activity occurs in the context of marriage.”

“The 171 regional “presbyteries” or local leadership bodies of the church (PCUSA) have been voting on whether to change the wording to call marriage a contract “between a woman and a man” to being “between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”

Issue is not the morality of homosexual behavior; issue is authority of Scripture, its “plain sense” relevance in 21st century. Could even say it goes another step deeper: the immutability of God and his authority. Do we believe that? If so, can conclude this:

Since it was the God who cannot lie who gave us his Word, the Bible is inerrant, sufficient and transformative.

Even though we believe this, would stake our lives on these truths and, if necessary, give our lives for them, need to be reminded of them. In some ways, minds are like computer memory – need to be powered and refreshed to be retained. Walk the old paths, revisit the landmarks regularly to keep truths alive and fresh.

A. God’s word is fixed (89)

God is unchanging, therefore his Word need not change

first challenge came only days after God started speaking to Man – Gen. 3:1 “Did God actually say…?” ESV

Voltaire [18th cent. French philosopher] held up a copy of the Bible and said, ‘In fifty years I’ll have this book in the morgue.’ In fifty years he was in the morgue and the Geneva Bible Society owned his house and used it as a place to store Bibles.” — Phillips, Exploring the Psalms, 2:344.

Eccl. 1:9-10What was will be again, what happened will happen again. There’s nothing new on this earth. Year after year it’s the same old thing.Does someone call out, “Hey, this is new”? Don’t get excited–it’s the same old story.” MSG

if that really is true, if all we’re doing is rediscovering old stuff, God’s word doesn’t need to change

but…the bottom-line issues are still the same today as in the Garden – rebellion against authority (I can decide for myself), deception (I’m not that bad, you’re not that good), pride (I deserve better), desire for autonomy (make my own rules, change them when I feel like)

all the new ways of thinking are simply repackaged old heresies: sinful man’s attempts to redefine reality

if God’s word is irrelevant, then God probably is irrelevant, too; as time goes on, more people who believe that have courage to actually say it publicly

one more thing: don’t be fooled by way issues are presented – today’s ODD is the Bible’s “rebellion”; today’s addictions are Bible’s “drunkenness”; today’s permissive lifestyles, Bible’s fornication and adultery; just a few examples, there is no sinful behavior known to man not identified in God’s word

if foundational issues are still the same, and design of things is still the same, solution to the problems is still the same

God hasn’t changed, his design for his Creation hasn’t changed, mankind’s fundamental problem hasn’t changed, God’s solution hasn’t changed, therefore God’s revelation of all of that won’t change

the unchangeability of God’s word is rooted in the character and decrees of God – he has already declared the end from the beginning: iow, God declared / decreed the goal and purpose of all things before foundation of the world, including all the various means necessary to that goal

for us to need a new Bible – relevant, modernized and up-to-date – would require a change in God’s decree, an impossibility with God

is this that gives believer “strong encouragement” – God has spoken and has taken an oath – his word is fixed, he cannot lie

Heb. 6:17-18 “So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.”

we know what God expects, we know what God promises, we have hope and comfort; if God’s word is not settled, all bets are off

B. God’s word is faithful (90)

God and his Word faithfully achieves his purpose

God’s word is firmly fixed in heaven but by no means confined to heaven – extends to earth and those who live on it

false teachers get that principle: if God’s word remained locked up in heaven, God and angels are all who would ever see it; hence need for Gabriel to bring it piece by piece, special glasses to read Reformed Egyptian, etc

a significant manifestation of God’s love to his people, sent his Word to his people (greatest one – sent his living Word)

God’s faithfulness (God’s truth, LXX) from generation to generation, iow, for all generations; again, another indication of God’s immutability

also, in minds of translators of LXX, was such a thing as absolute truth, a metanarrative that applies to all people/all places/all times

faithfulness: certainty, dependability, firmness – what is essential to many areas of life; need something that doesn’t move to build on, to hang on to, to come back to

if God has made declarations / promises, his faithfulness ensures that they won’t change and he won’t fail to keep them

if God has made statements about what he expects his word to accomplish, can be just as certain about that

Isa. 55:10-11“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater,So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

that truth along with Rom. 10:17 “Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ.” gives confidence to evangelism efforts, regular preaching

when the “word of Christ” is proclaimed and God so pleases, it will not return to him empty, it will accomplish his purpose

C. God’s word stands firm (91)

God declared the end from the beginning, so his Word must stand firm

willingly or otherwise, all things serve God; they, therefore, must bend to his will and Word, not other way round

is good to remember the second Psalm we studied:

Psa. 2:1-4​​​​​​​Why do the nations rebel? ​​​​​​Why are the countries devising plots that will fail?​​​​​​​The kings of the earth form a united front; ​​​​​​the rulers collaborate ​​​​​​against the LORD and his anointed king.​​​​​​​They say, “Let’s tear off the shackles they’ve put on us! ​​​​​​Let’s free ourselves from their ropes!”​​​​​​​The one enthroned in heaven laughs in disgust; ​​​​​​the Lord taunts them.”

is a true statement: Word of God is the anvil that has worn out countless hammers; skeptics and intellectuals and people of all persuasions have done their utmost to discredit Bible and yet…it stands

in the last 200 years, enough Bibles have been printed to put one in hands of every man, woman, child on the planet!

in every contest between Bible and other worldviews/views of reality, Bible always comes out the winner – has not been proven wrong in any of its declarations in almost 3500 years of existsence

when God purposes to use a particular agent to accomplish his purpose, matters not whether that agent is believer or heathen

talking with someone couple days ago – expressing great thankfulness to God for particular individual who has been an indispensable help; individual clearly sent from God for specific time and purpose, yet….to all appearances is far from God, presently has zero interest in spiritual things

since God’s word tells plainly what we can expect now and in future, should treat it as reliable and live accordingly

have assurance from God’s word that Lord Jesus has conquered his enemies and ours, will have final victory at the appointed time – means we should live as “more than conquerors”, those who “have complete victory” (Rom. 8:37)

D. God’s word gives life forever (93)

God’s Word, written and living, are the sole source of eternal life

gives life by its encouragement (92); preserves life by giving direction (95); addresses all of life by its breadth (96)

is the delight and encouragment found in God’s word that kept psalmist from giving up and dying in his affliction

“Some of us can set our seal to this statement. Our affliction, if it had not been for divine grace, would have crushed us out of existence, so that we should have perished. In our darkest seasons nothing has kept us from desperation but the promise of the Lord: yea, at times nothing has stood between us and self-destruction save faith in the eternal word of God.” CHS

God’s word supplies wisdom and directional help necessary to avoid traps wicked people set that could destroy us

“We do not go to the Bible to escape the realities of life but to be strengthened to face life and serve God effectively.” Wiersbe

no part of life that falls outside scope of Bible to address – Dr. Spock finally figured out he got it wrong, after thousands of children got off to rough start; that will never happen with God’s word, always has right answer for our challenges

see John 6:63, 68

we all believe what Peter declared – for those who are seeking eternal life, Jesus is the only one who has “words of eternal life”

yes, is an exclusive message – this way, only this way, no other way; but so is message of Judaism, Islam, countless others; God’s word the only one that delivers on its promises, its transforming power can be seen in lives of its followers

What are we to think, then? God and his Word are fixed, faithful, and firm forever. What more then do we need? If we belong to Christ, can count on him for deliverance (94). He not only delivers from, he delivers to: from dangers here, to place of our eternal hope. We have confidence that serves as an anchor – once again,

Heb. 6:17-20Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath,that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Never mind the storms, the attacks, the challenges and frustrations; at least, don’t be overwhelmed or paralyzed by them. Remember the anchor we have for our souls – our hope in the Living Word, the Lord Jesus, as he is revealed to us in God’s written Word, the Bible.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s