“THE EVERLASTING BOOK” By Pastor YAU
1 Peter 1:22-25
1) The preservation: At Dublin Castle in Ireland is the Chester Beatty Library, named for an industrialist who loved the Bible and gave generously to the preservation of ancient manuscripts. The beautiful library includes a variety of exhibits of the Bible. The scrolls and fragments of the New Testament Gospels were among the oldest known biblical texts dating back to the third century AD. God preserved His word through the centuries.
2) The endurance: The endurance of the Bible goes beyond the physical preservation of the scripts and the scrolls. It is the contents, the teaching, the meaning and the power of the words in the Bible that puts it on top of any and all literature. Jesus gave the best description on the everlasting value of the Bible in Mark 13:31, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Later, Peter, Jesus’ most outspoken defender, would write, “All flesh is as grass and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers and its flower fall away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:24-25)
DO YOU KNOW ALL THESE?
1) Numbers of the Bible: The Bible is the most best selling book in the world so long as records were kept of book sales. The United Bible Society alone sold 627,000,000 copies of the Bible in 1999. The Bible has been translated into 2,287 languages by Dec. 31, 2002. Amity Printing was allowed to print tens of millions of Bibles in Nanjing, China.
2) History of the Bible: The Bible was written by more than 40 writers including farmers, fishermen, kings and others in a period of 1,600 years (1,500 BC to 100 AD). The writing period stretched over 40 generations in three continents Asia, Africa and Europe in three languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. It was written in palaces, wilderness, dungeon, prison and hillside. The settings were as diverse as in time of peace and war, prosperity and poverty, in joy and in despair.
3) Inspiration of the Bible: This is the most unique aspect of the Bible: “All Scripture is inspired by God and…..” (2 Timothy 3:16) God is the real author who used many writers to write His words. Over 1,000 prophecies were recorded in the Bible which had fulfilled in world history such as the rise and fall of kings and kingdoms, world events and the history of the people and nation of Israel. Events recorded in the Bible were verified time and again by archaeologists in recent decades. The prophecy of the coming, the life and the death of the Messiah were fulfilled in the birth, life and death of Jesus to the exact. If it were not of God’s inspiration, the odds of fulfilling these prophecies are 1 to 10 million by experts.
4) Effects of the Bible: Since the beginning of Christian faith, no one can count the lives that were changed for the better, hopes were restored, sins were erased, sacrifices were made, good deeds were done, schools and hospitals were built, love were shown, cares were given, testimonies were shared, lives were saved, societies were changed, slaves were freed because of their faith in the Bible, and the list goes no end. In human history, no other religion has given so much to the poor and needy than Christians. No one has built more schools and hospitals and cared for the sick than Christians. No other religion has sacrificed more lives of followers than Christian missionaries and individuals in promoting love. All these and more were done because of the Bible.
EVERYONE NEEDS THE BIBLE: We need the Bible. . .
1) So we may know God: “God is Spirit and his worshippers must worship Him in spirit.” (John 4:24)Since God is spirit and human is fresh, we are unable to know God the way we want to. That’s why all religions failed to offer real help to meet the spiritual vacuum in the hearts of men. God showed Himself to us through the inspired words in the Bible and in the life of His Son, Jesus Christ, so we may have a glimpse of God, His nature, His character, His ways of doing things. God shows us who He is and what he wants from us in the Bible. This is the roadmap by which man may approach God.
2) So we may be saved: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.” (John 5:39) By studying the Bible, millions have found the roadmap to salvation, the true meaning of forgiveness of sin and the redeeming grace of God. Jesus said, “If you hold on to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32) Here the truth points to the teaching of Jesus in the Bible. Once we know the truth, we are freed from the bondage of sin and saved by His grace.
3) So we may be changed: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) We are not just saved by the Bible we are to be perfected in our daily walk as Christians by the Bible. The Bible is good for us to study, to see ourselves as in the mirror so we may grow in righteousness ready to do all kinds of good work. The Bible is like our spiritual roadmap that points us to the right direction and energizes us to pursue good works. Without the Bible, we may follow man’s instinct which is faltering at best. But with the teachings in the Bible, we can be sure of what God wants us to do and to grow.
4) So we may share: “Then Philip began with that very passage of the Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:35) This is the beginning of using the Bible as a tool to share the gospel with those who need to know Jesus. We may give our personal testimony which can be powerful at times. But the most powerful tool in sharing the gospel is the Bible itself. The Bible points to the sinful nature of man, the plan of salvation God has for man in Jesus and the faith of man that leads to forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life. Without the Bible to back us up, there is no gospel.
OUR ATTITUDE TO THE BIBLE: (1 Peter 1:22-25)
1) Be purified by the word: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth.” (1:22) Peter points out 2 practical steps to be benefited by the Bible: obeying the truth and be purified by the truth. Knowing the Bible and all about its facts doesn’t make anyone a better Christian. It is obeying its truth, the teaching, that our lives are purified, made clean and better before the holy God.
2) Be loving by the word: “That you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply from the heart.” (1:22) When we truly obeying the Bible, made clean in our hearts by the Bible, we should be able to love one another sincerely and deeply because we follow the truth in the Bible. Loving one another is a powerful evidence of our obeying the Bible.
3) Be born again by the word: “For you have been born again by the imperishable seed, the living and enduring word of God.” (1:23)The seed is the truth of the Bible. Knowing the Bible and be born again is like accepting the imperishable seed that bears fruits. Getting to know the Bible by studying it in groups or at home may lead to knowledge and salvation. “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword.” The Bible can help us see our sins and leads us to repentance and salvation.
4) Be steadfast by the word: “But the word of the Lord stands forever.” (1:25)Peter said that the truth in the Bible is living and enduring and it stands unmoved, unchanged forever, so, our commitment and faith to the Bible should also be unmoved and enduring forever. Do not allow heresies to lead you astray. Do not allow setbacks of life block you from your faith in the Bible. God has never failed in His word and we should never fail in our faith on His word either. It is on God’s word we build our faith.
5) Be preachers of the word: “And this is the word that was preached to you.” (1:25)Peter reminded his readers that it was because of the word that preached to them, they were purified by the word. Preaching the word is the key to bring souls to salvation. Preaching the word is the key to purify hearts and preaching the word is the mission of the readers in the ancient time and us today. The power of the word rests on the preaching of it. No preaching, no power, no saving souls.
1) Getting to know your Bible: Some have described the Bible as a treasure chess waiting for those who are eager to get spiritual riches. Knowing the facts and the messages of the Bible helps our Christian life. So, read it, study it, meditate on it and you will see and feel the energy of God’s word in the way you live.
2) Sharing the benefits of the Bible: We always love to share some good information to our loved ones and friends such as diet plans, discount prices or good recipes. How about share the Bible and its messages with those who need guidance and encouragement, those who need direction for their lives, correction of their mistakes and forgiveness of their sins. Show them the mercy of God and the love they need to keep them going. Learn more of the Bible and you can share more.
3) Reaping the best of the Bible: The best of the Bible is leading people back to God. If you are searching for meaning of life, looking for better direction of your future, confused on your decision making process and needing love, grace and forgiveness, look into the Bible and you will find God’s word is sufficient for your needs. Still need something else, talk to a Christian friend or call the pastor for help. We are here for you, always.