T H E R O C K
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
What is “the rock”? The rock is “these sayings of Mine”. The rock is all sayings of Christ. The rock is Christ’s pronouncements, what He has said, His teachings, admonitions, corrections. The rock is His Word.
And the rock is the Father’s words. Jesus spoke what He heard the Father say.
And the rock is the words of the Holy Spirit. The words of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are the same, not a pinch of difference. The Three are in agreement. There is no variance in Their language. Holiness speaks truth and truth is consistent and truth is oneness.
The body of Christ universal contends that The Book is the inerrant Word of God. The Bible is a collection of Scriptures written over a period of about fifteen hundred years. The Bible is a containment of many of the words of God.
The original writings of Scriptures are gone. Copies of the original writings are in abundance. Although copyists were dutiful in their duplication, there are minor variances between one lineage of copyists and another. The Dead Sea Scrolls are ample evidence our Bible maintained much accuracy throughout millenniums of copying, not perfect accuracy but near perfect. What is certain is the accuracy of conveyance of thought and teaching. The thoughts of God, those He wanted us to know, are sure. What He said He said more than once through more than one.
The one building on the sayings of Christ is building on the sayings of His Father and is building on the sayings of the Holy Spirit. Wisdom is building one’s life on the Bible.
The Bible is about Jesus, mostly. It is certainly also about the Father and the Holy Spirit, and about villains and heroes of the faith, and about angels and the devil and demons, and about heaven and hell, but mostly the Bible focuses on Jesus. That’s the way the Father and the Holy Spirit intended it to be.
The Bible is a story of salvation. God’s man sinned and needed to be rescued from the awful penalty attached to sin, and the Bible reveals God’s plan of salvation. God the Son had to become a man to be able to save mankind. A sacrifice was required, a pure and sinless sacrifice. Since no beast or man or woman qualified, God became a man so that as a man a satisfactory payment for sin could be made. As all men, the man Jesus entered the human race as a single cell, this holy cell implanted in the womb of a virgin. Jesus eventually evolved into a spotless sacrifice and thus a savior to those choosing to be rescued.
The wise man, then, is the one building his/her life on The Book. That is why it is so very foolish to give the Bible less consideration than other writings. Building on Christ’s words are building on Christ. Saying Amen! to Bible verses is saying Amen! to God.
The Bible Christ is different from the catholic Christ (or should that be christ?) and the Jehovah’s witness Christ (or should that be christ?) and the mormon Christ (or should that be…?) and the atheist Christ, though they all have some similarities. The Bible Christ is the true Christ, true in every aspect. When a charismatic christian completes the charismatic cycle (and when the evangelical completes the evangelical cycle) he often chooses the Christ tradition has invented, and it is this less-than-true, less-than-real Christ he will worship. It is always safe and wise to address and worship the one, true Christ because there is only one one, true Christ. (“Father, I ask in the name of the one, true Christ….”) How important to know the Christ of the Bible. And how important to know the Bible is an authentic recording of God’s words and ways.
This chapter validates and eulogizes our precious Bible. It is not exhaustive by any means, but certainly sufficient to convince the honest heart the Bible is indeed God’s Word. I think the reader will be warmed by the evidences brought forth, confirming what you already know by the witness of the Holy Spirit. The insights of this chapter were not birthed in me. They came, as most knowledge comes, from others. Who learned from others who learned from others. I suppose these perceptions could be considered family effects. So now we will look at that awesome book, our Bible, God’s extremely precious Word to us.
Jesus authenticates many of the Old Testament books by quoting from them. That deserves repeating….
Jesus authenticates many of the Old Testament books by quoting from them. These books must be as true as Jesus is true and the account of Christ’s words in the gospels are accurate. “The truth” (“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”), “Him who knew no sin”, He whose “name which is above every name”, the only Man unable to deceive or even exaggerate, indirectly but most assuredly certifies Old Testament writings by simply making reference to them.
When Jesus said, “It will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city!”, He established the trueness of the book of Genesis which gives the account of the destruction of those two cities. (Isn’t it heart-warming to know that the Genesis Jesus studied during His grow-up years and His adult years and the Genesis we study is the same Genesis? The next time you read from the Old Testament consider that Jesus read those same words, though in a different language.)
Jesus accredits the book of Malachi by quoting from it (referring to John the baptist): “This is he of whom it is written: Behold I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.” Now get this: Since Malachi is established by Christ Himself to be true, Malachi can now be used to validate other books. Can you see that? Malachi makes reference to Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Numbers, Ezra, and Nehemiah. These references by Malachi validate these books. Using the same logic, these five books can, in turn, be used to validate other books of the Old Testament.
Jesus quotes from or makes reference to Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, 1 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Psalms, Isaiah, Jonah, Zechariah and Malachi. Again, this reference authenticates these books. And again, these books can be used to validate other books they make reference to. Can you see the huge network of evidence intertwined throughout the Old Testament? And we are just getting started.
All eight authors of the New Testament writings make reference to Old Testament books. True, their validation is quite secondary to that of Jesus. And yet if their writings are shown to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, as the church so claims and wholeheartedly believes, their endorsement would have to be considered significant. But are the New Testament writings actually inspired by God? More on that later. Let’s momentarily, for the sake of discussion, make an assumption they are truly inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Matthew makes reference to several Old Testament books, as does Mark, as does Luke, as does John, as does Paul, as does James, as does Peter, as does Jude. The network of evidence interwoven throughout Old Testament writings – assuming the New Testament is accurate – expands greatly because the books they reference can now be used to further validate each other.
If you rightly prophesied, say, twenty out of twenty future events you would impress your friends. Their trust in your relationship with God would strengthen as your prophecies were fulfilled. Now let’s say you wrote down those revelations in a book beforehand. Do you think your friends would consider your writing to be inspired of God? I think you know where I’m going….
Old Testament writings foretold the coming Christ would be born of a virgin. In Bethlehem. Of the lineage of Abraham. And Isaac. And Judah. And David. Hosea prophesied Jesus would come “out of Egypt”; we all know Joseph fled with his family to Egypt, returning years later when evil Herod was dead. It was foretold infants would be slaughtered in an attempt to eliminate the holy Child. It was foretold Jesus was to be preceded by one “crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord.'” Isaiah foretold Jesus would be a miracle worker – healing the lame, the blind, the deaf, the mute. David pronounced He would speak in parables. It was written Jesus would be betrayed by a friend. For thirty pieces of silver. It was said Jesus would be spit upon and slapped. They would beat Him with rods. They would ridicule Him. And pierce His hands and feet. And cast lots for His garment. And offer Him vinegar. Not one of His bones would be broken through the entire ordeal. He would be buried “with the rich”. And be raised from the dead. And ascend into heaven.
Also, many events regarding the nation of Israel were prophesied and fulfilled, one of the most notable was the reestablishing of the State of Israel in 1948. No other nation has been dispersed throughout the world and reestablished. Every fulfilled foretelling is further evidence favoring the Old Testament.
Jesus appealed to Scripture as proof that He was who He said He was:
Jesus: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” (Jn.5:39)
Jesus: “All things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” (Lk.24:44)
Jesus: “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.” (Jn.5:46)
Can you see Christ’s appeal is Christ’s validation? Would Jesus appeal to the Old Testament if it were less than accurate, less than valid?
Also, Paul and Peter considered Scripture to be venerable:
2 Timothy 3:16: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
Romans 1:2: which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures.
Romans 3:2: the oracles of God.
1 Peter 1:23: having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.
2 Peter 1:20, 21: no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus did not quote from the New Testament. None of the twelve quoted from the New Testament. So how do we know the New Testament is accurate?
The Old testifies of the New. The New fulfilled many of the prophecies of the Old (others are yet to occur). The Old declared Jesus was to be born of a virgin; the New states Jesus was born of a virgin. The Old says He was to be a sacrifice for all; the New says He was a sacrifice for all. In many instances the New fulfilled the Old. The truths of the Old and the truths of the New are the same. Same God, same Messiah, same teachings, same promises, same happenings.
Let’s look at Matthew. Matt either told the truth in the gospel of Matthew or he fabricated. Writing what he wrote put him in grave danger, and logic tells us he would not have written what he wrote unless he had good reason. Like maybe he wanted to tell the truth about his Lord.
Matt was there the first time Jesus cleaned out the temple with a whip, turned over the tables spreading their coins all over, and declared the temple to be “My Father’s house”. The pharisees didn’t like that. Made them real mad. And they didn’t like the crowds following after Jesus. Didn’t like Jesus condemning their hypocrisy. Didn’t like Jesus exposing their greed. Didn’t like Jesus calling them blind guides and whitewashed tombs and brood of vipers. Right in front of everybody.
And the pharisees would not have a strong affection for His apostles. Remember how scared they were when Jesus was arrested, how they fled in terror? Remember the panic attack Peter got when accused of being His associate? Remember the locked doors where they gathered after the crucifixion? Remember the imprisonment of Peter and John?
Matt was a marked man, as were all the apostles, certainly on the most-wanted list of the big guys. The big guys had power. They convinced Pilate to execute a man (a Man) he knew to be innocent. Matt heard Jesus say: “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” And to the pharisees: “I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in the synagogues and persecute from city to city.”
Matt was safe as long as he stayed close to Jesus. The pharisees didn’t dare arrest Jesus because the crowds would turn on them because the crowds believed Jesus was sent by God because they seen the many miracles. That’s why they arrested Jesus in darkness. But now Matt was on his own. Had he slithered out of Jerusalem, returned to Galilee, and kept his mouth buttoned, maybe the big guys would leave him alone.
The law of probability would suggest Matt was telling the truth. He was carrying out his assignment, doing what apostles do, declaring the truth about their Christ. And historians tell us he paid the ultimate price (martyred). The same logic can be transferred onto Mark and Luke and John (exiled). And the other New writers – Paul (stoned, imprisoned, executed) and Peter (martyred, perhaps crucified) and James (executed) and Jude (martyred). It took real conviction to declare the righteousness of a man who just recently hung between two thieves on a cross, a man rejected by a nation – their own nation.
Another reason these men were sure to be accurate in their account is because of who Jesus was – “the Truth”. They had been disciples of the Truth for three years. They ate with and hiked with and suffered hardship with the Truth. Surely they would speak and write the truth about the Truth.
Romans 8:16: The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
Christians, to be fruitful, must learn to live by the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. The christian’s greatest confirmation of the legitimacy of both the Old and the New is this witness. You, in fact, have the ability to know by the Spirit what is true and what isn’t. For many decades the early church has discerned the New Testament we now possess is “Scripture inspired by God”.
Logic tells us since God gave His covenant children written Scriptures, what we call the Old Testament, by which to rule their lives, surely He would provide the same for us who are under a new and better covenant. That being so, what except the Bible could they be?
The New Testament writings change individuals, this phenomena occurring hundreds of times per day throughout the world. Chances are before you finish this chapter several people somewhere will have turned to Christ for salvation after learning the New Testament gospel. You and I are evidence of the spiritual power contained in those precious words of truth; we have been born-again. No other book can make such claims. None other gives new life. The New Testament has radically altered the course of history; the world would be entirely different if the New Testament was never written.
It has been my observation that catholics, myself included, rarely read the Bible until they became born of the Spirit in response to hearing the gospel. Then they read it hungrily. I once prayed for my little girl to have visions of heaven, and she did, and she immediately picked up the Bible to read. After first discovering Christ I read the Bible many hours every day. It seems a true spiritual experience will cause one to turn to The Book, an indication it is indeed God’s Word.
IT’S STILL HERE
The very survival of New Testament writings is further indication of its supernatural quality. What chance did they have to survive? Why should the world listen to jews; their ordinances and rituals made them seem to be such a peculiar people. Logic cannot explain why the words of a Nazarene miracle-worker, whose life ended in shame, should have ever survived.
But the New Testament books have more than survived – they have flourished, having long ago reached all nations. It can be found in the dentist office, the barber shop, the hotel room. It’s at many inaugural ceremonies, executions, weddings, funerals. It is displayed on the altar of many churches, its verses are written on tombstones and wedding invitations.
The New Testament is preached, sung, taught, discussed, debated, and studied more than any other book. It outsells all books. Today it is being wept over, ridiculed and outlawed more than any other writing. Universally people rise early to contemplate its teachings in the stillness of the morning, and read a few verses before sleeping.
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Other words – teachings, sayings, writings – have come and gone, erased from memory and interest. But not so the New Testament. Could it be the New Testament is what Jesus referred to as “My words”? Jesus said the wise man builds on His sayings; surely He provided an account of those sayings.
SPLENDOR OF THE WORD
Scriptures are pure. (“Every word of God is pure.”) And true. (“The entirety of Your word is truth.”) And spirit and life. (“The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”)
The Bible is powerful. (“The word of God is living and powerful.”) And holy. (“The Holy Scriptures.”) And sharp. (“Sharper than any two-edged sword.”) And trustworthy. (“These words are true and faithful.”)
The Word is everlasting. (“The word of the Lord endures forever.”) And revolutionary. (“The disciples were astonished at His words.”) And precious. (“How sweet are your words to my taste.”) And soothing. (“Comfort of the Scriptures.”)
The Book saves. (“It is the power of God to salvation.”) And steers away from sin. (“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”) And grows faith. (“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”)
The Bible sanctifies. (“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”) And sets free. (“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”) And warns. (“He who despises the word will be destroyed.”) And brings health. (“They are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”)
The Scriptures cause prosperity. (“Believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”) And give direction. (“Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”) And comfort. (“Comfort one another with these words.”) And safety. (“If anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”)
The Word engenders repentance. (“The men of Nineveh…. repented at the preaching of Jonah.”) And verifies Christ. (“These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”) And teaches. (“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”) And actuates joy. (“These things we write to you that your joy may be full.”)
CHECK YOUR FEELINGS
How do you feel after reading this chapter?
If you feel lighter, safer, encouraged, strengthened it is because, mostly, you have just read many Scripture verses, this another indication that His words are indeed “spirit, and they are life”. The Lord said through His prophet, “My word…. shall not return to Me void.” You have been changed, even if imperceptibly.
We each have a glow about us. To one degree or another we are aglow in the Holy Spirit. You probably have a 3-way bulb somewhere in your house, you know, 50 watt-100 watt-150 watt. Are you able to imagine a 1000-way bulb? – instead of three clicks on the switch to get to full brightness, there is 1000. Now, are you able to imagine a 1000-way bulb in your inner person? Good. Every time you spend time in the Word – listening, reading, considering – you crank up the wattage slightly, not much, maybe from 346 to 347. The brightness of your light is relative to time spent, during your christianity, reading God’s words. It has an accumulative effect. You are what you eat. You shine to the degree you feed on The Book. You may be a 347, your friend a 622, the crank who sits behind you in church a 19. Nobody is exactly the same.
Now suppose you have been into the Bible a total of twenty minutes today (much higher than typical christian) and you spent two hours watching the boob-maker. Do you think your light got brighter or dimmer? Interesting question.
Hopefully this chapter will have the effect of deepening your conviction that the Bible is in truth the rock upon which you must build your life. Revival for me was, largely, an irreversible decision to obey the Bible rather than the teachings and accepted practices of the group I was at any time connected to. Building on the rock is acceptance and rejection – fully accepting the Bible and fully rejecting that which is contrary.
Should you make a serious heart-decision to follow the Christ of the Bible – an unalterable pact between you and Jesus to embrace His sayings, bow to His sayings, live by His sayings – you will never regret that decision in spite of the complications such a decision will most certainly actuate. Your Lord will deepen your hunger for His words. You will see and discern as never before. You will no longer be reading a book; you will be reading God’s Word – infallible, creative, living, authentic, prosperous, awesome, praiseworthy, colorful, convicting, honest, redemptive, immovable, uncompromising, eternal, complete, changeless, sharp, inspirational, sure, lively, warm, protective, sincere, powerful, faithful, knowledgeable, just, holy, satisfying, joyous, life-giving, secure, effective, wise, medicinal, pure, fruitful, prophetic, indestructible and divine.