The Certainty of the Revelation

1 John 1:1-4

1 ¶ That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life----

2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us----

3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

Preached at FBC Toulon, IL by Albert Harmon on June 10, 2001 find it at toulonbaptist.com

 

How sure is this revelation that we hold in our hands?

How confident can we be that the men who wrote it were competent and truthful?

Do we really have an accurate transmission of what the first wrote?

And finally do we have good translations of what they said?

A message is only as good as the person that brings it. If the messenger is unreliable that of necessity makes the message unreliable. What about those first witnesses that have given us their testimonies as to the life and message, death and resurrection of Jesus.

  1. The writers of the New Testament were true and faithful witnesses.
    1. You might doubt a witness if they have something to gain by the message they bring.
      1. But the writers of the NT were otherwise.
      2. They were not honored for their message but rather persecuted.
        1. 1 Corinthians 4:9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.
      3. They did not become rich by their message but became poor and suffered the loss of all things.
        1. Philippians 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
    2. You might also doubt the messenger if they were mentally disturbed.
      1. But the agreement among the NT writers rules that out.
        1. They could not have all be equally crazy to the same degree.
        2. And a group of looney people would be the last group we would expect to agree on any thing.
      2. Also we would not expect a person who was mad to develop such complex and systematic arguments as does Paul.
      3. No these men were not nuts, even though they did proclaim an unbelievable message.
    3. There is another option of them being deceivers.
      1. Could they have perpetrated the greatest lie in the history of man?
      2. Could they have all known that Jesus was not raised and each one kept the secret until the day of their death?
      3. It is impossible that so many would be able to keep up such a falsehood for so long and never give in.
      4. Also what man would die for what he knew was a lie.
        1. If Stephen knew that Jesus was not raised and thus not the Son of God, would he allow himself to be stoned and even aggravate his persecutors to his own death.
        2. With the exception of John the Apostle each of the about two dozen men who lived and ate with Jesus went to a violent death because they would not recant their claims about Jesus.
        3. Could they have all held to a lie even in the face of death and not one change their message?
        4. Would you die for what you knew was a lie?
  2. We have an accurate transmission of what they said.
    1. Some people have questioned the Bible because they do not believe that what we hold in our hands is what the writers first set down.
      1. They have questioned the ability of copyist to faithfully and accurately transmit the Bible over and over again without making major mistakes and adding volumes of material.
      2. The Jesus seminar does not believe t that Jesus did or said most of what the gospels say.
      3. Scholarship has worked in every conceivable way to discredit the Bible that we have.
    2. Others question the Bible simply because they are not believers in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
      1. It is amazing that such a person could consider themselves a scholar and at the same time deny the only one who can give them wisdom.
      2. They deny the creation account, the resurrection, the virgin birth, and the inspiration of the Scriptures.
      3. They deny the principles on which Christians have lived for two thousand years and yet call themselves Christians.
      4. They cannot believe in anything supernatural because they do not believe in a supernatural God.
    3. Others deny the Bible because of the so-called fact of evolution and the supposed age of the earth.
      1. There is and never has been found any proof for evolution.
      2. Actually the proof lies on the side of the creationist.
      3. No one has ever found any of the supposed of millions of transitional forms in the fossil record.
      4. That is why it is so important to get the truth out concerning this important subject.
    4. The evidence for an accurate transmission.
      1. See chart - McDowell; Evidence that Demands a Verdict p 42-44
      2. Of all the ancient writings Homer (Iliad) is the best attested with 643 copies and only 500 years between the writing and the earliest copies.
      3. But the New Testament has over 24,000 copies and the earliest is within 25 years of when it was written.
      4. As a matter of matter of fact, if you too the manuscript evidence for the first three hundred years you would have over 50% of the New Testament.
      5. The manuscript evidence behind the New Testament is hundreds of times greater than for any other ancient document.
      6. The Old Testament was once thought to be lost to copyist errors until they found the dead sea scrolls which confirmed that no significant errors in copies had been made in over 900 years.
  3. Our translations are faithful to the original text.
    1. We do not have time to go into detail.
    2. The greatest evidence is the agreement of the translations.
    3. They do not contradict one another although they try to make the text plain in their own ways.
    4. When you pick up your copy of the Bible you can have confidence that it is the word of God.
  4. The revelation we hold in our hands is worthy of our trust and contemplation.
    1. That does not mean that Satan will stop trying to discredit it.
      1. He has been saying, "Has God said" since the garden of Eden.
      2. He will always have his scholars who cast doubt on the Word of God.

         

We can believe a fairy tale or we can believe the truth. We are free to trust the Word of God or the best scholarship the world can offer.

Won't you accept the Word of Life today. Without Him you will never know the truth and will never have life.  

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com