Christ’s Infinitely High View of Scripture
August 25, 2019
Christ's View of Scripture, The Doctrine of Scripture, Christ and the Old Testament
“The Bible as Literature”
Well, it is a fantastic joy for me to be able to resume preaching to you. I've longed for this, I've enjoyed all summer the benefit of listening to other brothers as they've unfolded the word, but I was looking forward to preaching this message and weeks ago, actually a couple of months ago, I thought, "What would be the best way to resume preaching?" And I knew at this time the school year would begin. We would have a lot of, God willing, college students who would be here. And I thought about the benefit of just flying our flag as a church, a local church, that it would be very, very clear what this church is committed to, and above all, and we've already heard it, we are committed to the perfection, the inerrancy, the inspiration authority of the Bible. My commitment, ordinarily, is to just go on what's known as sequential exposition. I just take books of the Bible and just work through those texts one after the other, and wherever that scripture leads that's where we go. And that's been a benefit for me for 20 plus years of preaching, and I'm going to continue to do that, just not today, alright? I'm in the middle of a study in 1 Corinthians, and God willing, we'll resume that next week.
But today I want to zero in on one topic and I want to go into this one issue of Christ's infinitely high view of scripture. The Fall of my senior year at MIT, I took a class on the Bible as literature. Now MIT is really good at teaching a lot of things, but the Bible is not one of them. You can quote me on that. And as I sat in that class as a relatively new Christian, I started hearing things about the scripture that I had never heard before. As a new Christian, I was just drinking in God's word. I was learning what it was saying. I accepted it as new converts do as the Word of God, and I was stunned by some of the strange things I was hearing from this professor and learning that a scientific approach to the Bible through German scholars in the 19th century and before that, had called into question some of the basic tenets of Christianity, and we have a higher kind of a scientific view of scripture, and these higher critics called into question things such as the virgin birth of Jesus, the actual incarnation of Jesus as fully God and fully man, His miracles, His atoning death on the cross, His bodily resurrection from the dead. These fundamentals of our faith, they were questioned as myths or things that people wrote out of their own minds and we have a more modern, a more scientific understanding of religion and the Bible.
Now, I didn't realize the heritage and the history of this questioning, what we would call theological liberalism, I didn't know that much about it. I didn't know anything about the German higher critics or any of the things that they were saying. I just felt that what was being taught was, and I called this course to my friends, not to the professor's face, "Blasphemy and Heresy 101." And there actually was the second semester of it I chose not to enroll "Blasphemy and Heresy 102." But I started to realize that the attacks on the bible were a lot more ancient than that, went way, way before German higher criticism in the 19th and 18th centuries, it went back to the Garden of Eden, it went back to the serpent and the serpent questioning the Word of God. Did God really say, just raising questions, and then openly contradicting, you will not surely die, etcetera. So just raising questions so that we question the Word of God and then raising contradiction, so that we don't believe it's warnings, we don't believe it's promises; that goes back to Satan's original attack.
Now, God led me in His providence to be pastor here in this church, First Baptist Church Durham, and led me to an academic center, similar to the one where I was trained in Cambridge, Massachusetts. So also we have a lot of excellent universities in this area. UNC Chapel Hill, and Duke, NC State and other universities in this area. And it wasn't long before I started having the opportunity to minister to students who are taking similar classes at those universities. And there were similar issues being raised in those classrooms about the inerrancy, the inspiration authority of the Bible. And I remember one student in particular came, and because of a class that he had taken at Duke, he was questioning, he was looking at genealogies that didn't line up and other meticulous aspects, and this was being proven. It was proof that the Bible's not the Word of God. And I know that students at UNC Chapel Hill have sat in classes with Bart Ehrman and others and he openly avows that he seeks to destroy the faith in his students in the Word of God.
And so I began to think about therapy for students like this, and how we could best approach people whose faith and confidence in the Word of God was being shaken by this kind of intellectual approach, academic approach. And so, this topic which I'm going to unfold seemed the best to me; Christ's view of scripture. Now, I'm going to explain why in just a moment. But I think, if anything, things are much harder now on college campuses than they were when I first came here 20 years ago. I think you who are students are going to face a higher level of challenge to the Word of God than I had to face at MIT that others had to face when I was first here for five years. The Word of God is being openly disparaged on some hot button topics, some of which we're going to address, God willing, in that Bible for Life class you just heard me talk about them, and if you don't sing from the piece of sheet music the world is handing you, and the college, the university setting is the number one recruiting for that world view, it's intense, if you don't stand firm on the Word of God, you're going to be swept away and they're going to pick holes, they're going to seek to attack your confidence in the Word of God. But it's not just for students. All of us, all of us need to have an ongoing confidence in the unshakable Word of God.
That the word of God never changes and then we can build our lives on it. And so I want to give a defense for just the approach that I'm going to take to pastoral ministry for the rest of my life. The remedy I think for not just college students, but for all of us as Christ's view of scripture and we're going to see as we walk through the nine points that I have for you today, we're going to see the infinitely high view that Jesus had of the written word of God and basic persuasive strategies. This is number one, if you are a Christian... I'm appealing to Christians. I'm not seeking to go after those professors. I'm not trying to do that. I'm going to those that are Christians, they're claiming to be Christians. If you are a Christian, you should have the same attitude about everything as your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Whatever Jesus thinks about everything, you should think the same thing.
Secondly, Christ had, as I will show an infinitely high view of scripture. So thirdly, you should have an infinitely high view of scripture. That's my approach.
Now, I remember my systematic theology professor, Roger Nicole was talking about liberal attacks on the Bible even back then when I was at Gordon-Conwell and I was sitting at the feet of one of the great theologians of the day and he was teaching me inerrancy and I was learning all that, but he's talking about some of these critics and how intelligent they are and how daunting they are and how intimidating and how intellectual and you just feel like you're so small in their classroom. I remember Roger Nicole quoted the demon to the seven sons of Sceva. You remember this in the book of Acts, where these Jewish seven sons tried to drive out a demon by this Jesus whom Paul preaches and the demon answered "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul. But who are you?" So keep that in mind when you're sitting in the class or whatever. I'm going to have Jesus' view and Paul's view of scripture, who are you and I have no interest in being moved away from Jesus' commitment to the inspiration authority of the Word of God.
I'm going through many scriptures, but if you would take your scripture and open to Matthew 26 and we're going to look beginning at Verse 50 at the first one. I don't... If you're going to flip and follow with me, you can. I'm not probably going to wait for you. But this is a good one to look at, because honestly, if you get no other point this one will do it.
I. Christ Would Rather Die than Disobey Scripture
And here's the point. Christ would rather die than disobey scripture. Christ would rather die than disobey scripture. He's in the garden of Gethsemane, he is kneeling down and praying and getting himself ready to die for the sins of the world on the cross. There the father in some mysterious and deep way that I can hardly understand reveals the cup he is going to have to drink. The cup of God's wrath, the cup of His justice. And Jesus in his humanity, in a way we cannot fully comprehend, shrink back from the cup and said in Matthew 26:39, "Father, if it is possible, let this cup be removed. Yet not my will, but yours be done." I think the single greatest act of courage and valor there's ever been in human history. That he would be willing to drink that cup when he knew it contained the infinite wrath of God against us for our sins.
But having done that, he rose from prayer and went out to meet Judas and the soldiers that were there to arrest him. And picking up in Matthew 26:50, this is what the account says "Then the men stepped forward, sees Jesus and arrested him. With that one of Jesus' companions [we find out in another gospel that it speaks of Peter] reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest cutting off his ear. 'Put your sword back in its place,' Jesus said to him. 'for all who draw the sword, will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father and he would at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels. But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" Jesus gives to Peter who's drawing out his little fishermen sword to fight for Jesus' freedom, to fight that Jesus would not be arrested. He did not understand what he was doing or what Jesus was doing. Jesus gave a three-fold reason why Peter should put his sword back in his place. "Put your sword back in its place."
Number one, all who draw the sword will die by the sword. There's a lot of things we could say about that. I'm not going to get into all of them but one of the things as Peter look around you, you're going to lose. Your death is imminent. If I don't rescue you supernaturally, you almost certainly die if you be swinging that sword. So put it away. Simple. Practical. But then secondly, he said, "Do you think I cannot call on my Father and he would at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" In other words, Peter, if I were trying to escape the cross, I wouldn't use your little fishermen sword. I would call on my Father and he would send the armies of heaven. Now listen, one angel killed 185,000 Assyrian troops in one night. 72,000 angels against 600 soldiers, it's over quickly. If I were trying to escape the cross, that's how I would do it. But now here's the real point. Here's the real reason. If I did that, how then would the Scripture be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way? The scripture says I must die. I must have my hands and my feet pierced. I must have my blood spilled for the sins of the world. That's what the scripture says I must do and I will do it. So put your sword away.
Jesus would rather die than violate scripture. And there is not a man, woman or child in this room that has anywhere near that commitment to Scripture. We prove it every time we sin. Every time we disbelieve one of God's promises or disobey one of His commands, we prove that we don't have Jesus' view of scripture. Now, if you're redeemed, you probably have within you a heart yearning for it. You yearn that you would have Jesus' commitment to Scripture. You yearn to be as holy as Christ does. You hunger and thirst for righteousness, and if you're a child of God, someday you will have it; you will have it. But the more we have it now, the better. The more we would rather die than violate scripture, the better it is. Now, I don't need to give any of the eight other points. It really doesn't matter to me what Bart Ehrman says or any other expert, I want to have the same commitment to Scripture that Jesus did.
II. Christ Taught that He Fulfilled Scripture
Secondly, Christ taught again and again and again that he fulfilled scripture; fulfilled it. What this means is that Jesus' life was predicted by the prophets. The details of his life were predicted. Jesus' death, as we just saw, was predicted. The scriptures said He must die in this way.
But it wasn't just His death. Christ's whole life was covered by Old Testament prophecy, from His miraculous birth by the virgin Mary, prophesied in Isaiah 7:14, to the location of his birth in Bethlehem prophesied in Micah 5:2, to his lineage as the Son of David, predicted in 2 Samuel 7:12-13, Isaiah 9:7, through His atoning death on the cross, prophesied by Psalm 22, verse 16 and also all of Isaiah 53, and his bodily resurrection from the dead prophesied by Psalm 16 and verse 10, and many of their details in between Christ fulfilled the prophets. As a matter of fact, there's such an intimate relationship between Christ and the Word of God that the Apostle John, writing the fourth Gospel under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, saw fit to call him the Word. And I have made this assertion before and I'll make it again. You know nothing about Jesus apart from scripture, apart from the written Word of God. There's no other source of information. And so, everything we know about our Savior and the gospel comes from the scripture. All of it was predicted.
Many books of Christian apologetics list the predictive prophecies. I have in my library Josh McDonald's book Evidence that Demands a Verdict that list 61 prophecies about Jesus; 61 of them. And so, we have this promise, fulfillment theme going on in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, again and again this is what the prophet said, Jesus fulfilled the prophets. But most importantly for our purpose, is Jesus said he fulfilled them. He said that his life was in fulfillment of the written Word of God, for us the Old Testament, New Testament hadn't been written yet. And so, go to the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. You can look there if you want in Luke 4:16 and following. "He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And on the Sabbath day, he went into the synagogue as was his custom, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written, 'The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.' Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began by saying to them, 'Today, in your hearing, this Scripture is fulfilled.'" That's an astounding claim. It was Isaiah 61. It was written seven centuries before Jesus was born. But Jesus would make this incredible claim again and again and again in His ministry. Mathew 5:17, Jesus said to his enemies, "Do not think that I've come to abolish law of the prophets. I've not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them." People said he was like sweeping away the Scriptures. Not at all, he came to fulfill them. Even more dramatic, He said to the Jews in John, Chapter Five, "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have eternal life."
A few verses later, it was even clearer. He said, "If you believed Moses, you would believe me for he wrote about me." It's incredible. Moses lived 15 centuries before Jesus. He wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. Jesus said, "He wrote about me." That account about Abraham sacrificing, almost sacrificing his son, Isaac, and Abraham saying to his son when the son asked, "Where is the lamb for the sacrifice?" "God will provide the lamb." He was talking about me, and all of the animal sacrificial system set up in the Laws of Moses, I came to fulfill every one of them by my substitutionary death on the cross. It's a shock. And Jesus made this claim, again and again. Now, this culminated in Jesus' actual statements from the cross. Now, the statements he made from the cross, seven of them, three of them had to do directly with fulfilling scripture; three of the seven. The first is the clearest. Jesus is up on the cross, and he cries out in a loud voice, "Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?" Which when translated is, "My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?"
Psalm 22 is the clearest prediction of the actual mechanism of his death. "They have pierced my hands and my feet, I can count all my bones… my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth, a band of evil men has encircled me..." All of this clear picture of crucifixion that's why Jesus said the scripture said, it must happen in this way. Now, it's amazing in Franco Zeffirelli's film Jesus of Nazareth. It really highlights this very well, I think it's for the most part a good film, not perfect, but When Jesus cries out, "Eloi Eloi lama Sabachthani." his enemies are there, they around the cross listening and they said, He's calling for Elijah. But one of the more astutely, gets a quizzical look on his face and just strokes his beard and he says, "No, he's not. He's not calling Elijah, he's quoting the scripture." Even now hanging on the cross, even now quoting Scripture.
They believed that he was a fraud. They believed he was a charlatan, he was a faker, and apparently carrying it right to the bitter end. No, Jesus was fulfilling, Psalm 22. And I think he was urging the human race for 20 plus centuries that would follow, "Read Psalm 22. It's speaking about me and my substitutionary atonement."
Thirdly, Christ taught the unbreakable authority and permanence of Scripture. He made key statements about the nature of Scripture and it's permanence. For example, John 10:35, he said the Scripture cannot be broken. I love the statement made by one commentator, he said, "Scripture is an anvil that has destroyed many hammers." People have whaled away on Scripture in every generation, and it still stands. Scripture cannot be broken.
III. Christ Taught the Unbreakable Authority and Permanence of Scripture
The text that you heard read as we all stood up to hear Matt read, Matthew 5:18-19. I'll read it again. "I'll tell you the truth, until Heaven and Earth disappear, not the smallest letter or least stroke of pen", that's that translation. Jot and tittle is a little more famous. "Not the smallest letter, the jot or tittle, will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Jesus is claiming that Scripture down to the letter will never pass away, it is permanent. Then he extended it to his own teachings later. He said in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and Earth will pass away but my words will never pass away."
So now we're embracing the new testament as well. The Word of God is likened to many things, we sang about it earlier. Likened to food, likened to water, likened to a sword, there's a lot of things. But one of the images is that it's a rock, it's an unshakable rock. It doesn't move, it doesn't go anywhere. It was there long before you were conceived in your mother's womb. It'll be there long after you're lowered into the grave, if Christ doesn't return in our lifetime. It's permanent, it's unshakable, and therefore extending that idea of the unshakable permanence of the Word of God to his own teachings, he says at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, "Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rains came down and the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house, but it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rains came down and the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
So you just have to ask, What is your life founded on? What's the foundation of your life? Is it rock or sand? Because the rains are coming, the streams are coming, judgment day is coming, and only that which is built by the Spirit of God, on the Word of God, will last. Unshakable, so it extends to his own teachings. But the smallest letters will not disappear.
IV. Christ Lived Without Sin, Moment by Moment by All Scripture
Fourth, Christ lived sinlessly, moment by moment, by every word that came from the mouth of God, that's how he lived sinlessly. It wasn't just in Gethsemane that he would rather die than violate scripture, it was every day of his life. He never sinned. He was our sinless substitute, and he never sinned by obeying the Word of God. So we know about the temptation of Jesus and how he was qualified, the Book of Hebrews would use that language, qualified to be our savior by suffering temptation. And he went through that temptation and never sinned. So he was out in the desert fasting for 40 days and the tempter came to him. And the tempter tempts him with three temptations, he answers all three of them with Scripture, and with the same verbal formula, "It stands written," would be a good translation of the Greek. "It stands written."
I love the first, the tempter said, "If you're the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." In other words, use your supernatural wonder working power to deliver your own life and bring pleasure and satisfaction to yourself. Satan is very shrewd, but Jesus is wiser. And he said, "It is written, 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" He's quoting Deuteronomy 8, verse 3. And what he's saying is, we human beings, We live not merely by chewing and swallowing food, we live by the will of God to live. You don't keep living another moment if God doesn't will it. In him, you live and move and have your being. And then God opens his hand and gives you what you need to stay alive. Physically, bread, but for your souls it's the word of God. And so he combines all this in a rather complex thought. He's saying, effectively God was saying to Israel in the desert, "I gave you manna, I fed you to humble you and to teach you a lesson. You don't live by bread you live by my word. When I say live, you live. When I say eat manna, here is the manna I provide. But what really matters is my mouth. So learn to watch my mouth."
I remember my mother used to teach me that way. She would... This was a serious moment. She would look at me seriously with her mother eyes and she'd say, "Watch my mouth." And I would look at her mouth. It would be to pronounce a word a certain way or it would be to obey something she was telling me to do. Watch my mouth. God's saying in Deuteronomy 8 to the human race, "Watch my mouth. You live by my word." And we have a record, a perfect record of God's words, and we live by it. That's how you will resist temptation, and you're going to be tempted. You're being tempted now. And the only way you're going to fight is the way Jesus fought by saying, "It stands written, no, to that sin." That's how you'll fight.
V. Christ Staked His Life on Even Obscure Details in Scripture
Number five. Christ staked his life even on obscure details of scripture. Now, there are big things and little things in God's word. One of the things liberals do is say, "Well, the big themes are important, but the details, that's where the problems... " Look, big things and details are all inspired. The forest and the trees are all inspired, all of it. Jesus knew that. He knew that big things are made up of little things, atoms. History, big history is made up of tiny moments. He knew that better than we do. So he says, "Everything is perfect." That's why he talked about jots and tittles. Tiny little pen strokes will not go anywhere.
And so he established even the details. Now, it's interesting in John chapter 10, Jesus made an extraordinary claim to deity. He made many such claims. But here he said, "I and the Father are one." Now the depths of that is beyond any of us to comprehend. The oneness of the trinity, we will never fully understand. Three Gods would be easy to understand, but that's not the teaching of the Bible. The Bible teaches that there is one God and only one God. The Father is God, and the Son is God, and the Spirit is God. But Jesus is saying, "I and the Father are" plural word, "are one" claiming to be a deity. The Jews immediately picked up stones to stone him. Jesus' life was being threatened, he was under immense pressure.
What did he reach for? Words first, not weapons, not Peter's sword, that would never come into play. But words. What words? Well, of course, Psalm 82 verse 6. Oh yes, Psalm 82. If I asked any of you to quote it, you would say, "Well, I can quote. I said you are gods." That would be the only verse you know. It's not one of the famous psalms. Psalm 23, it's probably the most famous. And there are other famous psalms as well, not Psalm 82. But to Jesus, every scripture is God-breathed, useful. And he reaches for this argument, "Is it not written in your law, I have said you are Gods? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken," he's talking about Psalm 82 verse 6, "What then about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said I am God's son?" Now I could take right now 15 minutes to try to explain Jesus' reasoning from Psalm 82:6, I'm not going to do it. It's hard to follow his logic. I'm just saying he quoted Psalm 82:6 when they threatened his life. So even the tiniest details of scripture, the most obscure scriptures, were God-breathed and useful for Christ.
VI. Christ Proved His Deity by a Single Word of Scripture
Sixth. Christ proved His deity by a single word of scripture. This is in Mathew 22 verse 41 and following. The Pharisees were gathered together to cause him trouble, to attack him and accuse him. And they asked him a bunch of questions, difficult questions, and he answered them. Then he turned the tables and said, "I now have a question for you. You've been asking me questions, I'm going to ask you a question." "What do you think about the Christ, who's son is he?" And I think in a knee-jerk sort of way they answered what all Jews would have said, "The son of David." Jesus then said, "How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him Lord? For he says 'the Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.'' If then David calls him Lord, how can he be his son?" I love the reaction. No one could say a word in reply and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
That ended that. But frankly, unbelieving Jewish people have had no answer to that question for 20 centuries. We're looking at Psalm 110, that's what he's quoting, Psalm 110. And there are four key ingredients to Christ's argument. First, David wrote Psalm 1:10 or the argument's null and void. Davidic authorship of the psalm is essential to his argument. Secondly, David, when he was writing the psalm, was speaking by the spirit. That's the doctrine of verbal inspiration. The Holy Spirit came over David, and as he was writing the psalm, protected him from error. That's how we have an inerrant scripture, not because people are so awesome, but because the Holy Spirit has determined to guard the scripture writers from error while they were writing. So, David was speaking by the Spirit as he wrote, "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand.'"
Thirdly, in Hebrew thinking, a son is never greater than the father. The commandment is that the son should honor the father, and especially in kingly lineage the son doesn't become king until the death of the father. Until then, he's just a prince. And so, how would David be speaking about his own son as above him? And the fourth is that David was speaking about the Messiah, it was a messianic psalm. Those four are essential ingredients to Jesus' argument. Now, look what he says, that, David, speaking by the spirit, called his own son, the Messiah, Lord. For he said, "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.'" David is in the position of a worshipper, he's in the position of a sinner saved by grace, and he calls Jesus, he doesn't call Him Jesus but he calls him my lord. And he's calling him that now in heaven as he looks up at the glorified Jesus, at the right hand of Almighty God and he is worshipping him along with the other redeemed departed. So how can he be his son? Well, we know he is his son. He is the son of David, he's also the son of God, he's both. He's fully God and fully human. We Christians have done the best we can, by the Spirit, to resolve and understand those. Fully God, fully human, that's how he can call him Lord.
VII. Christ Proved the Resurrection by a Single Verb Tense in Scripture
Seventh, Christ proved the resurrection by a single verb tense in scripture. The Sadducees were there trying to disprove resurrection. "Resurrection is ridiculous." It brings you into all kinds of ridiculous ethical problems like seven brothers being married to one woman, and all of this. And, "Well, how are they... Who's she's going to be married to? There can't be a resurrection." That's the Sadducees. So Jesus addresses resurrection from a text of Scripture. "But about the resurrection of the dead, Have you not read what God said to you?" That's powerful, isn't it? In the account about the burning bush, he's speaking to you. Not just speaking to Moses, he's speaking to you in the account. He was speaking to Moses in the actual event, he's speaking to you in the written account. And the Holy Spirit is speaking to you, and what does he say? "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." He is not the God of the dead but of the living. You're greatly mistaken.
So how does that prove resurrection? It's not easy to figure out, but just look at the verb tense, the I am. I am Abraham's God right now. What does that tell you about Abraham? He exists. Now we find out from fuller Scripture understanding, he is waiting for the resurrection of the body like all the other redeemed that have departed. None of them have resurrection bodies yet, Jesus alone, he's the first fruit, then when he comes, the resurrection. But he will get a resurrection body, but he's waiting and he's still there so I'm still Abraham's God, I'm not... I was Abraham's God, I am Abraham's God, and I'm also Isaac's God right now, and I'm Jacob's God right now. He is not the God of the dead but of the living. It's all down to one verb tense.
VIII. Christ Instilled Passion about Scripture in the Hearts of His Disciples
Number eight, Christ instilled passion about Scripture in the hearts of his disciples. Oh, that he would do that in our hearts now, this morning. He wants us to have the same passion and conviction about Scripture that he did. So after he was raised from the dead, he's walking along the road with two disciples from the road to Emmaus. You remember this? And they're so depressed, and they're so dejected, and they're so confused. And some of the women from their group have confused them with a story about some empty tomb and they don't know what to make of it. And they're walking with this stranger who doesn't seem to know anything that's going on. He's not like into current events, I guess. Are you the only stranger who doesn't know what's happened here? How is it even possible? About Jesus of Nazareth? We had hoped that he was going to be the one. Now, our women have confused us with this story and we don't know what to make of it. And there Jesus is, and this is his answer. He said, "How foolish you are and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Did not the Christ have to suffer many things and then enter into his glory?" Then just as an average guy appearing to them, just another person. That's all He looked... He didn't look glorious, just looked like a stranger.
"Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself." The same thing he'd been doing in his ministry. "This is what's written in the scriptures." "As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, 'Stay with us for it's nearly evening, the day is almost over.' So he went in to stay with them, and when he was at table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. Then they asked each other, 'Were not our hearts burning within us when he opened the Scriptures to us?'" Jesus doesn't want to keep this conviction to himself, he wants all of us to share it, this burning heart to know Scripture, to drink it in, to read it, to study it and to live it. He does the same thing later in Luke 24 when he appears to all of them in the upper room and he gives them many convincing proofs that he was alive. He showed them his hands and his side, he ate some broiled fish in front of them. And then he began to prepare them for the future, what was coming.
Luke 24: 44-48, "This is what I told you while I was still with you, everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms. Then He opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures." I love that verse. Oh, that God would do that in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit, that he would open our minds to understand the Scriptures. Then he told them, "This is what is written, that Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." So are we in our generation. We are witnesses and it's going on, it's making good progress, it's right on schedule, and it's going to be consummated before the end of the world.
IX. Christ Was Condemned Because of One Quotation of Scripture
Ninth. Christ was condemned to his death by one quotation of Scripture. He was on trial for his life as he stood before his enemies, the Jewish high priest and the Jewish ruling council. They were trying to get him on charges of blasphemy but they couldn't get any of the witnesses to agree. The false witnesses were doing a really bad job that night. And so they decided to break laws of jurisprudence and asked the accused, the prisoner himself, concerning his own crimes. It's not supposed to be done, on the testimony of two or three witnesses if someone's put to death. But they go right to Jesus. The high priest asked him, "'Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?' 'I am,' Jesus said." Just stop right there. He's quoting Scripture right there, isn't he? He is the I am. "I am."
But then he quoted Scripture. "'You will see the son of man sitting at the right hand of the mighty one and coming on the clouds of heaven.' The priest tore his clothes. 'Why do we need any more witnesses?' he asked, 'You have heard the blasphemy, now what do you think?' They all condemned him as worthy of death." Now, Jesus at that moment is quoting Daniel chapter 7, the son of man vision. The son of man vision in Daniel 7:13 and 14 has the ancient of days, almighty God, seated on a throne and a river of fire is flowing from his throne, and that river of fire rules over all of the nasty, terrifying beasts that come up out of the sea representing world empires. God rules over all of it. And so there is almighty God on his throne of fire, and into his presence comes one like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven. He's not the ancient of days seated on the throne, he's another coming into the presence of almighty God.
This is what it says, "In my vision at night I looked and there before me was one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the ancient of days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory, and sovereign power. All peoples, nations, and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." He is called son of man because he's human, but he's given divine glory and people worship him. So he's given divine prerogatives. Who is this son of man? Who is this human being who's also divine who rules over the world and will receive from every tribe and language and people and nation worship and glory?
Well, we know who it is. That's why Jesus' favorite title for himself was the son of man. Read Daniel 7, read Daniel 7, read Daniel 7, son of man, son of man, read Daniel 7. At the key moment though he knew exactly what effect that scripture would have, it would condemn him to death. They couldn't hear it. "He came to his own and his own did not receive him. But as many as did receive him, to those who believe in his name... " That is, believe that he is the son of God, not just merely a son of man, he will give eternal life.
So in this study we've seen nine different themes of Jesus' view of Scripture. We've seen that Christ would rather die than disobeys Scripture. Christ taught consistently that he fulfilled scripture. He taught the unbreakable authority and permanence of scripture. He lived sinlessly moment by moment by all Scripture. He staked his life on even obscure details in Scripture. He proved his deity by a single word of scripture. He proved the resurrection by a single verb tense in Scripture. He instilled passion in his disciples, hearts burning over scripture, and he opened their minds so they could understand Scripture. And he was condemned because of a key quotation of Scripture.
So let me ask you, What difference does it make what some professor thinks about scripture? What difference does it make what our generation thinks about scripture? It matters for them, and we should have compassion on them. We should yearn that they would cross over from darkness into light. But for you personally as a disciple of Christ, it should be settled. You're going to have the same attitude towards scripture as Jesus. Above all, you're going to find in the words of the Gospels, in the words of the New Testament you're going to find the Gospel of your salvation, of forgiveness of your sins. We've already said it, that God sent his son into the world to die a bloody death on the cross so that if you repent and believe you'll have eternal life. So find in the words of Scripture Christ, and finding Christ, your own salvation.
Secondly, imitate Christ in passionate obedience to Scripture. Just say, "Lord would you work in me the same commitment that I would rather die than to violate scripture? I don't want to sin, and I don't want to fail to believe your promises. I want to believe them all and I want to obey your commands by the power of the spirit."
Thirdly, let's be committed to winning others to Christ. Jesus said, "You are witnesses of these things." We have taken that mantle, we've taken the baton, it's our turn now. So I want to say especially to you college students, be courageous on the campus. You're surrounded by people who are effectively like wet cement and they're settling quickly in their worldview, but they may still be open. God may get them ready and he's going to orchestrate them meeting you, and it could be in your dorm, it could be in a classroom, it could be in a hallway, it could be in the cafeteria or wherever you eat, it could be in a coffee shop. And you're the one, and God has orchestrated that you speak a word for Christ to them boldly.
And finally, expect your pastor to preach the Word of God, expect him consistently, year after year, to unfold scripture. Pray for me that I'll do it. Pray for the future, when you're removed from this place and go to another place that you'll find somewhere that will be committed to the word of God and unfold it for the salvation, the ongoing salvation of your soul. Close with me in prayer.