The Foundation For The Faith

The Foundation For The Faith

January 30th, 1983 @ 7:30 PM

1 Peter 1:12-25

Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
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THE SURE FOUNDATION OF THE FAITH

Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Peter 1:12-25

1-30-83     7:30 p.m.

 

 

Now we are following the messages God has revealed for us in the epistles of Simon Peter.  And we are going to read out of both of them tonight.  The title of the sermon is The Sure Foundation of the Faith.  And let us turn to 1 Peter chapter 1, and 2 Peter chapter 1.  And in 1 Peter chapter 1, we are going to read out loud together verses 23 through 25; then in 2 Peter chapter 1 we are going to read verses 20 and 21; the last verses of both chapters.  Now let us read out of 1 Peter, the first chapter, verses 23-25, together:

 

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

 

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

 

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

 

[1 Peter 1:23-25]

 

 

 

Now, 2 Peter, the first chapter, the last two verses, verses 20 and 21, now together:

 

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.

 

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:  but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

 

[2 Peter 1:20-21]

 

 

 

The Foundation for the Faith.

 

To me, it is unusual that both of these epistles, in their first chapters, should end with an avowal concerning the forever enduring word of God.  The first epistle: “We are born again, we are saved, we are regenerated, dia, when dia is used with a genitive, it means it is to be translated “by means of”; it refers to an instrument.  “Being born again by means of, dia, the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” [1 Peter 1:23].  Then he quotes my favorite verse, Isaiah 40:8.  Now in the second epistle, the first chapter, in verse 12, the apostle is avowing, “I will not be negligent to put you in remembrance, though you know them anyway, and that you be established in the present truth” [2 Peter 1:12].  Sterizō, to stand immovable, translated here “established in the truth.”  Then in this following verse and verses, he speaks of two ways by which we are sterizō, by which we are established, we are set immovable in the faith [2 Peter 1:12].

 

Number one is the witness of these who have seen the Lord Himself: [verse] 16, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and parousia, the presence, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” [2 Peter 1:16].  And then he describes the transfiguration of our Lord that he saw himself.  Then he describes the voice that he heard from heaven, which is the voice of God [2 Peter 1:17], saying, “This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him” [Matthew 17:5].  That’s the first foundation of the faith that the apostle describes, in which we are to stand, and on which we are to stand immovable:  the eyewitness of these who have seen our Lord.

 

John begins his epistle in the same way:

 

 

 

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, of the Word of life (For the life was phaneroō, manifested, openly,

 

 before us, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and which was phaneroō

 

again: manifested, openly declared, openly presented—

 

 before us;)  That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye may have fellowship with us:  and truly our fellowship is with God the Father, and with God the Son. 

 

[1 John 1:1-3]

 

 

 

So one of the great basic foundations upon which our faith rests is the eyewitness account of these who were with our Lord and saw Him in all of His glory.

 

Now, the second great foundation upon which our faith rests is the sure word of God [2 Peter 1:19].  Simon Peter, in the first chapter of his second letter, writes what is to me one of the most amazing avowals I ever read in my life.  After he describes what he has seen, and the personal testimony of the eyewitness that has looked upon our Lord [2 Peter 1:16-18], then he adds, in verse 19, “But we have a more sure word of prophecy” [2 Peter 1:19]—the Bible, the Holy Scriptures—“Knowing this, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private origination.  But the prophecy, the Scripture, came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” [2 Peter 1:20-21].  I say that’s one of the most amazing avowals you could ever read in literature.

 

 Here is a man, Simon Peter, who says, “I have seen the Lord.  I have heard the Lord.  And I have declared unto you what mine eyes have seen and my ears have heard, and my heart has felt”; and John the sainted apostle who starts writing in the next book avows the same thing [1 John 1:1]; and then Simon Peter adds, “But we have for the foundation of our faith, a more sure word of God,” namely, the Holy Bible.  What an amazing thing!  “I have seen the Lord.  I have heard the Lord.  And I testify to the glory of our Lord [2 Peter 1:16-18], but the more certain assurance of the truth of our faith is found not in my sight, and not in my hearing, and not in my personal eyewitness testimony, but in the assurance we find in the Holy Scriptures, in the Word of God, in the prophecy of the Lord” [2 Peter 1:19].

 

Apparently what he means by this is that maybe eyesight could deceive us, and maybe the testimony that we bring could be misunderstood and misrepresented, and maybe we weren’t able to assess correctly the truth of God in Christ Jesus.  Our eyesight might not be fully correct, maybe.  But, the more sure testimony to the truth of Christ lies in the Holy Scriptures!  I say that is an amazing avowal, that the sure, certain and fundamental foundation of our faith is found in the Word of God, even beyond the eyewitness of men who saw and heard our wonderful Lord.

 

Well, when we look at the Bible, how do you know that its testimony and its witness is true?  Do you remember that interesting story that closes the Book of 1 Kings,  the twenty-second chapter of 1 Kings?  Ahab the king of Israel, has invited Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, to go with him in battle to secure from, to win from Syria, Ramoth-gilead [1 Kings 22:2-4].  And Jehoshaphat says to Ahab, “Now before we go up, before we engage the Syrians in battle, let us ask the prophets whether we should go up or not, and whether the battle will be victorious or not.”  So the saying pleased Ahab, and he calls four hundred of his prophets, led by Zedekiah [1 Kings 22:5-6].  And he asked them, “Shall we go up against Ramoth-gilead?” And all four hundred of those prophets prophesied before King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat, saying, Go up, for the Lord has given you victory” [1 Kings 22:6].  Somehow, and I don’t know why, Jehoshaphat was not satisfied with those four hundred prophets led by Zedekiah.  And Jehoshaphat says to Ahab, “Is there not here yet one other prophet before whom we could inquire?”  And Ahab replies, “Yes there is, there is one named Micaiah; but I hate him!  He never prophesies good about me.”  And Jehoshaphat says to him, “Why, let not the king say so, call him?” [1 Kings 22:7-8].  So they send the messenger to Micaiah, and the messenger says to Micaiah, “Micaiah, four hundred prophets have prophesied before Ahab and Jehoshaphat saying, Go up, God has given you victory.  Now you say the same thing” [1 Kings 22:12-13].  And Micaiah says, “I will say what God puts in my heart to say” [1 Kings 22:14].

 

So Micaiah comes before King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat.  And they say, “Shall we go up?”  And Micaiah says, “Why, certainly.  Go on up” [1 Kings 22:15].  And Ahab says, “I want you to tell me the truth.  What does God say?”  And Micaiah replies, “I saw all Israel as sheep scattered over the mountains, and the king slain, and the people returning home in confusion and defeat” [1 Kings 22:16-17].  And Ahab turns to Jehoshaphat and says, “Is that not what I told you, that he always prophesies evil of me?” [1 Kings 22:18].  And then Micaiah replies:

 

 

 

I saw in a vision the prophets gathered before the Lord God in heaven, and an evil spirit says, How shall we persuade Ahab and Jehoshaphat to go up against Ramoth-gilead?  And one of the spirits said, Let us put an evil spirit into the mouths of his prophets, and let them deceive him into going up to battle.  And it pleased the Lord, so the Lord put a lying spirit in the mouths of the prophets, that they might persuade the king to go up against Ramoth-gilead

 

[1 Kings 22:19-23]

 

 

 

And Zedekiah walked over to Micaiah the prophet of God and slapped him in the face and said, “Whence did the Spirit of God leave me to go to you?” [1 Kings 22:24].  And Micaiah replies, “In that day when you go into your innermost secret chamber and hide yourself in consternation and humiliation” [1 Kings 22:25].  And Ahab says to his soldiers, “Take this fellow,” and that’s what he said, “this fellow.  Take this fellow, take him, Micaiah, and put him in prison, in jail, and feed him bread of affliction and water of affliction, until I come again in triumph” [1 Kings 22:26-27].  And Micaiah says to Ahab, “If you come again in triumph, the Lord Himself does not live and He does not speak” [1 Kings 22:28].   So they put Micaiah in prison, in bread of affliction and in water of affliction; and Ahab and Jehoshaphat go to war [1 Kings 22:29].

 

Needless to say, it turned disastrously.  And a soldier at a venture, that is, he didn’t aim the arrow, drew it back and let fly the speeded missile, and it found a joint in the harness, in the armor of Ahab, and pierced his heart.  And his blood poured out on the chariot floor, and they took him back to Samaria, dead [1 Kings 22:34-35].  Incidentally, one washed his chariot by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs drank up the blood, according to the saying of the man of Elijah, the prophet of God [1 Kings 21:19, 22:38].

 

How do you know whether a thing is of the Lord or not?  How do you know the truth of the Holy Word of God?  That’s the message tonight.  There are three things about it.  Number one:  God says you can tell the truth of His Word according to whether it comes to pass or not.  Deuteronomy chapter 18, verses 21-22:

 

 

 

If thou shalt say in thine heart, How shall we know the word that the Lord hath not spoken?  When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously:  thou shalt not be afraid of him.

 

[Deuteronomy 18:21-22]

 

 

 

You can test the word of God by whether or not it comes to pass.

 

Now I want you to look at that test.  That’s one of the most unusually difficult tests that you could apply to the word of God:  whether or not it comes to pass.  God’s word will be fulfilled; it will come to pass; if it is not God’s word it doesn’t come to pass.  Now, I say, that’s one of the most difficult tests of the word of God that you could ever know.  Haven’t you heard me say, if you know the future a few minutes, I can tell you how to become a billionaire, not a millionaire, a billionaire.  All you have to do is to know the future just a few minutes, that’s all.  Go and get you a broker who will stand on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, and a few minutes before a stock goes up, buy it.  Or, a few minutes before the stock goes down, sell it.  And in no time at all you’ll own all the money in America; if you know the future, just a few minutes.  Or if you’d like to make it a few seconds, buy it in futures; play the market in futures.  Well, why don’t you do that?  Because you don’t know the future a few minutes.  Not a few minutes; that’s why you don’t do it.  Only God knows the future.

 

I can give you a thousand illustrations of that.  Right there, right there, between the chapel building and the KCBI building, when I came here to Dallas, was a beautiful gingerbread Victorian house, right there, on that lot.  You know that lot between the chapel building and the KCBI building, on that lot, there was the prettiest, two-story, Victorian gingerbread house you ever saw in your life.  It was right there when I came to Dallas.  And that house was offered to the First Baptist Church of Dallas for two thousand five hundred dollars.  Two thousand five hundred dollars!  And the leadership of the church met together and said, “It’s too high!  It costs too much”; and they turned it down.  Well, you say, “They were ignoramuses in those days.”  No, they just didn’t know the future.  When finally they bought it, they paid one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars for it.  I’m just showing you how difficult is that test.

 

But  the word of God will prophesy the future thousands and thousands of years before it comes to pass.  In Genesis 3:15, God said, “This Savior of the world is going to be born of a woman.”  Thousands and thousands of years before it came—we don’t know how many thousands of years—but that’s God.  The Lord prophesied, “He is going to be born of Abraham” [Genesis 22:18], two thousand years before.  The Lord God said, “He is going to be born of Judah” [Genesis 49:10], that’d be a thousand eight hundred years before.  The Lord God said, “He is coming out of the loins of David” [2 Samuel  8:12]; that’d be a thousand years before.  And Micah said, “He is going to be born in Bethlehem” [Micah 5:2]; that was seven hundred years before.  Why, when I pick up that Book, I am astonished at what God says.  Nahum describes the destruction of Nineveh [Nahum 2-3], Jeremiah describes the destruction of Babylon [Jeremiah 51:1-33], Jesus foretold the destruction of Jerusalem [Matthew 24:2; Luke 21:24], and in the Book of Daniel you have an outline of the story of civilization and the nations until Jesus comes again! [Daniel 2:1-45]. There’s nothing like it in the earth.  That’s the first test of the word of God:  that it come to pass, that it be true.

 

All right, the second test of the word of God you can find in illustration in Psalm 119:160, “Thy word is true from the beginning:  and every one of Thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”  There is no error in the Word of God.  I want to tell you something that you may say is absolutely insane; but this is the way I am.  “If a man can prove to me that there is error in the Word of God, it’s no longer the Word of God to me; it just isn’t.  It’s the word of man.  Men wrote that Book.  God didn’t write it.  Came out of the inspiration of a man’s own soul, such as you find the inspiration of the works of Shakespeare, or Milton, or Homer, or Dante, or any of the other of the great literary figures of the world.  If there is error in this Book, it’s no longer the Word of God to me.”  That’s the second test of the sure word of prophecy:  the first one, that it come to pass; the second, that it be without error.  And the third is found in Isaiah chapter 55, verses 10 and 11:  that it accomplish the purpose for which God sent it forth.  Isaiah 55, verses 10 and 11:

 

 

 

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

 

So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth:  it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that for which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it.

 

[Isaiah 55:10-11]

 

 

 

That’s the third test of the truth of the word of God:  that it accomplish the purpose of the Lord in our lives.  We can test that on every side, every day, endlessly: that it accomplish God’s purpose.  And the purpose of God is that we might be saved, that we might come to know the Lord.

 

Why, I heard of a fellow, standing, I mean seated in a place listening to an atheistic lecturer, making fun of the Word of God, saying that it was fable and myth.  And while he was lecturing, one of these fellows stood up, and he said, “I want to ask you a question, that’s all.”  He said, “I was a drunkard, and I was a vile, evil man, and I was in the gutter.”  And he said, “I listened to the Word of the Lord, and I was saved.  Now,” he says, “I not only have a beautiful relationship with my family, in my home, and with my children, but,” he said, “I’m a Sunday school teacher, and I praise and worship the Lord every day of my life.  Now,” said the man, “I want to ask you if this Book is myth and fable, how is it, it had that marvelous effect upon me?”  You see that everyday.

 

I asked them, “I don’t know what we’re going to do.” I asked them—this is the first day we’ve had our inner city chapel, right up the street here, right up Ross Avenue.  They told me just now they had over ninety men there in that chapel and had a big baptismal service.  Why, that’s God.  And look around you, my brother.  Look at the man next to you.  Ask him, “How come you to be a child of God?  How come you to be here at church, worshiping Jesus?”  Just turn to him and ask him, and he’ll tell you, “It was a marvelous thing that happened in my life, wonderful thing that happened in my life; and it happened by the Word of God.”  Isn’t that what we just got through reading?  “Being born again dia, by means of the word of God; and this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” [1 Peter 1:23, 25].  It’s a miracle thing; it’s a marvelous thing!

 

Well, I don’t want to belabor the point.  We’ve got a lot more to say.  This is the introduction; we’re just getting started.  The Scriptures invite you to test, to taste, to try, to see, just try it and see.  Read the Bible, see what it does to your soul.  Listen to the voice of God, and see what it does to your life; just test it, try it.  You’ll be amazed at what happens to you.

 

I was reading the other day about Harry Rimmer, who was debating with an infidel, with an atheist; and they were debating about the Word of God.  And so the infidel was the first one to speak.  And he said, “I want to lay down a ground rule, and the ground rule is this:  we’re not going to prove the Bible by the Bible because you can’t prove a thing by the thing itself.  Now,” he says, “we’re not going to look at the Bible itself, to see whether it’s true or not; we’re going to sources outside of the Bible, and see whether the Bible is true or not, because you can’t prove a thing by the thing itself.”  Now that’s what the infidel and the atheist stood up to say first.  And when Harry Rimmer stood up, he said, “Why, I never heard such a ground rule in all my life, that you can’t prove a thing by the thing itself.”  He said, “Suppose there was a mountaineer, and going along he saw an outcropping of rock in the side of the mountain, and it has golden colored flakes in it.  And the mountaineer says, ‘I think this is gold.’  So he goes to the assayer, and he says, ‘Mr. Assayer, tell me, is there gold in this rock?’  But you can’t prove a thing by the thing itself, according to the infidel; so the mountaineer says, ‘Now you take a brick out of your wall, and you assay that and tell me whether there’s gold in this rock or not.’”  Or, said Harry Rimmer:  “Suppose you suspect that an enemy has put potassium cyanide in your sugar, and that seems to be a habit nowadays to put potassium cyanide in anything they can get their hands on.  Suppose you feel that they’ve put cyanide in your sugar, so you take it to the chemist and you say, ‘I’m afraid somebody’s trying to poison me.  I want to know if there’s any cyanide in this sugar.’  But the infidel says you can’t prove a thing by the thing itself.  So he says to the chemist, ‘Now you get you a salt shaker and you see what’s in that salt, then tell me whether there’s cyanide in this sugar or not.’” 

 

That’s crazy!  Same thing about the word of God:  if you want to know whether the word of God is “powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and the marrow” [Hebrews 4:12], look at the Word of God itself; try it, taste it, see.  You’ll find out.  You’ll know.

 

All right, let’s look at it just for a few minutes; just for a few minutes.  First of all: all that we know about a personal God is found in the revelation of the Holy Scriptures, everything that we know.  His name, who He is, what He is like, who is the great God of this universe; all that we know about a personal God is found in the revelation of this Holy Book.  Follow me just for a moment.  I can go out under the canopy of the heavens at night, and look at the chalice in which the stars of heaven shine, and I can say to myself, “Whoever did this, whoever created this must have been infinite.  Look at this infinitude all around me.”  Or, I can look at a sunset or a rainbow, and I can say, “Whoever created this loved things beautiful.  What good is a sunset?  What good is a rainbow?  It must have been that somebody loved things pretty, loved things beautiful.  But who is He?  What’s His name?”  Or, I can look at those vast orbits of the planets, and even look at the hurricanes and the tides of the sea, and I can say to myself, “Whoever created this is omnipotent; He is all powerful.  But what’s His name?  And what’s He like?”  Or, I can look on the inside of my soul and find that I am morally sensitive, and I can say, “You know, whoever made me has personality and thought and intelligence, and is morally sensitive.  But who is He?  And what is He like?  And what’s His name?”  The only way I could ever, ever know is in the revelation in that Holy Scripture.  In no other way could I know it.

 

Number two: the only way that I could ever know Jesus is in the revelation of this Holy Scripture.  Suetonius and Tacitus are the only two ancient writers who mention Jesus.  Tacitus wrote about 100 AD, and Suetonius, another Roman historian, wrote about 150 AD; and they have one sentence in which they mention the Lord Jesus.  And the reason they mention Jesus is they were describing why Nero put the Christians to the death:  he accused them of burning Rome, and they say – now they had to explain who the Christians were – so Tacitus and Suetonius say that they were named after a man who was crucified under Pontius Pilate; and that’s all, that’s all.  That’s all you’ll ever read in profane secular history about Jesus; that’s all of it.  There might be one exception in Josephus, who was writing, say, about 90 AD, and he has a little paragraph about Jesus that all the people say is spurious.  And that’s all.  If I want to know about Jesus, I must turn to this Holy Book; there’s no other way, no other way.

 

When I was a young fellow, this was my textbook in Greek, this one here.  I studied that for years and years.  I used to preach out of this book; this is my Greek New Testament.  I brought it here tonight; there are two fly leaves.  First one is this:  “Presented to W. A. Criswell, Jr.”  Did you know I was a “junior?”  I’ve even forgotten about it myself.  “Presented to W. A. Criswell, Jr.”  Aren’t you a junior?  It must be a sign of intellectual prowess or achievement to be a junior.  “Presented to W. A. Criswell, Jr. in loving remembrance of his graduation from Baylor University, May 27, 1931.  May this most treasured of volumes ever prove a beacon and inspiration to greater things.  Ta anō, phroneite mē ta epi tēs gēs, Colossians 3:2, “Set your heart and mind upon things above, not upon the things of the world.”  Signed by Christie Poole, Louisville, Kentucky.  Christie Poole, who is now in heaven, my roommate in Baylor and in the seminary went to be a missionary in Africa, and founded our Southern Baptist Seminary in Ogbomosho, Nigeria.  Now the second one, listen to this:  Erasmus wrote in the preface to his Greek New Testament, the first ever published, in 1516, called the Textus Receptus, which became the basis for the King James Version, these words:

 

 

 

These holy pages will summon up the living image of His mind.  They will give you Christ Himself, talking, healing, dying, rising, the whole Christ in a word.  They will give Him to you in an intimacy so close that He would be less visible to you if He stood before your very eyes.

 

 

 

Can you believe that?  If you had the Lord Jesus Himself standing there, and you were looking at Him with your eyes, and you have the Lord Jesus portrayed, presented, on these sacred pages, you’d know more about the Lord from the sacred page than you would if you were looking at Him with your very eyes.  That’s the Book.  All we know about Jesus is revealed to us in that sacred Word.

 

All we know about how to be saved is in the Book.  Job cried, “Oh that I might know where I could find Him” [Job 23:3].  The Philippian jailer, “What must I do to be saved?” [Acts 16:30].  I never was more moved in my life than as a young fellow in school, listening to the son of Hudson Taylor; his name was Howard Taylor.  Hudson Taylor was the founder of the China Inland Mission, one of the great stalwarts of God.  And this son, at that time an old man himself, he said, “There were some missionaries far in the interior of Mongolia, and as they approached a village, there came forth representatives from the village, saying, ‘Do you know a way to be saved?’”  How do you answer that question?  You answer it from the Book.  God’s Book tells us how to be saved.

 

Just one other:  all that we know of the future lies in that Book.  That’s all.  What God says is all that we know of the future.  I don’t think in literature there is a more pathetic sentence than this one from Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher:  Plato said, “Oh, that we had some sure word on which we could cast our souls as we cross this great sea to the world, to the land, on the other side.”  Isn’t it a shame he lived before Jesus?  “Oh, that we had some certain word.”  Philosopher doesn’t have it, nor does the scientist possess it.  Paschal, the incomparable French physicist and mathematician and philosopher said, “The silence of the universe terrifies me!”  You can study scientific books forever, and there’s no hint of any revelation of what is to come.

 

We can go to the necromancers, and the occulters, and the magicians, and the witches, and ask them, “What of the future?”  Houdini said to his best friend, Blackstone, he said, “When I die, you go to the bridge in Chicago over which, out of which, beyond which my ashes are cast, and on the anniversary of my death hold something in your hand, and I’ll knock it out of your hand.”  And for years Blackstone went to that bridge from which they cast the ashes of Houdini, the great magician, and held something in his hand; and no time was it ever knocked out of his hand.  And finally, in futility and frustration, they ceased going and trying any longer.  They don’t know the future.

 

And the secularist and the hedonist certainly don’t know the future.  I was, somehow, thought this was typical, in a TV play, just at the end of it that I looked at, there were two men in the war on a ship who were going to land in an island in the Pacific, and it was certain death.  And one of them says to the other, “I don’t know what to think, and I don’t know what to feel.”  And the other replies to him, “All you can do in life is just to get the most pleasure out of it that’s possible, that’s all, that’s all.”  Think of the barren sterility of the meaningless and emptiness of a life given to no other thing than that.  “We’re just going to get all the pleasure out of it that we can.”  No hope.  No tomorrow.  No heaven.  No Lord.  No anything.  Just to die, O Lord!

 

That’s why the message of the Book is so dear and precious.  God says it’s better over there than it is here [Philippians 1:22-23].  God says “There is a beautiful and holy city whose maker and builder is God” [Hebrews 11:10].  And that is our eternal home.  God says there awaits us a resurrection from the dead [1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16].  God says we shall have new bodies, new eyes, new hearts, new souls.  “I make all things new” [Revelation 21:5].   O Lord, what a beautiful, bountiful, incomparably heavenly and precious prospect God has set before us.  And it’s all in the Book.  And we can believe it.  Peter says this is our sure foundation that will never, ever fail [1 Peter 1:23-25].

 

Now may we stand together?

 

Our wonderful, wonderful Lord, what a marvel God hath placed in our hands, sweeter than honey in the honeycomb, dearer than life itself, more precious than the wealth of the rubies, and the diamonds, and the gold, and the silver of the world: this Book, this sure foundation of our faith.  Jesus speaks to us from its pages.  He comforts us in those precious words:

 

 

 

Be not troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions:  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid

 

[John 14:1-3, 27]

 

 

 

In the Book. 

 

O Lord, with what assurance do we live our lives, do we lie down to die, looking for a better resurrection.  Praise Thee, Lord, for writing for us what we can hold in our hands, believe in our souls, and find comfort in our pilgrim way.

 

And in this moment that our people pray for you, a family, a couple, just you, “This is God’s night for me, pastor, and I’m coming.  We’re all coming.  This is my wife, and these are our children; we’re all coming, pastor.”  Or just the two of you, or just that somebody you, make the decision in your heart; and in a moment when we sing, that first step will be the most precious you’ll ever make in your life.  Down that stairway, there’s time and to spare.  In the throng and press on this lower floor, down one of these aisles,   “Pastor, tonight, we’re coming to the Lord.”  A thousand times welcome.

 

And our wonderful Savior, thank Thee for the sweet harvest You give us, in Thy dear, and saving, and keeping, and living, and triumphant name, amen.  Welcome.  While we sing, while we sing.

 

THE FOUNDATION OF THE FAITH

Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Peter 1:12-25

1-30-83

I.          Introduction

A.  Both epistles, first chapters end with avowals concerning infallible Word

1.  The first – our new birth dia, by means of the Word of God(1 Peter 1:23, Isaiah 40:8)

2. The second – our faith in Christ sterizo, established, immovable, in the truth(2 Peter 1:12)

a. Eyewitnesses(2 Peter 1:16-18, Matthew 17:5, John 1:1-3)

b. The sure Word of God(2 Peter 1:19-21)

i. Zedekiah and the 400 false prophets; Micaiah and the true Word of God(2 Kings 22:1-38)

II.         Three tests for the true Word of God

A.  That it comes to pass(Deuteronomy 18:21-22)

1. Difficulty of that test – future is unknown to us

a. Word will prophecy the future thousands of years before it comes to pass(Genesis 3:15, 2 Samuel 7:12, Micah 5:2)

B.  That it be without error(Psalm 119:160)

C.  That it accomplish its purpose – that we might be saved(Isaiah 55:10-11)

1. Atheist lecturer called Bible a myth, fable, challenged by testimony of a man whose life was saved from the gutter

2.  Being born again dia, by means of the Word of God(1 Peter 1:23, 25)

III.        See for yourself – taste and see

A.  Harry Rimmer debating with an infidel – proving a thing by the thing itself(Hebrews 4:12)

B.  All that we know about a personal God is found in Holy Scriptures

C. All that we know of Jesus is in the revelation of Holy Scriptures

1.  My Greek New Testament – dedication by Christie Poole, preface by Erasmus(Colossians 3:2)

D. All we know about how to be saved is in this Book(Job 23:3, Acts 16:30)

E. All we know of the future life, the world beyond death, is in this Book(Hebrews 11:10, 1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Revelation 21:5)

1. Philosophers, scientists don’t know

2. Necromancers, occultists, magicians don’t know

3.  Secularists and hedonists don’t know

F.  Jesus speaks to us from its pages, comforting us (John 14:1-3, 27)