Highway Bible Church

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The Word Became Flesh

            One of the names given to the Lord Jesus Christ is “the Word.”  This means that Jesus is the very expression of God.  God has fully expressed Himself to humanity in the Person of His Son.  When Jesus came into this world He perfectly revealed to us God.  “God was manifest in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16).  Jesus the Word “is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).  The apostle John wrote in the introduction of his Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).  This shows us that Jesus was and is eternal God.  He never had a beginning and so “was in the beginning with God” (1:2).  The Word is the Creator, for “all things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (1:3).  “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible…all things were created by Him, and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).

            But the Word did not remain in heaven.  “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).  Jesus never became God, for He is God.  Instead, Jesus, being fully God, became fully man without ceasing to be God.  He took upon Himself flesh and blood.  When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He was God the Son wrapped in swaddling clothes, and was God’s gift to the world.  Because of this, you and I can come to know God in a personal way.  Jesus did not come simply to give us an example on how we should live, but He came to completely transform our lives.  He came to provide eternal salvation.  John the Baptist declared of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

            During this Christmas season, don’t get so caught up with all the action that you miss out on knowing Jesus.  “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).

It's Free!

            It is the most valuable gift in the world, but this gift is being given away for FREE.  Though it sounds too good to be true, it is a reality looking for takers.  The gift is SALVATION.

            Among the many wonders of salvation is the amazing fact that it is offered without charge.  The cost of purchasing it has been totally cared for by God.  The Bible simply states, “Ye are bought with a price…” (2 Corinthians 6:20).  Sin left us with a spiritual debt we could not pay.  The psalmist makes the frightening observation: “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth forever)” (Psalm 49:6-8). 

            This fatal diagnosis is affirmed in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death.”  The fact that sin has left us condemned and destined for hell, with no ability to buy our way out of this most frightful plight, makes God’s free gift of salvation all the more wonderful.  After declaring man’s hopeless condition, “For the wages of sin is death,” the Bible continues, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

            Earlier in the book of Romans the Bible clarifies that this gift of salvation is absolutely FREE to the lost sinner: “Being justified FREELY by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).  The adverb “freely” means “completely without cost.”

            This is a point God doesn’t want us to miss!  It is reaffirmed in the last two chapters of the Bible.  “… I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life FREELY” (Rev. 21:6).  “…And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life FREELY” (22:17).

            Many a lost sinner, beginning with the woman at the well (John 4), the dying thief on the cross (Luke 23), and the writer of this sermonette, have experienced “being justified FREELY by His grace.”  Have you received God’s free gift of salvation (John 1:12)?  It’s not for sale!  It can only be received by acknowledging we’re a lost sinner with a debt we cannot pay.  It is FREE!

The Promises Of God - Part 6

            We are looking at some of the “great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:3-4) which God has given to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We have the promise of God’s presence and His power; today we will see that:

 

God has promised His Peace

 

            “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3).  The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for those who have received Him as their Savior is called the believer’s “blessed hope.”  We are to be “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

            The Lord Jesus has not abandoned His own.  The Holy Spirit indwells every believer.  And we have been “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13b-14).  Jesus told His disciples, “I will not leave you comfortless [bereaved, orphans]: I will come to you” (John 14:18).  This gives us peace for the present and the future.

            The peace Jesus gives is unique.  “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).  World peace is not only temporary, it is also false.  But the peace Christ gives is eternal and real.

            “Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).  God’s surpassing peace stands guard to protect our hearts and minds from worry and fear

The Promises Of God - Part 5

            We are looking at some of the “great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:3-4) which God has given to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Last week we saw the promise of God’s presence.  Today, we will see that:

 

God has promised His Power

 

            God is my help in my need.  The psalmist was going through some distress, trouble, or something that had him in a tight place; and so he went to his only source of help.  “I called upon the LORD in my distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.  The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.  What can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:5, 6).  Because of God’s presence, believers “may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6).  “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help?  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1, 2).

            God is my strength in my weakness.  God assured Israel, “fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God:  I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).  “Hast thou not known?  Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?  There is no searching of His understanding.  He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).

            God is my ability for my service.  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).  Christ is the key for the empowerment of the believer.  For as He said, “without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5)

The Promises Of God - Part 4

            The past three weeks we have seen that God’s promises are based upon Himself and are a revelation of His character.  We also saw that our feelings or lack of faith do not mean God’s promises have failed.  Let us now look at some of these “great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:3-4) which God has given to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

God has promised His presence

 

            God instructed Moses to encourage Joshua and all Israel for the time they would enter the Promised Land and confront the enemy.  He commanded them, “Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6).  Later, God said these words again to Joshua.  “Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).

            God’s commands and expectations for His people always come with the guarantee of His presence.  We cannot go it alone.  We cannot fight our battles alone.  Every step of the way requires the presence of God.  His presence gives us comfort and peace.  “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

            The LORD said to Moses, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest” (Exodus 33:14).  What a thrill and joy that comes knowing God is with us, that He will not fail us or forsake us!  So, as a believer in Jesus Christ, “Let your conversation [i.e. your way of living or character] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

            Jesus promised His disciples in His Great Commission, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen” (Matthew 28:20).  Believers are never alone!

The Promises Of God - Part 3

            The last two weeks we saw that God’s promises are based upon Himself and are a revelation of His character.  Today I want for us to consider that our feelings or lack of faith do not mean that God’s promises have failed.

            We had seen in I Kings 8:56 that “according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised…”  Even Joshua had declared that “not one thing hath failed” of God’s promise (Joshua 23:14).

            But there are some promises which still have not yet been fulfilled, and God made the promises thousands of years ago.  But it does not matter what we think or how we feel; God will still fulfill His promises.  God’s promises are not based upon us, and our lack of faith will not thwart what God has purposed.  All of God’s promises are facts and the future promises will be fulfilled completely as the past fulfilled promises.

            The psalmist Asaph asked, “Will the LORD cast off forever?  And will He be favorable no more?  Is His mercy clean gone forever?  Doth His promise fail for evermore?  Hath God forgotten to be gracious?  Hath He in anger shut up His tender mercies?” (Psalm 77:7-9).  Feelings may say “yes,” but God’s Word says “no.”

            “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4).

            “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8, 9).  God is never slow or tardy.  He is never too early or too late.  His perspective on time is different from ours.  He will fulfill His promise.  Jesus will come again (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

The Promises Of God - Part 1

            A promise is a declaration, whether written or verbal, made by one person to another, purposing to assure or guarantee that the one making the promise will do or refrain from doing a specific act.  This declaration is intended to give the one receiving the promise the assurance that he will receive what has been promised.

            Some promises that are given in the Bible are conditional: if you do this then I will do that.  But other promises are unconditional: I will do this no matter what.  Some promises are dispensational, for a certain time and group, and some apply to everyone.  It is important to know the difference between the promises to Israel and the ones given to the Church, between the Old Testament and New Testament truths.

 

            God’s promises are based upon Himself and are a revelation of His character.

 

            “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it?  Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).  God cannot and will not lie (Titus 1:2).  It is the devil who cannot speak the truth (John 8:44).  Because God’s Word is true, we can trust Him, knowing that every jot and tittle will be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18).

            “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9).  God is faithful.  Always.  You can trust in Him.

            King Solomon declared at the dedication of the temple, “Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised; there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant” (I Kings 8:56).  Time never diminished the promises of God.  The word “all” means “all.”  His promise is good because God is good.  He will never fail to keep His word.

God's Provision Or Your Own

            The man was barely able to stand as he swayed under the dizziness of hunger.  He stared at the table before him laden with a smorgasbord of food.  He could smell the distinct aroma of spices and his mouth watered at the cornucopia of smell.  The host beckoned him to sit at the table but he remained swaying near the door.  When the host tried to help him, the hungry man resisted and headed toward the kitchen.  Passing through the kitchen the man continued out the back door and began scrounging through the rubbish bin for any morsel of food he could find.

            “Foolish!” you say.  But this is being done world-wide on a grand scale.  Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, reveals what the LORD said concerning His people: “For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

            Many people are foolishly substituting fullness for emptiness.  Instead of receiving and partaking of God’s provision, they turn away and seek their own.  They want it their way.

            God has established the exclusive way of salvation.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).  But many reject Christ by setting up their own religious systems which bloat their stomachs and slay their souls.  Instead of enjoying the fullness of Christ, the Fountain of Living Waters, they carve out for themselves, by their own efforts, broken cisterns which are useless.  Yet they brag at how big and beautiful their cisterns are.  Spiritual idolatry pushed God out of their lives and they celebrate their man-made religions.

            Jesus spoke to the woman at the well and said, “Whoso drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13, 14).  Don’t be one who rejects the God who satisfies!

The Bible Authenticates Itself - Part 4

            We have been examining prophetic statements of Scripture which defy fulfillment by coincidental probability, authenticating God’s Word.  The most important prophetic announcements are those which foretold Jesus Christ coming to earth as our Savior.  The appearance of these in the Old Testament number in the hundreds.  Obviously, God wants us to notice them!
            Genealogical statements hundreds of years before Jesus’ coming, declaring that He would be of the seed of Abraham (Genesis 22:18), of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), of the family of David (Jeremiah 23:5-6), were all fulfilled exactly as predicted.  The place of Jesus’ birth was declared more than seven centuries before the wonderful happenings in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).  The evil jealous decree of Herod (Matthew 2:16) was announced hundreds of years before by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:15).
            Our Lord’s death, burial and resurrection were all recorded in prophecy long before their actual happening (Isaiah 53; Psalm 16:10).  As with the prophecies in the earlier studies, the statements are far too precise for simple coincidence.  Betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9) for 30 pieces of silver which would be thrown in the house of the LORD and then picked up and used to purchase a potter’s field (Zechariah 11:12-13), are exact fulfillments which were prophesied long before.
            As we noticed in our first study, God has purposely revealed through prophecy that He is the Only True God.  “I have declared the former things…because I know that thou art obstinate…I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I showed it thee…) Isaiah 48:3-5).
            No man can use the excuse, “I just didn’t know if God and His Word were true.”  The Bible authenticates itself and we are responsible to read and believe!  “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name” (John 20:31).

The Bible Authenticates Itself - Part 3

            We’ve observed in the previous studies that God has placed within the Bible fulfilled prophecies that prove to the sincere reader that the Bible is true.  The prophet Ezekiel made a most interesting pronouncement about the city of Tyre: “Son of man, because Tyre hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people, she is turned unto Me; I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste.  And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre, and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.  For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyre Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people” (Ezekiel 26:2, 4, 7).
            Just as prophesied, shortly after the prophecy the king of Babylon came upon Tyre and destroyed the city, causing the inhabitants to flee to a fortified island about one half mile off the coast.  Ezekiel’s prophecy continues: “And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise; and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses; and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water.  And I will make thee like the top of a rock; thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon, thou shalt be built no more; for I, the LORD, have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 26:12, 14).
            In fulfillment, more than two and a half centuries after the prophet had spoken those words, Alexander the Great conquered the island.  By taking the debris from the mainland city, and in exact keeping with the words of Scripture, Alexander made a land bridge to the island: “…and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water.”  God’s Word is true!  In our final study we will examine prophecy relating to Christ.

The Bible Authenticates Itself - Part 2

            We noted in our last study that an honest investigation of the prophetic statements of Scripture reveal that God’s Word is a supernatural book.  Only the true and living God, who is eternal and knows all events past, present and future, could be the source of the prophetic utterances of Scripture.  In our previous inquiry we cited several verses from Isaiah where God challenges anyone else to reveal the future.  In the context of those passages is a most interesting prophecy of the conquering of the city of Babylon by Cyrus the Persian.
            Nearly two centuries before the Persian leader’s triumphal acquisition of Babylon, the prophet Isaiah, led by the inspiration of God, names this man and declared specifically what he would do: “Thus said the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut: I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron; And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, who call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel” (Isaiah 45:1-3).
            Several factors further illustrate the miraculous nature of this prophecy.  The prophet Isaiah wrote these words before Babylon’s rise as a world empire.  As Isaiah penned these words, Assyria was the kingdom that dominated the world.  The prophet also forecast that Cyrus would make specific proclamations regarding Jerusalem: “Who saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure; even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundations shall be laid” (Isaiah 44:28).
            These declarations made centuries before their happening, and their exact fulfillments, authenticate God’s Word.  The Bible is true!

The Bible Authenticates Itself - Part 1

            An honest investigation of the prophetic statements of Scripture reveals that men inspired of God wrote specific statements forecasting future events, revelations that have been fulfilled with exactness.  This is an uncomfortable fact for those who have purposed to reject the Bible.  Strange theories have been developed by men who have desperately attempted to answer historical accuracy of Biblical prophecy.  One popular fabricated explanation is the claim that the prophecies were plugged into the book by an unknown editor after the forecasted happening had historically occurred.  The finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls proved the fallacy of this argument, but for want of a better explanation many still grasp this bogus excuse.
            In the prophetic book of Isaiah, written in the 8th century BC, God reveals that as the “first” and the “last” He knows what is going to happen from the “beginning” (Isaiah 41:4).  God challenges those who arrogantly disregard His word: “Let them accurately predict future happenings.”  God declared, “Let them bring forth…that we may know that ye are gods…” (Isaiah 41:22-23).
            An authenticating attribute of the true God is that He can perfectly declare the future: “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them” (Isaiah 42:9).  “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10).  “I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I showed it to thee…” (Isaiah 48:5).
            In the next article we will examine some of these specific prophecies.  Yes, the Bible purposely authenticates itself so that men have no excuse for rejecting God’s Word.