Belief in Jesus is correct.

Belief in Jesus is correct.

Sermon on September 20th, 2020
Kirche am Bahnhof, Frankenberg
by Micha Schmidt

 

This sermon is translated from German into English. You can find the original video hier

 

The other day a work colleague said to me: “Why should I read the Bible, I might as well read Harry Potter!”
A lot of thoughts came to my mind. The Bible is not a novel that someone has made up from cover to cover.
There are 66 books. And they were written by different people at different times.
No, you can’t make it that easy with the Bible, and besides, the Bible has shaped world history.
So: That couldn’t be left standing. I had to try to expand my colleague’s knowledge. It then ended so that I could testify to the faith. I was of course very happy about that. This incident shows that many people make it very easy for themselves to believe. They say the Bible is just made up. And the Bible isn’t worth reading either.
But of course that is too simple.
Even unbelievers who are more concerned with the Bible must admit that the content of the Bible cannot be just made up. Most believers, however, usually testify to the reliability and truth of the Bible.
In our self-understanding of the community it says, for example:
“We believe that the Bible is absolutely true, reliable, and the standard for our Christian life. We acknowledge the divine inspiration of all of Holy Scripture, its complete reliability and the highest authority in all of its statements. … “And I am glad that our self-image includes this passage. It is thus made clear that the Bible is our standard. That is important, and the great reformers have just put this right again.
The entire canon of the 66 books of the Bible is our guide. The term canon means: a polyphonic composition, a whole that is composed of several pieces. So the canon of the Bible is our guideline or norm.

Professionally, I have a lot to do with standards, like one or the other of you. At work we are, for example, according to the standard: DIN EN ISO 9001: 2015. Certified. That means, if someone orders parts from us, he can know beforehand what he can expect and that is exactly how it should be with us Christians: We too should stick to what is in the Bible. If you go to a church service in another city, you can know what to expect from the Christians there.

I read the sermon text:

2 Peter 1: 12-21
12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 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 Ghost.
The subject above this text is called: Faith in Jesus is true – just as the apostles proclaimed it.
These are the last words we have from the apostle Peter.
When Peter writes his second letter, he knows – that he will not live long, that he will have to break up his tents here on earth. Therefore, it is important for him to remind and awaken the church. Because she is threatened by false teachers.
We today, too, always need remembrance and awakening. Because we too encounter false doctrines – which do not coincide with the truth of faith. And in order to recognize these false teachings, it is important that we have a good knowledge of the Bible. It is the yardstick against which we have to check everything.
Let me make a comparison with an apartment:
If we stop cleaning our apartment, it won’t take long and we will have a lot of dust everywhere. It is the same with faith. If we stop remembering the truths of the Bible, our faith will become dusty. We will stop growing in faith and gradually the faith will develop back. Therefore it is important to hear the truth again and again, to understand it more deeply and of course to live by it.

 

1. The belief in Jesus is Jesus is correct because there are authentic reports from contemporary witnesses.

When we read the text of the sermon, we read the account of a man who lived with our Lord and Savior for three years. Peter writes in the we-form, making it clear that he and the other apostles were eye and ear witnesses. The apostles who founded the church saw Jesus themselves, yes that is even a prerequisite for the apostleship (1Cor 15,8).

It was not a cleverly crafted saga, myth, or fairy tale that Peter and the other apostles spread. No, it was the truth. They were things that they experienced themselves. Things they could remember well. They even received a special Jesus word for this memory.

In John 14:26 Jesus promises his disciples:

But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom my Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything I have told you.

But now back to our sermon text:

Here Peter recalls the transfiguration of Jesus, during which he was allowed to witness.
Peter, John and James were allowed to follow Jesus up a mountain. There they saw how the appearance of Jesus changed. His face began to shine like the sun, and his clothes became brilliant white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared and the disciples saw them talking to Jesus. (They saw it, they were witnesses) And the best thing about the incident is that the three of them end up hearing the voice of God.

Just as Peter suggests that he want to build three huts, it happens. A bright, bright cloud comes and throws its satiety on it. Have you ever seen how something shiny can cast a shadow? God’s glory is brighter than light. And from the cloud speaks the voice of God (Matth. 17:5):
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
The voice terrified the disciples so much that they threw themselves face down on the ground.
So if I had experienced this alone I would doubt myself. It was good that there were three of the disciples. The three saw and heard these things. Peter reminds of this event here.
Why this event, why not the resurrection? After all, Peter saw Jesus after his resurrection and could certainly have told of many such experiences. Because he experienced a lot with Jesus. But perhaps he has chosen this incident as an example because here God himself confirms Jesus as his Son.
So the three of them didn’t just hear from Jesus that he was God’s Son. No, God the Father told them Himself. Incidentally, not only on the Mount of Transfiguration, but also at Jesus’ baptism God speaks (Matthew 3:17): “This is my dear son, whom I am well pleased!”
In short, the apostles were certain that faith in Jesus was true. God himself confirmed it to them. And that’s why they preached this faith everywhere and devoted their lives to spreading it. Most even died for this belief.
Peter was crucified upside down. The very fact that so many apostles died for their faith is fairly authentic evidence that the apostles spoke the truth. Because who would die for a lie? The apostles knew full well that the faith was true and that after death they would enter into God’s glory. We can trust the preaching of the apostles. The sermon text invites us to do this.

 

2. Faith in Jesus is right because the Bible is reliable

Belief in Jesus is true because the Bible is reliable. If you take a closer look at our text, you will see that it makes an important contribution to the doctrine of inspiration. The doctrine of inspiration says that the texts of the 66 books of the Bible were inspired by God’s spirit, or rather breathed in.

Peter writes (2 Peter 1:20):
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
And he also encourages – to pay attention to the prophetic word. He makes it clear that we should not only refer to the reports of the apostles to confirm our faith, but also to the prophetic words of the Old Testament. None of these words were thought up by humans. No, the prophets spoke in the name of God, led by the Holy Spirit.
A whole series of prophetic words and promises in the Old and New Testament refer in a special way to Jesus and Jesus himself always refers to statements in the Old Testament, the Bible that existed until then.
We didn’t hear a few of them until we had the Isaiah sermon series. Some of these promises relate to Jesus’ first coming and some to his second coming. And because Jesus has already come once, we can be sure that he will also come a second time and and fulfill everything that is written by him but not yet fulfilled. So our text says that belief in Jesus is true, not only because the apostles testify, but also because the prophetic words in the OT confirm belief in Jesus.
The canon of the 39 books of the Old Testament was already fixed at the time of Jesus. And He was respected as an authority. But more importantly, Jesus respected him as an authority. He based his teaching on the writings of the Old Testament.
I would now like to present proof that the 39 books of the Old Testament of the OT were already fixed. The Jewish historian Flavius ​​Josephus writes: (Jewish Antiquities, Book Eighteenth, pp. 525-526):
“The latter (John the Baptist, note) had Herod executed, although he was a noble man who urged the Jews to strive for perfection by exhorting them to practice justice for one another and piety for one another, and thus for baptism to come … On this suspicion Herod had John chained, brought to the fortress Machaerus, which I mentioned above, and executed there. “
We see: our Old Testament is very reliable. But what about the New Testament?
It is so that the term Scripture appears 51 times in the New Testament. Most of the time it says: Scripture says … which is then followed by a quote from the Old Testament. And this is interesting:
The writers of the New Testament refer to another part of the New Testament as Scripture.
In these places we can see that the apostles’ New Testament scriptures are based on the same Level like the Old Testament. (Luke and all Pauline letters, 1. Tim 5, 17-18 / 2. Peter 3,16)
The New Testament wants to be taken just as seriously as the old one. Behind the Old Testament is the preaching of the prophets, behind the New is the preaching of the apostles.
And in the end, God and his spirit are behind it.
Nor do we need to worry that parts have been lost or that things have been added. For God watches over his word. God is a living God. He intervenes in creation. He takes care of his word. He has preserved scrolls for centuries.
Eddy Lanz recently told us about the Isaiah scroll that was found in the Dead Sea caves. From this we can see that the scriptures were copied very, very carefully.
Today we can no longer talk to the eyewitnesses from back then. But we have their reports in God’s Word, or rather, their reports as the word given by God. These reports are reliable.Now at the end of my sermon the question arises:

 

What do we do with the Bible?
Is the Bible the norm that applies to you? Do you recognize them as an authority?
On paper, that’s what all the parishioners here have done. I have read out the corresponding passage from our self-understanding of the community.
But now it is not only important to recognize this book on paper, we also have to show it with our lives.
I want to come back to my place of work.
We at Richter are therefore certified. According to the said norm. There is an audit once a year.
It then checks whether we are doing what is on the paper. The auditor would not think it would be a good thing if he did not see what is on paper in our company.
In short: If we call ourselves Christians, we should also do what is in the Bible.
Because the Bible is the relevant paper for us.
Next, I want to encourage you to study the Bible, and I’m sure many of you do too. Don’t let that stop you. If you study the Bible more, you will find that by and large it is easy to understand. But don’t be discouraged if you don’t understand everything in the Bible.And now I want to tell you something – which shouldn’t be a secret:
God speaks through the Bible. If you long for God to speak, then you should read the Bible because God speaks through it.
It can look like this, for example: You have memorized a Bible verse and this comes to mind when you need it. That happens to me a lot, for example.
The last thing I want to say is that it is important to talk about the Bible. After all, it is our mission to spread this belief all over the world. And this belief is the right one.The words of the Bible give hope and comfort.
They show us how we can live well.
She is a guide.
She is a light for us humans.
She is a light in a dark world where we encounter false teachings.

These words show us how we can be ready for the second coming of Jesus, because God’s word says: Jesus is coming again and even if we Christians have been waiting for about 2000 years for it, it’s true: Jesus will come again.
If Jesus has not come again today, then that is because of the patience he has with us humans.

Belief in Jesus is true, God’s word is reliable and true.

I close the sermon with the last words of the Bible:
Revelation 22: 18-21:

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.