The Power of Scripture
In 2010, two books with very similar premises took the country by storm. These books were both on the best sellers list, sold millions of copies, and movies were made to portray the events that were described within the pages of the books. Both books had as their main characters young boys who through a vehicle accident in one case and appendicitis in the other, nearly lost their lives. As a result, the books record in amazing detail what these young men allegedly saw as their lives slipped away. They recalled what Heaven looked like, what it was like to meet Jesus, and one even recounted meeting a sister that had died prematurely that he apparently had no way of knowing about.
What were these books? You’ve probably heard of at least one of them.
They were titled “The Boy Who came back from Heaven” by Kevin and Alex Malarkey
and “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo
But there’s more to the story.
5 years later, in 2015, Alex Malarkey who’s alleged story was recorded in the book “The Boy Who Came back from Heaven,” made a public statement that read in part,
"I did not die. I did not go to Heaven. I said I went to Heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible. I want the whole world to know that the Bible is sufficient. Those who market these materials must be called to repent and hold the Bible as enough.
The publisher stopped selling the book the same year that he made this statement.
Now I won’t pass judgement on the other book or story that continues to be promoted and sold, I’ll let you come to your own conclusions on whether or not to believe any such claims. But I hope that after tonight we can agree that we don’t need such books to strengthen our faith, as the scriptures are sufficient
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
We begin tonight in a familiar location, turn with me to Luke chapter 16 and beginning in v. 19
We used this parable when talking about death and judgement a few weeks ago, and if you recall I stated that this parable is rich with meaning, including what we used it for then, to show that an immediate judgement takes place at death, and that judgement is carried on for eternity.
Tonight Id like to take a bit more time looking into this parable and drawing out what other lessons we can draw from it.
19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”
Moses pronounces a harsh reality on the rich young ruler, “You are here because you neglected scripture”
In essence saying, all this could have been remedied if you would have just listened to Moses and the prophets while you were alive.
and more than that, he says that if someone is not inclined to hear the truth of Scripture, then they won’t pay attention if someone comes back from the dead.
Moses tells the rich young ruler, the scriptures are strong enough to accomplish what they have been sent to accomplish.
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Scripture has the power to train and correct
The implication of Abraham is that the rich young ruler was not ignorant of the scriptures, but that he ignored them.
God had much to say regarding the way he expected the poor to be treated by his people
11 For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’
27 Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.
23 The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice.
10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.
22 “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”
It is clear that the rich young ruler refused to hear what Moses and the prophets had to say, but had he listened, he could have corrected his life before it was too late. He could have had Lazarus brought in and cared for, or at the very least, provided means for him to be cared for.
Scripture has the power to rebuke
Stones to bread
3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Throw yourself down
16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.
Bow down and worship me
13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.
Scripture has the power to save
Abraham states that mankind, has within the pages of scripture placed there by the pen of the HS inspired writers what they need to know in order to avoid the fate that happened to the rich ruler.
BUT IT’S HERE THAT WE NEED TO BE EXTREMELY CLEAR ABOUT ONE THING. PURE HEAD KNOWLEDGE OF THE SCRIPTURES, CAN NOT, WILL NOT, AND NEVER HAS SAVED ANYONE.
After all, did Jesus not struggle with telling the scribes and pharisees and experts of the law that they were in the express lane to hell unless they repented?
30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Jesus says the whole of scripture points directly to Him and just as says
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
So the reason that the scriptures contain the power to save is because they contain the saving message regarding Jesus Christ as the messiah, the chosen one, the Son of God who takes away the sins of the world.
6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
For what reasons did Jesus come to earth?
To establish his kingdom, to show the power of the kingdom that he had ultimate power and authority over all things especially evil, to die on the cross and redeem us from our sins.
But he also came to do what he said in
And it was those words that the HS brought to their remembrance, and that the men who penned the NT wrote down so that we can be like those he prayed for in
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
Church, the scriptures are powerful because they come from God.
Yes he used men to put pen to paper, yes he used their personalities and writing styles, but they were carried along by the Holy Spirit
21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
Church Scripture saves because it carries to us the message of the gospel.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.