Trust Christ and His Word
2nd Sunday of Easter
Trust Christ and His Word
Text: 2 Peter 1:16-21
“Did God really say?” Those are the first words spoken by Satan in Scripture. That once perfect angel who rebelled against God and then was cast into hell was determined from the very beginning to bring down all creation with him. The most prized prey for his vicious attacks though would be the crowning jewel of creation, the ones made in the very likeness of God—human beings. Though they bore the righteous image of God, it would take one phrase to beguile humans and set off their race in a tailspin of sin: “Did God really say?”
That was enough. That was enough to get Eve to question God’s command and then alter God’s command and finally to disobey God’s command. “Did God really say?” was enough for Adam to stand there idly by, quietly conceding and consenting with his wife’s first sin.
That question is so powerfully evil that the devil figured he would just keep on using it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So he whispered, “Did God really say he would make you into a great nation?” into the ears of Abraham and led him to take matters into his own hands and lie about his wife Sarah, calling her his sister to protect her. And he coaxed into complaining some two million Israelites by causing them to ponder in the desert, “Did God really say he would lead you to the Promised Land?” That one worked so well he used it for over 40 years on the same people!
“Did God really say?” led David into lust and adultery and murder and it led Elijah to mope and whine that he was the only believer left in Israel and it led Jonah to run away from preaching in Nineveh.
Even when God sent his own Son, Satan was undaunted and didn’t deviate from his great lie. “Did God really say?” led the Jews to doubt endless evidence from Jesus and thus doubt that he was the Messiah. “Did God really say?” led the disciples to do all kinds of silly and sinful things during Holy Week. And we saw today that “Did God really say?” is so beguiling and bewitching that Thomas neither believed Jesus’ promise of resurrection nor his 10+ friends who saw him alive.
What a lie! It’s only a little whisper. But that’s where it starts. First a whisper of questioning. Questioning leads to confusion. Confusion leads to doubt. Doubt leads to unbelief. Unbelief leads to hell. Satan is no dummy. He knows his game plan and he know what has worked for ages. It still ain’t broke, so he still ain’t gonna fix it.
So the lie continues today, and people are devouring the devilish deception. “Did God really say that was his plan for marriage?” “Did God really say that fetus is a human?” “Did God really say there’s only one way to heaven?” “Did God really say he expects his people to give offerings . . . to go to church . . . to put him first in their lives?” “Did God really say he will work all things for your good?” “Did God really say that even I would be in heaven?”
All of these questions really stem from two fundamental lies that Satan wants you to believe: Jesus Christ and his Word can’t be trusted. Satan will whisper, shout, or scream to you “Did God really say?” until finally you doubt that Jesus Christ is your Savior and that the Bible is true. Remember the game plan. Questioning leads to confusion. Confusion leads to doubt. Doubt leads to unbelief. Unbelief leads to hell.
The apostle Peter was a disciple who shared in our understanding of how well this lie of Satan works and how quickly it leads to doubt. He was the disciple who walked on water but was scared and sank. He tried to convince Jesus not to suffer and die. He was terrified when Jesus transfigured with glory and thought it would be a good idea to stay on that mountaintop with Moses and Elijah. He missed the importance of the moment during Holy Week and fell asleep when he was supposed to pray. He denied Jesus three times. He ran to the tomb on Easter morning and wondered what was going on. Just like you and I do, Peter often fell into Satan’s trap of asking, “Did God really say?” and just as it does for us today, it led to all kinds of doubt, denial, and sin.
But by God’s grace, Jesus opened Peter’s mind to understand the Scriptures and his Savior. In all these events, Peter was an eyewitness who had insider insight that he could later share with other people. In his second letter he shares that very information with you and me. He makes it crystal clear that you and I have no reason to doubt and every reason to be very sure. We can Trust Christ and His Word.
Listen to him share why: “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” The things that Peter and the other apostles shared with God’s people are most certainly true. They aren’t myths, legends, or fairytales. The stories of Jesus’ power and coming to this world are not cleverly made up stories. They are real and true. Peter knew from experience because, “We were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
Peter and the others were eyewitnesses to Jesus. He goes on to give just one splendid example: “For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” That glorious moment of Jesus’ transfiguration when he was shining like the sun and Moses and Elijah appeared and God the Father identified his Son with thunderous love from heaven—that was not made up. Peter, James, and John were there. They were eyewitnesses.
That event is true just like all the rest. Jesus didn’t preach or perform miracles in secret. Thousands of people heard him preach and saw miracles. He definitely had power and authority. Jesus didn’t die in secret. He was crucified in public. He definitely died—even the Roman soldiers confirmed it. Jesus also didn’t rise from the dead and sneak back to heaven so that some could claim conspiracy. He appeared to his disciples on multiple occasions and in fact appeared to over 500 people in the 40 days after he rose from the dead.
Moreover, do you ever wonder why there is so much repetition in the New Testament? Why are there four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Why do Paul and Peter repeat some of the stories too? You and I today might call it corroborating evidence. The Bible isn’t some science fiction novel crafted by some writer locked away in his room like its The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. The Bible contains real, true, and accurate historical accounts of Jesus Christ.
What’s Peter’s point? There is no need to doubt. You can be absolutely sure about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus really is the Son of God. He really did come to this world for you. He really did suffer and die for all of your sin. He really did defeat the devil and pay for all your sins that Satan so badly wants to accuse you of. Then, Jesus really did rise from the dead to prove his victory without a doubt and to guarantee that you will rise to everlasting life.
This is 100%, absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt true. Peter is one of many eyewitnesses who tell us that Jesus is real and Jesus is really your Savior.
But not only can we trust Christ, we can also trust his Word. Peter explains why in the next paragraph: “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” Peter is about to tell you why we can be even more certain about God’s Word. Even though it was written by eyewitnesses, there are more reasons to believe it. Thus, we do well to pay attention to it, like a light shining in the darkness. Sometimes in history the planet Venus that shines early in the morning has been called the morning star. In Revelation Jesus is also called the Morning Star. We do well to pay attention to God’s Word until Jesus comes back on the Last Day.
So here’s why you can and will trust God’s Word as a light shining in the darkness of this world until Jesus returns: “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
There is nothing in the Bible that the writers came up with on their own. Jonah did not sit down and dream up some “big fish” story about getting swallowed alive because he thought it would be entertaining. John did not imagine that some magic man turned water into wine. Peter did not create the story of Jesus’ glory on the mount of transfiguration. Every Bible writer from Moses with Genesis to John with Revelation and everyone in between all wrote under God’s guidance. It did not originate with their own ideas or interpretation or imagination. These men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
This means that the Bible is inspired. God the Holy Spirit breathed into these men every word they were to write. They wrote with their own vocabularies and their own different styles. Some of them wrote of their own experiences. But God gave them every word to write. That means that every last word of the Bible from start to finish is God’s Word. Thus, the Bible is 100%, absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt true, powerful, and authoritative. You can Trust Christ and His Word.
Since the very beginning, this is something that the devil has wanted everyone to doubt. “You can’t trust Christ and his Word,” he tells you. But he wants you to lead you to that point by first leading you down the path of questioning, “Did God really say? . . . Is that really true? . . . Did that really happen?”
Understand that there are only two possibilities when it comes to this. Possibility #1 is that Jesus never existed, he’s not really your Savior, and the Bible isn’t really true. If that is the case, we are wasting your time here this morning. We are wasting our time with Bible study. We are wasting our time with prayers. We might as well just go to the beach on Sunday, or do whatever we want. We might as well do whatever we want every day of our lives because it doesn’t matter.
Possibility #2 is that Jesus did exist, he really is your Savior, and the Bible is really true. If that is the case, not only are we not wasting our time in our spiritual lives, but we could spend even more time! If Jesus and his Word are real and true, then we should be spending every moment of our lives dedicated to thanking our Savior for his forgiveness and walking in his ways toward the eternal life he gives us.
There is no middle ground. There is no such thing as “kind of true.” Either Christ and his Word are real and true or they are not. By God’s grace, you know the answer. You can Trust Christ and His Word. Peter told you why today. Jesus really did exist. Thousands of people saw him and heard him. His closest disciples saw him on a very personal level and witnessed his life, death, and resurrection as eyewitnesses and then wrote their eyewitness accounts of what happens. Moreover, there are multiple eyewitness accounts that corroborate the truth.
As if that is not enough, we can be even more certain of Jesus and more certain of God’s Word because we know it is not some sci-fi novel or Disney fantastical fairytale. That’s because the Bible is God’s Word from font to back, cover to cove. Every single word was given by God to the Bible writers to put down for us to know, trust, and believe in our Savior from sin Jesus Christ.
Thus, since our Lord Jesus Christ and his Word are 100%, absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt real and true, we do well to pay attention, to listen, to read, to sing, to worship, to give, to share. We do well to center our entire lives around Christ and his Word. Then, when Satan comes with his first and worst lie we will know what to say. “Did God really say?” “Yes, he did! Because I Trust Christ and His Word!”