Lesson 13

The Word of God Endures

(Psalms 119, Numbers 21, John 3, Matthew 24)
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Introduction: Almost everything seems to change during our very short lifetime. How many things do we use every day that are thousands of years old? How many things that old have any relevance to life today? I can only think of one: the Bible. Just the fact that the Bible continues to be a relevant, popular guide to living teaches us something about its Godly origins. Unfortunately, some disagree. Right now, there are at least two books on a best-seller list which attack belief in God. Hitchens's book, "God is Not Great," is # 3 and Dawkins's book, "The God Delusion," is # 26 on the New York Times list of best sellers. Let's dive in and spend some time considering why God's word endures despite its detractors!

  1. God's Word: A Proven Track Record


    1. Read Psalms 119:105. Have you ever used a map that was no longer accurate? What did you do with that map?


      1. The Psalmist tells us that God's word is a roadmap for life. Do you agree?


        1. What would happen if most people found the Bible gave out bad advice for living? (They would reject it. The law has a term, "self-authenticating," and that term applies here. The Bible is its own witness as to its reliability and dependability. This is an important reason why it continues to be popular.)


      2. Do you know people who reject the Bible as a reliable guide to living? If so, is there a common trait among them? (These are generally people who want to have a lifestyle which the Bible does not approve. Not too many people attack the general principles of the Bible as being false. Instead, it is a particular rule or two that they challenge because it does not fit with their desires.)


    2. Read Psalms 33:11. How does God stay relevant through the generations? (God has a master plan and a purpose for humans that does not change "through all generations." It must be a fabulous plan to continue to be relevant!)


      1. What are these plans for us? (Read Jeremiah 29:11. God desires to give us hope, prosperity and a future.)


        1. Is there evidence for this? (A better life is another reason why God's word proves itself over and over again. Even today God's plan works to make our lives better. More than that, God's plan gives us a way out of eternal death - now that is something to give us hope!)


  2. God's Word: A Revolutionary Approach to Leadership


    1. Read Numbers 21:4-5. What did God's people think about His word at this time? (None of the charges were true - except maybe they did not like the food.)


      1. Knowing what you do about the Exodus, what do you think about the complaints of the people against God's leadership?


    2. Read Numbers 21:6-7. God's response to rebellion was to send punishment and hardship. What does this say about God's leadership?


    3. Read Numbers 21:8-9. What is the logic of making an image of a snake and giving the people life if they looked? (I think the key is facing your sins. The snake is the historic symbol of sin. Acknowledging your sin is the first step to life.)


    4. Read John 3:14-15. Why would Jesus compare Himself to the snake in the desert? (Jesus took our sins. He became sin for us. If we "look" at our crucified Lord, that gives us life.)


      1. How does the approach of our God differ from that of other gods and other rulers? (God's approach is remarkably different. He gave up His life for us! Most leaders take from their followers. They use and abuse those below them. Not our God.)


      2. Is there a different leadership style in God's approach in Numbers (sending the snakes) and in John (accepting our punishment for sin)? (No. This is a very important difference between our God and other gods and rulers: our God abides by the rule of law. He does not make up the rules to be whatever He wants at the moment. The people in the desert were punished for their sin of rebellion - until they turned from it. Jesus did not just wave a wand and forget about the rebellion of sin. Instead, Jesus fulfilled the law by paying the penalty on our behalf.)


      3. What does God's leadership "style" have to do with the enduring relevance and popularity of His word? (It is like nothing else on earth.)


      4. We all know Godly men and women who are servant leaders who do not abuse those "below" them. In my experience, these are Christians. Imagine what the world would be like if there were no example of a God who led by giving up His life?


    5. Read Hebrews 2:14-15. How does Jesus destroy death by His death? (Satan is our death-dealing enemy. When Jesus died in our place, He took away the power of Satan to demand our death for our sins. What a concept! Jesus wins by giving up His life. He lets Satan torture and kill Him to give us life eternal.)


    6. Read Romans 4:18-25. How many times do you see others take credit for work they did not do? To whom did Jesus give credit for His perfect life? (He gave the credit to those who believe in Him.)


      1. What does the resurrection of Jesus do for us? (It justifies us. It takes away our sins when we ask for forgiveness.)


      1. How common is it for leaders to give credit to others that is really due to them?


    1. Read Matthew 28:18-20. At some point we train people in business to be self-sufficient. That is how you make money from their work. Is that how Jesus' leadership works? (He says that He is with us forever.)


    2. Read Micah 6:8. How does God want us to react to His leadership style? (This is a summary of God's approach: justice (the rule of law), mercy (God's love), and a humble walk (God's sacrifice on our behalf and His servant leadership).)


    3. Our lesson is about God's word enduring. What has God's leadership approach got to do with that topic? (This is a leader you want to follow! This is a leader you can follow your entire life and your children after you. This is a leader who will stay with you. This is a leader who loves and cares for you - while also loving the rule of law.)


  1. God's Word: Hope for the Future


    1. Read Matthew 24:30-31. Who is coming to take us to heaven? (Jesus is coming. But, note that the angels "gather" the righteous to take them to heaven.)


      1. How important is this promise of reward to the enduring nature of the word of God?


    2. Read Matthew 24:36-39. Jesus talks about things we can know about and those we cannot know about. What can we know? (That Jesus is coming again to take us to heaven with Him.)


      1. What do we not know? (When this will happen.)


      2. Is there anything wrong with the things the people are described as doing in Matthew 24:38? (No. They are just caught up in the things of this world. God calls us to be aware of the things of God.)


    3. Read Matthew 24:42-44. Why does Jesus compare His Second Coming to a visit by a thief? Why would Jesus use the illustration of a visit by someone who comes to take our stuff? (There is the idea of the thief making an unexpected visit. But, more fundamentally, we have a lot to gain or lose in the Second Coming. We need to be on alert so that Satan does not "break into" our lives and steal our eternal life. We need to "endure" with God's word for the rest of our life - so we will be ready for His Second Coming.)


      1. What does this comparison of the Christian's reward to a thief coming have to do with the enduring nature of God's word? (God's word is not something that you just read once, and then move on to other things in life. God tells us that being in His word, and paying attention to our continuing relationship with Him, is an ongoing concern of the highest order. If you accept that, teaching it to your children becomes very important.)


    4. Friend, God's word has survived over thousands of years. Will you make it an important part of your life?


  2. Next week: We begin a new series called "For Better or Worse: Lessons From Old Testament Couples." We will explore the marriages of couples in the Old Testament to see what we can learn to improve our own marriages.


























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