Saturday, February 11, 2012

Does the Bible Tell Us Enough?

Pictured, here, is Matt Johnston. Matt is from Australia and is a second-year student at The Master's Seminary (TMS). Matt and I have communicated via Twitter and Facebook, but today was the first time we met in person. It was a blessing to spend the afternoon getting to know another open-air preacher and to hit the streets with him. Matt joined me and the rest of the Third Street Herald team on Third Street Promenade, in Santa Monica.

Crowds were good, today. We were able to get several people throughout the afternoon to engage us in conversation, as we preached the gospel in the open-air.

As I preached for the first time, I noticed a man listening intently. When I finished, Matt began to preach. The man continued to listen. In fact, when Matt finished preaching and continued to engage a group of young teens in conversation, the man moved closer so he could hear what Matt was telling the youngsters.

A few minutes later, the man walked up to me and asked if he could talk to me. What followed was a wonderful, thirty-minute conversation with a man who was concerned about the state of his soul, wanting to know what he must do to be saved. By the end of the conversation, the man asked me where I went to church and, if he follows through, I expect to see him in church in the morning.

Early in the conversation, it became obvious to me that the very polite, respectful, and sincere man was not saved. He denied the deity of Christ, for one. He didn't do so in an antagonistic way. He did so as someone who lacked knowledge about the Messiah.

As our conversation turned to the Bible, the man raised an objection about the completeness of God's Word. When I referenced something Jesus said, as cited in Scripture, the man said, "Yeah, but the Bible doesn't have everything Jesus said. He could have said a lot of other things--things that are not in the Bible."

"It's true that the Bible doesn't contain every word Jesus spoke. He lived for thirty-three years and the Bible focuses on the last three years of his life. But the Bible tells us everything we need to know about who God is and what He expects of us." I said "Let me explain it this way.

"Jim (not his real name). I'm forty-eight years old. What if you were walking toward a 500-foot cliff and didn't know it. I see you and I know you are walking toward the cliff. I yell to you, 'Jim! Turn around! You're about to fall to your death!'

"Jim. Would it matter to you that you didn't know everything I ever said, over the last forty-eight years? Or would it be enough to know that what I told you about the cliff was true?"

"I see your point." He said.

"You see, by warning you about the cliff and telling you to turn around, I told you everything you needed to know to avoid death as a result of falling off the cliff." I said. "The same is true with the Bible. While the Bible doesn't tell us everything about Jesus or every word Jesus spoke in His life, the Bible tells us what we need to know to receive forgiveness for our sins against God and how we might enjoy eternal life with Jesus Christ, in Heaven."

The above analogy came to mind as I talked to Jim. I had never used it before this afternoon. While the analogy was by no means new revelation, I was very encouraged that the Holy Spirit allowed me to share the analogy with Jim.

I chose to share it in this blog post hoping it would be an encouragement to you, my Christian brethren who share the gospel with the lost, and that you might find it useful the next time someone presents the argument that the Bible doesn't contain all the words Jesus spoke during His lifetime.

Please pray for Jim (again, not his real name). Pray he does come to my church tomorrow morning. More importantly, pray he comes to genuine repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh. And yes, the Bible tells us enough.