the

Is the Bible Fact or Fiction? (The Perfect Story - Pt 1)

today I wanted to get out into the city

streets here in Houston and figure out

what houstonians really think about what

the Bible is and what it isn't if you

had to say fact or fiction with the

Bible what would you say fact is the

Bible fact or fiction fact backpack no

fictions hey quick question

come after houstonians today do you from

see Luke's Pam Eric

when you look at the Bible is it fact or

is it fiction for me it's fiction

fiction fiction fiction both of you

fiction things totally fact totally Phat

yeah I think it's fiction fiction okay

why

well I'm gay and I think that you know

you look at people are really Christian

or family members who are really pushed

in and you know they're the the quickest

one to judge you which the Bible says

not to judge others so would you say

your problem maybe is more about how

people use and interpret the Bible then

maybe the book itself yeah I think

people use it too how they wanted to see

the world how do you think Jesus the

central figure in the Bible I think he

would feel about how the Bible is used

today

I think he'd be embarrassed when was the

last time you actually read the Bible

this morning actually this morning what

you read 23rd psalm did you know that

the Psalms was a hymn book it was a book

of songs yes what's your favorite song

let's hear it come on no I'll sing with

you

Amazing Grace I know the words right

nope that's wrong sorry how great thou

art it doesn't matter I know that's

that's because God is a forgiving God

[Music]

all right

[Music]

we got it back

to make you sign it with black it's hard

to read it's my first time doing this

lady I'm not exactly an old pro so for

you bible 100% fact - why - why -

made-up story thank you boy you think

back to fiction fiction why say some

blanks they fix you know I'm just I'm

asking for you oh she's paranoid about

do you think I'm converting people they

think I'm gonna pull out a megaphone and

start preaching at him Subarus always

think it's fiction guaranteed they're in

a Subaru they think it's fiction I mean

and if they're in a pickup truck I think

it's fact we got a fact it's better that

dough a little bit of that now tell you

what it's hard work I'm tired all right

I'm Eric I'm gonna leave pastor here at

the story and we are starting a new

sermon series today with a little bit of

a different kind of message I want to

ask three essential questions today

about the Bible this mysterious

wonderful book we call the Bible which

is the source of so much controversy and

misunderstanding and historically so

many things like war and all this stuff

like what is this book so the first

question when I tackle is whether the

Bible is fact or fiction as I did in

that video the second one is going to be

whether the Gospels are reliable and the

third question is whether Jesus is a is

a myth or is the Messiah so let's begin

it's the Bible fact or fiction what

would you say don't say it out loud

they're going to judge you this if if

somebody will judge you if I gave

everybody here truth serum and you had

to tell what was really on your minds

about the Bible and maybe if we weren't

in a church building

I would guess we would have a pretty

split audience about that question if I

made you answer it I would guess there's

probably a little over

of you maybe who would say unequivocally

the bible is fact and any other answer

than the bible is fact is heresy you

don't have time for that

like the Bible's fact period you're a

Christian you're in church on a Sunday

morning I would expect you to say that

but there's also a silent minority in

this room I would guess of about 20

percent or so who would if you asked him

real quietly they would admit the Bible

seems a lot like fiction like the guy in

the tunnel that I interviewed or the

woman in the car that said made-up

stories some of you think the Bible

might be useful fiction

maybe it's helpful fiction it's fiction

that helps us to build a society that's

orderly around it but nevertheless it's

fiction because it reads a lot like

other kinds of fiction do that's about

20% of you and I would guess there's

about 30% of you who just don't care

enough to vote like you're just you're

just rising above this thing man you

don't come to church to get in more

arguments you come to church to feel

good and really you don't really know

and what you do know is that people who

answer fact or fiction unequivocally

kind of rub you the wrong way for

different reasons but the fiction people

seem a little full of themselves they

seem a little pretentious and the fact

people seem a little religious they seem

a little fundamentalist and they're

weird too and you're just right in the

middle I'm not even sure and that might

be a good place to sit because when it

comes to this question is the Bible fact

or fiction people on both extremes have

some questions to answer right so if you

say the Bible is fiction listen you're

going to have to deal with in an honest

way all the facts the Bible contains I'm

not even talking theology yet I'm just

talking history when we look at

something like the Old Testament for

example the 39 books of the Old

Testament tell a story containing many

many historical facts and oftentimes

those facts are told in ways that are

clear and truly unrivaled in terms of

their historical accuracy

I know this isn't the story many of you

have heard you've heard that the Old

Testament is a bunch of myths made up

stories and made-up places and people

but I'm telling you it seems like every

other week

archaeologists are uncovering new

information that almost universally

backs up the stories as presented in the

Old Testament let me give you a couple

of examples of what I mean for for the

longest time it was assumed among

secular scholars that the people called

Israel didn't really constitute

themselves until well after 1000 BC so

anything the Bible tells about before

1000 BC regarding the Hebrews or the

people called Israel is fiction because

there's no evidence that the people of

Israel existed as a people until after

1000 BC y'all with me well this is

another example of where archeology

backs up the biblical record I'll give

you one story here of a thing they

uncovered called the Merneptah stele the

Merneptah stele is an ancient Egyptian

artifact

that comes from the Year 1230 BC and it

it is inscribed with the edict from the

Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah and on this

stele he refers to the Israelite Kingdom

as a rival kingdom in 1230 BC and if

they're already a rival kingdom by 1230

BC they no doubt existed as a people far

long before that and so the

underpinnings of these secular arguments

against the Old Testament begin to

crumble you fast forward just a couple

of centuries to the time of King

Hezekiah two different books in the Old

Testament second Kings second Chronicles

both tell the story the same event when

the city of Jerusalem was under attack

by the Assyrians and it seemed like

there was no hope good King Hezekiah

came through to save his people from

death by dehydration he provided a

source of fresh water for the embattled

citizens of Jerusalem by amazingly

ordering the construction of a tunnel

under the city of Jerusalem now

historians said they didn't have

tools to do that then there's no that's

the kind of legendary myth that people

come up with posthumously to make the

Kings sound better and smarter than he

really was that's a legend and then

recently archaeologists uncovered the

tunnel from King Hezekiah stay the exact

tunnel that was built exactly the way

the Bible said that it was it is

wonderful and magnificent and they

uncovered this inscription on the wall

inside the tunnel from the days of King

Hezekiah written by the very men King

Hezekiah ordered to build that

miraculous tunnel it is exactly as the

Bible says one more example this is a

little more familiar because we just

talked about in the amaya for eight

weeks here at the story seven weeks and

in the days of Nehemiah the Israelite

exiles the Bible says the Israelites

were freed by the by the Persian King

the Emperor called

Cyrus it is why it was widely attested

that Emperor's don't generally let their

free labor go emperors of growing

empires need exiles and prisoners of war

to build their future Kingdom right and

so scholars said forever

that's something the Bible writers put

in there as a tool to tie in these loose

threads in their story King Cyrus of

Persia set the Exiles free and then they

found the Cyrus cylinder which says

verbatim what the Bible says Cyrus said

when he let the Israel Israelite

captives go free back to their homeland

with no strings attached

if you're going to say unequivocally the

Bible is fiction you really have to

check that otherwise you will sound lazy

at best and dishonest at worst and so if

it's fiction how does it describe so

many factual events perfectly and

historically accurate now just because

the Bible contains a lot of facts does

that make the Bible fact it's a good

question

I have a friend named Jason he's in his

20s and he goes to the story sometimes

not as much as I would like him to Jason

if you're listening no judgment but get

back and Jason told me once about the

time that he read the Bible for the

first time by himself and it was at a

wedding his friend's wedding and it was

a Catholic wedding and no one ever told

Jason about Catholic weddings he had no

idea what he was in for he had no idea

that it was gonna be 90 minutes of pure

unadulterated boredom and he just sat

there they took his phone so nobody

would take pictures of the wedding and

he was just there what am I supposed to

do with myself and so he's like I'll

just read this book and he picked up the

Bible and he turned to the first page

and read for the first time in his life

in his 20s he read the Bible for him

self Genesis 1 he found the story of the

creation of the cosmos and he said what

jumped off the page at him wasn't just

the words from Genesis 1 it was how they

seemed to in detail contradict what he

had learned in science class about the

creation of the universe and he said he

got a little hung up on that but it

didn't surprise him because he'd always

heard that faith and science were at

odds but then he kept reading and he got

to chapter 2 of Genesis and in chapter 2

of Genesis he discovered a whole

different story about the same creation

event he was very confused about this

because these two stories told the

events in different ways and it seemed

to Jason as though different things were

done in different order for example in

Genesis 1 God made the man and woman at

the same time in the image of God he

created them and in Genesis 2 it seemed

like God made the man first and then

later who knows how much later but later

he took the rib out of the man and made

the woman and so which is it is it this

or is this Jason was like not only does

the first creation story contradict

science it contradicts the second

creation story

Jason began shaking his head and losing

faith in the Bible already what is this

book but I'm reading but he kept reading

and he got to Genesis 3 the story of the

magical tree and the talking snake and

the naked woman that took the forbidden

fruit it sounded like a racy episode of

The Snow White story that he had grown

up hearing

with the the you know the evil

stepmother and all this stuff and and

Jason just said he the more he read the

Bible the more he lost faith in it

because it wasn't what he expected it to

be he expected it to be clear and true

and factual and this stuff was reading

like in his experience subpar fiction I

can find fiction anywhere he thought to

himself but he kept skimming and it

didn't get any easier for Jason Genesis

for he read about the time that a guy

murdered his own brother because God

preferred the brothers offering to his

he kept reading there's the story where

God got a little upset and White's

everything off the face of the earth and

the few people that remained after that

horrific flood they tried to rebuild

something they could be proud of a tower

reaching to the sky in God like a

jealous toddler on the playground just

wiped it out - no you can't have that

either and it just seemed off-putting to

Jason he didn't understand what he was

reading he said by the time my friend

even said I do

I was already saying I don't to the

Bible it's tough sometimes to understand

this book is it fact or is it fiction

listen if you're Jason I just want you

to know the Bible contains facts many

many facts but facts don't contain the

Bible the Bible contains facts but facts

don't contain the Bible right parts of

the Bible are intentionally fictional

it's not a secret anyone that knows the

Bible it's not a threat a book like

Hosea was written as fiction some of

Jesus's most famous stories made up

events he made the story up right you

could say parts of Jobe famous story of

Joe could be fiction the Bible is one

third poetry and songs poets and

songwriters don't write about facts they

paint pictures with words and ideas an

imagination if you were gonna categorize

poetry as fact or fiction it would have

to go in the fiction bucket so it's one

the Bible fiction and what does that

really say about the Bible I I think

that Christians are more comfortable

with this and we think although I do

understand how thin the ice is for me

right now with some of you you're

already riding that email in your head

that you're gonna send to me this

afternoon kind of pastor says the

Bible's fiction I'm not saying the whole

thing is picture okay we clear saying

it's all right if some parts of it are

it helps skeptics to make sense of the

whole but I understand why it makes many

Christians nervous because it would seem

to make Christianity and Christians in

the Bible susceptible to arguments from

angry atheists like Richard Dawkins who

said the Bible should be taught but

emphatically not as reality it's fiction

myth poetry anything but reality as such

it needs to be taught because it

underlies so much of our literature and

our culture and that stings a little but

you know what stings even more a similar

quote from Sir Ian McKellen who said

I've often thought the Bible should have

a disclaimer in the front saying this is

fiction listen I can take a

condescending comment about Christianity

from Richard Dawkins but this is this is

Gandalf we're talking about here

yo Gandalf the Grey this is magneto from

x-men we're talking about here you know

this is Professor Dumbledore from Harry

Potter we're talking about here right no

actually it's not right that's some

other old white dude that's not Sir Ian

McKellen but you were gonna buy it you

were gonna go right along with it as

though it was fact do you see how hard

it is to discern fact from fiction

sometimes the reason it's so hard to

discern fact from fiction when it comes

to the Bible is because the Bible

contains both fact and fiction and I

don't really think people are asking

what it sounds like there I don't think

people are asking is the Bible fact or

fiction I think people in our hearts

we're asking is the Bible true and

trustworthy is it based on a true story

that I can trust in and rely on and that

question hangs on the life of one man

Jesus of Nazareth

mm and 19 years since Christ all right

so what I want to say as we get into the

second question is whether the Gospels

are true is that when you think about

the Bible you can think of it in the

same way we think of time what I mean by

that is just as our understanding of

time hinges on the veracity of the life

of Jesus so does the Bible listen if

Jesus is a fraud if Jesus is a myth

if after his death his followers made up

great stories big fish stories about him

and he's a legend then it's really not

even 2019 the year of our Lord even time

itself is a myth it's corrupted right

and some of you were like well maybe

that's the case okay I'm just saying

that's the decision you have to make and

that's also the decision you have to

make with the Bible if Jesus is not who

he said he was if Jesus is not really

God among us if Jesus is not the one

then for Christians from our perspective

the whole Bible is corrupted and

meaningless worthless trash you can get

rid of it you can't rely on it

definitely don't live by it because it's

based on a lie and this is why we always

say I'm always saying to people who want

to understand the Bible better before

you decide what you believe about the

Bible on the whole decide what you

believe about Jesus first decide what

you believe about Jesus and then

interpret the rest of the Bible through

him listen I know there is a lot of

stuff in the Bible that's hard it's hard

to read and understand why this stuff

would make the Word of God

there's genocide and rape and wrath and

war and misogyny all kinds of horrible

things especially in the Old Testament

but listen if Jesus is legit you can

trust that the Old Testament paints a

picture of a dark world so that Jesus

the light can come and shine in that

world if Jesus is for real then the Old

Testament is setting the table of the

need for salvation so that when the

Savior comes it makes sense this is the

reality this darkness is the reality

that we live in all those things I said

in the Old Testament there in our world

today so the reason that they're there

if Jesus is for real it's because Jesus

said he's Yahweh he's God and He has

come to fulfill what he began in the Old

Testament now if you struggle with Jesus

and the question of his identity you're

in good company it's fine I've struggled

with Jesus for 12 years I honestly

thought Jesus was probably a real person

but really just a good teacher a good

guy lived for the right things did the

right things and and and after his

probable death probably on a Roman cross

even I I assumed back then I I assumed

that his disciples made up stories about

him big fish stories like people often

do I assumed that they made God out of

the man Jesus right that was what I

assumed and the source where I got those

ideas the first person introduced me to

those ideas was my college religion

professor dr. David Otto last year I

convinced dr. Otto somehow to sit down

with me for an episode up that maybe got

podcast this is part of that interview

tell me if I'm wrong but it seems like

we got away at times from a sincere or

honest intellectual approach to really

kind of a more sensational like we need

to rattle these kids cages so that

they'll leave their assumptions at the

door yes sir a little cage but not for

the sake of just rattling which is

kirkegaard for instance discusses a

difference between reason a and reason B

and reason a is all the doctrine you

learn and grow up with in the church but

you have to push it and you begin to see

that it is if you just look at it it's

absurd and so you don t you really learn

the absurdity of the Christian of faith

that you can make a leap to a different

form of understanding that

informed its its critical thinking it's

not taking things blindly and it's

wrestling with the absurdity because it

is absurd you know I mean say more what

do you mean about that well you think

about a Jewish peasant over 2,000 years

ago pissed off some Romans was crucified

and rose from the dead three days later

continued teaching and eventually a

senator heaven

well that doesn't happen very often and

it's rather absurd to make that claim

unless you have something that you can

rely upon to back it up unless you have

something to rely upon to back it up

that's the question do we have that so

when we talk about that we're talking

about the New Testament now and the four

Gospels that we recognize as

authoritative

now even though on this timeline it

shows Matthew and Luke as being earlier

than Mark and John that's because they

begin with Jesus's birth story but the

first gospel to actually be written down

these cover the years that they tell

about the first gospel to be written

down was probably mark Mark's Gospel was

written we think before the year 60 ad

so just a two or three decades after the

life of Jesus on earth ended right so

who was this mark person if he's the

first who was he and why is he

trustworthy right so we have pretty good

evidence that mark was a real person and

that he really knew the first followers

of Jesus there is a non-biblical

extra-biblical a source called pay pious

who lived in the first century and he

wrote about mark he said mark was Peters

interpreter and wrote accurately all

that he remembered pay pious probably

knew mark personally Peter was in

Jesus's inner circle one of the big

three disciples that Jesus always hung

out with right he's the rock on which

I'll build my church and all that stuff

and and Peter was probably illiterate

which explains his need for an

interpreter and a scribe like mark and

so we were pretty confident about the

authorship of mark and the claims that

he makes and then Matthew and Luke take

Mark's Gospel and they fill it in those

two are a little bit longer than mark

they fill it in with more details that

they recall and they think are important

and then a few decades later John's

Gospel is written and he doesn't include

any of those details why well because

those details are already well known by

the time John writes he wants to before

he breathes his last breath on earth in

ninety or so ad John wants to make sure

ask Jesus his best friend and Mary's

adopted son he wants to make sure to

tell the story he feels he should tell

from a different perspective still

beautiful and still true

all right so we have these four Gospels

by the end of the first century it's

known that that these four and only

these four the same four Gospels that

you have in your Bibles were already

being circulated as authoritative

throughout the churches and by 180 ad

these four were recognized officially as

the only authoritative sources of

Jesus's life I'll say why that happened

in 180 in just a minute first I want to

introduce you to a woman named Amy or

Ewing who is an apologist a great

thinker and an author and she told about

her reasons for believing and trusting

in the veracity of the Gospels in this

clip you're about to see the Bible is

written in three languages Hebrew

Aramaic and Greek and it was written on

three continents Asia Africa and Europe

now often people imagined the Bible is

the kind of tool of the white man which

has been used to found empires and beat

people into submission in a sort of

patriarchal conspiracy and obviously

when we look at world history we can see

that terrible things have been done in

the name of religion but when we look at

the Bible in the origins of the Bible

that preconception of this book doesn't

actually fit the facts you see the vast

spread of the Bible's original social

geographical and cultural context is

then also in cricket multiplied

immediately after the New Testament in

particular was translated into multiple

languages in the first century copied

and spread throughout the known world

and that means that the ancient texts

upon which the translations of the Bible

that you might have picked up our based

is both stream extremely well attested

but has also come out of multiple

cultures and languages now when we ask

questions about the integrity of any

ancient writing it's - it's determined

by a number of things one of those

things would be the number of documented

manuscripts or fragments of manuscripts

that we have to examine just how many

this thing has survived and then we

might ask a question about the time

difference between when the original was

written and when a surviving piece of it

still exists what's the time difference

between those two things now if we were

to take other ancient literature we

might take Plato for example and study

his writings the oldest copy of those

manuscripts of Plato is a copy dating

from about 1400 years after it was

originally written if we were to look at

Sophocles we might say well there are

193 coffees ancient copies of this

manuscript but the earliest is also 1400

years after Sophocles was writing or we

might look at Aristophanes 10 copy

survived but there's a time difference

of 1,200 years between when it was

written and what survives and yet these

texts are respected they're read in the

present day when it comes to the New

Testament we're not talking about 10 or

193 surviving manuscripts we're talking

about thousands and thousands and

thousands upwards of 30,000 and the

originals aren't separated from the

manuscripts by 1400 years but from the

earliest ones that survived mere decades

so if anything other than the New

Testament had been written when it was

written with the amount of manuscripts

and evidence that we have to there

supporting their veracity and the

proximity of time the close proximity of

time from the actual events to the

earliest manuscripts if anything other

than the New Testament had that kind of

evidence supporting it no college

professor no classroom no where would

you see any one saying this can't be

right this can't be true this can't be

authentic it's only because the New

Testament is a threat to popular culture

or to some worldviews that anyone even

raises questions about the authenticity

of its

authorship into its claims right and I

know that there's some sepsis in the

room that aren't convinced by Amy or

Ewing it's just a three-minute clip I

understand and some of y'all are

thinking well I've heard other things I

know that the Christians kept out a

bunch of Gospels and they just one of

these for to be in it I've read The

DaVinci Code I know it's in it I've got

a copy of it in my Subaru I'll go get it

for you whatever so okay okay okay first

of all those Gospels exist

they weren't deleted they're out there

go read them go read them and find out

for yourself while they weren't included

in the Canon it's not that hard to

figure out first of all the proximity of

time is not there these Gospels didn't

start Gospels didn't start appearing

until the end of the second century

that's why the church decided to make

the four Gospels authoritative and

authentic and to endorse them and in 180

80 before then there was no competition

there was no question but by the end of

the second century and throughout the

third and fourth century these Gnostic

Gospels kept cropping up and you can go

find them there's a dozen or so of them

you can go find them and read them for

yourself they're totally different they

read like really bad fanfiction they

read as if some like stoner Church kids

like were dragged to church by their

parents and that afternoon they went

home and got high and they were like we

should write our own man you see we

should write our own gospel we could

totally do it and then they did it and

none of it adds up none of it makes

sense let me give you a couple of

examples and you'll see how these

differences take shape so in the four

Gospels Matthew Mark Luke and John

almost 30 places or identified

accurately names of tiny villages like

Bethany that nobody would ever know

where that is unless you went there like

Bethany was like Redlich where I'm from

like nobody knows where that is unless

you've been there especially in the age

before or like Maps and Google knows

stuff nobody knew where Bethany was

named almost 30 places villages towns

and cities and accurately placed them in

relationship to one another

when you look at the gnostic gospels

there is the Gospel of Philip that has

two places named in it one of them is

Jerusalem

everybody knows Russa ylim the other one

is Nazareth it's where Jesus was from

but in the Gospel of Philip Nazareth was

not a place Nazareth this philip guy

thought Nazareth with Jesus's middle

name Jesus Nazareth Christ here all

along I thought his middle initial was H

that's what I'd always heard apparently

not apparently it's in all right because

Nazareth is his middle name

the only other Gnostic gospel that has

any place at all mentioned in it is the

gospel of Peter which has one place in

Jerusalem none of the other Gnostic

Gospels even names a single place that's

what happens when myths form when

legends take shape over centuries the

details drop out because the people that

come up with the legends and myths have

never been to Bethany they don't know

what that place is like or why it's

important or if it really exists right

so the details drop out also the

character has changed like the character

of the hero in particular changes in the

four Gospels Jesus's teachings are clear

and concise and timeless you know they

never lose their power and the Gnostic

gospel of Thomas Jesus said things like

this some of you can see the difference

Jesus said blessed is the lion which

becomes man when consumed by man cursed

is the man whom the lion consumes and

the lion becomes man whoa

she totally put that in there bro it's

really good like doesn't even compare

alright these four Gospels that we have

are early they are authentic they are

backed up by the historical record and

they do not compare to anything else a

me or you enclosed out her talk on the

Bible with these words see the Christian

claim is that God has made himself known

to us in real time space and history and

he's done it for a purpose he's made

himself known so that we can come to

know him personally not just know about

him not just think thoughts about him

but actually meets him to be forgiven by

him and to spend eternity with him the

miracles of the Bible are not about some

legend delusional fantasy world

they reflect the divine breaking into

the real world that we all know the

world of pain the world of

disappointments the world of Violation

the world of dysfunction we're not

reading about a God whose distant who

orders us around arbitrarily but a God

who is willing to identify with us to

such an extent that he will take the

consequences of our darkness our

disobedience the violations of other

people's freedom that we have

perpetrated the violations of

relationships that we've perpetrated

against others and with him he's willing

to take that upon himself so that we can

come to know him first two questions

were the Bible fact or fiction and are

the Gospels reliable the third and final

question is is Jesus the Messiah or is

he just another myth in 1949 a great

brilliant

Joseph Campbell wrote a book called the

hero with a thousand faces and he was a

specialist and an academic when it came

to the stories that people tell and what

Joseph Campbell knew is that since the

dawn of time people have always told

stories about their dots they've always

made up stories and passed down stories

about their heroic figures that gave

meaning in shape to their culture and

what Joseph Campbell realized in his his

research was that these stories all told

similar details and he surmised that

these stories that span many hundreds or

thousands of years really across

cultures and languages and places and

times like these stories all derive from

the same source material they must how

else would all these cultures across

time in places like share so many things

in common there must be what he called

the monomyth the one sort of original

source he never identified he said it

must be there somewhere Joseph Campbell

always also said that these heroes that

um show up in these mythological stories

these fantasy stories that cultures are

based on these heroes are all the same

heroes same quality same traits same

actions they're the hero with a thousand

faces right so the the storyline of the

hero is always the same Joseph Campbell

outlined it in his book and I'll just

walk you through it real quick this will

sound very familiar it's just if you are

a fan of movies and epic books and stuff

like that like first the first step in

the hero's journey is is usually we find

him or her before they are really a hero

living an average life in a nowhere town

maybe they have some special skills but

they haven't really done anything

special with those skills yet they're

just kind of living in an average life

until an eccentric friend shows up in

their life somehow an eccentric friend

always dressed funny and looking weird

and they have some special insight or

special knowledge and they encourage the

hero to be who they really are to it

it's time and with this eccentric

friends encouragement the hero steps

forward and says I will do it but there

comes a moment a defining moment where

the hero has to choose between his

normal going back to his average life

that he knew before and diving in whole

hog into this new life and he knows the

hero knows that if he takes the red pill

nothing can ever be the same but he

takes it in the minute that he takes it

he is whisked away by some spiritual

mentor some spiritual guide to some

random like nowhere place where the hero

in door is a season of trial that ends

with a test and if the hero passes the

test he knows that it's time and he

looks his worst fear in the eye and he

knows how treacherous and how perilous

the journey ahead will be but our hero

undeterred marches on to ward the

sacrifice he knows that he's going to

have to make until in the blink of an

eye in an instant all hell breaks loose

on earth and the enemy the villain

appears to have won and all hope appears

to have been lost in a last-ditch effort

to save the world and the people that he

loves our hero goes straight into the

belly of the beast where the darkness

seems too great to overcome and he is

taken in by it he surrenders he breathes

his last he lays down his life for the

sake of those he loves but death cannot

hold our hero down he rises up in power

he overcomes the grave he returns to

give his people hope and once his

mission on earth is accomplished

he leaves the world that he came to save

behind until the appointed time that he

is to return but he promises that it's

not completely over yet one day the

rightful king will be crowned one day

there will be peace sound familiar

does not least of which because this

storyline describes to a tee the life

story arc of Jesus and we have to decide

Christians what we're gonna do with

Jesus is he just another myth is he just

another story

or is he the source is he just the myth

or is he the Messiah and I think there

are all kinds of rational reasons to

believe that he's not just another myth

I think as Amy or Ewing talked about the

proximity between his real life and the

writings of his real life there's no

time there for a myth to develop these

people are eyewitnesses they knew this

man in the flesh and they're making

these claims about him in their same

generation

that's not how myths unfold historically

speaking Jesus was a historical figure a

real person flesh and blood no one

disputes that that's not usually what

myths are built around maybe most

convincingly myths almost universally

reinforce the pre-existing worldview of

the culture that birthed them but the

story of Jesus does not reinforce the

worldview of first century Judaism it

presents a clear and present threat to

the first century Jewish worldview

looking just read the Old Testament how

God is one God is high in the sky God

cannot be a man a man cannot be God and

yet we have four different accounts of

people Jewish people faithful Jews

worshiping a man in his life and soon

after not only do we have gospel

accounts of them worshipping a man we

have thanks to archaeology again we have

these inscriptions that they've dug up

in the first century house churches

where they declared Jesus to be not

their teacher not their rabbi but their

God listen when I tell you if first

century Jewish people were going to make

up a myth about someone it wouldn't be

about a man that they worshiped it

doesn't fit it's a scandal and those

people paid the price for that belief

listen III know

but there are skeptics in the room we

were saying all right maybe maybe the

Gospels are legit maybe Jesus really did

maybe he did some awesome things I don't

know I'm open to miracles maybe so but I

know for a fact because I heard it in a

class one time or on the Internet I

heard on YouTube something that the

divinity of Jesus wasn't even a thing

until Constantine the Emperor said that

it was much later that's when they

decided Jesus was God except for the

fact that before the Gospels were even

written we have these letters from a man

named Paul who spent the first part of

his life killing Christians and then

found his way to Jesus and spent the

second half of his life preaching the

gospel and testifying to truths like

this from first Corinthians this was

written in the year 55 or so AD but if

it is preached that Christ has been

raised from the dead how can some of you

say there is no resurrection of the dead

if there's no resurrection then not even

Christ has been raised and if Christ has

not been raised our preaching is useless

and so is your faith let's go home close

your Bibles use them for firewood they

don't matter it's all garbage if Christ

has not been raised if he is not in fact

God among us then it's all a lie let's

quit 10 years after he wrote these words

Paul died in a Roman prison for his

beliefs in this Christ he and thousands

of other people faithful Jews and

Gentiles alike putting their faith in

Jesus giving men and given many

opportunities to recant their faith and

tell the truth about what really

happened where is that body they never

did it's not typical human behavior for

thousands of people to die for something

they know to be a lie a myth a made-up

story they die because it's true now as

I said there is rational fact after

rational facts some of you won't be

convinced that's okay

maybe what I'll do with the last 90

seconds of my time here is to just tell

you my own heart and my own affection

for this book

when I was a child I loved it and when I

was a teenager I left it in my 20s I

absolutely loved it and my 30s I found

my way back to it

and now I guess I'm a grown man I'm an

adult I'm supposed to be standing on my

own two feet I'm supposed to be

independent but I am more acutely aware

of my dependence on this book than I

ever have been in my life

I don't know where I'd be with all these

stories it's my life raft all right it's

my everything I wake up with it and I

give thanks to God for it every day I

love everything about this book even the

hard stuff I love because I know what

that means is God redeems the hard stuff

I love everything about this book I love

the beginning the creation story both of

them I love both creation stories

I love how when God sends Adam and Eve

into the garden the first thing he

commands of people ever his first

commandment in the Bible is go do it go

do it go do it and make some babies

that's the first thing he tells him to

do I love how God even though he was

heartbroken by sin he put the rainbow in

the sky and said no I love you let's

start over

I love how even in the Old Testament God

is putting women in positions of

leadership like Deborah and using women

like Rahab a woman of the night to make

his plans come to pass how stupid he saw

tracing his birthright for a bowl of

soup I love how the Proverbs make fun of

nagging wives

I love how Mary tells Jesus to turn that

water into wine and he's like it's not

happening woman and then inexplicably he

turns the water into wine anyway because

we know she shot him the mom look and he

did it

I love how Jesus gave His disciples

nicknames like James and John he always

call them the sons of thunder which begs

the question how flatulent were James

and John where else is a name like that

even come from I

love but the Bible says God is love and

then Jesus proved it on the cross that

he's loved

I love how Christianity is the most

loving inclusive joyful hospitable

radical welcoming movement the world has

ever known the Bible is not just the

good book it is the perfect story and I

think God for it every day would you

pray with me lord thank you for this

book that you've left us that you've

inspired and gifted us with even though

it's not the object of our worship only

Jesus is and even though we don't

treasure its pages and get mad when

people talk bad about it or destroy it

we're not like that with this book this

book is still our bedrock and our guide

it is our lifeline but for those who are

skeptical I pray for soft hearts I pray

that they would forgive the so-called

Christians in their past who beat them

over the head with this book and force

it down their throats and I pray that

they would look upon this book with

fresh perspective

it is true it is good we can trust it

because of Jesus praying his name Amen

you