Often I am approached by someone with a very serious question. "Pastor, how can I reach my friend...my co-worker...my family member; they donít want to hear anything from the Bible." It is a sad state of affairs in this world today that more people believe what they read in the newspapers than what they read in the Bible. Or perhaps I should say they believe what they hear on T.V. more than they believe what they hear from the Word of God!
There is an account in the Scriptures of a man who had realized the importance of coming to Christ, but he realized it too late! It was too late for him, but not for his brothers...not for those that he loved and cared about. NOTE: Luke 16:23-31
This event is not a parable, it is an actual account of a man who had lived his life with no regard towards God, and had died without Him. In this account we find there are many important facts relative to life after death:
Today I would like to focus on a truth found in verse 31. (Read again) One of the tragedies of this day and age is unbelief in the Bible and not accepting it as the rule of faith and practice for our homes, our life, and churches.
I. That Godís Word is the Basis of True Faith.
A. This was also true during the time of the Old Testament.
1. The Word of God spoken by Moses and the Prophets" from Genesis to Malachi was the basis of faith in Jesus Christ.
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets," (Heb 1:1)
2. All the prophets from Moses to Malachi testified of Christ and remission of sin by faith in Him.
"To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." (Acts 10:43)
3. The basis of their salvation was faith in the promised Messiah as revealed through the Word of God.
B. Likewise, the basis of salvation in the New Testament is faith in Christ as revealed by the Word of God.
1. Note: Romans 10:13-14, 17
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? ... So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
2. Faith in the whole Word of God.
3. Those who claim to believe the Old Testament, yet reject the New, are missing this important truth.
4. Jesus told the Jews, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." (John 5:39)
5. "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me." (John 5:46)
II. If they believe not the Bible, they will not believe, though one arose from the dead.
A. The prophets raised many from the dead in the Old Testament.
1. Yet the people believed not the Word of God spoken by them.
2. For the most part, they stoned the prophets for their preaching.
B. The people as a whole, believe not the words of Jesus though He raised people from the dead.
1. There were at least three that believed Him.
a. The twelve-year old girl.
c. The son of a widow.
2. Instead of believing in Him, the people crucified Him.
C. They believed not the Word of God spoken by the inspired apostles, and by the churches though they raised many from the dead.
D. The world did not believe the Word of God spoken by Jesus, though He arose from the dead.
1. This fact proves this text (Acts 1:3), the grave clothes, the empty tomb, the angels, his many appearances to Mary, the other women, Peter, the twelve; the Roman seal broken, He was seen of 500; He came back and taught 40 days about the coming of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost.
2. Yet, the world still does not believe.
3. Even though we still preach the Word of God, the world still does not believe in Jesus.
E. Note the text again in Luke.
1. If God had sent Lazarus from paradise, they would not have believed; nor will the world today.
2. If one was sent from hell, from the dead, in the flames, they would not believe.
3. Godís Word, used by the Spirit alone is the basis for faith in Jesus...not signs, gimmicks, shows, entertainmentís, movie stars, not any of this will win one soul to God!
4. It takes the Word of God, that is why Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature!
V. If they believe not the Bible, their unbelief will not change the facts.
A. Concerning heaven and hell.
1. Someone has said, "I believe hell is life on this earth, and when you die you will go to heaven."
2. Others have said, "This life is it, once you die, you just cease to exist."
3. Still others believe that we will be reincarnated and live again and again.
4. Unbelief in the Bible will not change the facts.
B. Concerning the coming judgment.
1. "I donít believe that a loving God will send anyone to hell."
2. "My God is not a harsh judging God."
3. That may be true, but the God of the Bible says that everyone will stand before Him.
4. "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." (Rom 14:11)
5. God will not send anyone to hell, but their own unbelief will!
C. Concerning any aspect of the Bible.
1. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God..."
2. For one to believe part and not the whole is to call God a liar.
3. It is to deny Godís very character!
4. And it will not change the Truth!
5. If one does not believe the Bible, the very Word of God will be their judge in the last day.
"And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." (John 12:47-48)
Do you believe Godís Word? Not just intellectually, but genuinely from the heart? If we believe Godís Word, then we ought to obey what He says to do. There is no hope for anyone apart from a belief in this Book! Christians and unsaved alike, must believe the Bible from the heart.
Many say that they believe, but their lives prove otherwise. Jesus made it clear that many who have said "Lord, Lord..." actually did not believe in Him. Our walk must line up with our talk!
Salvation is in Jesus Christ and Him alone. That is not what I say, that is what God says in His Word. This morning, if you donít agree with what I have said, realize that in reality you are in disagreement with Almighty God! Come to Jesus and believe in Him today for salvation.