TODAY'S BEST SELLER IS?

I was shocked to see that Barnes & Nobel listed HARRY POTTER and the DEATHLY HALLOWS as a best seller on the web. I discovered that the New York Times list is considered the preeminent list of best-selling books in the United States. This week it listed THE PEOPLE VS. ALEX CROSS and LET TRUMP BE TRUMP as the best sellers of hardcover fiction and non-fiction books respectively.

Why is the Bible not on that Best Sellers list? Wasn’t the Bible an all time best seller? The answer is that Bibles so far outsell any other books that there is no point in putting it on the list. If they did, the second most sold book would be so far down the list that it would be a dwarf best seller. It’s like comparing our lawnmower shed to the Empire State Building. No comparison!!

According to Guinness World Records the Bible is the world’s best-selling book of all time. While statistics are hard to calculate, the Bible far outsells the Koran and any other book. This year over 100+ million copies were sold or given away in 2,476 languages. The Gideons alone give away one a second. At our Living Nativity they gave away over 1,400 Bibles and ran out an hour before finishing time both nights. The Bible is still the best seller.

But some still question the integrity of Scripture. “How can we know the text of our Bible is true to what was in the original manuscripts?” “Couldn’t error have crept in and the original meaning been lost with all the copying that has to take place?” Consider this. The Bible was written by forty different authors from kings, to poor people, to fishermen, prophets and tentmakers over a period of 1,600 years. Yet it all ties together in a common theme that applies to all cultures and peoples.  

It was written in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) on three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) and is supported by a vast amount of textual evidence. For example, if you took all the ancient manuscripts that support the writings of Caesar, Plato, Thucydides, Tactius, Suetonius and Homer you would have a total of 696 manuscripts supporting all six authors. But if you take just the New Testament, you have around 24,000 manuscripts. If we throw the Bible out due to a supposed lack of support then we might as well discard the writings of the classical authors too. Not going to happen!

We live in a country where you can easily get the Bible in book form and also electronically.  In my phone I can easily have more Bibles than in my entire collection of paper books. At the same time there are still places in the world where it is hard to get a copy of the Scriptures. 

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We who have been given much, much will be required of us (Lu. 12:48). We have much access to God’s truth. Therefore, we have a responsibility to read it, learn it, practice it, teach it, and share it with others starting with our families and then to the world starting in Gig Harbor. How are you doing getting the Gospel out?  It starts with a growing understanding of God’s Word.

January is a good time to start a disciplined Bible reading program. You can read at your own rate of a year or two or three.  But do it. 

Jerry Cudney says, “Why not read through the Bible with other DBC'ers in 2018.”  Register by emailing cudneyjj@comcast.net (or letting him know on a Care Card) and tell Jerry to count you in. Then each morning he will send you the references plus some optional devotional thoughts. Reading takes about 20-30 minutes.  No tests involved.

If you prefer to listen to the Bible, then go to www.dailyaudiobible.com  and listen to Brian Hardin read the exact same texts and give a little commentary with music too; it takes about 20 minutes. 

Don't forget there is only a 10:30 worship this Sunday due to the holidays. This is the last Sunday to give to any fund for the 2017 calendar year tax purposes.  You can also give online before the end of the year at www.discoverybaptist.org.

-Pastor Mark

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR

Our Christmas and New Year greetings to you from Nancy and I and our family.  May the Lord bless your celebrations as we end one year and begin another. 

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We are reminded that Christ came as a baby to fulfill prophecy, show humility and identify with our humanity. He died on a cross in payment for sin for all who turn to him in repentance and faith.  Praise the Lord He promised to come again for all who eagerly await Him.

Blessing at Christmas and in the New Year

Mark & Nancy Suko

Mat 1:22,23  

Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "GOD WITH US."
 

 

 

 

 

CAN YOU REJECT THE VIRGIN BIRTH AND BE A CHRISTIAN?

The virgin birth refers to the miracle of the Holy Spirit causing Mary to conceive without knowing her husband Joseph. A more proper name for this is the "virgin conception." However, it has come to be known as the "virgin birth." 

Recently I've been thinking about this as Christmas is upon us. Is it possible for a person who says they are a Christian to deny the virgin birth? One teacher a few years ago said that the miracles Christ did verified who he was as God. Therefore, "I don't care how He got here. But how Christ got here is essential.

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Someone who accepts the Gospel but has not yet heard of the virgin birth is still saved.  But if that person knowingly rejects the virgin birth they can't truly be saved. Why?  

To reject the virgin birth means Jesus had to have a human father. A man has to be introduced into the equation. Some think Joseph may have had relations with her and then suggested the virgin birth idea to cover his tracks. Others posit that a Roman soldier impregnated her and the idea of the "virgin birth" somehow grew out of that. But the text of the Old and New Testament clearly supports the virgin birth (cf. Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Jer. 31:22; Mat. 1; Lu. 1;).  

If Jesus was not born of a virgin then He was not the sinless savior who came to die for our sin. It would mean that the sin nature of man, that is passed from the human father (Rom. 5:12), was also within Jesus.  If Jesus had a sin nature then he was also a sinner by nature like all who are the sons of Adam.  The sacrificial lamb of the Old Testament was to be unblemished or perfect so it would be acceptable to God as a sin Sacrifice  (Ex. 12:5; I Pet. 1:29). That was a picture of Christ's perfect and sinless sacrifice for us.  He can only be our perfect sacrifice by being virgin born with no sin nature (Heb. 9:12-14). 

It is good for us to think this through and to teach them to our children at Christmas. The virgin birth and the resurrection of Christ are bookend miracles affirming Christ as God but also are essential in the very work of salvation.  

I like the little the way the Irish pastor, Dr. Ian Paisley, put it in this short poem.

          A Virgin unspotted the prophets foretold,
      Should bring forth a Savior which now we behold.
            To be our Redeemer from death, hell and sin
      Which Adam's transgression had wrapped us up in.

Join us Christmas Eve morning at 10:30 for our special Christmas Eve service celebrating the birth of our savior. Our choir and musicians have put together much Christmas music as Adria illustrates in chalk the Christmas message I will bring. One service only.

Nancy and I would like to wish you all a blessed Christmas as you celebrate the birth of the Savior. 

Pastor Mark

Writing to you from LA, CA