THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date 10-13-02
LESSON TITLE: "OUR AUTHORITY IN RELIGION": "ESTABLISHING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY BY CONSIDERING THE RULES OF INTERPRETATION"
Good morning! Thank you for joining us today for God's Living Word. I hope everyone had a great week, and I hope your weekend was a profitable one also.
Now, here we are on another glorious Lord's Day morning. What a wonderful opportunity we have again today to join together in the worship of our Redeemer. I hope you are ready to begin this new week with a day of service and offering to your God.
As always, it is our commitment through this program to proclaim the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
Let me take just a minute this morning to let you know about a gospel meeting which is starting at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ. It will begin this morning at 9:30 and services will be at their regular times. The meeting continues from Monday through Wednesday night, at 7:00 each evening. Our guest speaker is brother Max Patterson from Neosho, Missouri. Brother Patterson presently works with the Carthage Church of Christ. Today, I am excited about our guest speaker, because brother Patterson agreed to come and speak on our television program on this day. If you haven't heard him before, get ready because we are truly going to be fed with the Word of God. We will look forward to hearing brother Patterson's lesson from God's Word a little later in the program.
At this time, we want to sing our first song of the morning. Won't you all join in with the congregation at this time as we praise God together with the hymn, " In Vain In High And Holy Lays."
(SONG # 1)
Isn't it a great feeling when you are able to do good or help someone? There are not many things in this life which bring us greater happiness than putting a smile on someone's face, because we were able to assist them in some way.
If you think about it, this is really why we have been blessed. We have been given the things we have from God, so that we may in turn live good lives of service to Him and help others.
Read with me from 2 Corinthians 9:11, where we find this same idea being expressed by the Apostle Paul, there it says, "while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God." Here it confirms that our many blessings are for liberality.
I really love the other part of this verse also, because there we read why it really matters. You see, when we do good to others we are doing good to God! Jesus, Himself, made this point in Matthew 25:40, by saying, "...Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."
What a wonderful encouragement this gives us in Jesus Christ to know that when we do good to others and help them when we can, it is as if we are helping Jesus Himself! This understanding should make us all want to do more for others, because we know we are glorifying God when we do so.
As mentioned earlier we are happy to have brother Max Patterson with us as our guest speaker this morning. Today we will be continuing our study together on, "Our Authority in Religion." Our specific topic of the day will deal with, "Establishing Biblical Authority By Considering the Rules of Interpretation." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song together brother Patterson will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Jesus Is All The World To Me."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Max Patterson
Good morning. It's my pleasure to be here and to be with brother Ray Sullins and to be with all of you and I'm looking forward very much to the meeting this coming week at Kansas Expressway.
Today, we're continuing a series of studies on Bible authority. I hold in my hand a copy of the Bible. Christians believe that this book is not just an ordinary book. Therefore, we approach this book in a different way than we would any other book. This book claims to be the divine message. It's message is the only source we have of learning how to live and how to obey God and how to go to Heaven. There are several major philosophies which form the basis of authority of the views that people hold. I want to mention some of those and then I, at the last, want to mention the Bible authority, how we establish Bible authority and the rules that we must abide by in establishing that Bible authority.
As I said, there are many different ideas and I can't discuss all of them of course, because of time restraints, but one of the major philosophies which forms the basis of the authority for the views of people in our world is that of feelings. One aspect of this as is taught in various colleges and universities is what is known as existentialism. One aspect of that is simply "trust your heart," "trust your own feelings," just go with your feelings. If you feel it's all right, if you feel it's the right thing, that's the way to go. When that philosophy is preached, it comes out in the ordinary member out in the audience like this, "I don't care what the Bible says. I know how I feel."
A lady once was having a discussion with me about obedience and I was telling this lady, "You must obey God." She said, "No you don't. You don't have to obey God." And I said, "Hebrews 5:9 says that "He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him." She said, "Let me see that." So we opened the Bible and she read it and she said, "Well, I see that it says that, but I just don't feel that way about it."
I heard a preacher on a radio program once say, "I wouldn't give a stack of Bibles as high as the ceiling in this room for what I feel in my heart." What arrogance!
Why do we think that we can say that our feelings are more important than what God says? How can we say that it's perfectly okay to substitute our feelings for the Word of Almighty God? The Bible says, "There is a way that seemeth right unto man but the ends thereof are the ways of death," Proverbs 14:12.
Jeremiah commented on this in Jeremiah 10:23. "Oh Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself. It is not within man that walketh to direct his own steps."
And you recall what happened to the apostle Paul before he was converted. He was known then as Saul of Tarsus. He said in Acts 23:1 that "I have lived before God in all good conscience unto this day." When he fought Christ and when he fought against the church and when he fought against the truth that was taught by Christ and the church, he thought he was right, but he was dead wrong.
So we can't follow our conscience or our feelings. We must educate ourselves with the Word of God. That's why God has gone to all the trouble to give us the 66 books that we have in the Bible to direct our lives, to show us the way, and thereby we won't rely on our feelings.
But another of the major philosophies which form the basis for the authority of people's views is that of a claim of direct revelation. "I received this revelation," some person says. Or, "God told me to tell you this," or something else. This is one of the ways the cults held sway over people in the 60's and 70's when there was an actual explosion of cultism in this country, and as far as that's concerned, around the world. There were people who said they actually went to Heaven and talked to God. Others said God appeared to them directly and told them what they wanted them to say to the people. Well, the Bible says that "though we or an angel from Heaven preach any other gospel unto you, then that which we preached unto you let him be accursed." So if these people are saying what the Bible says, we don't need it because the Bible already contains it. If it's something different from what the Bible teaches, then the Bible itself condemns it. The Bible says that "every scripture is given by inspiration" That word means "by the very breath or mouth of God." "All scripture is given by inspiration and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God might be perfect, completely furnished unto every good work." And Jude says that "we are to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints," Jude 3.
Another idea is that of reformation. However, if we reform a denomination, we still have a denomination. If we reform a cult, we still have a cult. The proper view is that of restoration. This is the Biblical view. Listen to what Peter said in 1 Peter 4:11. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." Now there's our pattern. There's our form. There's our authority. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God."
And Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:6 that "we might learn not to think of men above that which is written." So God has given us His Word. He has written it down so that there could be no mistaking about it.
In 2 John 9 through 11, "Whosoever transgresses and abideth not in the teachings of Christ hath not God, but if we abideth in the teachings of Christ, we have both the Father and the Son and if any man come to you and bring not this teaching, receive him not unto yourself, neither bid him God speed for he that biddeth in God speed is a partaker of evil deeds."
Furthermore, the Bible teaches in John 12:48 that he that (Jesus is speaking this now) rejects me and receives not my word has one that judges him. The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last days."
Now these passages being true. Here is how the Bible teaches us to form our ideas and our beliefs. Here are the rules of interpretation. The Bible teaches us in three ways.
1. By direct statement or command. Take for example the Great Commission. It contains both a command and a direct statement. "Go into all of the world and preach the gospel to every creature." That's a command. "Go preach the gospel." Why preach the gospel? Because Paul said, "it is the power of God unto salvation, " Romans 1:16. So "go into all of the world and preach the gospel to every creature." A command. Now here is the statement that explains that gospel. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved and he that believeth not shall be condemned." So we have a direct command. And we have a direct statement. That certainly forms the authority for us to act because we are obeying God's command and "He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him," Hebrews 5:9.
2. Another way the Bible teaches and another rule is that of example. Examples are given, of course, for us to follow. Jesus said in John 13:35, "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another." Earlier in this same chapter, Jesus had said, "For I have given you a pattern or an example that you should do as I have done unto you." So Jesus loved. We are to love. Jesus obeyed the Father in Heaven. We are to obey our Father in Heaven. So this is our example, the life of Jesus and the life of good people everywhere. In Acts 2, we're not only informed as to what the people were told to do on the day of Pentecost, but we have the example of their response recorded. Peter preached the gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, and then he told those people the commands of God and what they were to do to be saved: "Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins," and then he says that there were about 3,000 souls that received that word and obeyed that gospel on that day and the Lord added them to the church.
3. There is a third rule. That's "necessary inference," or some people like to call it just "inference" or "implication." That's when the Bible teaches us that a certain thing is so by inferring it. Now, let me give you an example. In Matthew 3:16 the Bible says that "Jesus when He was baptized went up straightway out of the water." There is not a passage in any of the recordings of the gospel that says that He went down into the water, but it is implied that He went down into the water because He came up out of the water. If He came up out of the water, He necessarily had to go down into it. So the Bible teaches by inference.
So here's what we have. The Bible teaching by direct command or by direct statement. By example in the second place. And by inference.
Jesus, of course, is the greatest example for all of us. Peter said that "He lived in such a way as He committed no sin, did nothing wrong and all of that of course is an example for us." That word that is used there by Peter, "for example" is an interesting word because it means to do write underneath. Do any of you recall when you went to school in maybe pre-school or kindergarten or 1st grade that you used the old copy book method of penmanship where across the top of the blackboard or across the top of the paper there were the letters written in big, bold letters: A, B, C and the teacher would say, "I want you to copy these letters underneath." Well, Jesus is that perfect copy at the top of the page and we try our best to copy that in our lives just as He obeyed the commandments of God, we obey the commandments of God. Just as He tried to be the very best example that He could be to others, we try to be the best example that we can be to others.
And so we abide by the rules of God. We abide by His teaching. These, all of these methods are methods are methods of establishing Bible authority, and all of these methods that establish Bible authority form a pattern.
There are many verses in the Bible that emphasize the idea of a pattern, probably none more accurately and more pointed than Romans 6. Paul begins by asking the question, "Don't you know that to whom ye yields yourselves servants to obey His servants to whom you obey? Whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness, but God be think that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine..." (or that plan of salvation or that scheme of redemption or however you wish to translate it). "...You have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine being then made free from sin you became the servants of righteousness." And so, here these Romans are. They have obeyed from the heart a form of doctrine. Well, what does that mean? They learned what the commandments of God were and they obeyed them. They understood that the commandments of God are the righteousness of God. Psalms 119, verse 172 says, "My tongue shall speak thy Word for all of thy commandments are righteousness." So we have the righteousness commands of God.
They're right because God has given them and God sent Jesus down on the earth to die on the cross and so that there might be given a plan of salvation that would have power behind it. I mean any man could give a plan of salvation but it wouldn't be powerful enough to save anybody because it wouldn't have any power behind it. It wouldn't have the blood of Jesus behind it as God's plan of salvation has. So these people, these Romans had obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine, that plan of salvation that had power behind it because it had the blood of Jesus shed on the cross behind it and that gave it great power to save people from their sins.
There was one other passage that I wished to mention and that is 2 Timothy 1:13 where Paul tells Timothy, "Hold fast the pattern or the form..." (some translations say) "...the form of sound words which you have heard of me." Now what happened was Paul preached. Paul preached the gospel. He told people the commands of God. He said this is what you ought to do and this material, this preaching, this message, he said is a pattern, is a form that I want you to follow and so we have then the rules by which we should live in establishing Bible authority. We can't depend on our own feelings and we can't depend on some direct revelation outside the Bible. Here it is, friends, pure and simple the Word of God, the Bible, and that is what's important and that is what we want you to believe and practice in your own life.
Thank you and good day.
(SONG # 3 - "Take Time To Be Holy")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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How wondrous it is to know that we can truly understand God's Word as He gave it to us. If we will simply use our minds that He gave us, we can learn to rightly divide His Truth!