What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We welcome you to our program and we thank God that you have chosen to be with us today. We are excited about this opportunity we have together this morning to glorify our Creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in his sight and according to his will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.


What a wonderful privilege we have as Christians to lift up our voices in praise to God. How encouraging it is to have this avenue of worship to our Creator! So, this morning won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together our first hymn of the morning. The name of the song "I Am Thine, O Lord!"

(SONG # 1)


Think about all the nations over the past centuries and all of the governments that ruled those nations. At first thought we might think of those regimes which were wicked or bad. On the other hand, all of us have probably had our favorite leaders or rulers from times past.

Sometimes I wonder, how on earth did someone like Hitler ever get in control. The fact is you and I have no ability to affect much or change anything that has happened in the past. Furthermore, sometimes in the world today, people still don't have the ability to affect or change the things that are happening around them.

When I think about all of this I am reminded of those today and of those from years past who have hated governments. So many often want to blame the world or even God, when things don't seem to be going their way. Well, what do we find about this topic in God's Word?

In Romans 13:7, we are told, "Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor." Wow, this is a hard lesson. Here we are told to honor and respect our governments, even when it comes to paying taxes. Obviously, this honor and respect must also coincide with God's Will. For example, if the government makes a law or tells us to do things against God's will, then obviously God's laws are higher than man's. But as long as a government is not going against what is acceptable or proper and right in the eyes of God - we are required to obey, respect and honor them. But Why?

Look back up in verse one with me of the same chapter of Romans 13. There Paul said, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." Everything that is around us and everyone in power has only been allowed to be there because of God. This doesn't mean that God puts wicked people in positions of power to hurt man, but it does mean that everything has a purpose and God has a hand in everything that happens in this world.

Think back to the Old Testament. How many times did God use other nations or governments to accomplish a purpose or to prove a point? Sometimes it is the harsh realities in life that draw us closer to God or which cause us to need Him more. So, we must realize that it is our duty to respect those of this world who are over us.

Furthermore, who would want to know about our God if we were always disrespectful and dishonorable? When we show request and honor to those of this world, even our enemies, we glorify God through our actions. In fact, that is the way that the world sees Christ in us. Are you showing the honor and respect which you should to those who are over you?

Today we will continue our study on, "Authority in Religion." Our specific topic of the day will deal with, "Establishing Bible Authority By Understanding the Structure of the Bible." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song I 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, "My Jesus I Love Thee."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we have this opportunity again to look into the pages of God's Word and to be able to see what He has to say about authority in religion. I hope that you've been enjoying our series together as much as I have. We've now for several weeks been looking at the authority that comes from God, and we've been able to start at the very beginning in looking at God the Father and how that from heaven He is the one who obviously is authoritative and who sent His son, that is Jesus Christ, to come and to live and to die on this earth in order that He might give His own blood in order that we might all be saved. In fat, not only that but we see that Jesus chose some apostles as He was here on this earth and as He chose those apostles, He sent the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, as He refers to Him there in John chapter 14. He sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to guide them in all things after Jesus then would return back to heaven at the right hand of God.

We further see that as they taught according to what they knew from Jesus and according to the continued teachings of the Holy Spirit as He guided them. Finally, they recorded those things down for us and placed them in what we refer to as the Word of God, the Bible. In fact, we see several places as was clearly laid out for us last week in our series looking at the Bible and it's authority, that truly all scripture is from God and it's profitable unto all things, all things unto life and godliness and furthermore how that holy men of God were led by the Spirit not to interpret their own private things but to interpret the very Will of God.

All of these things again being very precious to us because they remind us how important it is that we follow the Bible and how important we must have been to our God, because He chose us to really be something special. He chose us and counted us worthy enough to give us providentially today the Word, the Bible, so that we might know His complete Will so that He might guide us in all ways that we needed to be guided in.

But today we want to look at the structure of this book. This book we have discussed already and been able to confirm clearly is from God because of it's context, because of all the things we find there and really that the context has to be unified and working together and really in all types of unison being found on every topic no matter how many authors, about 40 men, writing the Bible over a period of about 1600 years again as we have mentioned. And as far as understanding the amount of books, 66 different works compiled in one canon, again what we call the Bible. Who else could have been behind such a work? What other being on this earth or in heavens could have caused such to be the case that one unified book written by so many over such a vast period of time could work toward one goal being centered on Jesus Christ in order to accomplish the Will of the Father that was in heaven? Certainly God is the answer. Certainly we know that as we consider this giant of a book that has so much information, a wealth of information for us and people of so many ages, we often ponder and wonder the question, "How is it that we follow it all? It's such a big book. What's for me? Is everything in it something that applies specifically to me or do I need to understand the Bible in a certain way? Do I need to understand it according to how it was written, according to it's different periods, if you will?"

If you think about the beginning of the Bible there starting at the creation there as Moses recorded for us those things that had happened long before his time and how that there the creation came about and all was brought according to the Words of God and Adam and Eve were placed there in the garden. We see that according to the fruition of God what He had planned from the beginning of time. He created man. He created the earth. He created the things of it. It is well confirmed for us.

But then when we begin to move away from there, we find that the Bible covers a period of thousands of years, thousands and thousands. Some say in between 4, 5 even more, thousands of years that bring us all the way up to the period of New Testament times just after what we refer to as the AD period, around 33 AD, up unto even the 90's AD as we find there that some of the final books were written near the last part of that century.

But as we look at that vast span of time again and we consider all of that information, we still must beg the question, "What's for me? Can I follow all of it?" Because as we look at the Bible, although it's unified, it seems to be stating different types of ideas and covenants for different peoples at different times.

I want you to start at the very beginning with me and understand that the Bible is divided into sections that we clearly need to acknowledge to be able to know what God wants us to do. We begin at the start where Adam and Eve were under the Patriarchal Period, a period where we find that God dealt directly with His children. We know that because not only Adam and Eve, but something must have been told to them because after they were cast out of the garden and they had children, we know that Cain and Abel actually became before God and made offerings. They worshipped God. Although we don't have the details as to maybe what all of the commands were, we see them worshipping.

What about Noah? Noah was a man who built an ark and was saved from the flood because of his faith, the great faith of Noah. What did he do when he came out of the ark? He built an altar to God. He worshipped God. There had to have been a law in place of some type. The Patriarchal Period where God dealt with the Patriarchs.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and others also worshipped their God at special places. Also, built pillars and altars and glorified and honored their God on behalf of the things that He had done for them. So certainly we see that during that period there was some type of designated worship that was acceptable or not, and we know that again primarily because if we go back again to the story of Cain and Abel, we see that one of their worships was rejected. Cain's worship was not found faithful before God, but Abel's was. That was why he killed his brother, wasn't it? So even during that period there was something that God wanted. There was a design and something that He expected and that had to be followed if were to be considered faithful, as the Hebrew writer confirms to us again about the story of Cain and Abel.

But after that we find that Moses was born and after coming into existence still under the Patriarchal Age, we know that as he grew up that he was one there in Egypt and he eventually went off and fled for his life because of things that had transpired in Egypt. But then when he returned at the Word of God to Egypt, and he brought the people out of Egypt, that is the people of God. When they arrived at Mt. Sinai you'll remember there that God gave His people, that is the Israelites, those descendants of Jacob, those many tribes, the 12 tribes that had come out of Egypt were given a specific law, a law from God. A law that was for who? For us? Well it doesn't seem like that is what the Bible indicates if we'll read it. To the Patriarchs? Certainly not. The Patriarchs were long gone. They were already dead. The law certainly was not given as late as Exodus in order that they might profit from it. So who is it that the Bible tells us were to be the recipients of that law? Well, if you'll look there in the book of Exodus chapter 19, we see that as they were there at the bottom, Mt. Sinai, we begin to have unfolding for us how the mountain shook and rumbled and the people were fearful because they felt the presence of God. They knew His magnificence was everywhere as it seems in the thunder and lightning. The presence was clear that this must be God, must be the creator. But it was Moses there who went up and was called up and went to receive the commands we have further given to us in verse 20. But after all of these things transpired and we know that even the people had sinned for a time and Moses had to go back up to the mountain for a time in order to receive the law again. We see that over in Exodus chapter 34 that God actually told Moses to give this law to the people and even specifies who the law was for primarily. I want you to notice there in Exodus chapter 27 or actually chapter 34 and verse 27, notice what He says there, that is the Lord to Moses. "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Write these words for according to their tenor, the tenor of these words, I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.'" Now notice there. He says, "Write these things. Here's the tablets. Write the Ten Commandments. Write all the laws that I give you. And who are they for Moses? They are for you and Israel.'" He goes on in verse 28 to say, "So he was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights and he neither ate bread nor drank water, and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments." He wrote there the law. More than certainly just those Ten Commandments. The law that was given over 40 days as he was there on the Mount with the Lord.

Notice again clearly He said to Moses and to the Israelites. I have a few questions. Are you Moses? I'm certainly not. Are you one of the Israelites? Certainly not. We are not of those twelve tribes. In fact, none of us for the most part who are listening to this program are Jewish or Hebrew people or even a descent of that. So therefore, we see that this was given to a certain people at a certain time. We see that as it was given it was clear that this was a law given to God's people evidenced by the fact that they went about even into the land of Canaan and throughout Palestine and were told to stand as the people of God and to defend the Will of God and the things pertaining to it.

Now I want you to look with me in a few other verses. If you'll notice, it was in Isaiah that we begin to see the further prophecy that pertained to something that was going to change. Something was actually going to come at a latter period of time, if you will. I hope you have a pen because I'd like you to write down Isaiah chapter 2. In verses 2 through 4 it talks about the latter days when the Lord's house will be established and actually it talks about it will be established a covenant and it talks about how that house will be established from Jerusalem, things that are clearly seen to be evident there in Acts chapter 2 which came to fruition when the church actually was brought into existence.

But not only there but even Jeremiah, the prophet, in Jeremiah 31 through verse 34. Jeremiah talks about "behold the days are coming when there will be a new covenant, a better covenant with the house of Israel." Not like the covenant of old or the covenant that you have heard where your sins are pushed forward, but a covenant where things will be different. A covenant that we know as Daniel and others talked about that it will be based on different things. Micah talked about a savior or a different type of a testator, a different type of a sacrifice, that being the blood of Jesus Christ. So even under the Old Law, they understood that someday something was coming, something was going to change.

Now I want you to move to the book of Hebrews with me because in the Hebrew letter we see clearly that in Hebrews it shows us in chapter 8 that these things came to pass that actually Jeremiah and others talked about long before. In chapter 8 and verse 7, it talks there about the first covenant having fault. Verse 8 says "the fault was in them." That is, those who are to follow it. But then he goes on to quote about how that there would be a new covenant, not like the old covenant made with the Israelites, but a new covenant. Then he goes on down in verse 11 and he says, "They won't teach every neighbor for themselves for none his brother saying, 'know the Lord,' and they won't be able to be those who just push sins forward." Verse 12 says that "their sins will actually be remembered no more." Over and over again the idea that something will be put away, something will be brought into life.

Notice there with me in verse 13. He says, "A new covenant. He has made the first obsolete and now what is becoming obsolete is growing old and ready to vanish away." Notice here he clearly mentions the two covenants. He says the old and the new. And in the fact that there is a new, there is no need any longer for the old.

If you'll go on down in chapter 9 of Hebrews it talks about Jesus, the testator, the one who had to die and shed His blood. Why? So that He could enact the new covenant of Christ. Have you ever wondered why the New Testament is called the New testament? The New Covenant? The new agreement with the people of God? It is because we are under something different. Didn't Paul tell the Colossian brethren in Colossians 2:14 that "there was something that had been nailed to the cross. The handwriting, the old ordinances, the law had been nailed to the cross." Why? To make way for the new law. The new law that was sanctioned and sealed clearly through and by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Again Paul to the Galatian brethren clearly told us about these ideas throughout the entire chapter 3. But notice there as he begins to talk about in the latter part of that chapter about the covenant. He says there in verse 24 that "the law was a tutor to bring us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." But after faith has come, what does he say? We know longer need the tutor.

The point is brothers and sisters in Christ and friends who are watching this morning, yes, we need to follow the Word of God but we must follow it understanding what part is for us. We can learn so much from the Old Law but we don't have to put on the robes of the priests. We don't have to offer animal sacrifices. We don't have to do all of those things that we find are under the Old Covenant. Why? Because we are under a New Covenant, a better covenant. Why is it better? Because it's based on a better sacrifice. Not animal blood, but Christ's blood. A better promise. A better offering. A better everything as the Hebrew writer says. And why? Because God loved us enough that He through His abilities brings us the law that Jesus would give us which is perfect before all man, and will save all man if we will simply do His Will.

(SONG # 3 - "Living By Faith!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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I hope that we have all realized today how important it is to understand the Bible in the way that it is structured by God - so that we may know what He has given for our learning and what is given to us as command!