THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 9-29-02

LESSON TITLE: AUTHORITY IN RELIGION: "THE BIBLE AND IT'S AUTHORITY"

WELCOME

Here we are together again on a wondrous Lord's Day Morning. Privileged to serve our God in songs of praise and through the study of His Word. We welcome you to this time of offering to God.

I hope each of you had a great week and I hope you are ready today to think on things above, and to give full attention to our Creator who has done so much for all of us. In fact, this morning we want to begin by talking to our God in prayer. Won't you bow with me at this time before the throne of God. (Prayer)

I wanted to take just a moment and thank the Gospel Hill congregation in Pottersville, Missouri, for their encouragement, kindness, and the opportunity to be with them in a gospel meeting throughout this last week. It is great to see that this congregation has a strong leadership and is willing to stand on the Word of God, as is required by our Lord. I highly commend them to you as a great place to go and worship God. Thanks to all who were present and who made our time together for God, a great success.

Let me also let you know about another gospel meeting that will soon be starting this week at the Curry Street Church of Christ in West Plains. It will begin on October 4-6th and their special guest speaker will be Wendell Winkler. Let me encourage you all to consider being a part of this time of offering to God, as it will be well worth your sacrifice. If you have any questions or need further information about this meeting, please feel free to contact me or that congregation.

At this time we want to get started by singing our first song of the morning. Won't you all join in with the congregation at this time as we lift up our voices together, in the hymn, "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be."

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Physical fitness seems to be almost an obsession with many in our day and time. You can look almost anywhere and find health clubs or gyms to work out in, in order to improve your physical strength or your physical appearance.

For many of us our favorite characters and hero's are the strongest, who seem to be able to accomplish anything because of their strength. Some of us like certain sports, where again athletes spend a great deal of time on building their physical bodies to prepare themselves to adequately execute their sport!

With these thoughts in mind, I am reminded of a verse in Psalms that makes me think of the same kind of strength in the Lord. David said, "Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever," Psalms 125:1. Here we see that those who have God are like a mountain, which can not be moved! Furthermore, they will abide forever. This verse helps me to think of how spiritually strong we are when we have God on our side. If we have God on our side and we exercise ourselves spiritually, then we know that we can endure or withstand anything, just as a strong, unmovable mountain.

Another remarkable verse along the same lines is found in 1 Timothy 4:8. There we read the word's of Paul as he said, "For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." Notice again the emphasis here on the spiritual rather than the physical. Not to say that bodily exercise is wrong, but it really profits little because some day our bodies will simply return to the dust, Genesis 3:19!

However, also look at the great benefit we gain from spiritual exercise! This verse tells us that it profits us for all things. It make us better in every way today, right now. Furthermore, it also prepares us and makes us ready for all of that which is to come - even Heaven.

So, as those who love God, let's always try to exercise ourselves unto godliness. In so doing, we will make ourselves better servants today and tomorrow for all things which God has in store for us.

It's great to have brother Kevin Patterson with us this morning as our guest speaker. Kevin is the minister for the Bolivar Church of Christ in Bolivar, MO. In our study this morning we will again focus on, "Authority In Religion." Our specific topic today is entitled, "The Bible and It's Authority!" So please continue with us and in a few minutes brother Patterson will return with this study of the morning. Now, let's join in our second hymn of the morning. The name of the song, "More About Jesus!"

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Kevin Patterson

Good morning, and thank you for staying with us.

Last week, we began studying a series of lessons on the subject "Authority in Religion." This morning, we're going to talk specifically about the Bible and it's authority. Most people, although I don't think they may think about it too much, understand the concept of authority, and in some circles authority even has a bad name. We understand that we are to submit to the authority, for instance, of the government. Some people like that and some people don't like that. But needless to say, it is an authority that has power over us and we must submit our lives to that.

The same is true with God. We obviously need to submit to an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present being. But how exactly do we do that? Let me start off by giving you an illustration of my earlier days. When I was a little kid, my dad would often tell me, he might say, "Go clean up your room," or "Go carry out the trash," and as an obedient son, I would do that. But then I grew up. I grew up and became a teenager. And during those times when Dad would give me an instruction and tell me to "go clean up my room," or "carry out the trash," rather than doing it, I would respond by asking the question, "Why?" Dad's response, as I'm sure was the response of many of your parents growing up, was six very familiar words: "Because I said so, that's why!" Well, I used to think what a ridiculous answer. Why is that an answer? That's just something that you've said to pass the buck. I did not appreciate the authority that my father had over me. Well, now I'm a father. I have four children. My two oldest of whom are teenagers. They often ask me, "Why?" Now I understand the wisdom of his comment. Because a parent has authority over a child. Therefore, the child is to be obedient to that authority.

Colossians chapter 3 and verse 17 teaches this that we need to do all things by the authority of God. It reads, "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." That phrase, "Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus" is giving across the idea that we must do all things by the authority by the Lord. Whatever we do, whether it be in word or deed must be done by the authority of the Lord.

As a preacher I often times will perform or conduct a wedding ceremony, and there's a point in every marriage where the preacher will generally say something to this effect, based upon what state he is in and I currently reside in the state of Missouri, you will hear these words: "By the authority vested in me by the state of Missouri, I now pronounce you man and wife." Well, what is that saying? Well, that is simply stating that the governing authority, the body that has power to give me permission to join two individuals in holy matrimony has agreed by their rules to give me that power. How do I know whether I have that power? Well, I can go to the rule books. I can go to the law books. I can go to the legislatures of that particular state or local municipality and insure that I am abiding by it's regulations.

Well, the same is true with God. We are to obey His authority. We are to abide by His authority. But where do we go to find out what He authorizes and what He does not authorize? Well the answer is very simple. We go to the Bible.

2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 16 and 17 teaches us that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction and righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." That means that God is responsible for all scripture. God has literally breathed His Will into the Bible. But somebody says, "Well, hold on just a second. God didn't write the Bible. Did He? I thought that men wrote the Bible." Well it is indeed true that men did pen God's Will to paper. But in 2 Peter chapter 1, verses 20 and 21 teaches us that "knowing this first that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation for prophecy never came by the will of man but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." So God's Will has been placed in the Bible. In fact, it is God's Will for man.

But at the same time I am reminded with these men who penned God's Will to paper of a story about a man who spoke to an audience of college-aged individuals and he was attempting to prove the validity of the authority of God and he was quoting a number of passages from the Bible to prove his point. At some point in the lecture, a young man stood up and said, "I'm tired of this." He said, "I'm tired of you religious people using the Bible to prove the Bible." He said, "That's circular reasoning. You can't use the same thing to prove itself." The speaker, wise in his years, said to the young man, "What do you think the Bible is?" The young man very confidently said, "Well, it's a book." The speaker said, "That's where you're wrong. The Bible is not just a book." He said, "In fact, it's 66 books partly in the Old Testament, partly in the New Testament, but 66 books written by some 40 different people in three different languages, Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek and written over a 15 to 1600 year period of time." He said, "Now young man, I want to challenge you. You go to your university library. You go to the city library. You go to the library of Congress and you find any 66 books you want to and in those 66 books you attempt to find 40 different authors. You attempt to find them written in three different languages. You attempt to find those books written over a 15 to 1600 year period of time and then you put them all together and see if they agree with one another. See if they harmonize with one another. See if they don't contradict." The young man sat down, understanding the point.

The Holy Bible is a very special book. It is God's Will for man and as such, we must appreciate that when Paul speaks or Peter speaks or later in this lesson when we hear men like Moses or James or John or even the very Words of Jesus, we understand that all of these are speaking, all of these things are written down for our benefit because they reflect God's Will for us.

The Bible also supplies us with everything that we need to know. Peter writes in 2 Peter chapter 1, verses 2 and 3, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you and the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue." Consider that. Here is a man writing in the first century through the inspiration of God that everything pertaining to life and godliness has already been given to us. In other words, everything that we need to live here and in the hereafter has already been revealed to us through God's holy Word. The Bible is God's way of revealing His truth to man and we all need truth. The only people who are opposed to truth are those who stand in falsity. But truth and God's truth is very special. Men sometimes bicker and quabble as to what is right and what is wrong. But God never does. God's truth is absolute. It is for all men everywhere for all time.

John chapter 17 and verse 17 when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemene to the Father made this comment. He said, "Sanctify them," talking about His disciples, "by your truth. Your Word is truth." God represents truth. When God speaks, it is never a lie. It is always what is right. So when we go to God's Word, we can know that what is being revealed to us is God's absolute truth for us.

You know there was a survey that was taken a number of years ago where Americans were polled concerning the question of an absolute truth. Did you believe, did they believe in an absolute truth? It was absolute for all people everywhere all of the time. Sixty-six percent of the people surveyed in that poll said that they did not believe in such a thing. Let's put that in perspective. Two out of every three Americans do not believe that there is a such thing as an absolute truth. But Jesus said to some Jews who believed Him in John 8 verses 31 and 32, He said, "If you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."

You know the Bible is, because of it's truth and because of it's absolute truth that it teaches to mankind how it reveals God's Will to us. The Bible is described as being a sword. You might remember in Ephesians chapter 6 how Christians were taught to put on the whole armor of God so that they could defend themselves against Satan and his evil schemes. You might remember how it mentions the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation. But in verse 17 of Ephesians 6, it describes the Bible. It says, "The sword of the spirit which is the Word of God." The Bible is actually compared to a sword. Why is that the case? Well because of the eternal truths that are contained within it and how those truths can cut so very deeply.

Hebrews chapter 4, verse 12 reads that "the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." With something that is so powerful at our disposal not only something that can benefit us so greatly, we need to be careful in how we use it with others.

Paul told the Ephesian church in Ephesians 4:15 that "they were to speak the truth in love." That's because the Bible is so powerful that some people can use it incorrectly. But we're taught that we need to study it so that we can indeed use it correctly.

2 Timothy 2:15, Paul tells the young preacher, Timothy, "Study or be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing or correctly handling the Word of Truth."

That's one of the challenges that I would have for you today. You have turned on your television sets and are listening to this program this morning hopefully because you want to learn what the Will of God is for you. There are a lot of programs on television that would make this claim, but insure that what they are doing is preaching God's Will. Make sure that when you listen to someone who claims to be representative of God that they are using His Holy Word as the authority behind what they are preaching and teaching. Paul also told Timothy in 2 Timothy chapter 4 and verse 2, "Preach the Word," because that's the only authority we have in our lives today, the Word of God. The Bible reveals God's truth for us and obedience to that truth can give birth to eternal life.

1 Peter chapter 1, verses 22 and 23, Peter tells a group of Christians in the first century, "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit and sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible through the Word of God which lives and abides forever."

What is the conclusion of the matter? The conclusion is that the Bible is our authority today. It is God's revealed Will to us. And if we will spend more time studying God's Word, if we will spend more time understanding it and applying it to our lives then we can be pleasing in His sight. We can know the truth and that truth can set us free.

James chapter 1, verse 21 teaches us this. "Therefore, lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word which is able to save your soul."

The Word of God is a wonderful blessing. It is something that we can rely on for answers. Philippians chapter 4 and 13 teaches us that "we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength." This was a letter that Paul wrote to the church in the first century. And those who would depend upon Christ, those who would depend upon His teachings as He revealed the Will of the Father to man must search the scriptures daily to insure that what they know and understand and believe and live is right in the eyes of God.

James 1 and verse 25 reads this, "But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work. This one will be blessed in what he does."

Stick with the Bible. Stick with the Word of God and allow Him to bless you.

(SONG # 3 - "I Know Whom I Have Believed!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

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.

Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:

The Living Word 2540 N. Kansas Expressway Springfield, Mo. 65803

Many of these materials are also available on our web-site: That address is: www.thelivingwordprogram.com

Or if you prefer, you may call us at: (417)869-2284

May we all stand firm on God's Word today, which is truly our final authority in religious things. What better guide could we have in this life, than that which has been given by God Himself!

(Program End)