THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 9-5-04
LESSON TITLE: "FROM HEAVEN OR MEN: THE DETERMINING ABILITY OF BIBLICAL AUTHORITY"
Good morning, and thanks for joining us for the study of God's Living Word! We are glad you are with us this morning to give this time to the things of God. At this time may we start our praise to God by talking with our Father in prayer. Bow with me please!
Let's beginning immediately with our songs of praise this day. The first song of the morning takes us back to a hill in history where the very foundation of our faith lays, as followers of God. Won't you do your part in worship to God at this time and join in with the congregation as we sing together, "The Old Rugged Cross!"
(SONG # 1)
Many songs we sing today focus on the theme of God's Word, which is found in the Bible. I love the old song, "Give me the Bible," or as our children sing, "The BIBLE, yes that's the book for me, I stand upon the Word of God the BIBLE!" OH, how precious this book divine is, for it's contents reveals the very words of our Creator, as given by His Son, through the Holy Spirit.
But consider for a moment, just how big this book is! It contains two testaments, with a total of 66 books. All written over a period of 1500 years and these many books were authored by over 40 different inspired writers. And although these things be the case, it is still unified in it's message, purpose and theme. While in all things giving the glory and honor to our Creator.
It's contents encourages, instructs and corrects. It's authors, help us to be better followers and encourage us to put God first. And its examples, help us to learn more about what God requires, as we look at the lives and actions of others - who were either found pleasing before God or not.
But as we look into this magnificent book, which God Himself prepared for us - just what type of respect do we show it. Just how well to we honor and obey the things pinned within it's pages. Do we really respect the
authority found within it, which our God has given through His almighty Works.
Let me encourage us all to learn to respect the Bible more. And not because it is just another book which has monetary value. But because it is the very Word of God, revealed to us and made possible so that we might know His Will and keep His precious commandments. Just how much do you respect this book of books, just how well do you obey it's precepts?
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our series, we will be continuing to talk about things pertaining to our new series entitled, "From Heaven Or Men!" The specific lesson of the day will deal with the, "Determining Biblical Authority!" So, please stay with us this morning and at the appropriate time I will be leading us in this study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, "The Way Of The Cross."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us today and now we want to go to God's Word to find out more about what He has to say so that we might be pleasing in His sight. As you well know, we began last week a study concerning the concept of heaven or man, understanding whether the things that we do and say and really believe in religious realms are really from God or from man. In relationship to those things, we began a study looking at the authority of God and trying to understand last week truly that our God has all authority.
Today, we want to continue our discussion by determining how we can figure out Biblical authority as we mentioned in our introduction the Bible is such a big book. How do we understand what really is for us or is not for us? Or how do we understand if all be for us or if not all of the Bible is for us. So we want to answer some of those questions today as we begin to look more in depth at the concept of really where we get our authority and how we make determination of what we believe and do in the realm of religion.
As we look at our discussion then we can reflect back to the time of Jesus, even from a young boy and how that He had authority and how that He really showed Himself to be all authoritative even at the age of twelve as He was there in Jerusalem with His family and we know that as He was left behind, He was there in the temple amazing the smartest of smart folks in the area of Jerusalem, the most educated and highly educated of their day, the scribes and the Pharisees and they were amazed at what was coming out of His mouth. Why? Because He was God. Because of His authority. And no doubt, that's why later in Matthew 28:18 the Bible confirms in the words of Jesus that "all authority has been given to Christ." Certainly there is no reason to argue with that which the Bible hath commanded or explicitly confirmed. It doesn't say that it might be Christ or that maybe it would be given or that somehow... It says, "all authority." Well "all" is all inclusive. It leaves nothing out. All authority was given from the Father to the Son as He came to this earth. And so we understand that the Father in a sense having authority relinquished a portion of authority to His son since His son would be on the earth and of an earthly nature to then give the knowledge of God the Father to the ones that Jesus came in contact with.
I'm also reminded of a very beautiful story, really question that was asked in the book of Luke, Luke chapter 20 beginning in verse 1 where again there were those who were trying to confuse Jesus or trip Him up, those who continually were trying to make Him look bad in front of the multitudes, again the chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees of the Jews. We know that to be the case because in chapter 19 and verse 47, it again there says that "Jesus was teaching daily in the temple but the chief priests and the scribes and the leaders sought to destroy Him." Oh they were trying everything they could. Well there in chapter 20 beginning in verse 1 we see that as He was in the temple preaching the gospel one day that they came to Him and they asked Him a question. They said, "Oh we've got Him now. We've thought of the great question that is going to really trip Him up," and so they ask Him this question. They say there beginning in verse 2, "Tell us by what authority are you doing these things or who is He who gave you this authority?" Jesus knew what they were asking. Jesus knew and we know that He turns around there in the passage and He actually asks them a question. He says, "I'll tell you once again what I've already told you that I'm from the Father and what I speak is of the Father and what I say and do is of the Father. I'll tell you again if you want, but you're going to answer me a question first. Whose baptism was John of, the Father or men?" Well they said, "If I say of God, we didn't do it so therefore we rejected the will of God. If we say of man, then they're going to again say that we didn't believe in John and therefore the people will be upset," and so it was a lose, lose situation and they dropped it.
Well Jesus here though had a great question, a question that no doubt He had answered time and time again, "By what authority?" Brethren, I believe the same question today needs to be asked today of each and every one of us in the religious world, "By what authority?" Jesus could answer the question and did answer the question throughout the New Testament. Why can't we in the same way? Well as we saw last week certainly God the Father sent the son Jesus with all authority. It was then Jesus who told His chosen disciples, the twelve, that they would be guided in all things, that they would have all authority and the Holy Spirit would be sent, the comforter, the helper as is clarified not only in John 14, chapter 15 as well as chapter 16 also. But here we find then the Holy Spirit was the one who helped the apostles know all that they needed to do and therefore we read verses such as Acts 2 where it tells us there around verse 42 that "they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine."
Now this was after they had done what was said up in Acts 2 and 38, "Repent and be baptized. Over 3,000 souls obeyed that day and were obedient to the gospel, but after the fact, and they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine." What was the apostle's doctrine? What man thought? What the apostles thought? No! It was what the Holy Spirit had guided them in. All things they needed to know, all things they needed to remember, all special knowledge, all prophecy, all miraculous abilities, the apostles had been given through the Holy Spirit from the Father Himself according to the request of the Son those things that they needed to carry on the great work and ministry of God.
Now what is it today that we have through many other apostles like Peter and John? What is it that we have today that bears the words of those inspired writers? The Bible. So the Bible bears as well authority. Scriptures mentioned last week: 2 Timothy chapter 3:16-17, there in 1 Peter chapter 1 again, there not only in verses 19-20 but on through about verse 25, over and over and over again that the scripture, all scripture, not some of it, all of it is from God. It is inspired of God through the Holy Spirit as He lead these holy men to do what? To give us all things pertaining to life and godliness, to give us all things, to thoroughly furnish us unto every good work and to help us to be children of God and to continue in the what? The apostle's doctrine which were the doctrines delivered through the Holy Spirit directly from the Father.
Oh yes, we have a pattern. We have a ruler. Oh yes, we have not been left by God to just wonder what He wants us to do. He has shown us His Will through the Word and I thank God for that. I thank God that there again in 2 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 15 that Paul said that "from a child, it was the Holy Scriptures that I learned unto salvation." It's the scriptures that save. It's the knowledge there that we learn because it's the Word of God that makes us today obedient because it tells us what we must do and not just pertaining to understanding that Jesus Christ is the son of God, although that be the heart of the issue, the theme of the Word, but pertaining to the Will of God. Isn't that what He said there that although we say, Lord, Lord, that doesn't mean we're saved. We must do the Will of the Father. There again, Matthew chapter 7 and verse 21. It's not enough to know God. It's not enough to talk about God. It's not even enough to work for God unless it be the Will of God.
You see, it does matter what we do. It does make a difference. So as we look at the Bible, we must ascertain, we must discern, understand what it is that God expects of each of us. Well again, we have the two covenants. One covenant given there at Mt. Sinai that says "to you and yours, "as it was speaking to Moses and the Israelites, a covenant that was made of sacrifices, of tabernacles, of many things that today we don't do. Why? Because we are no longer under that covenant. But the Hebrew writer tells us in chapters 8-9 "that covenant has been replaced through the blood of Christ." We have sealed a new, a better, a greater covenant with better sacrifice of Jesus, the blood. Again, a better covenant, better promises, better everything under the new covenant and that's the covenant that Jesus brought us. It's His Word, not the words of old. You know sometimes people say, "Well, the words that Jesus spoke on the earth really didn't pertain to us because He was under the old law." Why then in John 12 and verse 47-48 does He say that "we will be judged by His Words." Yes, we'll be judged by His Words. Why? Because His Words are not His own. They're of the Father. Yes, we'll be judged of the Spirit's Words. Why? Because the Spirit's Words are not His own. They're of the Father. And yes, we'll be judged by the Words that are given to us through the apostles. Why? Because they are not the apostle's words. They're not only through the Holy Spirit, but they are directly from God the Father again by the request of the son Himself.
You see, the Bible is then the Word of God. It does bear authority and power, not because of the book, not because of the English language or the Greek that it was written in but because of it's content, the very exact, perfect, precious, wondrous, glorious and marvelous words of God Himself that guide us into all things.
But now as we look at every issue in of the Word of God, I as well would like to clarify that we must determine whether they are for us. Certainly there are many different things that are referred to as Hermeneutics, Biblical Interpretation, things that we must understand. How do I know if something is for me? Well, a command certainly is obvious. If God says to me, "Go on to perfection," Hebrews 6 and verse1. If God says to me, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Direct commands. Commands that can't be gotten around. Why? Because they are specific and they are direct that if one does something, here is the outcome. There are certainly divine commands given to us in the Word of God. As well there are examples. We know the church was commanded to continue in the apostle's doctrine as we have seen and they did so. So when we see the New Testament church approved of by God and doing something that was by example, approved of God, then we know they did it because the apostles commanded through the Holy Spirit. For instance, in Acts 20:7, it says that "when they assembled on the first day of the week, they did so to break bread." Again as we read there in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, "as they gathered on the first day of the week, they took up an offering." You see, they were gathering on the first day of the week. What were they doing? They were taking of the Lord's Supper. They were giving of their means. "Paul preached," it says in Acts 20 and verse 7, "until the morning." You see, they were doing certain things. By example, we can see they were gathering on the Lord's Day for the purpose of worshipping God as instructed by the apostles as guided through the Holy Spirit from God the Father Himself and therefore is an example that was divinely approved.
Another idea we might see is an inference where we actually have an idea that we find something happening like the story of the good Samaritan. When we do good unto a neighbor. Well we have other verses that say when we do good to others, we do it unto Jesus, but that story would say that by inference that if I do good to others, God would also be pleased with me. There are many things that might be inferred in scripture. If I love God, then I love my brother also because the Bible says I can't hate my brother and love God. It's inferred that it is a requirement of God. So again, there are things inferred that we must believe in the all authoritative Bible.
Then there are things that are obviously expedient. God says to "Go into all the world." How are you going to do it? Are you going to go buy a boat, an airplane? Are you going to drive if it's close enough to drive? How are you going to get there? There are matters that we have to make determination on but not in relationship to those things that are either given by command, those things that are either given by example or by some type of an inference. The areas of freedom are those we do not have specifics on. The areas that when we are told to do something, but really the how we do it is left up to us. You see, we do need to study more. Maybe we need more studies and lessons and sermons on Hermeneutics, on Biblical Interpretation and knowing really how to take a passage and look at it's time, it's setting, who it was written to, who it was written by and to consider whether this be a command, whether it's a divinely approved example, whether it is something inferred or implied, or whether it be truly something that was expedient that we might make a determination on ourselves. But the reality is at the end of the day still we must understand that the Bible does bear the authority, the very marks of not only the apostles, but the Holy Spirit, and the Father as well as the Son who asked the Father to inspire the apostles to bring us what we have today.
The question must be ours today. In all that we do in religion, do we do that which is from heaven, that be God or that which is from man?
In the rest of our study throughout the next several months, we'll be actually considering issues as to whether they be from man or whether they be from God because it does make a difference that all that we do, all that we say be in accordance with the Will of God. Why? Because someday we'll be judged by what we do and say and then receive eternal life if found faithful in the end.
(SONG # 3 - "There's A Great Day Coming!")
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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Thanks be to God for His Word which is revealed in the pages of the Bible. May we always study it and grow in our knowledge, so that we might ever do those things which are pleasing in His sight.