“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) The Nature of the Word of God (Joe R. Price)
2) That Familiar Ring of Truth (Bill Hall)
3) John 1:1-3, 14 (NASB)
The Nature of the Word of God
Joe R. Price
While contemplating God and His word, the psalmist observed, “Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are Your judgments… Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it” (Psa. 119:137, 140). Since God is righteous, we fully expect His word to also be righteous. We are not disappointed. We marvel at the harmony of God’s word. We trust its power to save souls and transform lives. We are dismayed at those who choose to dishonor God by dishonoring His word.
Many religious people discount the credibility of the Bible and discredit the Scriptures as the only authoritative, binding standard for faith and practice. They appeal to “church tradition,” to “new revelation” or to “personal testimony” while rejecting the Bible as the very word of God. The apostles of Jesus preached the “word of God” and not the “word of men” (1 Ths. 2:13). The Spirit of God gave the apostles the very words to speak and write (Matt. 10:19-20; 1 Cor. 14:37). To relegate the Bible to human origin either displays a lack of knowledge or a willful rejection of the word of God (2 Tim. 3:16).
Others, wanting to deflect the validity of the apostles’ teachings, say there is a big difference between the words of Jesus and the words of His apostles. We hear the uninformed say things like, “Jesus didn’t say it, just Paul (Peter, John, etc.)”. Yet, Jesus told His apostles, “He who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (Jno. 13:20). Jesus sent His apostles into the world to preach His gospel (Mk. 16:15-20). The apostles spoke and then wrote “the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). We cannot minimize and reject the apostles’ words without also minimizing and rejecting Jesus.
The apostle Paul said, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9). This declarative statement calls on us to preach the same gospel the apostles preached.
The teaching of Christ’s apostles and prophets about the nature of God’s word strengthens our faith and revives our love for His truth. They assure us that God’s “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” (2 Pet. 1:3).
Every teaching that contradicts Christ’s first century apostles and prophets indicts the purity of God and His word. Here is what they taught about the nature of the word of God.
All truth. The apostles of Christ were guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (Jno. 16:13). This is most reassuring since we are sanctified by truth (Jno. 17:17). If we only have some truth then we can only have some sanctification. But, God’s word “is truth,” and “all truth” was given to the apostles. We have all of God’s word through the apostles. We have no need for direct, personal messages from God. God has already given us “all truth” to follow. The Bible is enough.
Fully adequate. The Scriptures, because they are inspired by God, are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). To “be complete” means to be adequate, filled up, sufficient. The Scriptures are adequate to supply us for “every good work” of faith, without any additional revelation (Eph. 2:10). They are our pattern for doing God’s will. The Bible is enough.
Incorruptible. The words of men fall by the wayside and are cast into the dustbin of history. But the word of God is living and powerful, vibrant to convict of sin and to convert sinners (Heb. 4:12). It is enduring, never fading away: “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet. 1:23). When people say God’s word is no longer relevant in modern culture they expose their unwilling heart to accept and live by the living word of God. There have been and always will be different cultures on the earth, yet the incorruptible word of God applies to people of every culture (Mk. 16:15). Some say men have corrupted truth and we need the truth restored. No, men have fallen away from the truth; the truth has not fallen away (1 Tim. 4:1). The Bible is enough.
Once for all delivered. The gospel is not repeatedly delivered from heaven to earth throughout the ages. The faith was fully delivered to mankind by the first century apostles and prophets of Christ — “…once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Jesus Christ died a single time (“once”) as a sacrifice for sin (Heb. 7:27; 9:28; 10:10). Once was enough. Likewise, “the faith” was delivered “once” (a single time). The Bible is enough.
Full and final authority. The apostles’ teaching carries the full weight of heaven’s authority. When we accept the apostles’ teaching we are accepting Christ because He sent them into the world with His word (Jno. 13:20; Mk. 16:15; Acts 2:42). The writings of the apostles of Christ “are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37). God speaks to us today “in His Son” by the words of His apostles (Heb. 1:1-2). Their word has binding authority over us (Col. 3:17). The Bible is enough.
Understandable. Amazingly, by reading what the apostles wrote we can understand what they knew about the will of God! “…how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)…” (Eph. 3:3-4). It is false to say the Bible is not understandable (2 Pet. 3:16-18). We do not need a new revelation to understand the first century revelation. We need to read and learn it. The Bible is enough.
— Via The Spirit’s Sword, November 9, 2014, Volume 17, Number 24
That Familiar Ring of Truth
The preacher’s topic: “The Conversion of Saul.” But why that topic? Aren’t most of us familiar with that? Shouldn’t the preacher choose something new and more challenging? Why preach what is familiar?
1. It confirms convictions we have formed through the years. Most of us have strong beliefs concerning what a sinner needs to do to be saved, what constitutes the pattern set by the apostles for each local church, what the Lord wants of us on a daily basis, and on many other issues. When we hear sermons confirming these convictions, it builds our confidence that we are indeed doing the Lord’s will and strengthens our hope of eternal life.
2. It conforms our teaching to the example of the apostles. Peter wrote that he was reminding his readers of certain things, that he would continue to do so, and that he would see to it that they would continue to “have a reminder of these things after my decease” (2 Peter 1:12-15). Peter knew that Christians need to hear the truth — familiar truth — again and again.
3. It builds convictions in those who are young and those who are new in the faith. There are reasons why we who have been Christians for many years are familiar with these scriptures. It is because of the preaching we have heard since our youth. Today’s young people and newer converts need this same opportunity.
4. It thrills listeners to hear again that which has brought joy to them in the past. A sports fan views a rerun of an exciting game his team has won. He knows exactly the moment when the running back scoots through the defense and scores a touchdown. He knows when that moment is near, and he can’t wait to see it again. It never gets old to him. So it is when we love the scriptures. We rejoice to hear the message. It never grows old. We anticipate certain scriptures and points that are about to be presented. We never tire of the old, old story.
Catherine Hankey said it this way:
I love to tell the story,
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest;
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long.
Our purpose is not “to tell or to hear some new thing,” as seems to be the trend. Our purpose is to preach truth. If we are bored with that message, something is wrong with us spiritually. If we need to apologize anytime we preach it, something is wrong with our audience. The ring of truth! The familiar ring of truth! Preach it, Brother! We thank God for the joy of hearing it again and again.
— Via The Beacon, June 2, 2015
John 1:1-3, 14
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him… And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (NASB).
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)