God’s Word = Sufficient For Life?

Man reading bible

What does the Bible have to say about life in 2015? Anything? I mean, when I look at the Bible, people are sacrificing animals, walking around in robes, and the central figure calls Himself the Son of God.

What does any of that have to do with how I drive to work on Monday morning, how I parent my children, or how I go to the grocery store?

The question that I am really getting after is this: Is the Bible sufficient for our lives today? Is it possible that a book written thousands of years ago, in a different culture, addresses our lives in 2015? Does God’s Word address my world and my problems?

Have you ever wondered if the Bible is really able to help you with your deepest problems? Have you struggled to know what to do with your Taking God at His Wordlife, and wished you had some special word from the Lord? Have you ever thought to yourself that the biblical teaching on sexuality needs updating? Have you ever wished for a more direct, more personal revelation than what you get from slowly reading through the Bible? Have you ever secretly wanted to add something to the word of God— you know, just to make things safer? Have you ever wanted to take something away to make the Bible more palatable? Have you ever assumed that the Bible doesn’t say anything about how to worship God or how to order his church? Have you ever felt like the Bible just wasn’t enough for living a faithful life in today’s world? If you can answer yes to any of these questions— and we all will at times— then you are struggling with the sufficiency of Scripture.

DeYoung, Kevin (2014-04-30). Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me (pp. 43-44). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17 ESV)

Above is the often quoted verse about God’s Word. But, Christian, do you believe this verse? Do you really believe it? Do you believe that God’s Word is breathed out by God? And not only that, do you believe His Word is profitable for your life in 2015?

God’s Word does not need us to help it out! We do not need to try to improve it by adding to it. It is, after all, GOD’S Word. We do not need to take away from it, make it more palatable, or anything of the sort. Our job is to respond to its glory and power, not attempt to improve it!  (Wow, how full of pride are we when we think it is our job to “fix” or update God’s Word.)

We can say all the right things about the Bible, and even read it regularly, but when life gets difficult, or just a bit boring, we look for new words, new revelation, and new experiences to bring us closer to God. We feel rather ho-hum about the New Testament’s description of heaven, but we are mesmerized by the accounts of school-age children who claim to have gone there and back . From magazine articles about “My Conversation with God” (see chapter 2), to best-selling books where God is depicted as giving special, private communications, we can easily operate as if the Bible were not enough. If we could only have something more than the Scriptures, then we would be really close to Jesus and know his love for us.

DeYoung, Kevin (2014-04-30). Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me (pp. 45-46). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

1.) How we go about our day is one way to help us to consider our view of the sufficiency of Scripture.

Let’s say that you are having some problems, and you are not sure where to turn.

Is your reflex to ask what does the Bible say? How might the Bible address this problem?

Or, is your reflex to ask what does this popular author say, what does my friend think, let me call my pastor, etc.  Hey, there’s nothing wrong with getting input from friends and pastors, and…. The Bible itself tells us there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors.

But, I am talking about an unintended or perhaps intended view of Scripture that subtly thinks God’s Word can’t help me on this one. I need a New York Bestselling author for this problem. Or I need the wisdom of a Piper, Sproul, or Keller. (All favorites of mine, by the way…) While these authors can be a source of help, be sure you are not using them, or others, in a way that actually diminishes the sufficiency of God’s Word. Pastors, teachers, authors, and friends can be a source directing us to grow, trust, and rely on God’s Word or, they can be replacing God’s Word.

God’s Word is sufficient. It is our authority and it is sufficient for all of life!

 2.) How we build our churches is one way we dismiss the sufficiency of God’s Word.

What are we saying with the dog and pony show in the church today? What is needed in our churches is not more entertainment, flashy worship sets, or CEO pastors. What is needed is the Word of the very living God! Paul to Timothy: Preach the Word!

How we “do” church says a lot about what we believe about God’s Word. Is it sufficient or does it need props?

3.)  The Word is sufficient for growing in Christ

God has given us all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1: 3); Scripture is enough to make us wise for salvation and holy unto the Lord (2 Tim. 3: 14– 17). If we learn to read the Bible down (into our hearts), across (the plot line of Scripture), out (to the end of the story), and up (to the glory of God in the face of Christ), we will find that every bit of the Bible is profitable for us. To affirm the sufficiency of Scripture is not to suggest that the Bible tells us everything we want to know about everything, but it does tell us everything we need to know about what matters most. Scripture does not give exhaustive information on every subject, but in every subject on which it speaks, it says only what is true. And in its truth we have enough knowledge to turn from sin, find a Savior, make good decisions, please God, and get to the root of our deepest problems.

DeYoung, Kevin (2014-04-30). Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me (pp. 54-56). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

4.)  A sufficient Savior is what matters most in 2015!

“It is finished”

Jesus Christ on the cross.

Consider the sufficiency of what Christ accomplished on the cross! Nothing more can be added to His sacrifice. No human effort adds anything to your salvation. No Bible reading, obedience, giving, serving, or any other thing adds to what Christ has done in any way at all! His death on the cross atoned for sins and the moment I try to add to that atonement, I have belittled the sufficiency of the Savior.

Thanking God today that the Word of God is sufficient!

God’s Word = Authority?

Bible

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 3:16- 4:1-4 ESV)

I love the above scripture! The Apostle Paul writes, with great conviction, as he seeks to root Timothy and us in the Word of God.

God’s Word = Authority:

1.) Because it is God’s Word

This is our foundation, we must begin here. Do you believe God’s Word IS… GOD’S Word? Paul tells us that it is a God breathed – God inspired Word. The Word is not our word. And since it is not our word, it (not us) has authority. Once we buy in to a Word that is not God’s Word, pack it in. We are done! At that moment, there is no longer a p0int in considering the Word. In an instant the Word no longer carries meaning or conviction. At that point the Word has lost its power. It is just a Word that is no more inspired than the next book on the shelf. It may contain good advice or nice suggestions for living, but it is not the Word of God. And, once it becomes anything less than God’s Word, it becomes nothing. It becomes nothing more than man’s ideas and opinions. And those are a dime a dozen folks. But, the Words of the Creator and Savior… those are Words that have worth!

So, Paul says to Timothy, Preach the Word. And thus, the Word is what we preach. Not our opinions, but the Word. We would do well, and our churches would do well to stick to the Word.

To preach the Word is to recognize the Word of God is wisdom. Submission to the Word is what joyfully does. Why? Because it is God’s Word! He is the Authority, not me and not you.

2.) Authority exists outside of us

I am so glad for this! I enjoy affirming that God’s Word is God’s Word. This rightly takes the authority out of my hands and places it where it belongs. It places it in the Sovereign, able, worthy, hands of God! I am a cruddy authority to my own soul. Why? Because, I want what I want – NOT what I need.

Paul to Timothy: teach what is sound. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth.

Is it not amazing how similar Paul and Timothy’s problems are to our problems today? Our culture does not want sound doctrine. We lust for trendy sermons filled with clichés and simple solutions to a profound problem all aimed to suit ones passions.

Personally, I do not need to hear a sermon preached to suit my passions! That is NOT what my soul needs! My soul needs my passions confronted rather than suited. The Word does not exist to suit my comforts and worldly desires. It exists for God glorifying transformation.

If my authority is what I want, then I am immediately off in a million directions. And tomorrow, I will likely have a new set of authoritative opinions of my creating. I am grateful for the Authority of God’s Word. It is not fickle, it does not change, nor does it shift with my shifting opinions or the opinions of our culture.

This means, I do not have to guess if the Word changed while I slept last night. The Word is rooted in the very nature of God. The unchanging God gave us His unchanging Word, that I / we might be changed!

Jesus came, He lived a sinless life, died on the cross for my sins, rose from the grave, and He ascended to the right hand of the Father!

HIS Authoritative Word tells me to repent of my sins and to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. I joyfully have done so. I am forgiven! Sins paid for! It is finished! Christ settled it all on the cross, and none of that will change tomorrow!

That is HIS Word, not mine. This is the settled, unchanging, and authoritative, Words of God.

3.) The Authority of God reveals God

The Authority of Scripture reveals the character of God. Revealing His faithfulness, kindness, goodness, grace, mercy, sovereignty, trustworthiness, sufficiency, wisdom, power, truth, glory, and more!

The Word reveals God. As I said above, it is God’s Word. God makes Himself known to us through His written Word.

This has implications for us as we seek to read His Word. The Word is first and foremost given to us to help us to know God.

How kind and good of God to give us His Word. Without it, I would be adrift to every passing fad of my sinful heart. The Word is an anchor to my soul.

We can open the Word and read it seeking to grow in our understanding of who God is and what He has accomplished on our behalf.

4.)  Authority informs response

Once we are convinced that the Word is God’s Word, and that it exists to make God known to us, then we are postured to respond rightly to its authority. Our responses are varied. Have you read God’s Word and responded in worship, humility, submission, conviction, repentance, faith, etc?

These and many others are the appropriate responses to the regular reading and preaching of God’s Word.

The Word of God exists to reveal God and when He is revealed, His glory is on display and we get to respond to that glory

Thank you God for your authoritative Word to us! Thank you for preserving your Word throughout history and making yourself known to us through your Word. May you grant us grace as we seek you today through the reading of your Word!

The Bible – What is it?

book store

The Bible – What is it?

  • Instruction manual?
  • Helpful tips on good living?
  • List of commandments
  • Book of good moralisms?
  • Little helps for one’s life?
  • Word of God?
  • A “prop” to support your thoughts and opinions?
  • A “shotgun” to destroy other’s thoughts and opinions?

How you answer that question is everything!

Your answer will likely determine if you will read the Bible or toss it aside.  And, if you do read the Bible, then your answer will determine how you will read the Bible.

It is one thing:

  • …..to affirm and acknowledge the Word of God (mentally), it is quite another thing to see it as ones authority and thus submit to it (functionally) in all areas of life.
  • …..to say I love Gods Word and then not submit ones life to it.
  • …..to read the Bible, memorize a scripture or two, or hear the Word preached, it is quite another thing to seek to apply that word that you have read, memorized or heard preached.

At the end of the day, we all have to ask ourselves:  “what do we believe about this book?”  Is it the very Word of God?  If so…. what does that mean in how we approach it or if we approach it.

Did you know……?

According to Jesus, it is the difference between a fool and a wise man.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

(Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)

The Bible (God’s Word) No Other Book Like It!  It is God’s Word.  How amazing is it that the Creator of the universe has given us His Word.  He is not a God in hiding.  We have His Word because He wants us to know Him.

He is a God who wants to be known!

Amazing – we can know the Almighty God!! Reading God’s Word is not a duty to be performed, it is a joy to pursue.  It is in God’s Word that we come to know God – as He is – as He makes Himself known to us on every page.

I don’t know about you… but, I don’t want a God who I conjure up.  A God who is made up in my mind and in my image.  I want to know the living God – As He is – I want to know Him. Friend, if that is the cry of your heart there is no better place to go than the Word of God.

“The evangelist or the preacher opens his mouth and utters a word, God’s Word. But the Word doesn’t sound just once. It echoes or reverberates. It reverberates through the church’s music and prayers. It reverberates through the conversations between elders and members, members and guests, older Christians and younger ones. God’s words bounce around the life of the church, like the metal ball in a pinball machine.” Jonathan Leeman Reverberation

 

6 Convictions Needed When Approaching God’s Word

Bible

God’s Word is…. well God’s Word and because it is, we would do well to read it with a set of convictions. Below are 6 of those convictions. Certainly, there are more. Feel free to comment below on convictions you have when you are sitting down to read the very Words of God.

1.) It is GOD’S Word

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

Scripture is the God breathed out Word of God.

What does that matter?

Well, if this is our conviction it will affect how we approach or even if we will approach God’s Word.

When this is our conviction we will approach God’s Word not seeking to impose my thoughts and will on it. Rather, our desire is that the Word brings to us the thoughts and will of God for our lives.

If it is God’s Words than it is my Authority! While my thoughts can tend to be shifty, God’s Word remains. It is objective and unchanging! Shifty people need an anchor for the soul!

Consider: Without this initial conviction:

What do you have?

What is the Bible?

How does your view of the Bible affect how you read it?

2.) God’s Word Is Understandable

The Word of God is not veiled. It does not need someone to come along and decipher the code! God intends us to “get it”.  He is a revealing God.  He is not a code to be cracked – He is the God who reveals Himself on every page.  Through His Word He makes known to us, who He is and what He has done for fallen man.

3.) God’s Word Is Useful

2 Timothy 3 (see above) shows us not only that the Word is God breathed, but that it is useful.

…….profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

4.) God’s Word Is Effective

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV)

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)

How effective is the Word of God!

5.) God’s Word Should Be Approached In Humility

  • Am I the authority or is He?
  • Do I Submit to God’s Word or Does the Word submit to me?
  • My life vs Gods Word – what must change?
  • Feelings vs Truth – subjective vs objective – fleeting vs never-changing

“I’ve heard the story of a man who was in Paris visiting the Louvre. He was particularly interested in seeing Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. After examining the painting for some time with a critical eye, he announced, “I don’t like it.” The guard stationed there replied, “Sir, these paintings are no longer being judged. The viewers are.” It is the same with God’s Word, which is not what is being judged. Its readers are.”

Bullmore, Mike (2011-08-02). The Gospel and Scripture: How to Read the Bible (The Gospel Coalition Booklets) (Kindle Locations 163-167). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

6.) God’s Word Is About Christ

The entire Word of God is about God redeeming fallen man. That redemption comes through God the Son, Jesus Christ. As we read the Word with Christ in view, we will see that everything prior to Jesus death anticipates Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. All that we read post Christ’s death looks back to that event. God’s Word is about…. Christ!

 

For further study check out this easy to read booklet:

The Gospel and Scripture:  How To Read The Bible By Mike Bullmore

 

Trinity (13) The Spirit

Rocks

A few weeks ago I enjoyed a coffee with my friend Sandy Robertson. He is a Pastor at New Covenant Church which is a church in the same town I pastor.  Titusville, Fl.  While we were chatting he said something I had heard many times before.  But, you know that moment when the Spirit of God quickens you and you hear something you have heard before and yet it is as if you heard for the first time.

He said:  “You know there is a reason why He is called the HOLY Spirit.”

That was it…. that simple…. and yet, so profound and true.  It grabbed my heart.  I hope it grabs yours today.

Why is the Spirit called the Holy Spirit?

1.) HOLY Spirit and HOLY Scripture

The word holy in the bible means to be set apart, consecrated, and blameless.  The Bible is a Holy Bible.  It is a “set apart” book – no other book like it on the face of the earth.  And, the Spirit is not just any spirit – He is the Holy Spirit.

You say…. ok – so what?

I am amazed at how a believer will attest to the above few sentences and turn around and knowingly and blatantly do the opposite of what scripture says and then…. pull the Spirit in the ditch with them by saying:  “I prayed about it and I feel lead this is what God (The Spirit) would have me to do.”

Nope….   The HOLY Spirit will NEVER lead you to do anything contrary to the HOLY Bible.  The Holy Spirit ALWAYS, ALWAYS leads us to do what we find in Scripture.

Christian, let’s stop this nonsense of dragging the Spirit into our UN-holy living.  Take up the Word of God, ask the Spirit of God to illuminate His Word, and follow Him.

2.)  The Holy Spirit and salvation

It is the work of the Holy Spirit, in our lives, that brings us from death to life.  See previous post:  Trinity (12).  It is the Spirit that makes us alive to the work of Christ (In His life, death, and resurrection.)

3.)  The Holy Spirit and sanctification

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV)

  • Have you come to a place of faith in Jesus Christ?
  • Do you desire to grow in Godliness?
  • Do you find yourself repenting of sin and seeking to pursue righteousness?
  • Have you ever pursued a friend for accountability to help you overcome an area of sin?
  • Have you ever had the thought:  I want to pray more or spend more time reading God’s Word?
  • Have you experienced conviction while reading Scripture, hearing the Word preached, or…….?

If you answered “yes” to these questions then Praise God and specifically Praise the Holy Spirit.  Just as the Father and Son play a specific role in your salvation and your life as a Christian, so does the Holy Spirit.

He is day by day, moment by moment, growing you in Christ Jesus.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  (Philippians 1:6 ESV) 

Christianity, Secularism, and…..Doubt

Thomas Jefferson

 

I begin this post with a simple premise:  We have the ability to explain everything away!

Thomas Jefferson and the Bible:

Thomas Jefferson had some interesting beliefs.  He believed in a God who creates, but after creating, God no longer intervenes in any way in the daily life of his creation.

Continue reading Christianity, Secularism, and…..Doubt