Friday, November 13, 2009

The Word of God in 2 Tim 3:16-17

A Baptist Distinctive: The Word of God


ill) Many years ago in a play in Moscow theater, Russian actor, Alexander Rostovzev, was supposed to read 2 verses from the Matthew 5, remove his gown, and cry out, "Give me my tuxedo and top hat!" But as he read the words, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted," he began to tremble. Instead of following the script, he kept reading, ignoring the coughs, and foot-stamping of his fellow actors. Finally, recalling a verse he had learned in his childhood he prayed, "Lord, remember me when You come intoYour kingdom!" Before the curtain was lowered, Alexander trusted in Jesus Christ.[1] That is the power of the gospel!

The Word of God has come under a lot of criticism in the last 150 years. It didn’t start then but it’s gotten worse. It’s not just other religions, it’s also the atheists, agnostics, communists and secular humanists. Then those “enlightened” attitudes trickle down to the church and so-called Christians start denying the truth and power of God.

Ill) A book, Reforming Fundamentalism, says 85% of the students in one of USA's largest evangelical seminaries said they do not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. Then, a 1987 poll of 7400. ministers in the U.S.A in reveals that when asked if they believed the Scriptures are the inspired, inerrant Word of God in faith, history, and secular matters:

95% of Episcopalians said "No." 87% of Methodists said "No."
82% of Presbyterians said "No." 77% of American Lutherans said "No."
67% of American Baptists said "No." [2]
I don't know the percentage of Southern Baptists, but many of them deny the inerrancy of scripture, too.

1.What does that mean, inerrancy? Without error. Infallible, perfectly trustworthy. This isn’t a new issue. Back in 1963 (ancient church history to some folks) the Baptist Faith & Message said the Bible was the word of God without any mixture of error. That sounds like inerrancy!.The 2000 BF&M agrees. BUT, What does the BIBLE say?

2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God,

Do we need to say more? All of Scripture! Not some of it!

Is given how? By the breath of God. That’s what inspired means. Does God make mistakes? I mean has He ever? No. He is a rock his work is perfect! (Deut 32:4) His word is perfect. The word he delivered to the writers of scripture was perfect. God didn’t speak to them in King James English, or in Lutheran German, or in Catholic Latin. The writers spoke three languages primarily: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. This is the language the scriptures were written in. And let me shock you a little bit. NO Following TRANSLATION IS PERFECT. No translation of anything is perfect.

Ill) If you translated the rules of baseball into some Polynesian language some words just wouldn’t translate. So you give it your best shot. Try translating “Lamb of God’ to people who have never heard of sheep. That’s why so many preachers study Hebrew & Greek to get at the purest meaning of the words. But, another problem. The New Testament was written 2000 years ago. Old Testament as much as 6000 years. I can only guess what their life was like and what their words meant then and today.

Now this unsettles some people. “Oh no! How can we trust it if no translation is perfect?” Well, just because English versions aren’t perfect doesn’t mean they don’t get very close, they do. Most words in the Bible translate fairly easily.

Then we have the benefit of many scholarly people who study it and give us their ideas. But most importantly, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us as we study the Bible. (Read 2Pe 1:19-21).

2. If the Bible is perfect then it must have Authority. I mean we believe that God wrote it and that gives it authority but if it is really tested and true then whether someone believes in God or not, the authority of scripture still stands.

Authority doesn’t mean everything in the Bible is true, the words are completely accurate, but not necessarily every statement in the story is true. Did you know there are LIES in the Bible?

Example; Genesis 3:4; Satan told Eve, "You will not surely die." Satan lied and Eve died.

BUT, Authority does mean that everything God spoke, directly or through a prophet, is true:

2 Tim 3:16 also says it ‘is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:’

Doctrine is the truths of God. Reproof tells us what we are doing wrong. Correction tells us how to do things right. And Instruction in Righteousness is God telling us how to do it right the next time.

There is a right and wrong. There is black and white. The scriptures can rebuke us and correct us and teach us.

Psa 25:8, Good and upright is the Lord therefore will He teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment, the meek will He teach His ways.

Somebody once said, the reason many people don’t believe the Bible is not because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them! Or, to paraphrase a Seminary professor, rather than deconstruct the Bible, let the Bible deconstruct you!

The Bible, being the perfect word of God has the authority to tell us how to believe and how to behave. It will instruct us if we let it.

Ill) In the year A.D. 303, the Emperor Diocletian issued a decree to extinguish the spreading flames of Christianity. His primary objective was destroy all the bibles. When officials enforced the decree in North Africa, Felix the Bishop of Tibjuca, was ordered to hand over his Scriptures. Some judges were willing to accept scraps of parchment, but Felix refused to surrender one scrap of the Word of God to Caesar. He resisted compromise. He was finally shipped to Rome where he paid for his stubbornness with his life. On August 30, as the record puts it, "with pious obstinacy," he laid down his life rather than surrender his Bible. WHY? Because the Bible has more authority than the State. More than kings, presidents, or Emperors.[3]

3.Then 2 Tim 3:17 says: That the man of God may be perfect (or mature), thoroughly furnished unto all good works. There’s the Inerrancy, the Authority and then there is the Power of Scripture.

Remember last week when I said that the famous Evangelist Charles Finney, didn’t believe that Salvation was a miracle. Listen, it’s the greatest miracle of all! It takes Divine power to do that. Anybody can say, "Yes, I’d rather go to Heaven than Hell." Or, I’d rather be good than bad. That’s not salvation.

Salvation is the radical change I n a person’s spirit. They pass from spiritual death to life! Their spiritual eyes are opened and they begin –FOR THE FIRST TIME- to understand spiritual things.

Last week we read Rom 1:16; The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the POWER of God for salvation! Why does it take the power of God? Because, the natural man doesn’t understand the things of the Spirit.


1Co 2:14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Then, 1Ti 4:16 Take heed to thyself, and unto doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

And, Psa 119:97 Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. 98 Thy commandments make me wiser than mine enemies…

The Bible is not to be read one time and laid aside. Listen to these verses:

1Ti 4:13 give attendance to reading,exhortation, & to doctrine.

2Ti 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words,

2Ti 2:2 the things thou hast heard … commit to faithful men

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, …

2Ti 3:14 But continue in the things which thou hast learned …

15 that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures

2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; … reprove, rebuke, exhort

It’s not our job to save souls. We can’t, none of us have the power to save souls. Only the word of God can defeat the enemy! I’ve heard folks say, “back in 1953 brother Joe saved me.” Well unless he pulled you out of the river when you were drowning, he didn’t save you, Jesus did! And He did it with the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Spurgeon said, I believe God can save anyone anywhere at anytime, it just so happens he does it where the gospel is being preached!

Our job is to deliver the gospel. God’s word will do the rest! It will not return void or empty handed. That doesn’t mean it will always save the one you hope it will. But it will leave them without excuse in the Day of Judgment. They will always know they heard the gospel. They may complain someday they didn’t understand what was at stake. (But the Apostle addresses that in Rom 9:20…(read 20-24))**

I’m glad to say that Southern Baptists are known as those who stopped the growing theological liberalism in their ranks and turned it around back in 1980. But we must be vigilant not to water down the Bible. It IS our only hope of salvation.


**Rom 9:20 No, but, O man, who are you who replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him who formed it, Why have you made me this way? 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel to honor and another to dishonor? 22 What if God, willing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which He had before prepared to glory; 24 whom He also called, not only us, of Jews, but also of the nations? 25 As He also says in Hosea, "I will call those not My people, My people; and those not beloved, Beloved." 26 And it shall be, in the place where it was said to them. "You are not My people; there they shall be called sons of the living God."

[1] J.K. Johnston, Why Christians Sin, Discovery House, 1992, p. 121.

[2] The Gideon, January, 1994, pp. 12-13. Book by George Marsden; poll by sociologist Jeffery Hadden

[3] Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 41.

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