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Part 3: We Believe the Bible Because It is the Authority

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We deeply desire that the Bible be in charge of all we believe and do at Sovereign Hope because it is the word of God.

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5

Manuscript

Your life includes all sorts of decisions and choices – all sorts of values and beliefs and opinions
            -all sorts of actions and habits and plans
            -but all of these are determined something deeper – they are all determined by a deeper root
The deeper root is the reason why you choose one thing over another
            -why you do one action and not another – why you hold one opinion and not another
            -Why do you do what you do?
This deeper issue, the deeper root is the issue of authority
            -authority is the reason you believe or choose or do one thing over another
            -it is the basis for your decisions and actions
            -you may not have ever thought about authority in those terms, but everyone follows something
            -there is some reason behind our thoughts and our actions
            -whether we know it or not, there is always some authority you are following
People can have all sorts of authorities that drive them
A parent – you do what you believe what you believe and do what you do because of the influence of your mom
                     or dad
Experts – other people with experience or education or position
            -maybe you have do to all sorts of research, checking what the experts say before you can make up your
                     mind
Maybe some philosophy of life that guides your beliefs and actions
            -maybe some political movement and political positions you have become convinced of
Maybe you are swayed a lot by culture
            -you want to fit in – don’t want to be out of step with what is popular and cool
            -so whatever our culture believes ends up shaping and directing your life
Maybe it is a few friends – you want to be accepted and included by them
            -so you believe what you believe and do what you do to please them
            -the details of your life are determined by what you think your friend will like
Maybe it is some moral system – you think it is important to do what is right – duty is important to you
            -so some system of principles and duties directs your life
Maybe it is yourself – your comfort or whatever inclination you have at any given moment
Maybe there is something you are trying to achieve or gain in life-so these goals determine your life
Maybe you think you just follow Common Sense – but common sense is just what you already believe
See everyone has some authority they follow – whether they know it or not
            -you believe what you believe and do what you do for a reason
            -something is driving and directing you
            -even if you think that you are independent, you are following something
            -that something is your authority
Every one of these authorities that I have mentioned have the exact same problem
            -the problem with every one of them is that they come from us
            -all these possible authorities are nothing more than human thoughts and speculations
            -severely limited due to our limited understanding, limited knowledge, limited vantage point
The good news is that we can follow one authority that does not have these human limitations
            -we can follow one authority that comes from God himself
            -because God has spoken and he has given us his word – he has given us the Bible
            -the Bible is the only possible authority we can ever have that does not come from us but comes from
                     God
Core Values Series – 6 weeks focusing on 6 core convictions that define us as a church
            -in one sense, we’ve kind of put the cart before the horse
            -Week 1 – We Seek God Because He is Glorious - Week 2 – We Follow Jesus Because He is the Gospel
            -but we haven’t yet focused on our authority – how do we know God is glorious and Jesus is good news
            -why do we believe what we believe and do what we do
Core Value #3 – We Believe the Bible Because It is the Authority
1. God Speaks and His Word is Powerful
Speaking and communicating is in our God’s very nature
            -imagine if God was a single, solitary, isolated figure
            -that would mean that when he existed before creation, he would be all alone
            -he wouldn’t speak or communicate because he wouldn’t have anyone to speak or communicate to
            -even if he would start to speak later, it wouldn’t really be at the core of who he is
But in the Bible, God tells us that he is not a single, solitary, isolated God
            -He is the holy and blessed Trinity – one God in 3 person – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
            -so the members of the Trinity have always been communicating amongst themselves
            -there has never been a time when God was not talking and communicating
            -it is at the very core of who he is
Then when God created, he didn’t create through labor and hard work and struggle
            -God created by merely speaking the word
Genesis 1:1-3
            -pattern continues – God says the command and it is created
            -I can’t do that – you can’t do that – no human being can do anything like this
            -but God can – God speaks and His Word is Powerful
God made himself known to people
            -he spoke with Adam and Eve
            -God spoke to Noah and to Abraham
            -God spoke to Moses
Exodus 33:11 – Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.
            -during the time of Moses, God also makes it clear that he wants his words written down
Exodus 34:27 – And the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have
                     made a covenant with you and with Israel.”
God continued to reveal himself to his people and he had them write it down
            -through the OT history – through OT wisdom and poetry
            -in fact, a lot of the OT poetry praises God and his word
Psalm 19:7-9
When the people of Israel continued to disobey God and turn from him, what did he do?
            -He kept bringing them his word – He spoke his word through the prophets
            -the prophets didn’t just pass along their own opinions and reflections
                        -they gave the word of the Lord – God commanded and they spoke – “Thus says the LORD . . .”
Then when Jesus came to the earth, he is described in an unexpected way
John 1:1, 14
            -Jesus himself is described as the Word of God
            -in fact, God tells us that he spoke to us through Jesus
Hebrews 1:1-2
When Jesus was on the earth, he spoke – he told us who God is and what he demands of us
            -he spoke and his words were powerful
            -he said the words, “Be still,” and the storms and the winds ceased
            -he said the word and the blind were healed, the lame walked, and the demon possessed were freed
            -Jesus spoke the word and the dead were brought to life
            -one instance, Jesus commanded his friend Lazarus to come out from the tomb
                        -problem was Lazarus had been dead and buried in the tomb for four days
            -but Jesus said, “Lazarus, come out” – and Lazarus came out because Jesus’ words are the word of God
                     -we can know that Jesus is God because his words have the same power as the word of God
                     -my words don’t have that power – your words don’t have that power
                        -but Jesus’ words have that power because they are the very words of God
After Jesus died, rose again, and ascended, he sent out his disciples to speak his words
            -he commanded them to preach the gospel to all of creation
            -he commanded them to make disciples and to teach them everything he commanded them
Acts 6:2, 4 – “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God. . . . We will devote ourselves to
                     prayer and the ministry of the word.”
God continued to speak to his people through their writings
Revelation 21:5 - And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he
                     said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
God has spoken and his word is powerful
            -God’s word is not just fluff that floats meaninglessly out into the air
            -God’s word accomplishes things – God speaks and it happens - God’s word is “living and active”
If you believe in Jesus Christ today, it is because of the work that God’s word has done in your life
            -God spoke the word and your heart was changed
1 Peter 1:23 – You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and
                     abiding word of God.
Romans 10:17 – So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
God’s word is still accomplishing things today
            -it is more powerful than anything else in all of creation
            -because everything else in all of creation is subject to God’s word
This is what we have in this book – we have God’s word to us
            -God’s powerful, living, and active word
            -in this book God has told us everything we need to know to know him and live in him
            -Do you see what this book is? - this book is God’s word to us
Yet how often we treat this book as if it is no big deal
            -we ignore it – we get bored with it – we think that we are too busy to spend time in it
            -we can be more captivated by TV and movies and other books and apps
            -we can become so deadened by the amusements of our culture that we become deaf to God’s word
            -we are all guilty – not one of us treasures God’s word enough
                        -not one of us treasures God’s word according to its true value
This book is the word of God
            -not a dull, lifeless, ancient book – but the living and active word of the Almighty God
I want to use one specific example to show how we can go astray
            -very popular devotional books out there – Jesus Calling
            -this series of books are very misguided on several levels
            -one fundamental flaw is that they severely diminish the Bible
            -in her introduction, the author writes, “I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I
                     yearned for more. I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day.”
“More” - more than God’s living and active word? More? As if the Bible is not enough?
            -As if the Bible is God’s failed attempt to give us what we need
            -the desire for “something more” than the Bible does not come a desire to be more spiritual
                        -because there is nothing more spiritual than the word of God
                        -the Holy Spirit of God inspired the Bible and he still works through the words of the Bible
            -the desire for “something more” comes from human hard-heartedness and pride
                        -because it looks at God’s perfect and precious word and says, “It is not enough”
            -if you want to hear what God says to you personally on a given day, read the Bible
            -the problem is that the author doesn’t just want to teach the Bible – she wants to add to it
            -thinking that the Bible is “not enough” is not a Bible problem – it is an us problem           
            -for which we need to repent to God and tell him, “Jesus, we are sorry that we have neglected your
                     precious word”
How have you responded to the treasure God has given us in his precious word?
            -What role does the Bible play in your life?
Psalm 138:2 – (a believer to God) – I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for
your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
Isaiah 66:2b – (God to his people) - “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in
                     spirit and trembles at my word.”
2. The Bible is Our Authority Because it is God’s Word
The reason that the Bible is our ultimate authority is because it is God’s word
            -it is not just based on a choice we make
                        -in the sense that there are a lot of ancient religious books and we looked through them and just
                     so happened to pick the Bible as our authority
            -the Bible is our authority because in the Bible God has spoken
            -and if God has truly spoken, that settles the issue once and for all
            -the word of God must be our ultimate authority
Since God has spoken in the Bible it is our authority by definition
            -it is not as if we have some external standard of truth by which we judge the Bible
                     -and determine that, yes, according to this standard of truth, the Bible passes the test
            -if so, this external standard of truth that we have devised is our highest authority
                        -because if that is the case, we place the external authority above the Bible
            -but there is no other standard that stands above the Bible as the Supreme Court
            -it is not as if the Bible is a defendant before another Supreme Court and just happens to win its case
            -the Bible is the Supreme Court
            -the Bible does not just conform to some outside standard of truth
                        -it is by definition the truth - it sets and determines the truth
            -we see this in Jesus, when he prays to his Father in John 17:17 says, “Your word is truth”
                        -See that?  Not “your word is true”, as if it passes some test outside of itself
                        -“Your word is truth” – it defines truth – it is the highest authority because it comes from God
Having the Bible as our ultimate authority means that we accept and submit to whatever it says
            -that whatever the Bible when it is rightly interpreted teaches, we believe and accept
Here’s where the rubber meets the road
            -at some point, there will be a conflict between you and the Bible
            -when you think one thing but the Bible teaches another
            -or when your feelings refuse to accept what the Bible clearly teaches
The temptation is to go with our thoughts and our feelings and our inclinations over God’s word
            -the fundamental temptation, ever since the Garden, has been to trust our inclinations over God’s word
This is why whenever people refuse to accept what the Bible clearly teaches, they start their explanation by             saying, “I cannot believe that God would _______” or “I could never believe that God would ______”
            -but that framing of the issue reveals that they have made themselves the highest authority
            -if we refuse to believe what the Bible says, we have placed ourselves above the Bible
            -if we pick and choose what we want to believe in the Bible and what we don’t accept, the Bible is not
                     our ultimate authority – we are
            -in that case, we trust our own speculations above God over above what God has clearly told us
            -this is a terrible act of pride – so prevalent in our day
Where there is a conflict between you and Scripture, you don’t bend Scripture to your mind
            -you bend your mind to Scripture
            -that is what Scripture as the ultimate authority means
We are living in a post-Christian culture – when the Bible is given less and less respect
            -when it is being mocked and belittled and scorned
            -when it is seen as old and irrelevant and out of date
This requires that you make a choice
                     -because if you hold to the absolute authority of the Bible, you will be mocked
            -you will not fit in – you will be seen as backwards and out of date and a bigot
            -to which we say, “Oh well”
Since God has spoken in the Bible, it is the word of God – and God’s word must be our absolute authority
            -without a doubt, God’s word will stand after every cultural whim and human folly fades away
Isaiah 40:6b-8
3. Our Desire: To Together be a Church Wholeheartedly Submitted to God’s Word
What we believe about the Bible determines everything
            -true for your life personally and true for us together as a church
The health and effectiveness of our church is directly tied to our devotion to and dependence upon God’s word
            -because God works through his word
            -God does his supernatural work of changing our lives through his word
            -this is what we need more than anything else – and God does this work through his word
We could put on all sorts of programs and maybe even entertain a lot of people without God’s word
            -but people’s lives wouldn’t be changed – our lives wouldn’t be changed
            -because God changes lives through the power of his word
            -if we neglect God’s word, we will accomplish nothing of eternal value
This is why we want to have the Bible thick throughout the church
            -we don’t just want to have the Bible as a neglected line in our Statement of Faith
            -we want the Bible heavily emphasized throughout our church – in all of our ministries
            -we want the Bible emphasized and thick wherever we gather
                        -in our Men’s and Women’s ministry – in our youth ministry and children’s ministry
                        -in our Community Groups and counseling ministry
                        -we want the Bible emphasized and thick in Grizzly Christian Fellowship
            -we want the Bible flowing through our homes and families and marriages
            -we want the Bible in charge of how we run our church and how we live out church together
            -the more that we live out the message of the Bible the better off we will be
We want the Bible prevalent and emphasized and delighted in when we gather on Sunday morning
            -we want the Bible throughout the songs we sing in our times of worship
            -we want the Bible in charge of our sermons – we want our sermons to be fully submitted to the Bible
This conviction is what guides the preaching ministry at our church
            -here at Sovereign Hope we practice what is called expository preaching
            -expository preaching is when you start with a Bible passage and lay forth what it says
            -when the point of the sermon is submitted to the point of the passage
            -expository preaching is preaching that takes the Bible seriously – that lets the Bible be in charge
Every week, we can choose to focus on the preacher’s idea’s or God’s ideas
            -what is most common in the churches in our country, is to focus on the preacher’s ideas
            -the preacher comes up with a topic, lays out his thoughts, and then uses a few verses to make his point
            -he may use the Bible, but the Bible isn’t in charge – the preacher is
            -this is rooted in pride - the preacher thinks he has something more relevant and powerful than the Bible
            -what you always want to look for is what is emphasized – God’s word or the preacher’s word
One of my deepest desirse for us as a church is that the Bible, God’s word, is in charge of our sermons
            -this is why our regular practice is to go straight through books of the Bible
            -we go straight through books of the Bible because it is the best way that we can let God set the agenda
                     for what we hear
            -rather than us coming up with topics, it lets God set our course for what we need to hear
We don’t need just human words – our deepest need is to hear from God
            -and the best way to do that is to focus on the Bible – to emphasize the words of the Bible
                        -to submit to and delight in God’s word as found in the Bible
                     -we must focus on God’s words in the Bible, because when the Bible is faithfully expounded God’s
                     voice is heard
                        -God’s voice is heard because the Bible is the word of God
Our deepest desire here at Sovereign Hope Church is to be wholeheartedly submitted to God’s word
            -our deepest desire is to be faithful to all the God has spoken
            -we want the Bible to be our ultimate authority in all that we do
            -we want to live out all that God has so graciously commanded us
            -God has spoken through this book – that changes everything
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5

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