Jackson Drive Church Of Christ
Preacher: Scott Richardson
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"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13
Is the Bible Sufficient?
In the last issue of this publication we looked at the subject of Truth. It is a fact that truth is from God. God is infallible and His word is infallible. On the other hand, men are not exempt from error as God is, and we are prone to make false judgements if we do not rely solely upon God's word for our authority.
So the question is raised, does the Bible contain God's word, and if so, is it sufficient for our salvation? Most religious people would readily agree that the Bible is God's word. However, popular consensus does not make it so. Let's look at what the Bible says. The Bible is very clear about the manner in which truth has been revealed to man. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews begins with this statement. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2). As Jesus spoke to His apostles before His death He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). He continued to explain to them, “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:25-26). “...When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth...” (John 16:13). There are many other passages of scripture that we could refer to, but these will suffice to show that truth is from God and has been revealed to man through the prophets, through His Son, and through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles. Any writings produced after the apostles are not from God because Jesus in speaking to the apostles said “He will guide you into all truth.” All is defined in Webster's Dictionary as the entire thing; every one of; the total. There is no room for adding anything else, and there is no provision for taking anything away from it. It is complete. The Bible is the record that we have of this complete word of God to man. It does not contain contradictions.
Since most people believe that the Bible is God's word, why are there so many other books used as creeds in many denominations? Why are there conventions held to determine the beliefs of a denomination? Why are there books written by men, who are not apostles, who claim to have additional revelation from God? Any revelation from God would certainly not conflict with the true word of God. Since Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth, there is no need for more truth. In fact, any such claim of an additional revelation would contradict the real truth because Jesus said we have all of it. God did not make a mistake when truth was revealed. He did not forget something that needed to be added later. We have all truth in the Bible, and God, the giver of truth, cannot lie (Titus 1:2).
It is a dangerous thing to attempt to change the word of the Almighty God. The apostle Paul when writing to the Galatians said, “though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). That point is so important that he repeated it again in the next sentence. And then he asked the question, “do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be a servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:10-12).
The Pharisees of Jesus' day had a problem with applying their traditions as the commandment of God. Jesus rebuked them sharply calling them hypocrites, and quoting the prophet Esaias He said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9).
Do not allow yourself to be carried away with the doctrines of men. They are powerless to save you. Warning is given by the apostle Peter, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you” (II Peter 2:1-3a). The Bible is sufficient to save your soul. Study it for yourself, and obey God. ~D.S.
(The following article is adapted from a sermon preached by Nick Sandlin at the Jackson Drive Church of Christ around 1980 and again in 1993. The lesson is available for your hearing at the following website,http://www.jacksondrive.org/audio/Nick-Sandlin/Jackson-Drive-100393AM-Nick-Sandlin-Willingness-To-Continue.mp3 or on CD at your request. The message is still needed today.)
Willingness to ContinueOn the first Sunday in August 1966, a group of Christians met for the first time, beginning the congregation known as the Jackson Drive Church of Christ. It was the intent from the outset that the congregation be a place of true worship, to honor God, and a place where the children that were born to the families of this congregation would know the truth. Things have not always been easy and mistakes have been made. But the concern from the outset was not only during the time of the institutional problems plaguing the church, which divided many churches; but at the same time, other attitudes were developing towards being more lenient of worldly things, of moral issues and attitudes concerning those things. Some recognized that the most urgent battle to be fought among conservative Christians would be concerning morality. We have experienced since that time a moral revolution in this country, and the church has not been immune to the effects of it. In fact we have been severely affected by this movement. We still need to recognize that all issues are not settled, and moral issues are not settled in the minds of a lot of people. We need to recognize the need of our continuing to press for sound moral principles and values, and we need to recognize that the Bible teaches it.
The emphasis of this lesson is to encourage us to continue faithful, both individually and as a group of God's people. As already stated, it has not always been easy, and it will not be easy in the coming years. Some will not be here for many more years, but some will. And you need to think of what you are going to do. Are you going to recognize the moral revolution that is going on around you, and are you going to keep giving in until there is no recognition at all of the sound biblical principles along this line? Or are you going to be determined to continue, as the effort has been made through the years, even though it has not been easy?
If we look at a number of passages of scripture we can see that this is so emphasized. Jesus said in John 8:31, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed...” The opposite is true that if we fail to continue in His word we are not His disciples indeed. The word continue means to bring through to the end; to finish fully; to continue throughout, without interruption. We need to be determined to bring through to the end of our life as faithful Christians. If we are willing to continue in the word, the true gospel of Christ, then we can be His disciples indeed.
When Paul wrote to Timothy (I Tim. 4:16) he said, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” That is the only reasonable and sensible thing for us to do. Take heed to yourself and to the teaching of Christ and continue in them. Christ said “If you continue in my word then are you my disciples indeed.” Failure to follow these commandments is to lose our soul.
In James 1:25, James said, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” He had just emphasized how that a person look into a glass, see himself, and then turn and forget what manner of person he is. The perfect law of liberty is the glass that we look into, and we see ourselves as we are. We look at the Word and see if we are following it or not. We must look to the word of God and continue in it.
In Acts 14 we find that the apostle Paul had been through the cities of Lystra, Iconium and Antioch preaching the gospel and had returned “confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith” (Acts 14:22). Paul impressed upon the minds of these brethren the need to continue in the faith. He goes on to say “that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” It will not always be easy, but we must see our need to pay attention to what the scripture says and continue faithful even in tribulation.
Reference is made again in Colossians 1 of this point. In the context of this passage we need to notice what all has been done to bring about the salvation of man. We who by wicked works were alienated from God, can, by the death of Christ, be presented holy and unblamable and unreprovable in His sight. “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard...” (Col. 1:23). We need to make up our mind now that we are going to continue in the faith, grounded and settled. Otherwise we will find ourselves alienated from God once again.
Paul explained in the book of Romans that the gospel is for all, both Jews and Gentiles. But the Jews, who had been God's chosen people, were not always faithful. They did not all believe in Christ. In chapter 11 he describes unbelieving Jews as dead branches that had been broken off of the olive tree. Warning is also given to the Gentiles who believed. “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off” (Rom. 11:22). The admonition is to continue faithful. Just because we are a member of the church does not exempt us from being cut off. Continued faithfulness is required.
As Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia, he addresses the problem they were having with those who were perverting the gospel. They were trying to bind the works of the old law on the Christians. In Galatians 2 Paul gives the account of his trip to Jerusalem in which he had taken Barnabas and Titus with him. Titus was a Greek and was not compelled to be circumcised, upon going to this Jewish city, because false brethern had come in secretly trying to bring the church under the bondage of the law. Now notice what Paul says, “To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Gal. 2:5). Paul was not willing to give place to the false teachers even for an hour. Why? That the truth of the gospel might continue. That should be the ultimate aim of every member of the church.
Certainly we ought to encourage the Elders and every Christian to continue in the pure gospel of Christ. If we fail to emphasize this need it will result in a lukewarm attitude, and we will become satisfied with error. When things are done that are not right, nothing will be done or said to bring about repentance.
Brethren, there has been a revolution in our country, and we can see without question the effect and influence of it, even in the church. Everyone that understood the truth on the issues related to the organization of the church, has not been willing to abide by the strict standard of the Bible on moral principles. People are continually trying to develop ways to avoid the parts of the Bible that they do not want to live by, but to their own destruction. Either we accept the truth or we deny it. There is no room to add to it, and there is no provision to subtract from it. To do either of these things is put ourselves in the place of God. Who could be so arrogant?
The moral revolution in this country is real, and it has taken it's toll. What are we going to do about it? Are we going to give place for it, or are we going to make the effort to continue in the truth of the gospel? Determine, right now, that you are going to continue faithful to God, and live by His standard. ~Nick Sandlin
How Do We Handle Correction?
In light of the fact that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), there is an incessant need for correction so that we do not continue in sin. This correction may come from our own study of God's word, or it may come from another person who is concerned about us. In either case, the word of God should be used to show us the right way to live. Paul, in writing to Timothy, states, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16). Scripture is profitable for correction.
How do you handle correction? Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction: for whom the Lord loveth He correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Many other Proverbs convey the same idea. “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish” (Prov. 12:1). “A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent. Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.” (Prov. 15:5,10) Correction is not always pleasant, but when given from the Bible, we are wise to accept it.
Consider not the giver of the correction but the truth of the instruction given and the fact that anything from God's word is for our good. In Habakkuk 1:12 we find that the Lord had established the Chaldeans for the correction of Judah. The Chaldeans were an idolatrous people, yet God used them to correct His people. We must learn to constructively apply criticism even if it is not constructively given. Of course, if we are the giver of rebuke it must be done in love.
The scriptures are profitable to us for the salvation of our souls. If correction is needed, may we accept it unto repentance, as David accepted the rebuke of Nathan regarding his sin (II Samuel 12). ~D.S.
Thoughts to Ponder
The word of God is not hard, but our hearts may be hard.
The devil will sell you part truth till you buy the whole lie.