Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pentecost 22: Use Scripture Authoritatively for its Intended Purpose

Today, we look at one of the primary places in Scripture, where Scripture talks about itself.  What does the Bible say about the Bible?  We Christians say many things about the Bible and believe many things of the Bible, but what does the Bible say about itself?

Paul writes to Timothy and he says:

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

I think there are 2 important things to lift here:  Firstly, let’s be reading and teaching the Bible to children from their infancy.  Why? ......because they are “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Here we have the Bible telling us what it is good for, what it can do......namely it can teach us everything we need to know in order to be saved.  You want to know about the Bible.  Many of you are preparing for year-end exams.  The Bible will not tell you everything you need to know about history, geography, science, biology, etc.  It is not and makes absolutely no claim to be a science book, or a maths book, or a history book.
It claims to be a salvation book and no other book on the planet gives us salvation by faith information......NO other book.

Paul goes on:

All Scripture is God-breathed

We sometimes take that to mean only that God “breathed into”......”inspired”......the writers of the Bible.  But no......all scripture is God-breathed, not was God-breathed/inspired.  This means that our God, by His Spirit, inspires, breathes into the readers of the Word as much as He breathed into/inspired the writers of the Word.

Isn’t that exciting......when we read the Bible, God has an opportunity to inspire us, to breathe life into us.
Please read your Bible.

The Word goes on:

and is useful 

Useful for what?

for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 

Useful (not indispensable) for

Teaching me which way is right.
Rebuking me where I am wrong / off-track.
Correcting me by showing m how to get back on track
and Instructing me about staying on the road of righteousness.

We all need teaching, rebuking, correcting and instructing......we often don’t like to be rebuked or corrected.......but we need to be sometimes.  This book is useful for these things......Please, read your Bible.......Why?......

so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Isn’t that interesting? ...... Do all the your Bible......not so that you can get to Heaven.......not so that you can be holy......not so that you can be a better that you can be thoroughly equipped for good works.
God, He demands......good works from his saved people.

He doesn’t save us so that we can go to Heaven, He saves us so that Heaven can come to us and through us to others as we do good works for the least among us.  This is not a new idea......previously, scripture has taught us:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…….we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Why are you do good works.

This is not and never has been a popular message, so Paul goes on and gives Timothy / you / me a strongly-worded comment:

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; 

Preach the Word friends: and as Augustine said, “only use words when necessary”.......preach the word by your your homes.......your the streets of Alberton.......preach the saving word of Christ in the way we live / behave / act towards the world around us and

be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 

Earlier, Paul has said that the Bible teaches, rebukes, corrects and encourages he says that Bible readers have authority to correct, rebuke and encourage.

The Bible teaches us to do what the Bible does.......because:

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 

That time has come, hasn’t it?

I think Paul knew it would come in Timothy’s time, so he says to Timothy and to you and to me

But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

“Keep your head” .......there is no room for hotheads in the Kingdom of God.......sometimes things don’t go our way.......”endure hardship” .......the Word of God as He inspires us can sometimes lead to great hardship.......ask Jesus.......ask Paul.......ask Moses.......Jeremiah.......Job.......all these and many more found that the Word of God sometimes gets them into a lot of trouble, but they never stopped believing that:

Let us not your Bible.

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