CHURCH-07 - The Church's Emphasis on the Bible
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CHURCH OF CHRIST
The apostle Paul asked a great question in Romans 4:3, “For what does the Scripture
We want to emphasize that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the church we
read about in the Bible, is unique because of its emphasis solely upon the Scriptures
and the authority of the Bible. What makes the Church stand out today? Why is it so
unique in a world filled with so much subjective thinking? The Lord's church, the New
Testament Christians place their emphasis on the word of God and the Bible as the final
source of revelation and the answer to all religious questions. The church of Christ is
unique with its emphasis upon the Bible because we believe the Bible is God's inspired
word. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 the Bible says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
What do members of the church of Christ believe about this Book? It is inspired
of God. That word inspired literally means God exhaled. When God opened His mouth
and on that breath that came out of His mouth were the very words that we have in the
Bible. This is not opinion of men and this is not what happened after the apostles or
Jesus took a poll and found out what was popular. These are the very words of God.
Think about the process of inspiration for just a moment, 2 Peter 1:20-21 says, “Holy
men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” Did God use human
instruments like John, Paul, Mark, Luke, or Matthew? Absolutely, but when these men
sat down with pen and paper to write the New Testament, they were guided and moved
by the Holy Spirit. He was the overseeing force; the end product was the very word from
heaven. In 1 Corinthians 14:37 Paul said, “If any man thinks himself be a prophet or
spiritual, let him acknowledge the things that I write to you, these are the
commandments of God.” Sometimes people talk about Paul, and say Paul had some
ideas that came from his culture in the first century. Those weren't Paul's ideas; those
are the commandments of Almighty God inspired in the Bible. In fact, Paul would say,
“These things we speak, not in words which human wisdom speaks but which the Holy
Spirit speaks, or inspires,” 1 Corinthians 2:13.
The Bible is full and complete and has everything we need to go to Heaven. In 2
Peter 1:3, the Bible says, “According to his divine power as God has given to us all
things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by
glory and virtue.” God gave man everything he needs to live the best life and to go to
heaven and that's found in God’s inspired word. Jesus made the promise in John 16:13.
Jesus said, to His immediate disciples many of whom will become the apostles, He
said, “And He, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth.”
Jesus said that you won't have to speak on your own authority, you won't have to
wonder about these things, He'll remind you of what was said, He will teach you knew
things, and He will be the force of inspiration that guides you in what you say and do.
That's encouraging to Christians, when we read the New Testament we're not reading
men's ideas, we're reading the Holy Spirit of God's word, given to mankind.
As we place the emphasis on the Bible, in the Lord's church we’re talking about
verbal inspiration. God did not inspire the Bible in pictures or movies or it's not just a
thought meant for you to take and do what you want with. God put it plainly in the words
so that it could be understood. 2 Samuel 23:2, David said, “His word was on my
tongue.” These things we speak in words which the Holy Spirit speaks or inspires. God
didn't inspire a thought, God inspired the very words, and those words are cut and dry,
black and white. They're meant to be read and understood and in the language we have
one can do exactly that.
Let's also realize that that means as the Lord's church we look at the Bible we
realize this is infallible. This is not a book of errors, this is not a book of questions, this is
God's final revelation and it is complete truth. John 17:17, in praying to the Father,
Jesus said, “Sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth.” How wonderful it is to
know we have the perfect law of liberty, James 1:25. Without error, I don't have to
wonder if is this really true, when I read the Bible; when I obey the Bible, when I live
according to its teaching, when I grow closer to God through it, I can know this is exactly
what God wants me to do.
What makes the Lord's church stand out as unique? Its emphasis on Bible
inspiration makes it unique in that we simply want to do what God says in His book and
in His word. We think about Bible inspiration and our need to follow God's word. What
also makes the Lord's church unique is its emphasis not just on Bible inspiration, but its
emphasis on Bible authority. In everything we say or do, we're going to let God's word
have the final say regardless of our own feelings, regardless of the feelings of society,
or whatever it may be. God's word gets the final say in the Lord's church.
Throughout the Bible, the Scriptures teach us that everything we do must be by
God's authority. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do in word or in deed do all in
the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Now notice
the all-inclusive nature. Whatever you do, what does Paul mean by that? In word or in
deed, do all in the name of, sometimes people use this terminology, in the name of, it
carries the connotation that you can go out and do what you want to do it as long as you
say in Jesus’ name that makes it okay. That's not good hermeneutics, nor is that a
correct understanding what Paul and other New Testament writers emphasized. What
does it mean to do something in the name of? Acts 4:7, the Jewish leaders asked Peter
and John, “By what power or by what name authority have you done these things?” To
do something in the name of means that you have their approval, you have their
authority. And so as Christians, we must do everything by the authority of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ.
Let's define that idea of Bible authority just a little further. As Christians we are
taught not to add to or take away from the word of God, Revelation 22:18-19. This
warning is placed before us, God says if we add to His word, He'll add to us the plagues
found in the Book. If we take away, our name will be taken out of the Book of Life. How
serious is it that we don't put our thoughts or ideas into or that we don't try to take out
something God put in. It's very serious, our names can be taken out of the Book of Life
and the woes and the condemnations found in the Bible can be added to us if we do
that. Proverbs 30:6, “Do not add to His word, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a
liar.” When we talk about the emphasis upon Bible authority, if there a passage that
sums that up, it’s 1 Corinthians 4:6. Paul said that he had transferred some things to
himself and Apollos for their sake, he used himself and Apollos to teach a lesson. He
said, “Here’s the lesson that you may learn in us, not to think beyond what's written.”
Where is the boundary, where is the line that I need to stay within? Don’t think beyond
what's written. How clear, how plain, how refreshing that ought to be for every child of
God. If it's not in this book, don’t even going to consider it. If it's in the pages of this
Book, that's what we're going to do. I'm not going to let my thinking about Bible matters,
about salvation, about the church, about what God expects of me to vary beyond the
bounds of this Book. Don't think beyond what's written.
Human tradition has no place in this realm. Jesus said in Matthew 15:3-9, “Well
did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people honor Me with the lips, they draw
near to me with her mouth, but their heart is far from Me, why in vain do they worship
me teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.’” What about all these
commandments men may place, what about human tradition that becomes doctrine?
Jesus said that's not the way it should be. Jesus clearly taught that was hypocrisy that
was a pseudo-drawing near to Christ that will not make the Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ happy. We want to emphasize in the Lord's church, that the Bible is inspired, that
it is our sole authority, and that we absolutely must do what God said.
How do we try to put an emphasis on the Bible in the Lord's church? We want to
put the emphasis again on letting the Bible give us the answer. For example, we want
the Bible emphasis in the Lord's church to simply be on God and His love. Think about
just how much God loves you and God loves me. Here's a powerful emphasis of the
Bible, “God so loved the world He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes
in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What's the emphasis of the Bible?
God desperately wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, 1
Timothy 2:4. While we were still without strength in due time, Christ died for the
ungodly, for scarcely, for a righteous man one might die; yet perhaps for a good man
someone might dare to die. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that,
while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Behold what manner of love the Father
has showered upon us, bestowed upon us that we can be called children of God. Let's
let the emphasis of God's book be the emphasis of the Lord's church today.
We want men and women to see, to hear, and to know about the God who loves
them desperately; who wants them to be saved. One of my favorite verses is found in 2
Corinthians 8:9, the Scripture records this, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ, though he was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that we through His
poverty might be made rich.” How much did Jesus Christ love mankind? He left heaven,
came to this earth, didn't even have a place to call his own, didn't even have a place to
lay his head, lived as a pauper, he gave all that up, died, suffered, was crucified so that
one day I could share in the beauty and splendor of heaven. 1 Peter 2:24 says it this
way, “He himself bore our sins in his own body upon the tree, that we having died to sin,
might live for righteousness-by whose stripes we are healed.”
An emphasis that we want to find in the Lord's church today in the Bible there is
indeed an emphasis on forgiveness. There's no doubt there's an emphasis on sin. Sin's
the bad news. The Bible says, “All have sinned,” me and you, “all have sinned and
fallen short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. Scripture records, “There is none
righteous, no not one,” Romans 3:10, and “Because of sin the wages of that sin is
death,” Romans 6:23. And sin will separate man from God eternally, Isaiah 59:1-2 and
Here's the emphasis that we find with the love and the message in the hope
through the sacrifice of Christ. The emphasis of the Bible is forgiveness. God wants all
men to be forgiven of their sins and to have the hope and the joy of living with him
forever. Jesus illustrated forgiveness in one of the greatest scenes, Matthew 26, as
Jesus is preparing to institute, teach his disciples about the upcoming event of the
Lord's Supper. He says this as He passes around the fruit of the vine, He says, “This is
My blood, of the new covenant shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.” “You will call
His name Jesus; He will save His people from their sins,” Matthew 1:18-19. God said, in
Hebrew 8:13 “I'll be merciful,” Hebrews 8:12-13, “I'll be merciful to their sins and their
lawless deeds, I'll remember no more.” What a wonderful emphasis God places on the
forgiveness of mankind. “I can be washed in the blood of the Lamb,” Revelation 1:4-5.
“Though your sins be as scarlet, I'll make them white as snow,” Isaiah 1:18. God will
cast all our sins into the depths of the sea, Micah 7:18-19. We hear that wonderful
proclamation when the gospel is preached, when men and women on Pentecost hear
the message of Jesus, they accept that they're told to repent and be baptized, and listen
to this, for the forgiveness or remission of sins. The God of heaven, the emphasis is the
God of heaven longingly desires for people to obey His will and be forgiven of sin.
We want to especially emphasize in the Lord's church today that's an emphasis
upon faithfulness. Christianity is not just a name or title you wear, Christianity is not
something you do on Sunday. Christian living is something you must do every day of
your life. Luke 9:23, Jesus said, “If any man desires to come after me let him deny
himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Romans 12:1-2 Paul said, “I beg
you by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice.” Paul said,
“I've been crucified with Christ,” Romans 12:1-2 and Galatians 2:20. To sum it up, in
Revelation 2:10, Jesus said, “Be faithful until death.” God wants and expects and
deserves our faithfulness to the very last breath that we take.
The Bible also places an emphasis upon baptism. What did Jesus teach in the
New Testament concerning baptism for His church? The Scriptures are not silent on this
matter, there aren't just a few scant passages here and there; the New Testament
clearly teaches baptism is essential to salvation. Baptism is how one gets into Christ
and baptism is how we're added to the Lord's church. Is baptism something I must do to
be saved? Jesus said, “He that believes and is baptized will be saved, he that does not
believe shall be condemned.” Did Jesus say you’ve got to believe and be baptized to be
saved? He absolutely did, Mark 16:16. Jesus said in John 3:5, “Unless a man is born of
water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Did Jesus say you’ve got to
be born of water to get into God's kingdom which will ultimately be those in heaven? He
absolutely did, but what else do we find about baptism in the New Testament? Acts
2:38, the Scriptures teach us that to be forgiven of sin one must be baptized. When they
cried out, “Men and brethren what shall we do?” We realize the blood of the Messiah is
on our hands, it was for our sins He died. What do we need to do to get right with God?
Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the
forgiveness of sins.
For example, Saul of Tarsus had the blood of Christians, no doubt, on his
hands. He had likely taken some of those to jail, stood there at the stoning of Stephen.
When Saul is presented with Jesus on the road to Damascus, “Lord what would you
have me to do?” You go to the city, and I'll tell you what to do. Ananias comes to him
and that account is told to us in Acts 22:16, Ananias walks in and says to Saul, “Arise
and be baptized and wash away your sins calling on the name the Lord.” Are sins
washed away at the point of baptism? There's no doubt they are. Romans 6:1-4 teaches
us we contact the death, the sacrifice, and the blood of Jesus in the watery grave of
baptism. Our emphasis in the Lord's church must be upon the fact that baptism is
indeed essential to salvation; in that we must we absolutely must teach that as God's
truth in the Lord's church.
We need to place the emphasis were God places it on singing. You may go to
various places throughout our country, even throughout your own town and find that
there'll be a host of different people using music in a host of different ways all claiming
to praise God. What does the Bible say about singing? In the New Testament, which is
our guide to follow, what does God tell us about singing? Here's what He said,
“Whatever you do in word or deed, we're to do all in the authority by the name of Jesus
Christ.” And right before that He said, “Singing to one another in Psalms, hymns, and
spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart unto the Lord,” Ephesians 5:19
and Colossians 3:16. Nowhere in the New Testament do we find Christians authorized
to use mechanical instruments, we're told to sing were told to make melody in the heart.
Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn and they went out Matthew 26:30.
Here's what the emphasis is upon, we want this book to be the guide. We want
God's people everywhere, the Lord's church everywhere, to place this book as the sole
authority, as the inspired word of God, and as the answer to every religious question.
We ask you today have you submitted your life to the teaching of this book. Have you
obeyed the gospel of Christ, are you a New Testament Christian? Have you heard the
message about Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus truly is Savior of the world, John
8:24? Would you be willing to change your life Luke 13:3, confess His name before men
Matthew 10:32-33? And then would you be immersed in water for the forgiveness of
sins, and be faithful until death Acts 2:38? Romans 6:4, we encourage you today obey
the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Study Questions for: “The Church of Christ: Emphasis on the Bible”
1. According to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, where does the scripture come from?
2. In 2 Peter 1:20-21, what were the men moved by?
3. What will He guide us into according to John 16:13?
4. How should we go about doing things according to Colossians 3:17?
5. In Matthew 15: 3-9, how where the people honoring him?
6. According to 2 Corinthians 8:9, why did Christ become poor?
7. Who has sinned according to Romans 3:23?
8. According to Hebrews 8:13, what will God be?
9. According to Isaiah 1:18, He will make your sins what?
10. What must man do to enter the kingdom of God according to Mark 16:16?