EVANG-01 - The Authority of the Bible
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The Scripture says “God wants all men to be saved and to a come to
a knowledge of the truth,” 1 Timothy 2:4.
Welcome to our personal evangelism lessons on the subject of
salvation. As we begin these lessons, we hope that each person will
understand that our aim and motive in discussing these things is ultimately
for all people everywhere to go to heaven. We encourage you to get your
Bible as we think about God's plan of salvation in this series of lessons.
In studying on the subject of salvation and ‘What must I do to be
saved?’ a person must begin by understanding God's authority in religion
and the all sufficiency of the Bible.
Before we actually get into the content of our personal evangelism
series, we want you to know two very important things.
First and foremost as we study the word of God together on this
wonderful subject, please know that our motive in discussing these things
with you is out of love. More than anything in all the world we want you to
go to heaven. We want you to be saved. We want one day to be in heaven
with you for all eternity.
And then friend we also want you to know this, more than anything
God wants you to be saved. He wants all men everywhere to be saved, 1
Timothy 2:4.He wants it so bad that He sent His only begotten Son into the
world that He would taste death for every man, 1 John 2:1-2 and John 3:16.
As we think today about laying a foundation for becoming a Christian
and obeying the gospel, the very first thing we've got to understand is- what
is our authority in religion? Is the Bible everything we need to build our faith
upon? As we think about this idea, let's understand the word of God, the
Bible that we have, is our authority in all matters of religion. We hope
you've got your Bible handy. We'll be putting some of the verses on the
screen for you to look at as well.
As we think about this subject of authority in religion, we begin by
asking the question: What is it what is it that the Bible says will make us
free from sin?
We direct our attention to the words of Jesus in John 8:32. Notice
what Jesus said. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will
make you free.” What makes man free from sin? The truth. If we know
God's truth, we can be free. Truth is absolutely essential to being free from
sin and really knowing that we're right with God.
As you think about that idea of the truth setting you free, we also
understand from the Scripture that truth is essential in worshiping God.
How do we worship God correctly? By worshiping in truth. Notice John
4:24. Jesus said, “God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in
spirit and in truth.” How do I worship God in such a way that it's acceptable
and pleasing to Him? I've got to worship in spirit and in truth. Notice these
two attributes of truth. The truth makes man free from Satan; the truth is
how I worship God in an acceptable way.
Naturally then we ask the most significant question related to this:
What is truth? The Bible directs us to the subject of truth in Jesus' prayer in
John 17:17. Notice what Jesus said about the truth. Jesus in praying to the
Father said these words, “Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.”
What is truth? You know that's a question Pilate asked in John 18:36 and
it's a question that a lot of people are asking today. We've already seen the
significance of it. It's the truth that makes me free- free from sin. It's the
truth by which I worship God acceptably. What is truth? Listen to Jesus
again. “Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.” We want to clearly
understand that the word of God is absolute truth on all matters related to
God and salvation and authority- in putting God first in our life.
It's so pivotal that we understand the word of God is the basis for
worshiping God correctly and for being saved. As we talk about this matter
of authority and truth, we're going to also realize that the words that our
Lord spoke, the teaching of Jesus, was from God- and it also is truth. Listen
to the words of John chapter 14. I want you to notice verses 23 and 24.
Jesus is speaking about His truth, about what He's saying, and He says
these words in John 14:23. Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone
loves me he will keep my word and my Father will love him. And we will
come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does
not keep my words,” now notice this, “and the word which you hear is not
mine but the Father who sent me.” Remembering that God's word is truth
Jesus just clearly said, ‘and oh yeah, what I tell you as well that is truth.’
And so, we hear the word of God- it's truth. What Jesus said, it's also true
and it's from God and it's necessary for salvation. In fact, did you know that
the way God speaks to us today is through the words of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ?
We might ask the question- how does God speak to men and women
today? Listen to Hebrews 1:1-2. The Bible says, “God who at various times
in various ways in the past spoke in times past to the fathers by the
prophets has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.” How does the
Bible say God is speaking to us today? Through His Son, through the
words of Jesus which Jesus himself said are the words of Almighty God. As
we think about the matter of authority and the word of God being truth
Jesus' word being truth, that's how Jesus' words are how God is speaking
to me and to you today.
Friend we also want to realize those words are authoritative. Those
words are words that every person must listen to. In John 3:35 the
Scripture clearly says that Jesus is the one who has authority over all men.
Listen to these words. John 3:35 “The Father loves the Son and has given
all things into His hand.” How many things has the Father given into the
hands of Jesus? All things, everything, is under the authority and the power
of Jesus Christ. As we think about laying the foundation for personal Bible
study, personal evangelism, we've got to understand Jesus has all
authority. And I must submit to Him. In fact, I want to direct your attention to
these words in Matthew 28:18. Jesus said this to His disciples He said “All
authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” Then He said, “Go
and make disciples of all nations.”
Now friend, let's stop and think about this for just a moment. How
much authority does Jesus have? Matthew 28:18 says ‘Jesus has all
authority.’ If Jesus has all authority, how much does that leave for me and
you or some man to create today? Well, none! Jesus has all authority in
matters of religion, and we must absolutely submit to His will. We also want
to emphasize that Jesus has authority over all flesh- meaning all people
living everywhere are under the authority of Jesus. Notice John chapter 17,
and I want you to listen to what the Scripture says in verse number two.
John 17:2 Jesus prayed to the Father and He said, “As you have given Him
authority over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as you
have given to Him.” What about people halfway across the world? What
about me and you today? What about other people in other places? Jesus
has authority over all flesh and all people everywhere, and we must to be
saved. We absolutely must understand He's the one in charge. In fact, we
realize today that it is Jesus who is the head over the church, who's in
charge of the church. You know, sometimes I hear people say ‘well in the
Catholic Church it is the Pope in Rome who is the head of the church.’ Wait
a minute now! The church of the Lord is not decapitated. It still has a head,
and Jesus is that head. Let's notice that from Scripture. I want to direct your
attention to Ephesians chapter 1, and I want you to notice what the Bible
says in verses 22 and 23. Who is the head of the church?
Look in Ephesians 1:22. The Bible says, “And He,” that is God, “put
all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the
church which is His body the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” God has
made Jesus to be head over all things to the church. If Jesus is head over
all things to the church, how much does that leave for me and you today?
Jesus is in complete control of His church.
Now friend as we think about this, does this mean that Jesus has all
authority over the church? If He's head over all things and He's head of the
church, how much authority does Jesus have over the church? All
authority. Matthew 28:18 He's got all authority in heaven and on earth and
that includes the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. As you think about this
we as we think about this idea, we want to understand that in talking about
the Bible as our authority we want to understand that on the Day of
Judgment, on the last day, on that final day when I stand before God what
is it that's going to be my judge? Listen to Jesus' words in John 12:48.
Jesus said, “He who rejects me and does not receive my word has that
which judges him,” listen, “the word that I've spoken will judge him in the
When I stand before the throne of God, when my life has been
completed, when I give an account for the things I've done in this life,
books are opened- what is going to be the standard of judgment? Is it going
to be man's opinion? Is it going to be some catechism or some book written
by men? No. Jesus said, “My words are going to judge him.” If it's the word
of Christ that's going to judge us, what's our authority today and what must
we listen to? The words of Jesus. Listen to John 6:68. Jesus had made
some hard statements. The Bible says some of the disciples walked with
him no more. He looked at the rest and said, ‘Do you want to go away
also?’ Here's what Peter said, ‘Lord to whom shall we go? You have the
words of eternal life.’
Who has the words of eternal life? Who is it that can tell us what we
need to do to go to heaven? Jesus. Friend if that's the case; if Jesus has
the words of eternal life should we go to anyone else to learn about how to
go to heaven? Should I go to parents? Should I go to a preacher? Should I
go to relatives or friends for them to tell me what they think I need to do go
to heaven? No. If Jesus has the words of eternal life, then I need to go to
Jesus and let His word teach me what I need to do to be saved.
As we lay this foundation for obeying the gospel, please understand
the Bible, God's word, and Jesus have all authority. He's the only one that I
need to listen to know what I need to do to go to heaven. How do we get
that word from God which is authoritative today? Friend we read the Bible,
and we realize that it is the Holy Spirit of God who guided the first century
apostles into all truth which we now have today. I want I want you to notice
with me John chapter 14. I want us to look in verse number 26 as we think
about God's word being given to us through the Holy Spirit by the apostles.
Listen to John 14:26. Jesus said, “But the helper the Holy Spirit whom the
Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your
remembrance all things that I said to you.” In that verse, did Jesus say the
Holy Spirit would teach the first century apostles all things and bring
everything Jesus said to their remembrance? Well, yes. He absolutely did-
thus when the apostles when the apostles taught by inspiration of the Holy
Spirit were they teaching their own words or the words of Jesus? Jesus just
said He's going to teach you all things and remind you of what I said. When
John, Paul, and when Peter wrote under inspiration, it wasn't their words. It
was the words of God, the words of the Holy Spirit. In fact, look at what the
Bible says with me in John 16:13. Listen to these words. John 16:13 Jesus
made another promise to His apostles, and it was this “However when He,
the spirit of truth, has come He will guide you into all truth. He will not
speak on His own authority but whatever He hears He will speak. And He
will tell you things to come.” Jesus said in this verse that the Holy Spirit
would guide the apostles into how much truth? ‘When He the spirit of truth
has come He'll guide you into all truth.’
The promise was made in the first century that those apostles who
took up pen under inspiration of the Holy Spirit would receive all truth. Now,
did that happen in the lifetime of the apostles? Notice with me Jude verse
three. Jude writes and he says, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write
to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to
you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith,” watch this now, “which
was once for all delivered to the saints.” Is it the case that Jude said in the
first century, in the life the apostles, they would receive all truth? Was that
faith delivered in their lifetime? Jude said it ‘was once for all delivered’ by
the close of the New Testament. God had fulfilled the promise. They would
receive all truth.
Now friend, here's the practical application of that- since the apostles
were guided into all religious truth in their lifetime, should we be expecting
some new Revelation? Should we expect to receive some new revelation
today? Friend we're basically asking, did the promise did God make the
promise they would receive all truth and was that completed? The Bible
says it was! Therefore can you have more than all? If God fulfilled that
promise, and He did according to Jude verse three, you can't have more
than all truth today in the word of God. What we want to see is God fulfilled
His promise through the Holy Spirit by the apostles. We want to notice that
that written word- what they wrote down under inspiration of the Holy Spirit-
that's our guide in religion today.
In John 20:30-31 the Bible says this “Truly many other signs Jesus
did in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book, but
these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of
the living God and that believing you might have life in His name.” Friend
that verse teaches us that the things that are written are written so that we
might believe Jesus is the Son of God and that we might have eternal life in
Why did God write the Bible? So that I can believe in Christ and go to
heaven. Did God give us a book that is able to do that? Absolutely He did!
1 John 5:13 John writes, “These things we've written to you who believe in
the name of the Son of God that you may know you have eternal life.” Why
did John write those things? Listen now, “These things are written.” Why?
“That you may know you have eternal life.” The Bible, the inspired word of
God, is written so that I can know Jesus, so that I can go to heaven, and so
that I can be confident I have eternal life. Now you think about this. If
somebody tells you this is what God says you need to do, how do you
know that person's telling you the truth? Somebody says this is what we
think our tradition or our catechism says you need to be to do to be right
with God- how do you know? You read it in the Bible, and it's the word of
God. Can you be sure? You can't be sure about these other books. I've
read other books of men, and you know those books may have some truth
to them- but how can you know what they're telling you is true?
You can know the Bible is the word of God and the inspired word of
God ought to be our only guide in religion. Listen to Romans 10:17. The
Scripture says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
Now each of us realizes faith is essential to salvation, but here's the
big question: How do you get faith? Do you get faith by my words? Do you
get faith by reading the books of men? No! “Faith comes by hearing.” And
hearing what? “By the word of God.” The only way to get real faith, faith
you can build your build your Christianity and your salvation around, is by
the word of God. It's our only guide in matters of religion.
James 1:21 says it this way. “We are to receive with meekness the
implanted word which is able to save our soul.” What's able to save my
soul and your soul? The word of God. Do you remember 1 Peter 1:23?
“Seeing that we've been born again, not by things perishable or
incorruptible, but by the word of God.” We're born again by the word of God
which lives and abides forever. We hear a lot about being born again. How
does the Bible say you're born again? We're born again by the word of
God, 1 Peter 1:23.
Friend if that's the case, should I go to any other source to learn how
to be saved? If the word of God is able to help me to be born again, if it
creates faith, do I need any other source than the Bible to know God and to
go to heaven? Not according to the Scripture. Listen to these words in 2
Timothy 3:16-17. The Scripture says “All Scripture 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.” In that passage, does the Bible
claim that it is able to thoroughly equip us for every good work? Well it
absolutely does! Listen now; if the Bible promises it can thoroughly equip
us, all Scripture can thoroughly equip us for every good work- do we need
additional revelations to be complete before God? Well no! If the Bible
makes that claim, and it is truth we've already seen that, I don't need
additional revelations to be complete before God.
Do I need the book of Mormon which was written claimed be written
by God 1800 years later? We know that that doesn't hold up to truth. But do
I need the book of Mormon if the Bible claims it's everything we need to get
to heaven? No! Do I need church traditions? Do we need manuals? Do we
need Creed Books or confessions of faith to make us complete spiritually?
Friend that verse clearly says all we need to be thoroughly or completely
equipped before God is His word. 2 Peter 1:3 puts it in a beautiful way.
“According to His divine power God has given to us all things for life and
godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.”
Friend let's ask the question based on that verse. Does that verse say God
has given to us all things pertaining to life and godliness? Well notice the
verse, and it does. God's given to us all things.
Now let's make application to that. Since God has given us all things
pertaining to life and godliness in the Bible, do I need to go to any other
source as my religious authority today? Think real carefully about this. It's
the truth that saves us. We worship God according to the truth. The Bible is
all truth, 2 Peter 1:3, it has everything we need to equip us and make us
right before God. If that's the case, then I don't need any other books. What
we're trying to really impress from the Scripture today is this book, the Bible
and the Bible only, is all we need to be right before God. If that's the case,
whatever this book says- regardless of what other books may say,
regardless of what other men may say, regardless of what family members
or some preacher somewhere may say- whatever this book says and all it
says is what I've got to do to be saved. If I can come to the realization, if
the individual can come to the realization, Jesus' words are going to judge
him, this book has all truth, this book is everything I need for life and
godliness, and this book in and of itself will completely equip me for every
good work, then friend my faith can be built on the word of God- Listen, I
can know that I'm saved because the Bible tells me I'm saved. If this book
is the word of God breathed out of the mouth of God and I do what it says,
then from the mouth of God I can know that I'm right and that I'm true in His
We ask you today to consider your own salvation. We ask you to
consider your view religious belief and religious background. Is your faith
really built on the word of God or is it built on the traditions of men?
We hope that you'll continue to study in this series of lessons
because we're going to discuss what the Bible says one has to do to be
saved and be a member of the one church.
If you've never obeyed the gospel, friend we hope that you'll continue
to study with us. Write to us, or call us. We'd love to study the word of God
with you as we think about matters concerning salvation.
Study Questions for: “Evangelism Series: Lesson 1”
1. What does God want according to 1 Timothy 2:4?
2. What makes us free according to John 8:32?
3. According to John 17:17, what is truth?
4. How must we worship according to John 4:24?
5. What does Jesus say about His words in John 14:23?
6. How does God speak to us today according to Hebrews 1:1-2?
7. According to John 17:2, who does Jesus have authority over?
8. According to Ephesians 1:22, who is the head of the church?
9. What will judge us on the last day according to John 12:48?
10. Why are the things written according to John? 20:30-31