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It Is Written

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

DavidJohnson It is good to be together again with our listeners and to be able to share the Word of God. The lesson is entitled: It is Written and the Bible text that we allude to in this lesson is found in the gospel of Matthew chapter four verses three through 10. Let’s listen to the Word of God. “The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “Throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you and they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan. For it is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” This is the Word of God. May he add his blessing to the reading of his Word.

Regarding religion, and especially Christianity, by what authority, by what reason do we believe what we believe? It is important for us who are Christians, as it says in Scripture, to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that we have within us, the reason for the hope that we have in Christ, there reason for the hope that we have in Christianity, in heaven, in eternal life with God.

There are three basic reasons that most people give regarding what they believe concerning religion or and spiritual issues. The first reason that is usually given is a persona, subjective rationalization. For example, people will say something to this effect. It is just what I believe. It is what I think. It is what I feel is true. And what is right for me. Notice that in this thinking that it is all about me, myself, and I. It is all about what I think, what I feel. Well, could my thinking, could by feeling be wrong? To that they would answer: Possibly, but it is still what I think, what I feel which makes it right for me. It works for me.

Or a second basic reason that most people give regarding what they believe concerning religion or spiritual matters is something along these lines. My reason for my religion, my belief is based on my church or denomination and its teachings and traditions. The authority for what I believe comes from my priest or my preacher or my rabbi or my {?}, from my church, synagogue, mosque, my family heritage.

Well, suppose that you were raised or joined a cult or the church of Satan or the new age movement or, actually, for that matter, any church or any group, just because that is all you have ever belonged to, just by chance. And that alone is your accepted authority. People will often say, “I was born a… blank.” Fill in your blank. And I will die a blank, whatever it is that you were born or whatever you accepted or whatever your family heritage is.

Or the third reason that I believe what I believe and practice, the authority that I have is anchored in the Holy Bible, in Scripture. And the truth of the Scriptures has been proven by its best seller longevity over thousands of years. As the genuine and unique Word of God, it continues to change people’s lives across every continent, every culture, even every language group. It is written, so I believe and obey.

Something to think about: Individual human reason or human teachings and traditions, apart from Scripture, are strictly the thoughts, the feelings, the words of mankind. And however noble, they nevertheless originate in the mind of man which everyone would agree is imperfect, fallible and full of mistakes and error. However, Scripture alone originates in the mind of God. Scripture of the holy Bible is perfect, infallible, as is the ultimate author perfect, an infallible being without any mistakes or error, inspired, God breathed in the original autographs.

But how do we know that the Bible, the Scripture is from God? Well, the short answer is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was and is a genuine historical figure who continues after thousands of years to transform, to change people who believe and follow him. And even today, some 2000 years later many are still willing to die for his sake. Christ is unique, one of a kind. As Christians we believe and obey Christ. We should believe Scripture as the Word of God and is the ultimate, final authority for what we believe, just as Jesus Christ did. And our loyalty to Christ, therefore, requires us to also be anchored by the authority of Scripture. Jesus Christ stands with the Bible and its authority. Therefore, both Jesus Christ and the Bible are together pillars of our faith. Both stand or fall together.

This is so because Jesus Christ never contradicted or disagreed with Scripture ever. In fact, amazingly Jesus Christ even placed himself under the authority of Scripture in his own conduct, and Christ used Scripture as his authority and, therefore, as Christians, so should we.

In Matthew chapter four verses three through 10, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, repeatedly quoted Scripture. He quoted the Bible as his authority regarding spiritual truth, regarding God’s will, from the Word of God, with every temptation, with every challenge that came to him. Christ applied Scripture as his authority. Even his conduct and his beliefs. Therefore as Christians, just as Christ who is our perfect example, Scripture needs to be our final authority for our conduct, for our concerns, for our beliefs, for our doctrine, what we believe.

With each challenge three times Christ said, “It is written.” First he quoted Deuteronomy chapter eight and verse three. And again he said, “It is written,” and Christ quoted Deuteronomy chapter six and verse 16. And, lastly, “It is written,” and Christ quoted Deuteronomy chapter six and verse 13 as he was tempted by the devil.

Moreover, Scripture, as Christ’s authority for his conduct and beliefs was constant, was consistent throughout his time on earth at his first coming.

For example, all of Christ’s every day life and ministry pointed back to Scripture as his authority. In Luke chapter 24 and verse 44 is recorded there, in part, everything Jesus said, ‘everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms’. Here Christ meant all the revealed and recorded Scripture written at the time that Christ affirmed this. Likewise for us today, for our every day life and for our service and our ministries, 2 Timothy chapter three and verse 16 applies. “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Christ, even though he was the Son of God, appealed to Scripture as his authority, and this was especially so in controversial and debated matters.

For example, in correcting the religious elite of his day in Matthew chapter 22 and verse 29 Jesus said, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures.” Today similar controversies and debate arise regarding marriage and heaven and the resurrection from the dead and the afterlife and angels and the power of God and the like. And as Christ’s authority he said, about the resurrection of the dead in Matthew chapter 22 and verse 31, he said, “Have you not read what God said to you?” Affirming that God speaks to us through the Scripture, through the holy Bible, whereby Jesus in Matthew chapter 22 and verse 32 quoted from Scripture, quoted Exodus chapter three and verse six as his authoritative source.

Therefore, certainly even today Scripture is still our final authority regarding all moral and doctrinal issues. All things regarding, too, religion, the spiritual matters to the things of God. According to Christ Scripture trumps the traditions of men.

In the gospel of Mark chapter seven and verse eight we find these words. You have let go of the commandments of God and are holding on to the traditions of men and, therefore, from this Scripture, whenever we get into moral or doctrinal controversy we need to first establish that Scripture needs to be our final authority regardless of where it leads us. And, of course, share the truth in love.

During World War II a bomber aircraft named The Lady Do Good was returning home from a night bombing mission. The pilot watched his cockpit instruments to direct him home in the dark. The pilot had made this flight many times before. He knew how long the flight would take to home base. This night was different. A strong tail wind pushed the bomber aircraft faster than usual. The pilot looked at the instruments and was amazed that they indicated arrival to the base. However, the pilot refused to believe the gauges, the instruments. Instead, he trusted in his own gut feelings. He trusted in his own thought and own beliefs and continued flight through the darkness. They never made it home.   The aircraft and the crew were later discovered crashed deep within the desert far from home base.

So what is the point of this illustration? The pilot trusted his own feelings. He trusted his own gut, his own thoughts, his own past experience, his own opinion rather than the instruments. And he turned out to be dead wrong, literally.

So we have a great application here for us regarding the understanding and acceptance of spiritual matters, of moral matters, of doctrinal matters, of the things of God.

We have, as Christians, a totally reliable instrument to guide us to direct our lives, to help us to find our way in the darkness. Even, certainly, regarding debatable issues of life. Our final authority is Scripture.

In 2 Peter chapter one and verse 19 we find these words written by the apostle Peter inspired of the Holy Spirit. ‘We have the word of the prophets made more certain and you will do well to pay attention to it as to a light shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts’.

The Scriptures are our light, our wisdom given for our understanding and to share with others the truth, the ultimate truth from God regarding what we believe as Christians, regarding the hope that we have within us. As Christians we believe the Scriptures and, therefore, we also must strive to live under the authority of the Scriptures. It is not just about head knowledge, but our hearts, our hands, our lives, our entire being surrendered, submitted to the written Word of God, even as Christ did at his first coming in his humanity as God in the flesh on this earth. In every area of our lives as an example to others it is the Scriptures that are our guide, because it is written. And that includes the hope that we have and, of course, ultimately as borne again baptized believers Jesus Christ is our blessed hope. May you put your hope, may you put your faith, saving, obedient faith in him.

 

 

David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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