Last week, during our staff meeting, we covered II Timothy 3, learning the differences between the believers and the unbelievers in the church based on their attitude toward the Word of God. This week, we want to focus on the authority of the Word of God. Do you sit under the authority of the Word of God? How do you know that you sit under the authority of the Word of God? Let’s see if we can find the answer from the Word of God.
I. The Word carries Christ’s authority
In the Gospel of John 1, we find that The Word which was with God and is God, became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ and dwelt among us here on this earth. We had the written Word of God long before Christ came to the earth but the thing that Jesus did was explain the Word of God to us. Did you notice that Christ is not separated from the Word of God? Why do we like to try and separate Them? What do I mean by that? There are many “Christians” who claim to follow Christ yet do not have anything to do with the Bible. Can you really have anything to do with Christ if you do not have anything to do with His Word? Why is the Word of God so important to us? In II Timothy 3:15-17, we see that the Scriptures give us the wisdom that we do not have and need so that we can have faith in Jesus Christ which leads us to salvation. Once we have received salvation, we must abide in the Word of God so that we can be reproved, corrected, and trained in righteousness. This Word is powerful and we need to be in It and It needs to be in us. This is why we must mediate on the Words of God day and night as the Psalmist says in Psalm 1. If you understand the authority and power of the Word of God then you will submit yourself to It day in and day out. If you do not come under the authority of the Word then you will become like the “evil men” mentioned in II Timothy 3. These are men in the church and claim to be followers of Christ.
Most people try to avoid prophecy because they do not understand it nor know how to study it in order to understand it. Did you know that there are over 300 Old Testament prophecies describing the first advent of Jesus Christ? According to the theory of probability, the likelihood of only 50 coming true is 1,125,000,000,000,000. Now, carry that 50 to over 300 and you can imagine what kind of number you get. I would like to take a look at what the Old Testament teaches about prophecy.
Isaiah 41:21-23 – God is mocking those who follow their false gods. His entire argument is to let them bring forth arguments that show that they can declare what is going to take place in the future. In fact, His argument is just have those “gods” do something, anything. They cannot because they are not real. He, on the other hand, has declared the future before it happened.
Isaiah 42:8-9 – The former things that God proclaimed have happened and He has proclaimed the future things and we can be sure that they will happen, just as they did before. God has made sure to proclaim things to us through His Word even before they happen. Most of Biblical prophecy has already been fulfilled. We can date the times of the writings and the time that the events took place in history and see that God declared them beforehand. There are some that still have to take place but we can be assured that God will fulfill His Word to the smallest pen stroke.
Isaiah 46:9-10 – God asks a rhetorical question. The audience does not remember the things long past because they were not around when they happened. God is the only One who is eternal. He has no beginning and no end. God actually shares the end while He is sharing the beginning. Whatever God says He will do, He always does. No one can stop Him. We can trust His Word because It has been, is, and always will be. It is the One and Only Truth. Its track record is perfect.
Do you trust in the Word of God enough to build your entire life around It? Do you trust in the Word of God to teach you whom to marry, where to work, where to live, how to live etc.? His Word is set in stone. It will not change. God has attached His Name (character) to His Word. God must fulfill His Word for His Name’s sake.
III. How God inspired His Word
The Bible was written over a 1,600 year period by about 40 different authors from 3 different continents. The writers of the Bible were from many different walks of life. Some of them were simple fishermen while others were kings. Still others were shepherds. Even though It was written over such a long period of time, by so many different kinds of men, there is a progressive line of truth all throughout Scripture pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s examine the evidence in the Word.
Hebrews 1:1-2 – Even though the Bible was written through different men, the Words written are directly from God. Now, He continues to speak to mankind through His complete Word, the Bible.
II Peter 1:20-21– None of the Bible writers wrote what they wanted to write. They wrote exactly what God led them to write, word for word. The words that we have on the pages of Holy Scripture are the direct Words of God.
Exodus 4:10-12 – God taught the people who wrote the Scriptures what to say and write. Every single letter in the Bible was directed by God.
Jeremiah 1:6-9 – God actually commands the writers of the Bible what to write. God put His Words in the mouth/pens of the writers of the Bible.
Exodus 31:18 – God actually wrote part of the Scriptures with His own hand. Whether written by God or by men moved by God, the Words in the Bible are God’s Words.
Matthew 3:17 – Not only does God move others to write His Words and write Them Himself, He also spoke them audibly for everyone to hear. There were many witnesses to this as well.
John 12:49-50 – Christ also spoke the Word of God while here on this earth.
As you can clearly see, every single Word that is in the Bible has come directly from God, either by the men moved to write, by God’s own hand, by God’s voice, and by the person of Jesus Christ. His Word is genuine and can be trusted. Not trusting the Word of God also means not trusting Jesus, the Gospel writers, Moses, and of course, God, Himself.
IV. Jesus’ view of the Word of God
Not only did Jesus speak the Word of God, He also told us how He felt about the Word of God.
Matthew 5:17-18 – Jesus did not come to do away with the Word of God. He came to live It out. You cannot say that you submit to Jesus and yet not submit to the Word of God. You cannot have one without the other.
Matthew 24:35, 37-39 – Christ used the Scriptures and examples from the Old Testament to teach the people. Jesus had a literal view of the Word of God and He taught based on the authority of the Word of God. Jesus highly valued the Scriptures. In fact, He reveals that Scripture is eternal. Heaven and earth will pass away but the Word of God will never pass away. Jesus built His life and ministry on the Word of God and we should as well.
Luke 24:25-27 – Jesus believed in every Word that was written in the Old Testament and He used the Old Testament to teach the people, showing them how the Scriptures all point to Him.
Luke 11:29-32 – Jesus took the story of Jonah literally and used it to teach people about themselves and about Himself.
Luke 17:26-27 – Jesus accepted the story of a world wide flood as God’s judgment on wicked mankind and used it to teach the people to follow Him.
How does all of this strike you? Did you think that Jesus just went around making up His own teachings and teaching His own stuff for the moment? I always thought that until I started really studying His life and His teachings. He really did teach what His Father taught Him. He used the Old Testament to teach people about themselves, about God, and about Himself. If you are a teacher, what are you teaching people, the Word of God or your own ideas about God? Do you come under the authority of Scripture the way that Jesus did or do you see yourself as the authority? May the Lord help us all to come under the authority of the Word of God, to build our lives around the Word of God, and to teach the Word of God as we make disciples of all around us.