"ISSUES OF DISTINCTION" The All-Sufficiency Of The Scriptures INTRODUCTION 1. In previous lessons we have briefly considered three "Issues Of Distinction": a. The Existence Of God - which differentiates between... 1) Atheists and agnostics on the one hand 2) Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Moslems, Christians, etc., on the other hand b. The Identity Of God - which distinguishes between... 1) Buddhists, Hindus, etc. 2) Jews, Moslems, Christians, etc. c. The Identity of Jesus Of Nazareth - over which there is a difference between... 1) Jews, Moslems, etc. 2) Christians 2. It would be wonderful if all who accepted Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of God" were one... a. Jesus prayed for such unity - Jn 17:20-21 b. Paul commanded that we be one - 1Co 1:10-13 3. The main reason why there is not unity pertains to another "issue of distinction"... a. That issue is "The All-Sufficiency Of The Scriptures" 1) Are the Scriptures sufficient by themselves to lead us unto salvation? 2) Or do we need other sources of authority for what we do in matters of religion? b. One's position on this issue will greatly affect his or her religious beliefs and practices! [To illustrate why this is true, allow me to demonstrate how...] I. MANY DENY THE ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF THE SCRIPTURES A. SUCH AS ROMAN CATHOLICS, GREEK ORTHODOX, ETC. 1. Who accept in ADDITION to the Bible... a. Traditions of the church which have arisen over the years b. Papal or ecclesiastical decrees 2. Allowing such "traditions" or "decrees" to take precedence over the Scriptures a. E.g., using "Father" as a religious title, though Jesus forbid it - Mt 23:9 b. E.g., requiring celibacy for bishops, though Paul taught otherwise - 1Ti 3:1-2 B. SUCH AS MORMONS, JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, PENTECOSTALS, ETC. 1. Who accept in ADDITION to the Bible... a. Latter-day prophets b. Modern-day revelations 2. Who allow their "revelations" to take precedence over the Scriptures a. E.g., the Mormons' concept of God having a body of flesh - cf. Jn 4:24; Lk 24:39 b. E.g., the Witnesses' denial of the bodily resurrection of Jesus - cf. Lk 24:39-40; Jn 2:19-22 c. E.g., Pentecostals allowing women preachers - cf. 1Co 14: 34-37; 1Ti 2:11-12 [When people reject "the all-sufficiency of the Scriptures", appealing to other sources for their authority in religion, division is the natural outcome. The first step towards unity is to recognize the need for the same standard of authority, which ought to be the Scriptures alone! But are the Scriptures alone an all-sufficient guide? Consider...] II. THE ARGUMENT FOR THE ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF THE SCRIPTURES A. THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD HAS BEEN PROCLAIMED... 1. In his address to the Ephesian elders... a. Paul said he had proclaimed "the whole counsel of God"
- Ac 20:27 b. He had held nothing back - Ac 20:20 2. In leaving them, he entrusted them to the Word of God
- Ac 20:32 a. Which was sufficient to "build you up" b. Which was sufficient to "give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified" -- Note: Paul did not leave them to "revelations" yet to come, but to the Word of God which was sufficient to save them! B. WE HAVE ALL THINGS PERTAINING TO LIFE AND GODLINESS... 1. Peter wrote how God has given us all things necessary for spiritual life and godly living - 2Pe 1:3 2. Note well... a. He had not given "some" things, but "all" things b. He had not given "some" things now, with "more" things to come later -- Whatever I need for "life and godliness", I know it has been revealed in God's Word! C. THE FAITH HAS BEEN REVEALED ONCE FOR ALL... 1. Jude wrote of "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" - Jude 3 2. In the Greek, "once for all" is "one time for all time" a. I.e., the faith (that body of knowledge we are to believe) was delivered one time for all time b. The faith wasn't partly revealed, with more to come through later revelations years later! c. The faith wasn't revealed just for that generation, with a different faith to be revealed for a generation yet future! -- Therefore the task we have is "to contend earnestly for the faith", not be looking for a new faith to fit our desires or expectations! D. THE SCRIPTURES CAN MAKE US COMPLETE, EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK 1. Paul wrote to Timothy of the value of the Scriptures
- 2 Ti 3:14-17 a. Inspired of God, it is profitable for: 1) Doctrine 2) Reproof 3) Correction 4) Instruction in righteousness b. It is capable of making a person "complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" 1) Not partial, but complete! 2) Not some good works, but every good work! -- What tradition, decree of man, or modern day revelation do any more than the inspired Word of God? 2. When I turn to the Scriptures, I find that I have all I need to... a. Believe in Jesus - Jn 20:30-31 b. Have life in His name - Jn 20:30-31 c. Have fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the apostles - 1Jn 1:3 d. Have joy that is full - 1Jn 1:4 e. Have help when I sin - 1Jn 2:1 f. Know that I have eternal life - 1Jn 5:13 g. Understand the revelation of the mystery of God - Ro 16: 25-26; Ep 3:3-4 h. Be fruitful in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom - 2Pe 1: 8-11 -- What else must one know or have? CONCLUSION 1. There will always be a distinction related to "The All-Sufficiency Of The Scriptures" 2. The distinction becomes apparent as one considers the doctrines and practices of any religious group... a. Those who accept it are more apt to be like the church you read about in the Bible b. Those who deny it will quickly evolve into something much different 3. I hope I have given you reasons to place your faith in the Word of God, and it alone! a. The whole counsel of God has been proclaimed! b. We have all things pertaining to life and godliness! c. The faith has been revealed once and for all! d. The Scriptures can make us complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work! And so in the words of the apostle Paul... "...I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." (Acts 20:32)