(If you would like to receive Pastor Harris’ weekly sermons via e-mail, Click Here)
(If you would like to download the PowerPoint presentation for this sermon, Click Here – Sola Scriptura)
Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
October 15, 2017
Our Reformation Heritage
Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone
At the end of this month we reach the 500th anniversary of the event that is generally considered the beginning of the Reformation. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, the son of a German smelter who had become a priest and then a professor at the University of Wittenberg, Germany, took action about an issue that had become an increasing concern of his. Indulgences were being sold in his area to finance the building of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. An indulgence was the practice of offering the forgiveness of sins for the payment of money. Luther had become agitated about the abuse of the practice and decided to deal with the issue in the usual way of a learned academic. He wrote a disputation and invited a public discussion about the issue at the well attended All Saints Day feast the next day. He posted a notice written in Latin entitled, Disputation Of Dr. Martin Luther Concerning Penitence And Indulgences. It contained 95 theses or points that were to be discussed. The document did not condemn indulgences, but only the manner in which it was being practiced. It even defended the Pope believing he would also condemn those practices. It did not contain any of the great doctrines that would arise later, though the seeds of those ideas were present. No one accepted the challenge and no discussion took place the next day. However, the document was copied, translated, printed and distributed throughout Germany and Europe in only a few weeks. This event kicked off what would become the Reformation.
Over the next five or six weeks we are going to focus our attention on the key people and doctrines of the Reformation. We will be having special evening services in which we will learn about the lives of John Wycliffe, Jon Hus, Martin Luther, John Calvin, William Tyndale and John Knox along with some of their contemporaries. In the morning we will focus on the five fundamental Biblical doctrines that were regained during this period. These doctrines are crucial to being a Biblical Christian, yet many who profess to be Christians are ignorant of them and others attack them with their non-Biblical traditions and philosophies. They are Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Christus and Soli Deo Gloria – Scripture Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone and the Glory of God Alone. This morning we begin with Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone.
By the time of Martin Luther, Christianity had split into two major groups, the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, with many factions within them and other groups outside of them. Each had developed their own traditions and along with them doctrines to enforce those traditions and protect the power of its leaders. As a Roman Catholic priest, Martin Luther had been well trained in its traditions including an allegorical approach to the scriptures that had removed them from their historical settings and meaning. Interpretation was then reserved to the church. In addition, the Scriptures themselves were limited to the Vulgate, the Latin translation first done by Jerome at the end of the 4th century, which most German common people could not read, even if they could some how get a copy, or understand when it was read aloud.
Luther had been a very troubled monk because he did not have peace and was terrified of his standing before the God that created him even though he was diligent to do all the things his order directed. He came to know the Bible so well that his fellow Augustinian eremite cloister of friars in Erfurt nicknamed him “Biblicus.” His allegorical framework for interpreting the Scriptures blocked him from understanding them. His agitation was only increased after a trip to Rome and observing the religious abuse of pilgrims desperate to find a way to have their sins absolved, and the obvious drunkenness, immorality and greed of many of the higher officials in the Roman Catholic Church.
The reformation in Luther began 1516-1517 as he turned away from mystical interpretation and developed a literary approach to the Scriptures that helped him distinguish between law, God’s expectations for human behavior, and gospel, God’s communication of His love and the life changing benefits of forgiveness and salvation. Underlying this was his developing belief that God is present in His communication to man in the Scriptures and that He is a God of history so that history becomes the framework for understanding what He has communicated in the Scriptures. Very helpful to this was the publication of Erasmus’s Greek New Testament in 1516 and the arrival of Philip Melanchthon in Wittenberg as the instructor of Greek in 1518. Luther turned increasingly from the Vulgate to the original languages to understand the Scriptures.
In 1518 Luther was examined in Augsburg, Germany for his controversial views. It was Luther’s desire that the issues he had raised would lead to the Roman Catholic Church correcting itself. He initially thought the Pope would be an ally in this, but by 1520 Pope Leo X issued a bull against Luther, which Luther burned along with canon law and other items. Luther had shifted his source of authority from the Roman Catholic Church to the Scriptures. This was confirmed without a doubt in 1521 when Luther stood before Emperor Charles V and the Diet at Worms, Germany. What he thought was to be a debate about his views turned out to be a trial against him. After giving careful consideration overnight of their demand that he retract his views, Luther declared to them the next day, “I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand. May God help me! Amen.” Charles V banished him and Pope Leo X excommunicated him. By God’s grace, the emperor kept his word to give Luther safe passage or surely he would have been burned at the stake right then and there as had Jon Hus a hundred years prior for taking essentially the same stand as Luther.
Frederick III of Saxony faked a kidnaping of Luther and kept him in hiding from May 4, 1521 to March 6, 1522 during which time Luther completed a German translation of the Greek New Testament and published it. From that point on, things progressed very rapidly with the Swiss Reformation beginning that Spring under the leadership of Huldrych Zwingli. William Tyndale completed an English translation of the New Testament in 1526, and though it was banned in England and Scotland, smuggled copies proliferated and Tyndale was condemned as a heretic. In 1529 the Marburg articles defined essential aspects of reformation belief. In 1530 the Augsburg Confession defined and became the Lutheran Statement of Faith held by a minority of German princes who formed a defensive league for their territories. By this time Sweden and Finland were also following Lutheran practices under King Gustaf Vasa. In 1534 Henry VIII of England broke away from the Roman Catholic Church to form the Anglican Church so that he could divorce and remarry as he desired, but this opened a door for reformers. In 1536 John Calvin arrived in the newly Protestant city of Geneva, Switzerland and reluctantly began a ministry there greatly inspired by Luther, but would end up defining another branch of the Reformation. By this same year, Denmark, Norway and Iceland were all officially Lutheran under King Christian III. John Knox fled to Geneva in 1554 and ministered there with support from Calvin. He returned to Scotland in 1559 calling for Protestant reforms.
There were many that preceded these men, many other contemporaries played both major and minor roles in the Reformation of that period, and many others have followed in the continuing reformation of calling the church to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. I must stress that last point because the heart of the Reformation then and its continuing call to all believers is the issue of Biblical authority and interpretation. Both are essential because if either one is lost, as it was for so many hundreds of years to the vast majority of people who were in what was claimed to be Christian churches, the doctrines of life and salvation are quickly supplanted by the musing of men and the traditions they establish. If the Bible is not authoritative, then interpreting it correctly becomes practically irrelevant since it would not have any valid claim on your life. That would be like the boss of a rival company trying to give you your work assignments. It is even worse when it is viewed as authoritative but interpreted incorrectly. That results in great diligence to obey by doing the opposite of what it actually says as we have seen so often in the life of the Pharisees even to the point of seeking to murder Jesus because He did not keep their traditions.
Origins of Traditions
The Scriptures contain so many statements related to Biblical authority and interpretation and warnings of the failure to heed them that it seems like it would be difficult to shift away from them to a tradition based system, yet that has occurred over and over again and still occurs in the present. The reason is the combination of the wayward and proud hearts of people and the utter evil of the wicked that would lead them astray. This appears from the very beginning.
In Genesis 3 we find that Satan uses a serpent as his mouthpiece to entice Eve to disobey God. God had commanded Adam in Genesis 2:16-17 saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” When Satan challenged Eve about this command, Eve added in an additional requirement that she could not touch it either or she would die. That is not what God told Adam. Either Adam or Eve had added to the word they had received from God. Satan then boldly contradicts God saying they would not die, then slanders God claiming the purpose of the command was so that she would not become like God, knowing good and evil. She then evaluated it all according to her own limited understanding and desires and ate the fruit, then gave it to Adam who also very foolishly ate it. Both immediately recognized the evil they had done and sought to hide from God and hide their shame with fig leaves. It is God that seeks them out to both confront them and offer redemption. It is God that covers their shame.
We have all suffered the consequences of our fallen natures inherited from them and we all quickly follow their example. We add to God’s word, listen to those that contradict God’s commands, believe slander made against Him, and act according to our own very limited understanding and wisdom. All of this is made worse by developing traditions that are not in keeping with God’s word.
Many traditions are well intentioned efforts to set up layers of protection from evil by adding to what God has said. The command was not to eat it, but if you don’t even touch, then you will also be protected from eating it. However, adding to the word of God perverts what He has said. Jesus was often in conflict with the Pharisees over their additions to what God had commanded concerning the Sabbath. Their traditions may have started off as well intentioned protections, but they perverted what God said resulting in false standards of righteousness that contradicted other commands of God.
Many other traditions develop as human responses to recognized sinful failure. The proper response is humility and repentance seeking God’s mercy and grace for forgiveness, but the three most common responses are redefine the sin, cover it up or do something in the attempt to appease God. Many traditions of the Pharisee fit these categories as do the Sacraments and cannon law of Roman Catholicism. Similar elements show up even in traditions developed within modern evangelical and reformed groups. Traditions can grow and multiply quickly within a group to affect crucial doctrines including salvation.
Whenever there is a shift away from Biblical authority or proper interpretation the result will be perversion of Biblical doctrine or even outright rejection. The issue of sola scriptura, Scripture Alone is as important today as it has ever been. It is a key doctrine that separates Biblical Christianity from aberrant groups, heretics and cults.
Authority is the right to give commands and power to enforce them. The authority of the Scriptures arise from the fact that it is the communication of God who is the Creator and ultimate authority of everything. Whatever God commands is binding and man will give an account to Him. This was true for Adam and Eve, and it is true for every human since then and everyone still to come. A truth succinctly stated in Hebrews 9:27, “. . . it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” Details of God’s future judgments are given in several passages including Matthew 25 in which the sheep and the goats are separated, 2 Corinthians 5:10 which tells of the judgment of a Christian’s works, and Revelation 20 which describes the judgment of the wicked at the Great White Throne.
There is no question that throughout history God has expected what He communicates to man to be obeyed by man and that there are consequences for disobedience. The record begins in Genesis 3 with the disobedience of Adam and Eve resulting in them being exiled from the Garden of Eden and the coming of death upon mankind. Genesis 5 is a genealogic record of the first ten generations citing the incredible lengths of lives they lived averaging 912 years (excluding Enoch), yet everyone of them died. By the time of Noah the wickedness of man was so bad “that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God determined to destroy mankind and all air breathing animals by a worldwide flood, but He then extended His grace to have Noah build an ark to save life. Noah was a preacher of righteousness the entire time he was building the ark and warning of what was to come, but none of the wicked would listen and heed. Only the eight people of Noah’s family and a pair of every kind of air breathing animal got on board the ark and were preserved. 2 Peter 3:3-7 cites this historical event and warns that “by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept of the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”
Man continued his disobedience after the flood. God commanded Noah’s descendants to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, but four generations later they are all still together on the plain of Shinar and building a city and a tower to make a name for themselves and so that they would not be scattered. God enforced His decree by confusing their language so that they broke up into groups according to their new languages and scattered around the world. (Genesis 11).
Five generations later the Lord spoke to a descendant of Shem named Abram who believed what the Lord said and it was counted to him as righteousness. The rest of the Old Testament traces the descendants of Abraham and gives the record of God’s continued communication to them and their responses to it. There was not only God giving to Moses the details of His Laws, but “Thus says the Lord” is declared by the various Hebrew prophets over 400 times. Consistent in those many proclamations was the idea that there would be blessings for listening to God and obeying Him, but there would be curses for not listening or heeding God’s revelation.
It is important at this point to note that God’s word and the commands, principles and precepts within it are not arbitrary rules of a dictator even if benevolent. They are the directions for life from our Creator who loves us. Moses expressed this in Deuteronomy 8:3 saying, “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” Jesus quotes this in Matthew 4:4 in refuting the devil’s temptation to feed Himself instead of waiting for God’s provision. God’s word is more important than physical food.
Various Psalms extol the blessings of God’s word, recognizing its authority and following it. Psalm 1 contrasts the blessing of delighting in the law of the Lord and meditating on it day and night with the curses that come upon those that walked in the counsel of the ungodly. In Psalm 19 David describes the various aspects of God’s word along with its character and blessing. 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. It is because of these characteristics and the blessing they bring that they were to be desired more than even much fine gold and found to be sweeter than the drippings of the honeycomb (Psalm 19:10). Psalm 119 is a love song to the word of God for it is the communication of God’s love to the Psalmist. It was a light for his path guiding him away from sin and to wisdom while also reviving him and bringing him comfort in affliction. That is why he found it to be the source of his joy and delight and more valuable than wealth and more satisfying than the sweetest of foods.
Jesus also recognized and relied upon the authority of the Scriptures as He taught and confronted the errors of the religious leaders. Though He had the right to teach based on His own authority as the Messiah, He freely quoted and cited the Scriptures as the means of both instructing and refuting. It was to the Scriptures Jesus went in refuting Satan’s efforts to tempt Him. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus quotes commands from Leviticus and Deuteronomy and then corrects the erroneous teachings of the religious leaders. He explains the purpose and the identity of John by quoting the prophesies of Malachi. He cited Jonah as the sign and type for what He would do in the future of being in the heart of the earth. He quoted the prophesies of Isaiah to explain to His disciples why He was teaching in parables. He quoted Isaiah again in rebuking the religious hypocrites for their vain worship. He went back to Genesis to explain the nature of Marriage. Jesus quoted from Psalms to explain the identity of the Messiah and confound the Pharisees.
Jesus view of the authority of the Scriptures is summarized in three passages. In Matthew 5:18 He declared, “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” In John 10:35 He was very succinct in stating as part of His argument, “and the Scripture cannot be broken.” Scripture is authoritative because it cannot be changed and everything in it will be accomplished. In John 17:17 Jesus stated another reason it is authoritative, “Thy word is truth.” Anything contradicting it is lies and deception.
The apostles held to the same understanding of the authority of the Scriptures as Jesus from whom they received their authority. Paul quotes from eighteen different books of the Hebrew Scriptures while James and Peter each quotes from five.
The authority of the Scriptures crushes its enemies while giving life to those that love the Lord. As the Reformers turned to the Bible, they found the foundation for life and salvation that was missing in the Roman Catholic Church and remains missing in all cults and false religions. It equipped them to pursue truth regardless of the errors, lies and deceptions used in the attempts to refute them. It enabled them to stand firm in the face of the abuse, threats and violence hurled against them. It still enables those that follow it to do the same. However, that requires continued commitment and diligence in defending it.
We expect Scriptural authority to be attacked by false religions, cults and secularists. We do not expect it to be under attack by those who claim to hold to it, but that continues to be reality. Certainly there are many that interpret Genesis allegorically because they are ignorant of either the principles of proper interpretation or science or both. They are blind to the fact that yielding authority to secular philosophers of science destroys both Biblical authority and science. Others are not as ignorant, but instead deceive themselves by redefining Biblical inerrancy and infallibility to accommodate their improper allegorical interpretations made to harmonize with evolutionary philosophy. The same can be said for those that hold to a priority for Mark in the gospels and seem to be oblivious that it destroys the authorship of both Matthew and Luke and thereby removes their authority. The literary theory used to do this is nonsense since it can be used in the same way to establish either Matthew or Luke as the priority.
Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone, was foundational for the Reformation, and it must also be the foundational assertion in the present in the continuing battle for the gospel and Christian life. Asserting the authority of Scripture also requires a continual battle for proper interpretation to prevent perversion of its doctrines as already mentioned.
Proper interpretation means that a text is to be understood according to how it would have been understood to those who first heard or read it. Context includes how a passage fits within the flow of its paragraph, chapter, section and book. Words and sentences must be understood according to their definition and grammar at the time of the writing and within their literary genre such as narrative, poetry, didactic and prophetic. Furthermore, all of this must be understood within its historical setting. Proper interpretation demands a quest to understand authorial intent. Those who use allegorical methodology, eisegesis, or force modern ideas into the text invariably distort it and end up with interpretations that range from being incorrect to aberrant to heretical.
How important is proper interpretation? Consider that nearly all of Jesus’ conflicts with the Jewish religious leaders were due to their wrong interpretations and subsequent applications of the scriptures and not because they rejected scriptural authority. The same is true of the apostles. By the time of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church gave lip service to Scriptural authority for they overrode it with claims of authority for the church to add to Biblical doctrine, but more insidious was its claim to be the sole authority for interpretation of the Scriptures. The claim of authority to add doctrine to the scriptures or to be the only proper interpreter of it are hallmarks of cults.
In Biblical Christianity, Scripture alone is the authority and its interpretation is the humble quest to understand what God has revealed in its context that we may believe and live for Him.
Directly related to Scriptural authority is scriptural sufficiency for if the scriptures are not sufficient to direct us in all areas of life, then outside sources become authoritative and then easily supplant the Scriptures either by a claim of superiority or by becoming the basis of reinterpreting Scripture to match it. Here are two quick examples.
The claim is made that Scripture is not a book of science and therefore we must look to science to determine truth and interpret the Bible accordingly. While the Bible is not a comprehensive book on science giving us details of nuclear physics and explaining the chemistry of biological systems, it must be clearly and forcefully proclaimed that wherever the Bible touches on an issue of science it is absolutely true. The Greeks, not the Hebrews were the flat earthers, for Isaiah 40:22 describes God sitting above the circle of the earth. The book of Job describes the hydrologic cycle (36:27-28), atmospheric circulation (28:25; 37:9), gravitational fields (26:7); springs in the ocean (38:16), the relationship of clouds and lightning (37:11), and that the moon has no brightness of its own (25:5). Leviticus gives extensive principles of health and sanitation, and if medical doctors had taken seriously the statements in Leviticus 17:11,14 that life is in the blood, they would not have practiced blood letting which contributed to the death of a lot of people, including George Washington. We can stand firm on the statements of Genesis that life came from God and that animals reproduce after their own kind which refutes evolution’s spontaneous generation of life and transmutation of one life form into others.
Psychology claims to solve problems the Bible does not address. Really? Which line of psychology since its many branches often contradict each other? And what about the studies over the years that show that people without treatment by a psychologist do as good or better than those receiving treatment? Scripture does not give clinical descriptions of anorexia, arachnidphobia, bi-polar disorder, psychopathy or the host of other problems listed in psychology books, but the Bible does give clear descriptions of man’s sinfulness and depravity of mind which underlies all those things. Human behavioral studies may be helpful in figuring out how people think and react, but solutions in helping people recognize and walk in truth must be founded in the source of truth which is God’s word.
2 Timothy 3:16–17 give a simple description of the sufficiency of the Bible stating, 16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” The Bible tells you how to get on the path of life, warns you when you stray off of it, instructs you how to get back on it, and trains you how to stay on it so that you will be able to live a good life in serving the Lord and others.
2 Peter 1:2–11 gives a more extensive description including human responsibility to apply what God has provided. 2 “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”
There is not a real question that the Scriptures are sufficient. God states that they are and the multiple myriads upon myriads that have lived successful godly lives are the practical proof. The real problem is that people do not like what the Scriptures say. Sinful people want to hold on to their sin or at least exchange their vices for those more socially acceptable. Even Christians are prone to this. Others in a misguided compassion desire to avoid confronting people about their sin. There are also those who for various reasons refuse to get involved in the dirty work of helping a stumbling brother or sister to bear their burdens as directed in Galatians 6:1-4. Those who believe and follow the Scriptures will be able to live godly lives themselves and help others do the same.
Many weeks could be spent on this topic and its related subjects, but my point this morning is simply that sola scriptura, Scripture Alone, is as important today as it was at the beginning of the Reformation. The Bible is authoritative on all matters to which it speaks, and it is sufficient to give you the principles and precepts necessary to live a successful and godly life and help others to do the same. Be diligent to boldly proclaim and defend this doctrine from those who attack it either directly or indirectly though improper interpretation.
Sermon Notes – 10/15/2017
Our Reformation Heritage: Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone: Selected Scriptures
Martin Luther posts his 95 theses which starts the Reformation on _______________, 1517 – 500 years ago
Crucial Reformation ____________: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Christus & Soli Deo Gloria
Each faction of Christianity developed _____________& doctrines to enforce conformity & protect power
“Biblicus” Luther knew the scriptures, but understanding was blocked by _______________interpretation
In 1516-1521 Luther turns away from ______________interpretation to a more literary approach
1518-1521 Luther’s view are examined, then denounced and he __________________on scriptural authority
1522 – Luther completes ____________translation of the Greek New Testament and things happen rapidly
The Reformation was and continues to be about calling people to follow Christ according to the __________
Biblical authority and proper interpretation go _____________ for if either is lost so is the other
Origins of Traditions
Biblical authority is clearly stated many times, yet man’s sinful heart quickly ___________it with traditions
Eve added to God’s command, then listened to Satan’s slanders, then judged by her own wisdom & _______
Adam & Eve recognized their sinfulness & tried to _____, but God sought them out and covered their shame
Well intentioned traditions try to protect from sin by adding to God’s commands – but that __________them
Some traditions develop in response to sin usually by: 1) Redefine it; 2) Cover it up, 3) Try to ________God
Any shift away from Biblical authority and proper interpretation results in doctrinal __________or rejection
Scriptural authority arises from God being the ________with ultimate authority over everything. He is judge
God expects His commands to be obeyed and _____________ of the consequences of disobedience
Genesis 5 is a genealogic record of long life and followed by ___________
Genesis 6-9 is the record of man’s utter sinfulness, God’s judgment by the ________, and His grace to Noah
Genesis 11 – man’s disobedience resulted in God confusing the languages to ____________ dispersion
Genesis 12 – God’ chooses Abram who ____________ God’s promises and obeys His instructions
God _______________through Moses and the Prophets – blessings for obedience & curses for disobedience
The Psalms extol the _____________ of God’s word, recognizing its authority and following it
Jesus recognized and relied on the authority of God’s word extensively _____________ and citing it
The _______________ quote the Scriptures extensively (Paul – 18 books; James & Peter – 5 books each)
The authority of the Scriptures _____________its enemies while giving life to those that love the Lord
Attacks on Scriptural authority is _________from its opponents, but it also comes from professing believers
Scripture Alone remains a foundational assertion in the continuing ________for the gospel and Christian life
Proper interpretation requires understanding a text as would have those who ____________ heard or read it
Most of Jesus’ conflicts with the religious leaders were over issues of proper ________________
Scripture alone is the authority & our humble quest is to ____________what God has revealed in its context
If the scriptures are not sufficient, then outside sources become authoritative and ____________ them
Science: The Bible is not a science text book, but it is absolutely true on every issue of ________it mentions
Psychology: The Bible exposes the evil heart of every man to lead to repentance – the true ________ needed
2 Timothy 3:16–17 _______________________________________________________________________
2 Peter 1:2–11 __________________________________________________________________________
The Scriptures are sufficient, the real problem is that people __________what God has said & so reject them
Those who believe & follow the Bible will be able to live godly lives themselves & ____others do the same
Scripture Alone, is as important _____________ as it was at the beginning of the Reformation
Diligently proclaim & defend this doctrine for it is ____________ directly and by improper interpretation
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “Scripture” or “Bible” is used. 2) Discuss with your parents the importance of the Bible in your life.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What did Martin Luther do on October 31, 1517 and why is that considered the start of the Reformation? What would Luther have believed about the Bible as a Roman Catholic Monk? How did his change of view and interpretation of the Scriptures lead to the Reformation? Why are Biblical authority and proper interpretation both essential? What happens if either is lost? What errors in Eve’s understanding of God’s authority caused her to fall for Satan’s temptations? What are some well intentioned traditions that add to the word of God? What are some traditions that redefine sin? Cover up sin? Seek to appease God for the sin? What is the basis for Scriptural Authority? Give evidence that God expects His commands to be known and followed? Trace this in the first 12 chapters of Genesis. What is God’s purpose in communicating to man according to Deuteronomy 8:3? How are the blessings of God’s word described in Psalm 1? Psalm 19? Psalm 119? What was Jesus’ view of the Scriptures according to Matt. 5:18; John 10:35 and John 17:17? How did Jesus and the apostles demonstrate their submission to the authority of the Scriptures? What is proper interpretation? How is improper interpretation an attack on Biblical authority? How is that occurring in evangelicalism today? What is Biblical sufficiency? How do 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:2-11 describe it? Is the Bible sufficient in issues of science and psychology? Why or why not? Why do even some professing Christians reject Biblical sufficiency? How can they be helped?
(If you would like to receive Pastor Harris’ weekly sermons via e-mail, Click Here)
For comments, please e-mail Church office