Foundation Stones of the Faith
The Bible: God’s Word
Intro: When I was serving my first pastorate a young couple joined our church who were relatively young Christians. The husband was a nice guy who said the Lord was giving him “messages”, which he would write down and have me read. At first they were fine biblical messages, but later he began to share some things that were not sound biblically. I discovered he was listening to certain radio preachers who held very different doctrinal views than I did. I had to share with this brother that his “messages” were not doctrinally sound. He told me he had read the entire Bible, but didn’t find anything in it about doctrine. I suggested he go back and reread Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus. Here are a couple of the verses he would have found:
NAS 1 Timothy 4:6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.
NAS 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires;
NAS Titus 1:9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.
NAS Titus 2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.
The next week he came back to me and said that he had read those books and came to a conclusion: pastors had to worry about doctrine, but it just gets in the way for the rest of the folks in the church.
One of the reasons so many people are able to leave a Bible teaching church like ours and go to church that doesn’t teach the Bible is that very few Christians really know the doctrines of the Christian faith. They consider doctrine to be one of the side issues, not one of the central issues of the faith.
A lot of people are frightened by the word doctrine. Let me assure you there is nothing to fear in that word. Doctrine simply refers to teaching. When we talk about biblical doctrines, we are talking about the Bible’s teachings on certain subjects.
Today I am beginning a series of sermons I call “The Foundation Stones of the Faith.” All of us need to go back to see the truths our faith is built on from time to time. I hope you will be with us each Sunday as we look at these great truths.
Where do we begin in a study like this? Which great truth is first to be considered? I recently read an article by a Baptist leader who said that the foundational truth of the faith is the second coming of Christ. I have to say that I disagree.
Today, I will begin with the doctrine of the Bible. Why there? Why not begin with the doctrine of God or the doctrine of Christ? The reason we begin with the Bible is really quite simple: every other doctrine in the Christian faith is based on our understanding of the Bible. If our beliefs about the Bible are sound, we have something to base our other beliefs on. If our beliefs about the Bible are faulty, we have nothing objective to base our other beliefs on.
Hershel Hobbs points out three words we need to consider as we examine the doctrine of the Bible: Revelation, Inspiration, and Illumination. (Baptist Faith and Message, page 21)
When most people think of the word revelation they think of the last book of the Bible. Here we are using the word in a much larger sense. This word deals with the fact that the only way for finite man to know anything about infinite God is for God to reveal himself to us.
There are two levels of revelation:
- Natural Revelation.
Psalm 19 and Romans 1 tell us that God has revealed his existence through nature. People can see that God exists as they study the world and the universe around them. Romans 1 also tells us that whenever finite man tries to understand the nature of God from the revelation of nature, he perverts the knowledge he has. This results in the many religions we see in the world.
- Supernatural Revelation.
If we are to know anything about the nature of God, we must have something other than nature to look to. The good news is that we have that something more. We have the Bible, which is the record of God’s reaching down to mankind to reveal himself to us.
God’s highest revelation is found in Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:1-4. John wrote to give an eye witness testimony concerning Jesus. He wrote to tell what he had seen, heard, and even touched when he was with Jesus.
The Bible records everything we need to know concerning Jesus, God’s one and only Son.
All serious students of the Bible agree that the Bible is an inspired book. Many disagree as to the level of inspiration. On one end of the scale we find people who believe the biblical writers were inspired in the same way Shakespeare and Hemingway were inspired to write great works of literature. Those men were inspired by tragedy, romance, nature, and adventure.
The Bible claims a great deal more than that, though. Notice the following passages: Isaiah 1:2, 10, 24. This is typical of the prophets and their messages. They believed their messages were directly from God.
2 Peter 1:20-21. God’s Spirit moved his messengers to speak and write his message to mankind.
2 Timothy 3:16-17. God breathed the words of the Bible. God used the authors with their vocabulary, their educational backgrounds, and their personalities. God helped them select the right words and kept them from making mistakes. We can trust the message of the Bible because it is divinely inspired.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit. He makes it possible for us to understand the message of the Bible.
1 Corinthians 2:14. Mankind without Christ is lost and spiritually blind.
John 16:13-15. God, through his Spirit, is the one who makes it possible for us to understand his message.
How is it that lost men can understand so little Bible? They don’t have the Holy Spirit living within them. But when a lost person becomes a Christian, the Bible becomes an open book to him.
I knew a teenaged girl in Phoenix many years ago who took a biology exam in high school. The exam covered the origin of the world and the Darwinian theory of evolution. The girl answered the questions based on her belief in the Bible, but the teacher was not a Christian and he gave her a failing grade. Later the teacher came to the girl and told her he had become a Christian one weekend. He now believed everything she had shared in her test and changed her grade to an “A.”
Conclusion: For too many Christians, studying doctrine is like a high school sophomore studying English grammar. The sophomore is certain he will never need to know a verb from a pronoun. He’s wrong, but that is what he thinks. Too many Christians say the same thing about Christian doctrine.
Let me tell you what difference it will make:
If this is not true, if the Bible is not the record of God’s revelation of himself to mankind, if the words are not inspired by the Spirit of God, then you should put the Bible down and leave it alone. Period.
If this book is the complete revelation of God to mankind, if this is the inspired message from God, you need to take action:
- You need to study God’s word. 2 Timothy 2:15
- You need to heed God’s warning. Romans 6:23
- You need to put your faith in Christ. John 14:6
- You need to practice what God says. James 1:22.
What is your plan for growing in your knowledge of the Bible? Some bare minimums would include attending a Bible study and worship every week. We will always be teaching the Bible. Beyond that, you need to be feeding yourself on God’s word on a regular basis.
©Copyright Rik Danielsen 2018
For personal use only. If you want to use any or all of this material for group Bible Study or Sermons, please give credit where credit is due. No part of this material may be republished either in print or electronically without the written permission of Dr. Rik Danielsen. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foundation Stones of the Faith The Bible: God’s Word