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Summary: God reigns in our lives and churches to the degree that we allow Him to set the agenda through His Word.

The Scriptures: The Only Infallible Authority for the Things of God

(2 Timothy 3:15-17)

1.On October 31, we will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg church door for discussion, an annual event every October 31st.

2. Reformation actually began l over 500 years earlier with the Waldensians, who trace their roots to 839 A.D. when Claudius, Bishop of Turin, was burned at the stake for passionate protests against the Medieval church. Anabaptists, Hus, Wycliffe and Tyndale, among others. But Luther’s movement was by far the most successful and popular. He lived and had political backing.

3. The Reformation was about many things: authority, politics, decision making — but for the Reformers themselves, it was mostly about doctrine and ethics.

4. 5 doctrines that had been partly lost/abandoned over the centuries were revived and sharpened by the Reforms in an attempt to align the church’s teachings with the actual teachings of Scripture. These are called the 5 Solas. Sola means alone or only.

5. The 5 Solas are: ?Sola scriptura ("Scripture alone"), ?Sola fide ("faith alone") ?Sola gratia ("grace alone")?Solus Christus or Solo Christo ("Christ alone") ?Soli Deo gloria ("glory to God alone")

6. So today, to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we begin our new series by looking at the Solas with Sola Scriptura.

Main Idea: God reigns in our lives and churches to the degree that we allow Him to set the agenda through His Word.

I. God’s Word is the Final Word: What Does Sola Scriptura Mean to YOU?

A. The Bible is not the only authority, but only INFALLIBLE one (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

1. Illustration [Tony Evans]: In the days of an absolute Monarch, highest authority you could appeal to was the king; end of the line. For the Christian, the Bible is the final authority. It is God’s Word. If it fails the Bible test, it fails. If it passes, it passes. If the Bible doesn’t address it, the verdict is uncertain in varying degrees.

2. If we pay attention to all the voices out there, we will tossed to and fro.

Louie and his wife are listening to the radio when they hear the weather report: "A snow emergency has been declared. You must park your cars on the odd-numbered side of the street.” So Louie gets up and moves his car.

Two days later—same thing. "A snow emergency has been declared,” blares the radio. "Park your cars on the even-numbered side of the street.” Louie gets up and does what he’s told.

Three days later: "There will be a foot of snow today. Park your cars on the ...,” and then the power goes out.

"What should I do?” a confused Louie asks his wife.

"This time,” she says, "why don’t you just leave the car in the garage?” [Reader's Digest]

B. Knowing and Following the Bible Means God DETERMINES Our Choices.

1. Americans tend to think truth is determined by a poll.

2. Knowing the Bible can help us rule out many foolish choices and can lead us to many good ones, but it does not deal with everything; as we spend time in the Word, we develop wisdom.

• We do not study the Bible just to know, but also to develop wisdom, to fellowship with God, and to allow the Holy Spirit to fill and empower us; The Holy Spirit hovered over the waters when God created the earth. In a similar sense, He hovers over the written Word.

C. The Bible is the authority we use to separate truth from ERROR .

1. Hebrews 4:12— A sword to divide truth from error, motives

Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

2. The Bereans commended for their example.

Acts 17:10-12a, “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed…”

D. Scriptures are to be interpreted as to their ORIGINAL INTENT.

1. Some people treat the Bible like a magic book, not an inspired book.

2. They try to determine what kind of dog to buy, open Bible, put down finger, lands on “shepherds.” That’s magic.

3. When Matthew was writing about shepherds, did he have dogs in mind? Would the original readers have understood this as a breed of dog?

4. What was in the author’s mind?

5. How would the original readers have understood it?

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