Summary: A message concerning our new statement of faith
Sermon Series: “The Tenets of the Faith”
Sermon #1: “Statements 1 & 2”
Sermon Text: II Timothy 3:16-17
INTRODUCTION: This sermon series has been written to help us better understand our new constitution and by-laws for Forest Christian Church.
Now, it may seem strange to preach about a document that, historically, has been for business used only for business purposes.
But my goal is to show that those who undertook the task of compiling this document did so with the Word of God as their authority.
And over the next few weeks I am going to attempt to expound on the Scriptures that we used to write the “Statement of Faith” found in Article II, and show you how we attempted to take a ‘business’ document and transform it into a ‘biblical’ document we can now use for conducting church business.
QUESTION: Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything?”
I believe that thought was on all our hearts when we began compiling this new constitution; I know it was on my heart.
As a group we agreed that, for too long, the church has not made a solid statement concerning its core beliefs.
And because of the dangers facing the church today (such as the liberalizing of the truth of Scripture) we decided our new document needed a portion dedicated to the truths we stand for in this church.
We believe the Bible is the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God, that it is inerrant in the original manuscripts and that it is authoritative in all matters of faith.
1. We began our statement of faith with an affirmation of where the church receives her authority
a. It is vitally important that we understand that our only authority in matters of faith is the Word of God
b. This excludes church tradition and mad-made doctrines as authorities, and puts authority where it belongs: With God
2. The phrase “inerrant” simply means to be “without error”
a. The Bible was written totally without error
b. Today we have many translations of the Bible, and (sadly) some are full of errors
i. There is a new Bible that was just released which takes out all references to male and female – a ‘gender neutral’ Bible’
ii. Illustration: “Hymnals” Some of you may remember that the Hymnals we purchased years ago were ‘gender neutral’ referring to God as “it” or even “she” and we traded for the ones we have now, which are more traditional.
c. The words “original manuscripts” is important in our statement concerning inerrancy
i. If we have two translations (i.e. NIV & NASB) that contradict one another at a certain point, we must look to the original manuscripts written in Hebrew and Greek for our answer concerning the contradiction
ii. NOTE: I understand most of us don’t read Hebrew or Greek, but with the assistance of concordances and computer programs it is easy for anyone to find out the original wording used in Scripture
3. We go on to use the word “authoritative”
a. There is an old Latin phrase “Sola Scriptura” which means “Scripture alone” and it is at the core of this first statement, even though it is not mentioned
b. This historic doctrine was one of the main reasons for the church splitting away from Rome during the reformation
c. The church at Rome had placed ‘tradition’ on the same level as ‘Scripture’ and many dangerous and false doctrines came as the result
4. QUOTE: We have affirmed here in our first statement that we believe that God’s Word only is our authority
Why did we affirm this? Because this truth is affirmed in the Scripture itself.
Let’s look at the Scriptures we cited in the statement:
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Paul writes to Timothy explaining why it is essential for the Scriptures to be the Church’s authority because of it having:
A. Proper Author (…given by inspiration of God…)
i. Traditions are man-made while Scripture alone is God inspired
ii. This can be literally translated as “God breathed”
iii. The Holy Spirit is the author, having breathed into the writers God’s infallible Word
B. Proper Power (…is profitable…)
i. Only God’s Word can be used to:
1. Teach correct doctrine
2. Reprove of sin
3. Instruct in righteousness
ii. No other document is capable of doing these things
C. Proper Equipment (…man of God may be complete…)
i. A preacher is “complete” with the Holy Scriptures because within them lie the instructions for the work of the Kingdom
ii. If the Holy Scriptures were all we had for ministry, we would be more than equipped for the task