Summary: A sermon on the importance, the centrality, of the Word, the Bible, for the church (Material adapted from Daniel Overdorf's book, Rediscovering Community, Word Driven chapter)
Timothy Paul Jones- With high hopes we had moved to a new youth ministry position. On my first Wednesday evening at this church, I received my first hint that this task might be more difficult than I’d imagined. After a couple of games, I gathered the students for some worship songs. Worship didn’t seem to be part of what they expected, but I persisted anyway. At the end of the music, I lifted my Bible over my head, and asked, “OK, how many of you brought your Bibles?” At first no one responded. And that’s when he said it. A senior in high school who had attended this church for over 5 years said, “This is Wednesday night youth group. We don’t do Bibles here. And we don’t come here to sing either. We’re here to have fun.” In the silence that followed his statement, my first thought was simply, “Oh Lord God, what am I going to do?”
Now I’m not against having fun but the Bible should not be excluded from youth group. In fact, the Bible needs to be central to everything we do and teach. Needs to be the heart
The Centrality of the Word- Think about a building where all the rooms open into a central room. Go out the door of the room and in the central room. For a church the Bible needs to be in that central room and it needs to have connection to every other room.
2 reasons that the Bible deserves a place of centrality in our lives.
1. Bible is the only book inspired by God. “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21, NIV. As a book that is unique as to its source, it ought to be central to Christians.
2. The Bible deserves a place of centrality to Christians because it is the only book inerrant in content. The Bible is absolutely accurate and completely reliable in every statement it makes. Because it is a unique book as to its character, we ought to make learning and applying everything it teaches the highest priority in our lives.
Thesis: The Centrality of the Word must be shown through...
Proclaiming Biblical Truth
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, NIV. Real churches hold to the truth passed down from God’s prophets and apostles. They recognize that the Word “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness”; therefore, they “Preach the Word...in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage.” There is no season when the Word is not to be preached or at least mentioned. Faithful churches unashamedly proclaim the Word from the pulpit, they teach it in small groups and classes, they rely on it in counseling, and they carefully seek its wisdom when making decisions.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9, NIV.
NT has the same emphasis on the teaching of the Word. Few people in the ancient world benefited from formal education, and most could not read. Teachers in the church played vital roles. The early apostles placed such value on their teaching ministry that when other areas of service interfered, the apostles designated others to fulfill those ministries so that they could “give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”” Acts 6:4, NIV. Teachers carried so much sway that we have this warning: “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1, NIV. Paul listed teachers as third, behind only apostles and prophets, in importance, and included teaching among critical leadership functions.