Summary: The Bible is God’s Word, in it He reveals Himself as Redeemer of mankind, and imparts infallible truth.
The New Testament Church; Its Guidebook II Tim. 3:16, 17
INTRO.: Thomas Campbell was a Scottish Presbyterian educator and preacher who immigrated to the United States in 1809. He settled in Washington County, PA and became a preacher for one of the Presbyterian churches in that area. The Presbyterian Church was divided into several warring factions in Scotland and these hostilities were brought to the United States.
Campbell, however, refused to recognize these divisions and invited Presbyterians from another sect to share communion with his congregation. For this he was severely censured by his denomination and separated himself from them. He and several other preachers in the area formed "The Christian Association of Washington County, PA." To explain their action to others, he published the "Declaration and Address," probably the best known historical document connected with the Christian Churches.
In it, he declared the Bible to be the only rule of faith and practice for the Christian. He wrote, "nothing ought to be inculcated upon Christians as articles of faith; nor required of them as terms of communion, but what is expressly taught and enjoined upon them in the Word of God." This was the beginning of one of the main streams of reform that led to the present day Christian Church.
Campbell said, "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak, where they are silent, we are silent." He demanded a "thus saith the Lord either in express terms or in approved precedent, for every article of faith and item of religious practice." He insisted, "nothing ought to be received into the faith or worship of the church, or be made a term of communion among Christians, that is not as old as the New Testament."
Mr. Campbell had come to the same conclusion regarding the authority of the Bible as had Mr. O’Kelly in North Carolina and Mr. Stone in Kentucky. Similar movements were getting underway in New Hampshire, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. God was calling men and women back to His Word. This resulted in a great revival of Christianity, especially in the U.S.
The emphasis was on the authority of God’s Word. That’s our topic for this message.
I. In the Bible, God reveals Himself as our Redeemer, the Savior of our souls:
A. Certainly, the Bible is not God’s only revelation to man. In fact, it isn’t even His first:
1. God has revealed Himself in nature. The Psalmist has written, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. (19:1, 2)
2. Nature reveals God only as Creator and Ruler. Rom. 1:20. No one has an excuse not to know this much about God.
3. However, this revelation of God’s nature has been distorted, corrupted, and ignored by men ever since the beginning of time.
B. It is only in Jesus that God has revealed Himself as our Redeemer and we learn of this revelation as we read the life and teachings of Jesus in the Bible.
1. The message of the Bible is redemption in Jesus from Gen. 3:15 to the very end of Revelation.
2. Jesus Himself claimed to be the only One Who could reveal the Father and make Him accessible to men. John 14:6
3. He claimed anyone who saw Him saw the Father. John 14:9. It is not true to say Christianity is just one of many ways to find God.
4. If not in the Scriptures, where shall we learn of Jesus? John. 5:39.
II. May I remind you, the Bible is the Word of God.
A. There are many current popular misconceptions about the Bible that are as "old as the hills," yet still naively accepted by many:
1. The Bible is a human book inspired only like Shakespeare or others and it is full of myths we may disregard if we wish.
2. It is simply a record of man’s search for God, a human book which contains God’s Word and may be used by God’s Spirit. A few years ago, a popular slogan said, "The open Bible is God’s Word," as though we could disregard it if we don’t open it.
3. Worst heresy of all: The Bible is actually the Word of God, but not worth reading.
B. The truth is the Bible is the product of the mind of God, not that of any man. II Pet. 1:20, 21.
1. Men spoke; real living men personally involved in the writing.
2. They were "moved by the Holy spirit;" borne along like a ship before the wind.
3. The result is they spoke from God.
4. Paul’s affirmation of II Tim. 3:16 is valid. God has given us a book revealing His mind and it is eminently useful, profitable, and essential to our spiritual well-being.