Summary: The Bible gives us understanding of human life and relationships, it equips us for effectiveness, and it is the standard by which a church becomes great.
Suppose you want to make a difference in somebody’s life. Then you have to know what the Bible means when it insists that one "must be born again". And you have to know how to help someone find that new birth.
Suppose you want to make a difference in this community, in this city. Then you had better have a grasp of the God who requires that we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him. When all else fails, read the instructions, and they will equip you for every good work!
Suppose we want to be a great church; suppose we want to be faithful to our Lord’s commission; suppose we want to deserve the right to continue here on this corner. Then let us get serious about the Bible. Then let us expand our Sunday School and let adults enroll in it and bring their children. Suppose we want to prosper as a church; then let us study that word that teaches us to "go and make disciples of all nations", all the people of this community, red and yellow, black and white -- for how else would we know they were all precious in His sight, if it were not for this book?
Let us do Sunday School and Prayer meeting and Seekers and Experiencing God and outreach Bible studies and support groups. Let us do it all! Because this word is able to equip us for every good work. And without it we will be flimsy reeds, blowing in the wind. When all else fails, before all else fails, read, know, study these instructions. They are able to make us proficient, equipped for every good work.
For, after all, the bottom line is this: something eternal is at stake, and without the Scriptures we will miss it. Something of overwhelming importance is at the very heart of human life, and without the Bible we will not grasp it. There is something you just can’t get unless you read and follow the instructions.
Says Paul, "The sacred writings are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." The issue is salvation. What does it mean to be saved? How is anyone saved? Is it just by wanting to be saved? Is it by deserving to be saved? Is it by being a nice, sincere person, who believes in vaguely good things? No. No.
If we expect to be saved, that comes through faith in Christ. And faith in Christ comes from the instruction of this word. These words point to the word made flesh. This word is able to instruct us for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Men and women, let’s get serious about the Bible. We will pay a terrible price for Biblical illiteracy. The souls of our people are at stake. Eternity is at stake. I do not ask that we all become scholars. I do not expect us to gobble up Greek or to hover over the Hebrew. I would not want us to hole up in our corners and become connoisseurs of the curiosities, figuring out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I just ask one thing. When it comes to life, life here and now, with aII its disappointments; life that can make a difference; life that has eternity in view… when all else fails, because all else will fail, will you please read the instructions?