Know Your Bible
VOL. 15 April 9, 2017 NO. 4
JESUS’ APPROACH TO BIBLE AUTHORITY
The importance of divine authorization for the things we do and teach is increasingly downplayed and even denigrated in our culture and among many churches of Christ. Some would insist that we move away from the effort to find commands, examples, and necessary inferences in the Scripture and simply focus on Jesus and His love for us. While it would be impossible to overemphasize Jesus, the Lord and Savior who is the fulfillment of Scripture and will one day be our Judge, does emphasizing Jesus necessitate the downplaying of Bible authority? The following verses from the book of John should provide powerful testimony from the mouth of our Lord about the importance of doing only those things we find man- dated or approved by God.
The Importance of Divine Authorization
Jesus, the Son of God, repeatedly affirmed that what He taught was from the Father and was not His own.
“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” 5:30
“Jesus answered them and said, ‘My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.’ ” 7:16-19
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.’ ” 8:28
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” 16:13-15
Are We Expected to Be “Commandment Keepers?”
For Jesus, love and commandments went hand in hand.
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ ” 8:31-32
“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” 8:51
“And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” 12:47- 49
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” 14:15
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 14:21
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’ ” 14:23-24
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.” 15:10
Are We to Learn God’s Will Through Examples?
Jesus claimed to follow His Father’s example and exhorted His disciples to follow His.
“For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, be- cause He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’ Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.’ ” 5:16-19 [Note: Jesus was also making use of a necessary implication. If the Father worked on the Sabbath in His care for the world, it implied that not all work was prohibited.]
“I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” 8:38
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” 13:14-15
—John R. Gibson
THE PRESCRIPTION FOR GROWTH
We are all fully aware that as Christians we are to grow spiritually. There are several passages that clearly teach that God not only expects but also requires such development. "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby" (I Peter 2:2). "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food" (Hebrews 5:12).
Let me suggest to you a few things that are needed in our lives if we are to grow and develop as God commands:
1) There has to be a desire on our part. Look once again at I Peter 2:2. The writer says that you must desire the pure milk of the word. In the sermon on the mount, the Lord said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6). We have to want to grow! It is not going to happen unless there is that hunger and thirst within us for the things that will help us to progress. One thing that has happened to far too many Christians, they have lost their spiritual appetite. They have become choked with the cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and as the Lord said, "bring no fruit to maturity" (Luke 8:14).
2) It also takes time. When the Psalmist spoke of the man blessed, in Psalms 1:1-2, notice how he spent his time. "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night." We usually make time for the things that we enjoy doing, whether it is fishing, golf or shopping, etc. If we really have the desire to grow, we will find time to study, pray and practice the truth in our daily lives. It may mean that we've got to turn off the TV, not read the Newspaper as thoroughly, or take some time from a hobby that we enjoy. But we will find time and use it to the glory of God. Listen to the words of the apostle Paul, "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16).
3) Effort has to be put forth. Certainly the word of God is that which will build us up and make us stronger. Paul in speaking with the elders from Ephesus, said, "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). Not only does it take time to know and understand the word of God; it takes effort as well. This same apostle told Timothy, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). The word “diligent" (KJ says 'study'), is defined as "to hasten to do a thing, to exert oneself, endeavour, give diligence" (Vine's Expository Dictionary Of New testament Words). Those who are growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, take the time and exert the effort and energy to ascertain the meaning of the Scriptures. Practice is the next logical step. Only by doing can we please God (James 1:22,23,25).
It will require using some of our money. To be a good fisherman one will buy a good rod and reel, tackle, and maybe a boat along with all the accessories. Don't mind spending the money for these kinds of things. To be knowledgeable of the word of God, we will need a good study Bible, a concordance, a good Bible dictionary, maybe some reliable commentaries, etc. Are we willing to spend money on these type books to help us in our studies? If you really have the desire, will take the time and put forth the effort, you won't mind spending the small amount it would take to buy these study helps.
Want to grow as the Lord commands? Follow this prescription!
Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.
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