“GOD’S SUFFICIENT WORD, THE BIBLE”
The title of this morning’s message from God’s Word is “God’s Sufficient Word, The Bible.” Allow me to explain my title by way of introduction. When I use the word “Bible” I am referring to those 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, 39 books written before the time of Christ in the Hebrew language primarily, and 27 books written following Christ’s glorious resurrection in the Greek language of the common man of the day. When I use the word “Bible” I do not refer to the apocryphal books that were once printed in the Bible and which are to this day included in the versions sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church. The apocryphal books are not rightly to be thought of as part of the Bible, since nowhere in the apocryphal books is there any claim of inspiration, and since none of the apocryphal books seems to be anything more than a collection of some books that are historical accounts and some portions that are fanciful works of pure fiction. Different than the apocryphal books, the Bible is the product of both divine revelation and inspiration. Revelation is that work by which God reveals something that could not otherwise be discovered. Revelation is a miracle. But beyond the miracle of revelation, whereby God communicates truth to one man or to a small group of people, there is another miracle, the miracle of inspiration, which has to do with writing.
There are various ways people use this word inspiration. I normally use the word in a very selective way, a very narrow way, and a very precise way. I do not use the word inspiration when the word encourage would do just as well. Neither do I use the word inspiration when the word motivation would do just as well. I normally use the word inspiration only when I am referring to that supernatural work of God whereby He moves a man to write a portion of the Word of God. And to be even more precise, God never inspired Moses. Neither did He ever inspire David or Isaiah or Jeremiah or Daniel or Paul or Peter. In that sense I have never been inspired, since inspiration refers only to that which results from God’s rare and miraculous moving in a man’s life to write Scripture. What is inspired, then, and what only is inspired, is God’s written Word, the Bible. That is, God worked in chosen men’s lives to produce something we call the Bible. And it is the Bible, that which was produced by God using these various human instruments, that is truly inspired.
Yet another comment before we turn to our text for today, which is found in the 119th Psalm. My comment has to do with this word “sufficient.” What does the word “sufficient” mean? It means “enough.” The Bible is enough. My friend, when it comes to dealing with spiritual issues it better be that no authoritative resource beyond the Bible is needed, because no authoritative resource beyond the Bible is available. Let me simply echo what better men than I have said on this matter: There are two ways of looking at mankind and his condition. And let’s set aside for now the physical problems that a person can suffer, and focus only on the mental, emotional, behavioral problems that plague us. On the one hand, man can be looked upon as a sinner, whose sins plague him and for which spiritual solutions are needed to resolve spiritual problems. But ever more popular is the so-called “medical model” of explaining man’s behavior, wherein man is seen as being sick instead of sinful, and therefore not personally responsible for his condition or his actions. By such reasoning the woman in Texas who drowned her five children is sick, not sinful, and she should receive medical treatment and not death by lethal injection. Who is at fault for her murders? Not her, if the medical model be true, but society, or her husband, or her religious faith. She is not evil. It was her having to be a stay at home mom, home schooling her kids, being mother to five young children, that’s at fault. She wasn’t evil for drowning her kids, one at a time in the bath tub. She was sick, you see. It’s society that’s evil. It’s a husband-dominated marriage that’s evil. Everyone would be better off if those kids had been shipped off to day care each day so mom could have gone to an emotionally fulfilling job. Making her stay at home, repressing her, that’s what is evil. Those men on skid row in downtown Los Angeles aren’t evil. They’re sick, you see. They’re not drunkards, but victims of alcoholism, and not dope fiends, but hopeless victims of drug abuse. It wasn’t their fault they drank themselves quickly to intoxication as teens. They can’t be responsible for smoking dope. How were they to know that all the warnings and cautions they received their entire lives about the danger of drugs would prove to be true? Those folks aren’t sinful, people. They’re sick. And this other woman in Texas, who hit a homeless man with her car, she’s not evil. Oh, it’s true that when she hit him he got stuck half way through the windshield of her car, his head in the seat and his broken legs lying out on the hood of the car. She should be credited for not getting in another accident as she drove home with a man sticking out of our windshield. She’s not evil for leaving the man impaled in her windshield to die a slow death over the next two days, bleeding out in her car, moaning and begging for help. After all, she did go out to the garage and apologize to him several times as she let him bleed to death all over her car seat, his broken legs on the car’s hood. We have to remember that she had been driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. That explains everything. She was afraid she would get into trouble for driving under the influence, so she let the man die a slow and agonizing death. But it was the drugs that she had taken two days earlier, and the liquor that she had guzzled two days earlier, that’s to blame . . . not her.
Folks, that’s where you go with the “medical model” of man’s ills. That’s where you end up, with insanity pleas, with sham professions such as psychiatry, when you refuse to hold people responsible for their actions, when you allow folks to blame others, to blame society, to blame poverty, to blame the full moon, for their behavior instead of holding them responsible for what they do. I reject all of that junk.
Allow me to simply declare what I do not have time now to prove: The Word of God is sufficient to address all the sins of mankind. What God has given to us to address the spiritual failings of mankind, this Book, is enough to get the job done. The problem is not that the Bible is not sufficient; it’s that the Bible is ignored! What causes me to make such claims for the Bible? Turn to our text and you will see. Psalm 119.105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Two very simple, but far reaching, observations from this short verse, before this morning’s sermon.
First, THE IDENTITY OF THE BIBLE
David is nothing if not short and sweet here. Referring to Scripture, the subject of this entire 119th Psalm, as we saw last week, David labels it “thy word.”
However, “thy” refers to God. That would make the Bible God’s Word. That would make Scripture’s origin the throne room in heaven. That would make the Author to be God and not man. Thus, this Bible belongs to God and not me; it is His and not mine, His Creation and not the result of any men’s collaborations. You be careful, then, who would impugn the dignity and the character of the Bible, for it is closely associated with God. And your view of the Bible reflects your view of God, your respect for the Bible asserts your respect for God. Am I sure that this Book is God’s, that it’s His Word? Forty-six times in the Bible we read the phrase “God said.” And in 221 different verses we read that “the Lord said.” You tell me if I’m sure. And then, on top of that, there are 60 verses in which Scripture is declared by godly men to be “thy word.” So, there can be no doubt on the part of reasonable men that this book belongs to God, that it’s His, that He takes credit for authoring it, that He is guarantor of its contents.
If the word “thy” shows this to belong to God, then the word “word” reveals to us just what it is we hold in our hands. This is a book of words and not pictures, showing us that God speaks to the mind of man, the place where man reasons, the place where man thinks and understands and deduces. Pictures can mean many things and convey at best only impressions. But words, strung together into sentences and understood with their context and in accordance with their use at the time the Bible was penned, are far more precise. Thus, we can know the mind of God on an issue, or a topic, or a subject. Not impressions, but declarations! What does God think? What does God want? What does God demand? These things we can know from the Bible. As well, this book is a book of words and not a sheet of musical notes. “Music is the universal language!” No. Even simple language contains vastly more information than even the most complex kind of music could convey. Much controversy exists these days about the place of music in church, the kind of music that is appropriate, and the role of music in the intelligent worship of God. Let me say that music can do no more to a man than move him emotionally. Thus, as powerful as music is to thus move a man, who is after all an emotional being, music is entirely incapable of communicating to man intelligently. Thus, if a man is to communicate with God he will not do so with music, but with words, just as God has communicated with man, not with music, but with words. So, what is it that we hold in our hands when we grasp the Bible? A form of communication from the Creator of the universe and all that herein is, revealing to our minds His mind, expressing to our thoughts His thoughts, informing to our wills His will. Therefore, what a great blessing God has bestowed upon us that He has given to us His Word. And may I say, what a staggering and weighty assignment we have been given to respond intelligently to Him.
As Well, THE ABILITY OF THE BIBLE
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
The Bible is able to show to you your predicament, your position. Mom, Dad, get a flashlight tonight when you go home after the evening service, and turn off the lights in the living room. Then turn on your flashlight and shine its light straight down at your feet and at your kid’s feet. Imagine with your children that you are on a rocky cliff, and the light from your flashlight shows you how dangerously close to the edge you are. And without the light from your flashlight you would never know, on a moon less night, the danger you now know yourself to be in. Thus it is with the Word of God, my friend. You are in a spiritually dark place and you cannot see with your eyes. You are quite helpless to know by yourself how close you are to falling to your soul’s destruction, or how close you are to ruining your marriage, or how close you are to ruining your children. It is only by means of the Word of God that you can shine the light of truth on your present situation to see where you are, the danger you are in, how close to destruction you are. It is a lamp unto your feet.
The Bible is also able to show you your path. With that same flashlight show your kids where they are headed in the dark. Without the flashlight one would have walked into the coffee table, the other into a floor lamp. In like manner the Bible shows where you are headed. Your path leads to destruction. And without the shining light of Bible truth you would merrily march your way straight to Hell.
The Bible comes from God and is His Word. It is the only source of truth to show you what is going on, where you are, and where you are headed if something doesn’t change.
Please look at our text again: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” According to this verse, God’s Word shows you where you are and where you are headed. Let me ask you, where else would you find the answers to the truly important questions of life? Would you ask some psychiatrist, who denies the very existence of sin? How can psychiatry be correct, when that profession labeled homosexuality a mental illness for more than 50 years and then just decided a few years ago that it isn’t mental illness at all?
By what standard do they just decide that what was wrong is now right? By what standard does anyone decide what is right and what is wrong? Do we vote on it? Do we just do what we want to do? And how are we affected when things go awry? Some would say that we should ask scientists, they’re smart. They sure are, but are they the ones to ask the serious questions of life? The movie that’s out that I hope from reading the reviews no one here goes to see, is about a brilliant scientist. But he is a schizophrenic. Out of touch with reality, they say. And they left out the part about him being anti-Semitic and about being an adulterer who refused to support the child he fathered by his mistress. Scientists are not necessarily qualified to deal with moral and spiritual issues.
What about God? You haven’t forgotten God, have you? The psychiatrists have forgotten about God, or they simply discount Him as unimportant or as not existing. Scientists, for the most part have forgotten about or have ignored God. The party animals have forgotten about God. The greedy folks who work on Sundays have forgotten about God. The fornicators have forgotten about God. But it’s not a good idea to forget about God. Not a good idea at all. You see, Hebrews 4.13 refers to God as “him with whom we have to do.” That verse means you will have to deal with God someday. Someday you will stand before Him and give an accounting of yourself. And if that time of accounting was today, if your ticket was punched by God today, you would not be prepared.
May I make a suggestion? Let me show you, from the only reliable source of information available to you and to me, the Word of God, the Bible, the answers to some very basic, but very important, questions. Let’s see if God’s Word, our light and our lamp, sheds any light on some pretty important questions.
First, WHERE ARE YOU?
Not “Where are you physically, where are you geographically, but where are you spiritually?” Where do you stand insofar as eternity is concerned? Where do you stand with God?
You’re not righteous. We know that from Romans 3.10, which reads, “There is none righteous, no, no one.” You don’t seek after God, Romans 3.11. You don’t do good, Romans 3.12, not as far as God is concerned, anyway. Your whole life is filled with destruction and misery, Romans 3.16. And you don’t fear God, Romans 3.18. No wonder God is angry with you, Psalm 7.11.
Why is it that you are this way? Why is it that when the Bible shines as a lamp to your feet it shows this stuff? Because, Romans 3.23, you are a sinner, just like everyone else. As a matter of fact, the Bible clearly shows that you were born a sinner, and that your sinfulness makes you an actual enemy of God, Romans 5.10. Ephesians 2.1-3 further shows you to be spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, to be a child of disobedience, to be subject to the devil himself, to be by nature a child of wrath, and shows that you really live for nothing but the fulfillment of your lusts and desires.
So, where you are is in a very bad place, spiritually. No wonder God is angry toward you.
Next, WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
According to God’s Word, if you are not converted, you have a certain destiny.
It’s eternal punishment. When you die you will immediately go to Hell. Remember, God is angry with you. In Hell you will suffer the conscious and constant torment of flames of fire and unquenchable thirst. Luke 16.23, telling us of a man who died unconverted, begins with these words: “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments.” However, that’s not the worst of it. After you are stand before God at the last judgment you will then be cast into the lake of fire. And there you will suffer torment and agony for ever, with these words of the Savior you rejected forever ringing in your ears: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
However, it may be a while before you die and pass on to eternity. The road you will travel between now and then, the road you’ve traveled thus far in your life, has been a miserable route, with shame, guilt, heartache, rebellion, and damage being the sign posts along the way. And it will only get worse. Has your life to this point had any real meaning? Have you fulfilled any meaningful function in the great scheme of things? Have you been in any way significant? Or has your life been filled with pettiness, small-minded thinking, selfishness, self-centeredness, immaturity, rottenness, lies, fornication, greed, unwillingness to serve, inability to humble yourself, an unteachable spirit? It was not God’s original intent that you live the kind of life you’ve lived thus far. But it’s definitely the life you’ve fashioned by the choices you made, by the options you have taken, by the sins you have committed, by the responsibilities you have mishandled, by the foolishness that you have exhibited. And all of these experiences will be recorded in God’s books. All of these deeds will be recounted on judgment day. All of your works will be rehearsed, remembering that none of the things you have done will be accounted as good by God, but all will be judged evil. Listen as I read Revelation 20.12-15, telling us your future experience:
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
This is where God’s Word says you will go. And miserable will be your life’s journey getting there.
Third, WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?
Do you really want to go to Hell and eventually end up in the lake of fire? That’s where the path you are presently on leads. But is it where you really want to go? Do you really want to go to the place where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched? Do you really want to go to the place of eternal torment and gnashing of teeth, a place of darkness and perpetual isolation? Is the place that was created for the devil and his angels really the place where you want to spend eternity?
The Bible tells of a better place, a place called heaven, a place as wonderful as Hell is woeful, a place as happy as Hell is unhappy, a place as sweet as Hell is sour, where people are as extremely delighted as those in Hell are extremely damned.
The question is, in which place do you want to dwell forever? Would you rather the isolation of damnation or the sweet communion of glory, the falling forever in the bottomless pit or the fullness of blessing forever in God’s presence? Would you have holy angels as your companions or foul demons as your tormentors, glorified saints to hear singing or depraved ghouls to hear howling?
Finally, HOW DO YOU GET THERE?
How do you get to Hell for where you are? Simple. Do nothing whatsoever different than you are doing now. Just keep living like you are living, ignoring God all the live long day, and when you die, suddenly or eventually, your appointment to Hell will be all taken care of for you by an angry God.
But if you want to go to heaven someday, and if you want your sins forgiven, then there is a way you have to go. There is a path down which you must go. Turn to John 14.1-6 and read with me the words of the Lord Jesus Christ to His troubled disciples:
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
So, there is the way the Bible says to go, a path to follow. Jesus is that way. He said so Himself. Go that way and He will take you all the way to heaven. Decide to go some other way and you will end up in Hell.
There are really only two ways you can tackle life, by doing what you think is best, by doing what you want to do, or by doing what God says to do in His Word, the Bible.
“But the Bible is a really old book and I am a contemporary man.”
Technology may change, but man has not changed since the fall of Adam and Eve into sin when they ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. God’s remedy for man’s sin has never changed, either. It’s still the old fashioned Gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news of a Savior who saves sinners from their sins.
Therefore, the road map to heaven hasn’t changed, either, and doesn’t need to change.
Same kind of person.
Same kind of problem.
Same kinds of sins.
Same God. Same Savior.
This is a Bible Church, and we preach a Bible message, take a Bible stand, and work to show people the Bible way to heaven, which is the Jesus Who we find to be the central theme of the Bible. Would you like to talk to me about the salvation that is spoken of in the Bible? I’m willing if you are.