Sufficiency of the Scriptures in the Local Church
- We have to focus on the skeletal structure of the local church first. You must have a proper/ high view of God. Knowing and glorifying Him. To fail in this is to fail in it all.
- Before we look at the second non-negotiable truth for a healthy church…
- In the beginning the Lord created all things. His glory and wisdom seen creation. The image of God placed on man. Everything was good.
- The Fall: Image of God is partially lost. The earth is placed under the curse. Man is separated from God, and the intimate knowledge of God is lost.
- Throughout History: God has revealed Himself to men- Breaking forth in history in order to display his character and glory- Moses on the Mountain/ Children of Israel/ The Lord hides him in the clef of the rock – He declares his name to him.
- Solomon, dedication of the temple: His glory fills the temple; people cannot stand
- Isaiah: Given a vision of the glory of God, seeing His Holiness, “woe is me”
- Daniel; seeing the vision of the Ancient of days and the Son of man. All kingdoms handed over to him.
- God fully revealed in Christ. The express image of the invisible God. If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. His life testifying to the character of God.
- His transfiguration: showing the glory of God.
- The cross: The place where every attribute of God is seen at one time. His justice, His Love, His mercy, His Wrath unveiled for all the world to see. A greater revelation of God than all of the OT combined. At which Christ could say- “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him” (John 13:31).
- In the Resurrection: He was declared the Son of God with POWER- Testifying once again the glory of the Lord.
- All of these events speak to who He is- showing forth His glory.
- Yet we are amazed to see Eph. 3 (16-21). The eternal purpose of God is that His glory will not only be made known to the church, but to also be put on display by the church for all of the world to see.
- The Glory of God/ the manifold wisdom of God is- displayed for both heaven and earth to marvel at. His work among the people of God still reveals His glory to both heaven and earth.
- Peter tells us, that angels long to look at this glorious gospel that saves men (1 Pet. 1:12).
- The church is not something small and insignificant. But God is currently displaying his glory, His wisdom to the world through the church. Angels and the heavens marvel at the work of Christ displayed in the church. Yet, we are guilty of forsaking the assembly because we stayed up to late the night before.
- The church is important- but you will only see that as you see the glory of God.
Second skeletal foundation that must be in place; Sufficiency of the Scriptures in the Church.
- Times past the battle was over inerrancy. Is it God’s Word?
- Today’s battle is, are they sufficient? Can I trust it? “Of course” most say. “The Scriptures tell us what to believe, and how to live.” It tells me what is sin, and what is righteous. Yet, the Christian community fails to ask the question, “Does it tell us about the church? What is a healthy church in the eyes of the Lord? How we should approach Him?”
- QUESTION IS: How the church should be established- how to worship, how to do missions, who should be an elder? Are we allowed to set it up as we desire?
- Discovered: Many hold doctrine high- declare the authority of the Scriptures- they are willing to fight for the truth; yet when it comes to establishing what the Scriptures establish for a church, they tend to ignore the Scriptures.
- I believe one of the greatest dangers of the church today is Pragmatism= doing something because it produces results- not asking if it is right to do.
- Men setup church today by asking the question, what would the people like?
- It is like the doctor asking the patient who needs a heart transplant, what he should do!
- Men ASK: What are other churches doing? What is new and exciting? What works and produces the desired results? How can I grow the church? See results from another ministry- apply it. Hear about a new fad, run out there and learn about it.
- This is instead of asking what the Scriptures tell us.
1) Must Understand: Because of our condition, we are not reliable guides. We cannot trust our instincts. We do not walk by feeling. If we do, we will error. Cannot trust traditions/ must be measured.
- Man has not only proven himself to be inventers of gods, we not only invent a god to suit our needs- but we are inventors of how to approach Him.
- The Scriptures are full of examples of men who approached God in their own way. And we see God reaction to them:
- Golden Calf. They were sincere – desired to honor the Lord- wrong approach. Many were killed. God was displeased.
- Nadab and Abihu: killed (Lev. 10)
- Uzzah: thought he could touch the Ark (2 Sam. 6)
- Israel: offering sacrifices, that the Lord hated (Amos 5:21-23)
- Corinthians rebuked for their irrelevance (1 Cor. 11:17)
- God is not indifferent to how we approach Him in worship. Does not matter how sincere we feel. God has revealed how we are to approach Him.
- He has instructed us who He is, and how the church should approach Him, and how the worship in the church is to be conducted- who is to lead- what elements are in the church.
- Deut. 17- God tells them when they come into the land, he will set a king over them/ he gives instructions on what the king should not do. (V. 18-19). The King was to write the law/ The whole law/ read the law/ so he would know the law- and apply to all of the kingdom.
- How would he know what to do? Through what is written. See a pattern…
- 1 Tim. 3:14-16: Familiar passage. Purpose of letter: “how you ought to conduct yourself…”
- Letter covers: 1) Doctrine: stay away from the strange/ myths/ speculations
- Goal of instruction: love (pure heart, good conscience, sincere faith)
2) Prayer: for all men (kings and those in authority)
- Gender relationships: role of women (God’s design- internal humility)
3) Office/ Qualifications of leadership: Biblical and mature-
- Later in Letter: Apostasy, windows, marks of an excellent servant, relationship of elders and members, exhortations- continue to fight the good fight.
- Point out: How should Timothy know how he should conduct himself in the church? By what is written! How did the King know how to function? By what is written! How do we…
- God has given to us- all we need to know to function as we should, to please Him. PERSONALLY & Corporately. We don’t need to meditate in a corner to think up ideas- we open the Bible…
- Description of church: “how to conduct ourselves in the household of God”
- Many metaphors used in the Scriptures to describe the church.
1) She is defined by her relationship to God. Each illustration defining how God relates and cares for her.
2) ALSO See a relationship of Authority. God is the authority/ God of His people/ the Builder/ the Shepherd/ the Head/ The Bridegroom/ the Architect/ and Father of the household.
3) In this position; He has all rights. He makes the provisions.
- We can see why Paul adds this description to how they should conduct themselves.
1) Reminder: It is not your house. He has authority over it. He has rights to it.
- Just described the qualifications of a elder and deacon- but wants to show, they are not ultimately in charge of his house- HE is. All rights and authority.
2) It is precious to Him: He is the Father of His household. He loves, it/ precious.
- I love a lot of things: good food, watching the sunrise, fishing, and my job- but nothing compares to my family. I would give it all up for them- ministry and all.
- Yet my love is nothing compared to the love He has for His family. So precious, he rent heaven and earth to save them. Giving His beloved Son (Treasure)….
- We are talking about God as Father the household: He is a Jealous God- not an attribute we think of often. Joshua 24:19- He is a jealous God, Zech. 1:14; Jealous for His people.
- Jealously used as positive and negative virtue: confusing- Negative Jealous, “you have something I do not have” that is sin. Not the Jealously of God.
- Positive: Zeal to protect a loving relationship. “I love you so much, I’m jealous for your goodness.” It is proper jealously.
- My wife is mine, God has given her to me to care for. I love her. If another man comes up to my wife in attempt to take her away, my jealously to protect our relationship is aroused.
- God has chosen a bride, a people: He has put His name on her. He loves her with an everlasting love.
- Let me ask you something: EXAMPLE: What reaction? If I left a person in charge of my family while away in India- Specific instructions: care for them, what to eat, time for bed, brushing of teeth, money I left for their care.
- Yet, the person ignores my instructions: thinks he knows best. Spends the money, feeds them junk, does not brush their teeth, guard their bed time- Do you think I’m going to be pleased with that person?
- Furious. God is jealous- for He loves His bride more/ has given perfect instructions- written down for us- do you think He does not care for His family? It is His household. Not ours.
- We have no rights over her. He knows how to care for her better than we do. We follow His instructions. The Scriptures are Sufficient! We trust in His Word.
- The goal of many is to make the church bigger… add numbers.
- We will be judged on faithfulness, and not numbers. We must reject pragmatic means. Reject our own methods for church growth, reject our own programs, refuse to listen to the world about what they desire in a church, stop trying to please man- and commit ourselves to pleasing Him, through trusting in the Scriptures and establishing God’s design for the church.
- He has all rights/ authority/ and she is precious to Him. They are His children.
- 2nd description: “church of the Living God”- sounds repetitive? Description is informative
- Living God: is an OT idea. It is in reference to dead idols.
- In Jeremiah, the Psalms (Ps. 115:3-7)- Comparison is with idols. They are dead, and they have no life.
- Our God is not like that- Alive, He hears/ Hear moves/ He sees/ and HE SPEAKS!
- That is the key to Pauls’ thought. He is written to them, so they will know how to conduct themselves in the household of God (who is the owner, who has authority over, and who loves His family), the church of the Living God (who sees all things, who hears all things, who has moved heaven and earth, and He has spoken). It is written for us- He has spoken how we should conduct ourselves in His household.
- The question is, are we going to listen, or try and please man? We going to try and reach India our way, or trust in Him and do things His way?
- Hebrews 8:5: comparison of the old with the new. Christ as High Priest in the heaven is greater than the earthly priesthood. The earthly priesthood served as a copy, and shadow…
- The tabernacle was a shadow pointing to the reality of Christ and His church.
- Yet, we when read Exodus- it is clear, God gave specific instructions in building it.
- In fact, Moses was warned by God (verse 5). The Thundering God, Mt. burning.
- Warned, to construct the details to what he was shown “according to the pattern”. Men called out- and gifted to build it to the exact specifications.
- What do you think would have happened, if he said, I think this will work instead…
- If God warned Moses, to construct the shadow with such precision, do we honestly think he does not care how we approach the structure in the church, which is now the temple build with Living stones- the House of God?
- God is not indifferent, He has given us instructions on how we should approach Him.
- How is the local church established? Who are the leaders and what are their qualifications? How do we approach God? What is our message? Who can be a member? How does the church reach out in missions? All are established in the Scriptures.
- If we follow the pattern, there will not be anything attractive to the eyes of the world.
- We offer nothing to this world but Jesus Christ. In Him we offer everything. As we see in Eph. The church as a whole should reflect His glory. Thus, all things should be setup to reflect Him. The great attraction is Christ- the thing that rebels men is Him.
- If we are using any other means to attract people to our church, we are in the wrong. Our service, our preaching, our leaders, our evangelism, our message, our churches, should be established to make much of Him. We should approach each the way He has designed- the way that pleases Him.
- We should be jealous for His name.
- We need to be faithful churches, and not so much worry about the results. Faithful congregations that pray in a way that make much of Him. Songs that reflect deep Biblical truth. Preaching that cuts to the heart of men through the whole counsel of God.
- We have to fight the good fight, and refuse the easy path. We must refuse compromise.
- Yet, in the States, most churches cater to the unbeliever.
- We have men sent out that are not qualified, evangelism methods that are not biblical, and message that is humanistic instead of Christ-Centered, there is no discipleship, no training of men, no real prayer meeting, no real and Christ-centered fellowship. The music is more about personal benefit than Christ exalting-
- We are to reflect His glory- (Eph. 3:16-21)