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The Bible - sound words to follow (1 Timothy 1:13)

The Bible as a Basis for our Belief and Behaviour

Bible readings

2 Timothy 1:8-14

(8) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,

(9)  who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

(10)  but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

(11)  to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

(12)  For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

(13)  Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:16

 (16)  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for doctrine [teaching], for reproof, for correction, and for training [instruction] in righteousness, 

Psalm 119:41-48 

Let Your mercies come also to me, O LORD—Your salvation according to Your word.

So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word.

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I have hoped in Your ordinances.

So shall I keep Your law continually, Forever and ever.

And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.

I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, And will not be ashamed.

And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love.

My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, Which I love, And I will meditate on Your statutes.

Introduction

When I read this passage two things struck me:

  1. Verse 8 – Paul is appealing to Christians to stand up and be counted and not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor

    We see in the 14th chapter of Acts of the Apostles where Paul had been so severely beaten up he was left for dead by the Jewish antagonists of Christ, believing he was never going to preach the gospel again. When Paul came to – what did he do – he returned to the area and continues to preach the gospel!
  2. Verse 13 – Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

This verse stuck me because: an online magazine I had read earlier last month had stated that the problem with our churches has arisen from that fact we have forsaken the Bible.

Indeed more than that: we have become embarrassed by the Word of God – it simply does not align with the values of the world and churches have acceded to this.

Alistair Begg[1] remarked:

We live at a time in which truth has been devalued and tolerance has been enthroned, and young men and women growing up in our churches with a kind of “accept everything” Christianity, devoid of a solid understanding of biblical theology, and are these folk trembling on the brink of capitulation to this world.

The magazine author appeared to indicate that the failure of our modern Church arises because we have left the Word of God. This is so true, and is indeed why the church is in a time of confusion.

There has been a wholesale attempt to modify the Word of God to match the current so-called ethical requirements of the world. If modification has not work, then the Bible is abandoned altogether as the founding document of the church.

Some have become embarrassed by the Word of God – the Bible does not align what the modern liberals (with a small L) have to say in respect of what we ought to believe or and how we should behave. And we see this is where the Apostle Paul begins in his passage – do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord.

As the Holy Spirit says to the Church of Ephesus in Revelation – the church had abandoned their first love. That first love is encapsulated in the Bible; and is the Lord Jesus Christ who have his life for the Church as Ephesians says.

We are told that that the Bible simply does not match the beliefs and actions deemed essential in this modern world, so Christians, rather than suffer the humiliation of the persecution of our fellow men, many have acceded and obeyed the desires of the world rather than God.

However, this sermon will not be dwelling on tension between the far left, or the socialist left, or even the far right but rather about how Christians ought to treat the Holy Scriptures – the Bible: and focus verse 13 do not be ashamed of the testimony, along with a verse in chapter 3.

The passage at hand is for Christians and about Christians – in particular for Timothy as it was a reminder he had to rely upon the sound words of Paul – which even at this stage of history were in circulation in writing and formed a part of the New Testament.

I want to come back to the fundamentals.

The most fundamental is the Christian needs to be in the Bible and take his or her instruction from the Scriptures: as Paul writes in his first letter to the Ephesians:

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word (Ephesians 5:25-26)

This uses that technical term sanctify which can cause a little confusion.

We all know that to be saved from the wrath of God’s judgement, a person must put his or her trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.  

After which we all have a life to live – and in living that life as Paul puts it, we are running a race (see 2 Tim 2:5).  It is in the life we must grow more and more Christ like; we are to put off the old things, those things that hold us back, or trip us up; we practice godliness more like Christ than a donkey (remembering it was a Donkey who spoke the truth to Balaam who was trying to run from God).

Indeed earlier in this letter Paul writes that in our life, like in a race or any sport, needs to keep to the rules. How do we know those rules? They are in the Word of God.

We are grow in our faith – this is sanctification and it is carried out by the work of the Holy Spirit, if we allow Him to do so.

Paul gives a very practical example – of both where Scripture is important and how sanctification occurs. He says

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

Another example:  Paul writes in Romans 12

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind (put aside worldly values), that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Note well the words; “by testing”.

The Bible, can be referred as the Canon – which really is a word from the Latin to mean ‘rod or ‘measuring stick’. It is by the Bible that we test all things – to see if its fake or true, solid or empty and useless.

It is the Scriptures we find what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Context of these Verses

The Apostle Paul is writing to Timothy, to encourage him in his Ministry in the Church at Ephesus – and in his two letters, time after time he points Timothy to the Scriptures or that what Paul has written – which appears as books in our modern bibles.

He is addressing two things

  1. Doctrinal confusion: people did not know what they were supposed to believe,
  2. Model confusion: men and women were just unclear as to how they ought to behave.

In 1 Timothy Paul points out that some were teaching a different doctrine: they were not teaching the true gospel of Christ, but had introduced the notion that one had to do certain things in order to be saved – in some cases this included the need for circumcision (See also Gal 5:2) (1 Tim 1:3).

In Ephesians we learn that there is absolutely nothing we can do to contribute to our Salvation – it is totally in the hand of Christ, it was his doing of the cross that saves us. We only need to trust Jesus Christ.

In another place in the first letter to Timothy Paul gives an example where shunning the Word Of God had led to disaster. Two men had literally swerved from the truth – indeed abandoned it: Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Timothy 1:20), were morally corrupt and had to be isolated until they came to their senses.

The Bible is the authoritative Word of God

Paul’s challenge was to give the urgency to Timothy in an environment of total confusion, the absolute truthfulness and authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures.

  1. Scriptures were absolutely true
  2. Authoritative
  3. Sufficient

Thus this message is about the Bible; and importantly it’s an encouragement that our divine direction starts with the Bible.

Reflect on the Bible

  • The Bible was written by 40 authors in one of three languages
  • The amazing thing is these 40 authors that penned the words, over a period of 1500 years, and yet the words come together as a uniform coherent book – there is no conflict within the Canon.
  • Furthermore, the words have survived thousands of years.
  • In the English version the Bible says more than 3,000 times “thus saith the Lord” while the New Testament directly records the words of Jesus Christ.

Why we can trust the Bible[2]

  1. All Scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

The Bible has a supernatural origin; every revelation in the Bible was provided to the author by God. It is because Scripture is God given that it is profitable for teaching (what to believe), reproof (what not to believe), correction (how to live), and training (how not to live).

  1. It is the Word of God to man (John 10:35)

The Bible was written for man’s benefit by God for him.

If he called them gods to whom the word of God came--and Scripture cannot be broken

  1. The Bible is infallible (Psalm 19:7)

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;

  1. It is without error (Proverbs 30:5, 6)

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

  1. The Bible was originally given by God – it was not made up (2 Peter 1:21)

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

  1. The giving of the Bible was by divine inspiration, and that divine inspiration is plenary [complete] – that is fully inspired (Romans 15:4)

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

  1. It is verbally inspired (Matthew 4:4)

But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

  1. It is agrees with the Holy Spirit and God (2 Samuel 23:2)

"The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue.

  1. It is the very words of God, possessing all of His authority (Isaiah 1:2)

The Bible is the authentic words of God, carrying His full weight

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the LORD has spoken.

  1. It is sufficient to save sinners (2 Tim. 3:15)

It was by Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother that Timothy came to the saving knowledge of God:

From childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

  1. It has clarity for understanding (Psalm 119:105)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  (14)  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  (15)  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" Romans 10:13-15 

  1. It has the efficacy of convicting sinners (Hebrews 4:12)

If one study’s the book of Acts, it is the preaching of the Holy Scriptures that convicts sinners of their sin:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

  1. The central purpose of Scripture is to confess and witness to the Messiah (Luke 24:44)

Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

Putting into practice

Its origin is from God

Scripture is the foundation upon which we make our stand.  All Scripture is Breathed out and therefore, we know and believe its profitability is tied to its origin we need to act.

Paul urges:  Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim 1:13

He goes on:  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness 2 Timothy 3:16

We need to read it, study it, meditate upon it, and put it into practice

  • Carrying it around will not save you
  • Revering it will not glorify God
  • Reading it will however transform you

There is a lot more to be said here, but I will leave that for another day.

Summary

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for doctrine [teaching], for reproof, for correction, and for training [instruction] in righteousness, 

  • The Bible is an absolutely reliable source for exactly what God wants man to know, what God wants man to believe, and how God wants the believer to behave in his or her spiritual life.
  • How important it is to hold fast the great truth that the Bible is the Word of God, and therefore “God-breathed.”
  • All apostasy starts with the denial of this fact.
  • The Scriptures are the permanent expression of the mind and will of God.
  • It is not merely that the truth is given in them by inspiration, but they are inspired.
  • They are the expression of God’s own thoughts. They are our only authority.
  • Upon the constant use of the Bible’s words depends every thing
  • Without adhering to the Scriptures and being obedient to them, we also would be swept along by the current of apostasy (wrong doing or falsehood – becoming fake news).
  • Profitable for teaching (doctrine – sets out the fundamental truth), which we get alone from the Word of God, and which is the foundation of everything we believe.
  • Then follows “reproof” or conviction; to deal with wrong teaching.
  • This is followed by correction and instruction for righteousness – dealing with right and wrong behaviour.
  • And then the Christian, obedient to the Scriptures in all things, is perfect, thoroughly finished or equipped unto every good work. An in this we please Our Father in Heaven.
  • In this we build with  gold, silver, precious stones, and our treasure is in Heaven – it will not rot, or be burnt up like those that build their lives, metaphorically out of wood, hay and straw.

[1] Alister Begg from Truth for Life https://www.truthforlife.org/about/

[2] Taken from the work of Arnold Fruchtenbaum on the Bible: see https://www.ariel.org/

David L Simon
6 November 2022 (PUC)
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