Read — 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Message Alan Burke
On Monday we thought about General Revelation, that how all of us are without excuse, for creation reveals that there is a God. It is a simple truth but one that we often overlook. Yet creation in itself is not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation, for that we need the word of God which is God’s ‘Special Revelation’ to us. It is the means that God makes Himself more clearly and fully known to us, it is His revealed will to us, for in the word of God it communicates to us the need of a saviour, the coming of that saviour, the death of that saviour for us, and the resurrection of that saviour so that we might indeed know that salvation though Jesus Christ our Lord.
We thank God that he did not leave us without his Special revelation, for He has given us His word, contained in “the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him”. Now I’ve taken that as some of you will be able to guess from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q2, and on one level it sounds simple enough, God’s given us His word to teach us how to live to His glory, to get the best out of life, as our guide to life, just as a map and a compass guide a sailor or a torch shows us the way when it is dark, so God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our paths (Ps 119:105).
It may sound simple but if we are willing to admit it, the likelihood is we struggle with this because the word of God is to be our ‘rule’. We don’t like restraints on our freedoms, we like to have the ability to choose how we want to live with out anyone telling us what is right or wrong, and as a society, perversely we seem to laud people who “colour outside the lines”, rule breakers, rebels. When children learn to speak it seems that one of the first words that they learn is “no”, we from a very young age like to be autonomous, we want to do what we want to do and hate being told otherwise. Rules abound in modern life, precisely because people tend to break them and God has given us a “rule” to govern how we are to glorify and enjoy Him because we can’t do it by ourselves.
Paul writing to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14-17 speaks of ‘The Adequacy of scripture’ He wanted to make clear to Timothy that this scripture, the word of God was all that he needed in the work of Christ, was all that he needed to live for Him, was all that he needed as he ministered to others, Paul wanted Timothy to be careful not to stray from it like other had done, more than that he wanted him to know it love it, take confidence in it. Ultimately the scriptures are relevant and supremely useful because their are in their entirety God’s word. The idea conveyed in verse 16 that scripture is breathed out by God, literally in greek means God-breathed. It means that the words of scripture are the very words of God, the prophets and apostles were not inherently infallible human beings (Gal 2:11-13) however when God used them to communicate his revelation they spoke as they were carried along but the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).
If we want to as a people bring glory to God, if we want to be a light to the people in Crossgar, Ballynahinch, Larne or wherever else you’re reading this from, then we need to take his word seriously. It is necessary for us to have an objective standard by which we may pattern our lives on. That is the Word of God, it is the rule that God has given us, His Special revelation to us, it must be the supreme authority in our lives. If we place something else above the Word of God, whether it is conscience or tradition or the church, then we will tend to use that authority to interpret the Word of God in many facets of our lives, we will make the bible fit what we want it to say. Remember that the heart is deceitful (Jer 19:9) the human heart does not like rules, but human beings need them to keep from driving off a cliff of temporal and eternal destruction. Rules are essential “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim 3:16), to keep us pointed in the right direction.
Q64 What is required in the fifth commandment?
The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honor, and performing the duties, belonging to every one in their several places and relations, as superiors, (Eph. 5:21) inferiors, (1 Pet. 2:17) or equals. (Rom. 12:10)