Attributes of Scripture from Psalm 19

9 07 2012

I’ve had the opportunity recently to preach from Psalm 19:7-14, which happens to be one of the few places in the Bible that touches on all four of the major attributes of Scripture: Necessity, Authority, Sufficiency, and Clarity (or you can use the acronymn SCAN, which I “borrowed” from Kevin DeYoung, to help you remember these four attributes). Anyway, I thought I’d briefly outline some of what Psalm 19 (specifically v.7-9) has to say about Scripture.  Much, much more could be said, but here is a brief outline for your edification:

1. Necessity Psalm 19 begins with the truth that Creation itself testifies that there is a Creator.  However, our default state as human beings is to reject God (Rom. 3:10-11, cf. Rom. 1:19-20) and therefore we cannot know God, gain a proper prospective of Him, ourselves, or the world without Scripture.  In other words, although a beautiful sunset may make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, it can’t point you to Christ, and explain to you the Gospel.  Only Scripture can revive the soul (v.7).

2. Authority In v.7-14 David is specifically referring to the Torah and he says that the precepts, testimony, rules, commandments, and Law that he is speaking about is “of the LORD” (this is repeated 6 times!). In other words, even though Moses wrote the Torah, David doesn’t emphasize Moses’ authorship- he emphsizes God’s.  The infinite, triune, self-sufficient, God of the universe moved in and through human authors to preserve exactly the words that He wanted to convey to mankind. Therefore, to disbelieve or disobey Scripture is to disbeleive and disobey God Himself.

3. Clarity Scripture is refered to as “pure” in the 2nd half of v.8.  It is “clean”, without any darkness in it.  God is not speaking in “Bible Code” or ready to hold us accountable for something He did not reveal to us in Scripture.  No one will be able to stand before God and say “Your Word wasn’t clear enough as to what I was supposed to know and do.”

4. Sufficiency In his Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem says “The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God He intended His people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting Him perfectly, and for obeying Him perfectly.

Think of what the Psalm affirms about Scripture- It is perfect, sure, right, pure, and true. Scripture is whole, complete and it is not lacking. It’s trustworthy and convincing. The Spirit uses it to take a simple undiscerning mind and makes it skilled in the vital issues of life. It points us to the One way, Christ,  who is the only source of eternal life. Scripture is undefiled, inerrant, infallible, and does not pass away. It is this Book that is the standard for judging the life and eternal destiny of every person. The Word is reliable.  It gives us the very will of God for our lives!  All of these things testify to the Sufficiency of Scripture, which a “practical” denial of I believe, is one of the biggest problems in many churches today.

Application: So what do we do with this information?  Are we a people who tremble at God’s Word (Is. 66:2)?  Is it in our minds and hearts?  Do we look to the Word as the means by which God saves us, keeps us, and sanctifies us?  If our prayer is like David’s in v.14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” then we must be in His Word…

I believe as a society we have more access to the Bible than any other people in history.  We’ve been given much, yet many people who claim to be Christians know very little about, and give very little attention to God’s Word- what about you? You could start with some personal reflection on Psalm 19 😉


What should we do on Sunday mornings?

5 07 2012

This post is from a series of blogs I wrote last year working on answering the question: How long should a church service be? In this post we’ll look at what should be included during our weekly gatherings. You can see the whole blog series in .pdf format by clicking HERE.

The elements to be included in the weekly gathering of the Local Church must be Word driven.  In other words, what we should be doing as the Body on Sunday mornings is Word ministry.  John 8:31 says

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples ……

We cannot worship God, and we cannot edify the brethren if we are not abiding in the Word on Sunday mornings.  What’s amazing is that God is not silent or intentionally ambiguous about what should be included in our services!  He plainly reveals these truths to us in Scripture.  So, let’s now discuss what His Word reveals that we should be doing in our regular gatherings:

  • 1. Preaching the Word (2 Tim. 4:1-2)  This is first for a reason.  The preaching of God’s Word is essential.  It should be central and priority to all other things happening on Sunday morning.  Perhaps you do all the rest on this list on Sundays, but if you leave out this one out you’ve missed the “main ingredient” to God’s intent for our gatherings.
  • 2. Singing the Word (Colossians 3:16)  This doesn’t mean you have to find a chapter in the Bible and sing it exactly word for word (although that can work at times!).  But it does mean that you should actually be singing portions of Scripture in your songs, and songs that are not portions of Scripture should be able to be easily “proved” to be implied by portions of Scripture.
  • 3.  Reading and Praying the Word (Acts 2:42, 1 Timothy 2:1, 4:13)  Yes, this element is included in the Sermon, but it should not just be during the sermon that the church is reading and praying the Word.  There should be other times during the service that the Word of God is read publicly and that the prayers of the Saints are prayed according to the Word.
  • 4. Living the Word–  This is the local body living out the Word during corporate gatherings (not just “go act like a Christian when the services are over”).  What I mean is that there are other elements that God says to include in our services that I am classifying here as “living the Word.”  So, these elements include:

a. Financial Giving (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)  Giving to the church is not just a “good idea” but it’s the duty of Believers!  This doesn’t mean you have to “pass the plates” during a service, but it does mean there should be at least a designated area (offering box, etc.) Where the Body can give financially in worship and obedience to Christ.

b. The Lord’s Supper and Baptism (Matthew 28:19, 1 Cor. 11:17-34)  These may not actually happen every Sunday but for a healthy church they should be happening on a regular basis.

c. Fellowship (Hebrews 3:12-14, and many others!) This does not mean eating (although, I’m down for lunch any time) True fellowship is sharing the truths of Christ with one another.  We must constantly be willing to ask how one’s walk with Christ is going and to share what Christ is doing currently in your life.