I want to begin doing the work of a teacher and invite you to prove you have had the change of heart I mentioned in the Message of Christianity by listening to a presentation dealing with two doctrinal beliefs the Church has about the Bible. The first one is known as the Doctrine of the Word of God and the second one is known as the Doctrine of the Canon of Scripture.
The Doctrine of the Word of God
In the past, when the books of the Bible were being written, people in the original audience had a different way of thinking about the world around us. They believed the world was a supernatural place, a place where spirits could intervene and be involved in our lives.
Every ancient culture thought this way, and people all around the world would take the time to ask the spirits who were present in their part of the world for advice when they had to make serious, life changing decisions.
The Bible is a collection of messages that were received from one of the ancient spirits who was worshiped in the past. The importance of the Bible is based on its claim to be the Word of God. In other words, the Bible is a real message from heaven.
The reason the Bible is known as the Word of God is because it gives us the information we need to make choices on how to live our lives in agreement with a spiritual being that millions around the world consider to be God, the undisputed ruler of all the inhabitants of the invisible spiritual realm.
The Bible gives us an opportunity to learn how to interact with the only deity recognized as the Highest Power in the spiritual realm. When we say the Bible is the Word of God, we are telling you that there is a Spirit King who all the other spirits are not allowed to question or disobey.
The Bible can guide you to live your life in agreement with God’s understanding of reality. There are a lot of benefits to embracing the Bible as the Word of God and using it as a guide to understand how to make the best choices in our day to day lives.
The reason the Bible can be used as a guide is because there are times when the Christian God makes decrees about what the other inhabitants of the spiritual realm can and cannot do. The Christian God can change the way the universe operates, and all the other spirits (like Allah, Shiva, Kali, and Vishnu to name a few) are completely helpless and powerless to resist or oppose any decision(s) made by the Christian God.
The Bible is a collection of messages that the Christian God has delivered in the past to people living in this world. There are a lot of messages He has given that are recorded in true stories about people who accepted or rejected His advice in the Bible.
In the Bible, we are shown that God spoke directly to the first man and woman who ever lived, before and after they had become guilty of rebellion (see Genesis 2:16-17 and Genesis 3:16-19). There are also stories in the Bible about the Christian God using other people to share His message(s) because ignoring an invisible spirit is easier than ignoring another person.
The Bible contains stories about the people who were chosen to be God’s personal messengers. These stories allow us to know what to expect in terms of being a success and a failure in the responsibility we have to speak as God’s representatives (see Jeremiah 1:7 and 1:9).
All of this information was written down in the past by men so that the Christian God would have a written record of His expectations for our lives available to anyone willing to take the time to learn more about His priorities for our lives in this world.
In my Discipleship Orientation, I mentioned there are five ministry positions within the Church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds (or pastors) and the teachers. In this presentation I am doing the work of a Teacher by explaining the Bible’s importance to the local Church; however I am not doing anything new.
I am trying to help you become comfortable with the implications of what the Bible says about itself in many different places and many different ways. Let me give you two examples of what I am referring to.
The Bible says “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8 ESV)
The Bible also says “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
When I look around the Internet, I see that it is becoming real popular in the English speaking world to talk about having “karma” so let me address that way of thinking for a moment and say if you are in a situation were you are struggling with bad karma, the Bible is “profitable” for escaping, the Christian God is able to release you from being trapped like that. All you have to do is listen to what He has to say in the Word of God.
Now I want to deal with the second doctrinal topic which deal with what belongs in the Bible.
The Doctrine of the Canon of Scripture
Now that we have dealt with the doctrine of the Word of God, we need to deal with the question that immediately follows, and that question is simply this: where should we look to find the Word of God?
I want to answer that question for you right now by introducing you to the Doctrine of the Canon of Scripture. In a recently written theology book, a man named Wayne Grudem offers a definition that we want to live in agreement with.
Wayne Grudem says “The Canon of Scripture is the list of all the books that belong in the Bible,” and his definition is a summary of a position held by Christians who were (and some who still are) involved in attending and ministering within the Anglican, Baptist, Dispensational, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Orthodox, Presbyterian, Reformed and Wesleyan Churches scattered around the English speaking world.
By faith, we stand with them.
By faith we believe there are 39 Old Testament books written before Jesus Christ was born that were preserved by an act of God to help us become wise for salvation and to make the Church equipped for every good work. The English names of the 39 Old Testament books are as follows:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job. Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
By faith, we also believe there are 27 New Testament books written after Jesus Christ was born that were preserved by an act of God to help us become wise for salvation and to make the Church equipped for every good work. The English names of the 27 New Testament books are as follows:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude and the Revelation.
The Bible says “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6), and we have gathered here to celebrate the faith that can only be nurtured by listening to and trusting the information contained in the Old and New Testament books listed above.
By faith we understand the Old and New Testament books are the Only Word of God available to help us understand what God want sour lives to look like. By faith we understand that the Bible is the only place in the world where God explains Himself to people living in this world.
If we have the faith without which we cannot please God, we will recognize that the Canon of Scripture is the only Word of God available to us. We will be living in agreement with the words that Moses wrote to Israel: “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV)
By faith in the Canon of Scripture as the only Word of God available to us, we understand the warning God gave in Revelation 22:18-19 which says that if anyone adds anything to the List of the Canon of Scripture, “God will add to him all of the plagues described” in the Old and New Testament portions of the Word of God.
By having faith in the Bible as the only Word of God available to us, we can live our lives in a way that pleasing to God. When someone hides, distracts, or discourages others from listening to any part of the Old and New Testament portions as the only Word of God available to us, God will take away his share in the tree of life and the holy city which is being built right now for the Church to enjoy forever.
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