The Inerrant Word of God
II Timothy 3:16-17
Take your Bibles please and turn to the book of II Timothy chapter 3.
This morning we began a brand new series.
Itís going to be a brief series.
I believe Christmas time most of all we should focus on the fundamentals of the faith.
But for the next three Sundays, counting today, I want us to think about six Fundamentals of Our Faith.
>You hear the word "fundamentalist" used most of the time today derogatorily.
But I want you to know fundamentalist is not a bad word.
It is a very good word, and it is a very descriptive word.
It is not to be identified with folks that are mean and ugly and hateful.
It is a word that simply describes a personís belief system.
If a person does not believe in the fundamentals of the faith...
Then that person cannot be identified as a fundamentalist...
And I seriously question whether or not that person is a real Christian.
If you do not believe these fundamentals, I donít know how you could possibly be a child of God.
A person who does believe these six fundamentals of the faith are fundamentalist and they at least can be saved.
A person can believe every one of these things by the way and not be a real Christian.
These are not original with me.
These six fundamentals of the faith have been around for a long time.
And weíre going to look at them.
The last five of them are dealing with the word of God.
The incarnate word of God is Jesus Christ himself...
And weíre going over the next five weeks to think about...
His virgin birth, his sinless life, his atoning death...
His bodily resurrection, and his second coming.
Those are the five fundamentals of the word, Jesus Christ.
>Today we think about the first fundamental of the faith...
And that is the inspired, inerrant, in fallible word of God.
I was interested to find out on my computer that has only the amount of intelligence that somebody puts into it...
One of the greatest tragedies of our day, and Iím not kidding...
Is that we have come to believe that computers are more intelligent than we are...
And that is not true.
Computers were never created in the image of God.
The Bible never says that computers have the mind of Christ.
The Bible says we are created in the image of God.
The Bible says those of us that are saved have the mind of Christ.
And so do not ever be intimidated by a computer.
It only spits out what somebody spit into it.
I was enlightened to discover that the word "inerrant" is not a real word according to my computer.
My computer says there is no such word as "inerrant".
How could that possibly be when people use that word?
Where do words come from?
Words do not come from computers.
Words do not come from dictionary writers.
Words come from the people who speak them.
When I was a boy my mother said, "Ainít is not a word".
And I looked it up in the dictionary and according to the dictionary writer "ainít" was not a word.
But itís there now because I kept on using it!
There may not be in your dictionary a word that says "inerrant" but just keep using it and it will be there soon.
The Bible is the inerrant, infallible, perfect, without mixture of error truth of the word of God.
And thatís what we want to think about.
As believers, as Christians, we are Bible people.
We are unapologetically Bible people.
We believe the Bible...we proclaim the Bible...
We study the Bible...we defend the Bible...
We stand on the Bible...
We are Bible people.
And so I want us to think this morning about the Bible.
>There are many passages in the Bible that talk about the nature of scripture.
But Iíve chosen one today that I want us to focus on.
II Timothy chapter 3, and we begin reading in verse 14.
Paul says: But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it.
(Verse 15) And how from infancy you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
(Verse 16) All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
(Verse 17) So that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
>Now these verses tell me seven things the scriptures say about themselves.
And so let me share with you hurriedly these seven simple and yet very profound truths...
Which constitute the reason why the inerrant word of God is a fundamental of our faith.
>#1 Ė The Bible teaches that scriptures can be known by children.
The Bible teaches that scriptures can be known by children.
Look in verse 14: But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it.
(Verse 15) and how from infancy you have known the holy scriptures.
The scriptures can be known by children.
Isnít that good to know?
That little boys and girls can know the word of God.
One of the greatest lies the devil ever told is that the Bible is too mysterious to understand.
Thereís too much imagery.
Thereís too much symbolism.
There are too many things that are mysterious.
Thereís no way that a person can know and understand the Bible...
And yet the Bible says that a child can know the scriptures.
Little boys and little girls can know the Bible.
Now I donít care if Professor Poppycock says that boys and girls cannot comprehend the great truths of the word of God.
The Bible says differently.
Paul says to Timothy, "Since you were an infant, you knew the holy scriptures."
>Now how did he know them?
Well look back up there in verse 14.
He says: continue in what you have learned and have been convinced of, because you knew those from whom you learned it.
That word "whom" is not singular in this text.
It is plural.
And so that means there was more than one person...
Responsible for teaching young Timothy as a boy the word of God.
Now who taught him the Bible?
Well go back into the first chapter.
Look in chapter 1, verse 5...Paul says:
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am not persuaded, now lives in you also.
>Where did Timothy learn as a child the word of God?
Iíll tell you where he learned it.
He learned it from a sweet, sweet mother, and a godly grandmother.
You see friends, the world today tries to force upon us a different image...
Of what a woman of the new millennium ought to be.
And yet the word of God makes it clear...
That a woman cannot measure her success by her portfolio or job advancement.
A woman can measure her success by how much of the word of God...
She gets into her children and grandchildren.
Now I know thatís not very popular, and it may not even be politically correct...
Though I have to tell you, I really donít lay awake at night wondering about that.
Iím telling you, the Bible is an unchanging book...
And the word of God has great merit to say about a mother and a grandmother...
Who will spend their time investing in their childrenís lives teaching them the word of God.
Friends, children can know the Bible.
>Now look over back in chapter 3.
Look down at verse 14 again.
How did Eunice and Lois teach little Timothy the word of God?
Look what it says:
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of.
Now notice two things.
He said: "You learned it and you were convinced of it", talking about the scriptures.
You learned the scriptures and you were convinced of the scriptures.
He learned the scriptures from the lips of his grandmother and his mother.
He learned the scriptures from their lips.
But he was assured of the scripture, he was convinced of the scripture...
He was given proof that the word of God really works by the life of his grandmother and mother.
He learned it from their lips.
He was assured of it by their lives.
You remember what Jesus said about the Pharisees?
One of the most scathing attacks Jesus ever brought upon anybody...
Was when he brought that hot, blistering attack against the Pharisees, and he said...
"The Pharisees, they say and do not."
They say and do not.
They have lip but they have no life.
Jesus said, "Because of that they are hypocrites."
They are pretenders, fakers, mask wearers.
Jesus says, "Donít be like that."
Mothers, grandmothers...you say, "Well, where was the father?"
I donít know.
But Iíll tell you this, he was sorry if he didnít get in on this too.
You see, friends, God did not call women to be the spiritual leaders of your family.
God did not call the wife to be the spiritual leader of your family.
God called the husband to do that.
Now why are Eunice and Lois commended here and no mention is made of Timothyís father?
I donít know.
Perhaps he was not a saved man.
Perhaps he was gone most of the time, and therefore...
Eunice and Lois were there in the home with the little boy and they had more time.
But Paul commends them for the fact that they taught their child the word of God.
So the first thing we need to understand about this inerrant word of God...
Is that it can be understood by children.
>The second thing I want you to see is that the scriptures not only can be known of children...
The scriptures are to be studied by adults.
Look in verse 14: but as for you...
You know what a lot of people believe?
A lot of people believe, "Well, you know when I was a kid I went to this thing called Sunday School...
I went to SS and we shot paper wads and had rubber bands flying through the air...
We giggled and talked, and when the teacher turned we threw things...
But I tell you, when I got to be an adult I just didnít think I needed that SS stuff anymore."
Friends, please be very careful how you display your ignorance.
Please donít come out of the closet.
If youíre ignorant, stay in the closet.
I mean, just donít blab it out all at one time...hide it.
I mean be as ignorantly stupidly concealed as you possibly can.
You say, "Bro. Joe, if I donít come to SS Iím ignorant and stupid?"
I couldnít have said it any better than that.
Why do we need to study the Bible as adults?
>Well #1 Ė God said to.
Look back in chapter 2, verse 15...
The Bible says: study to show thyself approved unto God.
Listen, if you donít study the Bible youíre not approved of God.
Study to show yourself approved unto God.
Most of us are more concerned about meeting the approval of our spouse or kids or parents...
Or teacher or employer...
When we ought to be concerned about being approved of God.
Study to show yourself approved of God.
And so one reason adults need to study the Bible is because God says so.
>Another reason, a very practical reason, is because we face many more temptations than children face.
Those little boys and girls over there in childrenís church this morning, what kind of temptations are they facing?
Some, but very limited.
Theyíre not facing the temptations to be immoral.
Theyíre not facing the temptation to cheat on their income tax.
Theyíre not facing the temptation to take shortcuts to success.
Those are adult temptations.
And friends, because you and I have to face greater temptations...
How much more is it a fact that we need to know what this book says?
So we need to continue, we need to study the Bible as adults...
So that we can know how to deal with temptations when they come.
>But also, a third reason, not only because God tells us to and because we have to face temptations...
We also have to make more decisions than children make.
Those little four and five year olds over there, what decisions are they gonna have to make today?
Well theyíre gonna have to decide when they get home whether theyíre gonna watch TV or play...
I mean, what kind of a decision is that?
What kind of spiritual life do you have to have to make a decision like that?
What else do they have to decide?
Well they have to decide, some of those little boys and girls...
How to get mom and dad to come to church on Sunday night.
I guarantee you, every one of those little boys and girls want to come tonight.
Itís just the sorry parents they have that wonít bring them.
So thatís the decisions they have to make.
>Now what kind of decisions do we have to make?
Man you have to make job decisions.
You make decisions about who you are going to marry.
You make decisions about where you are going to go to college.
You make decisions about what kind of investments...
How are you going to know how to make those decisions unless you have the word of God?
You see, friends, when you became a Christian...
You gave up your right to make decisions based upon what the world says.
You gave up that right.
>I had a fellow call me this week, and I tell you, they call all the time.
They call your house as well.
Someone called me representing, I think it was Merrill Lynch, and he said...
"We want you to come to this meeting and weíre going to give you this and this and this free...
And weíre even going to teach you how to make these strategic investments...
So that when you get to be 60 you can be a millionaire."
You say, "Bro. Joe, that sure sounds too good to be true."
It was...forget it.
>When they call me, I say, "Now Iíll tell you what. Iíll make a deal with you.
I will listen to your whole spill, whether it lasts three minutes, five or fifteen...
Iíll listen to your whole spill if when you are done you promise to give me equal time to tell you about Jesus."
>"Well we donít have time. Thank you very much."
Iíve got as much right to talk to them about Jesus...
As they have to talk to me about Merrill Lynch or some stupid credit card.
After all, itís my telephone.
They called me...I didnít call them.
If they call me, Iím going to set the agenda.
All of the decisions we have to make.
How important it is that we know the word of God.
>Now a third thing about scriptures.
They can be known by children.
They are to be studied by adults.
#1 Ė they are holy scriptures.
Look in verse 15: and how from infancy you have known the holy scriptures.
The Bible is a unique book, and thatís what the word "holy" means.
It means unique, set apart, very different, distinctively different.
The Bible is unlike any other book.
If you come over to my office, Iíll carry you back to my study and youíll see walls full of books...
And youíll find boxes of books and a closet full of books.
My secretary lives in rebellion against me all the time.
"What am I going to do with these books?"
Well those are the pastorís tools...youíve got to have Ďem.
I have to have those tools.
But I want to tell you, friend, and just about every book I have over there is about the Bible.
Most of them are about the Bible.
But thereís not any one of them like this book.
They tell me about this book.
They shed light upon this book.
They help me to understand this book.
But I want to tell you, this is the book.
When Sir Walter Scott lay dying, he said, "Bring me the book."
And they said, "What book?"
And he said, "There is but one book...bring me the book."
It is holy...it is unique...it was given to us by a holy father.
It was written by the Holy Spirit.
It proclaims the holy Savior...it is a holy book.
>But let me tell you a fourth thing.
The scriptures can be known by children.
The scriptures are to be studied by adults.
The scriptures are holy.
#4 Ė the scriptures make you wise.
Look in verse 15: And how from infancy you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise.
You know what we say?
We teach today and we believe today that if we want to be wise you go to Harvard.
Or if you want to be wise you go to Princeton.
Or if you want to be wise you go to Yale.
Now you know why I picked on those three institutions?
Because all three of those, Harvard, Princeton and Yale, were founded by born again Christian people...
Who teach the word of God.
All three of them have departed from the word of God...
And now are three of the most liberal institutions in all the world that deny the truthfulness of the scripture.
I tell you, they are not wise.
They are stupid.
If you want knowledge, go to college.
But if you want wisdom, you have to come to this book.
The scriptures make you wise.
>He mentions three areas where that takes place.
First of all, he mentions salvation.
Everything I know about salvation I know because of this book.
Iíve not had any private revelation from God.
Iíve not had a vision.
Iíve not had an apparition.
Everything I know about salvation I know about this book.
This book teaches me my need for salvation.
This book teaches me the method by which I can be saved.
This book teaches me the assurance of my salvation.
The Bible makes me wise about salvation.
>Secondly, he mentions the word "faith".
Make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
The Bible makes us wise about faith.
What is faith?
Well faith is believing.
Faith is believing when it doesnít make sense.
Faith is believing when you canít prove it.
It talked to a young lady who was saved in my office and I shared with her...
"I canít prove the virgin birth, but I believe it."
Iíve never known of a baby to be born of a virgin, not in my lifetime.
I canít prove the resurrection of Jesus.
Listen, Iíve been in too many hospital rooms and seen too many people die.
Iíve never seen a person die and come back to life.
Iíve never gone down here to any of the funeral homes and looked in a casket...
And seen a dead person come back to life.
Iíve never been leading a casket out to a hole in the ground in the cemetery to be buried away...
And that lid pop off and that person sit up and say, "Isnít it a pretty day?"
Iíve never seen that.
Iíve never seen a dead person come back to life.
But the Bibles said, "Jesus Christ was dead and is alive forevermore"...
And I believe that...I canít prove it...doesnít make any sense.
But I believe it.
Thatís what faith is.
The Bible makes us wise in the area of faith.
For example, the Bible lets me know that faith is the way to please God.
The Bible says in Hebrews 11: without faith it is impossible to please God.
Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Our folks gave more money this past year than youíve ever given before in the history of the church.
Youíve never done anything like that.
And yet, folks can only give so much...
And so some gave to the building fund at the expense perhaps of their regular tithe and offering...
Iím not justifying that.
Iím just accepting that.
And so when we brought up the budget this year we increased it over last year.
"Oh, Bro. Joe, what are we going to do?"
Iíll tell you what weíre gonna do.
Weíre gonna trust God, amen?
I mean, we donít spend more than you give...I promise you that.
You canít please God looking at dollar signs and decimal points.
You please God by faith.
Without faith it is impossible to please God.
How do you know that?
This book tells me that.
This book tells me that faith is the way you get prayers answered.
Jesus said, "Whatsoever you ask believing".
James says, "Pray in faith."
If you want to get something from God, youíve got to have faith.
This book tells me that faith is the channel through which the grace of God comes into my life.
"By grace are ye saved through faith."
How do I know all those things?
The Bible tells me.
I donít know one thing about faith that the Bible doesnít teach.
>But not only does it say it will make us wise in salvation and faith, he says, "in Christ Jesus."
Everything friends, I know about Jesus I know because of what this book says.
I donít trust what some preachers tell me about Jesus.
I donít trust what Joseph Smith says about Jesus.
I donít trust what the book of Mormon says about Jesus.
I donít trust what Charles Tays Russell says about Jesus.
I donít trust what Mary Baker Eddy said about Jesus.
But I believe anything this book says about Jesus...
And weíre going to look at some of those things over the next five weeks.
Oh, this blessed Bible, these wonderful scriptures...you can know them as a child.
You must study them as an adult.
They are holy and they make you wise.
>#5 Ė the scriptures are inspired.
Look in verse 16: all scripture is God-breathed.
Now that sounds very, very special and it is.
But none of us can speak without breath.
Try it...you canít do it...
You must have breath to make a sound.
It can be the sound ooh, or ah, or ugh, but you cannot make a sound without breath.
So when I speak it is Thompson-breathed.
When you speak it is you-breathed.
When God speaks it is God-breathed.
The emphasis is not upon the breath...
The emphasis is upon whose breath it is.
I tell you about Thompson.
I can tell a lie.
I can tell you, "you look good", when you look terrible.
I can tell somebody, "Your mustache looks nice", when I donít like it.
I can lie...you can lie...
You can go out the back door, "Preacher, that was a good sermon", and youíre lying.
Oh, we lie.
But God is a God who casnnot lie.
The Bible is inspired...it is breathed by God.
One man said, "I know the Bible is inspired because it inspired me."
The Bible is inspired whether it inspires you or not.
The Bible is not just inspiring.
You can read a lot of books that are inspiring.
You can read the Pilgrimís Progress.
Thatís an inspiring book.
You can read some of the books by Zane Grey and those are inspiring western novels.
You can read some of the books by Louis LíAmour.
Those are inspiring books...sometimes.
You see, the Bible is not just an inspiring book.
It is a God-breathed book.
And God only breathed one, the Bible.
>#6 Ė the scriptures can be known by children.
They can be studied by adults.
They are holy.
They make one wise.
They are inspired.
#6 Ė they are useful.
Look in verse 16: all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is useful.
And he mentions four areas: for doctrine.
That means teaching.
Itís the content of the word of God.
Itís the positive side of the word of God.
It means it tells me what is right.
You know how I know what is right?
Because I know what the book says.
>But then he uses the word "rebuking".
That means "whatís wrong".
Sometimes people say to me, "Well Bro. Joe, I just donít know right from wrong."
Get in the book...it will tell you.
The Bible will tell you.
The preacher doesnít have to tell you.
The deacon body doesnít have to tell you.
The word of God will tell you.
Itís useful for doctrine.
That tells me what is right.
Itís useful for rebuking.
That tells me whatís wrong.
>He says thirdly, itís useful "for correction".
That word "correction" literally means "to make one or something stand in an upright position."
Itís a picture of something thatís been knocked down and it is put back up.
Thatís what correction is.
Godís word not only tells me what is right and what is wrong...
It tells me how to get right, amen?
I mean it tells me how to get right.
Sometimes folks come and theyíll say, "Bro. Joe, Iíve gotten away from God and Iím doing this and Iím doing this...
What do I need to do?
Tell me, Bro. Joe, a shrink that I can go to."
You donít need a shrink...
You need to repent because thatís what this book says.
This book tells you how to get right with God.
>But then the says not only doctrine and rebuking and correction, he says...
For training in righteousness.
You see, God not only tells me what is right and what is wrong and how to get right...
He tells me how to stay right.
Iím to walk in the spirit.
Iím to pray...Iím to study the word...
Iím to fellowship with other believers.
And so Godís word tells me whatís right.
It tells me whatís wrong.
It tells me how to get right and how to stay right.
I call that useful, wouldnít you?
Godís word is useful.
Godís word can be known by children...
Godís word is to be studied by adults...
Godís word is holy...
Godís word can make you wise...
Godís word is inspired...
Godís word is useful...
And #7 Ė the scriptures can equip you for service.
Look in verse 17: So that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped.
That means complete.
Godís word makes you equipped "unto all good works".
Notice what he said, "That the man of God."
Now listen to me.
Every man cannot, every man should not, every man will not be a pastor.
Every man is not a SS teacher.
Every man is not a vocational evangelist.
But I want to tell you, every man can be a man of God.
Every woman will not be a wife or a mother.
Every woman may not be a missionary.
Every woman may not be a SS teacher.
But every woman can be a woman of God...equipped.
Why? Because they invest their lives in this book.
>Now you let me tell you this and Iím through.
If youíll spend your life in this word, your life will never be lacking or wanting or incomplete.
This book makes your life complete.
You donít have to be married to be complete.
You donít have to have children to be complete.
You donít have to be a success in the eyes of the world to be complete.
This book makes you complete.
The inerrant word of God.
We are the people of the book.