Sola Scriptura

Posted on 03/09/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

Hello, and welcome! I'm so glad to see all your faces, and to know that the real people behind those faces are here for a purpose ordered by God.

A special welcome to our visitors. We invite you to enter into worship and our study of the Scriptures with us today, and hope and pray that you'll leave here closer to Jesus than when you came. Be sure to touch the visitor welcome sign in the foyer before you leave, and pick up your gifts from the welcome table.


Let's all stand to our feet and go to the Lord in prayer.

Lord, we welcome you in this place, and invite you to have your way in us today. Come, Holy Spirit, and bring us into the presence of the King. Bring us in the holy place, where we worship God along with the saints and angels who day and night cry out, "Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty!" May our focus today be only on you, for you alone are worthy of our praise.

*** the rest of the prayer is available only in the audio ***


Let's worship God now with our giving. Please turn around and touch one of the offering plates by the door.

Lord, we ask that you bless our giving. Accept our offerings as worship to you, as we honor you with all we have, all we are, and with all that is within us.

********

When you're ready, click the pulpit for a notecard, and let's continue our time of worship with song.


YOUR WORD IS A LAMP

Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path

No longer do we walk in darkness
No longer do we walk in darkness
No longer do we walk in darkness

For you have called us out of darkness
    into your marvelous light
We turn our backs on what is wrong
    and choose to do what's right

Your blood is flowing through my veins
to cleanse until all that remains
is clay that's molded through the pains of life

Your Spirit blows into these bones
to claim this temple as its home
and starts a fire that soon becomes a blaze

AH LORD GOD

Ah Lord God, Thou hast made the heavens
And the earth by Thy great power
Ah Lord God, Thou hast made the heavens
And the earth by Thine outstretched arm.

Nothing is too difficult for Thee
Nothing is too difficult for Thee
Great and mighty God
Great in counsel and mighty in deed

Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing
Nothing is too difficult for Thee

IN HIM WE LIVE

In him we live and move and have our being
In him we live and move and have our being

Make a joyful noise
Sing unto the Lord
Tell Him of your love
Dance before him
Make a joyful noise
Sing unto the Lord
Tell Him of your love
Hallelujah

HE HAS MADE ME GLAD

I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart
I will enter his courts with praise
I will say this is the day That the lord has made
I will rejoice for he has made me glad

He has made me glad
He has made me glad
I will rejoice for he has made me glad, glad, glad

He has made me glad
He has made me glad
I will rejoice for he has made me glad

WE WILL WORSHIP

We will worship the Lamb of glory
We will worship the King of kings
We will worship the Lamb of glory
We will worship the King

And with our hands lifted high,
We will worship and sing
With our hands lifted high,
We come before You rejoicing.
With our hands lifted high
To the sky
When the world wonders why

We'll just tell them we're loving our King...Oh
We'll just tell them we're loving our King

We bless the name of the Lamb of glory
We bless the name of the King of kings
We bless the name of the Lamb of glory
We bless the name of the King


*** Introduction available only in audio ***


(Pronunciation guide for Sola Scriptura: So-LAH Scrip-TOO-rah )

The title of my message today is, "Sola Scriptura." This is a Latin term which means "Scripture alone." This term came from the time of The Reformation, during which people began to question the authority of the Catholic church and began to compare its teachings with those found in the Bible.

The basic premise of Sola Scriptura is that the writings found within the Old and New Testaments contain all truth necessary for Salvation, spiritual growth to maturity, absolute guidelines for morality, and complete doctrine necessary for living a life that is pleasing to God.

For the next few minutes, I'd like for us to explore the concept of Sola Scriptura, and whether we can accept its approach as true and applicable for our lives.


Let's read a passage that's been used to both support Sola Scriptura and to rebuttle that support -- 2 Timothy 3:13-17

13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise  for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for  correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.


First, in verse 15, he says that the Holy Scriptures "are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." This tells us that the Holy Scriptures, which at that time, excluding the letters written by the apostles, was the Old Testament, had the truth necessary for wisdom which leads to salvation, that salvation being through faith in Jesus.

An argument against Sola Scriptura is that of the writings of the apostles, claiming that this tradition of apostolic revelation continues to this day as the authority of the Church. Verse 14 is also pointed out, which says, "you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them." This is claimed to refer to teachings and traditions not written, but passed by word of mouth.

However, the apostle Paul had this to say about such an idea, in Galations 1:6-9

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

The word "Gospel" here is the Greek word euaggelizo (yu-an-ge-lee-zo), which means, "The glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God and of the salvation to be obtained in it through Christ and of what relates to this salvation."

So Paul was saying this: "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any message concerning how salvation is obtained through Christ, and any other message concerning the things that relate to the Christian life, and their message, or my message, disagrees with what we have preached to you, let him be accursed."

It only goes to reason that the written teachings of Paul and the other apostles agreed with what they taught in person. So we can reliably measure what we hear concerning salvation and the Christian walk of faith with what is written in the Bible, God's Word. We also can be sure that, just as the New Testament is in perfect harmony and agreement with the Old, so the Word of God will not change with time. God will not say that Salvation is a free gift by faith and not of works one day, then change his mind a few years later and decide that some type of work is necessary to obtain salvation.

Since Paul insisted he be measured by this yardstick, certainly those who come after him can not boast to be free from this same standard.

In 1 Corinthians 4:6 Paul writes this:

6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.

Now in some traditions, the way to settle doctrinal disputes is ask the word of the head of a religious organization. But Paul taught a different way to keep believers from teaching their own doctrines and straying from the truth, and that is summed up in his words here, "Do not think beyond what is written."

This of course is in the context of doctrine. We can (and have) invented all sorts of doctrines that sound really good, but go beyond what is found in Scripture. And when we do so, or when we accept the teachings of those who do so, we are failing to heed the Word of the Lord to not go beyond the sound doctrine found in the Word of God, the Bible.


Let's look at an example of a complete departure from both this Scripture and the one telling us to count as cursed anyone who preaches another Gospel.

In Matthew 12:41, Acts 2:38, and many other places in the New Testament, we read the words, "Repent and be baptised," as the call to salvation. Repentance is a change of heart, a turning from life apart from Christ, and accepting his free gift of forgiveness and a brand new life in him. And in response to that repentance, the new believer was baptised in water.

Contrast this with the doctrine of men that baptism should take place as a baby. Repentance is taught as something that comes later, accompanied by confession of sins to a man and various types of pennance to attone for those sins. Either we hold these teachers to the standard of God's Word and, since Scripture says they are accursed, pray that God would open their eyes and bring them into the truth, or we abandon what is written in God's Word and accept this different Gospel -- baptism as the prerequisite to Salvation, independent of the choice of the individual, and repentance as an afterthought.

According to Scripture, repentance is the acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior and as the one who sets the direction of their life, which results in salvation, and baptism is the response to that salvation, an outward act of an inward change.

Compare these two yourself and determine wherein lies the error.

In Acts 17:10-13 we read this:

10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.
13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds.

Note in verse ten that Paul and Silas were sent away by night. The religious leaders were after them, and wanted to silence their message.

In verse eleven, we see Jews who were more fair-minded, or more noble, because they listened to what was being taught and, "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." And since they compared the teachings with Scripture, many of them believed.

Then in verse thirteen, the religious leaders heard that Paul was preaching the Word of God in Berea, and went there to cause trouble and hinder the message they were teaching, as they "stirred up the crowds."

This is reminiscent of what the religious leaders did during the days when the Bible was first being translated into English in complete disobedience to the established church of the time. They were teaching what the Bible says about salvation, and baptism, and the Christian life. According to Paul, these were the types of issue that, if anyone taught differently, would mark them as accursed. And the very religious leaders who did so were determined to close these men's mouths, burning them to death if need be, along with all those who dared to place the Word of God into the hands of the common people.

They were right in saying there must be people ordained by God to explain the Scriptures to the people. God has given all of us gifts and callings, and the callings on some lives is to proclaim and expound upon the Word of God. However, they exalted the role of the preacher to that of the undisputable mouthpiece of God, and made sure the yardstick God established for the listener to judge the accuracy of those teachings was far removed from the hands and minds of the people.


Let's take into consideration Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Judas was appointed the office of ministry treasurer. Jesus knew that Judas was a thief. And yet he knowingly appointed a thief to the office of treasurer. Did he do this thinking that showing faith in him anyway would change him? Knowing what Judas' end would be, that wouldn't make sense. Or was Jesus making another point?

It's worthwhile to notice here that Jesus, being perfect and knowing the hearts and futures of man, appointed someone to a Godly office who would not carry out his duties as he should, and would use his role for things it was not designed. In light of this, how can we assume that those appointed by man as apostles or spiritual leaders are not going to be subject to human error and deception just as Judas was?

Indeed they are. All of us are. And the yardstick by which we must measure what these men and women teach is the Holy Scriptures.


For some, this has been a very hard message. Some have probably been greatly offended. And yet, this is the Word of God. I'd rather offend you and tell you the truth in hopes that you will be freed from deception and walk in the light, than to cozy up to those who pervert the Word of God and lead you astray in hopes that we can all just be friends regardless of the consequenses to ourselves and those who follow us.

I have no patience with deception, with twisting of the Scriptures, with man-made doctrines and traditions, and with anything else that would dilute or distort the truth of God's Word.

There are many movements out there today. We're seeing a moving back to traditions and teachings of man. We're seeing a drifting away from Sola Scriptura. And I want you to be freed from these deceptions.

If anyone tells you anything that disagrees with Scripture, or adds other things to the simplicity of salvation through faith alone, or changes the example of Scripture to fit some other tradition or lifestyle, or teaches things about spiritual life that are outside of the teachings of Scripture, I entreat you to stay far away from them, for according to the words of the Bible, they are living under a curse.


One final thing I would like for us to ponder is this: In the absense of absolute truth, deception is inevidable. Walking through life without Scripture to guide us is like walking through a large unknown forrest without a compas. And most of us live our whole lives walking in circles.

When the Bible is viewed as outdated or incomplete, we begin to invent our own truths based upon our own human reason. But the Bible tells us that the heart of man is deceitful and wicked. Compared to God's holy perfection, we are a twisted mess. And as long as we rely upon our own feelings and human understanding to guide us, we're in deep trouble and are hopelessly lost.

Psalm 119:105 says "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." If we want to truly see where we are now and the path in front of us, we must rely upon the Word of God. And to know whether what someone says is the Word of God, we must search out the Scriptures daily.

And so I encourage you -- search the Scriptures, and see whether these things are so. After all, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for  correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."


The ministry team can come to the front now.


This is a time of coming back to the solid foundations of our faith.

This is a time to reject anything that disagrees with or attempts to add man's traditions and doctrines to the Word of God as found in the Holy Scriptures.

This is a time to say, "Lord, I choose to believe what you have told me, to follow the compas, the light, of your Word, to live my life and order my ways according to the unchanging absolute truth you have layed out for us in the pages of the Holy Bible. And before I believe any doctrine or follow any tradition, or involve myself in any spiritual practice, I will search your Word, and I will thereby find truth and life."

You're invited to step out of your seats and gather at the front, as we seek after God for awhile. If you need prayer or ministry, feel free to instant message someone on the ministry team. If you would rather carry on a conversation, please do so outside of the sanctuary so you don't disturb those who are in prayer. After this time of ministry, you'll all invited to the room on your left for some fellowship.

Come. Let's seek God. And let's dedicate our selves anew to stand on the solid rock of Scripture, so our feet can be sure and our path can be straight, as we acknowledge the only true authority of truth, Sola Scriptura, Scripture alone.