Yesterday, I had the opportunity to preach one sermon from Psalm 119:105 before we dive into a verse-by-verse study of Ephesians. After completing Mark and focusing on the strange ending (or at least strange from the perspective of translations), I wanted to drive home the importance of a high view of Scripture and remind the church why it is that we take the Bible seriously in our ministries.
We live in a day where attacks on the Bible are the normal ebb and flow of life. From articles in Newsweek to documentaries (made by liberals) on the Discovery Channel. The point is clear, we need to stand firm upon the sufficiency and authority of the Bible. As we survey Psalm 119, we see a lengthy chapter (176 verses) divided and arranged in 22 different stanzas of 8 verses each. The entire focus of Psalm 119 is upon the sufficiency and authority of Scripture. For the Psalmist, the commands of the Word were a comfort and trustworthy guide.
The Source of Scripture
Psalm 119:105 begins, “Your Word…” and points his audience vertical. The Scriptures don’t belong to man, they find their source in God Himself. As we consider all of the books of human history, the Bible reigns supreme in the library of humanity.
The Characteristics of the Bible:
- The Bible is holy – because God is holy.
- The Bible has the aroma of God’s perfections.
- The Bible has the light of God’s purity.
- The Bible has the faithfulness of God’s character.
- The Bible has the sound of perfect wisdom.
- The Bible has out performed all other books in world history.
- The Bible transcends all other books.
Although Voltaire believed that a mere one hundred years after his death the Bible would be found only by antiquarian seekers, here we are many years after Voltaire’s death (1728) and the Bible continues to be printed, preached, and translated around the world. Why was Voltaire wrong? Because the Bible is not man’s book. It’s God’s book.
Paul says the following in 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” The phrase, “breathed out by God” is one Greek term – θεόπνευστος. This term has a literal meaning that means the “breath of God.” The Scriptures find their source in God. He breathed them into existence. God wrote the Bible through 40 different human authors over a period of 1,500 years.
The Sufficiency of Scripture
The Psalmist continues in verse 105, “…is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” The totality of Scripture shines a bright light upon the pathway of God. We can’t expect to turn God’s Word into a personal flashlight for our own chosen path. We must walk God’s path and there alone we will have the assurance of the enlightened way. That’s why expository preaching matters — because the totality of Scripture is profitable. Consider the preaching ministry of John Calvin:
- Calvin took 5 years to complete the book of Acts.
- He preached 46 sermons on Thessalonians.
- 186 sermons on Corinthians.
- 86 sermons on the Pastorals.
- 43 sermons on Galatians.
- 48 sermons on Ephesians.
- He spent 5 years on his harmony of the Gospels.
The point is clear, we must turn to hear God speak from the pages of Scripture. Mystic voices and appearances of Jesus in potato salad or visions of Mary in the cheese toast is not where we need to focus our time and attention (or imagination). We need to hear the clear and unadulterated voice of God from the pages of Scripture. Be nervous when a person comes your way attacking the veracity, validity, inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency of God’s Word. Those attacks come in politics. They come in science. They come in every direction on the university campus. They come in forms of entertainment. Keep your guard up. Be ready!
The 1689 London Baptist Confession, in Article 1.1 on the Scriptures says: “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.”
In John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Christian and Hopeful are on their way to the Celestial City. The entire book depicts the Christian journey and teaches that it’s often a hard path. When faced with difficulties – we often want to stop – to quit – or to find an easier path. As Christian and Hopeful were on their way, they noticed a pleasant-looking field. It was called By-Path Meadow. They reasoned with themselves and said, “If this meadow is right next to the way, let us step aside into it and walk there.” So, they did and it seemed so much easier and comfortable. Soon, they found a man named Vain-Confidence walking the same path and they asked where the path was leading. He yelled back, “To the Celestial Gate.” Christian turned to Hopeful and said, “See, didn’t I tell you?” When night came, darkness fell, and they lost sight of Vain-Confidence. He fell into a deep pit and when Christian and Hopeful called out for him, all they could hear was him groaning in the pain of death. Then suddenly, a great storm came and with torrential ran and fierce thunder and lightening – Hopeful groaned in himself, saying, “O that I had kept on the true way!”
This is how Christian and Hopeful were eventually captured and taken to Doubting Castle and placed in a dungeon. One of the greatest scenes in The Pilgrim’s Progress is when Christian remembers that he has a key in his pocket. As the story unfolds, notice the location of the key:
What a fool I have been, to lie like this in a stinking dungeon, when I could have just as well walked free. In my chest pocket I have a key called Promise that will, I am thoroughly persuaded, open any lock in Doubting-Castle.” “Then,” said Hopeful, “that is good news. My good brother, do immediately take it out of your chest pocket and try it.” Then Christian took the key from his chest and began to try the lock of the dungeon door; and as he turned the key, the bolt unlocked and the door flew open with ease, so that Christian and hopeful immediately came out.
Proverbs 14:12 – There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
As we evaluate our path, we must constantly look to make sure we’re traveling down God’s path. Any other path, no matter how good it may seem, will lead to destruction.