Authority: Are We Worshipping the Bible? By: Doy Moyer

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Sometimes, in discussions of biblical authority, we hear the derogatory charge that those of us who push so hard for authority are guilty of “bibliolatry,” idolizing or worshipping the Bible in particular. Since we put so much stress on the authority of Scripture, are we guilty of promoting Scripture over God Himself? Perhaps the better question is this: what is the relationship of God to Scripture?

Scripture is not simply words in black and white (and red) on a material page. There is nothing authoritative about simple words on a page by themselves. The issue is the source of the message that is written down. If we just coldly isolate the words and demand adherence to them without understanding their true relationship to God, then those who make the charge may have a point. On the other hand, making the charge could also be a subtle way of trying to distance oneself from Scripture. If Scripture really is authoritative because of its relationship to God, then there are restrictions to the way that we may acceptably serve God. If we can remove the restrictions by minimizing authority, then we will feel free to serve God as we please. In this sense, then, this issue may be more about self-will (or self-idolatry) versus God’s will. Who gets to decide how God should be served and worship?

The reason for believing that Scripture is authoritative is because of its relationship to God, not because it is someone’s creed from long ago written on paper. While this article is not about proving inspiration, the point should be understood: if Scripture comes ultimately from God, then it bears His authority. To the extent that Scripture is God’s word, then it is authoritative; if it isn’t His word, then it is no more authoritative than what any of us may come up with and put down on paper. That Scripture is from God is the very point reflected in Paul’s statement about the Hebrew Scriptures:

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17).

If it falls into that category of “Scripture,” then it is authoritative because it is God-breathed. This is not the worship of the Bible, but rather the worship and service of the God from whom the Scriptures come. Now the question would be this: can we truly serve and worship God when we ignore or minimize the message that He has given? God is directly tied to His own word, and Scripture recognizes this:

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two- edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Heb 4:12-13)

Notice in this text how the writer moves from “the word of God” to God Himself. There is really no way to separate the authority of God from the authority of His word. “Then God said” are some of the first powerful words of Scripture (Gen 1), and from this point, “Thus says the Lord” is a continual appeal of the prophets. If the Lord said it, it is authoritative and is not to be ignored. “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking” (Heb 12:25).

The word of God is not to be restricted only to written form, of course. The word of God has been much more than that which is recorded, and not every word God ever spoke (or everything He ever did) is recorded in our Scriptures (cf. John 21:25). Jesus Himself is the Word became flesh (John 1:1, 14). He is God’s message and communication in the greatest sense. But God’s message has been put down in writing, and that message is to be respected as much as anything the prophets, apostles, or even Jesus orally spoke.

The connection of Jesus to His words is vital: “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48). If His “sayings” are written down on paper, does that make them any less authoritative and connected to Jesus? The words spoken by Jesus “are spirit and are life,” and He has the “words of eternal life” (John 6:63, 68). Whether these are heard orally or read from a book, they are still His words, His message, and His authority. “Lord, to whom shall we go?”

Indeed, where else shall we go for our authority? Shall we consider our own words more authoritative? Are our writings better than the first century New Testament documents? Where shall we go for the words of eternal life?  Is it worshipping the Bible if we give due respect to these words?

The reality is that if we don’t give Scripture its proper due when it comes to authority (as it is God’s authority), then we aren’t truly worshipping or serving God. To ignore God’s word is to ignore God Himself and give ourselves the authority that only belongs to Him. This isn’t about worshipping the Bible. It is about giving God the proper reverence and respect that only He deserves. We cannot give that respect to Him if we do not pay attention to the message that He inspired to be inscribed with ink on the pages of a material book. The material certainly won’t last, but the word of God will endure forever. If the word of the Lord uses the material for a time, then we are amenable to it and we will be held accountable. The word He spoke will judge us in the last day. Herein is the essence of the need for paying attention to His authority.

via: http://www.mindyourfaith.com/6/post/2013/11/authority-are-we-worshipping-the-bible.html

On a Christians Commitment in Marriage, by: Doy Moyer

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While we need to be concerned about the influence our spouses will have on our spiritual lives (see On Christians Marrying Non-Christians), we must ourselves be committed to serving our spouses and helping them serve the Lord. In other words, marriage shouldn’t be all about me. It is about me to the extent that I must bear responsibility in glorifying God. It is about me in the sense that God calls upon me to glorify Him. But my focus must be first on God, then on loving my spouse as Christ loves His people (Eph 5:22ff). Therefore, while I must be concerned about the type of person I marry, for the sake of my own soul, I must be even more concerned about the type of influence I will have on my spouse. Not only do I need a spouse who can aid me in serving God and preparing for eternity, but I need to be a spouse who will aid her in serving God, also. A single Christian praying for a spouse should not just pray, “Lord, send me the right person,” but “Lord, make me the right person for someone else.” Focus on being the right kind of person and the right of kind of person will be attracted to you.

Dedication in marriage is not a 50/50 proposition, and if that’s how we view it, then we will feel justified in treating our spouses in a lesser way than we are capable of or responsible for. This means that even if a spouse fails to try or gives less than his or her best, we are still responsible to give our very best to the marriage. My approach to marriage must not be conditioned upon the way my spouse acts, but upon God’s will. This is because, as Christians, we are to approach all things with an attitude of service to the Lord.

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col 3:23-24).

This is an over-riding principle for all that we do, and this should be no less true in marriage. It is the Lord Christ whom we ultimately serve, and therefore our treatment of our spouses and our commitment to marriage is built upon this principle rather than upon some quid pro quo with our spouses.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Phil 2:3-5)

This passage, though dealing with relationships broader than marriage, must nevertheless be applied within a marriage. Our commitment is to be like Christ, to have His attitude in everything. Once again, this is not based on how others act, but upon our primary commitment to God. In this sense, then, marriage is about my spouse, not me. Just as Christ did nothing through selfish ambition, so we must act in humility toward our spouses in order to serve them and their interests (primarily spiritual interests). If I make marriage about my own personal happiness, then likely I will act out in selfishness and end up destroying the marriage and the happiness of my spouse, not to mention my own happiness in the process. Make marriage about your spouse, not yourself, based upon the principles demonstrated by Christ in humbling Himself to die for our sins. In this way, the husband can love Christ as He loves His body (Eph 5).

Christians must also recognize that marriage is a direct reflection of God’s relationship with His people. This is Paul’s primary point in Ephesians 5. After speaking of the submission of the wife and the love the husband is to have for her, Paul then says, “I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church” (vs. 32). I believe that one of the main reasons God initiated marriage in Genesis was to showcase male and female as His creatures made in His image. He then used the marriage metaphor throughout Scripture to describe His relationship with His people — with Israel and then with His people under Christ. Prophets like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, and Malachi stress the importance of this principle as the people had committed acts of adultery with foreign gods. Now marriage to Christ as His people is primary for the child of God. We are the bride of Christ, adorned for Him in covenant relationship (cf. Rev 21:2). Paul used marriage again as the illustration to show that we were made to be joined to Christ in order to bear fruit to God (Rom 7:1-4).

These ideas highlight the importance of physical marriage for God’s people. Marriage was made by God. He joins two together. Breaking the covenant is treachery (see Mal 2:15-16), and He hates divorce. God intends marriage to reflect His own covenant relationship with people made in His image. I believe that this understanding of marriage will help us realize just how important our commitment to our spouses needs to be. Marriage ultimately isn’t about us, but about God’s own commitments to covenant. Though God made marriage for mankind, He made it for the greater purpose of reflecting His image. May God help us to reflect it properly.

Doy Moyer

Via: http://www.mindyourfaith.com/1/post/2013/11/on-a-christians-commitment-in-marriage.html

The Vision of a Blind Man, By: Doy Moyer

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“Why was this man born blind?” the disciples wondered. Was it because he sinned or because his parents sinned? “Neither,” responded Jesus, “but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” The man didn’t know that he was about to become the object of a miracle. His purpose now was to display the greatness of God. People knew he was blind from birth; they also knew that one blind from birth doesn’t just start seeing. Jesus spat on the ground, made clay and applied it to the eyes of the blind man. He then instructed the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man went and washed, and came back seeing (John 9:1-7). Oh, is that all?

This event is told in such simple terms — no fluff or pomp added. That in itself is amazing. Doesn’t that suggest that God wants us to be struck by the simple truth? Truth needs no embellishments. It is what it is. The facts themselves are awesome.

Now that’s not the end of the story. People were amazed at what happened. How does a blind man suddenly see? They took him to the Pharisees, who cross-examined him in no kind way; and the man held up quite well. Why? Because he caught vision — not just the ability to physically see, but a vision of who Jesus was: “Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing” (John 9:32-33). The man hit it right on the nose. Not only could he now see, he could now see.

Then there were the Pharisees, demonstrating once again their self-righteous inability to see what was most important. What was their first impression of the One who made the blind man see? “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath” (9:16). So much for Jesus — how dare He heal a man on the Sabbath! Some were a little more honest: “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” They basically dismissed the evidence because of their own bias. How did they respond to the man’s point about Jesus being from God? “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out. How’s that for honesty? They could see, but they couldn’t see.

After the man was put out, Jesus found him again and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man responded, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said, “You have both seen Him, and He is the One who is talking with you.” The man said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him.

The point of this miracle should be clear: Jesus can open our eyes! His power to open the eyes of the physically blind demonstrated His power to open the eyes of the spiritually blind. But we must be willing. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Some Pharisees asked, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” What does that mean?

Men are responsible for what they are able to receive and do. But if pride keeps one from receiving truth, he will be condemned. They thought they knew the law concerning the Sabbath better than Jesus, and they condemned Him for healing on that day: “We see.” Therefore, their pride and self-confidence left them condemned. As long as people are proud, self-sufficient, and confident in their own wisdom, they cannot receive forgiveness of sins from God: “your sin remains.” On the other hand, if people recognize their complete dependence upon God and His ways, coming to Him with humble hearts, confessing their ignorance and their sins, God will forgive.

This is where our vision begins. We are blind. We dare not trust our own wisdom and ways. We must see the vision of Jesus, the Great Redeemer and Savior, then respond in faith: “Lord, I believe.” We must worship and praise Him. As we humble ourselves before God, we will begin to see the light of the gospel shining on the path to heaven. But if we think, “we see,” that we have it all figured out by ourselves, the path will remain in darkness. It all starts with an attitude of humility toward God. Let us pray that Isaiah’s prophecy of spiritual blindness be not fulfilled in us (Matt. 13:14-15). Instead, may the Lord say about us, “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear” (vs. 16). What have you seen lately?

Doy Moyer