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Revelation: Where Would We Be Without It?

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
June 27, 2022 12:01 am

Revelation: Where Would We Be Without It?

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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June 27, 2022 12:01 am

If God had not revealed the light of His salvation through Jesus Christ, we would be trapped in the darkness of sin forever. Today, Stephen Nichols expresses our need for God’s special revelation in His Word, the Bible.

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Why we trust the Bible that's mixed on Renewing Your Mind. Romans one most comes to believing that God will look around and observe all that God is created. That's called general revelation. Even with all that natural proof, we still need God's special revelation Bible to point us to God's plan of redemption. Can we trust the Bible, without a doubt is in her teaching fellow Dr. Stephen Nicholas probably like you, I have become addicted to my GPS and I was supposed to speak somewhere in some evening and I was traveling was dark, of course, and it was raining and one of our sons was in the backseat and I had press the button to scroll through to see that to get to this destination that I wanted to get to. There were quite a few turns quite a few exits quite a few routes and as we were making one of those exits onto Road all of a sudden the GPS screen just went blank.

It just shut off and I had just merged onto a highway, turned out what happened was my late model car. The cigarette lighter, no longer worked in an many minutes ago the thing and switched over to battery and eventually the battery died out. So there I was on Highway in the dark trying to get somewhere, having no idea where I was supposed to go.

My GPS was just gone. If you stop and think about living without the concept of revelation is like that all the time. Imagine us. Imagine if you didn't have God's word. Imagine if you didn't know of the concept of revelation you would never have a map you would never have that that genius instrument that is chock-full of thousands of maps and streets and engineers just loaded it wouldn't have any of that you be on your own you be in the dark you and be sure where you're going and would have no idea how to get there without the doctrine of revelation, we really would have no hope. We have no hope at all. There's a great saying it goes back to Calvin's day.

It sort of reflects the Reformation in Geneva, the English translation is after darkness, light.

That light of God's word revealed that penetrates and overcomes the darkness. But think about that darkness for moment think about living in darkness.

That's what living without revelation really means Warren talk about the doctrine of revelation and this session together were going to use that as our starting point to talk about the doctrine of Scripture were going to see how we understand some basic ideas about revelation how we can sort of unpack that as we move along to get at one of the bedrock core foundational doctrines over faith, the doctrine of Scripture. So before we go any further, let's look to Scripture. I like to look at two texts we could pick any number of passages from the Bible. If we wanted to buy one look at two texts with you that will serve as sort of a frame for our discussion together. The first text is from Paul in first Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 13.

I will be talking later about interpretation and one of the things that we will talk about when we get to interpretation is context is King. We should always be paying attention to the context in which a versus found in the context here of course is Paul's relationship with the church at Thessalonica and in chapter 2, he's sort of reminiscing a little bit. You can imagine, Paul had great ministry there. Thessalonica among the Thessalonians. And now that he's separated from them. He's writing this letter directly to them and course he's writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and so this letter to the Thessalonians becomes a letter to us as well. But Paul's remembering, particularly the good times that he had there at the church and we know from just even a basic understanding of Paul's ministry that not every city was a similar experience for Paul wasn't so. I imagine this was the joyful reminiscence for him and you can almost picture him sort of smiling fondly as he writes this, but as he remembers his time there. This is where he focuses what he is thankful mostly for first Thessalonians 213 and we also thank God constantly for this that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted not as the word of men, but as what it really is the word of God which is at work in you believers.

Now let's just unpack this for a little bit. First of all, this is the word that was preached.

So we see right away how preaching and proclamation that the speaking of God's word is crucial.

The second thing we see in this is most important.

Paul calls it what it is doesn't.

This is the word of men, this isn't know that the dialogues of Plato. This isn't the thoughts of Seneca. The Roman political philosopher. These are good the ideas of Aristotle. These aren't the words of men. These words of men.

These eloquent and thoughtful and poetic words of men.

But Paul's very familiar with in the first century is the words this is the word of God. We need to remember that right off the bat. What's also fascinating here is what Paul says this word does it's at work in you. It's at work in you.

The word here is formation is actually the word. Or maybe the biblical idea is better of transformation, but seeing these canyons you seen waterfalls you seen riverbeds as the forces of nature as the flowing of water as the winds do their work, they they cut off the edges they smooth out a path that's what God's word does it comes into us. It takes root in us like a seed and it grows and it works sometimes that formation is hard is in the smoothing off of the rough and Luther made a comment once that God's word cuts us like a knife it assaults us is what Luther says but then he says God's word also comforts us so were talking about Scripture, we have to remember these three very fundamental things that the word of God is communicated. It's preached, it's proclaimed that the word of God is in fact the word of God. It's God's word.

It's top-down and thirdly, this isn't just some interesting book to read. This isn't just some fascinating piece of literature.

It works in us. It works on us and it transforms us into the image of Christ which is what all of us are destined to be.

So we see this in first Thessalonians 2 will come back to this verse, probably. But at least we get an initial glimpse at it that the next verse I want to take you to his John chapter 6 now here to go to the end of this chapter. It's a very long chapter 66 to 69. This is one of those chapters, when you know you're doing your reading through the Bible and you have to read for five chapters a day to do it and you come across a chapter with 70 some versus using go this this is going to take me a while. This is a very packed chapter.

It covers just two days in Christ's life fascinating days. The first days of feeding the 5002nd day not so many people or the effect Christ's teaching they have to eat of him. Start sending people away literally in droves. Christ never read the Dale Carnegie book how to win friends and influence people. He missed some of those PR cues that we get to verse 66, and this should strike you after this. Whether this is all this hard teaching that Jesus is giving that you have to eat of him in any sort of even upstanding when he says, by the way, you can't come to me unless the father draws you to me they would. They can handle this. The crowds like the show Jesus, but they couldn't handle this teaching. So after this many of his disciples. One way they left they no longer walk with him.

So Jesus said to the 12.

Do the math 5000 to 12.

Do you want to go away as well. Simon Peter answered him, now we knew Simon Peter would speak up right.

We knew that sign appears were those characters we know how is going to act so if there 12. Are there.

Simon Peter is likely going to speak for them here, though he is right on the money. Lord, to whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life. Just stop and think about that for a little bit. Let's go back to our scenario with asking the question about Revelation.

If someone is not going to accept this is God's word and our culture is riddled with that human history is full of examples of those who did not see legitimacy and credibility in this book. What are they going to do you have to go somewhere and go after this goo room were missing this experience, are there and try out this philosophy are there going to go this route and Peter Stern puts it right on the line doesn't me where we got go, why would we go there.

Why would we go there you have the words of eternal life. Where else are we going to go so we use these two texts is a frame to talk about this doctrine of Scripture and history of jumping a little bit here will get right into the point of Revelation. Now theologians tend to divide Revelation into two categories theologians love categories that they like to organize things and make sense of things and that's actually helpful for us because after all, there's a lot of information in that book isn't there. Verse 66 books in that Bible and there's a lot of teaching. So to organize it and categorize it can be pretty helpful so theologians give us this doctrine of Revelation, which comes from the Greek word literally means to lift the cover off of to reveal we have the word apocalypse and when we think of the apocalypse.

We think of the know something out of a George Lucas and of the skies raining down with fire in some sort of cosmic battle apocalypse literally means to take off the cover. This is when something's cooking on the stove.

You know, it smells really good and you just want to take a look and so you pull the lid off the pot. There is an you see it, that's all. Revelation means that we divide Revelation into these two categories general and special and general revelation is essentially the cosmos the world that God made but we could look at this in terms of some particular ideas like to sketch this maybe in terms of four different particular ways we can understand general revelation.

One is just the world itself. The world of nature we can all find these beautiful spots that we can see we can all see the beauty of nature somewhere around us in our environment so we have nature, but we also have God revealed in nature's laws. The laws that govern nature hears Newton sitting under the tree and the apple falls on his head and he makes a startling observation. The apples always falling down for some reason apples don't fall up so we had these laws, that sort of govern nature and we have seasons 12 maybe in some places we don't always have seasons where I live. We actually have seasons are winter in their spring and their summer and there's fall and usually they go in that order. Usually season doesn't get skipped over right there's order in nature and those laws that govern nature, reveal that there is in fact a creator behind what we say. So we got nature itself.

We've got these laws that govern nature so we can say will God both creates any sustained but then we also see special Revelation and humanity in here to we could see this just our physical makeup. Think of the ear intricate parts microscopic parts that construct our ear and all of those parts working in harmony so that we can hear sound.

Think of the human eye.

These are revelations again of a creator, and there's not only our physical, but there is that sort of psychological peace to us. Okay, so we can talk about the physical part of human nature we could talk about that may be as someone committed to an evolutionary worldview would like to have us try to explain what here's how these physical characteristics developed. But how do we explain what is more than physical to us. How do we explain the full complexity of who we are. So these are parts of general revelation and we call it general because it is in fact universal.

It is open to all. We also call it general because it is a general revelation of God's creator. Now we see this in Scripture itself. You can track down some of these texts on your own, but we see this in Psalm 19 where we have a discussion of nature in the first six or seven verses of Psalm 19 we see it in Romans chapter 1 where Paul talks about both the cause moss and our conscience very is catching that idea of the world itself and also being human as a revelation of God. We see Paul in acts chapter 17 using an argument from general revelation to show that God is in fact the creator. So we see instances of creation as revelation that God is that he exists and that he is created all things that he upholds them by his hand. So that's all general revelation special Revelation or sometimes we call it particular Revelation is where God specifically speaks directly speaks now we see different instances of this in Scripture we see how God speaks directly through visions to the prophets, we see how God even uses a donkey right. At one point in the story to convey his Revelation but what we have now here we are in 2012. We have special Revelation is contained forcing God's word. The 66 books of the Bible and in these 66 books of the Bible in this special Revelation. It's all pointing us to the center of what is this Revelation that center is Christ now. To further help us get a handle on this idea of special Revelation or even just Revelation. In general, theologians have come up with attributes of Revelation. Sometimes these are spoken of in terms of attributes of Scripture like we have the attributes of God we have the attributes of Scripture. But in reality these attributes are attributes of Revelation.

If we understand that they are an attribute of Revelation.

In terms of what that revelation was intended to communicate. So the attributes are first the necessity and will just put them all appear and go over them versus the necessity to is the authority three is the clarity or some like to say person acuity, which is a unclear word that means clear this person, acuity four is sufficient. Now there's 1/5 one that most theologians no lad but I like to add and will talk about this one beauty but first necessity. The necessity of Scripture. Here we are back on the road already for a GPS to get us to where we need to go. The GPS goes blank. I am lost without directions, especially in its place I've never been and it's dark and there's lots of roads between me and where I need to get to. So we absolutely need it. We need Revelation, we need nature to point us to nature's God and we need Scripture to point us to God as the Redeemer so the first attribute of Scripture is not a luxury item is not something that's nice to have. It's something that there is no hope. Without we are lost in darkness without we speak of authority now to get it authority would use two sessions to do this or next two sessions to get it authority. Theologians use the terms inspiration and inerrancy. But the idea of authority of Scripture is quite simple. The authority of Scripture is linked up with the author of Scripture.

In fact, even the authority of Revelation nature is truthful because it is a revelation of God. Scripture is truthful because it is a revelation of God and as such it stands over us.

That's a difficult concept for us to grasp what we don't like authority do we bucket right and we need to do is submit to it global Explorer that we have clarity, Scripture Revelation is clear. Paul even says this about nature. He says that what has been revealed about God is clear to us so that we are without excuse. In Romans one, Paul teaches that nature is clear and so is Scripture clearly focused on presenting to us the gospel of Christ. Now just to Scripture is clear doesn't mean everything and there we can always understand what will deal with that in a later session and insufficiency will save us a couple times but this is where the rubber meets the road, and the doctrine of Scripture, we can affirm inerrancy.

We confirm that's authoritative but do we live like it. Do we say that this is really sufficient for my life. So we'll talk about sufficiency.

We will talk about this in a particular session, but it is something to remember the beauty of Revelation both the beauty of natural Revelation but also the beauty of Scripture. We forget that sometimes don't. This is beautiful poetry, beautiful narrative, well constructed narratives with fascinating characters God wanted to he could have given us bullet points right that he didn't give us what we have. So that's our doctrine of Revelation. This thing that we would be totally lost without Explorer little bit more in her neck sessions together. We will look forward to that tomorrow. I hope you join us. That's Dr. Steven Nichols with a message from a series why we trust the Bible. Thank you for joining us on this Monday. Addition of Renewing Your Mind. I'm we web in the know. This teaching is needed now more than ever. In a recent state of theology survey we found that 53% ability those who claim to be evangelical Christians do not believe that the Bible is literally true. Dr. RC scroll once God's people are starved for truth. There is so much work still to be done. That is our continuing mission. He reported her ministries and that this video series by Dr. Nichols is a great place to begin. Perhaps in your Sunday school class or church or small group meeting in your home would be glad to send you this fall series 6 lectures on a single DVD for your gift of any amount you can find us or you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343 like to take a moment to express my gratitude to all of your ministry partners are joining us today. Last year alone would get her ministries reach more than 56 million people around the world. That's twice as many as the year before and if you are one of our ministry partners. Please know that we could not have done that without you doctors both called you the backbone of this ministry. That's because you commit to pray for his monthly and give a gift of $25 or more if you're not a ministry partner but see the value in what were doing and you would like to know more, please mention it while you're on the phone with us. Thank you for your support hose. Dr. Nichols explained today the Bible is a divine book, its origin is God it is breathed out from God but God used human instruments in the recording and writing down of his word. It would explain why we can trust not only the Bible's inspiration, but it's authority as well. I hope you'll join us Tuesday for Renewing Your Mind

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