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November 1, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Mark Minnick continues a series entitled “Christ’s Body: The Church” with a message titled “The Word of God and the Church,” from Acts 2:41.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927. The evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent preaching from the University chapel platform today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series about the role of the church called Christ's body, the church, today's message will be preached by Dr. Mark Minnick, pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina will be teaching on the centrality of the Bible in the life of the church. Dr. Pettit has asked that we have rest today. The question of the centrality of the word in the life of the church. Why is it central like to ask you to open your Bibles if you would. The second chapter the book of acts. Acts chapter 2 and what I want to call our attention to. First of all, this morning is the precedent for this in the life of the church and there could not be a better passage in which we could find that in this one because if you would notice. Please with me the 41st verse. Would you look right in verse 41 and just notice what is happening there. It's giving to us the response of those Jewish hearers to the sermon that was preached by Peter and it tells us at the conclusion of verse 40 wind that they were added to the 120 about 3000 souls.
Now you have over 3000 people think for instance of the number of people that are in this room this morning. There would be more than that here that we would be roughly of the size that you had then severity as there's a group of people. Now, what are they going to do when the next verse hears the precedent and they continued steadfastly in four things. The first of which is the apostles doctrine.
The word that is translated continued steadfastly in that text is a word that could be translated literally. They gave their strength to enhance the word power as absolute.
They gave their power. They gave their strength to the apostles doctrine and these other three matters. In other words, what you have here is a record right out of the gate as soon as you have the forming of the church at Pentecost. The other record of four preoccupations on their part in the first of them was this matter of apostolic doctrine.
So I will raise the question this morning. What is it that they were doing with the apostolic doctrine.
How did that actually flashed itself out. If you allow me to do this today. I'd like to begin by speaking in the past tense. And speaking of them. I know that we are always concerned to find out what the text means to us in the mood to the application of that were going to do that. To be sure that we really get the historical and scriptural foundations in place before we make any present applications, so I want to address this subject this morning and that is keeping the Scripture central in the life of the church and allow these peoples practices in their preoccupation to guide us about that and first of all, in getting at the root of that, ask you turned back one chapter and really have to reference several places in the book of acts in a couple places in the epistles this morning and I know it's that middle of the day and evening classes all morning and got classes this afternoon and sometimes a little hard even work up the energy to turn in our Bibles will do that. I think it will be worth your while and ask you turned back to the first chapter and will call your attention to what happened in the upper room. Previous to Pentecost. The 15th verse we are told that the apostle Peter stood up and spoke to those other believers and what I'm interested in is what he said at the outset.
Verse 16 men and brethren note this wording.
This Scripture must needs have been fulfilled and that's already taken an adverse what he said to them that day was on the premise that there were scriptures that needed to be fulfilled, and he went on and explained taking as his tax to passages from the solar he went on to explain to them that they needed to choose a successor for Judas. Let's start right there.
What is it to give the word of God. The central place in our churches. We just take this in the order in which is found in this book concerning the early church we would say first of all it is to get our guidance from the Bible, not just our guidance as individuals, but our guidance for the church as well. People and churches today where the word is central don't believe in the Bible at their church. They walked out of that church in the guidance for their lives is on that same basis as last Saturday we had a memorial service at our church for a lady who is been a member there for many years. She went to be with the Lord at just a little short of 72 years of age. One of the things that number of years ago.
I just sort of stumbled upon was the idea of preaching a person's funeral service out of their own Bible.
It's always a tremendously impressive thing to be able to share with the congregation at that point in time. Things that a Christian person has marked in his Bible. So I go through those Bibles and I try to extract comments that people have made in the margins or verses that they've underlined and basically allow them to preach their own service from their own Bible and I went through this dear ladies Bible.
One of the first things that caught my attention was that on the back of the front and paper excuse was on the title page on the title page. She had written one line and the line was this man to take us safely from birth to glory whole thing.
Evidently, in her mind, put on the title page. This is the map take us safely safely now from Earth to glory as you went through the margins of her Bible. They were just all marked up with things that she learned and personally studied that as far she were concerned were part of putting that map together and guiding her steps. Now what works for an individual is supposed to work for the life of the whole church that the church gets its guidance. That way, just as Peter directed these people now here in chapter 1, and when I ask you to drop down to verse 24. Look at the response of these people. After Peter explained those tax after he said to them, their scrutiny scriptures need to have been fulfilled, so the response first 24 wives and they what's the next word what they do they praying and what they praying was not general it was a specific response to those scriptures as they have been explained.
So let's extract that from it. What is it that gives the Bible central place in our churches. One, it is to get our guidance from it, both individually and corporately as churches and secondly it is to pray in response to those scriptures.
That's what those people did. On this occasion, when you do that when our churches do that when our prayers are scripturally informed that way we can be confident that we will receive the petitions that we present before the Lord.
In fact, one of the ways that is the richest assurance of that is to actually pray the Scriptures pray scripturally informed prayers but pray prayers that are filled with Scripture expressions not expressions that you just chosen at random, and that just fill the content in a sort of a pious way, but expressions that we have come to understand within their contacts and we know that what we're doing is the express will of God. As we pray those petitions couple weeks ago. The leadership in our church had a retreat at the Wilde's and we look together at a very fine to all that was put together by the most well-known commentator in the English language. If I was to ask you was the most well-known English commentator of all time.
While you would respond correctly that it is a man named Matthew Henry, who died in the early 1700s. Just four years before he died. Matthew Henry put together for his people book on prayer. Some of you will be very interested in this venture and the title of that book is a method for prayer that there are lots of books out there with methodology for prayer, but this one is unusual. Listen to the remainder that title a method for prayer with Scripture expressions and the whole point of the book is to teach people to pray praying the Bible. Their nine chapters to that book there's a chapter on praying confessional.
He praying with adoration. Praying the Lord's prayer nine chapters in those nine chapters, there are over 2300 text of Scripture.
Let me just give you an example. We're coming up in three weeks. On one of the most anticipated holidays of our calendar year Thanksgiving. We all have so much to be grateful for. There's a whole chapter in this book on praying with thanksgiving. That chapter has over 40 separate points in it, arranged in five layers of subdivisions and in those over 40 clients.
There are 338 Scripture expressions what Henry was doing was putting before his people in the church is the idea of here is a wealthy way to really be assured that your prayers will be heard. Just pray God's words back to him. It's not all we do in prayer.
But if you're asking the question of the Scripture being central in our churches certainly praying the Bible is a big part of that. Now if you just turn the page again. You got accepted to how do we have the Scripture central in our churches let it guide our churches pray the Bible in our churches, and then do what Peter is doing and that would be a big part of what any visitor. Our churches would've noticed on any Lord's day morning and evening and that would've been that there is the preaching of the Bible and I want to call your attention about this first sermon in what we officially would call church history that very first sermon is this. If you go through and count the verses. The sermon is 25 verses long and out of those 25 verses 12 of the verses are quotation Scripture almost half of it. That doesn't mean that all of our preaching has to be quotation of Scripture to that percentage. It's just a very interesting observation is in it that in that first sermon, Peter has chosen for different Old Testament tax and quoting them to those people takes up a good portion of the sermon.
What's the rest of the sermon explaining those tax and then applying those texts to those people and that is what we call preaching. Preaching is the teaching class exhortation preaching isn't merely teaching its teaching class it's teaching with a plus it's teaching with the class of exhortation when a teacher gets done. People say oh I see that when a preacher gets people say, all right, I'll do it and it's the exhortation that pushes on them to come to a verdict having the word of God central to our churches is preaching. It not merely teaching it.
But preaching and with exhortation and you'll see that right through the preaching and asked that this is what those sermons consistent. The quotation Scripture. The explanation of the Scriptures than the application from the Scriptures you go into the writings of the apostle Smith 28 listener New Testament 21 of them. We call epistles or letters that are written by the apostles and their doing the same thing in those letters. If you take Romans. The apostle Paul is quoting the previous scriptures, the Old Testament, he quotes them some 60 times read the book of Hebrews nearly 35 quotations from the Old Testament. First Peter another 15 minute quotations from the Old Testament and what the writing is on the basis of those scriptures so I want to do at this point is ask us to turn to three more passages in all of these are going to be in those writings by the apostles.
Would you turn with me please the first Timothy four and there's something in this passage before chapter 13 verse but sometimes we overlook when it comes to the centrality of the word in our churches when we have so far we get our guidance from the Scripture.
What was the second one when they got the guidance center. They respond immediately. They did what they prayed on the basis of that and then Peter did what and Peter preached those three things banality.
First Timothy chapter 4 and the 13th verse, Paul is writing to this young pastor is overseeing the work at Ephesus, and Paul admonishes him. Verse 13 till I come. The idea being Paul is anticipating that he will come in when he comes, he evidently will take this over, but until he comes.
This is what Timothy is to practice till I come give attendance to reading to exhortation to doctrine or to teaching the exhortation and the doctrine the exhortation on the teaching are what we call the preaching, but what is this business give attendance to reading what Paul was talking about here with the Holy Spirit was directing Timothy to do wasn't merely the personal reading of Scripture you can see that from the whole context, the spirit of God is directing this young pastor to see to it that the Scriptures were read publicly to the people and that is the fourth thing that gives the Scripture centrality in our services.
In fact, it may be the thing that more than any other single thing would really be stunning to a visitor completely on acclimated with the Bible and why we give it the place that we do the public oral reading of the Scriptures. This is what Peter had been doing personally that caused him to stand up and say the Scriptures must be fulfilled, and this is what the entire church is directed to do at this point to read those scriptures together. I mentioned to you, Matthew Henry very interesting in reading his life that you discover that he was doing what many many churches have done.
Historically, our church doesn't do this that we do in do try to give a central place to the reading of a extended portion of Scripture, every Lord's day morning, but historically, many churches, including perhaps your church have read a whole chapter of the Old Testament on Lord's day mornings and another whole chapter out of the New Testament. The Lord's day, evenings, and very often. Historically the preacher has commented through that reading all the way through it and that hasn't been a sermon a sermon comes later. During the years that Matthew Henry pastored in England in a little town named Chester he was there 25 years and he took his people all the way through the Old Testament. That way every single chapter of it and he got them almost to the Pentateuch a second time and he took his whole church in the evenings through the New Testament twice and that's what his commentary came out of that we might think to ourselves well I can understand I can spend on with this.
We might think to ourselves like really understand reading the Scripture publicly in those days because not everybody had a Bible and Bibles were very hard to produce you and write them all by hand. But today we all have virus. Well, I think there is some validity to that there may not be as much necessity of reading link.
The lengthy portions in all of our services, but I would say this, you got to remember number one that very often in our services. There are lost people who have never heard a single chapter of the Bible red number two we got a remember that many Christian people do not read their Bibles.
We also got a remember that many Christian people who do read their Bibles read them very selectively they don't have a method that gets them through the entirety of Scripture with regularity.
They are very selective in their reading the go to the same common and very reassuring passages over and over again and it what it does is it distorts their view of God. He also had a remember that many people who do read the entirety of Scripture don't read it well and don't understand what they're reading because even the way they read is it with understanding thoughts. I will also point this out. There probably is nothing that we could do in our services that would work testify to the supremacy of God's word and also to its clarity and most of all to our humble client acceptance of all of it, there probably is nothing that we could do that would testify to those things more than when we just sit quietly and we reverently listen to someone. Respectfully read God's words in a totally on edited fashion, leaving nothing out. Reading the Bible is central in the life of the church.
Now let me ask you turn to another text.
This is one with which we perhaps are more familiar to the book of Colossians just turned back to Internet return very far in the third chapter Colossians chapter 3, and one of the 16th verse, which just taps right and what we been dealing with and it's as wet the word of Christ dwell in you richly given a rich dwelling that just keep reading. Look at what it says. As one of the outgrowths of that. If we do that as a church.
If we let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. This is going to be one of the manifestations of that we end up teaching and admonishing one another. It says not in the Sunday school rooms and not just from the pulpit but we end up doing it and what in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs sing a preach the Bible read the Bible sing the Bible. That's what that's talking about and you notice that of the three categories that are mentioned here.
The first one.
Look at it is a lot is the sauce. The very book that Peter had been studying the booklet for the centrality of the sermon on the day of Pentecost singing the Scripture, or at least singing paraphrases of the Scripture, or at the very least being absolutely certain that whatever we saying is really scripturally informed and we do that for the purpose it says teaching and admonishing one another. The song service isn't just the feel-good part of the service. Although singing is what really engages us emotionally. But this is an instructive admonishing time that goes on in this is one of the reasons of course, that in the history of the church are very best hymns and gospel songs have been written by mature, very careful students of Scripture.
And if you read the biographies of those people whose hymns. We just continue to read hymns by John Newton and William Cooper and Fanny Crosby and Francis Ridley have a goal in the Wesley brothers and saw these people were really asked student conscientious diggers and of the Scripture that brings me to this last of all and I won't even ask you turn this text. James says it's really important that we not do like a man did in a church that I heard a Scottish preacher talk about this older Scottish preacher said that in his first ministry. He took a church and very quickly he noticed that there was a man who sat up front who would come and sit down his pew reach over to a box beside him with a key, unlock the box and take out of the box the Bible and the hymnbook and when the service was over he would very carefully replace in the box close the lid, lock the key walkout and then the preacher noticed that's what nearly everybody was doing. They all have boxes like that in their seats and as he got to know the people, he discovered that most of those people didn't even know the Lord, he decided it was a little parable and folks, it's the little parable that I want to put before us this morning. The apostle James says don't be a hearer of the word but not a lot. We don't believe the Bible at the church after we hear it preached and we pray it and we sing it and we haven't central in this way we walk out and were doers of the word I want to say something this morning that really could panic some people in this room and I don't mean to do that.
We have hundreds and hundreds of high school students visiting with us and were so glad that you're here. Here's the thing that could panic you some of your seniors have you stop and realize that just four short years from this may, you could be graduating not just from high school that college some of you will be married. Some of you will be married just as soon as you can be. After you get that diploma in your hands and your gonna go out into the churches and you could be a tremendous help to them in keeping the Scripture central that's what all of us can do folks when we leave this place and this is one tremendous and really constraining reason to get a Foley Christian education during your college years not to go to a secular school go to a schedule where the Bible is central in that skill word day after day after day, you are being fed the Scripture and coming to understand the Scripture so that when you pray, and when you teach the Sunday school classes, even if it's to the smallest level of children in those classes when you pray, and you teach and if you stand up and pray someday and when you read the Scriptures and the services and when you give guidance on this church boards that you are scripturally informed and the Scripture is central to that ministry and you know what it will do that the Bible will do for our churches.
What it does for us individually. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for four things in righteousness for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, change the wording a little bit that the churches may be perfect through newly furnished unto all good works by God help us to keep the Scripture central spray together loving heavenly father, we thank you for the blessing of owning Bibles and we ask that you would help us to give it the place not only in our lives, but in our churches that you point and we will praise you for that grace we ask in Christ. Precious name amen you've been listening to a sermon preached at Bob Jones University by Pastor Mark Minnick, which is part of the study series about the church, titled Christ's body, the church join us again tomorrow as we continue this series here on The Daily Platform