Why did we begin this series?
- We need to be grounded in His Word.
We have the mind of God in print and it is critical that we remain grounded in His Word, not ours.
- He wants you and me to grow as His disciples.
The Great Commission will never fall out of fashion. It doesn’t need a new business model, rebranding, or new vision.
If we’re not grounded and growing in the word, how are we to make disciples of all ethnos – of all nations?
There’s a great debate about sanctification: can you measure your discipleship? That’s a great question. How do we know if we’re growing in the faith? Some would quote, “You will know them by their fruit” but that passage is about false teaching, not about the veracity of a person’s salvation.
So, how do you know if a person is a Christian?
The easiest way is to ask: are you/am I changing?
Am I a little less lustful, a little less covetous, am I learning to control my temper, do I look upon others as more important than myself? Is there some change in who I am becoming?
Because, if you and I are no different than we were last year, it might suggest we aren’t growing.
New creations live differently:
- Forgiven sinners, we forgive.
- If children, we are to long for the milk of the word.
- If growing men /women, we long for the meat of the word.
- As disciples, long to see others come to faith and grow in Christ.
Acts 2:42. “Devoting themselves to the apostles teaching” means essentially: studying the Bible.
Devoted: to attach yourself, or hold fast.
“The activity of this early church was twofold. The believers first continued steadfastly (proskarterountes, “persisting in or continuing in”; cf. Acts 1:14; Acts 2:46; Acts 6:4; Acts 8:13; Acts 10:7; Romans 12:12; Romans 13:6; Colossians 4:2) in the apostles’ teaching or doctrine. The second was fellowship, which is defined as the breaking of bread and … prayer.” (1.)
Fellowship means a lot of things to a lot of people and here, the way it’s used, it encompasses a lot of things. The baseline Luke gives us is that it was breaking bread and prayer.
Ephesians 4:11-12. The Lord equipped His church for His work.
- Apostles – the word means to send somebody. They were the sent ones. Chosen, commissioned, and sent to authenticate the gospel of Christ.
- Prophets – chosen, commissioned, and sent to speak the Word of God.The apostles authenticated and established the church. From their time of training with Christ, He chose them for this work.
- Evangelists – this gifting is only mentioned 3 times in our New Testament:
Acts 21:8, Ephesians 4:11, 2 Timothy 4:4
This progression is important.
Paul and Timothy
Arguably, Paul and Timothy had a larger global impact than anything else, ever. That’s an outlandish statement, but if you look at the maps in the back of your Bible and see the Gospel move from a little hill called Calvary out to the nations without printing or any other form of modern technology – when it took months to get places, shipwrecks were reality – Paul and Timothy planted these churches all over.
Paul established these churches and wrote out epistles detailing how to make them work, and nothing has changed.
Church must equip saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.
Let’s consider how we use the word:
A gifted musician, a gifted artist, a gifted builder, a gifted surgeon…
Some are gifted people and it just works––they’re extraordinary people in their field. The question is, is that innate, or cultivated? And the answer is “yes.”
There has to be some innate-ness, but you also have to cultivate it.
And we have to consider––who gave the gift?
These Ephesians 4:11-12 gifts are foundational gifts that He gave to some…not all. Not all are gifted, or we might say “wired,” the same way.
When we look at the Bible, let’s set aside the idea of super-gifted evangelists or teachers. These gifts are spiritually endowed, but have to be cultivated.
When we look at the spiritual life, the body of Christ is so magnificent because He gave some as apostles, teachers, evangelists…
What’s crucial is how you cultivate the gift(s) you’ve been given to use it for the equipping of saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.
Lessons from The Big Book–Cover to Cover: Old Testament
1. God’s word is trustworthy
For all the things that teachers, preachers, or pastors say about the Bible, you can trust in the Bible.
2. God’s word is necessary
2 Timothy 3:16-17 Key terms:
All Scripture – every word of it.
Scripture – from γραφή – graphē, written or writing. See Romans 15:4
Inspired – θεόπνευστος theopneustos, God-breathed. See Matthew 4:4.
3. God’s word is authoritative
2 Peter 1:19-21, Deuteronomy 18:18
“Inspiration is the process by which Spirit-moved writers recorded God-breathed writings.” (2.)
“The Bible is a biblos, a single book. It has two Testaments, better called covenants or agreements between God and His people. Those two parts of the Bible are inseparably related: the New Testament is in the Old concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed.
When viewed carefully, those sections of the Bible are obviously not arbitrarily put together. Instead, they form a meaningful and purposeful whole, as they convey the progressive unfolding of the theme of the Bible in the person of Christ. The law gives the foundation for Christ, history shows the preparation for Him.
In poetry there is an aspiration for Christ and in prophecy an expectation of Him. The Gospels of the New Testament record the historical manifestation of Christ, the Acts relate the propagation of Christ, the Epistles give the interpretation of Him, and in Revelation is found the consummation of all things in Christ.” (3.)
Simply Put: You will never waste time in God’s word.
- Stanley D. Toussaint, “Acts,”in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoordand R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 360.
- Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, Rev. and expanded. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 36.
- Geisler and Nix, 29.