Scriptures: Psalm 19:7-11, 2 Timothy 3:15-17, 2 Peter 1:3-4 Introduction: The modern objection What the Bible is Big Idea: The B...
Main idea: The Bible offers a powerful defense for its own clarity, which is not naïve or intimidated by its detractors.
Three Biblical truths regarding the nature and clarity of Scripture that should motivate us to seek stability in its truth when the world seems chaotic.
Thanks, John. Yes, I am Brian says our team lead Dan Jarms has been on a little vacation but he's finishing it up this morning actually hours ago already now he preached at Grace life. London where Michael Vanessa Dionne are serving and he sends his greetings and his love to you all is looking forward to being home soon. And fruitful ministry there. I trust as well. Now please stand and grab your copy of the Scriptures and turn to the 19th Psalm, Psalm 19.
Psalm 19, a Psalm of David. The heavens are telling of the glory of God, and their expanse is declaring the work of his hands, day to day pours forth speech and night tonight reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor are there words, their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth and their utterances to the end of the world. In them he has placed a tent for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber. It rejoices as a strong man to run his course, that's rising is from one end of the heavens and its circuit to the other end of them, and there's nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the Lord is perfect. Restoring the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The judgments of the Lord are true, they are righteous all together. They are more desirable than gold Yes, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey in the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them, your servant is warned, and keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern His errors acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back your servant from presumptuous sins, let them not rule over me, then I will be blameless and I shall be acquitted of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord, my rock, and my Redeemer. This is the word of the Lord. God help us this morning as we open up your word to be instructed and encouraged and reassured about the clarity, the power of your word and we ask it for the glory of Christ. Amen. You may be seated. While beginning or continuing, excuse me this morning in our series truth, stability in a world of chaos. Where can we find lasting hope in a world that is often so painful and, and confusing, even unjust at times? Where does real stability spiritual stability come from in a world that's shifting and unpredictable? While we read it here in Psalm 19, didn't we that it is the word of God that restores the soul. It's God's word that makes wise, the simple. When we're confused, it's the word of God that rejoices the heart. When we're tempted to despair, it's the word of God that enlightens our eyes. When we can't see reality, the word of God can warn us can cleanse us can give us discernment, and these are all things that we desperately need, and deeply longed for, when the world around us is full of chaos, and confusion, and God promises to provide them to us through His Word, the Bible more desirable than gold, for those who are feeling bankrupt of truth and sweeter than honey, for those who are starving for spiritual food. And we've heard about the Bible's inspiration and authority a couple of weeks ago and last week that the Word of God is true and powerful that it is without error, and it always accomplishes God's purposes. But what do I read? Where Where do I read? What does it mean? It'd be wonderful if receiving the benefits prom missed in God's word. Were as simple as it is to plug in my iPhone at night and have it recharge while I'm sleeping. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Plug me into the truth, right? Charge me up with hope and stability. Get out of bed, hit the ground running, that would be ideal. But that is not how it works. Often to understand God's word, it takes time, it may take heart and hard work, to search out and and understand the Scripture. And even then there are truths that we might learn and see and understand like God's goodness and sovereignty, but meditating on God's goodness and sovereignty in a chaotic world where we're hurting, and there's injustice and unexplainable pain that that sometimes isn't everything we hope it would be. Understanding how the Bible relates to your chaos, could be even harder. But what we need to know what we need to apply the truth that God has given to us can be searched out, and it can be understood. And what we can know and understand from God's Word is profoundly relevant. For today, it is really the only truth that makes real sense of the chaos that we experience of the confusion that we encounter. I talked a little bit a couple of weeks ago about our detractors at the History Channel, right, or Time magazine, or Newsweek or atheist.org, or the Freedom From Religion, foundation, did you know there was such a thing, there's a Freedom of Religion Foundation, there's a Freedom From Religion Foundation, where it's not difficult to find information to find articles claiming that the Bible is full of contradictions, that the Bible condones slavery and polygamy and unjust murder and violence against innocent people. And I mean, admittedly, when you read the scriptures, there's a lot of accounts, historical accounts in there that are pretty difficult to sort through and understand. Now often, I think that's simply because the Bible is is sometimes just recording events for us, telling us what was or sometimes what will come to pass. It's not actually commanding it or condoning it or approving of it. The Bible certainly will have details, I think, that are difficult to understand at times. But it is not unclear in its basic truths, in the fundamental realities, that it describes both about salvation about God himself, and even about the spiritual realities. In this chaotic world that we live in, here's the big idea that we need to understand this morning, we're talking about the clarity of Scripture. And the the big idea I want you to walk away with is this that the Bible offers a powerful defense of its own clarity. And what the Bible says about its own clarity. It's a It's not naive and to its it's not intimidated by those who would argue against it. And saying the Bible is not naive. I'm, I'm trying to point out that arguments against the Bible's clarity will only bring up concepts charges, principles or points of difficulty, which the Bible itself acknowledges and addresses. It's not naive to these things, the History Channel Time Magazine, they're not coming up with new information. So it's not naive. And yeah, it declares and then displays that it is clear. It admits it describes the various objections and circumstances that might cause people to question that fact. And, and I would say this, the fact that the Bible is honest, about being difficult to understand sometimes, is actually profound evidence to the truthfulness of Scripture. If it were just a book, crafted by men, with the sole intention of presenting a worldview and a canon of truth, that would be unquestioned. If that's all the Bible were, you don't make those concessions. You don't acknowledge that it's difficult to understand. Right? You just declare that I'm the only way and you do it naively. But the Bible doesn't do that. But I was very honest with what it is. So let's look together what the Bible does say about its own clarity. And let's think through what some of those implications and in principle would be, here's how we're going to do that this morning. Broadly, we're going to look at three biblical truths regarding the nature and clarity of Scripture. And that should help us seek stability. In its truth when the world is chaotic, three biblical truths regarding the nature and clarity of Scripture, and it's going to remind us how important it is to lean into the truth of God's word, when life is chaotic. First of all, the Bible affirms its own clarity. The Bible affirms its own clarity. I think it does it directly, it does it indirectly. How does it do it? Well, first of all, I want you to think about this. The Bible is God revealing truth. Right, we talk about the revelation of the Scripture, the Bible is God revealing truth about himself about us about the world about sin and judgment and
everything. It's not obscuring truth, the nature of the Bible, as Revelation tells us that it needs to be clear, we learned the first week of the series, what does it mean for the Bible to be inspired? Revelation it is that God Himself is speaking and revealing things to us. God who created language, God who who gave to us the capacity to communicate. Of course, the the very God who created language and gives to human kind, the ability to communicate is going to communicate to us in ways that are clear and understandable. That's not to say there aren't barriers to understanding things that need to be overcome. There's, there's there's language, Bibles written in at least three language, it's, it's written by over 40 Different offer authors it, it's the oldest portions of the scripture that we have are 3400 years old. It's written across almost 1500 years of culture. And yet, I was taught Gary Morgan was talking to me after after first serving this agenda. Another thing that reveals the clarity of Scripture is how the Bible itself is trans cultural, but it can speak truth into cultures that go across centuries of time. It's true, there are ways in which I read it. And in my Western American culture, sometimes I don't understand it, we'll see at least one example later. But he's like he's been overseas and talked to people from so many cultures and how they've shown him the Scripture speaks into our world, it speaks into our culture, only an eternal God could make the one single book clear to hundreds of generations, over 1000s of cultures. That's what the Scripture does, because it is God revealing himself not obscuring himself, but revealing himself. That's the nature of Scripture to conclude that it doesn't speak with clarity, is to say that it doesn't fulfill its first and primary purpose, and that's to, to reveal truth. And so keep on proclaiming it people, people of God, keep on speaking the power of God unto salvation, that people might know, God, keep on proclaiming the ways and the will of God, so that people would understand there is one to whom they will give an account. Because it is clear, Mark, Mark Twain once famously said it isn't the parts of the Bible. I don't understand that bother me. It's the parts of the Bible. I do understand that bother me. There's a reason for that. Because what is clear is that there is a God to whom we will give an account, and as Scriptures reveal him to us, and the truths about sin and righteousness and judgment and salvation, all of which are so very clear. The second way the Bible inherently affirms its unclarity is that so much of the Bible comes to us in the form of command or precept? In other words, it's telling us what to believe or what to do. How could a gracious God hold us accountable to obey something that's not clear? It's not only clear, it's clear enough to be understood by children were necessary and appropriate. Deuteronomy six, the oldest are one of the oldest books of the Bible, we should say, Moses, recording God's word. These words I command you today shall be on your heart and you shall teach them diligently to your children. And talk about when you sit down and walk by the way when you lie down and when you rise and as the Books of Moses come to a close Deuteronomy 30 He describes again and how the law of God was given to be accessible and understood, and obey Deuteronomy 30. This commandment I commend to you today is not too hard for you, nor is it far off. It's not in heaven that you should say, who will ascend to heaven and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it. Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us that we may hear it and do it. But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. It is it's given it's given to be heard and and handled and understood in the essence of much of the Bible as law or command, which is written on our conscience, so much of it is given so that we can obey it. And so we should, we should study it and read it so that we can live the way the Lord has called us to live, for His glory, and for our good. And we'll see the importance of that a little bit later. A third way the Bible affirms its own clarity is the life changing nature of Scripture implies that it can be understood by everyone can be understood by the simple. This is good news for us, because very few of us, if any, are great philosophers or rigorous academics, most of us are pretty simple people who really just need and probably want to hear simple truth. And this is actually who the Bible speaks to. And it's who the Bible transforms, we've just read in Psalm 19. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul, the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise, the simple, the term simple there can be translated young or naive. But it means open minded, and open minded in the Proverbs, for instance, often means gullible or foolish, because people open their minds to foolish things, right. But if your mind is open to the powerful truth of God's living an abiding word, then it makes you wise, the word of God makes wise, the simple. There's kind of a backwards description of why something it's not so clear is because their mind isn't really open to it being clear or to it being life changing. They're not approaching God's testimony with the humility and simplicity of of a child. And so it doesn't come alive to them, and it doesn't transform them. But that's the nature of God's word to give light and understanding to those who come to it, with humility and with a persuadable. Heart. Psalm 119. Verse 130, says, the unfolding of your words, gives light, it imparts understanding, to the simple. No one is above or below the clear message of the Bible, that clear, repeated message of God, the Creator, man, the Fallen creature, loved and redeemed, by the grace of his son born of a virgin, incarnate, sinless bearing the sins of mankind that that message can make wise, the simple to those whose heart is humble enough to hear it and receive it. So proclaim it to everybody, people, proclaim it in the halls of the university, where they give those PhDs and we're going to take it to the hills, in Nepal and the villages in Indonesia. And we're just going to keep proclaiming it because the testimonial Lord assured it makes wise, the simple and wherever God's message finds the simple the gospel will bear fruit. A fourth way the Bible affirms its own clarity is Jesus and the authors of Scripture, assume you can understand it. I like this point, Jesus, and the authors of Scripture, the New Testament specifically assume you can understand it. One of Jesus's favorite phrases is Have you not read? That's pretty good. Right? He assumes, if you had just read it, you would understand what I'm saying. Other times he says it is written, meaning his expectation was that for especially for those Jews that were listening, that they had heard and read and understood what the Old Testament prophets had written down. He describes the expectation that people could understand it in other ways, like in Matthew nine, verse 13, when he says, Go and learn what this means and then he he quotes from the Old Testament, I desire mercy and not sacrifice go and learn what this means open Not the scriptures and read it for yourself and understand it. In John Chapter Three after telling Nicodemus that in order to see the kingdom of God, you must be born again or born from above. He says to Nicodemus, Are You the teacher in Israel, and yet you do not understand these things. In other words, he expected a humble, faithful student of even the Old Testament to understand that true salvation was a spiritual rebirth. That true salvation wasn't
the result of keeping religious rituals or obeying the law, but it was a spiritual rebirth. After the resurrection, Jesus appears to a couple men who are walking on a road to amaze us and Luke chapter 24. And these two guys were expressing their disappointment and heartache over their Messiah being crucified. And now apparently his body had disappeared, though some women were saying they had seen visions of him and that he was alive. This is the first thing Jesus says to them after they tell him his plate. He says to them in Luke 24, verse 25, oh, foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. He's assuming that they could read and understand the prophets, their problem was being slow of heart to believe. Well, he goes on to explain to them everything about himself in Moses, and the prophets, which would have would have been a glorious afternoon, by the way. But But notice, he says, at the beginning of that whole conversation, it was possible to have understood it by reading it. Now, do we all need the grace of God? Yes, we're gonna get to that in a little bit. Those are some specific examples with some explanation. But there are 300 quotes, at least 300. In the New Testament of the Old Testament, the writers of the New Testament, specifically expect their readers to know and understand what the Bible says. Now, granted, some of those quotations are there. And then the author goes on to explain them. For us. That's really helpful, isn't it? So in a sense, there's, there's still also acknowledging that it's difficult to understand. But the essence of the point is unchanged. Jesus, and the authors of Scripture expect that a person can read and understand the scriptures, but not everyone does. Not everyone does. In fact, for Bible loving pastors like me, the amount of misunderstanding and confusion about what the Bible says, is both the bane of our existence and job security, right, sorry. But what we don't see is the Bible, or its human authors naively trying to convince us of things we see, we see just the opposite that the Bible affirms. And this is the second biblical truth about the nature and clarity of Scripture. This is what we see, the Bible affirms that there will be questions about its clarity. I said earlier, it's a profound evidence to the truthfulness of Scripture, of its divine origin. That it doesn't hide from this reality. If it were just a book crafted by men. Then it they wouldn't have put the the admissions the questions in there, but the Bible is not just religious propaganda. Like so many other so called holy books, that's eternal truth, given to us from an all wise all knowing God, and we should expect that not everything said to us by an infinitely wise and all, knowing God would be easy to understand that that also makes sense, doesn't it? It can be understood, yes. But we would not expect everything that an infinitely wise and all knowing God says to us to be easy to understand. So let's look at three ways the Bible affirms that it's hard to understand. Again, difficult doesn't equal impossible, but it can be hard. Number one, the Bible says it's hard to understand, Peter, the Bible says it's hard to understand Peter, who wrote scripture himself is admitting in his second letter, Second Peter, chapter three, verse 16, that the writings of the apostle Paul are hard to understand. He's, he referred to in verse 15. Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, verse 16, as he does in all his law When he speaks in some of these matters, there are some things in them that are hard to understand, he says, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction as they do the other scriptures, but the life changing nature of the scriptures remind us that they meet us where we're at. And they come alive to us in the context of real life, when we're willing to work hard to understand them and apply them. And sometimes the most profound teachers hit us in perhaps the hardest moments, someone 18 so that it was good that I was afflicted, that I might learn your law, there was something about the crucible of affliction that helps the psalmist understand things. The writer of Hebrews says this about the folks that he was writing to the church or churches that he was writing to, and it's a familiar passage, Hebrews five or so 11 through 14, he says, some of you have become dull of hearing. He's trying to explain to them who is this Melchizedek and the book of Genesis that Abraham encountered the king of Salem, the priest of Salem, and it's it's admittedly a complex narrative to understand. And he says, I would like to tell you more, it's hard to explain, since you have become doh of hearing, he says, For though by this time, you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles, you need milk, not solid food. solid food is for the mature, he says later in verse 14, for those who have their powers of discernment, trained by constant practice, to distinguish good from evil. He was saying that the Christians, the writer of Hebrews was right, they would have had a hard time understanding some truths about this obscure and mysterious character because they, they weren't approaching the Scripture with that humble heart of obedience, they wanted to submit to it that wanted to discern good from evil and live that out. Then because their hearts weren't approaching God's Word with that humility, they had become, in his words, dough of hearing, unskilled in the word of righteousness, and their powers of discernment had not been trained. So yes, it's, it's it's it's hard to understand. But we need to be diligent students of God's word we read last week, Nathan unfolded for us, capably last week about the infinite wisdom and knowledge of God from Isaiah 55, verses eight and nine, my thoughts are not your thoughts. neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts? Yes, the Bible can be hard to understand and it doesn't shy away from that reality. Far too many people and certainly far too many of those who complain that the Bible is not clear. Or people who are of the mindset that they are able to stand in judgment over the Word of God, rather than the Word of God, standing in judgment over them.
There's a place for a humble rebuke of those who argue against God in that way. And there's certainly a warning for all mankind, to have a humble heart of submission to God and His Word. What's the second way the Bible affirms that it can be difficult if firms is clarity it also in firms that can be difficult. Second way firms that can be difficult is by telling us that it becomes more clear through time and effort and ordinary means. The Bible tells us to seek it out right to search for wisdom, like buried treasure. Over and over again. In Scripture, we see by example and by pattern that understanding the Bible takes effort. Most of that effort that we need to exert is pretty darn normal. Meditation on the word, think about it. meditate on God's word, Joshua, one eight, this Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night. So that you may be careful to do according to all that is written. And that's how you make your way prosperous. This the psalm psalmist starts that way. The blessed man of Psalm one doesn't walk in the Council of the wicked or stand in the path of sinners or sit in the seat of scoffers instead, what does he do? His delight is is in the law of the Lord and in His law, he meditates day and night. Meditate on it, consider it, give it prayerful thought that's a second normal means. Just pray for understanding Psalm 119, verse 18, the Psalmist says, open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. Verse 33, teach me, oh Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I will keep it in the end, the Psalmist. And every faithful believer needs to be praying all the time, God help me, help me to know, help me to understand helped me to see the beauty and the wisdom, of your word, and of you. Sometimes the help comes through hard work through diligent study. In the Old Testament, we have the example of Ezra and as your seven, verse 10, as your head set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach us statutes and rules. And Israel, he'd set his heart to study it and do it again, that humble disposition that says he's going to put himself under the truth of God's word to study it and to do it. The New Testament excitation comes in second Timothy 215, where Paul's writing to Timothy and he says, Present yourself to God, as a, an approved worker who doesn't need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth, or rightly dividing the language there of of cutting it straight, cutting the Word of God straight, taking a scalpel to it, opening it up, discovering what is in there, as sometimes that study is part of an engaged process of learning and reasoning together. I mean, do you ever study the Bible together? This is fun we get to do at staff meetings almost every Monday. Whoever's preaching, like, what have you learned? And What don't you understand? And let's talk about it together. And it's not a it's not a lengthy period of time. But it's a glorious period of time studying the Word of God together. And you see an example of that in Acts chapter 15, when the early church was trying to settle what was a very controversial and cultural issue about circumcision and drinking blood, eating meat sacrificed titles are talking about a few things there in Acts 15, verse seven, it says, After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, brothers, you know that in the early days, God made a choice among you that by the month, a Gentile should hear the word of the gospel and believe, and he begins to explain the whole thing. There was a whole group, a council of men there who had debated some truths, and Peter sums it all up for them and, and ties it up and sums it up. They're working hard to understand the Scripture. And even there were detractors in that situation. What they were studying that controversial issue. I mean, it was a cultural and religious hotspot for the early church as much as anything that we're dealing with today. There's a fly up here. Does anybody else see that fly? I know you can't see the fly on line. I don't normally do a lot of this. When I preach, but this This fly is gonna die. I just hope I don't break the podium in the process. Okay. For a few minutes. This happened a month ago, and I was preaching overnight. Oh, it's the same damn thing. I had a fly in my face for like 30 minutes. While I was preaching, it's the strangest thing. I'm starting to think it's me. I'm attract and flies here
looking for a wheelchair ushers, if we have one. Yep, they will. They'll get that for you. Perfect, perfect time to ask. We'll get you taken care of. Okay, back to normal means of understanding the scriptures. We meditate. We pray, we study and stick to it. Stick to it. Don't Don't give up when you don't understand it. John 12 or 16. It says The disciples didn't understand at first. But then they remembered the scriptures that it said, right and so they remembered what they learned. Sometimes we're studying things or reading things and we're not we're not as mindful as as we ought to be. And it's not as applicable in the moment as it will be. But just stick to it. The Word of God will bear fruit apply yourself to it. Another normal means that I couldn't come in more is a good translation. A good translation, in fact, five good translations which which we have right. So use a good translation. in a, in a day when the Word of God was not as accessible to the Hebrew people as it once was. Ezra did the work of translation so that people could understand it. And Nehemiah eight describes it, that Ezra brought the law before the assembly, and everyone who could understand gathered and on the first day of the seventh month, he read from it, he read from the Book of the Law, explaining or translating it, to give them the sense so that the people understood the reading the same thing was true in Jesus day. Matthew, chapter one, refers to Jesus as a manual, and then it says, which means God with us. So the primarily Gentile readership of Matthew wouldn't have known the Hebrew word, Emanuel means God with us. Same thing, the the Roman readers of the gospel of Mark when Jesus was raising that young girl from the dead, and he says telethia kumai. That I mean, those, those Roman readers wouldn't have known that that means little girl arise. And so Mark, translates it for him right there in our Bibles, it translates it. Well, that's what our translators are trying to do for us all the time is to, to give us the sense. Another thing that is useful, is studying historical and cultural context, the book of Ruth, chapter four, it says, So Boaz is getting ready to redeem Ruth to be to be his wife, her husband had died and, and he was going to come in as their kinsman redeemer, which in and of itself is a cultural tradition, we don't understand. But there was another man who had the, the rights to, to marry her who didn't love her. And so they're having a conversation, and it says, it was the customer and former times in Israel, concerning concerning redeeming and exchanging to confirm a transaction by drawing off your sandal and giving it to the other person, Michael, thank you for explaining that. Because if it had only said and Boaz took off his sandal and handed it to the other dude, I would be like, That's really weird. Did he just buy her for a shoe. But it wasn't about buying her and it wasn't about the shoe. Right? It was just a cultural tradition. It's how they confirmed their transaction. The Bible is old and it was communicated a historical and cultural context, that sometimes we need to work hard to understand. Come back in November, we'll study first Corinthians 11, together about the headcovering. There's so much cultural stuff in there that we need to understand. All of this, what I just described, I just described to you basic principles of Bible interpretation, reading, meditating, praying, studying, right cultural context, good translations, word studies, basic Bible interpretation. If you've never taken a how to study the Bible class, can I encourage you to that, at some point, which I'm not sure when our next one is? Now I've just created a job for myself. A fun one, though. Alright, to sum up this section, yes, the Bible can be difficult and it doesn't hide that fact. But imperfect, finite, humans are trying to understand an infinitely wise, all knowing God. And the reality is that the people and even Christians don't always work hard to employ the normal means that God's described to come to understand something that he's said. But there are deeper issues than that, actually. And those issues are are outlined in Scripture. And that leads us to the third biblical truth regarding the nature and clarity of Scripture. It isn't just that we don't. It isn't that we just don't practice those things. It's that there's something spiritually working against the very practice of those things. The third biblical truth, as the Bible says, objections about its clarity are rooted in man's nature. Not the Bible's nature, not not what the Bible is. Most objections about its clarity are rooted in man's nature. In some ways, this principle this third principle is actually one of the difficult truths to understand and embrace that people are by nature. All people born into a sinful world are hard hearted and thick headed, apart from God's grace. When we saw that, the first element of this before when we noted how one of the normal means of understanding difficult texts, is to pray right is to ask God for understanding and we need Eat as believers with a tender, humble heart to our God, we need God to open our eyes for understanding, but listen to what the Scriptures itself say about those who don't have saving faith. Second Corinthians four says, Paul says, if our gospel is veiled, it's covered over it's it's impossible to see it's veiled to those who are perishing. In their case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. In Ephesians, four, he says it this way, starting in verse 17. Don't walk as the Gentiles do in the futility of their minds. Verse 18, they're darkened, in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their heart. I know that's, that's why we would pray, Lord opened my eyes. I've Christians have been saved. And we've been given the Spirit of God and new life and a heart and eyes that can see but the vestiges of the those realities are clinging to us. Right? And so constantly praying, open my eyes, I want I don't want to I want to be delivered from the ignorance I want to be enlightened out of the darkness. Lord, I want understanding of you and of your ways. This is what happened to those two men on the road to Emmaus and Luke chapter 24. Jesus says, These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, and the prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Now that could have been a lecture to sleep through for someone who didn't care. But look what it says in verse 45. Then he opened their minds, to understand the scriptures, that that is necessary for every man, woman and child. So there's a paradox, right? That it can be understood, but we still need the working of God's grace to open our eyes. Christians have been given the Holy Spirit who is our constant helper and teacher and guide, so that we can understand and Paul describes that too. In first Corinthians 212, a passage we study just a few months ago, that we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given to us, by God. So it's, it's a both and for us as Christians, right? That we pray for understanding knowing that we've been given the Spirit of God so that we can understand and then we employ all of those. Normal means that humble prayerful study and meditation. So that we'll come to that understanding. There's often likely a deeper issue though, with those who are
speaking the loudest about the Bible's lack of clarity, right. Many people question the Bible's clarity because they, they want to understand it, and they find it difficult. They maybe have honest questions, but many people question the Bible's clarity, because they don't want to see it. Right, their hearts are hard. They don't want to embrace the Bible's message or work hard at it. And when I'm interacting with someone who's bringing objections about the truth of the Bible, or the clarity about the Bible, or the contradictions in the Bible, I will interact with them briefly until it becomes a an argument or a debate and I say they're darkened in their understanding they're blinded by the god of this world and and I graciously tell him I hope you come to understand what I've come to understand and to know the god I've come to know I'm gonna pray for you, but I'm not going to argue with them. So I'll go so far, but if someone keeps asking me honest questions, I'll I'll work with them. But man, this that's this is the reality, that often the loudest objections are revealing and unredeemed stubborn unbelief. And that perpetuates their inability to see and understand their objections about the Bible not being clear, or any other objections are really a reflection of God abandoning them to their rebellion, and unbelief. That's, that's a second way that that I think we see the problems with what people object to the Bible being clear are rooted in man's nature is it's never going to be clear to those who are unredeemed and unwilling to obey that, again, we saw described in First Corinthians 214, the natural person, the the man with only their sinful nature and not the Spirit of God does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, their foolishness to him and he is not able he's not even able to understand them. because they're spiritually discerned, Jesus said the same thing to the hypocritical religious leaders in John chapter eight. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear My Word you are of your father, the devil and your will is to do your father's desires, and he distinguishes first 47, whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason that you do not hear them is that you are not of God. Lord, help us that the vestiges of the sin that still remains, doesn't drag us down in the same way, because of our lack of diligence, and heart. But believers can fall into that state where our understanding of the word can be hindered, and it's hindered specifically, when our heart isn't whole, whole heartedly committed to living it, obeying it. And we saw this again in First Corinthians three, right? Just a few months ago, Paul writes to the church in Corinth, brothers, I could not address you as spiritual people. But as people of the flesh has infants in Christ, I had to feed you with milk, not solid food for you are not ready. And even now you're not ready for you're still fleshy. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshy and behaving in a human way, is like your on spiritual behavior. That's not. It's not humbly submitting yourself to the Word of God and loving your neighbor as yourself. It's hindering your ability to hear and understand truth. When we take all that into consideration, I hope you see a why it's just so important for you to go to God's word diligently and consistently and humbly to truly feed on it. Because your heart is hungry and longs to obey. I hope you see that beloved Christian. And I hope you see as well, that many people who who argue the loudest against what we what we believe are really people whose hearts are set against it, the loudest objections are from those unsaved untaught unstable folks whose hearts are darkened. Remember when Peter talked about the writing of Paul being difficult to understand? And then he says which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction as they do the other scriptures, and that's often often what we're experiencing, is the difficult portions of Scripture just being twisted by those whose hearts are set in rebellion against the Lord. appeal to them, call them to repentance. Preach faithfully the truth, that there is, there's a God to whom they'll give an account and there's only one name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Beloved, don't argue with them though. Rather than try to answer all the objections of those who make confident assertions about things they don't understand. Take Paul's advice. Who says in Second Timothy three evil people and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it. Because what you have learned are the sacred writings that are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, the scriptures that are breathed out by God, and useful for teaching reproof, correction, and training and righteousness, we can be confident in God's word, Christian, we can be confident that it's true and powerful accomplishes His purpose. And it's as clear as it needs to be for us. And we can be confident that a diligent pursuit of its meaning to us we'll be blessed by God if we approach it with a humble heart, willing to bring our our lives underneath it. And we don't need to be shaken. We don't need to be shaken by the objections of the ignorant and unstable, that any of those things are false. I'm trusting God will use these things to reassure us in our faith and in our walk, let's pray. God, we thank You for Your Word. We thank you for its truthfulness. We thank you that it is very words of you breathed out of your very mouth as it were. That it is powerful. Let it accomplishes its purpose. We're even thankful that we can't come to it in our own strength and wisdom, and figure it out on our own. We're thankful even that we need to beg you and depend upon you for a willing heart and open eyes. on God, we're even more thankful that because of your love and grace, that you grant those things so that we might know and understand, so that we might walk as worshippers of you the one true God so that we might have the hope of heaven so that we might be stable and reassured in a world that seems to be getting more and more confusing and chaotic. Thank you for your word, and for causing us to stand in your grace. And we thank you in the precious name of Christ, our Savior. Amen.
Brian is the Pastor of Counseling & Equipping at Faith Bible Church. He is passionate about the local church, and equipping the saints to effectively serve one another. Before coming to Spokane, he spent 14 years serving God's people as a pastor in rural New England (Vermont & New Hampshire).View Resources by Brian Sayers