Friday, August 14, 2015

His Word is Enough (John 20:30-31; 21:25)

“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” … “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 20:30-31; 21:25, ESV)

The last two chapters of John conclude with a statement by John that what he wrote is only a portion of what Jesus said and did. He wrote of only a fragment of what we could know about God, and as he wrote in the last verse of the book, there is more that could be written than even the rest of the Bible itself contains. He supposed that the world, as vast as it is, could not contain the books that could be written. John knew he was writing about the infinite God who loves finite man, and that man in his limitedness could only absorb so much. Just as the Jews were clamoring for another sign, he and the other authors could have continued to have been moved by the Spirit to record so much more. But God in His infinite wisdom knew what we needed, and what He has given us is His true and complete Word, and by being complete we know that it is what He intended.

Years ago in an evangelism training program I was taught how to get to the heart of the matter with people. When sharing Christ and receiving one objection after another, there was to be a point when I was instructed to ask, “Suppose all of the objections that you mentioned were not objections, is there any other objection that you have not mentioned that would keep you from making a decision?” I don’t remember the exact wording, though I could look it up, but you get the idea. Sometimes people throw out objections or demands for more proof not out of a desire to know, but out of a resistance to know. For them there is simply not enough that could be said for them to believe. For them, their hearts are still hardened to the truth and no amount of words are going to change that.

But for those of us who believe, we have been given the living Word of God that is powerful to change lives. Yesterday I quoted Romans 10:14-15 about the need for someone to be sent with the good news in order for others to hear and believe. That was not the end of what Paul had to write. He went on in verse 17 to say, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17, ESV)

This is because our Bible is not a collection of the writings of a bunch of God followers, but it is the combined writings of a group of men moved by the Spirit speaking from God. This is what Peter tells us in “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:21, NASB95) The writer of Hebrews wrote that the word of God is more than the static writings on people who died long ago. “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.” (Hebrews 4:12, NASB95) And, the apostle John writing about the end of things added that this last book of our Bible is indeed from God and not to be altered by either addition or subtraction by man. “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:18–20, ESV)

While we are told to study the word of God, to hide it in our hearts, to be ready to give an answer to the testimony which we have, and to seek to understand it as fully as we can, we are restrained from adding to it or taking away. God knew exactly what He was doing when He gave us His Word. He saw the fullness of it from the perspective of eternity, outside of time, and was not hindered by those things which may not have been conceived of by man at the time of their writing. God’s Word is not archaic or obsolete. It is not naïve concerning the issues of man today. It is as true, accurate, and powerful today as it was the day it was written. And when we go out to share it we can do so with the great confidence that what we have is truly God’s Word for man—even us. And from it we can learn more of Him as we worship our infinite God who knows all that we don’t. We can live with the certainty that He will indeed give us wisdom to negotiate uncertain times.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, NASB95)

“How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! From Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:103–105, NASB95) 

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