Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Testimony of Scripture

On May 25, 2015, Rowan Murphy of Arann Reformed Baptist Church taught on Chapter 1 paragraph 5 of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.  This paragraph reads:

"We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to a high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts."
Even though Mr. Murphy's teaching is short, he makes some key points that I want to highlight:
  • The church (through the offices given in Eph. 4:11-13) must stir up its members to have a high reverence for Scripture.
  • God saves sinners to have holy fellowship with Him through all eternity.  Islam promises a heaven of 72 virgins, an eternity of vice.  You do not need to be saved to want Muslim heaven.  It is paradise for the sinner.  But God has given us a heaven that you must be saved in order to want; a selfless, sinless worship of God forever.  This doesn't appeal to the mind of unregenerated man, but it is one of the heavenly things that God speaks of in His Word.  It is one of the transcendent, glorious things that God has called us to (1 Cor. 2:9).
  • The efficacy of the doctrine of the Gospel is found in God's Word.  Don't believe a great preacher because he says something.  Believe what a great preacher says because he reads it from the Word of God.  Believe the Word of God based on its own merit, quality, and authority.
  • Christ is in the whole Word of God.  He is the Seed of the woman promised in Genesis 3 and the Great God in Revelation 1.  In Genesis 24 Abraham sends his servant, Eliezer which means God of my help, to get a bride for his son Isaac.  This is a picture of God sending his Holy Spirit to get a bride for the Son; a picture of the triune God working to procure the bride of Christ, the church.  The Gospel is everywhere in the Bible.  We clearly see the majesty of the style and the consent of all the parts of Scripture together.
  • The doctrines of grace should make believers humble and cause them to glorify God.  The glory of God is one of the most important themes of Scripture.
  • Christ does not just point to the way in which man can walk in his own strength and wisdom; Christ is the way and believers are in Him.  We are brought to heaven by His conquest.  Man's only way of salvation is Christ Himself.
  • The Holy Spirit guides us in truth by the Word of God.

"And I [the Apostle Paul], brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.  Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory," (1 Cor. 2:1-7).