UPDATE: Here’s the audio. Enjoy!
Pastor Dan Phillips’ second session began by repeating the statement that hit home from Session #2: “Scripture only knows 2 categories: Word of God, and not-Word-of-God. There is no middle category.”
From there, Dan (may I call you Dan?) began working through the Scriptures to answer the question, “HOW do we experience God?”
First, in the Garden of Eden, man’s first experience with God (aside from perhaps his first conscious moments) was through God speaking to Adam. God gave him a name, gave him a job, and related to him through words.
In Genesis 3:8, after the man and woman had sinned, they hid from God when they “sensed” His presence. It took God’s words to reestablish the relationship.
In Genesis 15, “the word of the Lord came to Abram.” God is being quoted 2 times in this chapter. (A few notes about this: Dan comments that in verse 3, after God tells Abram to count the stars, if he can, there seems to be a narrative pause, as if God is giving Abram a moment to actually try counting. That’s why we learn Biblical languages, folks; for cool stuff like that. Well, that and proper exegesis and handling of God’s word, of course.)
In verse 6 of Genesis 15, the text shows an example of Abram’s faith—God spoke and Abram believed. The verb for “believe” has the same root as our word “Amen.” So, Dan continued, what we have is Abram “amen-ing” God’s declaration and believed God, God Himself.
Throughout the Bible, Dan continued, we are shown that we must take God’s Word and believe it, in order to be saved.
In John 1:1, Jesus the Word makes the Father known; He mediates our relationship to the Father.
In John 5:24, Jesus says he makes the Father known when we believe His words.
In John 20:30-31, John writes that these words of his gospel have been written so that we, the readers, may believe. In essence, John’s gospel is essential to come to saving faith!
Then Dan moved into the book of Acts, which he has already argued could rightly be called the Acts of the Word of God going forth and being believed.
[At this point, regrettably, I had to step out of the room, so I missed some of the notes here. That’s why you should definitely check out the conference audio when it’s available! I’ll post a link here in the future.]
In the story of Lydia in Acts 16, God opened Lydia’s heart to hear Paul’s words. God spoke to her through the apostle.
In Romans 10:13-17, the Scriptures teach that a person must believe what they have heard of God’s word being preached in order to call on Jesus and be saved.
In I Corinthians 15:1-11, Paul preached the Good news that was handed down, and if the people continue in his teaching, they will be saved.
In Galatians 1, Paul talks about preaching an explicit and exclusive Gospel.
Throughout the New Testament, it becomes clear that the miracle of regeneration is considered a greater miracle than even the healings, and it is done through God’s Word.
Dan then went on to discuss how we walk with God, by taking us to Deuteronomy 6:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV)
First, we receive objective truth: God is one. Then, we have a subjective response: we love God. How do we love the one God? We fill our lives with His Word! In fact, the Old Testament does not give example of anyone who loves God but does not love His Word!
Psalm 19 and 119 demonstrates that people who love the Word of God are full of life and joy.
In John 8:31-32, Jesus says that everyone wants to be set free from the power of sin but no one can be set free without being a disciple of Jesus. How can we be Jesus’ disciples? By abiding in His Word! Discipleship is ultimately about continuing in Jesus’ Word. In John 14:15, Jesus says plainly that if you love Him, you will obey His commandments. In verses 21-24, He goes on to say that intimacy with God comes from obedience. The form that love for God takes in our lives must be obedience to the commands of God.
In John 1:1-3, the apostle writes that the way you have fellowship with God is by the teaching of the apostles (which has been conveyed to us in the New Testament).
In Colossians 1:27-29, Paul says “we preach Christ,” as if Christ Himself is reaching out personally through the teaching. Notice also that Paul confronts as he teaches, because he wants to present his hearers to God as complete and mature. How do we mature our hearers? By preaching Christ and by teaching and admonishing everyone.
In Colossians 2:6 and following, Paul says that as you received Christ, continue to grow in Him. We received Christ by grace through faith that comes from hearing the word of God, and so we grow in it just as we were taught!
There is no need for a “new word”! What we have is all we need!
What is the scope of Scripture, according to Scripture?
It describes itself as:
- God-breathed (II Timothy 3:16), by the Holy Spirit
- Spirit and Life (John 6:63)
- Living and active (Hebrews 4:12), which means it’s blasphemous to say the Bible is a dead book
- Firmly fixed in heaven (Psalm 119:89)
- Truth (John 17:17)
- Righteous forever (Ps 119:44)
Whom does Scripture address?
- Men and women
- Husbands and wives
- Singles, divorced, and widows
- Slaves and masters
- Pastors and churchgoers
- Many others
Which means that any reader fits in at least one of those categories.
What does the Bible say it does?
- Leads me to saving faith in Christ (John 20:31)
- Gives life (Psalm 119:50)
- Gives light (Psalm 119:30)
- Actively works in the lives of believers (I Thessalonians 2:13)
- Reveals the path before us (Psalm 119:105)
- Gives us council (Psalm 119:24)
- Warns and rewards (Psalm 19:11)
- Builds us up
- Makes us holy
- is the Joy of our hearts
- Gives understanding
- Keeps us pure
- Teaches us what and how to think, shows us where we’re wrong, puts us back together, and trains us (II Timothy 3:16-17)
What does the Bible talk about?
I can’t tell you, because at this point, my hand cramped up so bad I had to stop for two minutes.
How do the Saints of God regard Scripture? They delight in it, love it, treasure it, meditate on it, and tremble before it.
No exemplary saint of God in Scripture is shown to be dissatisfied with Scripture and seeking after “more.”
And if that weren’t enough, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, treated Scripture with the utmost reverence, and we should do no less.
Everything I need, the Bible says it does.
If God is my greatest good, Scripture provides everything I need to know God, love Him, and live for Him.
If the Word of God is not enough for you, Phillips concluded, then the solution for you is not to look for a new or additional word—it is to repent and believe that Scripture is what it says it is: fully sufficient for godly life.
And I say amen and amen.