The Importance of the WordBro. David Chancellor
7/3/2005 11:00 AM
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
God’s creation includes "thrones, dominions, principalities and powers." There are things we encounter that shape our lives. Some people don’t enjoy the freedom of open fellowship. Much of what we enjoy today is due to the efforts of those that endeavored to make the Bible available to everyone. Some of those people didn’t really care about the Bible, but they helped it along anyway. We’re blessed to have God’s word in a language that we both read and speak. This is important because we can read it and know for ourselves what the truth is. Going to a place where everyone else speaks a different language makes it difficult to get much out of what is said. This was how things were before the Bible was translated: The minister would speak in Latin and everyone there spoke English.
This country was more than 200 years in the making. People long before this country was established recognized that people couldn’t be free if they didn’t know what the word of God said. (See John 8:32) We enjoy what we do today, because someone cared enough about the truth to make the word of God available to us in a language we can understand.
The reformers saw the need for separation between church and state. This separation wasn’t all bad. We don’t want government to tell us how and when to read God’s word. We want to live where it is conducive to reading God’s word. This doesn’t mean that the government should do away with the church, but it should give us the freedom to read, learn, and worship.
Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. And every man went unto his own house.
There was a time when the question was, "Does the church say that?" The people had to accept it because they didn’t know. The priests were ignorant of the word of God also, because they didn’t read it. Many people today don’t know their Bible. We have the privilege, though, of finding out what it says, and what it really means.
The blessing of American is that you don’t have to follow the crowd. We’ve allowed for the free flow of ideas. In the free flow of ideas, the gospel will win, if you know it. It is said of one denomination that they only know 6% of the Bible. We need to spend enough time with the Bible to really know it.
The freedom we enjoy is due to the value placed on the word of God by people years and years ago. One concern when the people translated the Bible to the common language was that people would take the Bible and come up with all kinds of crazy ideas. There are some who do, but because it is available, we have the liberty to find out what the truth is.
If we create in Iraq a nation where a religion is forced upon them, we will fail. Democracy allows for people to search for truth.
And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
These looked in the Old Testament scriptures to see if what they were being told was really so. Because they searched it out, many of them believed. Paul encountered the institutionalized opposition ("That’s not what our leaders say."). These people decided to check it out for themselves instead of taking what was handed to them. God gave us his word so that we can search and see what God wants.
This liberty gives us a great responsibility to search and see if it is so. We now have the ability to accept or reject what is presented to us. People often want the freedom without the responsibility.
Fellowship is the ability to sit and discuss the word of God. Our concern in looking for the Bible is to get a common translation we can read and know it is as God intended.
(See Jeremiah 3:15) The ones that translated the Bible were concerned that people have a way to get knowledge and understanding. They wanted them to have something more than the minister’s say-so. We need to take the gift that we have been given and search it out.
Just seeing what is wrong won’t make you a reformer; you must also promote what is right. We need to search and see what God has for us.
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
The promise of the gospel day is having God’s law within. The Spirit will guide us. It is even better for us that we have the word of God to read and reflect on – to stamp it on our hearts and minds.
We’re thankful for a place where we can be open in our study of the word of God. We’re thankful we can practice our religion openly. We can share the love of God with others. This is the gift we’ve been given in the USA.