ISSUE 01 >>
a newfrontiers usa publication
the Word issue Rob Barnes >> Hearers and Doers of the Word Rob Wilkerson >> The Authority of the Scripture
SOUNDBITE • QUICK LOOK
SAM POE • APPS
JOHN LANFERMAN >> Team Leader >> Newfrontiers USA
SCRIPTURE: CONVICTING, CONVINCING, CHANGI One of our core values as a family of churches on a mission together is our confidence in the authority of God’s word and its importance to us as followers of Christ. This is expressed in our values statement that describes what a Newfrontiers church is like: “A church where regular teaching and preaching of the Bible holds a primary role and where Scripture’s authority is final.” But this is more than a statement about church doctrine. It expresses how we live as God’s people. I was nineteen years old and in college when I personally discovered the power and life of the Bible. One day a compelling thought seemed to take over my mind while I was in prayer. I was overwhelmed with guilt, as I seemed to reflect on how selfish my life and prayers had been. Most of my praying seemed to be centered on petitions for God to assist me in some way. I opened the Bible and instantly my eyes fell on a scripture that seemed to me to be highlighted in bold print. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15,16) Those verses became alive and personally directed at me in my then present turmoil. I was liberated as instantly my guilt was lifted and praise filled my heart. I now know those thoughts of guilt were from Satan, my accuser. However, the word of God set me free. God’s word was penetrating and powerful, alive and giving life to me. In the previous verse (Hebrews 4:12) the writer expresses the power of the word of God. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to
RECOMMENDED READING a. How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour by Douglas Stewart and Gordon Fee b. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee
c. An Introduction to the New Testament by D.A.Carson
The word of God is not like reading any other book, for it is “living” and relevant to each culture, person and situation. It is God-breathed.
ING the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” I certainly found these words regarding the word of God true on that day and everyday since. The word of God is not like reading any other book, for it is “living” and relevant to each culture, person and situation. It is God-breathed. The word of God is not only living but also “powerful” in that it can transform us. On that day, at age nineteen, I discovered that God’s word could reach out and touch me at the point of my need and bring transformation and renewal to my mind. The word of God is so powerful that Isaiah says God’s word shall not return to Him empty, but will accomplish His purposes and succeeds in the thing for which He sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
time of need. That was my testimony as a nineteen-year-old college student. Being filled with the shame of my own selfishness I discovered, through the word of God, a high priest in Jesus who understood my weakness and invited me to His throne of grace to receive his mercy. In that moment I encountered the transforming power of the word of God and I found comfort in His word: “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives life.” (Ps. 119:50) DL Moody said, “The scriptures were not given for our information but our transformation.” I urge you to daily discover the life-giving, powerful, penetrating and transforming power of the word of God.
The word of God “pierces” with such sharpness that it pierces to the point of “division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) The word of God opens up our inner life with sharp, objective truth. It exposes our inner selves and obliterates inner deception. The word of God reaches the deepest part of who we are. Many people can testify of the word of God’s penetrating power in that even in their most hardened condition it has pierced them convicting, converting, and changing them in an instant. The word of God is a “discerner” of our thoughts and motivations. The word comes with such power that our hearts are exposed. With our hearts exposed and our need so apparent, we also encounter His mercy and grace to help in
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Jesus, th certain a that He sa away be Scriptur ROB WILKERSON >> Church in the Boro >> Statesboro, GA
THE AUTHORITY OF THE SCRIPTURE Ever since Satan asked Eve the famous question, “Did God really say…?” his first line of attack on God’s children has been to create doubt about what God has told us. Satan knows that if he can undermine God’s authority then he can undermine the very basis of our faith and make a train wreck of our lives. Therefore understanding and, more importantly, applying the authority of Scriptures is crucial to everyday life and ministry. The authority of Scriptures rest on two essential witnesses: internal and external. These two are like a nut and a bolt. Together, they are made to hold or fasten something in place. That “something” is your life and your message. Consider each one briefly. The external authority of Scriptures rests on its dependability and historicity. Over forty different authors penned our Bible over a two thousand year time span covering four thousand years of world history. There are hundreds of specific prophecies written decades, centuries, and even millennia before they came true. Each book, different in perspective from another, tells another piece of the same story without contradiction. It can be verified historically, textually, archaeologically, and in many ways medically and scientifi-
cally. A great overview of these issues can be found in Josh McDowell’s book The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict (Thomas Nelson, 1999). The internal authority of Scriptures rests on the power it possesses in and of itself. Authority essentially arises from power and commands based on that power. That power carries an inherent ability to make good on what it promises or professes. The authority of the church rests on its faith in the authority of Scriptures. It is up to us to prove with our very lives that God’s promises are true. The Bible is a righteous power, since it brings us face to face with the very mediated power of God. Paul wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:15) which means that our Bible is a supernatural book. The same word which called the heavens and earth into existence also called the revelation of God into writing! It is also a revenging power, since it is the very weapon we wield against the offense of
a. The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell b. Profiting from the Word by A.W. Pink
c. Christ and the Bible by Craig Van Gelder
he human Word of God, was so about the message of the Bible aid heaven and earth would pass efore even the smallest detail of res goes unfulfilled (Matt. 5:18).
Who has shaped your life? The key people who immediately come to mind are; my parents, Everett & Viola Poe; my sister, Phyllis Kaylor (who responded to a call to Japan when I was one year old); my wife, Marlene; Bob Stricker & Terry Virgo. the enemy (Eph. 6:20). In the Bible we have promises which enable us to assault the kingdom of darkness and take back what rightfully belongs to God! The Bible is also a rescuing power, described by Paul in Romans 1:16 as the gospel which “is the power of God to save those who believe.” This also makes it a resurrecting power, since the very word of God can raise a dead man to life, both spiritually and physically! Consequently, it is also a revolutionizing power as its message is said to have turned the world upside down (Acts 17:10)! Finally, the Bible is a refining power. Paul described it in 2 Timothy 3:15-16 as profitable or useful to God in teaching us, correcting us, reproving us, instructing us in righteousness, and equipping us for every good work. Think back on the last time you read, studied, or meditated on the Scriptures and were challenged and changed. Now that’s real power! One book, which particularly affected me as a young Christian, was A.W. Pink’s little paperback, Profiting From the Scriptures (Banner of Truth, 1996). I highly recommend it as a great start to experiencing the Bible’s power. Jesus, the human Word of God, was so certain about the message of the Bible that He said heaven and earth would pass away before even the smallest detail of Scriptures goes unfulfilled (Matt. 5:18). He Himself stands to this day as the nut and the bolt, holding firm the authority of Scripture. His internal witness is seen in the way He grounds and fulfills His entire life, ministry, and teaching on the Old Testament. His external witness is seen in His historical, verifiable resurrection from the dead. Now He gives that same authority to His church to take to the nations.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Balut: a boiled duck egg with the baby duck inside
What is your current favorite album? I think presently it is All the Roadrunning by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris.
What do you do to relax? I love to spend time with my wife, Marlene. We both enjoy day hiking together.
What do you feel most passionate about? I want to know Jesus better and bring him glory. I want to be engaged in his mission in our world today.
What sorts of books do you read? I read quite a variety of books; history, theology, fiction. I especially like it when these come as great and well-told stories.
What do you expect to be doing in 10 years? I want to get better at hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd and help others to do the same. This certainly includes knowing and telling God’s Big Salvation Story from the Bible.
What’s your favorite quote? “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” – Jesus
Who’s your favorite Bible character? Subscribe to Rob’s blog at: www.robwilkerson.net
Apart from the Triune God, I think I would have to say, Joseph
What is your leadership role in the church and Newfrontiers USA? I am an elder at New Community Church in Tacoma, WA. I also serve on the apostolic team led by John Lanferman and often have the privilege of visiting the churches we serve.
ROB BARNES >> Silver Creek Fellowship >> Silverton, OR
HEARERS AND DOERS OF THE WORD
James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. It’s not always easy to be both a hearer and a doer. I am often a hearer rather than a doer when it comes to my diet. Last year, the doctor put me on a low-carb diet because of my diabetes. I heard what he was telling me about my diet. I understood it, and also understood why I was supposed to watch what I eat. So, there was no problem with the hearing or the understanding, but there is often a problem with the doing. I am a hearer, but not always a doer when it comes to my diet. As James says, we should not be hearers only, but also doers. In fact, hearing without doing is harmful because it promotes spiritual self-deception—the self-righteous illusion that mere familiarity with God’s Word makes you spiritual. Often the “doing” is simply to agree with and embrace what God wants to give you. No one else sees you “do” anything—but God sees, and He blesses you in your doing.
I remember like it was yesterday when God spoke to me through Rev. 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me”. That day I simply responded by saying silently: “I am opening the door of my heart because I want you to come in.” This was my “doing”—and I was blessed in my doing because Jesus moved into my soul that day, and made me God’s child. He began to change my life in ways that continue to amaze me. James 1:16-17 gives us a “table of contents” for the next three chapters. In those chapters: He will call on you to use your speech to praise and thank Him and/or encourage others (rather than to complain, criticize, boast). He will call on you to serve the needy people He brings into your life (orphans, widows, trafficking victims, lonely people, people broken by tragedy or relational failure, etc.). He will call on you to turn away from values and ways of life that pollute your soul (like materialistic hoarding or spending, sexual impurity, relational autonomy, etc.)
a. The Spirit-Filled Church by Terry Virgo b. It. How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel
c. In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
Often the “doing” is simply to agree with and embrace what God wants to give you. No one else sees you “do” anythingbut God sees, and He blesses you in your doing.
Each one of us can do this, because it doesn’t require a seminary degree. On a regular basis it begins to work deeply and powerfully in your life to bless you. That’s what James (and the rest of the Bible) promises will happen, as he describes it like this: “... receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls”. (James 1:21)
Do you want/need this kind of healing? Have you despaired of trying to find it through self-help, secular therapy, etc? God’s Word has the power to do this! The key is to move from passive “hearing” to faith-filled “doing”. R. T. Kendall writes in his classic book Believing God, “Faith is believing God enough to do what He says!” Jesus Christ says, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them”.
James is not talking about being saved from God’s condemnation, because his hearers are already saved in that sense. Nor is he talking about our bodies being saved, because this happens when Jesus returns. James is saying that, as we “do” God’s Word, it has the power to heal us from crippling psychological, emotional and relational brokenness, from our own sinful choices, and from others’ sins against us. I have seen this in the lives of many people in our home groups. We are truly a band of wounded, broken people and many are being healed of damage from wrong choices (e.g., alcohol and drug addiction, materialism and status addiction), and from wrong choices inflicted on them by others (sexual abuse, parental abuse, rejection, etc.). Those being healed are all humbly receiving God’s Word!
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noun \ a-ple-ka-shen\
an act of applying; an act of putting to a special use or purpose
Bible study should be done with humility and prayer. Begin with a simple prayer thanking God for His word and His Spirit. Ask for His help to understand and receive His truth.
Look at a particular section of scripture. (It’s helpful to get a Bible with section titles.) Read through the complete section a couple of times. Read it again, noticing personal pronouns. Who is speaking to whom? Study to know the context. “A text without a context is a pretext.” (Dow Robinson) Look for principles, but don’t stop there... Look especially for attitudes. Attitudes are relational and can bridge the gap between the original meaning and it’s contemporary significance.
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