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HYMN Come Holy Ghost
Come, Holy Ghost, our hearts inspire,
let us Thine influence prove:
Source of the old prophetic fire,
Fountain of light and love.
Come, Holy Ghost, for moved by Thee
the prophets wrote and spoke;
unlock the truth, Thyself the key,
unseal the sacred book.
Expand thy wings, celestial Dove,
brood o’er our nature’s night;
on our disordered spirits move,
and let there now be light.
God, through himself, we then shall know
if Thou within us shine,
and sound, with all Thy saints below,
the depths of love divine.
READING. 2 PETER 1: 16-21
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
SERMON. THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE
Peter is very clear that the Old Testament Prophets wrote God’s message to humans. He then groups himself and the others apostles in the same category, because they experienced the same inspiration of God in their writings. The Bible is not a collection of fables or human ideas about God. It is God’s very words given through people to people.
Peter also emphasised the authority of eyewitnesses to the events in Jesus life as reinforcing the God-inspirited authority of Scripture. The Apostolic witness, the testimony Holy Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit’s conformation in the heart and life are the basis for our Christian faith.
These witnesses give powerful testimony to the veracity of God’s Witness to mankind.
I. EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY; 16-18.
II. THE PROPHETIC WORD; 19-21.
Verse 16 his testifies that the accounts of Jesus life are bast on eye witness testimonies. “16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
The testimony is that “we,” meaning the Apostles, did not cunningly devise and present a myth. The Greek and Roman world had loads of stories about the gods. Some of them were rip-roaring yarns. But, no matter how interesting these myths might be, the Christian is not to be taken up with them.
The apostles, instead of fabricating fables, made known the true historical reality of Jesus. Their doctrine held forth Christ coming in flesh to redeem us from sin. This Jesus is the only one who can save us from the eternal consequences of our sinful, thoughts, words and deeds.
But how do we know it is really true? The two solid foundations of certainty on which the Christian can be absolutely confident and sure are given as the eyewitness testimony of the Apostles and the inspired witness of God’s Word.
Peter chooses to write about the Transfiguration where Jesus openly displayed His glory as a certain proof of His eternal majesty verse 17. Peter, James, and John saw Jesus’ “face shine like the sun and His clothes became as white as light” (Mt. 17:2).
Why was the Mount of Transfiguration singled out? It was there that these men saw more clearly than anywhere else the special and amazing glory of our Lord.
He recalls God’s voice booming out from heaven as He speaks to His Beloved Son in verse 17. ‘“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’ and Peter goes on in verse 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.”
II. THE PROPHETIC WORD (19-21).
Verses 19-21 reveal the certainty, the origin, and the source of Scripture. Scripture is God’s revelation to us and not our description of God. For Peter, the written Word of God is indisputably trustworthy. It is a sure word, a shining word, and a Spirit-given word.
He says (vs.19) it is completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place.
It’s a Word you can go back to time and time again. It is God’s Word and not the mere theories of humans.
A man who lived on Long Island, NY, bought a high quality BAROMETER. When it was delivered to his home, the arrow appeared to be stuck, pointing to the section marked “Hurricane.” The man shook the barometer, but the indicator stayed the same. So the man sat down and wrote a scorching letter to the store where he had bought it. The following morning on the way to his office he mailed the letter. Later that day a hurricane struck the East Coast.
That evening the man returned to Long Island to find that his barometer was missing- and so was his house.
That man’s skepticism may seem ridiculous. But there is a clearer indicator of the future that is more certain and dependable than any barometer and all too often we do not take it seriously. It is God’s eternal Word, the Bible. Believe it, for it is never wrong!
Verse 19 compares the Word to “a light shining in a dark place.” What a remarkable claim! At night light gives us the ability to see. Scripture is the true light of people. Through it, Jesus, the Light of the World, shines.
Verse 20 tells us that Scripture did not originate in a human mind. The Bible was given to us by God.
Two lessons here concerning the interpretation of Scripture. First, it is the Holy Spirit that must guide individuals in interpreting the Bible. He is the author and must illuminate and guide the mind. The second lesson is that Scripture must be interpreted in light of Scripture. Scripture must not be divorced from other Scriptures or from its context. Isolated texts apart from their context can become man’s pretexts.
Since so many Bible predictions have been fulfilled, we should also accept with confidence what the Bible says about the future. God always keeps His Word.
Verse 21 tells us that God is the source of the content of Scripture. We need to understand that the writers of Scripture were “taken hold of by the Holy Spirit.”
The moving of the Spirit was the power that caused the words of God to be recorded on the pages so that the Word could bring life and light. These words have brought and will bring life and light into every age.
God used the writers’ talents, insights, education, experience, and culture as background, but moved them along in such a way that their message is authentic and reliable. The writers of Scripture personalities’ have not been erased. However, these holy men were so under, so controlled, by the Holy Spirit that they were safeguarded from error.
In this Book we have the only written account by God that mankind possesses. In it God reveals Himself, His character, His holiness, His redemption and His way of salvation. In it God reveals His own thoughts concerning us, life, and the world.
The story is told about a young boy giving his grandmother a BIBLE FOR CHRISTMAS. He wanted to write something special on the flyleaf but wasn’t sure what to say. So he decided to copy what he had seen in a book that was highly valued by his father.
Christmas morning came and grandmother opened her gift. She was not only pleased to receive the Bible, but she was amused by the inscription in it. It read: “To Grandma, with compliments of the author.”
Even though the boy was unaware of it, he suggested a unique fact about the Bible. It came to us from its author, God. The apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16).
Knowing who wrote a book often determines whether we’ll pick it up and read it. The Bible, with its divine origin, not only ought to be read, but it demands our respect, our trust, and our obedience. It comes to us “with compliments of the Author.”
Hymn Break Thou the bread of life
- Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea;
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word!
- Thou art the bread of life, O Lord, to me,
Thy holy Word the truth that saveth me;
Give me to eat and live with Thee above;
Teach me to love Thy truth, for Thou art love.
- Oh, send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me,
That He may touch my eyes, and make me see:
Show me the truth concealed within Thy Word,
And in Thy Book revealed I see the Lord.
- Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord, to me, to me,
As Thou didst bless the loves by Galilee;
Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall;
And I shall find my peace, my all in all.