Apostolic and Bible Authority

Are you ready to sit down with a cup of coffee and study for a while?

Lest we forget that we are attempting to understand God from His Word, inspired of the Holy Spirit, tuck this passage into a safe memory cell.

2 Pet 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (KJV)

Since the scriptures are not a matter of one's own private interpretation then we should seek to understand what God wants us to know. God wants to convey His meaning to us, so we should seek what He meant, not just what an English phrase means to us. It seems that our different understandings of this verse stems from our different understanding of the word “once.” To reiterate what Jude wrote:

Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (KJV)

The word “once,” defined in Strong's Hebrew/Greek Dictionary: 530 hapax (hap'-ax);

probably from 537; one (or a single) time (numerically or conclusively):

KJV-- once.

The American Standard Version's “once for all” is a valid rendering to clarify the one time conclusive event of the Gospel being delivered to the saints. It emphasizes that there will be no new revelation regarding God's scheme of redemption: He will save people in the same fashion as He had been saving them in the first century AD.

Consider in the Revelation:

Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (KJV)

Of course, this is dealing specifically with the pages of the Revelation of John. But, there are other verses which make clear the principle of altering God's word is forbidden.

Deut 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (KJV)
Deut 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. (KJV)
Jer 26:2 Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD's house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD's house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: 3 If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.

The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. Note that it is the Spirit who inspired men to write the Scriptures, the word of God.

Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (KJV)

Furthermore, God has given us everything we need to know in order to please Him and find salvation in the Scriptures.

2 Pet 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (KJV)

Notice some things about this passage, and what it reveals to us.

  1. All things pertaining to life and godliness are given to the Christian through the knowledge of God: that leaves nothing out; nothing. There is nothing else to be offered; it's all inclusive.for anything pertaining to life and godliness.
  2. Grace and peace are multiplied through the knowledge of God
  3. All things which God has given us pertaining to life and godliness are given through the knowledge of Him.
  4. Exceeding great and precious promises are given to us is through the knowledge of Him

    Where does one's faith come from?
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (KJV)

Not from anything but the word of God.

Col 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; 6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

So, the word of truth came to them, which, with their receiving it, caused them to bring forth fruit. Notice that just as it had gone to them in Colossi, so too did the word go to others in all the world. Nothing different happened in Colossi than what happened anywhere else in the world.

2 Tim 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (KJV)

Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures can lead one to salvation. It does not provide them salvation, but is able to guide one to know what to do to receive salvation.

Jude, indeed wrote to them to “contend for the faith,” which, as one correctly observes, was being perverted. Nevertheless, that system of faith was “once for all delivered unto the saints.” There would be no new additions because all had been revealed, and new information was not forthcoming, nor needed to be.

When one refers to the Apostles as “inductees into an exclusive club,” one misses the significance of the role of an Apostle (capitalized to differentiate between a typical messenger and the individuals who were commissioned by Christ to be his witnesses). Christ not only promised the comforter to the eleven that evening in the upper room, but he also gave them authority by his commissioning them to “go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). And. . .

Matt 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (KJV)

In the following passage Jesus is more specific as to the coming events, and what he expected of them.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (KJV)

We cannot be witnesses today, because we never saw anything. We did not see Jesus beaten, crucified, then him resurrected. We only have testimony from the real eye witnesses who did see all of these events unfold.

What of their authority?

Matt 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (KJV)

Peter and the other Apostles exercised the use of those keys to the kingdom when they spoke on the day of Pentecost, opening the doors to God's kingdom in teaching the multitudes what they must do to be saved; then everywhere they went they opened the doors for others to enter into the kingdom.

Theirs was not an exclusive club to keep people out, but an important commission to call people in. Salvation is for everyone, but the role of an Apostle was exclusive. There was only one Apostle who was called out of due season (that is, not chosen along with the other Apostles): he was Paul. Of course, there was Matthias who was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1); but, he was a disciple from the beginning just like the others.

All people are called to be saved in same way: the gospel.

2 Th 2: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV)

There is no mysterious voice, no peculiar happenstance of extraordinary coincidence, just plain ol' speaking from a human (or reading of the scriptures). After all, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” or as the ASV puts it “Belief cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.“ Consider this passage.

Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (KJV)

Just a quick, in-a-nutshell overview of what God, through His Word, says you must do to be saved:

  1. After hearing the gospel you must believe.
    Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (KJV)
    John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (KJV)
  2. You must repent of your sins.
    Luke 13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (KJV)
  3. You must confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God.
    Matt 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (KJV)

    The foundational bedrock upon which Jesus built his church, which is the kingdom, is the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, which Peter verbally confessed.

    Matt 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (KJV)
  4. You must be baptized for the remission (or forgiveness) of your sins.
    Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (KJV)
    Acts 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. (KJV)

    Jesus' whole goal and purpose was to bring the people back to a living, breathing relationship with God; but, there is only one way that can be accomplished, and that is through God's gospel plan of salvation. Jesus wanted to bring people to repentance and obedience, so that they could be forgiven of their sins, obtaining the mercy and grace of God, thereby partaking of the gift of his sacrificial atonement.

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (KJV)
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (KJV)

One may look for enlightenment from somewhere other than the Bible, perhaps quiet voices in the back of your head, or other new and innovative methods to be saved (like invite Jesus into your heart). But as for me, I'll take the Bible over other source any day. I KNOW it comes from the source of life, mercy, and salvation. It's the word of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Anything else from any place else is suspect, and has no credence.

Curtis A. Little, Royse City, TX

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Schedule of Services


Sunday
Morning Worship . . .9:30 AM
Bible Class . . . . . . 10:45 AM

Evening Worship . . .5:00 PM
(except for every 1st Sunday of the month, devotional at ~12:30 PM)

Wednesday
Bible Class . . . . . . . 7:00 PM

Ladies' Bible Class
2nd & 4th Sunday @ 4:00 PM

Location

205 Bell St.
Royse City, Texas 75189
972-822-3955
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Mailing Address

P.O. Box 103
Royse City, Texas 75189


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