CREATED by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC
Introduction: How many of ya’ll remember watching the show “Home Improvement” with Tim the Tool Man Taylor, played by Tim Allen. He had a TV show with his assistant Al Borland who would try to warn him to follow directions, but he wouldn’t listen and end up getting hurt. Also funny were his interactions with his wife Jill. They highlighted the differences between men and women. Of course, some of them were over exaggerated, but some things were true. For the next couple of weeks, we will focus on some of the questions that were sent on gender issues: Where should Christians stand on the gender debate? Aren’t male and female differences imposed by the culture? I have a friend who is gay and does not care about Christianity. How should I respond? I have a friend who is gay but also claims to be a Christian. How should I respond? Before we dive into answering these questions, we need to back up and deal with another issue that we brought up in the opening of this series – Biblical Authority. Main point: The real battleground in some of the recent cultural attacks against Christianity is on Biblical Authority. It stems from seeing Truth as being distinct from Authority. To the contrary, God is the source of all truth, and he is the ultimate authority. Hence, the Bible is the truth of God tested over time, and it claims authority over our lives. Failure to obey the Bible is failure to submit to God and refusal to walk in the truth.
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
Background: This verse has become the epicenter of the battleground in the recent gender debates. There are many ways that people respond to this verse:
- If you grew up in a Christian environment where the Bible was held up as the source of ultimate truth, the Word of God, and this was reinforced throughout life’s ups and downs, this verse is not a problem.
- If you grew up in an environment where the Bible was not held up as the source of ultimate truth, the Word of God, this verse is a problem.
- If you grew up believing that the Bible is the source of Ultimate truth, the Word of God, but you faced circumstances or information that challenged this view and substantial counter reasons were not given, this verse becomes a problem.
The focus of the message is not as much over the first two groups as it is over the last group. Here, the problem stems from failure to offer adequate reasons. Sometimes, it is even because of behaviors of those who claim to follow biblical authority but do not live it out that causes confusion, resentment, and even activism against the Bible.
We’ve touched on the matter of biblical authority as compared to scriptures of other religions. Here, I want to return to the subject and focus on biblical authority as applied to some of the issues we are facing from our culture, especially gender issues. Once again, here’s the definition of the “authority of Scripture” by Wayne Grudem – “The authority of Scripture means that all the words in Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.” In fact, submission to scriptures is submission to God, more specifically to Jesus Christ. Also, once again, to quote J. I. Packer (famous evangelical theologian who authored “Knowing God”): “Authority is the basic theological issue into which discussions of biblical revelation, inspiration, and interpretation finally run.”
Now, we are living in a culture that sees Truth and Authority as distinct.
Let’s begin with the basics about Biblical Authority:
- The Bible claims to be God’s Words.
Numbers 22:38 And Balaam said to Balak, “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak.”
Deuteronomy 18 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
2 Peter 1:21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:16 “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus;
2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 14:37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
- The Holy Spirit convinces us that the Bible is God’s Word.
1 Corinthians 2 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
How about the truthfulness of the Bible? Aren’t those distinct and even contradictory at times?
- God is Truth.
Titus 1 1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
- The Bible claims to be God’s truth for life.
Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
1 Thessalonians 2:13 “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”
- The Bible has been proven to be true in everything that it affirms.
- Prescription (Salvation and Daily Life)
How does this apply to the current gender debate?
- Designed to complement.
Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
- One-flesh Union
Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 1. 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth
- Affirmation by Jesus
Matthew 19 4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
- Divine Symbol
Ephesians 5 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Invitation: The Bible claims authority over our lives. The Bible has been tested and retested and found to stand true, and it demands our submission. In fact, submission to scriptures is submission to God, more specifically Jesus Christ.
Where do you stand? Do you know the person of Truth, Jesus Christ?