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This Lord’s Day, we gather for worship. We are rejoicing in the “Five Solas” of the Reformation in the five Sundays leading up to October 31st and the 500th Anniversary of the day Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg. Last week, the sermon was on Faith Alone. This week we look at Scripture Alone. Every week, the call to worship for the Lord’s Day comes from Scripture, itself a tacit reminder that all that we do in our gatherings is founded upon the authority of God’s inspired Word. This week, the Bible passage that calls us to worship is 1 Peter 4:10-11, which points to the fact that everything a church does is to be for the glory and honor of God: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (ESV) One of the way a church brings glory to God is by speaking in a way that conforms to God’s words or “oracles.” But this worship of God is to mark all that we are as a gathered assembly of believers in the Lord Jesus. Even our service is to be done through God’s strength and empowerment. The exercise of our gifts is to be done in a way that recognizes that God has given that gift and we are to be good stewards of his gifts to us. Everything, whether in the loving exercise of our gifts, in our sacrificial service to each other, or in our speech to one another, is to be done to God’s glory, because his inspired has demanded this of us.
In the prayer service, we’ll consider a passage from Psa 119. We’ll begin by singing again the Martin Luther hymn we’re learning this month: “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word” (Red 368).
The doctrine of sola Scriptura is very important for us as Christians. It very quickly became a central issue in Martin Luther’s conflict with the papists. Yet there’s a sense in which there is no clear, explicit “proof text” to defend that our authority for matters of faith and doctrine is Scripture alone. Further, there is a great deal of confusion over what sola Scriptura means. For example, while we affirm the authority of the whole Bible, we Baptists insist that our authority for what a church is and what a church does comes from the New Testament. Christ has brought in a new era. We are a New Testament church. (This is hardly a “dispensationalist” doctrine.) Another example is the tendency of some to claim that the doctrine of sola Scriptura means that our theology and doctrine cannot be influenced by any other extra-Biblical source. This is certainly not what the Reformers believed, and such tendencies take sola Scriptura to unhealthy and incorrect conclusions when they apply the doctrine in such a way. My goal this Lord’s Day will be to show you how the New Testament does affirm that the Scriptures alone are our ultimate authority. Men will err. The popes who allegedly follow in the train of Peter are as susceptible to misinterpretation and abuse of the Scriptures as another mortal. Councils contradict each other. For Christians committed to true apostolic practice, the final arbiter in matters of faith and doctrine must always be the Scriptures alone.
Call to Worship: 1 Peter 4:10-11
Hymn [Insert] Safely through Another Week I love the way John Newton’s hymn gives a the role of Scripture in the ministry of a local church in the fourth verse of his hymn: May thy gospel’s joyful sound conquer sinners, comfort saints. May the fruits of grace abound, bring relief for all complaints: thus may all our Sabbaths prove, till we join the church above. It is through the Word that Newton envisions the prayers in the second and third verses: Show thy reconciled face; take away our sin and shame; and Here afford us, Lord, a taste of our everlasting feast. As we gather again, safely through another week, let this will be your own prayer as we gather for worship and hear God speaking to us through the proclamation of his Word.
Congregational Reading: Psalm 19:7-11
Doxology: Gloria Patri, Red 436
Hymn 167 [Red] Lord, from the Depths to Thee I Cried
Hymn 54 [Blue] For the Beauty of the Earth
Scripture Reading: Exodus 25:1-22 & John 14:15-31
Hymn 343 [Red] Blessed Jesus, at Thy Word
Sermon: Scripture Alone from Ephesians 2:19-22
Hymn 172 [Blue] O Word of God Incarnate
In Sunday School, I will be teaching on catechism question 45:
Q. How will Christ come to save his church?
A. Christ will come to save us, his church, very shortly,1 at a time that no man knows,2 before God pours out his wrath during the Tribulation,3 by rapturing those dead and alive in Christ to meet him together in the air.4
1 1 Cor 7:29; Rev 22:20 2 Matt 24:36; 1 Thess 5:2
3 1 Thess 5:9 4 1 Thess 4:16-17