Why Bother with the Bible? — Part Three
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Why Bother with the Bible? — Part Three

2 Timothy 3:14–17  (ID: 2351)

Most churchgoers today know that we should read the Bible regularly and prayerfully. But do we? Alistair Begg explains that if we wish to grow in faith and devotion, we should always be immersing ourselves in the truths of God’s Word. When we regularly read, listen, and meditate on the Bible, we begin to change spiritually, pursuing holiness and becoming more like Jesus.

Series Containing This Sermon

Why Bother with the Bible?

2 Timothy 3:14–17 Series ID: 24501

Sermon Transcript: Print

Father, we pray that as we study the Bible together, we may meet with Christ. And to this end we ask for the help of the Holy Spirit, praying in the strong and powerful name of Jesus.


I invite you to turn again to the portion of Scripture that was read some moments ago in 2 Timothy chapter 3. We are looking together at this section of the Bible for a third and final time. We noted last time in our consideration of the question “Why bother with the Bible?” that the Bible is able to make men and women “wise for salvation through faith in [Jesus] Christ.” The Bible itself does not save, but it points to the Lord Jesus Christ, who by his atoning death is the Savior of all who believe.

We sought to summarize that last time by pointing out that in the Bible we have essentially a handbook for salvation. And there were two questions which we said were inevitably before us. One was, if the Bible is a handbook for salvation, has it then brought me to saving faith in Jesus? And if it has, then how is it teaching and training me to live as someone who has been brought to saving faith?

It is to the second of those questions that we come now, reminding one another of what we’ve said with frequency in the last years: that salvation has three tenses to it, or we may helpfully reference these three aspects of what it means to be saved. And if you’re not familiar with this little trilogy, you may want to make a note of it. I think you’ll find this very helpful in discovering just where you are—if you are—on the journey of faith.

In the Lord Jesus Christ, the believer is able to say, “I have been saved,” past tense, “from sin’s penalty.” “I have been saved from sin’s penalty.” Also, “I will be saved from sin’s presence. I’m going to go to heaven, and in heaven there will be no sin, no temptation to sin. But I am presently being saved from sin’s power”—have been saved from its penalty, will be saved from its presence, presently being saved from its power.

And the way in which that saving impact of God upon the life of his child takes place is in part described for us here in these verses that we’ve been considering. The Scripture is “God- breathed”—verse 16—it’s “useful,” and then you will notice these four verbs for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” The New English Bible summarizes it, “[The] Scripture has its use”—and they give us two couplets—“for teaching the truth and refuting error, … for reformation of manners and discipline in right living.” In other words, the Bible is sufficient for our creed and for our conduct. It is to the Bible that we look when asking the question “What am I supposed to believe?” and it is again to the Bible that we turn when we’re asking the question “How am I supposed to be behaving?”

The supreme instrument that God uses for renewing his people after the image of the Lord Jesus Christ is his Word

Dick Lucas has said that in verse 16, what we have is not a verse that is there to tell us that the Bible is inspired, although it does that, but it is here to tell us that no child of God will be equipped for their work unless they are thoroughly soaked in the Scriptures. It’s a quite wonderful metaphor, isn’t it?—the idea of being completely soaked as opposed to having just a little rain fall on you or a little water on your head. You know what it is at times to be thoroughly soaked. And the emphasis of the Bible is that it is calling the child of God to be thoroughly soaked in it. And the sense of the passage—as you will have determined by now—the sense of the passage is that the Scripture has been given to enable the child of God to meet the demands that God places upon them.

Some months ago now, I pointed out to you the importance of what is referred to in theological terms as “the means of grace.” In other words, God brings us to faith and conforms us to the image of his Son not in a vacuum, but he uses certain aspects of life in order to achieve his objective. And we noted them in reverse order. They were suffering: recognizing that God uses suffering in the lives of his children to accomplish purposes that are not accomplished when everything is going swimmingly well. Fellowship: the fellowship of God’s people, a reminder to us that none of is flying solo to heaven. Prayer: that in prayer, we commune with God, and we hear his voice, and we align our wills with his. The sacraments: the importance of celebrating the Lord’s Supper together and the importance of baptism. And then, of course, the Scriptures themselves.

Now, I want to remind you this morning that the supreme instrument that God uses for renewing his people after the image of the Lord Jesus Christ is his Word. The supreme instrument that he uses to make you and to make me increasingly like his Son Jesus is the Bible. And that’s why it is important for us to be paying attention to what God is saying to us. We said in our first study that what God is saying to us is more important than what we are saying to him. In other words, we’ve been given two ears and one tongue that we might hear more and say less. And in that listening, God is working within.

That’s why it’s important to listen to the Bible when it is expounded here in the pulpit and from the front of this particular room. We’re doing this because the Bible is the supreme instrument for making the people of God like his Son, and that no local congregation will ever live above the level of its exposition. You will never find that a congregation rises above the level of the teaching it receives. There may be one or two individuals that chase on ahead, but the general tenor of a congregation will be marked by the level of instruction that it receives. Therefore, it is vital that we are in this context, in this big room.

It is equally vital that we are also under the instruction of the Bible in the classroom, or in the smaller rooms. Because there, in the ability to interact and to tease out the Scriptures and to converse with one another, we are reinforcing its truth in our lives. And it’s equally important that the Bible is central in our family rooms, so that in our homes the Bible is not a closed but rather an open book; that it is the point of reference for father and mother to turn to, and with their children, in the questions of life and in the journey of faith. And that the Bible is equally at work in our bedrooms, or in the private rooms of our lives, because the Bible is the supreme instrument for the renewing of his people.

Charles Hodge, in an old book called The Way of Life, has a wonderful paragraph on this. I won’t read it all to you, but I want you to listen very carefully to what he says:

It is most unreasonable to expect to be conformed to the image of God, unless the truth concerning God be made to operate often and continuously upon the mind. How can a heart that is filled with the thoughts and cares of the world, and especially one which is often moved to evil by the thoughts or sight[s] of sin, expect that the affections which answer to the holiness, goodness or greatness of God should gather strength within it? How can the love of Christ increase in the bosoms of those who hardly ever think of him or of his work? This cannot be without a change in the very nature of things, and, therefore, we cannot make progress in holiness unless we devote much time to the reading … hearing, and meditating upon the word of God, which is the truth whereby we are sanctified. The more this truth is brought before the mind; the more we commune with it, entering into its import, applying it to our own case, appropriating its principles, appreciating its motives, rejoicing in its promises, trembling at its threatenings, rising by its influence from what is seen and temporal to what is unseen and eternal; the more we may expect to be transformed by the renewing of our mind so as to approve and love whatever is holy, just and good. [People] distinguished for their piety have [always] been [people] of meditation as well as [people] of prayer; [people] accustomed to withdraw the mind from the influence of the world with its thousand joys and sorrows, and to bring it under the influence of the doctrines, precepts and promises of the word of God.[1]

I wasn’t going to read the whole paragraph, but I got reading it, it’s so good I had to read it all the way to the end. It’s absolutely fantastic!

And incidentally, this is not a form of legalism when I say to you that I encourage you to be done with the local newspaper on the Lord’s Day. What do you need it for on a Sunday? You need to “withdraw [your] mind from the influence of the world with its thousand joys and sorrows, and bring it under the influence of the doctrines, precepts and promises of the Bible.” How are you going to do that? Well, one practical way to do it is just not to take a Sunday paper. Do as you please! But it helps me—and you know what an afficionado I am of newspapers, and how much I love newspapers, and how I gather them around me as friends as I travel and cut pieces out of them and stuff them everywhere. It is a significant commitment on my part to give up one of these five-dollar beauties. Now, do as you please. But ask yourself, if there is to be any sense in which we withdraw our minds from the thousand joys and sorrows of the world to bring them under the instruction of the precepts, principles, of the Bible, surely, of all days, on the Lord’s Day there is the prime opportunity to do that. So “work out your [own] salvation with fear and trembling.”[2]

There is a reason why people in an earlier generation lived as they lived as they sought a life of piety. They were not a bunch of weirdos. They were not strapped in straightjackets of religious formalism. They were conformed to an internal piety which had touched their hearts and changed their minds. And the instruction of the Bible is not to give us fat heads. Our minds are to be stored, but our hearts are to be touched. And for myself, the “thousand joys and sorrows” which attract me and draw me out are so alluring that unless I make my own little framework of existence to work for myself, then I will be overwhelmed by it all.

So, that in passing. It’s not in the notes, but I thought I’d mention it in any case.

Now, is this description, “the man of God,” in verse 17 a specific reference to Timothy as a pastor and to all like him? After all, it’s only used twice in the New Testament, here and in 6:11, where he says, “But you, [O] man of God, flee from all [of] this [nonsense].”[3] After all, it is an express title of respect for Moses, and for David, and for Elijah, and for others in the Old Testament. Is Paul then giving express instructions to Timothy, in his responsibility as a pastor-teacher, to ensure that under the authority of Scripture, those who are in his care are being taught and rebuked, are being corrected and trained?

Well, certainly he must be saying that. But is it legitimate for us to restrict it in that way? I think not. Because, after all, the letter written to Timothy was for the general consumption of the people of God. And the principle of watching your life and doctrine closely is not a principle just for the one who leads, but it is a principle for all who, along with the one who leads, follow the Lord Jesus Christ. That would be, if I were able to secure that as the only legitimate exposition, to take all of you immediately off the hook and to suggest that this was only instruction for those who’d been called to the task of pastoring and leading. Surely it means more than that.

I think probably verse 17 we can get at by translating it “so that the person who belongs to God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Do you belong to God? That’s the question, you see. Do you belong to God by grace through faith? Then, if you belong to God, then what are you to believe? He answers. And how are you to behave? He answers.

What Are We to Believe?

First of all, in terms of belief, positive and then negative.

All of the Bible, “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful,” first of all, “for teaching.” That is why Jesus came teaching—a wonderful teacher able to explain things so powerfully and so life-changingly. That’s why the apostles, when they stepped onto the stage of history after Pentecost, were proclaiming the word of God. Barnabas, sending for Paul in Acts chapter 11, because he recognized that these enthusiastic new believers needed to be taught the Bible, and so “Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people,” and “the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”[4] Paul doing the same thing everywhere he went. By the time he leaves the disciples behind in Ephesus, in Acts chapter 20, he says, “You know … I have[n’t] hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.”[5] In other words, what he said in the public discourse he reinforced in personal conversation. And he encouraged those under his care to be taught.

Now, many of you are teachers. And what a noble calling to be a teacher, to have the minds and the lives of youngsters, and in some cases university students, under your tutelage. It is an immense responsibility and a high calling. And the question for any teacher—and I class myself among them—any of us as teachers put our heads on the pillow at night, and we ask the question “Are my students learning anything?” “Are they learning anything?”

I read the papers—I don’t know if it’s true—but they said that the results of the security folks at the airport, which were so glowingly wonderful—everybody getting an A—were as a result of them giving them the answers to the questions before they took the test. Now, I don’t know whether that’s true or not. I’m sure many of them were very good in their own right. But from time to time we hear that kind of thing: “Well, here’s the answer. Now let me ask you the question.” But given that that doesn’t really take place here, it is of great concern to me whether you’re learning anything.

Now, I know that people say, “Well, you should hear his accent,” or “He’s this,” or “He’s that.” I don’t care. I ultimately don’t care whether you like it, whether you’re intrigued by it, whether you’re stirred by it or moved by it. I have a genuine concern that we’re learning together what God has given to us in the Bible in order that we might be conformed to the image of his Son. And each of us who teaches will be judged first not by the effectiveness of our teaching, but we will be judged for the motives of our teaching. You learning anything?

“Correcting,” “teaching,” “rebuking.” “Rebuking.” Some people don’t like the verb rebuking, do they? But rebuking is important, isn’t it? I’ve been with a lot of dogs this week. It just so happens, walking in the street, I met a Pyrenean mountain dog that weighed 165 pounds and was very lovely-looking, but I wouldn’t like to bump into it on a dark night. I met a number of dogs during the week, and one or two of them were just hopeless things, hopeless creatures. And I feel no animosity towards the dog. I’d like to shake the owner by the neck. What is this jumping creature doing here? Rebuke the thing! Rebuke him! Or live with the implications of the absence of rebuke: standing like a clown in the middle of the street while this thing goes all over the place, and your Starbucks coffee goes everywhere, and the dog’s slavering all over everything at all. You think that looks good? And what’s the problem? The same problem that produces the two-year-old tyrannizing the grocery store, riding in the chariot: “I want one of those. I want two of those. I want outta here.” I’ll give you something!

See, we live in a culture where in the teaching deal, everything is so bent towards positive reinforcement and affirmation that the notion of rebuke is regarded immediately as some intrusion into a person’s life and is viewed almost immediately negatively. But in point of fact, it is vital in the teaching task to point out what is true and also to point out what is not true, to refute what is wrong and to rebuke what is wrong so that people may then, in embracing truth, turn away from error. You have it in 1 Thessalonians 1, where Paul is able to commend the church in Thessalonica, because it says, “You are commended amongst the communities because you turned away from idols to serve the living God.”[6] In other words, there was the turning from because there was a turning to. There was the positive discovery of who Jesus was; there was the rebuking of everything that went against that.

Now, this morning, in the Murray M’Cheyne readings—and I hope many of you use the M’Cheyne readings through the year; I know that many of you do. It’s just a plug as I’m going past, since we’re talking about the Bible. You can find these in the bookstore. Some of you have read through in a year. Some of you, like me, it takes about two years to achieve it because of how many times I fail. But anyway, I get through in the end. And today, some of you read 1 Kings chapter 22. And you will agree with me now how the Bible ties in when our hearts and minds are open to it.

I can’t go through it; it’s got tons of verses—fifty or sixty verses. But the kings of Judah and Israel are coming together to decide whether they should engage in a battle. And so they bring together the prophets. And the prophets, some four hundred men, are asked the question “Shall [we] go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”[7] The answer is “Let’s go for it!” Jehoshaphat says, “You know, I wonder whether this is just right.”[8] He says, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”[9] So we got all these prophets telling him what to do: “Isn’t there a prophet of the Lord?” Interesting distinction, isn’t it? Just because somebody calls themselves a prophet doesn’t make them a prophet.

“The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah [the] son of Imlah.’”[10] And you could go home and read 1 Kings 22 instead of the Plain Dealer, and you will discover the amazing unfolding of the story, which has to do with the necessity of rebuke. Four hundred fellows said, “Yes, yes, yes.” One guy, in the most unpopular position, said, “Uh-uh.” And that, of course, was the task given to Micaiah, the prophet of God.

How Are We to Behave?

Now, if it addresses what we’re believing, it also addresses how we’re behaving, doesn’t it? And you will notice how it goes from the positive to the negative—“correcting” and “rebuking”—and then he goes from the negative to the positive. It’s not particularly important, but I thought I’d point it out: “correcting and training in righteousness.” The word here for correcting, epanórthōsin, is a word that is descriptive of mending or rebuilding something, the way a ship would be brought into dry dock in order that it might be refitted for its journeys on the ocean. It is this same terminology to which Dr. Ferguson referred last Sunday evening when he combined ortho, which means “straight,” and doxa, which means “opinion and view,” to remind us that this is the same root which has given us orthopedics or orthodontics.

Now, what Paul is saying to Timothy is this: “If you want to be sound and healthy, then you will be sound and healthy as you are corrected and brought into line by the truth of God’s Word.” Let me say that to you again, because it is precious important: If we would be sound and healthy in terms of our spiritual pilgrimage, the mechanism, the supreme mechanism, which God employs to makes us both sound and healthy is the correcting, the bringing into line, by the truth of the Bible.

The Scriptures have been given to us in order that not only will we know what it is, but by God’s Spirit we will be enabled to do what we ought to do.

And this, then, is how any of us ought to determine whether the counsel we are receiving, from whatever source, is counsel to which we should pay attention. Somebody says, “Well, I think the course of action is x or y.” Are we then just to follow that out by dint of the letters after their name or the fact of their notoriety? No, every counsel that we receive should be brought and passed through the sieve of the Bible. And that which is truly biblical and is retainable we may chew on and pursue, and that which falls through should be left completely alone. The Bible heals and cleanses our emotions and our affections. The Bible restores broken lives. The Bible produces spiritual health and vitality. That’s why we need to be corrected by it.

And it also positively “train[s] in righteousness.” Righteousness, simply doing the right thing—which is really the question that ought to be before us all the time: “What is the right thing to do?” Tomorrow morning, in business decisions, I ask, “What is the right thing to do?” Tomorrow morning, as the children get ready to go off on the bus: “What is the right thing to do?” In our relationships with the opposite sex: “What is the right thing to do?”

And how are we going to know what the right thing to do is? Well, the Scriptures have been given to us in order that not only will we know what it is, but by God’s Spirit we will be enabled to do what we ought to do. Paul has already told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4 that “[spiritual] fitness has a certain value, but spiritual fitness is essential both for this … life and for the life to come.”[11] And the word that he uses there is gumnázō, which is the word that gives us gymnasium. He’s saying, “Timothy, come on. Get into the gymnasium of the Bible and become fit for life.”

In between services, I’ve been listening to some of the children singing upstairs—lots of songs from hither and yon, wonderfully reinforcing the truth of the Bible. And it made me think, as I was coming downstairs, of the songs of old:

Read your Bible; pray every day,
And you’ll grow, grow, grow,
And you’ll grow, grow, grow.
And read your Bible, and pray every day,
And you’ll grow, grow, grow.

Well, here I am all these years—forty-five, forty-six years later—from the time that they taught me that in kindergarten, and I’ve never gone beyond it. There is no place to go beyond it! What else am I supposed to do? So, it is at once simple enough for the child in kindergarten, and it is once expansive enough for the most mature believer. “What should I do this week, Jesus?” “Well, read your Bible and be in touch with me every day, and you’ll grow.”

You see, if we hope in our Christian lives to overcome error, to grow in truth, to overcome evil, to grow in holiness, then it is to the Scriptures we must constantly be turning, because it is only then that the person who belongs to God may be “thoroughly equipped.” It is only then that things will be as they should. It’s only then that we will be, if you like, living “the normal Christian life,” as Watchman Nee put it. The Bible teaches, trains, mends, restores until we’re ready for useful service. And I think it’s true to say that it will take a whole Bible to make a whole Christian, and it will take a lot longer than most of us think.

You know the story of the man who’s refining silver, and he’s removing all the extraneous elements from it—the impurities—and someone comes and watches him as he works with painstaking interest in this little vat of silver. And the man who’s observing says to him, “How long will you work at refining that silver?” And the man said, “I will work at it until I can see myself reflected in it.” How long will God work in our lives through the Scriptures? Until he sees himself reflected in us.

We Need the Bible

Well then, let’s just wrap this up. The application is there for every person who belongs to God, begging the question “Do I belong to God?” We’d love to speak with you about that as our service ends. If you’re not sure that you do belong to God, you could come and talk with us, and we would love to point you in that direction.

It certainly has a word for myself and for others like me who are involved in pastoral ministry. Timothy was surrounded by chaos. He was confronted by confusion. He was to take refuge in the Bible. And that’s why, throughout the generations—and I was reading this morning the life of Samuel Rutherford in between times—but that’s why throughout generations, the call of God to pastoral ministry has always been directly related to the place of the Bible. I’m quoting now from the sixteenth-century Anglican prayer book. And when a minister was set apart to the task of the gospel, he was asked whether he felt himself truly called of God. And when he replied in the affirmative, then the bishop would go on to ask as follows: “Are you persuaded that the holy Scriptures contain sufficiently all doctrine required of necessity for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? And are you determined out of these same Scriptures to instruct the people committed to your charge?” Now, those are the two fundamental questions that need to be asked of all who stand in the position that is afforded me: “Are you persuaded that the holy Scriptures are sufficient for the work of salvation in the life of God’s people? And if you are, are you determined out of the Scriptures, then, to instruct the people committed to your charge?”

Now, God helping us, the answer to that is “Yes” here at Parkside, isn’t it? We’re not presumptuous about it. We are dependent entirely upon God, week by week and Sunday by Sunday.

But I think we’re also aware of what will happen to a culture, to a church, and to an individual when they neglect the place of the Bible. First of all, men and women in a culture will be ignorant of the good news, won’t they? They’ll be ignorant of the good news. Why? Because “all Scripture is God-breathed,” and it is this Scripture which is able to make a woman or a man “wise for salvation through faith in [Jesus] Christ,” so that the Bible doesn’t save, but the Bible points us to Jesus, who is the Savior of all who believe. So when a culture gives up on the Bible, as the American culture largely has, you will discover many men and women wandering around—you’ll meet them in Starbucks and as you travel—who will tell you that they’re not religious people, but they are spiritual people. They’re people who are interested in spirituality. And they may go into elaborate details as to the nature of their own particular little brand of me-ism.

Now, what are we to say to such individuals? Well, how we speak and then what we say are interwoven, aren’t they? You don’t wanna jump on top of people, whack them. It happened to us just yesterday. Sue and I were in conversation with a young man; he came to talk about something in relationship to our home. And in the course of conversation, he said, “You know, I’m going at religion on my own way, and I like to go out in the woods, and I’m looking for God within.” Now, in the moment that he said that, I said to myself—I honestly did—I said, “I wonder if I could reach into the congregation of last Sunday morning, pick out any individual, and say, ‘Okay, Joe. Okay Mary. Answer that.’” And I wonder if they could? Which is what I’m telling you: I lie in bed, and I say, “Is anyone learning anything?”

Now, you’re all going, “I hope he doesn’t ask me.” But there must be somebody who remembers last Sunday and who would be able to say to this young man, “You know, that is an interesting idea. And certainly in the woods and in the autumn there is so much that speaks of the glory of God and of the reality of his creative power. However,” we would have to say, “all that we see of God in the woods is sufficient to render our unbelief inexcusable but is insufficient to save us. Because it is by means not of the forest but of the Bible that you, young man, may become wise for salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus. So I want to ask you, do you have any interest in reading the Bible? Do you have a Bible? Would you like to listen to tapes on the Bible? ’Cause I can see that you have a hunger for and an interest in God.”

That’s not the normal answer in America. The normal answer in America is “Oh, I’m glad you found something somewhere.” And if you can find it in the woods, that’s fine. If you can find it in the mountains, that’s fine. Let me ask you a question: If you can find salvation in the mountains, why in the wide world are we expending such incredible effort—financial and life effort—in the translation of the Bible? Why are we translating the Bible into the Quechua dialect, if all the Quechua people have to do is go up into the Andes and meet God? Answer: because in the Andes they can see enough of God’s creation to render their unbelief inexcusable, but they cannot find enough of God to save them. Therefore, we need the Bible!

What happens to a church when it rejects the Bible? It will be utterly inept and fundamentally useless.

Now, don’t you think if you were the Evil One, looking on a culture like this, that one of your approaches would be not to say the Bible is naff, to say the Bible is bogus, to say the Bible is whatever it is, to attack it all the time? No, no, no, no, no. Far better simply to say, “Now there’s an idea, isn’t it? There’s a possibility, isn’t it? But whatever you do, don’t listen to anybody who tells you that the Bible is the sole means whereby somebody comes to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.”

What happens to a culture when it rejects the Bible? It will be ignorant of the good news.

What happens to a church when it rejects the Bible? It will be utterly inept and fundamentally useless. Oh, it may fulfill social obligations. It can do a bunch of things. But in terms of that making a dent for the kingdom of God…

And what happens to the Christian when they’re no longer being taught the Bible? They run all around the place, looking for teachers to tell them something that their itching ears want to hear.[12] And some of you are here because of that. This is a stop on your journey. Mr. and Mrs. Itchy-Ears. And the reason you’re here—and I’m glad you’re here—the reason you’re here is because you’re pretty well convinced that you need to run around and find a little bit from here and a little bit from there, and I can pretty well guarantee what I know about you. And this is what I know about you: you have never in the last while been sitting under the faithful, systematic exposition of the Bible in a way that it has not only stored truth in your mind but has touched your heart. And hopefully you’ll stay here for a while, not because I and my colleagues are particularly able with the Bible, but because I, along with my colleagues, am absolutely convinced that all Scripture is God-breathed, and it answers the question “How can I be saved, and what should I look like living as a saved person?”

Father, we thank you that your Word abides and it guides our footsteps. It teaches us. It rebukes us, calls us into line. Some of us have come in like vessels all barnacled up, smashed and crashed as a result of the waves and our inability to anchor safely or arrive in our destination without harm. And we’re here this morning to say, “Lord Jesus Christ, refit me. Cleanse me. Renew me. Get me ready for the voyage this week.” Hear our prayers, Lord Jesus.

And may the grace of the Lord Jesus, and the love of God our Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit rest upon and remain with all who believe, today and forevermore. Amen.

[1] Charles Hodge, The Way of Life (Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1841), 336–37.

[2] Philippians 2:12 (NIV 1984).

[3] 1 Timothy 6:11 (NIV 1984).

[4] Acts 11:26 (NIV 1984).

[5] Acts 20:20 (NIV 1984).

[6] 1 Thessalonians 1:9 (paraphrased).

[7] 1 Kings 22:6 (NIV 1984).

[8] 1 Kings 22:6–7 (paraphrased).

[9] 1 Kings 22:7 (NIV 1984).

[10] 1 Kings 22:8 (NIV 1984).

[11] 1 Timothy 4:8 (Phillips).

[12] See 2 Timothy 4:3.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.