Our Sole Standard

Text: Ephesians 3:1-13


I.         In a discussion with a Roman Catholic, he objected to the idea of staying only with the Bible as our source of authority.

            A.        In particular, he believes that the Spirit uses sources other than the Bible to reveal God’s will

            B.        He argued that the apostles only had a partial revelation and thus only recorded some of the will of God.

II.        Why did the apostles write?

            A.        So that we might believe - John 20:30-31

            B.        So that we might believe and know we have eternal life - I John 5:13

            C.        So that those reading will understand what the apostles understood - Ephesians 3:2-5

            D.        So that we might have fellowship with the apostles - I John 1:1-4

            E.        So that those reading will acknowledge that these are the Lord’s commands - I Corinthians 14:37

            F.        So that we might not sin - I John 2:1

III.       How much did the apostles know and write?

            A.        The Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth - John 16:13-15

            B.        They were commanded to teach everything they were commanded to all nations - Matthew 28:19-20

            C.        Paul told the Ephesians that he taught them the whole counsel of God - Acts 20:27

            D.        Through our knowledge of God we learn everything pertaining to life and godliness - II Peter 1:2-4

            E.        All Scriptures (the sacred writings) is able to make a man complete - II Timothy 3:16-17

IV.      To what purpose would the writings be used?

            A.        Going back to II Timothy 3:16-17 we see that it tells us:

                        1.         What is right (doctrine)

                        2.         What is wrong (reproof)

                        3.         How to become right (correction)

                        4.         How to stay right (training)

            B.        They were searched for truth - Acts 17:11

            C.        They are a reminder of what was said and taught - II Peter 3:1-2

            D.        It is to keep us within bounds that God has set - I Corinthians 4:6

            E.        This is because they were the commands of God - I Corinthians 14:37

            F.        Thus they are the standard by which we will be judged - Revelation 20:12

                        1.         Judged by the law of liberty - James 2:12

                        2.         Judged according to Paul’s gospel - Romans 2:16

                        3.         Judged by the words of Christ - John 12:48

V.        No further revelation

            A.        The early church learned God’s word directly from Lord’s apostles and through prophets.

            B.        Of which things, the apostles recorded for our benefit.

            C.        Could there be a continuing revelation?

                        1.         If there were, then what was later revealed could only match what the apostles already taught. No alterations were allowed - Galatians 1:6-9

                        2.         If something new were to be added, then the claim of delivering all of God’s will by the apostles would become false.

                        3.         If something new is revealed later, how could those how came before be judged since they didn’t know it?

            D.        No, the message was delivered once in its final form - Jude 3

            E.        The church’s duty is to uphold the delivered truth, not to create new “truths” - I Timothy 3:15-16