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by Rosco Brong

Purpose of the Bible
Jeremiah 26:1-3; Luke 24:44-48; John 20:30-31; & I John 1:1-4

God's purposes are manifold and mysterious beyond finite comprehension. So the purpose of the Bible includes far more than either friends or enemies of divine truth can imagine; but whatever God's purpose in His Word, we can be sure that He will accomplish those purposes, simply because He is God. As he plainly says, "My word...shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" [Isaiah 55:11].

Now, the purpose of the Bible includes the pronouncement and apportionment of righteous punishment to the wicked, an eternal truth that ought not to be neglected; but most of us would rather think of the blessings provided for God's people, and this is the emphasis of our lesson. Scriptures included in the text may be studied under the following points:

1. Repentance, Jeremiah 26:1-3.
a. Judgment announced, 1-2.
b. Judgment avoided, 3.
2. Remission, Luke 24:44-48.
a. Scriptural reminder, 44.
b. Scriptural reception, 45.
c. Scriptural requirements, 46.
d. Scriptural remission, 47.
e. Scriptural reporters, 48.
3. Regeneration, John 20:30-31.
a. Unwritten signs, 30.
b. Unfailing salvation, 31.
4. Rejoicing, I John 1:1-4.
a. Joyful familiarity, 1-2.
b. Joyful fellowship, 3-4.
REPENTANCE, Jeremiah 26:1-3.
Although we have no way of knowing in advance which phase of the divine purpose applies in any given situation or in any individual case, we can say with assurance from revealed truth that sometimes it is God's purpose to use His Word as a means to bring sinners to repentance, while sometimes it is on the other hand His purpose to leave the wicked without excuse as they continue in their wickedness despite the clear warnings of His Word.

Judgment Announced, 1-2.
Faithful preachers of God's Word might naturally prefer to please their hearers with kind and flattering words, but to Jeremiah as to every other true minister of God's Word the command of God was to preach to the people "all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word." The Word of God includes warnings of judgments to come, and the faithful preacher must faithfully announce those judg- ments.

Judgment Avoided, 3.
Repentance is an individual, personal matter; though the preaching was addressed to "the cities of Judah," the hope was that "every man" might turn from his evil way. Note that the apparent repentance of God was conditioned on the prior repentance of man, and that there was allowance for this repentance in the divine purpose to bring judgment on the people "because of the evil of their doings."

In other words, divinely announced judgment can be avoided by the sinner who in mind and heart Inot merely in preten- sion) turns "from his evil way."

REMISSION, Luke 24:44-48.
Unfaithful preaching has encouraged many people to have a lopsided idea of God, so that they imagine that He can show mercy by ignoring justice, or that He can simply "forgive and forget" their sins at the expense of truth. It is not so. It cost God the sufferings and death of His own Son to pro- vide remission or forgiveness of sins, and that remission can be had only on the terms of His Word.

Scriptural Reminder, 44.
Here Jesus reminded the disciples, after His resurrection and before His ascension, of the teachings of Scripture which He had often told them in His ministry. Divine truth does not change. The law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms still speak to us concerning Christ.

Scriptural Reception, 45.
We are reminded, however, that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God" [I Corinthians 2:14]. In order that Scriptural teaching might be Scripturally received, it was as necessary for the original disciples as for us that the Lord should open "their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures."

Scriptural Requirements, 46.
Thus it had been written in God's holy Word; therefore thus it had to be. The word for "it behoved" here could be tran- slated "it was necessary." The sufferings and resurrection of Christ were Scriptural requirements to help qualify the Messiah as the Savior of sinners.

Scriptural Remission, 47.
Remission of sins therefore is to be preached "in his name among all nations," but Scriptural remission is based upon the redemptive work of the Savior and is conditioned on repentance (which includes faith).

Scriptural Reporters, 48.
Chosen to be Scriptural reporters or "witnesses of these things" were no mystic visionaries or idle dreamers, but simple, down-to-earth disciples speaking from personal ex- perience of human faculties illuminated by the Spirit of God.

REGENERATION, John 20:30-31.

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" [John 3:3]. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" [r Peter 1:23]. So the Word of God is used by the Spirit of God in accomplishing the miracle of regen- eration.

Unwritten Signs, 30.
Bible history is necessarily selective [John 21:25]. The first disciples witnessed many more signs that they were able to record in writing. Of course, this is true of any his- tory. To be reasonable, it must be selective.

Unfailing Salvation, 31.
John states here the purpose of his selection of material: "These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God." May each reader find this purpose realized in his own life! And as surely as he does truly believe, he will find himself in possession of everlasting life [John 6:47].

REJOICING, I John 1:1-4.
Men may pursue happiness, but they never catch it for long. True and lasting joy is found only through faith in God. Since we are commanded to rejoice [Philippians 4:4], it is a sin not to rejoice; but if we are very well acquainted with Jesus, this is one sin we find difficult to commit. The sad, sour, sullen Christian is an anomaly.

Joyful Familiarity, 1-2.
"In thy presence is fullness of joy," sang David [Psalm 16:11]. We love to be with one we love; and when that One is the blessed Lover of our souls, who can express the joy of being in His presence? The apostles experienced a joyful familiarity with Him Who manifested the very life of God in human flesh with all the fullness of deity.

Joyful Fellowship, 3-4.
Fellowship with God, we need to learn, is not dependent on physical manifestations or physical surroundings. God is Spirit [John 4:24], and the presence of Father and Son in the person of the Holy Spirit can be every bit as real as the presence of Jesus in the flesh ever was. Let us learn from the things written in God's Word to appreciate this fellowship, that our joy may be full.

CONCLUSION [Galatians 3:22]
Condemnation by the law leads to salvation by the gospel. "Of Jesus Christ" in this verse is an objective genitive and means the same thing as "in Jesus Christ." Or it could be taken as a genitive of source, meaning that saving faith comes from Him even as it turns to Him, which also is true. Note again that the promise of salvation is "to them that believe."

[From Ashland Avenue Baptist newspaper, June 13, 1975, pp. 2-3. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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