The Foundation of the Apostles & Prophets

(audio sermon)

The Church is built on the testimony of the apostles (New Testament) and prophets (Old Testament). This sermon describes how God’s written Word grew from 10 Commandments to 66 books.

Speakers notes follow –

The Foundation of the Apostles & Prophets

Ephesians 2. 19-20

Foundation – their testimony – the OT & NT – God’s Word

Why do we need God’s Word written ?

Coffee on aircraft – inertia – feelings v instruments – 483 EI

Need way to measure feelings & beliefs – ideas on God, morality, religious truth

Canon – list books considered God’s Word – ruler / rod to measure

Old Testament Canon – testimony of prophets

Natural development/growth/evolution guided by God

Gods written word started with 10 Commandments – finger of God – kept in Ark

Moses added Torah – Dt 31.24-26 – kept next to Ark

‘After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord: “Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God.”‘

Other prophets added – Jer 30.2

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.'”

– Last Malachi 435 BC – Talmud – ‘With the death of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi the latter prophets, the Holy Spirit ceased out of Israel’

– very clear end to OT canon

New Testament canon – testimony of apostles

OT closes with expectation of Messiah – hunger for him

Apostles – appointed by Christ – witnesses from John to ascension (Acts 1.21-22)

‘May another take his place of leadership.’ Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us.’

Twelve – Spirit reminds of words & works – John 14.26

‘But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.’

Scripture itself claims the apostles writing was scripture – Paul claimed prophet inspiration (1 Co 14.37)

‘If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.’

Peter called Pauls writing scripture (2 Peter 3. 15)

‘Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.’

Apostolic authority to Mark / Luke / Acts / Hebrews / James / Jude

Qualify -apostol endorse / consistent with rest / perceived God breathed by early church

Justin Martyr (150 AD) – early service – memoirs of apostles

‘And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things.’

Earliest lists – Irenaeus quotes 170 AD / Athanasius 367 AD / Carthage Council 397 AD

Canon closing – Heb1.1-2 Sons finality

‘In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.’

Rev 22. 18-19 warnings – God signing off

‘I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.’

Removing traffic signs – tradgedy – subtracting / adding – 533 EI

Ignatius 110 AD ‘ I do not order you as Peter & Paul, they were apostles ‘

– so Koran? (600 AD – didnt know Jesus – believe him or twelve?)

TV crew – hurricane Andrew – Florida State building code – 2×6 roof trusses – no one else followed-ready for storm – 331 QIH

– God has given building code – one we can trust for storms

Is Jesus God? Can we drink? How do we pray? How do we conduct marriage – know Bible

Can’t know Jesus without Bible – Jerome ‘ Ignorance of God’s Word is ignorance of Christ’

– The Foundation of the Apostles & Prophets!

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