Let us pray: Dear Savior, may we never tire of hearing Your Godly truths or cease holding on to them! May we take Your Bible seriously and not doubt its contents. And may we employ its power on a daily basis to lead, guide and comfort us in the face of a world gone mad. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE WORD MADE FLESH!
TEXT: 2 Timothy 3: 14-4:5
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, visiting a friend’s new home for the first time, even staying overnight at another’s house on a trip—all these events in life have one common denominator. That is, all of them usually entail a gift. When guys get married they are often oblivious to some of these customs. But, their wife usually sets them straight. And since we have many newly married folks in our midst, I’ll clue you in on another important truth: when shopping for your wife you cannot go wrong with jewelry!
Another thing you learn about gifts is this: small packages may appear innocuous, but very often they contain something quite wonderful. Again, jewelry usually comes in smaller packages. Likewise car keys to the new auto hidden outside. And let’s not forget airline tickets for that fabulous vacation!
This truth of: “small in size but rich in worth” is also a truism for the Christian. After all, the richest gift God ever gave human beings was rather small, an infant, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And yet, both eternal life and eternal love were contained in the Baby Jesus. So, it should come as no surprise that although your Bible may appear rather smallish and plain to the human eye, in it God provides us with riches beyond measure. Since our lesson talks about God’s Word, today I’d like to remind each of you that:
GREAT THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES!
In this wonderful letter, St. Paul is writing to his protégée, young pastor Timothy. And the blessed Apostle says many pithy, wonderful truths which apply to all God’s children, if we but ferret them out.
Like most of you, I learned some of these same passages in confirmation class. Like you, I memorized them. And yet for a long time I really didn’t delve into the great truths, the comforting truths that they contained. Today I want to rectify that situation.
Paul begins this way: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it”—meaning Paul, and also Timothy’s mother and grandmother. All of them loved Timothy and would never lie to him. “and how from infancy (literally a nursing infant in the original Greek text) you have known (had knowledge of) the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
This section literally says that infants can believe! They can grasp the saving truth of the Bible which is that Christ is their Savior! So, the view of many today that baptism doesn’t impart faith and knowledge, because infants cannot understand, that view is demolished by this little passage. How is this all possible? Simple. It’s a work of God the Holy Ghost. And with God, “all things are possible.” Likewise, Christ says the same thing when He tells us to have “the faith of a little child.” Little kids trust. They don’t question or doubt. So it should be with believers. For trust is synonymous with faith. Or, in another instance, Christ states that “the sheep hear my voice and they follow me, and I give them eternal rest.” Sheep includes lambs in that section. Yes, infants can believe!
The most famous section of our text comes next. You all learned this in confirmation. “All Scripture is God-breathed (or inspired) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
In the small package of your Bible you have page after page, from beginning to end, God’s Word, His eternal truths. In it He tells us everything we need to know in this world about Him. Of course, the problem for us is we too often dwell on what He doesn’t tell us and therefore what we don’t need to know right now! In any case, in the Bible God gave men He had chosen to write down the very words and the very thoughts that He knew were vital to our lives. And so the Bible is very useful—for teaching and instructing the sinner how to be saved, for discerning falsehood and rebuking those who try to foist it onto us, for correcting errors in our thinking and lives, and for the positive aspect of training us to live in His holiness and forgiveness, won on the cross in our place. Yes, the small package of God’s Son died on a cross to save your soul for the purpose of living and enjoying life surrounded by forgiveness and blessing each step of the way. Countless people today live their entire lives searching for the meaning to life and trying to find happiness and contentment. Well, the Bible outlines that search for us, puts us on the right track, guides us, and even gives us both eternal happiness and inner contentment. Yes, Great Things Come in Small Packages!
20 years ago on the 1st Sunday of November I preached my first sermon from this pulpit. During that time span I have seen countless souls come and go. I have ministered to more people than I can remember. And in every single case, I saw one truth play out time and again, both in those who stayed and those who walked away from our midst. That truth being: once they actually started to read God’s Word in their Bibles, their lives were changed. Many of them, like you sitting here this morning, were changed for the better because through the Bible God poured out His power upon you. He remade your heart. He brought you to faith, to a deep yearning for His blessings and an appreciation of them. In some other instances, people developed “itching ears” and put their pride and their sinfulness first. They didn’t like God telling them how to live. They thought the free gift of salvation in Christ was just too easy thus offending their pride, or that the rest of the Bible wasn’t modern enough, or that some of its truths weren’t politically correct. So, they found others who told them what they wanted to hear and then walked away.—Exactly the same situation Paul warns Timothy about. Yes, that “change” I mentioned was a stumbling block to the lethargy of their pride and unfortunately they resisted God’s patient teaching. My friends, don’t let that ever happen to you. Always “search the Scriptures to see whether what is taught or preached is of God.” Listen to Christ’s voice which speaks to us in the Bible, after all, as John tells us: “Christ is the Word made flesh.” And never forget to follow Paul’s final kernel of wisdom, sent from God: “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, (a gospel centered preacher) discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
After 23+ years in the pulpit, I have learned that the only way to do that is to cling to the truth of the Bible above all else! For thereby God talks to us, uplifts us, and changes us for the better. Yes, Great Things Come in Small Packages. Amen