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Scripture is Enough

Tom Pennington Psalm 1


Today we want to begin a summer series. We're going to step away from our study of Romans for the summer, and we want to look at some truths that are very important.

There's one expression that became part of the common jargon for the hard men who worked on the great sailing ships of the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. That expression became sort of common place, and it was this: "hold fast." It meant to hold tightly onto the ropes of the ship when the ship was driven by the wind and the waves. It especially referred to holding on to the lifelines.

I don't know if you know the entomology of that word, but on those great square-rigged sailing vessels when they were in the midst of a storm, the ship was being driven by the storm, they would literally run ropes down the sides of the deck. And they were called lifelines, because if a wave came and began to sweep you away, you could grab onto that line and be saved.

In the same way, there are lifelines in the Christian faith, truths to which we must hold fast. And if we fail to do so, we will find ourselves in great peril, both as individual believers, and as the Church. The truth is, the English expression hold fast did not originate in the sailing culture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I did a little research this week, traced it back in the Oxford Dictionary. And what you learn is, the earliest occurrence they sight is in the mid-1500s.

Well, what that tells us is that this expression hold fast probably began with, and certainly became famous because of, the first translation of the Greek New Testament into English. It was the work of William Tyndale in the early 1500s. I looked in my copy of Tyndale's New Testament, and I discovered that in five New Testament passages, Tyndale reads, translates the Scripture, "hold fast." Hold fast. For example, in Revelation 2:25 Jesus Christ is speaking to the church in Thyatira, and He says, that which you have (that is, the truth that you have received), "hold fast until I come." Just as sailors had to keep a death grip on the lifeline in the midst of the storm, you and I are to hold fast to the truths that we have received.

Tragically, our Lord's command is ignored today in most of professing Christianity. Some of the most important truths in Scripture, some of the truths that were lifelines for Christians in previous generations, today are downplayed, ignored, and sometimes just flatly rejected. This summer I want us to examine together, as the Lord wills, some of the key truths that today's Church has forgotten, but that we must always remember—truths to which we must hold fast.

Today, we begin with the most foundational truth that we must always remember, and that is that the Bible is enough. The Bible is enough. Abandon this truth, and in time, I promise you, you will abandon all others. This is ground zero in our fight for both our individual and corporate spiritual survival. Tragically, the Christian landscape is cluttered with cheap and tawdry substitutes for Scripture. Many, even professing Christians, practically believe the Bible is not enough, even though they may never say that out loud.

Let me give you a few examples. Some say,for example, the Bible is not enough, we need mysticism. We need God to speak to us subjectively, through supposed voices and feelings, impressions, rather than through His "external Word" as Luther called it. Recently, a large mega-church in our area did a series on hearing God's voice outside of the Scripture. That's really a testament to the insufficiency of the Bible. It's just not enough.

Others say the Bible is not enough, we need Charismatic experiences. Rather than focus on God's objective revelation in Scripture, the once-and-forever-settled, eternal Word of God, it is more spiritually helpful, they say, to focus on supposed extra-biblical miracles that'll do it, because the Scripture's not enough.

Others say the Bible is not enough, we need tradition. I mean, after all, God isn't able to communicate clearly enough to the average person what He wants to say, so therefore we need some collective, priestly authority to tell us what God intended to say in the book that He gave to His people.

Still others say the Bible is not enough, we need human experts. Now think about that for a moment. What they're saying is that we need fallen, depraved, human beings who have been carefully and meticulously indoctrinated by other fallen, depraved, human beings to tell us what the truth really is, to understand the way things are.

A fifth group says the Bible is not enough, we need secular psychology. I mean, before Freud, we couldn't really understand man's true needs, or there was no way to understand how those needs could be legitimately met. So for professing believers that means, you know, the gospel and the Scripture, they're fine to tell you how to be saved, but, you know, we just need to help God out. And we need to bring in some secular psychology to help man get over his real problems.

The Bible is not enough, others say we need science. Now, be clear what I mean here. I'm not opposed to true science. But what most today call science is not true science. It doesn't follow the principles that science is supposed to follow. Instead, science, as it's often referred to today, is simply a scientific consensus of experts, a consensus of those who are supposedly expert in their field. Don't forget, this is the same scientific consensus, the same consensus of experts, that several centuries ago told God's people the planet was flat and that you could bleed people to make them healthier. And yet we embrace science as the ultimate end all—assuming that we're not making the same mistakes today they made then.

Others say the Bible is not enough, we need cultural consensus. This has become the new authority, especially when it comes to moral and ethical issues. It is democracy on steroids. We don't only get to vote for those who represent us in government, we get to vote about what's true and moral and right. And that's better, they say, instead of God being the supreme moral authority.

Now, there are other cheap substitutes for Scripture on which people rely, but those are some of the most common ones that are out there. You've seen them. You've heard them. Listen carefully. In contrast to all perspectives that either outright argue or implicitly underline that the Bible is not enough, the Bible consistently, relentlessly maintains that it is enough, that it is sufficient. Scripture itself argues that it contains all that is necessary for faith and practice. God has given us in His Word all we need. This is called the sufficiency of Scripture. And folks, this is a lifeline to which the Church for 2,000 years has held, and it's being abandoned today.

Is this what the Church has taught? Go back to the great confessions. Go back to the Baptist Confession of the 1600s. Go back to the Westminster Confession. Listen to what they say.

"The whole council of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men."

Couldn't be any clearer. But the questions is—that's what the confession says, but is that what the Scripture teaches about itself? Or more precisely, is that what God teaches in Scripture about Scripture?

Of course, the classic passage on this that answers, absolutely yes, this is what the Bible teaches is 2 Timothy 3. You remember, in verse 15, Paul says to Timothy,

… "The sacred writings … are able to [lead you to] … the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ." [And then in verse 16, having said the Bible tells you how to be saved, the Bible tells you how to be right with God, Paul says, it's more than that though. He says,] "All Scripture." [He uses that term for the Revelation of God, the Sacred Writings. He says,] "all Scripture has been" [blowing sound, breathed out by God. It is the product of the breath of God. It's God's very words. Therefore it's] "profitable." [It's] profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be"[what?] "Adequate." ]It's not a very exciting word. Adequate.]

My wife says, "Honey, how was supper?" It was adequate. That doesn't sound very good. That's But that's not what this word means. The Greek word is only used here in the New Testament. It means "capable, able to meet all demands." The Scripture enables you to meet all spiritual demands made against you. And then he says, "equipped for every good work." The word "equipped" means "fully supplied, completely outfitted" for every good work. The Bible teaches that it is sufficient. No other resource is necessary for salvation, for sanctification, to equip you to live as a Christian in the world. It is enough.

Now, there is a Psalm that teaches this truth. But it doesn't simply teach this truth. It calls each of us to make a wholehearted commitment to this forgotten truth, to hold fast to the sufficiency of Scripture. I want you to turn with me to Psalm 1. Psalm 1. The purpose of the Book of Psalms was to provide us a divinely intended record and pattern of man expressing himself to God. You want to know what your communication with God should be like, you have it in the Book of Psalms. Psalm 1 was probably written as the introduction to the entire book. Charles Spurgeon writes, "Psalm 1 is the text of which the rest of the Psalms is a sermon." Most conservative scholars attribute this Psalm either to David or to Solomon. It's one of the wisdom Psalms intended to guide us in the path of divine wisdom. Let's read it together. You follow along. Psalm 1:

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor stand in the path of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season

And its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,

But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the wicked will perish.

The theme of the Psalm is pretty obvious. There are only two paths in life. Every person here this morning is on one of these paths. You are either on the path of the righteous, or you are on the path of the wicked, every person, on one of those paths. In verses 1 to 3 we see the way of the righteous, in verses 4 and 5, the way of the wicked. And then in verse 6, we see the end, the terminus point of these two paths. One ends in God's approval and delight and presence. The other ends in destruction.

Now notice in verse 1 how the psalmist introduces the righteous person. He says, "How blessed is the man." Now, if you were a Hebrew reader, you would already be surprised, because that is not a word you would expect to see here. There are two Hebrew words translated "blessed" in our English text. The first is barak or barukh. It refers to God's doing good to someone. We talk about God blessing someone. That's this word. It's not the word used here.

The second Hebrew word and the one that is used here is the Hebrew word ashrei. It occurs 45 times in the Old Testament. It is never used to refer to God. It is never something God does. It is strictly a human conclusion about another human being. A human being inspects the life of this righteous person and comes to this conclusion. He looks at his life and he says, "How blessed." We could translate it "how enviable, how desirable, how attractive." By the way, our Lord uses the same Greek word that's used in the Septuagint here. He uses that in the opening to the Sermon on the Mount in those statements we call the Beatitudes: happy.

Now, the man who is ashrei (let's look at that a little bit) enjoys an objective state of well-being in every area of his life. We're not talking now about how he feels. We're talking about the reality: an objective state of well-being. But that objective state is accompanied by (and I wish I had time to take you to the passages where this is expressed) subjective feelings of satisfaction, of joy, and delight. This is a truly enviable life. In fact, Bruce Waltke writes, "The sages reserved the exclamation ashrei for people who experience life as the Creator intended." Ashrei.

Now, you want to know what that looks like, look down in verse 3. Here the psalmist defines ashrei. This is what it looks like. "He will be like a tree." You've got to think about an agricultural society. You've got chaff on the one hand, the wicked; you've got a tree on the other. He'll "be like a tree [and notice] firmly planted by streams of water." That implies the care of someone, the care of God. "Which yields its fruit in its season." He has a fruitful life that blesses others. "And its leaf {[doesn't] wither." Drought comes, and he survives. "And in whatever he does, he prospers."

Here's the point. The enviable man in Psalm 1 enjoys a remarkable state of well-being accompanied by inward feelings of joy and satisfaction and delight. He has a strong spiritual life. He's cared for by God. He fulfills the purpose for which he was made and is a blessing to the people and the lives around him. He has permanence, endurance, stability. And whatever his external circumstances may be, his soul prospers. You want a life like that? Of course you do. We all do. Psalm 1 tells us how.

Psalm 1 tells us there are only two paths in life. There's the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. And the only way to have that kind of life is to be on the way of the righteous. Now listen carefully, because this is the defining point of the Psalm. The way of the righteous is the way of the Bible. The way of the righteous is the way of the Bible, and the way of the wicked is everything else. The psalmist develops this point, notice, negatively in verse 1, and positively in verse 2.

In fact, the psalmist identifies here two foundational commitments that characterize the path of the truly righteous. The one who has received God's grace, the one (as we're learning in Romans) has come to know God through the work of His Son, that person is righteous. Not in and of himself, but through the righteousness God has given—as it was given to Abraham, as it was given to David, as it's given to us who believe. So, if you're truly righteous, that is, if you really do know God, if you're on the way of the righteous, then you're going to make these commitments. You have made and are making these commitments.

The first commitment that the righteous make (notice in verse 1) is to abandon every human way. "How blessed [O to be envied] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!" Now, notice those words that describe walking, standing, and sitting. It's possible those words describe a progression of sin. And clearly, sin is a downward slide. But I don't think that's the point here.

Think about those words again: walk, stand, sit. Those are the three postures of anyone who's awake. You're sitting this morning. Hopefully, you're awake. And when we're in waking mode, when we're not asleep, we are in one of these three postures.

The point is, in the whole of his waking life, the righteous man has nothing to do with these things. The Hebrew grammar, by the way, reinforces this idea. The tense of these three verbs in Hebrew speaks of one who avoids these things as the habit and custom of his life. He entirely abandons them. That's the point. The righteous man completely, entirely abandons these things.

Now what does he abandon? First of all, notice, he abandons the "counsel of the wicked." The counsel of the wicked. The word "counsel" has to do with how we think. The word literally means "to give advice in the making of decisions." This word is used in Exodus 18:19 where, you remember, Moses is given advice by Jethro his father-in-law about how to alleviate his administrative burden by delegation. The word is counsel, advice. So, by the counsel or the advice of the wicked, the psalmist meant the advice of the those who regularly break God's Torah, His Law. The righteous—here's his point. The righteous do not as a habit and custom of life follow the advice of those who live in rebellion to God's Word.

Now, let's be honest with ourselves. We all follow the advice of the people around us, the world as a whole, in some fairly harmless ways. For example, as I look around this morning, those of you who have hair have chosen to do it in a certain way. Why? Well, because it's what's popular. You know, you don't want to look like last year's hairdo. You don't want to you want to make sure that you're in step with the advice of what's now to be done. Even guys, we understand this. Right? I mean, you—to some extent we understand this.

The same thing is true with clothes. Right? You're wearing—by the way, with the hairdo, I was going to mention a specific one that's outdated, and then I thought, I'll get into big trouble. Somebody here will have it. So, I'm not going to do that.

But, it's true with the clothes we wear as well. You are dressed the way you're dressed because you've taken the advice, the counsel, of the world around you. Things come and go out of style. If you wear a suit, ties get broader, and ties get narrower. And you adjust accordingly. If you wear other clothes, you want to fit in. You're following the advice and counsel of the people around you in those things. I understand this.

I sometimes get in trouble. My girls will sometimes look at me in horror at an outfit that I'm about to wear out of the house, and say, "Dad, that's so 90s!" I don't even know what that means. But, I know it's bad. We do all of that and many other things in following the advice of the people around us. And that's OK, because the Bible doesn't tell us how to wear our hair, except in broad sweeping terms that a man's hair ought to be shorter than a woman's hair. Other than that, it doesn't address how you arrange it.

The problem comes when we follow the advice of the wicked about things the Bible does address. How are we tempted to listen to the advice of the unbelievers around us? Let me give you two categories that I think are very common. The first is buying into the philosophy of the world around us. You understand that there are prevailing philosophies, mindsets, of every age. There are some in ours. And Christians are constantly bombarded with those philosophies. And if we're not careful, it's very easy to buy into the advice of the people around us.

For example, naturalism. Naturalism. It's preached at us that macroevolution is not a theory. It's a fact, it's a fact, it's a fact. And you are stupid if you believe otherwise. And it's very easy, if we're not careful, to follow the advice or counsel of the wicked, and for Christians then to go back to Genesis 1:11 and try some desperate way to make what God says in Genesis 1 through 11 mesh with macroevolution.

Humanism tells us that man is the measure of all things. And so, Christians stop asking, "What does the Bible say? And they ask, "What's kind of the prevailing cultural mindset?" By the way, this happens to churches, even churches that have a good history. Just within the last couple of weeks, a large Bible church here in the Dallas area decided that they're going to ordain women pastors. Because they found that in the Bible? No. Because they found it in the culture. They followed the advice of the wicked.

The same thing happens with ideas, lifestyles, priorities. We can build those on secular advice as well. Let me just give you a little, short list of a few. Here's one. You've got to look out for yourself first. Where's that in Scripture? Money, position, and stuff. Those are the priorities that really ought to matter and that you should live for. Or, here's one. In marriage, you get to decide what your roles are going to be. You get to decide how you're going to parent. And, what if two same-sex adults decide that they want to have a relationship? If they do that in private, that's their business.

Here's one right off the front page. God doesn't have the right to determine your sex at birth, male or female as He created us. You get to decide whether you're a man or a woman. If you physically discipline your child, even in a controlled, non-angry, loving way, you are warping your child. Those are just a few examples. It's relentless, the advice that's constantly being offered. And God says in verse 1 that the righteous man totally abandons the advice of the wicked at every level.

Notice verse 1 adds, he also abandons, secondly, "the path of sinners." "Sinners" describes those who miss the mark, those who fall short of the divine standard. It's often used in Scripture of those who have committed specific offenses against specific, divine commands. The psalmist says that the righteous person doesn't "stand in the path of sinners." Now notice that word "path." That is one of the most important words in the Old Testament.

The Hebrew word for "path" is derekh. Some of you are named Derek. It comes from this. One of the most important words in the Old Testament. It comes from a verb meaning "to tread" or "to trample." Literally, the word refers to the path or the ruts that are formed in the ground when feet or wagon wheels go over the same ground again and again and again. So, it became the perfect word then to refer metaphorically to habits or lifestyle or repeated patterns of behavior.

When I was growing up in South Alabama—I'm about to tell a lot about myself here in several ways. But, ah, when I was growing up in South Alabama, our family lived on the edge of civilization. And we had a WWII, Army-issue, red Willys Jeep. I loved that jeep. It worked about half the time. And as I said, we lived on the very edge of a community, and behind us were several hundred acres of swampland and woods. And we made trails with that jeep all over those woods.

And if you took the same trail just a few times, the tires of the jeep would begin to cut deep ruts in that red, Alabama clay. I remember, that's one of the places I learned to drive—which, by the way, for those of you who've ridden with me, may explain a lot. But, you know, when I was trying to learn to drive, I tried to keep the jeep out of the ruts. And you could for a little while, but not very long, because it wasn't long until you felt the tires slipping, and you were back in the rut again.

The Hebrew word for "path" in verse 1 is like those ruts you can't keep out of. It speaks of predictable patterns of behavior. Notice now verse 1 again. He says we are not to "stand." That is, continue or remain in the ruts or the patterns of behavior in which sinners live. In other words, we can't adopt the lifestyle of sinners, of those who habitually violate God's commands.

Turn to Psalm 119. Righteous people just don't make these choices. Psalm 119: 104, "From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way." Because I love God's way, I hate every false way. Verse 128, "Therefore, I esteem right"— I love this verse. "I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything, [and therefore] I hate every false way." This is how the righteous responds. You understand what the psalmist is saying?

You cannot practice the sins of the people around you. You can't live in those patterns of behavior and be righteous. You're not a righteous person. You haven't experienced the heart change that comes with regeneration. When a person repents, and believes in Christ, they're made a new creature. Paul says, all things have become new. You just can't keep living like that. And you can't allow the people around you to redefine what the Bible calls evil, as good.

I told you, this week I was out at the Master's College board meeting. I was shocked to learn that the federal government has issued a list that they call the Shame List. You can Google it and find it. The Shame List. And who's on the Shame List are those organizations that have requested an exemption from Title IX, the same-sex issue. They say you ought to be ashamed. The righteous person can't go along with that kind of thinking.

There's a third statement of what the happy, righteous person abandons. Notice in verse 1, thirdly, he abandons "the seat of the scoffers." The counsel of the wicked has to do with our thinking. The path of sinners has to do with our behaving. The seat of scoffers has to do with our belonging. The Hebrew word that's translated "scoffer" here describes those who are farthest from repentance, those who openly ridicule, who defiantly reject God and His laws. You've met people like this, who scoff at God, who scoff at what the Bible teaches about everything. They're scoffers.

Notice, the psalmist says we aren't to "sit in the seat of scoffers." In the Old Testament, the word "seat" is sometimes used literally of a seat, like the one you're sitting in this morning. Other times, as here, it refers to an assembly, whether official or social. So, to "sit in the seat of scoffers" means connecting ourselves to those who ridicule the Christian faith, who ridicule God, who ridicule the Bible, either officially or socially, in such a way that we belong to them. Scripture often reminds us of how important this is. Listen to David in Psalm 26:4 and 5.

I do not sit with deceitful men,

Nor will I go with pretenders.

I hate the assembly of evildoers,

And I will not sit with the wicked.

Listen, you cannot associate yourself with, you cannot connect yourself in a belonging way with those who scoff at God and the Bible. Righteous people don't do that.

Now, what are a couple of the ways that you and I can be tempted to sit in the seat of scoffers? Very practically. One of them is by spending a lot of our time reading the works of those who scoff at our faith. Another is by listening to them: maybe music, other forms of entertainment, watching them on television. Those who openly repudiate, reject, scoff at God and the Scripture, we're not to sit in the seat with them. We're not to associate with them. We're not to make them our friends and buddies in any sense except to reach out to them with the truth.

Another way I think that we're tempted to sit in the seat of scoffers is attending schools and colleges and sitting at the feet of professors who are known for undermining, challenging, and even ridiculing the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Now, you know, I am not going to bind your conscience with anything beyond the Scripture. Where you send your kids or where you go to college is a decision between you and the Lord. But I will say this. You better ask yourself carefully if you are putting them or you are putting yourself in a place where you are associating regularly, day in and day out, with those who ridicule everything that you believe. Parents, let me just say, the old alma mater probably isn't what she used to be. You better investigate. You cannot belong to the assembly, socially or officially, of those who are scoffers.

But, don't miss the main point here in verse 1. The psalmist, notice, identifies unbelievers here as the wicked, sinners, and scoffers. Those are not subgroups of sinners. Together, that describes all unregenerate people. Every unbeliever without exception is included in verse 1. And the psalmist's point is that the righteous man completely abandons every path of those who live in rebellion against God. He abandons every human way. He abandons thinking like they think, living like they live, and belonging where they belong. If that's not your commitment, I could promise you that your soul will never prosper. John Calvin put it like this:

"No man can be duly animated to the fear and service of God, and to the study of His law, until he is firmly persuaded that all the ungodly are miserable, and that they who do not withdraw from their company shall be involved in the same destruction with them."

If we want to experience the enviable life, we have to make—and have made if you're a righteous person, if God has changed your heart—we must first abandon every human way. And secondly, we must embrace only God's way. We see this in verse 2. Notice, "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night." You know what's amazing to me about this? The psalmist reduces his entire positive description of the righteous man to one thing: his response to the Bible. How do you recognize a righteous man?

Again, this isn't how we become righteous. We become righteous through the righteousness of Christ credited to us as we receive His work by faith. But how do you recognize a righteous man? How do you know if you're on the way of the righteous? It's your response to the Bible. Derek Kidner, an excellent commentator on the book of Psalms, says, "The Psalm is content to develop this one theme, implying that whatever really shapes a man's thinking, shapes his life."

Now notice in verse 2 that word "law." "His delight is in the law of the Lord." That's the Hebrew word Torah, which is a rich, multifaceted word. It was originally used of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, also used of the Mosaic legislation given at Sinai. But the basic word means "instruction, a father's instruction for his children." Eventually, the word Torah came to describe the entire Revelation of God, all of Scripture. And that's how it's used here. So, do you see what the psalmist is saying? You can identify a truly righteous life by how he or she responds to the Bible.

Notice, first of all, verse 2, "he delights in it." "But," in contrast to the human ways of verse 1, "But his delight is in the law of the Lord." He delights in it. The word "delight" means "to take pleasure in something, to find emotional joy in something." Ten times this word is used in the Old Testament and translated "desire.", something you desire.

There's an interesting picture of this word in Psalm 107:30. There it's used of experienced sailors—sort of that nautical theme still carrying through—it's used of experienced sailors who are caught in the worst storm of their lives on the Mediterranean. They've exhausted all of their skill. In fact, if—just read it, and you get seasick. And they're desperate. And it says, in that context, their chief delight is—guess what? A safe harbor. Imagine being caught in the worst storm of your life. The ship is, any moment you think it's going down. Imagine the delight of finally being in the harbor. That's the delight you and I are to have in the Scripture. The righteous man finds his pleasure, his happiness, his delight, in the Bible.

Job understood this. Job 23:12 says, … "I have treasured the words of [God's] … mouth more than my necessary food." I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to lunch. I know it's Mother's Day. But it's going to be Father's Day too, cause I'm going to get a good meal out of this. You enjoy that. We all love God's good gifts to us of food. Job said, if I had to choose between the good gift of a wonderful meal and God's Word, I would choose God's Word.

This is a major theme, by the way, of Psalm 119. Turn over to there. I just want you to see this. It's relentless in Psalm 119. Look at verse 14.

Psalm 119:14: "I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches." That's not hyperbole. He says I love the Bible as much as if I were the wealthiest man on the planet. Verse 24, "Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors." Verse 35, "Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it." Verse 47,

I shall delight in Your commands,

Which I love.

… I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments,

Which I love;

And I will meditate on Your statutes.

Verse 72, "The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces." Verse 77, "May Your compassion come to me that I may live, For Your law is my delight." Verse 97, "Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day." Verse 143, "Trouble and anguish have come upon me [I'm in the middle of trial,] [and] ]Yet Your commandments are my delight." Verse 174; "I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight."

Now, let me ask you this morning, is that how you think about the Bible? If the only day of the week you touch your Bible is Sunday as you dust it off on the way to church, I can guarantee you that you don't delight in God's Word. Or, maybe because you're a naturally disciplined person or you have a tender conscience you make time to spend a little time in God's Word each day. That's good. Don't hear me discouraging that. You ought to do it, even if you do it solely as a duty. But you can faithfully read the Bible, and you can do it solely out of duty and never out of delight.

If you have to admit that you don't find your pleasure in the Word of God, perhaps as you once did, how do you increase that delight? You spend more time in it. Jeremiah 15;16: "Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; …" [Jeremiah says, as I digested Your Word, it became my delight.] Luther writes, "The Bible is a remarkable fountain. The more one draws and drinks of it, the more it stimulates thirst." The righteous man finds his greatest delight in the Law of God, in the Bible.

There's a second response of the blessed man to Scripture back in Psalm 1:2. Not only does he delight in it, but he meditates on it. Notice, "His delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates." The word "meditates" originally described the low murmur of the voice as someone read quietly out loud to himself, or as he sort of rehearsed it, spoke to himself quietly about it. The word literally means "to mutter" or "to whisper."

But the main point of this word isn't what comes out of the mouth. It's what happens inside. In Psalms 49:3, the psalmist contrasts the meditation of the heart with the words of the mouth. So, in the context here of Psalm 1, the word means "to reflect, to think, to have an internal discussion about the Scripture." Meditation is simply deliberately choosing to think deeply about the Scripture.

And biblical meditation always has two goals. Number one, to better understand the meaning of the text. You see, meditation brings insight into the meaning of God's Word. How? Through illumination. This is what we're taught to pray for. The psalmist in Psalm 119:18, says, "Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law." He didn't mean open his physical eyes. He meant open my spiritual understanding. Give me illumination.

In Ephesians 1:18, Paul prayed for the Ephesians. "I pray … the eyes of your heart may be enlightened," Have you ever prayed that for yourself? "God, I'm coming to Your Word. Open the eyes of my heart to see and understand." J.I. Packer defines illumination as

"A work within us that enables us to grasp and to love the revelation that is there before us in the biblical text. Illumination is the applying of God's revealed truth to our hearts, so that we grasp as reality for ourselves what the sacred text sets forth."

And that happens in meditation.

A second goal of meditation is application,not only a better understanding of the text, but planning how to do it. Joshua 1:8 says, "Meditate … so that [for this purpose] you may … [observe] to do according to do all that is written … [therein]."

So, let me define meditation for you then. Meditation is to think deeply about the Word of God in order to better understand it, and to plan how to do it. That's meditation. And notice verse 2. The righteous man does this "day and night." J. A. Alexander writes,

"At all times, in every interval of other duties, even in the midst of other duties, this is the theme to which his mind constantly reverts."

Do you see it? Don't miss the big picture. The righteous love God's Word. They think about it all the time, so that they can understand it, and so that they can do it. They delight in it. They meditate on it. Listen, this is a test. Is this you? If you don't delight in God's Word, and if you don't find yourself thinking about God's Word in order to better understand it and to do it, then you're not on the way of the righteous. Notice verse 4. "The wicked are not so." They don't delight in God's Word. They don't meditate in it day and night. It's a test.

Now, why do righteous people, those who've been made righteous by God as a gift, who've been changed by grace, why do they delight in God's Word? Why do they meditate in it? Because God did this. Remember, Peter said, like newborn babies, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby. Just like He gives babies a desire for their mother's milk, He gives newborn Christians a desire for the Bible, for God's Word. We have been taught by God through the Spirit and in the Scripture that the Bible is what we need, that the Bible is enough, that it is sufficient.

So, the psalmist calls you to make these two commitments: abandon every human way, and embrace only God's way. This is in reality, a call to embrace the sufficiency of Scripture. The Bible is enough. You don't need anything else. And any other tools you use are just there to help you better understand the Bible.

Now, what are the practical implications of an understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture? I'm just going to give them to you, just in a moment. You won't have time to write them down. They'll be available online. You can jot down key words. But these are the practical implications.

Number one. Everything God intended us to know about Himself, His works, and our relationship to Him, is in the Holy Scripture. Everything. Everything that matters is in the Bible.

Number two. Since the cannon of Scripture was completed, God only reveals Himself to us through His Word. It is forever settled in heaven. Don't believe for a moment that God is going to speak to you outside of the Bible. You're not going to hear the voice of God. He's not going to whisper to you. He's not going to give you feelings and impressions. He has spoken to you in a book that you can read. And think how much better it is.

Because, you know, I have people sit in my office and say, "God told me this." And it's not in the Bible. And I say to them, "How do know God told you that? How do you know that's God? That could be your flesh. That could be the influence of the culture around you. It could be somebody else's idea. You have no way to know that's God." But we know that God has spoken in His book, because Jesus Christ affirmed it as God's Word.

Number three. We must not add or take away from God's Word. Deuteronomy to Revelation, we learn we have no right to monkey with God's Word.

Number four. We must not speculate beyond what God has revealed in Scripture. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, "The secret things belong to the LORD …, but the things [which have been] revealed belong to us and to our … [children]…."

Number five. No other supposed revelation, written or experienced—and by experienced I mean, those who think they've had a vision or God spoke to them or whatever—no other supposed revelation, written or experienced, should be added to, considered equal to, or allowed to diminish the authority of Scripture. Again, God has spoken in a book. If you hear somebody (as recently a large megachurch by here was talking about), you know, listening to the voice of God outside Scripture, they are diminishing the glory, the majesty, the sufficiency, of God's Word. They are undermining the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

Number six. The Bible alone must determine what we believe and how we live. Let me put it negatively and positively. Nothing is sin that Scripture does not forbid, either expressly, or as the confession said, that can be deduced by good and necessary consequence from the Scripture. And on the other side, nothing is required of us by God that is not is expressly commanded in Scripture, or can be deduced by good and necessary consequence from Scripture.

Number seven. A biblical church will always be centered on the Word of God. If God has spoken in a book, if that church is filled with righteous people who delight in God's Word, who find their joy there, who think about it, who want to understand it, then the services of the church will be centered on the Word of God. If some guy gets up, and he gives you a couple of Scriptures, and he spends 20, 30 minutes giving you his ideas, that is not a biblical church. It's not filled with righteous people, because righteous people delight in this book.

Number eight. A mature Christian will be a student of the Bible. All righteous people delight in and meditate on the Word of God. If you're changed, you have an appetite for the Scripture. But that grows as you mature. So, if you want to measure your maturity as a believer, then just look at your commitment to the Scripture.

And number nine, and this is really the point the Psalm was making. This is where I wanted to come. Listen carefully. Christians are required to believe the Bible's perspective on everything. Why? Because it's God's perspective on everything. It's not optional. You don't get to pick and choose. You don't get to follow the culture in some areas. Psalm 1 was deliberately stationed at the entrance to the Psalms. And it calls on every person who would enter into the worship of God to make a choice between these two ways, a choice you have to make: there's the way of the Bible, and there's every other way. Beloved, hold fast to the sufficiency of Scripture.

Let's pray together.

Father, thank You for Your Word. What an incredible gift to us. We don't have to wonder whether or not You've spoken or what You've said. You've given us Your Word, a Word affirmed to us by Your Own Son, as He affirmed the Old Testament, and as He pre-authenticated the men and chose the men who would write the New Testament.

Thank You that we have a certain Word from You, as certain as Your Son, that we can have as much confidence in as we can have in Him.

Father, help us, help us to abandon every human way. And help us to delight in and to study and meditate and pursue Your Truth, and long to understand it, and to do it.

I pray, Father, for those here this morning, who, if they really take the test of Psalm 1, have to admit that they don't delight in Your Word, that they don't meditate therein day and night, that they've really bought in to the path of sinners, to the advice of those in rebellion against You. Help them to see, Father, that they are on the way of the wicked, the way that will ultimately be destroyed, that they will ultimately face Your destruction.

And may they accept the gift of grace in Christ today. May they repent and believe in Christ unto salvation for the forgiveness of their sins, for You to receive them as sons and daughters. We pray it in Jesus name, Amen.