Sermon #1400                                         Miscellaneous Sermons


          Title:                     The Fourfold

Purpose of Holy Scripture

          Text:            Romans 15:4

          Subject:       The Purpose of God in Giving us His Word

          Date:            Tuesday Evening – April 11, 2000[1]

          Tape #         V-78a

          Readings:     Larry Criss – Rex Bartley



          When trouble comes your way, when your heart is heavy, when all is dark, and your soul trembles with the heaviness of the burden you carry, where do you go for help? Where do you seek comfort?


          If you are wise, you go to the one Book that was written specifically to give you comfort, the Word of God. Opening the pages of this blessed Book, we find exactly what we need, as we bow before our Father’s throne, seeking mercy and grace to help in time of need.


          The Holy Spirit tells us plainly that this is specifically the reason why the Scriptures were written (Rom. 15:4).


Romans 15:4  "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."


          When I speak of the Scriptures, the Bible, the Word of God, I am talking about the whole Book of God, the Old Testament as well as the New. The Old Testament is as much a book of comfort and hope as the New. In fact, when the Apostle Paul penned the words of our text, he was referring specifically to the Old Testament. The New Testament had not yet been written.


          You see, the New Testament was not written to replace the Old Testament, but to complete it. We rejoice to know that the ceremonies and statutes of the Mosaic dispensation  are no longer binding upon us because Christ has fulfilled them all. “Christ is the end of the law,” and we are now “dead to the law” in him. That means that “we are not under the law, but under grace.” What good news that is!


          However, that does not mean that the Old Testament is irrelevant. Not at all. It is more relevant now than ever. It has the same authority and comfort for us today as it did for David in his day. And it is even more precious today because we who believe now read it and understand it in the light of the New Testament.


Proposition: Our text tells us plainly that – God’s intention, purpose, and design in giving us this Inspired Volume is that we might learn the way of life in Christ and enjoy the patience, comfort, and hope of the Scripture.


Romans 15:4  "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."


Divisions: The title of my message tonight is The Fourfold Purpose of Holy Scripture. My outline is in our text. Why was this blessed Book written? The Scriptures were written…


1.    For Our Learning.

2.    To Teach Us Patience.

3.    To Give Us Comfort.

4.    That We Might Have Hope.


I.     First and foremost, the Word of God was written for our learning.


          The Bible was not written that we might simply learn historical facts, moral ethics, religious ceremonies, and doctrinal truth. Without question, this is a Book which sets before us specific facts, principles of life, gospel ordinances, and doctrinal truths. And we cherish those things. We count nothing in the Word of God irrelevant, or insignificant. But the intent of Scripture is far greater, far more spiritual, practical and beneficial. The Word of God has been given to us that we might learn the way of life and salvation in Christ, that we might know God as he is revealed in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and obtain eternal life in the knowledge of him.


A.  The purpose of God in giving us this Book is that we might know Christ and be saved by him.


          Everything in the Book of God points to, speaks about, and reveals the Son of God.


Luke 24:27  "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."


Luke 24:44-47  "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (45) Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (46) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."


John 1:45  "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."


John 5:39  "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."


Acts 10:43  "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."


Note: In preaching the gospel fully, we preach the Scriptures fully. Christ crucified is all the counsel of God.


1 Peter 1:23-25  "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: (25) But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."


1.    The prophets speak of Christ (Ps. 22-24; Isa. 53).

2.    The types and ceremonies of the Old Testament point to Christ (Passover – Daniel in the Lion’s Den -- Noah and the Ark --Smitten Rock).

3.    All the law of God was given to show us our need of Christ, to shut us up to Christ alone or salvation.

4.    The four gospels tell us what Christ did.

5.    The epistles tell us what he taught and explain the nature and necessity of his redeeming accomplishments as our Savior.

6.    The Book of Revelation tells us of the certainty of Christ triumph and glory.


B.  In order for sinners to be saved, we must be instructed in the gospel of Christ as it is revealed in this Book.


Romans 10:9-17  "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (11) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (14) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."


1 Corinthians 1:21  "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."


          Let men argue and debate as they will, no man can be saved apart from the preaching of the gospel of the grace of God. God does not save sinners apart from the knowledge of the gospel, without the knowledge of Christ (1 Pet. 1:23-25).


James 1:18  "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."


1.    The heathen are lost without the gospel (Rom. 1:16-20).

2.    And religious people are lost without the gospel (Gal. 1:6-8).


          This is the first purpose of Scripture. – This Book was written that we might be taught and learn of God the way of life in Christ.[2]


John 17:3  "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."


1 John 5:10-13  "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. (11) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (12) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."


II.  Second, the Scriptures were written to teach us patience.


          Patience is that calm, even temper and unruffled spirit with which believing men and women bear the evils of life. Someone said, “It (patience) is not a careless, indolence, a stupid insensibility, mechanical bravery, constitutional fortitude, or daring stoutness of spirit, resulting from fatalism, philosophy, or pride. It (patience) is derived from a divine agency, (the indwelling grace and power of God the Holy Spirit), nourished by heavenly truth, and guided by Scriptural rules.” The patience of the Scriptures, that patience taught, exemplified, and encouraged in the Scriptures, involves many things and reaches out in many directions.


          This is our Lord’s admonition to us. – “In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19).


A.  Patience is faith’s willing resignation to the will of God.


Proverbs 3:5-6  "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."


James 4:7  "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."


1 Peter 5:7  "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."


          Believers submit to God in all things, willingly, not perfectly, but willingly. This is an essential aspect of faith. C. H. Spurgeon was exactly right when he wrote, “ The man who will not yield himself to the divine will and meekly bear it, whatever it may be, is evidently rebellious against God.”


Illustrations:        Job (Job 1:20-22; 2:10)

                             Eli (1 Sam. 3:18)


Note: If we truly believe God, we will bow before him in patience, no matter what his providence brings.


B.  Patience is a steady continuance in faith and obedience to God.


          True faith is not a temporary faith. True love is not a spasmodic love. God’s saints walk before him in patient, obedient faith and love, regardless of loss, cost, or opposition.


Illustration: Noah served God with great patience.


C.  Patience also has something to do with bearing one another’s burdens, weaknesses, and infirmities, for Christ’s sake.


          May God teach me patience in dealing with, caring for, and ministering to his people. That is what we see in the context. Is it not?


Romans 15:1-4  "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (2) Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. (3) For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. (4) For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."


Ephesians 4:32 – 5:1  "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you…Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children."


D.  Patience is simply waiting on God.


Psalms 27:14  "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."


Isaiah 40:31  "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."


          If I believe God, I can wait upon him with patience and resignation. “Though the vision tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come. It will not tarry.”


1.    Wait upon the Lord. He will fulfil his word. -- (David waiting to be made King).

2.    Wait upon the Lord. He will do you good in all things.

3.    Wait upon the Lord. He will perform his work and save his people.

·        No Need for Fear!

·        No Need for Compromise!

·        No Need for Fretfulness!


III. Third, the Book of God was written, God has given us His Word, that we might enjoy the comfort of the Scriptures.


          No one in this world lives without trouble. If misery loves company, misery has a lot of people to love. We all have much bitterness in our cup, much pain in our portion, and much sorrow in our situation. “Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”


·        2 Corinthians 4:18-5:11


          These things are the portion of sinners in this world, saved sinners as well as lost sinners. But believers have a medicine the unbelieving can never swallow. – “The comfort of the Scriptures.” Our comfort is not in reciting verses like good luck charms. Our comfort is the message of God given us in Holy Scripture. That which troubles and angers proud rebels is the the very thing that comforts us.


Isaiah 40:1-2  "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. (2) Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."


John 14:1-3  "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (2) In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."


John 14:18  "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."


John 14:26  "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."


Romans 8:28-29  "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."


Romans 11:33-36  "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."


1 Thessalonians 4:18  "Wherefore comfort one another with these words."


          When trouble comes, my brother, when your heart breaks, my sister, tke down the Book of God. Open this Medicine Chest, and find the comfort you need.


Psalms 119:49-50  "Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. (50) This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me."


          Here is my comfort


A.  The Gospel of Christ


          “There’s no bad news since I got the good news!”


Romans 8:32  "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"


B.  My Relationship with the Eternal God


          He who is the God of the universe is my heavenly Father! He cares for me. (Ps. 23; Heb. 4:16; 12:5-11).


A loving Father’s hand

Will never cause his child a needless tear.


C.  The Character of my God


Lamentations 3:22-24  "It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. (23) They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (24) The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him."


1.    He is absolutely sovereign (Ps. 115:3).

2.    He delighteth in mercy.

3.    He is compassionate and good. – “God is love.”

4.    He is faithful.

5.    He is immutable (Mal. 3:6).


D.  The Promises of God


          This Book is filled with great and precious promises, promises made by God himself to you and me.


Isaiah 41:10  "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."


Isaiah 43:1-5  "But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (2) When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (3) For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. (4) Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. (5) Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;"


1 Corinthians 10:13  "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."


Hebrews 13:5  "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."


          Child of God, whatever your present need is, there is a promise in the Book of God for you. Find the promise and, believing God, you shall enjoy “the comfort of the Scriptures.”


Illustration: “T - P” – Tried and Proved


Let me show you three things that I hope you will take home into your own heart, for the comfort of your soul. The Word of God describes a bag, a book and a bottle, which ought to console our hearts throughout the days of this earthly pilgrimage.


1.     God has given us A Bag for our Sins (Job 14:17).


Job 14:17  "My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity."


Like men buried at sea are sewn and sealed in a weighted bag and cast into the depths of the sea, so the Lord God has cast the sins of his people into the depth of the sea of his infinite forgiveness.


2.    The Lord has written A Book for our Names (Ps. 139:16; Phi.4:3; Rev. 13:8). Take heart, child of God, all is well for those whose names are written in the book of God!


3.    The Lord God keeps A Bottle for our Tears (Ps. 56:8-9).


Psalms 56:8-9  "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? (9) When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me."


It was customary at ancient Egyptian funerals for mourners to have a small sponge or cloth to wipe away their tears. Then they were squeezed into a tear bottle and placed in the tomb with the dead, symbolizing the care the mourners had for the one who died. Even so, the Lord God cares for us.


          Can anything be more comforting? In this world of sin, sorrow, and death, the Lord our God has put our sins in a bag and buried them, our names in a book to remember them, and our tears into a bottle to show his tender care for us.


IV. Fourth, the Lord God has given us this blessed Volume so that we who believe might live in the hope of the Scriptures.


          God has, upon the pages of this Book, given us “good hope through grace.” Faith has to do primarily with the past, looking back to what Christ has accomplished. Hope is based upon faith. It arises from faith. And it looks forward to the future.


Romans 8:25  "If we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."


We live by faith; and, believing God, we live in hope. We live in hope of


A.  Christ’s Appearing (Tit. 2:11-14).

B.  Being with Christ and Like Christ Forever (1 John 3:3; Rom. 8:30).

C.  God’s Manifest Glory in All His Creation (Rev. 19:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:25; Eph. 2:7).


1.     Such hope gives us patience and comfort.

2.     Such hope teaches us to turn loose of the world (2 Cor. 4:18).


Illustration: “These are the things that make it hard to die.”




          This is the fourfold purpose of Holy Scripture; ad this is my desire for each of you.


Romans 15:4  "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."


Illustration: The Choir Singing

[1] Sermon #654 – Danville (7-20-85; 12-1-92), Lincoln Wood (8-9-85), Wichita Falls (12-2-92)

[2] How does God save sinners? -- Election – Predestination – Redemption – Regeneration – Faith – Preservation  -- Perseverance – Resurrection – Glorification.