Sum or Some?


1. Psalm 119:160 (NASB) "The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting."

2. What is a homophone? Do you know? A homophone is a word that sounds the same as another word, but has a different spelling and a different meaning.

A. An example of a homophone can be seen in the passage we just read. The inspired pen of the Psalmist wrote that the "sum of" God's word is truth. Sum is a homophone. It sounds like another word we use quite often today - some! But the two words have entirely different meanings, don't they?

1. Sum: According to Webster, sum means "the whole amount" or the "utmost degree."

2. Some: Whereas the dictionary defines "some" as meaning a part of a whole.

3. There's quite a difference in the meaning of those two homophones, isn't there?

B. Now the Psalmist said that the "sum" of God's word is truth. That means the "whole amount" of it is truth and it is also the "utmost degree" of truth.

1. Most of us here today would agree with that statement. We recognize that God's word is God's revelation of truth to us today, and that all God wants us to know about spiritual matters can be found in His word!

2. Yet do we practice what we preach? Do we treat the word of God as though it, in it's entirety, is God's will? Or do we accept it as "some" of God's truth rather than the "sum" God's truth?

3. This morning, I would like for us to examine how we've been viewing God 's word. Do we view it as the "sum" or is it "some?"

4. And as we begin this study, I want you to notice with me.


1. The Tragedy Of "Some" Obedience!

A. 1 Samuel 15:10-23 Saul obeyed "some" and not the "sum" of what God had to say about the destruction of the Amalekites.

1. He had good intentions - why not bring the best back to Israel to sacrifice to Jehovah God?

2. But notice again verses 22,23. His lack of obedience was rebellion. God rejected Saul as king over Israel.

B. Lev 10:1-3 Nadab and Abihu

1. They offered fire to the Lord, but not the fire the Lord had commanded.

2. They obeyed "some" of what God said, and not the "sum" of what God said.

3. These were Aaron's sons. But Aaron knew what God had commanded and the text tells us that "Aaron held his peace."

4. When God speaks, we must hold our peace by obeying the "sum" of what he says because obeying "some" will never bring us peace.

C. Num 20:7-13 Moses and the striking of the rock.

1. Moses obeyed "some." He got the water from the rock, but he did not follow the "sum" of what God said.

2. As a result, we know that Moses died without entering into the promised land.

D. God has never tolerated partial obedience to His will. His demand is for us to obey the "sum" of His word and not "some" of it.

I hope these few brief examples have made that point abundantly clear to you. Do you agree with me that it is important to obey "the sum" of God's word?

2. Faith and Baptism: Sum or Some?

A. In God's word, there is an abundance of Scripture that declares that faith is essential for salvation.

1. John 3:16 Whoever believes will not perish.

2. John 6:47 Without faith, one cannot have eternal life.

3. Heb 11:6 Without faith, it is impossible to please God!

4. Eph 2:8 We can't earn our salvation. Only by God's grace is it possible and faith in Christ is definitely required.

B. So there is no question that faith is necessary to be saved. The question we must ask ourselves today is, "Is faith some of what man must do to be saved or is it the sum of what man must do? Is it a part or is it the whole?

1. Mark 16:15,16 Here faith is combined with something else.

2. Acts 2:38 Here are people who have faith and still ask, "What must we do to be saved?" Notice what they are told.

3. 1 Peter 3:21 Here faith is assumed, but salvation is attributed to something else.

4. Jas 2:18-26 In light of these facts, is it any wonder that James wrote by inspiration of God that faith was some, it was part, but it was in no way the whole?

C. So when we think about these things, have you obeyed "some" of the truth or the "sum" of the truth?

3. Connect And Bear:

Sum or Some?

A. In John 15:1-6, Jesus uses the interesting metaphor of the vine to teach us that we must have a relationship with Him if we desire eternal life.

B. Notice that this passage makes it very clear that we must be connected to Christ (the vine) if we desire eternal life.

1. In a way, this illustrates what Christ said in John 14:6.

2. 2 Co 5:17 teaches that only in Christ do all things become new.

3. Ro 6:3,4 We are baptized into Christ.

4. Gal 3:27 We connect to the vine, or put on Christ in baptism.

C. And so there is no question that we must be connected to Christ in order to have eternal life and we become connected by being baptized. The question to us is again, "Is connecting to Christ some of what we must do, or is it the sum of what we must do?"

D. John 15:1-6 also teaches that just being a branch on the vine is not enough. We must bear fruit or we will face the shears of the vinedresser!

1. We produce fruit by leading others to Christ, by giving liberally of our means to support the Lord's cause, by rendering aid to those in distress when we have the opportunity, by resisting the devil, and by exhibiting the fruits of the spirit in our own lives?

2. Are you producing? When the Lord looks at your branch, does he see fruit?

E. It is not enough to just "belong;" we must belong and be productive.

F. Have you been obeying "some" or "the sum" of God's word concerning connecting to the vine and bearing fruit?

4. Mourn and Discipline:

Sum or Some?

A. If we are Christ-like, we will, like Christ, mourn over the sins of our fellow Christians.

1. Notice the way Jesus mourned: Matthew 9:36; Matthew 23:37-39.

2. James 4:9 "Lament and mourn and weep." -- Over any sin, our own or others.

3. 1 Co 5:2 In our congregation, we stand to be corrected if we do not mourn over the sins of our brothers and sisters.

4. And so the question for us this day is, "Is mourning over the sins of others some of what we must do, or is it the sum of what we must do?"

B. According to God's word, we must try to restore the sinner. Ga 6:1,2

C. According to God's word, we must discipline the impenitent sinner!

1. 2 Thess 3:6 We must withdraw ourselves from the impenitent.

2. 1 Co 5:4 We must publicly mark this one.

3. 1 Co 5:6,7 We must purge them out of our fellowship.

4. The purpose is for their good, so they might be saved (5:5)

D. Now, I certainly pray that this day will never come (although it does, occasionally), but should it arrive, will we obey "some" of God's word or the "sum" of His word?

5. Goodness and Severity of God:

Sum or Some?

A. Certainly, God is good. His goodness can never be denied!

1. Psalm 31:19 "Great" is God's goodness! It cannot be described.

2. Psalm 145:8,9 His goodness is characterized by graciousness and compassion.

3. May we never deny the goodness of God, but the question before us this day is "Is the goodness of God just some of the truth or is it the sum of the truth?"

B. The Bible teaches that God is also severe.

1. We saw the severity of the Lord depicted in the three examples we looked at as we began this study. While those were all Old Testament examples, the New Testament teaches those who live under the new covenant of Christ the same thing.

2. Rom 11:22 Paul, by inspiration uses the metaphor of the Vine again. In emphasizing the need to continue in the goodness of God, notice that he contrast that goodness with God's severity!

3. 2 Co 5:9-11 The context is final judgment, and look at the expression Paul uses, "The terror of the Lord."

4. Matthew 25:41 Not just Paul, but Jesus Himself emphasizes the severity of the Lord. How much more severity can exist than hearing these words, "Depart from Me into everlasting fire."

C. And so we believe and teach that God is good. That's "some" of the truth. The "sum" of the truth tells us that God is as severe as He is good.


1. Will you examine yourself this morning? Will you examine you beliefs to determine if you've obeyed "some" truth or the "sum" of the truth? Some is not enough. God demands our all!

2. Many years ago there lived a preacher by the name of Robert Haldane. He was a "restorationist" preacher who called on people to go back to the Bible - to accept the "sum" of God's word rather than just some of it. His reasoning was good and Biblical, he taught that if we all followed just God' s word and all of it, then true unity could exist among all religious people. One statement he made that survives to this day is, "Christianity is everything, or it is nothing at all."

3. And that's the truth. God wants all of us and all of our obedience. Will you give it to Him this day? The Hebrew writer tells us in Heb 5:9 that Christ "became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him?"

4. If you're a Christian and you've neglected the truth and Christ, will you make that right? If you're not a Christian, perhaps you've obeyed "some" of the truth, but you haven't obeyed the "sum" of the truth. Will you resolve right now to give it all to Christ? Will you come now. You can leave here this morning a new creation in Christ, buried with Christ in baptism.

By Michael Rhodes

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