There are more Bibles in print today than ever before. The Bible continues to be the best-selling and the most translated book in the world. Yet a Bible that eats dust on a shelf is worthless. Believers who suffer from spiritual malnutrition are people who don’t read their Bibles. The Bible carries God’s inspired word. Therefore it should be every believer’s first priority to feed on God’s word. Jesus called this “abiding”. How do I abide in God’s word? [This sermon is based on The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren]
Read John 8:31
1. Accept the authority of the Bible
A. Identify the Unreliable Authorities
For there will be a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching. Instead, of following their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves, because they have an insatiable curiosity to hear new things, (2 Timothy 4:3).
I. Culture (everyone is doing it): Culture is made of human values and often contradicts God’s Word.
II. Tradition (we have always done it): Culture and Tradition frequently walk together and often contradict God’s Word.
III. Reason (it seemed logical): No amount of human reasoning can beat the reliability of God’s Word.
IV. Emotion (it just felt right): Human emotions are deceptive because our hearts and minds are corrupted.
V. Instinct (intellect): Human wisdom is corrupted and impure. It leads to destruction.
B. Identify the Authority of the Bible
Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, reproof, correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16).
I. The Bible is the expressed will of God. It’s inspired by God himself and serves many purposes in life.
II. The Bible is flawless. Experts have discovered that the facts recorded in the Bible hardly disagree with science and archaeology.
III. It’s like a Spiritual Compass that points to the true north (God) of life, (Psalm 119:105)
C. Submit to the Authority of the Bible
But I confess this to you, that I worship the God of our ancestors according to the Way (which they call a sect), believing everything that is according to the law and that is written in the prophets, (Acts 24:14).
I. Choose the Bible as your final authority regardless of culture, tradition, reason, and emotion.
II. When making decisions verify to see your desires are in accord with it. Consult your Spiritual Leaders if necessary.
III. Trust God’s word and obey when God says you to do something whether or not it makes sense or you don’t feel like doing it.
2. Assimilate its Truth
A. Receive God’s Word whole Heartedly
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you, (James 1:21)
I. The parable of the sower: Three unreceptive attitudes – a closed mind (hard soil), a superficial mind (shallow soil), and a distracted mind (soil with weeds)
II. Check your attitude when you feel you are not learning from a Preacher or Teacher of God’s Word.
III. Humble yourself to listen to even the most boring Preacher. Don’t criticize them.
B. Read God’s Word on a Regular Basis
It must be with him constantly and he must read it as long as he lives, so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and observe all the words of this law and these statutes and carry them out. Then he will not exalt himself above his fellow citizens or turn from the commandments to the right or left, and he and his descendants will enjoy many years ruling over his kingdom in Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:19-20)
I. Many Christians are more faithful to read the newspaper than to read their Bibles.
II. Read the Bible 15 minutes a day and you will read completely through it once a year – read it for thirty minutes a day and you will read completely through it twice a year.
III. Daily Bible reading keeps me in the range of God’s voice. Use a Bible Reading P
C. Study the Bible Systematically
But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out—he will be blessed in what he does, (James 1:25)
I. There are many Bible study methods. The most basic principle of every method is to ask the right question.
II. Read the passage of your choice and ask Who? What? When? Where? Why? And how? Then attempt to answer those questions.
III. Pray that the Holy Spirit will illuminate the word and assist to apply the truths you learned.
D. Memorize the Word of God
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you, (Psalm 119:11)
I. Memory is not poor. We just don’t use it. We remember important things. Is God’s word important to you?
II. Memorizing scripture helps in times of decision making, stress, lack of confidence, lack of good advice, and witnessing to others.
III. Write key Bible verses on a small card and carry it with you and review them in the slightest break you get.
E. Meditate on the Word of God
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God, (Psalm 119:97)
I. In Eastern religions, meditation is focused on thinking. In Christianity, I select a verse and reflect on it over and over again in my mind.
II. If you know how to worry, you already know to meditate on God’s word. You can even take notes during a sermon for later reflection.
III. Biblical meditation is the key to answered prayer and the secret to successful living. It transforms me and makes me more like Jesus.
3. Apply the Truth
A. Why do we need to apply God’s Word?
But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:20)
God’s word is practical. It prompts the reader to take action. It’s of no use to the reader unless he takes action.
B. What can we do to apply God’s Word?
Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to be sure of your calling and election. For by doing this you will never stumble into sin. (2 Peter 1:10)
I. Write out an action step as a result of your reading, studying, reflecting on, or listening to God’s word.
II. It should involve something for you to do and a deadline. Commit yourself to follow it closely.
III. If the application is genuine it will involve either your relationship with God, with others or your personal character.
C. Identify the hindrances to the Application
Jesus listed the hindrances to the application of God’s Word in “The Parable of the Sower” in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15.
I. Application demands you to step into a process of change. Change can be difficult and painful.
II. Pride, Self-righteousness, Unforgiving thoughts and Unhealthy Attitudes are some of the issues that keep application at the bay.
III. Sometimes we need help from other Christians. If you find it difficult to change seek help from mature Christian leaders.
As Dr. D.L Moody said, “The Bible was given not to increase our knowledge but to change our lives”. Everyone called by God is called to become a disciple of Jesus a goal achieved only by doing what God’s word commands us to do.
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