Learning to be a Servant

Jesus came as a servant to accomplish God’s will in the redemption of humanity. Here are two classic verses regarding the obedient servanthood of Jesus:

  1. Philippians 2:5-8 (servant, humility, obedience)
  2. Matthew 20:26-28 (greatness, service, example of Jesus)

As the Father had sent Jesus, he also sends us (John 20:21). The master never allows the servant to run out on his own to do whatever the servant wants to do for the Master. That is not a biblical servant.

Here are two concepts regarding a servant (Jeremiah 18:1-6).

  1. The clay must be molded.
  2. The clay must be in the potter’s hand.

A clay pot or cup cannot do anything on its own; it must submit to the will of the potter. So, a servant can do nothing on his own, when God works through a servant he can do anything… as long as he is moldable and remains in the potter’s hands. The Master alone makes the clay into the vessel he chooses (John 15:5).

Use Elijah as an example (1 Kings 18:15-39) when he was going to prove once and for all who was the greater God. He was outnumbered 850 to one. Had Elijah run in and did all this on his own, he would have failed.

  1. At whose initiative did Elijah offer this challenge (1 Kings 18:15)?
  2. Who brought the fire down from heaven (1 Kings 18:38)?
  3. After is is all said and done, what did Elijah have to do? He was to be obedient to God and focus on the task or mission he was given.

Sometimes we think that we should NOT just stand there, but do SOMETHING. This is not the way it is with God. He often wants us to stand still until he leads, then we go and do the work he has for us. God wants us to adjust our lives to him, and then he will accomplish great things through his servants.

Jesus is Our Model

Jesus watched to see where the Father was at work and joined him in that work. The same is true for us, we must listen to what God says and how he works through the Scriptures. We must then make our decisions and evaluate our experiences based on biblical principles.

Our own experiences cannot be our guide; they are way too subjective. The Bible is our guide in life. Many Christians become disoriented to the Bible and turn to worldly programs and methods that appear to be the answer to spiritual problems.

When God called Moses into service (Exodus 3 and 4), he was not told any details. We often ask a question like, “What is God’s will for my life? when the proper question is to ask, “What is God’s will?” Then we must align our lives to that will. It is the difference between being self-centered and God-centered.

The example of looking for where God is moving and acting accordingly is found in John 5:17, 19, 20. In this passage we discover Jesus was not just going around doing his own work. The Father was at work, because the Son can do nothing on his own. The Son does what the Father is doing, and the reason the Father shows the Son what he is doing is out of love. This is one of the clearest statements on how Jesus knew what to do in life.

  1. The Father has been working up until now.
  2. Now God is working through Jesus.
  3. Jesus can do knowing on his own initiative.
  4. Jesus watched to see what the Father was doing.
  5. Jesus did what he saw the Father already doing.
  6. The Father loves the Son and shows Jesus shows him everything that he himself is doing.

The challenge is to watch and see where God is working and join him there.

Tips for Memorizing Scripture

Many people say they can’t memorize Bible verses, yet they can memorize phone numbers, birthdays, lyrics to songs, etc. Since the Bible is our only source for faith and practice, we need to hide its words in our heart (Psalm 119:11, 105)

  1. Write the verse and reference on an index card.
  2. Seek understanding. Read the verse in its context. For instance, for John 15:5 you might read John 15:1-17. Study the verse and try to understand what it means.
  3. Read the verse aloud several times.
  4. Learn to quote the verse one phrase at a time. Divide the verse into short and meaningful phrases. Learn to quote the first phrase word for word. Then build on it by learning the second phrase. Continue until you are able to quote the entire verse word for word.
  5. Repeat the verse to another person and ask him to check your accuracy.
  6. Review the memorized verse regularly. During the first week, carry the card in your pocket or purse. Pull it out for review several times daily during waiting periods—like riding an elevator, riding to work, taking a coffee or lunch break. Review the verse at least daily for the first six weeks. Review weekly for the next six weeks and monthly thereafter.

Are You Inspiring Others?

This is a great reminder to follow my example, as I follow Christ (Ephesians 5:2, 1 Corinthians 4:17, Philippians 2:12, 3:17, Colossians 2:6, John 13:15, 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 3:9, 1 Peter 2:21). We each can make a difference in the lives of others. What is holding you back from setting the pace?

Why is God Silent?

This is the first study in my Decisions: Seeking God’s Guidance class, Wednesdays at King’s Grant Baptist Church.

The purpose today is to show that our sinfulness has blocked communication with God and to see that he will direct us as we obey.

When have you ever fasted? Why or why not?

What benefit did you experience?

An enemy of Joan of Arc once mocked her by jeering, “She says she hears God’s voice; why don’t I hear his voice?” It is reported that Joan replied, “Don’t you wish you did?”

1. If you could ask God one question and be assured of an answer, what would it be?

2. Why have you begun a Bible study on making decisions? Begin by praying that God will lead you in the decision you are facing.

In the year 537 B.C., Cyrus, King of Persia, allowed a small number of his Jewish captives to return to Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding the temple. The foundation for the new temple was quickly laid, but then the political situation became uncertain, circumstances interrupted, and economic troubles became so severe that the operation was discontinued. Isaiah 58 is a message for these confused and off-track people.

1. What frustrations do the people feel with God?

The return to Jerusalem had not proven to be the grand, all-transforming experience the people had expected. Fresh troubles continued to make life just as hard or harder than it had been in captivity. The people were asking for God’s help but felt that he was ignoring them.

2. When have you felt a similar frustration with him?

3. What have the people done to try to gain God’s guidance? In what ways did God’s people seem to do the right things (Isaiah 58:1-3a)?

The phrases “they seek me out,” “ask me for just decisions” and “we humbled ourselves” (Isaiah 58:2-3) indicate that the people have come to God with many forms of worship in addition to fasting. They have also prayed, cried out, put on sackcloth and wept. How did they spoil it (Isaiah 58:3b-5)?

4. In what similar ways do people attempt to discover God’s will today?

5. Why does God declare the people rebellious (or acting so pious) (Isaiah 58:1)?

All of the fasting and praying was only an external form. The people said words and went through motions that would make it look as if they were repentant and humble before God. In reality, the people were absorbed in seeking their own selfish pleasures, even while they appeared to be worshiping God.

6. If the people’s fasting was sincere, how would it have been different?

In fasting that pleases God, actions directed toward God are combined with actions directed toward people. This is expressed in several ways, such as providing food, shelter and clothing. However, of all the conceivable acts of caring, setting people free from bondage seems to be the most important in this passage. The people were to remember that they themselves had recently been living in exile. They had often been told, “Remember that you were a slave in Egypt.” God wanted them to have the compassion for others that had been shown to them.

7. What is the connection between receiving God’s guidance and a concern for justice?

Isaiah 59:2 states, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” It may be helpful to think of a light switch. Ignoring God’s concern for justice is like turning off the switch and breaking our contact with God. Heeding God’s concern is like turning on the switch and restoring contact.

8. What promises does God make in Isaiah 58:8-14?

For the people of the Old Testament, salvation was not thought of as a state of bliss, but as living in constant dialogue with God. It is this intimacy with God that is being promised here. Notice that some of the promises are for individuals (as in Isaiah 58:8-10), while other promises are for the nation (Isaiah 58:11-12).

9. What are the requirements for receiving these promises?

God wants signs of right character in those whose prayers he answers, for such character is the only guarantee that what he gives is rightly accepted and rightly used.

10. Why might God be withholding his light from us as a nation? How about from you as an individual?

11. What have you learned from this passage that will help you to discover God’s will and direction in your life?

Take time to confess your lack of sincerity and to ask for God’s light to break forth.

Now or Later: This is a fairly lengthy passage. You will want to study it on your own between sessions or take an extra session to discuss it.

The letter to the Ephesians explains why many people have become ignorant of and separated from God. Read Ephesians 4:17-5:21.

  1. What are the results of doing things our own way?
  2. What behaviors are to characterize our new life as Christians?
  3. Which of the commands in these verses are the most difficult for you to keep?
  4. How will keeping these commands help you to hear the voice of God?

Doing what you please is unacceptable

  1. The wrong way to fast (1-5) Boasting and you think it makes God happy?
  2. The right way to fast (6-14)
    1. The facts (6-10) Sharing with others
    2. The fruits (11-12) Guided by God

Radical Commitment

Do me a favor. Take out your copy of God’s Word, and hold it in your hand. If you’ve done what I just asked, you are now holding in your hands something extraordinary. You are holding a book that’s more than 3000 years old.

You are holding a book that is illegal in several countries of the world. Just to possess this book can land you in jail in some parts of the world. It was not too long ago, the government of Malaysia confiscated 10,000 Bibles that were on their way into the country.

Possessing a copy of this book just a few centuries ago in Europe could have gotten you killed. Even today, you could be subject to arrest and beatings, at the very least, in some parts of the world. This book is feared in many places. Yet people still take risks in order to have a copy or to even read it.

It is by far the best-selling book worldwide. In all its versions it is estimated between 2.5 and 6 billion copies have been sold. At least parts of this book are available in 2,400 languages.

You are also holding a miracle. Perhaps the second most extraordinary miracle since creation, second only to the incarnation of God’s Son. You are holding words from the Creator of the Universe. You can open it anytime, anywhere, and hear God’s voice.

You are holding something extraordinary.

Why the Bible is special and unique:
Have you ever thought about WHY the Bible is unique? The Bible is actually sixty-six different books. They include books of law, history, poetry, prophecy, biographies and epistles (formal letters) written to churches and people.

The Authors: About 40 different human authors contributed to the Bible, which was written over a period of about 1500 years. The authors were kings, fishermen, priests, government officials, farmers, shepherds, and a doctor. From all this diversity comes an incredible unity, with common themes that are woven throughout the Bible.

The Bible’s unity is due to the fact that, ultimately, it has one Author—God Himself. The Bible is “God-breathed” (according to 2 Timothy 3:16). The human authors wrote what God wanted them to write, and the result was this book we call the Word of God (Psalm 12:6; 2 Peter 1:21).

The Divisions: The Bible is divided into two main parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. In short, the Old Testament is the story of a Nation, and the New Testament is the story of a Man. The Nation was God’s way of bringing the Man—Jesus Christ—into the world.

The Old Testament describes the founding and preserving of the nation of Israel. God promised to use Israel to bless the whole world (Genesis 12:2-3), and once Israel was established as a nation, God raised up a family within that nation through whom that blessing would come: it was the family of David (Psalm 89:3-4). From the line of David was promised the one Man who would bring the promised blessing (Isaiah 11:1-10) and salvation to the world.

The New Testament tells us the coming of that promised Man, Jesus the Messiah, and He fulfilled all the prophecies of the Old Testament as He lived a perfect life, he died to be the perfect sacrifice for sin, and rose from the dead to set us free.

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The Central Character: Obviously, Jesus is the central character in the Bible—the whole book is really about Him. The Old Testament predicts His coming and sets the stage for His entrance into the world. The New Testament describes His coming and His work to bring salvation to our sinful world.

Jesus is more than a historical figure; in fact, He is more than a man. He is God in the flesh, and His coming was the most important event in the history of the world. God Himself became a man in order to give us a clear, understandable picture of who God is.

As Baptists, it may be good to understand what we believe about the Bible. According to the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message:

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of Gods revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. It reveals the principles by which God judges us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.

Baptists are “people of the Book.” The Bible is our only source for faith and practice. It is a remarkable book that gives us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and will stand forever (1 Peter 1:24).

The Bible Rediscovered:
Perhaps you have heard about the massive religious reformation that t took place across Europe in the 16th century. Perhaps you’ve heard names of Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, John Calvin, John Knox, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale and John Wycliffe. The key great driving force behind the reformation can be seen as the rediscovery of the Bible:

  1. The translation of the Bible into everyday language: no longer would people gather at church with no clue as to what was being read from the book, they could have it in their own language.
  2. The wider availability of the Bible due to the newly invented printing press.
  3. A commitment to expository preaching, (explaining what the text means); and
  4. The taking of the Bible out of the hands of a corrupt ecclesiastical elite and putting it into the hands of ordinary people.

This huge upheaval fundamentally changed the social, political, religious, intellectual, and even scientific landscape of Europe, and profoundly influenced the development of America. Rediscovering the Bible literally changed the world.

For the text of this message, I actually want to go back much further, to a much earlier rediscovery of the Bible and a time of reformation. I want to have a look at the passage that was read earlier, from 2 Kings 23:1-3.

These events took place during the reign of King Josiah in Jerusalem in 622 BC. He was 26 years old and had been king since he was eight. Now, Josiah was one of the most godly kings Israel ever had because, He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. (2 Chronicles 34:2)

Josiah’s Background:
Unfortunately, Josiah’s reign followed close behind that of his grandfather Manasseh who was the most evil king that Judah ever had. Manasseh ruled for 55 years, and under him the whole nation turned away from God. He defiled the temple in Jerusalem, and built shrines and altars to idols all over the place. Somewhere during his reign, the Book of the Law, which was the extent of the Bible at that time, was lost. Toward the end of Manasseh’s life, he repented and humbled himself before the Lord (2 Chronicles 33:13, 23).

Josiah’s father, Amon, was also an evil king. I suppose that a lifetime of rebellion against God gets passed down from father to son. Amon was so bad that he lasted as king for only two years, and his own officials assassinated him (2 Chronicles 33:24). The Bible is clear that as bad as Manasseh was, Amon sinned even more (2 Chronicles 33:23).

So, on this Father’s Day, and since no father is perfect, perhaps you are here in spite of the poor legacy that your father passed on to you. Maybe you had a lousy father, maybe he was abusive, or never instilled any spiritual direction in your life. How in the world did Josiah become the godliest king ever in Judah, with a father and grandfather that he had? I believe the answer lies in the fact that when he was 16, during the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David (2 Chronicles 34:3). His heart was tender toward God and knew that he had a much longer heritage than his immediate family. He was determined to end the cycle of dysfunction in his family’s life.

By age 20 Josiah is cleansing Judah and Jerusalem of all the pagan influences in the land (2 Chronicles 34:3-7). Then at age 26, he decides to restore the temple, and in the course of this renovation project, the Book of the Law is rediscovered.

Then in 2 Kings 22:10-11 we read, Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king. When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair.

Cut to the heart by what he hears, Josiah decides he must rededicate himself and the people to God. And that’s what happens in 2 Kings 23:1-3.

Take a look at these verses. One thing you can see is that the word “all” occurs a few times.

All the people:
First, a radical commitment to the Bible involves all the people.

In 2 Kings 23:1-2, Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the Lord with the men of Judah, the people of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets — all the people from the least to the greatest.

All the elders and all the people. The writer wants to make sure we know that all the people, from the least to the greatest were present at the reading of the Book.

This has always been a foundational Baptist teaching: the Bible is for all people. Biblical understanding and interpretation is never limited to an elite or privileged class of Christian. Every single believer has both the privilege and the responsibility of seeking out God’s Word for him or herself.

Of course, some are better equipped than others to do this. Some are theologically trained; some are gifted and called to be teachers. But no one has a monopoly on Bible truth and interpretation, and every single believer has access to the truth for themselves, from the least to the greatest.

A half-hearted commitment to the Bible hands over all the work of Bible study and explanation to others; a radical commitment to the Bible recognizes that every one of us has a stake in understanding the Bible, and hearing God through it.

And people have died to make this possible again for us. Perhaps you know the story of William Tyndale. He was burned at the stake in 1536, although they did him the kindness of strangling him first.

Tyndale’s life’s work was to translate the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek into common English that everyone could understand. He had a passion for placing the Word of God into the hands of ordinary people so that, ‘The Church could no longer effectively dictate its interpretation.’

This was a real issue at the time. Soon after Tyndale’s death, Henry the Eighth restricted, by law, Bible reading to only men and women of noble birth. He complained to Parliament that “the Word of God, is disputed, rhymed, sung and jangled in every ale-house and tavern.” Well, I say, wouldn’t it be wonderful if this were true today!

In the end, Tyndale’s work was not in vain, because his translation makes up about 80% of the 1611 King James Version, published more than 70 years after his death, and which became widely distributed. His vision was fulfilled.

A radical commitment to the Bible involves all the people.

There are many Christian believers around the world today who have very limited or no access to the Bible at all — up to 50 million in China alone. If we are radically committed to the Bible this should bother us.

Perhaps you support the Bible Society or Gideons, both charities who work to get God’s Word into the hands of people worldwide. But I wonder: is it sometimes easier to support getting the word to people “out there” than it is to be completely committed to the Bible “back here?”

A radical commitment to the Bible involves all the people. That means you, doesn’t it?

Over the centuries, God led dozens of his greatest saints through terrible persecution and agonizing deaths so that you and I might have the privilege of hearing and understanding His voice. How dare we neglect his word!

What are you doing to get more of God’s Word into your life and out to the world?

All the words:
Second, a radical commitment to the Bible is to all its words.

Look halfway through 2 Kings 23:2, He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord.

The Bible that Josiah had found was quite a bit shorter than the Bibles we have today. It may have been the first five books of the Old Testament, or it may have been only the book of Deuteronomy. But the writer is intentional for us to know that Josiah read to the people all the words in it.

Now, not only is the book of Deuteronomy a bit heavy going at times, but there’s also a whole bunch of curses and other unpleasant verses in there. Frankly, wouldn’t it have been better for Josiah just to give them some edited highlights, a quick executive summary, or some bullet points on a PowerPoint slide?

But Josiah knows that a radical commitment to the Bible is a commitment to all its words, because they are all God’s words. Our Bible reading is deficient if we are content with memorizing a few well-known Bible verses and stories and never strive to explore the whole book.

A radical commitment to the Bible is to all its words.

John Piper once said. “If all you want is a pile of leaves, then you just need to scrape the surface. But if you want to find gold, you need to dig down deep.”

We don’t skip parts of the Bible because they seem dull, or difficult, or irrelevant to our lives today, or they teach doctrines that we don’t like. We need to wrestle with all the words to hear what God has to say to us.

It’s all God’s word to us: not just John 3:16, Romans 8:28 and Psalm 23. He has so much more to say to us! Let’s be more radical in our Bible reading. If it doesn’t make sense, why not get into a small group to discuss the meaning of the Bible, and help you grow in your faith?

All the heart and all the soul:
Third, a radical commitment to the Bible is with all the heart and all the soul.

Look at 2 Kings 23:3, The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord — to follow the Lord and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul.

This is about application; it’s about how far we let God’s Word into our lives. A radical commitment to the Bible means that we seek ways to apply what it says in all our lives. Not just letting God’s living Word into our head, but into all our heart and all our soul. A radical commitment to the Bible is life-changing.

Perhaps Josiah only had the book of Deuteronomy, which is widely regarded, along with Leviticus, as being one of the least exciting parts of the Bible. Yet as he read it, it caused him to tear his clothes and weep in anguish. It turned his life upside down.

How much more should the complete Bible that we have today speaks to our hearts and souls? We have in our hands the whole story of God’s plan to save us: not just a glimpse, but the whole thing, culminating in Jesus, his own son who died for us.

If our Bible reading is not causing us to weep and rejoice, to break out in gratitude and anguish, in joy and sorrow, then, frankly, we’re not doing it right. If our Bible reading is not life-changing, then we’re not doing it right. We’re not engaging our hearts and souls.

A radical commitment to the Bible engages all our heart, all our soul. No part of our life is out of scope for God’s word.

The same goes for our life together as a church. The Bible informs and guides every aspect of our lives together. Therefore, if we are radically committed to the Bible as a church, those who are connected here should be people who commit themselves to hearing, understanding and obeying the Bible with all their hearts and all their souls.

This should be one of the key factors that guide us in ministry and relationships: is this person someone who paddles in the shallow end of God’s word, or someone who has jumped into the deep end? Has this person been gripped by God’s Word?

A radical commitment to the Bible is with all our heart and all our soul.

On this Father’s Day, has this message penetrated your soul? Are we attempting to raise the next generation with a strong foundation; a foundation that is built upon the Word of God? Are we attempting to make a difference in the world, and in particular, in our families? How can we do anything without a radical commitment to the Word of God?

Do we want to be a church that truly hears God’s words and does his work in this world — a radical church — then let’s be like Josiah and like the reformers.

  1. Let’s commit ourselves, every one of us, to hearing God’s word: all of the people.
  2. Let’s commit ourselves to exploring the whole of what he has to say to us: all of the words.
  3. And let’s commit ourselves to applying and obeying what he tells us in our lives: all our heart and all our soul.

This is a radical commitment to the Bible.

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Reasons to Study the Bible

Previously I wrote about why we should study the Bible. Here I believe there are several reasons for studying the the Bible.

The Bible is a Personal Word from God: Without some biblical teaching, no one could become a child of God. James writes, “In his goodness [God] chose to make us His own children by giving us his true word” (James 1:18). Think back to the day that you first received the simple message of God’s love and forgiveness. Which passages did God use to reveal himself to you?

Now consider how God has used his Word to influence your life since then. Psalm 19:7-8 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight to life.” I believe the Bible is the most important book ever written and it is so important for us to read, study, memorize, and meditate on its truths.

The Bible Gives us a Moral Foundation for Life: When we cease to believe that the Bible is God’s Word, we can find ourselves adrift on a stormy sea, tossed back and forth by every wind of teaching. In a letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

A life of victory, power, joy, and fruitfulness will be experienced by any believer who studies the Bible and accepts it as God’s true and holy Word to man. It tells us how to enjoy an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father and how to receive wisdom, love, and grace from him.

The Bible is God’s Personal Love Letter to His Children: In my early years, I had difficulty reading the Bible. In fact, I found it boring (probably like most people). Then I experienced the love and forgiveness of its Author, the Lord Jesus Christ. My attitude changed. I began to realize that the Bible is God’s personal love letter to me. I eventually became excited about what God had to say to me.

How about you? Do you find the Bible the most interesting book in your library? The best way to catch the excitement about reading God’s Word is to experience the love of its Author.

The Bible Reveals God’s Character: In my early years as a believer, I began to study the Bible and found it was a true record of who God is and what he is like. His attributes (or characteristics) filled me with wonder, reverence, and awe. Through the stories of how he led Old and New Testament believers, I saw proof of his love, wisdom, power, sovereignty, and holiness. We continue to grow in our love for him as I am still discovering more about who God is.

I encourage you to make it your priority to get to know God, and to love him with all your heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37-38). Discover what he thinks and how he acts. Knowing God will change your life. When we read his Word and learn how much God loves and cares for us, we can trust him with everything (our families, our possessions, and even with our own lives).

The Bible Gives the Clearest Explanation of Creation: The Bible has the perfect explanation for the beginnings of all creation (an intelligent, powerful God who created everything with order and purpose – Genesis 1:1). Only a Being with supernatural power and unlimited ability could have fashioned something as intricate as a DNA molecule and as huge as the Milky Way Galaxy. In fact, astronomers now believe that there are 100 billion galaxies. The Bible assures us that our great God and Savior created it all.

The Bible Gives an explanation for Human Suffering and Evil Behavior: Why is there so much human suffering? Why is there war and poverty? Many people blame God for these evils, but man (because he is self-centered and seeks his own way) creates wars and inhumanities. Sickness, death, earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods are part of God’s judgment for mankind’s sin.

Romans 5:12 explains, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin spread death throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all sinned.” What better explanation have you heard for the mess our world is in? Biblical truth about man’s evil nature is the only logical answer for cruelty, selfishness, pride, violence, disease, war, and death. Only God (who understands the depravity of the human heart) has the answers to our sinfulness.

The Bible Tells the Story of Our Savior and Salvation: As humans we cannot live good enough lives on our own to achieve God’s holy standards in the Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule. That comes through our faith in Jesus Christ and his Spirit living in us. The Bible is our source for understanding this truth.

One of the most convincing arguments for the authority and accuracy of Scripture is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies in the life of Jesus. From Genesis to Malachi, we find more than three hundred references to the Messiah. They are all fulfilled in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Studying the Bible Causes Christian Growth: The Word of God is our fuel for growth in the Christian faith. When we feed on its richness, we grow strong and healthy in our spiritual lives. I love what Psalm 1:1-6 tells us!

Unless the Bible becomes the basis of our faith, we will be swayed by our experiences, which can be dangerous. There is nothing wrong with experiences, emotions, and dreams, if they are validated by Scripture. But beware of depending only on experiences to build your faith. The Word of God is our one sure foundation. Obeying God’s Word gives us assurance that what we are doing is right in God’s eyes.

Obedience to God’s Word Bring Joy and Victory: A believer cannot walk in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit and display the love of Christ unless he is spending time in God’s Word. If he faithfully studies the Bible daily, he will avoid the emotional and spiritual problems that many believers experience and consider inevitable.

The Christian who saturates his mind with God’s Word will want to please the Lord in every way. God’s Word will show him how to deal with temptation so he does not reap the consequences of doing evil. When we read and obey God’s Word, we learn how to live above our circumstances. We find the answers to the deep questions of life. As a result, we will live a life of incredible joy and victory!

The Bible Helps Us to Become a More Effective Witness for Christ: People today are hearing the gospel, receiving Christ as their Savior, and committing themselves to helping fulfill the Great Commission. Spending time daily with God in his Word gives us the power and excitement to spread his message of love and forgiveness. Studying the Bible helps us see how God loves the unlovable and seeks the lonely and hurting. Applying God’s commands helps us maintain a godly life that demonstrates the Lord’s presence in our lives to others.

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Why Study the Bible?

Life can be hard and confusing. Our culture seeks to draw us farther and father away from traditional values in favor of more modern, up-to-date lifestyles and behaviors. We have bowed to the altar of tolerance and have many times compromised out Christian beliefs. Those traditional values many times can be traced back to biblical truth!

Christians have a reference point for their journey through life, the Bible. When we stake our lives on its teachings and principles, God gives us guidance on how to live. When we love, trust, and obey God and his Word, we will enjoy the abundant life He has promised every believer (John 10:10).

What is there about the Bible that has given it such power to influence and enrich the lives of many millions of believers throughout the centuries around the world?

  • Psalm 119:91 tells us, “Your laws remain true today, for everything serves your plans.”
  • Psalm 119:138 says, “Your decrees are perfect; they are entirely worthy of our trust.”
  • Hebrews 4:12 emphasizes how the Bible works in our lives, “The word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.”

By studying and applying God’s Word, we will see our world and ourselves through God’s eyes.

  • We will be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).
  • We will get to know the author, the living God.

I’m going to write much more about why it is so vital for us to read and study God’s Word on a consistent basis. There are principles that work in the lives of believers and faithful readers and studiers of the Bible can discover practical ways to live and apply the teachings we read in the Bible.

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Check it Out to be Sure

It’s always good to check out what people say about the Bible, make sure it is true. How many times have you heard someone say that “something” was in the Bible, only to discover it’s not. Many people never discover the truth, they just continue to pass on the misinformation.

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really teaching the truth. (Acts 17:11)

Yesterday, Skip challenged us to finish out this season of Lent with a 27-day challenge: spend 15 minutes or more in God’s Word every day and see if you can form a new habit.

Habits can be good because they prevent us from forgetting to do things. Getting into the habit of reading the Bible daily is good; however, habits can also go under the radar without much thought given to them. Like the people of Berea in the verse, don’t forget your passion when reading God’s words. They listened eagerly, and researched faithfully.

Read it not just for information, but for developing a relationship with God. These words we read in the Bible apply directly to our lives everyday.

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