- The Bible: God’s Communication to You
- Becoming a Man or Woman of the Word
- Meditating on the Word is Vital
The great need of the hour among persons spiritually hungry is twofold: first, to know the Scriptures, apart from which no saving truth will be vouchsafed by our Lord; the second, to be enlightened by the Spirit, apart from whom the Scriptures will not be understood. — A. W. Tozer
Moses expressed how crucial and significant God’s Word was to the people he led in Deuteronomy 32:45-47.
45 When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. 47 They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” Deuteronomy 32:45-47 NIV
And now One greater than Moses is here and has spoken to us.
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV
1 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 2:1-4 NIV
Soldiers in battle used their swords as both an offensive and a defensive weapon. God has equipped you with such a weapon for your spiritual battle.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 NIV
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV
The Bible: God’s Communication to You
The Bible is the most remarkable book ever written. In fact, it is a whole library consisting of sixty-six books! The writing was done by about forty people from many occupations and all walks of life—farmers and fishermen, teachers and physicians, public officials and kings. They wrote over a period of approximately 1,500 years and in three languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. They wrote on many subjects (including religion, history, law, and science) and in many genres (including biography, prophecy, poetry, and drama). With all this diversity, it is amazing that the Bible is as harmoniously united as the parts that make up a human body. That is because the Bible has one great theme and central figure—Jesus Christ. All of this would be impossible unless the Bible had one supreme Author—and it did: the Holy Spirit of God.
Some people think and believe that only some of the Bible is inspired by God. Some people think and believe that only the parts of the Bible that speak to you in a personal way are inspired by God. Some people think and believe that the Bible originated in the hearts and minds of men and is not from God. But here is what God says in the Bible about the Bible.
20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 2 Peter 1:20-21 NASB95
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB95
Inspired comes from a Greek word meaning “God-breathed.” The meaning, then, is not that God breathed into the writers, nor that he somehow breathed into the writings to give them their special character, but that what was written by men was breathed out by God. He spoke through them. They were his spokesmen. —John R. W. Stott, Understanding the Bible
The Bible is God’s love letter to us. In it He reveals Himself, His purposes, and His plans—all with relationship in mind and heart. As you read any passage of Scripture, consider this question: What does this passage have to say about who God is and what and who is on His heart? Try this with 1 Peter 1:3-5. Can you see the love relationship thread in these verses?
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 5 You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5 CSB
Remember the graphic from last week about the four ways the Scriptures are profitable?
- The Scriptures teach you the path to walk on (teaching).
- The Scriptures show you where you have gotten off the path (reproof).
- The Scriptures show you how to get back on the path (correction).
- The Scriptures show you how to stay on the path (training in righteousness).
Notice the Scriptures are always profitable for believers. As a matter of fact and truth, the Scriptures cannot be anything but profitable for us. This is important. God always says what is best for us and has revealed what He says is best for us because God is love.
The Holy Spirit Helps Us Understand the Bible
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 NKJV
The Surety and Infallibility of God’s Word
Jesus said these words:
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35 NIV
17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 NIV
An Example of How God’s Word is Profitable
The table below uses Psalm 19:7-9 (NIV) to provide a brief example of how God’s Word is profitable for us.
|Verse||What the Bible is Called||Its Characteristics||How It Is Profitable|
|7||law of the LORD||perfect||refreshing the soul|
|statutes of the LORD||trustworthy||making wise the simple|
|8||precepts of the LORD||right||giving joy to the heart|
|commands of the LORD||radiant||giving light to the eyes|
|9||fear of the LORD||pure||enduring forever|
|decrees of the LORD||firm||all of them are righteous|
The Importance of the Bible to You as Christ’s Follower
As a follower of Jesus the importance of God’s Word to you cannot be overstated. The Scriptures point to Jesus.
39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. John 5:39-40 NIV
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:2-3 NASB95
1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1 NKJV
Becoming a Man or Woman of the Word
If you could turn to one place in the Bible that describes the Living Word of God, Psalm 119 would definitely be an awesome place to start! Almost every one of the 176 verses of Psalm 119 speaks about the Word and about applying the Word in daily living. Let’s take a brief look at the Psalmist’s attitudes and actions concerning God’s Word by examining Psalm 119:9-16.
|9||Keeping God’s Word||Pure life|
|10||Wholeheartedly sought God||Prayed “Don’t let me wander from Your commands”|
|11||Treasure God’s Word in my heart||So that I might not sin against you|
|12||The LORD is blessed||Receive His teaching on His statutes|
|13||Speaking what God has spoken||Speaking what is right|
|14||Rejoice in following His statutes||Values God’s statutes|
|15||Meditate on His precepts||Consider how to apply in life|
|16||Delight in His decrees||Diligently stay in the Word|
Ezra is a powerful Old Testament example of someone who realized his responsibility toward God’s Word. He was committed to studying, following, and teaching God’s Word. Ezra achieved great things and made a significant impact because he understood the right starting place for his life and actions: God’s Word. He took the study of God’s Word seriously and faithfully applied it. He taught others what he learned. God used Ezra and Nehemiah to start a great spiritual awakening in the nation of Israel after Jerusalem was rebuilt. This spiritual awakening is the last spiritual awakening recorded in the Old Testament. What a great example for us today!
10 Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the LORD, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel. Ezra 7:10 CSB
Notice the order of Ezra’s actions:
- He studied the Scriptures
- He obeyed the Scriptures and thus applied the Scriptures to his own life
- He taught the Scriptures to other people
The importance of studying the Word and obeying the Word and applying the Word to ourselves before we teach others is vital! Remember this:
- A person’s willingness to know and practice God’s Word has a direct effect on how God’s uses the person’s life.
- Serving God and loving God is a personal commitment to serve and love God today and every day, even before knowing what that service and love will be.
How can we teach others to study and obey and apply the Word if we are not studying and obeying and applying the Word ourselves? How can we disciple others if we are not the Lord’s disciples ourselves?
I pray that all of us here today become like Ezra in our attitude and responsibility toward God, His Word, ourselves, and the lives of others. Let us endeavor to daily apply Colossians 3:16-17.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16-17 CSB
Meditating on the Word is Vital
Meditating on the Word is simply pondering and reflecting upon the Word with a view of how to apply it in your relationship with God, His relationship with you, and your relationship with other people.
8 “This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.” Joshua 1:8 CSB
Meditating on Psalm 1 Example
Practice pondering and thinking about the Word every day. For example, over the next few days, ponder Psalm 1.
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. Psalm 1 NIV
Here are a few things to consider while you ponder and consider Psalm 1.
- Notice there is a marked contrast between the godly and ungodly person shown.
- How does the godly have good habits, stability, and a future?
- What happens with the ungodly because of their ways?
Look at what Jeremiah wrote is response to receiving God’s Word.
16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty. Jeremiah 15:16 NIV
Receive and Apply the Word
21 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. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:21-22 NIV
Points to Remember
- God has communicated to people through His Word: The Bible.
- The Bible is a love letter from God the Father to His children. It is to be read as a personal communication from Him.
- Through the Scriptures you can get to know God better, understand His desires for you, and discover new truths about living with Him and for Him.
- God commands believers to let His Word dwell richly in them. It is important to give yourself wholeheartedly to allowing God’s Word to fill your life.
- God places emphasis on the act of meditating in His Word, because effective meditation leads to personal application.