…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
The period of European history known as the Dark Ages were just that—dark. Mortality rates were exceptionally high. Medical advances could not keep up with the spread of disease. Poverty and illiteracy were pervasive. And on top of all that, the light of God’s Word was monopolized and distorted by the Roman Catholic Church. Only the religious elite had access to Scripture, and most of them manipulated and perverted its message beyond recognition.
That darkness gave way to the Reformation. The Protestant Reformers recovered the gospel and made Scripture accessible to the common man. They rejected the idea of a pope who presumed to speak for God on earth. God spoke through Scripture and the Reformers devoted themselves tirelessly to the labor of making it readily available in the language of the people.
Today, people all over the world can own and study the Bible in their own languages. That great blessing for Christians brings the responsibility to study God’s Word. And from that study, believers have the joy and duty of representing the Creator and proclaiming His message.
Those fundamentals, when incorporated into your study of Scripture, will progressively grow your knowledge of God and yourself, and cultivate a well-rounded biblical worldview. It is in His Word that God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in an intimate and saving way. He owns us, knows us, and holds us responsible to know, understand, and proclaim Him on His terms and not our own.
Scripture is sacred and we should treat it as such by carefully handling its truth. Paul exhorted Timothy to study Scripture as a workman “accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The tradesmen of Paul’s time needed to carry out their work with precision and great care. Paul was saying that the same sort of approach is needed when studying Scripture.
God instructed Israel concerning that very issue:
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:6–7)
In other words, you ought to have God’s Word running around in your mind all the time. If you’re reading a portion of the New Testament thirty times in a row, as previously suggested, it will penetrate and shape your thinking. It should lead to meditation, which takes all the dimensions of study we’ve discussed and molds them into a unified understanding of biblical truth.
The word meditate can evoke thoughts of empty minds and eastern religions. But it is more likely that Hindus and Buddhists borrowed the term from the Bible and twisted its meaning to conform with their false religions. From the time of Joshua’s military conquest of Canaan, we hear the Lord instructing His people to meditate on God’s Word (Joshua 1:8). So what does meditate mean? Biblically, it means to focus your mind on one subject.
In Deuteronomy, God tells His people that they should bind His words, “as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals to your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:8–9). God says He wants His Word everywhere.
David highlighted the role meditation plays in our sanctification when he wrote the first Psalm. The blessed man is one who meditates both day and night on God’s law rather than seeking counsel in the fellowship of unbelievers (Psalm 1:1–3). It is the key to his perseverance and fruitfulness as a child of God.
Meditation is no less needed today. We live in a culture that continually assaults us with distractions through billboards, television, the Internet, and more. God says that we should keep His Word perpetually in front of our eyes, filling our minds and conversations wherever we go.
Paul clarified what our minds should feed on:
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Ultimately, our ongoing relationship with God hinges on sound biblical study. He places monumental importance on knowing, proclaiming, and worshipping Him rightly. And Scripture is the engine driving all of those things. The Dark Ages may have ended, but those who neglect to study and meditate on Scripture shun the light of God’s Word and continue to walk in willful darkness.
With the permission of Mrs. West, I would like to show you a portion of an article that she wrote for a school paper. She is the editor, and a teacher, at this school, and she is also signed up and receiving a “Love Note From God” everyday. Listen to what she has to say.
“Earlier this year I shared with you
an email that I receive almost every
day. It is entitled “My Love Notes
from God,” and the notes are actually
taken from scripture and sent
out in “note” form, signed from God.
I enjoy reading these short notes
each day and have been amazed at
how often they come with a message
that I particularly need at that time.
In reality, the entire Bible is our
“Love Note from God,” inspired by
His Divine thoughts and therefore
worthy of reading, understanding’
and discussing. What a privilege we
have as mere humans to be able to
touch the very heart of God through
the study of His Word. And what a
privilege we have here at Fairview to
not only study the literature of man
but to study God’s Holy Word. Let us
never forget this awesome opportunity
that our children have here at
Celebrating God’s Word,
It brings such a joy to our hearts to know how God continues to bless His Word as He sends it out to many hearts and lives. He still is on the throne and He still is in the business of changing hearts and changing lives. How about yours? Maybe you know someone who could use a Love Note From God everyday.
Go to the website and sign up. It’s free. “My Love Notes From God”
God bless you all.
As I was getting ready for an appointment that I had this morning, I thought I would help my wife out as she was getting ready for work. I had some extra time, so I made her lunch and then went back to getting myself ready. I saw she was in a little rush so I told her that I would start her car for her and get it warmed up before she had to leave. The temperature was twenty degrees that morning, as we live in Michigan, and the winters can get cold.
As I was finishing brushing my teeth, I saw her getting her keys and running out into the cold to start her car. I yelled out, “honey, I will do that for you”, she said back to me as she ran by, “I need it done now”.
I was hurt. I thought to myself, she doesn’t believe me when I said that I would start her car and it would be all warmed up for her, before she had to leave. She didn’t trust me to handle that one simple little task. Have I ever let her down before? Well, yes, I guess I have at times, but not with something as simple as this was. I had already made her lunch and got the coffee ready this morning.
Then it hit. God was tapping me on the shoulder and He said to me, “Brian, that is an all to familiar scene with Me. How many times has you done that exact thing to Me.” I thought, ” you’re exactly right God, as You always are.”
How many times have I read in God’s Word, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Do I believe Him? Do I really trust what He says to be true? Has He ever let me down before? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it will show up in the way I live and respond to the circumstances in life.
When I respond to God as my wife responded to me, that really shows that I don’t trust Him. By my actions, I’m calling Him a liar. I’m saying that He can’t be trusted completely, and that’s what Satan did to Eve. He called into light the validity and truthfulness of God’s Word.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1
When God says He’s got your back, that should take that burden away. I shouldn’t worry about that anymore. That’s the whole purpose of trusting someone. When I told my wife, I was going to start her car and have it all warmed up and ready to go, she should have said, thank you. That is something that I don’t have to worry about anymore. You have lifted that burden off of me and have taken it upon yourself. I can now move forward with one less task to carry, but she didn’t do that. Like I do with God, she continued to worry and carry that burden herself.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 You see, love is an action word. God just doesn’t say He loves us, He showed His love for all humanity, by dying on a cross for your sins and mine.
“but He made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:7-8
There is every reason my wife doesn’t totally trust me. I have let her down and have not always come through like I promised I would, but thank God, He is not like us. God is the One who is faithful, not you and me. He always comes through and He will never let us down. We need to quit standing on the premises and start standing on the promises.
“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” Numbers 23:19
“casting all your anxiety onto Him,” because it matters to Him concerning you.” 1Peter 5:7
“Faithful is the One calling you, who also will perform it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 5:35
He is faithful and true, and yes, we can trust Him completely for everything in this life and the next.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” Revelation 19:11
“He has book sense, but he doesn’t have common sense.” How many of you have heard that said before? I’ve had people say that about me before, and to my shame, sometimes that has been true. This refers to people whose expertise may appear to be vast and impressive, but it’s not really useful. They are well informed in theory, but they are fools in practice.
There are many people in our churches today who are book smart when it comes to the Bible, but no application when it comes to practice. They know the truth of God’s word but their is no root or transformation in their lives. They can give you all the right answers but that truth has never penetrated their hearts or brought about real faith and repentance.
That does not mean that the truth of God’s word is ineffective . It doesn’t mean that the truth of God’s Word always will secure a sanctifying and positive result. When Moses was leading the people of Israel out of Egypt back in the book of Exodus, Pharaoh was continually confronted with the truth of God and he continually hardened his heart toward that truth. The same sun that melts the wax also hardens the clay.
In James chapters one and two talk about “faith without works is dead.” You don’t have to reject the truth to be become hardened to it. To those who hear God’s Word and don’t do it, actually become desensitized and hardened by hearing it rather than renewed and edified.
Many people have met Jesus Christ, but not many know Jesus Christ. No amount of theology or study of God’s Word can take the place of real repentance and living faith. These are the vital marks of a right relationship with God.
Many of the worlds Bible scholars see the Bible as only as an ancient piece of literature. They have a tremendous knowledge of the Bible but their hearts remain cold and unmoved by the truth.
Every Sunday churches are filled with people who have this same view. Many of them grew up in the church. They are very familiar with the truth and the Bible stories. they may not be completely cold to biblical truth, but they haven’t fully obeyed it yet either.
Many of them lead bible studies and write about it, but to them, the Bible is no more than a hobby, and they never really submit to it’s authority. Others only think about the bible on Sundays. Most of the time it sits on the corner or on a shelf, and the only time it is ever opened is in a special time of need, and then put back to collect more dust.
Knowing about God is simply not enough. Taking in all the facts apart from a true faith and repentance is no better than what James 2:19 describes about the demons. They believe and know that God exists, but they’re not going to heaven or have any kind of relationship with God at all.
To know about God is still a very important part of knowing Him. There are those who through their upbringing or bits and pieces of the bible, have put together a god of their own making. Their concept of God is just a figment of their own imagination. Many of these people are very active members of our churches today.
Some will chose a more favorable attribute of God and camp on it to the exclusion of everything else He has revealed about Himself in His Word. For example, “God is love”. If your theology starts and stops right there, you are worshiping a false god. There is so much more that you need to know about who God is; His nature and character. You just can’t cherry pick the truth.
Bottom line is, what you know about God and what you do with that knowledge touches every facet of your life.
“So Jesus said to those who believed in him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32