Faithlife Sermons

How Do I Know

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Intro

Two weeks ago, we started into a series entitled, “Do you know?” It’s a three-part series dealing with this topic of biblical illiteracy. What do I mean by biblical illiteracy? This idea isn’t about whether you can read or not. It’s a topic about knowledge and understanding of the Bible. To be honest, this idea isn’t really meant for people who are not believers. This idea is meant for people who have made the claim that Jesus is their Lord and Savior.
Why? Because as followers of Christ, we not only claim his lordship and salvation, we claim that the Bible is the “instruction manual” for our life. In our walk of faith, we start at point A and we progress through the different points through life. This doesn’t mean we start with faith and the do not grow. It means that we start with faith and then build from there.
Two weeks ago, we looked at . In this passage we looked at how God has given us everything we need to live a godly life. And then we looked at a series of words that are built upon each other. The first was faith. Peter uses the phrase “make every effort to add to” because our faith is meant to grow and flourish. It’s like planting a bulb for a flower. You just can’t toss a bulb in some dirty in a flower pot and expect it grow if you never water it and give it sunshine. Those components are essential to the flower but they don’t matter until it has been planted. Once planted, you add water and sunshine.
In our faith, it’s not enough just to believe if we want to live a life that glorifies God. So Peter says to add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection (brotherly kindness), and love. Why? Because verse 8 tells us that adding these qualities to our lives will make us effective and productive. Effective means that you are successful in producing the desired result. It means the goal you were aiming for was met. Productive means that you not only meet your goal but you surpass your goal. The rewards were greatly than planned or anticipated.
So I ask a simple question: what seems like a more desirable, faith-lived life: ineffective and unproductive or effective and productive? When we talk about a faith-lived life, it is a life that encompasses every aspect of life. Job. Spouse. Children. Friends. Church. Personal. We can’t separate one from another. In the Christian life, you can’t be great and successful at work and fail at home. You can’t be great at home but fail at your job. Everything about following Jesus overlaps with one another.
So I ask another simple questions: How do I begin to live an effective and productive, faith-filled life? Since we’re approaching this from a biblical illiteracy perspective, it only makes sense on learning how I build biblical literacy within my life? (As a side note, I find it very hard to believe that an effective and productive life can be lived apart from regular Bible study and prayer.)
Before we tackle this question, I think it’s time for a pop quiz. I hope you brought your thinking caps.

Pop Quiz

Who were the first three kings of Israel?
Saul
David
Solomon
Who wrote the book of Acts?
Luke
What did Daniel do after finding out about a new decree that the only worship allowed is worship of the emperor?
He went back to his room and prayed just as he had done before
How many books are in the New Testament?
27
What is the most central verse in the entire Bible?
- “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
How did you do?

How do I know

Before we get in to the message today, I want to read the verses we are using as our point of reference and then dive in to the lessons.
Joshua 1:7–8 NIV
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Acts 17:11 NIV
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Acts 2:42 NIV
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Psalm 119:18 NIV
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
1 Peter 3:15 NIV
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
James 1:22–25 NIV
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
As we look at these verses and consider Bible study as a whole, there are several
As we look at these verses and consider Bible study as a whole, there are several principles for Bible study that we can learn. We ask the question “how”? What in these verses gives us any indication for how to study the Bible?

Time

Joshua gives us an indication that our thoughts are to be on the Bible day and night. There are other Scriptures that reference this idea of morning and night. It gives us the indication that time is required to study the Bible.
You can never learn something if you’re not willing to spend time on it. What makes this point all the more important is time is the one thing we cannot get back. Once that minute passes, it’s gone. So if time is required to study the Bible, that ultimately leads to a perspective of priorities.
We all look at our week and try and figure out how to fit everything into it. We look at the chores, groceries that need purchased, sporting events, family commitments, church and we instantly begin prioritizing which is most important. We all do this consciously or subconsciously. If we want the words of our verses to ring true, shouldn’t we make an effort to spend time with the Lord?
I wish that was a rhetorical question where everyone said, “duh”. But do a quick inventory of your last week. How’d it go with time in the Word? 1/7? 2/7? 3/7? 4/7? 7/7? How’d you do? If I might be so bold, anything 4/7 and under is not good prioritizing of time.
We all want more time and things to go well. The best way for your time to prioritized is to prioritize time in God’s Word first. Everything else will fall into place because you will learn effectiveness and productiveness.

Consistency

The next indication we learn is consistency. This is regularly spending time in God’s Word. God back and do the ratio for this past week. How consistent were you?
Have you ever been doing a task, something you’ve done many times before, but this time you saw something you hadn’t seen before? Or maybe you’ve been tackling a hobby and you learned a better method to accomplish the hobby? Why do those things pop up? Because you’ve spent time and been consistent at the task.
It’s rather amazing how the more consistent we are at something, the greater the results of the task we are performing. It’s like learning how to use a computer. Most people will not know all the keyboard shortcuts to navigate a computer. Most people still use the mouse (which is fine). But what happens if you want to begin to do things more efficiently? You learn keyboard shortcuts. Consistency learns those things.
Consistency also helps in the remembrance of things. The more you do something, the more will remember things about that project. Some things are like riding a bike. Once you’ve learned, riding in the future will not be a problem. But you had to consistently learn how to ride initially. It took time. It took repeating the start with someone holding the bike before you really figured it out. But not everything is like riding a bike.
When it comes to the Word and the spiritual war that is being waged right now, Satan is looking for opportunities to hinder your time spent in the Bible and the frequency in which you study the Bible. Why? Because he knows that he can bog you down with outside problems that will consume your focus. He knows that a few little hiccups in the day can throw a wrench in your attitude. He can’t do anything to you personally but he can influence things around you. So a daily reminder of who God is and who we are is critical in warding off the influence that Satan is trying to have in your life.

Learn from the “experts”

Another indication for us is this idea of learning from someone wiser than us. Acts tells us that they listened to the Apostles teachings. The Berean Jews examined what Paul had said. It is important to spend time learning from someone who has done more study than you.
To be honest, there are many more people out there who have done much more study than I on just about every topic I’ve preached on. And it’s not a bad thing to read them. Listen to their sermons. Pick up a systematic theology book. Find an expert on a topic that you are struggling with (obviously written from a biblical perspective) and study their teachings.
Naturally, all of this is done while you continue to study the Bible yourself on that topic. I have four podcasts that I try and listen to every week of men who have been in ministry many more years than I. They have studied much longer than I. And each week, I want to sit at their “feet” and learn from them. Most of the time I listen just so I can hear a sermon. There are times that I listen to learn how to deliver a sermon better. Just about every time I listen, I try and really pay attention to how they exegete a passage so I can learn how to better do that.
Why? Because the Bible is rich and deep and many times I need to follow someone who knows how to go deeper so I can show you how to go deeper. Learning from the experts is invaluable. Here are a few names to consider:
Billy Graham
Charles Spurgeon
Ravi Zacharias - apologetics
C. S. Lewis
A W Tozer
Lee Strobel
Norman Geisler - systematic theology
Wayne Grudem - systematic theology
John MacArthur
John Maxwell - leadership
F. F. Bruce
John Wesley
Martin Luther
I could go on and on but there are many people worth reading to help you increase your knowledge of the word.

Pray about it

lets us in to a little prayer that proves very effective.
Psalm 119:18 NIV
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
What do you pray for? For God to reveal the wonderful things contained in His Word. Start off the study with a prayer. You’re asking God to teach you something from the Bible. What better teacher can we have?
So pray that God will reveal his Word to you.

Live it

When we talk about how we study the Bible, we cannot skip one of its greatest teachers: Doing it. Joshua clues us in that by keeping the law you will be prosperous in all you do. James tells us that we will be blessed if we remember what we studied and do what we studied. This takes us back to our first sermon in this series.
We are to be effective and productive. That means your living the faith-filled life as the Bible instructs and leads. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it. While your faith is between you and God, the life he calls you to live through faith is rather public. People know us by our love and by our actions. So we study the Bible so we can learn how to better love and better act in the different environments we find ourselves in.

How Can This Church Help You:

As I was preparing this sermon, I wanted to give you a couple practical solutions to help keep you accountable in your Bible reading. So here they are:

Come to Sunday School

It starts at 9:30. We only change that time when something special is happening. So unless it’s otherwise stated, Sunday School starts at 9:30. Here’s what we offer for adults. Dave is currently teaching out of the book of Romans. It is a verse by verse study of the Bible. If you want to go extremely deep, this class is a great option.
Our second class is led by Luke and it is currently doing a study on marriage. How do we be the spouse the Bible calls us to be? How do we build this marriage into a marriage that honors God? It is worth your time in there learning how to be a better husband or wife.
Show up to Sunday School.

Get connected to a GROWTH Group

This is another form of discipleship here at PLMC. They are a small group of people who get together for about an hour every week to study the Bible. They do this through actually studying a book of the Bible or they pick a book written about a particular topic from a biblical perspective.
This group may be the best form of accountability we have here at PLMC. A group of guys meet on Friday mornings at 5:30 and we’re reading through the Bible chronologically. There are a few ladies groups that meet throughout the week. We can start a new one if there are a few of you who are interested.
If anything that has been said today or two weeks ago is ringing a bell in your head (by the way, that’s the Holy Spirit), get involved in a GROWTH Group.

The Unshakable Truth

In the fall time, we will be doing a study during the Sunday School time called “The Unshakable Truth.” It is another series on learning the fundamental stuff within the Bible. This time it is Josh and Sean McDowell leading this study. There will be a signup going up soon if you’re interested. This is a great way to expand your knowledge of the core principles that make up Christianity.

Closing

Why are we spending a few weeks on Bible study? Because there is a growing level of biblical illiteracy in our country of people who call themselves Christians. Our church will not be one of them. So I will encourage you to spend time in the Word. I implore you, for the sake of this church and your family to spend time in the Word.
I think you will find that consistent time spent in the Word will become one of the most important moments throughout your day. Let’s pray.
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