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How to Stand in Tough times

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THE QUESTION RANG OUT ACROSS THE LIBRARY. EVAN TODD HEARD IT. HE SAID . . . “I DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS CASSIE, BUT I HEARD A VOICE FROM A PART OF THE ROOM WHERE I LATER (LEARNED CASSIE WAS LOCATED.) SHE WAS TALKING TO THE GUNMEN. SHE WAS PRAYING OUT LOUD AND THEY ASKED HER IF SHE BELIEVED IN GOD AND SHE SAID YES. THEN, THEY SHOT HER!” SO ENDED THE LIFE OF CASSIE BERNALL, APRIL 21, 1999.

ACCOUNTS LIKE THIS LEAVE ME FEELING BOTH SAD AND UNCOMFORTABLE. I FEEL SAD BECAUSE, QUITE FRANKLY, THE THOUGHT OF SOMEONE AS YOUNG AS CASSIE DIE IS A VERY TRAGIC THING. I FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE BECAUSE I AM LEFT WONDERING WHAT I WOULD HAVE SAID IF I HAD BEEN THERE AND HAD BEEN ASKED THE QUESTION. BY THE WAY, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE SAID?

I THINK WE ALL ARE GLAD THAT WE ARE NOT CALLED UPON TO MAKE SUCH STARK CHOICES. TO STAND UTHE QUESTION RANG OUT ACROSS THE LIBRARY. EVAN TODD HEARD IT. HE SAID . . . “I DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS CASSIE, BUT I HEARD A VOICE FROM A PART OF THE ROOM WHERE I LATER (LEARNED CASSIE WAS LOCATED.) SHE WAS TALKING TO THE GUNMEN. SHE WAS PRAYING OUT LOUD AND THEY ASKED HER IF SHE BELIEVED IN GOD AND SHE SAID YES. THEN, THEY SHOT HER!” SO ENDED THE LIFE OF CASSIE BERNALL, APRIL 21, 1999.

P FOR CHRIST WHEN OUR LIVES ARE ON THE LINE IS A LEVEL OF COMMITMENT THAT MOST OF US DO NOT WANT TO THINK ABOUT. BUT JUST BECAUSE WE ARE NOT ASKED QUESTIONS OF FAITH WITH GUNS POINTED AT OUR HEADS DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE ARE EXEMPT FROM DIFFICULT CHOICES. THIS WORLD, ESPECIALLY IN THIS DAY IS NO FRIEND OF GRACE.

THE MARCH 2ND ISSUE OF THE CAPE COD TIMES THE FOLLOWING STORY ABOUT A FRAMINGHAM, MA HIGH SCHOOL APPEARED. IT SEEMS THAT 2 OUT OF THE 10 HIGH SCHOOL SEX EDUCATION TEACHERS CHOSE TO USE A HANDOUT IN CLASS TO TEACH SEXUAL TOLERANCE TO THEIR STUDENTS. APROXIMATELY 100 STUDENTS RECIEVED THE HANDOUT. AMONG OTHER THINGS THE HANDOUT POSED THE FOLLOWING 2 STATEMENTS/QUESTIONS. "IF YOU HAVE NEVER SLEPT WITH SOMEONE OF THE SAME SEX, HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU WOULDN'T PREFER THAT?" "ISN'T IT POSSIBLE YOU NEED A GOOD GAY EXPERIENCE?" (TALK ABOUT AN OXYMORON!)

OR JUST CONSIDER THESE CULTURAL INDICATORS: SINCE 1960, VIOLENT CRIME HAS RISEN 560 PERCENT, ILLEGITIMATE BIRTHS HAVE INCREASED 400 PERCENT, TEEN SUICIDES HAVE RISEN 200 PERCENT, DIVORCE RATES HAVE QUADRUPLED, AVERAGE SAT SCORES HAVE DROPPED 80 POINTS, AND THE PROPORTION OF CHILDREN LIVING IN FATHERLESS FAMILIES HAS TRIPLED. WE LIVE IN PERILOUS TIMES! CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED UPON TO MAKE INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT CHOICES!

ONE BELIEVER, WORKING FOR A COMPANY THAT DID A LARGE PART OF ITS BUSINESS WITH MICROSOFT, WAS IN THE HABIT OF SAYING TO CLIENTS UPON FINISHING THEIR BUSINESS ON THE PHONE, “HAVE A BLESSED DAY!” WHEN SHE SAID THAT TO A MICROSOFT EMPLOYEE, THE EMPLOYEE ALLEGEDLY RESPONDED, “WE DON’T PLAY THAT GAME HERE.” MICROSOFT CALLED THE COMPANY AND HAD THE LADY FIRED FOR INJECTING RELIGION INTO THE WORKPLACE. NO, WE MAY NOT FACE A GUN POINTED AT OUR HEAD LIKE CASSIE DID, BUT WE ARE BEGINNING TO FACE INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT CHOICES. WE LIVE IN PERILOUS TIMES!

THEY ARE PERILOUS, BUT THEY ARE NOT UNIQUE. IN FACT, PAUL WROTE ABOUT TIMES LIKE THIS IN THE FIRST CENTURY WHEN HE WROTE IN 2 TIM. 3:1-5 (READ THE PASSAGE).

NOW YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN PAUL WROTE ABOUT THE “LAST DAYS” HE CONSIDERED HIMSELF TO BE LIVING IN THEM. HE FULLY EXPECTED THE RETURN OF CHRIST VERY SOON, AND IN THIS CHAPTER, HE TELLS TIMOTHY HOW HE CAN ENDURE THESE LAST DAYS. THAT’S RIGHT PAUL TELLS TIMOTHY, AND, BY EXTENSION, YOU AND ME HOW WE CAN SURVIVE IN THESE “LAST DAYS.” IF PAUL WERE HERE TODAY I BELIEVE HE MIGHT SAY, “THE GUN OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS MAY BE POINTED AT YOUR SPIRITUAL HEAD; THE MUZZLE OF MORAL DECAY MAY BE DIRECTED AT YOUR SKULL; THE MAGAZINE OF THEOLOGICAL LIBERALISM MAY BE LOADED, AND THE GUNSIGHT OF SPIRITUAL COMPROMISE MAY BE AIMED AT YOU, BUT YOU CAN STILL SURVIVE. MORE THAN THAT, YOU CAN THRIVE IN THESE “LAST DAYS.”

HOW, PAUL? HOW CAN WE THRIVE IN TIMES LIKE THIS? VV. 14-15 OF CHAPTER 3 GIVE THE ANSWER. IT SAYS,

BUT YOU MUST CONTINUE IN THE THINGS WHICH YOU HAVE LEARNED AND BEEN ASSURED OF, KNOWING FROM WHOM YOU HAVE LEARNED THEM, AND THAT FROM CHILDHOOD YOU HAVE KNOWN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES WHICH ARE ABLE TO MAKE YOU WISE FOR SALVATION THROUGH FAITH WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS.

HOW DO WE THRIVE IN THIS ANTAGONISTIC CULTURE? WE MUST “CONTINUE” IN THE THINGS WHICH WE HAVE LEARNED, PAUL SAYS. AND HE IDENTIFIES VERY CLEARLY THE SOURCE OF THOSE THINGS IN TIMOTHY’S LIFE: THE SOURCE OF THOSE “THINGS” IS “THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. SURVIVING AND EVEN THRIVING IN A HOSTILE WORLD WILL DEPEND ON HOW WE FOLLOW THE HOLY SCRIPTURES; HOW WE GET INTO THIS BOOK AND HOW WE ALLOW THIS BOOK TO GET INTO OUR LIVES!

DO STATEMENTS LIKE THAT EVER BOTHER YOU? DO YOU FIND YOURSELF ASKING WHY WE PUT SO MUCH EMPHASIS ON THE BIBLE? DO YOU EVER WONDER WHY WE MAKE SUCH A BIG DEAL OUT OF BEING A “BIBLE” CHURCH AND WHY WE KEEP HARPING ON HAVING A “QUIET TIME” IN WHICH WE ENCOURAGE BELIEVERS TO STUDY GOD’S WORD? WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK SO SPECIAL? MORE SPECIFICALLY, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE WORD OF GOD THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO THRIVE IN DAYS LIKE THESE?

VERSES 16 AND 17 OF THIS CHAPTER GIVE US THE ANSWER:

ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, AND IS PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, FOR REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, FOR INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE COMPLETE, THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK.

WHY SHOULD WE STUDY THIS BOOK? PAUL GIVES US THREE REASONS IN THESE TWO VERSES. THE FIRST ONE IS THIS: WE SHOULD STUDY THE BIBLE:

DIVISION 1 - BECAUSE OF THE POWER IT HAS

EXPLANATION

PAUL INDICATES THAT THERE IS A QUALITY ABOUT THE SCRIPTURE THAT MAKES IT LIKE NO OTHER BOOK. HE SAYS IT IS GIVEN BY “INSPIRATION” OF GOD. THAT WORD, “INSPIRATION,” IS TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK WORD, THEOPNEUSTOS. IN GREEK THE PREFIX THEO ALWAYS STANDS FOR “GOD.” FOR INSTANCE, THE WORD, “THEOLOGY,” MEANS “THE STUDY OF GOD. THE SUFFIX OF THE WORD, PNEUSTOS, ORIGINATES FROM THE SAME WORD FROM WHICH WE GET THE WORD, “PNEUMATIC.” A PNEUMATIC DRILL USES AIR TO DRILL IT’S HOLES. NOW WHEN YOU PUT THE TWO WORDS TOGETHER YOU END UP WITH THE WORD, “GOD” AND THE WORD “AIR.” YOU MIGHT SAY IT LIKE THIS “GOD-BREATHED.” THE BIBLE IS A “GOD-BREATHED” BOOK. IT IS INSPIRED IN SUCH AWAY THAT WHEN YOU READ THE PAGES OF THIS BOOK, ITS WORD IS SO CLOSELY ASSOCIATE WITH GOD THAT IT IS LIKE FEELING HIS BREATH ON YOUR NECK. GOD SPEAKS THROUGH HIS WORD. THIS BOOK IS HIS VERY BREATH.

AND THAT QUALITY OF INSPIRATION IS INCLUSIVE. NOTICE THE FIRST WORD OF V. 16. PAUL SAYS ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD.

ARGUMENTATION:

NOW SOME MIGHT ARGUE ABOUT THIS. I MEAN AFTER ALL, THE BIBLE IS, IN ESSENCE, FUNCTIONING AS ITS OWN WITNESS HERE. THE BIBLE CALLS ITSELF INSPIRED AND THAT CLAIM CARRIES WITH IT, IN THE OPINION OF SOME AN INHERENT CONFLICT OF INTEREST. I MEAN, IF I WERE TO STAND IN FRONT OF YOU AND TELL YOU THAT I’M THE BEST LOOKING MAN ALIVE, YOU MIGHT TEND TO DOUBT THE CREDIBILITY OF MY CLAIM (OR PERHAPS, JUST THE RELIABILITY OF MY EYESIGHT). WHY? BECAUSE I HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN MAKING THE CLAIM. FOR THAT REASON, MANY PEOPLE HAVE SOUGHT TO PROVE THE BIBLE TO BE INACCURATE: IT CLAIMS ITSELF TO BE THE VERY BREATH OF GOD. BUT TIME AFTER TIME THE BIBLE HAS SHUT THE MOUTHS OF ITS CRITICS.

FOR INSTANCE, CRITICS CHARGED THAT THERE HAD NEVER BEEN ANY ROMAN GOVERNOR OVER PALESTINE BY THE NAME OF PONTIUS PILATE, AS THE GOSPEL WRITERS CLAIMED. “THE STORY OF CHRIST IS PARTLY FICTIONALIZED,” SAID THE SO-CALLED SCHOLARS. “THERE IS NO RECORD IN ANY HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS OF ANYONE BY THAT NAME.”

BUT THEN A STONE EXCAVATED IN CAESAREA FROM THE FIRST CENTURY CONTAINED THE NAME PONTIUS PILATE, PLAINLY ENGRAVED FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE.

AMAZINGLY, MANY SCHOLARS OF THE NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURIES DOUBTED THE EXISTENCE OF KING DAVID. THEIR OBJECTIONS CENTERED ON TWO THINGS. FIRST, THE STORIES ATTRIBUTED TO HIM ARE FANTASTIC—THAT HE WAS A YOUNG SHEPHERD BOY WHO KILLED A LARGE PHILISTINE WITH A SLINGSHOT AND LATER ESTABLISHED A ROYAL DYNASTY. SECOND, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANY HISTORICAL CONFIRMATION OUTSIDE THE BIBLE OF A KING NAMED DAVID.

BUT IN 1993, A DISCOVERY AMONG THE RUINS OF THE NORTHERN ISRAELI TOWN OF DAN CHANGED THAT. WE NOW HAVE A MONUMENT FROM ANTIQUITY INSCRIBED WITH REFERENCES TO THE “HOUSE OF DAVID.” THIS WAS THE FIRST REFERENCE TO THE PERSONAGE OF DAVID OUTSIDE THE BIBLE, BUT IT CONFIRMS HIS EXISTENCE.

SOMEONE ONCE SAID THAT THE CRITICS KEEP BURYING THE BIBLE, BUT IN REALITY THE ARCHAEOLOGISTS KEEP BURYING THE CRITICS AND DIGGING THE BIBLE BACK UP. YES, THE BIBLE CLEARLY STATES ITS OWN INSPIRATION, BUT THAT STATEMENT IS CONFIRMED OVER AND OVER AGAIN BY ARCHAEOLOGY. BUT, THERE’S AN EVEN BETTER WITNESS

YOU SEE, THE BIBLE PROVES ITSELF TO BE THE WORD OF GOD BY THE POWER IS HAS TO CHANGE LIVES.

ILLUSTRATION

MANY YEARS AGO IN A MOSCOW THEATER, MATINEE IDOL ALEXANDER ROSTOVZEV WAS CONVERTED WHILE PLAYING THE ROLE OF JESUS IN A SACRILEGIOUS PLAY ENTITLED CHRIST IN A TUXEDO. HE WAS SUPPOSED TO READ TWO VERSES FROM THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, REMOVE HIS GOWN, AND CRY OUT, "GIVE ME MY TUXEDO AND TOP HAT!" BUT AS HE READ THE WORDS, "BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT, FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN, FOR THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED," HE BEGAN TO TREMBLE. INSTEAD OF FOLLOWING THE SCRIPT, HE KEPT READING FROM MATTHEW 5, IGNORING THE COUGHS, CALLS, AND FOOT-STAMPING OF HIS FELLOW ACTORS. FINALLY, RECALLING A VERSE HE HAD LEARNED IN HIS CHILDHOOD IN A RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH, HE CRIED, "LORD, REMEMBER ME WHEN THOU COMEST INTO THY KINGDOM!" (LUKE 23:42). BEFORE THE CURTAIN COULD BE LOWERED, ROSTOVZEV HAD TRUSTED JESUS CHRIST AS HIS PERSONAL SAVIOR.

HOW DID IT HAPPEN? THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD. IT HAS AWESOME POWER BECAUSE IT IS THE VERY BREATH OF GOD.

APPLICATION:

SO WHAT? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN IN YOUR LIFE? YOU SEE, I BELIEVE THAT IF I WERE TO TAKE A POLL TONIGHT, MOST OF YOU WOULD AGREE THAT THE WORD OF GOD IS TRULY A POWERFUL BOOK. YOU’D SAY “AMEN” TO THAT STATEMENT WITH GREAT ENTHUSIASM, BUT YOU WOULD WALK AWAY FROM THIS BUILDING TONIGHT WITH A VAGUE SENSE OF UNEASINESS, AND, IN SOME CASES, A VERY STRONG SENSE OF FAILURE. THAT SENSE OF FAILURE WOULD COME FROM THE FACT THAT YOU KNOW YOU HAVE BEEN CHALLENGED ABOUT GETTING INTIMATE WITH GOD’S WORD BEFORE, BUT NOTHING HAS REALLY CHANGED. ITS LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT THE TRUTH IS: YOU KNOW THIS IS A POWERFUL BOOK, BUT YOU AREN’T EXPERIENCING IT IN YOUR LIFE. WHY NOT?

FOR SOME OF YOU THE REASON MAY BE THAT YOU GENUINELY THINK YOU JUST DON’T HAVE THE TIME TO GET INTO IT. I MEAN, YOUR DAY STARTS EARLY AND ENDS LATE AND ITS PACKED WITH NON-STOP ACTIVITY IN BETWEEN. YOU MAY BE A NEW MOTHER WITH LOADS OF LAUNDRY TO WASH AND LOTS OF TEARS TO DRY. YOU MAY BE A WORKING FATHER, PUTTING IN LONG HOURS AT THE OFFICE AND TRYING LIKE EVERYTHING TO MAKE TIME FOR YOUR FAMILY. TO YOU, GUILT OVER SOMETHING ELSE YOU “SHOULD” BE DOING IS NOT WHAT YOU NEED. YOU MAY BE A TEENAGER WHO STRUGGLES TO GET TO SCHOOL WITHOUT BEING TARDY, YOU’RE TRYING TO HOLD DOWN A PART-TIME JOB, AND YOU NEVER HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO BE WITH YOUR FRIENDS AS IT IS NOW. HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME TO STUDY THIS BOOK?

THE ANSWER IS FOUND IN ONE WORD: PRIORITY! YOU MUST MAKE THE LEARNING OF GOD’S WORD A PRIORITY IN YOUR LIFE. THAT MEANS IF YOU MUST LEAVE THE HOUSE AT 8:00 A.M. AND IT TAKES YOU AN HOUR TO GET READY, YOU GET UP AT 6:00 A.M., SO YOU CAN SPEND TIME WITH GOD. THAT MEANS IF YOU MUST LEAVE THE HOUSE AT 7:00 A.M. AND IT TAKES YOU AN HOUR TO GET READY, YOU GET UP AT 5:00 A.M. YOU SAY TO ME, “RUSTY, THAT’S RADICAL.” MY REPLY IS: “SO’S THE CHRISTIAN LIFE!” THIS IS A RADICAL LIFE YOU’VE BEEN CALLED TO. DON’T THINK YOU WILL BE HOLY AND WALK WITH GOD WITHOUT IT COSTING YOU SOMETHING! IF YOU EVER BECOME A STUDENT OF GOD’S WORD AND BECOME THE FOLLOWER OF CHRIST YOU’VE DREAMED OF BEING, YOU MUST MAKE HIS WORD A PRIORITY IN YOUR LIFE. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT THIS WORD HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE A LIFE, YOU WILL MAKE TIME FOR IT.

NOW WOULD YOU PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS NOT MY INTENT TO HEAP GUILT UPON YOU. NO, I DON’T WANT YOU TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE. I TRULY WANT TO INSPIRE YOU TO MAKE A CHANGE OF HABIT IN YOUR LIFE. THIS BOOK IS GOD’S VERY BREATH AND IT IS POWERFUL. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. BY THE GRACE OF GOD AND THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, YOU CAN MAKE TIME FOR IT. DON’T JUST THINK ABOUT IT: DO IT!

YOU WANT TO STAND FOR GOD IN PERILOUS TIMES? YOU MUST GET INTO HIS WORD? WHY SHOULD YOU STUDY THE SCRIPTURE? BECAUSE OF THE POWER THAT IT HAS. BUT, YOU SHOULD ALSO STUDY THE SCRIPTURE:

DIVISION 2: BECAUSE OF THE PROFIT IT BRINGS:

EXPLANATION:

PAUL TELLS TIMOTHY IN THIS VERSE OF FOUR DIFFERENT AVENUES THE SCRIPTURE TAKES TO BRING ITS PROFIT INTO OUR LIVES. IN ESSENCE, YOU MIGHT SAY THAT THESE ARE THE POINTS OF RELEASE FOR THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD TO FLOW INTO YOUR LIFE AND CHANGE YOU. THE FIRST OF THESE PROFITS WHICH THE BIBLE BRING IS DOCTRINE. PAUL SAYS THAT THE SCRIPTURE IS PROFITABLE FOR “DOCTRINE.” NOW THAT WORD IN THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE DENOTES “ACTIVE TEACHING,” THAT IS THE ACTIVE, ON-PURPOSE, TEACHING OF THE INFORMATION THAT THE SCRIPTURE GIVES. THE BIBLE IS A PROFITABLE PLACE TO GO TO FOR TEACHING MATERIAL, IN OTHER WORDS. IT LENDS ITSELF TO BE ACTIVELY TAUGHT, AND THE EFFECT IS THAT, THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT IT GIVES, OUR LIVES ARE CHANGED.

SOME HAVE TRIED TO SAY THAT CHRISTIANITY IS NOT ABOUT “HEAD KNOWLEDGE” BUT ABOUT “HEART KNOWLEDGE.” THERE IS A SENSE IN WHICH THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE. YES IT IS TRUE THAT “HEAD KNOWLEDGE” ALONE WILL NOT SAVE YOU, BUT THERE ARE CERTAIN FACTS YOU MUST KNOW BEFORE YOU CAN EVEN BE SAVED. FOR INSTANCE, YOU MUST KNOW THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD, THAT HE DIED ON THE CROSS, AND THAT HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD FOR YOU BEFORE YOU CAN TRULY RECEIVE CHRIST. NOW AFTER SALVATION, “HEAD KNOWLEDGE” IS ALSO IMPORTANT, BECAUSE THE GREAT TRUTHS AND PRINCIPLES OF SCRIPTURE MUST BE KNOWN BEFORE THEY CAN BE APPLIED. THE BIBLE IS A PROFITABLE RESOURCE FOR LIFE-CHANGING INFORMATION.

BUT PAUL ALSO TELLS US THAT THE BIBLE IS PROFITABLE FOR “REPROOF.” THAT WORD HAS TO DO WITH “CONVICTION” OR “EXPOSURE.” THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD, THE HOLY SPIRIT TURNS HIS CONVICTING SEARCH LIGHT ON OUR SOULS, POINTING OUT WHERE WE FALL SHORT. HE SHOWS US WHO WE REALLY ARE. I LOVE THAT VERSE, HEBREWS 4:12:

FOR THE WORD OF GOD IS LIVING AND POWERFUL, AND SHARPER THAN ANY TWO-EDGED SWORD, PIERCING EVEN TO THE DIVISION OF SOUL AND SPIRIT, AND OF JOINTS AND MARROW, AND IS A DISCERNER OF THE THOUGHTS AND INTENTS OF THE HEART.

THE WORD OF GOD “FILETS” OUR SOULS AND LAYS US OPEN TO THE CONVICTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. ONE REASON SOME PEOPLE AVOID READING THE SCRIPTURE IS BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT TO OPEN ITS PAGES IS TO RISK INSTANT CONVICTION AND THEY DON’T WANT THAT. IT IS PROFITABLE DOCTRINE AND REPROOF, BUT ALSO CORRECTION.

NOW CORRECTION ACTUALLY MEANS TO “MAKE STRAIGHT.” THE IDEA IS THAT AFTER THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS CONVICTED US THROUGH THE SCRIPTURE, HE IS ALSO ABLE TO MAKE THE NECESSARY CORRECTIONS IN OUR LIFE THROUGH THE SCRIPTURE.

AND AFTER HE CORRECTS US, HE THEN PROCEEDS TO INSTRUCT US THROUGH THE SCRIPTURE UNTIL WE BECOME RIGHTEOUS LIKE HE IS RIGHTEOUS. THE IDEA IN INSTRUCTION IS THAT OF “CHASTENING” OR “DISCIPLINE” WHICH, WHETHER IT IS POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE, IS CONSTANT. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS CONSTANTLY INSTRUCTING, GUIDING, CORRECTING AND ENCOURAGING US. HOW? THROUGH THE SCRIPTURE!

NOW, YOU SEE, THE PROBLEM WE HAVE IS THAT WHILE WE CLAIM TO WANT TO BE “LED BY THE SPIRIT,” WE ARE NOT GIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT THE VOCABULARY HE NEEDS WITH WHICH TO SPEAK TO US! YOU SAY, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, RUSTY.” I’LL TELL YOU: THIS BOOK IS GOD’S WORD TO US! WHEN WE ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT TO SPEAK TO US, BUT WE DO NOT IMMERSE OURSELVES IN ITS TRUTHS WE, IN ESSENCE, LIMIT WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT CAN SAY TO US, BECAUSE THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKS THROUGH THE WORD. NOT KNOWING THE WORD OF GOD IS LIKE PUSHING THE MUTE BUTTON ON YOUR SPIRITUAL REMOTE CONTROL. AND WE WONDER WHY WE NEVER HEAR FROM GOD! GOD WANTS TO COMMUNICATE WITH US, BUT HE DOES THAT THROUGH HIS WORD!

ARGUMENTATION

BUT YOU MAY SAY, “RUSTY, I HAVE READ IT, BUT IT I JUST DON’T GET ANYTHING OUT OF IT. I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE DOCTRINE, I DON’T REALLY SENSE ANY CONVICTION, I DON’T GET CORRECTED AND AS FAR AS I KNOW I CAN’T PICK UP INSTRUCTION.” WELL, IF THAT IS YOUR CASE, THERE ARE TWO POSSIBLE PROBLEMS: THE FIRST IS, YOU JUST MAY NOT REALLY THE LORD. 1 COR. 2:14 SAYS:

BUT THE NATURAL MAN DOES NOT RECEIVE THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD, FOR THEY ARE FOOLISHNESS TO HIM; NOR CAN HE KNOW THEM, BECAUSE THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVING INSIDE YOU, THERE IS NO WAY FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND THIS BOOK.

BUT YOU CAN ACTUALLY BE A BELIEVER AND STILL NOT GET ANYTHING OUT OF YOUR READING. I BELIEVE A LACK OF UNDERSTANDING IN A BELIEVER’S LIFE INDICATES A LACK OF THE PROPER ATTITUDE.

YOU SEE, SOME PEOPLE COME TO THE BIBLE WITH AN ATTITUDE OF DOUBT. THEY THINK THAT THEIR PROBLEMS ARE TOO COMPLEX TO BE MET WITH THE SIMPLICITY OF SCRIPTURE. THEIR PROBLEM, THEY BELIEVE, NEEDS MONTHS OF PSYCHOTHERAPY AND THEY ENJOY THE ATTENTION OF THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO LISTEN TO THEM REHEARSE THE DEEP PAIN THEY HAVE ENDURED IN THEIR LIVES. THEY DON’T WANT TO HEAR THE BIBLE WHEN IT SAYS, IF YOU HAVE BEEN WRONGED, FORGIVE. THEY DON’T WANT TO HEAR THE BIBLE WHEN IT SAYS, IF YOU ARE BEING DEFRAUDED, RETURN GOOD FOR EVIL. THEY DON’T WANT TO HEAR THE BIBLE WHEN IT SAYS, IF YOU ARE LIVING TOGETHER AND YOU ARE NOT MARRIED, YOU ARE AN ADULTERER. THEY PREFER COMPLEX EXCUSES FOR SIN TO SIMPLE BIBLICAL CALLS TO REPENTANCE. THEY DOUBT THE ADVICE OF SCRIPTURE SO THEY OBSCURE ITS MEANING WITH THE MYTH OF THEIR COMPLEXITY. BUT WHAT THE TRUTH IS, THEY DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH UNDERSTANDING, THEY HAVE A PROBLEM WITH OBEDIENCE.

I TALK TO PEOPLE ALL THE TIME WHO COME TO ME FOR COUNSELING. SOMETIMES THEY LISTEN TO WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS AND THEIR LIVES CHANGE AS THEY OBEY. AT OTHERS, WHEN THEY ARE CONFRONTED WITH THE SIMPLE ANSWERS OF SCRIPTURE THEY REJECT THEM. O THEY MAY NOT SAY THAT TO ME, BUT THEY WALK AWAY AND THEY NEVER COME BACK. YOU SEE IT ISN’T THAT THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE SCRIPTURE IS SAYING TO THEM, IT IS THAT THEY JUST DON’T WANT TO OBEY WHAT THE SCRIPTURE IS SAYING TO THEM.

GOD’S WORD IS POWERFUL! GOD’S WORD WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE! IT WILL SHOW YOU TRUTH; IT WILL CONVICT YOU; IT WILL CORRECT YOU; IT WILL INSTRUCT YOU IF . . . IF YOU WILL JUST GET INTO IT AND LET IT GET INTO YOU. IF IS A POWERFUL BOOK; AND IT IS A PROFITABLE BOOK

ILLUSTRATION

WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER I REMEMBER BEGINNING TO DOUBT GOD AND BEGINNING TO GET INVOLVED WITH SOME THINGS THAT WERE NOT RIGHT IN MY LIFE. IT ALL HAPPENED AS A RESULT OF SOME VERY DEEP DISAPPOINTMENTS THAT CAME INTO MY LIFE AS A RESULT OF SOME THINGS I FELT GOD ALLOWED THAT WERE TOTALLY UNFAIR. I ALSO REMEMBER THAT I LOOKED AROUND ME AND SAW SO MUCH HYPOCRISY IN THE CHURCH. I SAW PEOPLE WHO CLAIMED TO LOVE GOD BUT WHO WERE SO FILLED WITH HATE AND ILL WILL THAT I KNEW IF WHAT THEY HAD WAS CHRISTIANITY, I DIDN’T WANT IT.

BUT, YOU SEE, I REALLY WAS A BELIEVER. I DID KNOW THE LORD AND HE WAS WORKING IN MY LIFE. THROUGH A SERIES OF EVENTS I MADE IT TO FREE WILL BAPTIST BIBLE COLLEGE AND WHILE THERE, THE LORD REALLY BEGAN TO DEAL WITH ME. I WAS ACTUALLY IN SORT OF BACKSLIDDEN CONDITION WHEN I WENT THERE, BUT BEING ON THAT CAMPUS BROUGHT ME FACE TO FACE WITH THE LORD. I REMEMBER MAKING A DECISION THAT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. I DECIDED THAT I WAS GOING TO GET TO KNOW THE BIBLE FOR MYSELF. I DECIDED THAT I WAS THROUGH TAKING AT FACE VALUE WHAT ANY PREACHER TOLD ME THE BIBLE SAID AND I WAS GOING TO LEARN IT FOR MYSELF. I REMEMBER CLIMBING UP THE BACK STEPS TO THE MUSIC BUILDING BEFORE BREAKFAST IN THE MORNINGS AND READING AND PRAYING. I WILL TELL YOU THAT I BELIEVE THOSE TIMES OF PERSONAL STUDY AND PRAYER TAUGHT ME MUCH MORE THAN I EVER LEARNED IN A CLASSROOM THERE. I WOULD NOT BE HERE TODAY IF IT WERE NOT FOR THE TIME I SPENT THERE.

APPLICATION:

YOU SAY, “RUSTY, I BELIEVE IT MEANT A LOT TO YOU, BUT I REALLY HAVE TRIED TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE, AND IT JUST IS TOO HARD FOR ME. HOW DO I MAKE THE BIBLE RELEVANT TO MY LIFE? HOW CAN IT BE COME PROFITABLE TO ME?”

LET ME GIVE YOU A VERY SIMPLE APPROACH TO YOUR OWN PERSONAL BIBLE STUDY: WHEN YOU SIT DOWN TO STUDY OR TO HAVE YOUR QUIET TIME, FIRST READ A PARAGRAPH OR TWO OF SCRIPTURE. IF YOU DON’T HAVE A BIBLE THAT BREAKS THE SCRIPTURE INTO PARAGRAPHS INVEST IN ONE. THE NIV IS A GOOD CHOICE FOR THIS PURPOSE. SECOND, ASK YOU YOURSELF, “IN ONE WORD, WHAT IS THIS PARAGRAPH TALKING ABOUT?” WRITE THAT WORD DOWN AND THEN ASK THE THIRD QUESTION OF YOURSELF: “WHAT IS THE WRITER SAYING ABOUT THIS SUBJECT IN THIS PARAGRAPH?” ONCE YOU HAVE WRITTEN THIS PHRASE, ASK THE THIRD QUESITON: “WHAT ARE SOME SPECIFIC PRINCIPLES THIS SCRIPTURE GIVES ME THAT I CAN LEARN ABOUT THIS SUBJECT?” WRITE THEM DOWN AND ASK AS YOUR LAST QUESTION: “WHAT ARE SOME SPECIFIC WAYS IN WHICH I CAN OBEY THE PRINCIPLES I HAVE LISTED?”

NOW, LET’S PRACTICE THIS WITH A PARAGRAPH OF SCRIPTURE. LOOK AT JAMES 1:2-8. READ IT WITH ME. (ASK THE QUESTIONS AND HAVE THEM ANSWER)

1. IN ONE WORD, WHAT IS THIS PARAGRAPH TALKING ABOUT

2. WHAT IS THE WRITER SAYING ABOUT THIS SUBJECT

3. WHAT ARE SOME SPECIFIC TRUTHS THE SCRIPTURE IS TEACHING ABOUT THIS SUBJECT?

4. WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT I CAN OBEY THE PRINCIPLES THAT I HAVE LISTED?

HOW CAN WE SURVIVE IN PERILOUS TIMES? KNOW THE WORD. WHY SHOULD WE STUDY THE WORD? BECAUSE OF THE POWER IT HAS AND BECAUSE OF THE PROFIT BRINGS. THERE’S ONE MORE REASON PAUL GIVES US THAT WE SHOULD STUDY GOD’S WORD.

DIVISION 3: BECAUSE OF THE PREPARATION IT GIVES.

EXPLANATION:

NOTICE IN VERSE 17 THAT AFTER PAUL TELLS US ABOUT THE PROFIT OF BIBLE STUDY, HE THEN TELLS US WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO US IF WE SUBMIT OUR LIVES TO THIS PROCESS. HE USES TWO WORDS HERE: FIRST HE SAYS WE WILL BE “COMPLETE.” THE WORD COMPLETE CONVEYS THE SAME CONCEPT AS THE WORD “PERFECT” OR “MATURE.” IN OTHER WORDS, WHEN WE STUDY AND APPLY GOD’S WORD, WE ARE PERFECTED IN OUR CHRISTIAN LIFE. WE ACHIEVE CHRIST-LIKE MATURITY.

BUT THAT MATURITY ISN’T SOME STATIC, PASSIVE QUALITY THAT IS CONTENT TO SIT AN STEW. NO, IT IS ACTIVE, FOR NOT ONLY WILL WE BE MADE “COMPLETE,” WE WILL ALSO BE “THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED” FOR EVERY GOOD WORK. WE WILL HAVE ALL THE TOOLS THAT WE NEED TO CARRY OUT THE MISSION THAT GOD GIVES US TO ACCOMPLISH. THE PHRASE “THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED” MEANS “ABLE TO MEET ALL THE DEMANDS.” YOU SEE, LIVING IN PERILOUS TIMES AS A BELIEVER IN JESUS CHRIST IS A VERY DEMANDING THING. IT DEMANDS KNOWLEDGE; IT DEMANDS WISDOM; IT DEMANDS, MOST OF ALL, COURAGE TO STAND WHEN EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE AROUND YOU IS FALLING. BUT PAUL SAYS HERE THAT IN THESE LAST DAYS, GETTING INTO GOD’S WORD AND LETTING GOD’S WORD GET INTO YOU WILL “THOROUGHLY EQUIP” YOU TO MEET ALL OF THE DEMANDS THAT ARE PLACED UPON YOU. GOD’S WORD THOROUGHLY PREPARES YOU!

ARGUMENTATION

YOU SEE, SOME PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO DO ANYTHING FOR THE LORD, NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE LAZY BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID. THEY HAVE THE SAME FEAR OF SERVICE THAT I HAVE OF MECHANICAL LABOR. NOW I AM NOT LAZY . . . MOST OF THE TIME, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO WORKING WITH MY HANDS TO BUILD SOMETHING OR WIRE SOMETHING, I AM QUICKLY FRUSTRATED. I MEAN PUT A HAMMER IN MY HAND, AND I AM A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN. IF THE JOB IS EASY, I CAN MUDDLE MY WAY THROUGH IT, BUT ALL THE WHILE, I’M AFRAID I’M GOING TO MESS SOMETHING UP. NOW I MUST TELL YOU, I DON’T ENJOY FEELING LIKE THAT.

BUT YOU SEE, THAT’S THE WAY SOME OF US FEEL ABOUT WITNESSING, OR TEACHING A SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS - WE FEEL LIKE WE ARE RIGHT ON THE EDGE OF DISASTER, JUST ABOUT TO MESS SOMETHING UP. WE CERTAINLY DON’T FEEL “THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED.” HOW CAN YOU CHANGE THAT? WELL, TAKING CLASSES ON HOW TO TEACH, OR HOW TO SHARE YOUR FAITH WILL HELP, BUT I AM CONVINCED THAT THE GREATEST THING ANYONE CAN DO TO BE THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED IS TO STUDY THE WORD OF GOD! NOTHING CAN SUBSTITUTE FOR THIS! IT IS SO TEMPTING TO TRY TO TAKE SHORTCUTS, ISN’T IT?

ILLUSTRATION

HE WAS PROBABLY THE GREATEST EXPOSITORY PREACHER OF HIS DAY, PERHAPS OF ALL TIME. HIS NAME IS WELL KNOWN AND, EVEN TODAY, PASTORS CONSULT HIS WRITINGS ABOUT THE SCRIPTURE. HIS NAME: G. CAMPBELL MORGAN.

WHEN JOHN G. MITCHELL, OF MULTNOMAH SCHOOL OF THE BIBLE, WAS PASTOR OF THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN TACOMA, WASHINGTON, HE HEARD DR. G. CAMPBELL MORGAN PREACH. THE MAN KNEW HIS TEXT, AND YOUNG MITCHELL WAS IMPRESSED. IN FACT, HE ASKED THE VISITING BIBLE TEACHER HOW HE UNDERSTOOD SCRIPTURE SO WELL. "IF I TOLD YOU, YOU WOULDN'T DO IT," THE OLDER MAN SAID. "JUST TRY ME," MITCHELL INSISTED. "BEFORE I STUDY A BOOK, I READ IT FIFTY TIMES," THE VETERAN EXPLAINED.

THERE REALLY ARE NO SHORTCUTS TO CHRISTIAN MATURITY! YOU WANT TO BE COMPLETE? DO YOU WANT TO BE MATURE? DO YOU WANT TO BE EQUIPPED? IT’S ALL IN THIS BOOK!

APPLICATION:

EARLIER I GAVE YOU 4 QUESTIONS TO ASK TO REALLY COME TO UNDERSTAND AND APPLY A PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE. NOW I WANT TO GIVE YOU 3 THINGS YOU NEED IF YOU ARE TO MAKE THE STUDY OF THE SCRIPTURE AN INTEGRAL PART OF YOUR LIFE:

FIRST OF ALL, YOU NEED A TIME. WHEN I SAY YOU NEED A TIME, I MEAN YOU NEED A DEFINITE, NON-NEGOTIABLE, HABITUAL, CONSISTENT TIME EACH DAY WHEN YOU GET INTO GOD’S WORD. FOR ME ITS IN THE MORNING. I FIND IF I PUT IT OFF, I GET INTO THE ACTIVITIES OF THE DAY AND I CAN’T SLOW DOWN ENOUGH DURING THE DAY TO BE VERY EFFECTIVE. AND AT NIGHT ALL I WANT TO DO IS GO TO SLEEP. BESIDES, THE BIBLE SAYS “EARLY WILL I SEEK THEE.” (JUST KIDDING)

SECOND, YOU NEED A PLACE. I GO TO ONE OF THREE PLACES TO HAVE MY QUIET TIME. I GO TO MY OFFICE AT HOME, MY BACK PORCH ( IN THE SUMMER TIME) OR MY OFFICE AT CHURCH. YOU NEED A PLACE WHERE YOU WILL NOT BE DISTURBED AND WHERE YOU CAN BE FREE FROM OTHER DISTRACTIONS. YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS I LOOK FOR WHEN I AM OUT OF TOWN AND AM CHECKING INTO A HOTEL IS WHERE I WILL BE ABLE TO COME TO HAVE MY QUIET TIME THE NEXT MORNING. YOU SEE IF I AM TRAVELING WITH KATHY, SHE DOESN’T LIKE TO GET UP QUITE AS EARLY AS I DO, SO I ALWAYS SCOUT OUT WHERE I’M GOING TO GO THE NEXT MORNING TO BE ALONE WITH THE LORD. YOU MUST HAVE A PLACE.

THIRD, YOU NEED A PLAN. THAT PLAN NEEDS TO INCLUDE YOUR APPROACH TO THE BIBLE AND HOW YOU PLAN TO GO ABOUT STUDYING IT. WILL YOU READ IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH, OR WILL YOU SKIP BETWEEN BOOKS. WILL YOU USE A STUDY GUIDE, OR WILL YOU JUST RANDOMLY READ. RIGHT NOW, I HAVE SET A GOAL TO OUTLINE THE NEW TESTAMENT FOR MYSELF. NOW THAT IS GOING TO TAKE ME SEVERAL YEARS TO FINISH, BUT I AM THOROUGHLY ENJOYING IT. IF YOU STRUGGLE ON WHAT PLAN TO ADOPT, LET ME SUGGEST A FEW:

1. READ THROUGH THE BIBLE USING THE NARRATED BIBLE.

2. READ THROUGH THE NEW TESTAMENT, STUDYING IT PARAGRAPH BY PARAGRAPH.

3. USE A TOPICAL CONCORDANCE TO DO A TOPICAL STUDY ON THE HOLY SPIRIT, OR LOVE, OR WHATEVER TOPIC YOU’D LIKE TO UNDERSTAND MORE THOROUGHLY.

WHATEVER APPROACH YOU TAKE, JUST GET A PLAN AND STICK TO IT.

WE ARE LIVING IN PERILOUS TIMES AND THEY ARE JUST GOING TO GET WORSE. BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE AFRAID. YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE ON THE EDGE OF DISASTER. YOU CAN BE “THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED,” “ ABLE TO MEET EVERY DEMAND THAT IS PLACED ON YOU.” HOW? KNOW THIS BOOK!

VISIUALIZATION:

IT WAS 1983. REAGAN HAD BEEN PRESIDENT A COUPLE OF YEARS AND THE ECONOMY WAS IN TOUGH SHAPE. INTEREST RATES WERE 12-13% AND KATHY AND I, ON A SALARY OF LESS THAN $20,000 WANTED TO OWN A HOME, BUT NEVER THOUGHT IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE.

THERE HAD BEEN SOME DRIFTING IN MY LIFE AT THAT POINT. I WAS NOT AS CLOSE TO THE LORD AS I SHOULD HAVE BEEN AND THE PRESSURE OF TRYING TO HOLD DOWN MY JOB AND WORK AT THE CHURCH WAS GETTING TO ME. BESIDES, I HAD BEGUN TO SET MY HEART ON GETTING ALL I COULD AND CLIMBING THE LADDER OF “SUCCESS.” NOW, FOR OTHER PEOPLE, THAT COULD HAVE MEANT MANY THINGS, BUT FOR ME I CAN TELL YOU EXACTLY WHAT IT MEANT. I WANTED TO OWN MY OWN HOME.

IT WAS A GREAT DREAM, BUT IT WASN’T GOD’S DREAM FOR ME AT THE TIME. BUT THAT REALLY DIDN’T MATTER TOO MUCH TO ME. I KNEW WHAT I WANTED, AND I WAS GOING TO HAVE IT. SO, WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY CAME TO BUY A REPOSSESSED HOUSE IN THE SMALL TOWN OF LAVERGNE, TENNESSEE, FOR JUST A LITTLE OVER 20,000.00. I JUMPED AT THE CHANCE. YOU SEE, I HADN’T QUITE LEARNED THE TRUTH OF THAT CLICHE: “IF SOMETHING SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS.”

WELL, THE DAY AFTER WE CLOSE THE LOAN, I WAS OVER DOING SOME WORK ON MY BRAND NEW HOME WHEN ONE OF MY NEIGHBORS CAME OVER. HE NONCHALANTLY SAID, “O BY THE WAY, YOU DO KNOW THAT THIS HOUSE FLOODS, DON’T YOU?” MY HEART NEARLY HIT MY TOES! I IMAGINED THE HORROR WADING THROUGH MY KITCHEN AND LOSING ALL THE MONEY I HAD BORROWED TO DO THIS. WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO.

WELL THINGS WERE DRY ALL WINTER, BUT THEN SPRING CAME. ON EASTER SUNDAY MORNING, AFTER A WEEKEND OF RAIN, WE WADED TO OUR CAR, WHICH WE HAD TO PARK UP THE STREET, TO GO TO THE EASTER SUNDAY MORNING SERVICE. I WAS SO UPSET. I FELT LIKE MY LIFE WAS OVER. HERE I WAS IN ALL THIS DEBT, I HAD A HOUSE THAT WOULD NEVER SELL, I WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO DO WHAT THE LORD WANTED ME TO DO BECAUSE I’D HAVE TO LIVE IN LAVERGNE TENNESSEE FOREVER.

I REMEMBER GETTING ALONE WITH THE LORD. IT HAD BEEN A WHILE SINCE I HAD DONE THAT. I HAD BEEN SO CAUGHT UP IN WHAT I WANTED, THAT I REALLY HADN’T BEEN SPENDING TIME WITH HIM. BUT NOW I NEEDED ANSWERS. I PRAYED AND TOLD HIM THAT I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I WAS GOING TO DO. I WAS AT THE END OF MY ROPE. I NEEDED TO HEAR FROM HIM. I OPENED MY BIBLE TO THIS VERSE: PSALM 118:18:

THE LORD HAS CHASTENED ME SEVERELY, BUT HE HAS NOT GIVEN ME OVER TO DEATH.

PEACE FLOODED MY SOUL. IT WAS LIKE GOD, HIMSELF, WAS SPEAKING TO ME, ASSURING ME THAT, THOUGH HE WAS DISCIPLINING ME, HE WAS NOT GOING TO FORSAKE ME. FROM A NATURAL STANDPOINT, THOSE 15 WORDS OF THAT VERSE WERE NOTHING BUT INK SYSTEMATICALLY PLACED ON PAPER, BUT TO MY HEART THEY WERE THE VERY VOICE OF GOD.

YOU MAY BE HERE TODAY AND YOU NEED TO HEAR FROM GOD. YOU’RE SAYING, “WHY AREN’T YOU SPEAKING TO ME, LORD?” LET ME ASK YOU, ARE YOU GETTING INTO HIS WORD SO THAT HE CAN SPEAK TO YOU. ARE YOU STUDYING GOD’S WORD SO THAT YOU CAN BE THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED TO MEET THE PERILOUS TIMES OF YOUR LIFE? GOD’S WORD BRINGS POWER; GOD’S WORD BRINGS PROFIT; GOD’S WORD BRINGS PREPARATION; BUT ONLY TO THOSE WHO ACTUALLY STUDY IT.

INVITATION: HOW MANY HAVE A TIME WITH GOD? HOW MANY KNOW YOU NEED TO - STAND FOR PRAYER OF COMMITMENT.

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