Embracing the Bible
Embracing the Bible
2 Tim. 3:10 through 2 Tim. 3:17 (NIV)
10You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Introduction: When we accept the Bible as our book, there is a lot that goes along with it. If you embrace the Bible, you had better be ready.
I. If You Embrace the Bible, Be Ready For Trials.
A. Engage in Serious Conflict
*A young Christian who worked for a rich man was always telling his employer that Satan was constantly battling with him, but he always won over Satan. The master made fun of him, telling him that Satan never bothered him. How was that? The young Christian could not answer him. One day, however, they went hunting together. The employer shot at some wild ducks. Some he killed, and some he just wounded. "Run," the employer said, "and catch the wounded ones first before they run away." The young Christian came back laughing. He had the answer to the big question. "You know, sir," he said, "why Satan does not tempt you? Because you are spiritually dead, just like those ducks. He goes after the live ones, ones like me."
B. Enjoy a Stable Conduct
* "The Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't."
* Who can stand alone? A minister traveling on a Continental train was the sole occupant of a compartment, save for a young man reading a newspaper. The youth was also a Christian, but so weak was his faith, and so many were his temptations, that he told the minister he did not think he would be able to stand life a week longer.
The minister took from his pocket a Bible and a penknife, and said, "See, I will make this penknife stand up on the cover of this Bible, in spite of the rocking of the train." The young man, thinking this was some conjuring trick, watched the proceeding with interest, saying, "I am afraid that it will not be very easy to do that, sir."
"But," said the minister, "I am doing it." "Oh, but you are holding it," retorted his fellow passenger. "Why, of course! Did you ever hear of a penknife standing up on its end without being held up?" "I see; you mean that I cannot stand unless Christ holds me. Thank you for reminding me." --Sunday School Times
* After the battle of Bunker Hill, a courier rode breathlessly up to General Washington at Cambridge and announced the news. The great general asked one question--only one. He did not inquire who commanded, nor how many were killed, nor even whether the British were finally repulsed. He simply asked: "Did the militia stand fire?" The messenger said they did. "Then we shall win our independence," he replied. --Topical Illustrations
C. Endure with Strong Confidence
*Not all things that come to us are, in themselves, good. It was not good for Joseph to be hated by his brethren, put in a pit, sold into Egypt, lied on by a wicked woman, cast into prison. No, these things were not good; but Joseph maintained a right attitude toward his trials. Our attitude will make us or break us. If we are the Lord's and true, we may rest assured that He will work all that comes for His glory. Whatever comes, comes by His permission or direction. He either sends it or permits it. Whatever He sends or permits, He could prevent. Since He does not prevent it, we may rest assured that He will, ultimately, work it for His glory. and our good.
By William Moses Tidwell, "Effective Illustrations."
II. If You Embrace the Bible, Be Ready For Training.
A. With Continuous Work
Paderewski, the great pianist, once said, "If I don't practice for one day, I notice it. If I don't practice for two days, my friends know it; and if I don't practice for three days, the whole world notices it."
B. With Convincing Workers
* Hypocrite: Someone who complains that there is too much wickedness and violence on his VCR. Adapted from Reader's Digest, October 1991
*There is the story of the man who came down from the North Carolina mountains. He was all dressed up and carrying his Bible. A friend saw him and asked, "Elias, what's happening? Where are you going all dressed up like that?" Elias said, "I've been hearing about New Orleans. I hear that there is a lot of free-runnin' liquor and a lot of gamblin' and a lot of real good naughty shows." The friend looked him over and said, "But Elias, why are you carrying your Bible under your arm?" And Elias replied, "Well, if it's as good as they say it is, I might stay over until Sunday.
C. With Capable Weapons
*Ralph C. Norton, who was the Director of Personal Work for the Chapman-Alexander Missions and Director of the Belgian Gospel Mission, was talking with some friends about the supreme work of winning men one by one, in which God has used him so
wonderfully. When they noticed the almost exclusive place he
gave to the Bible in personal work, one asked him: "What do you
do Mr. Norton, in cases where the unsaved man does not accept
the Bible as having any authority?" "Well, if I had a fine
Damascus sword with a keen double-edged blade I would not sheath it in a fight just because the other man said he did not believe it would cut." --Sunday School Times.
III. If You Embrace the Bible, Be Ready for Truth.
A. Revelation of God
*After a little girl had prayed about what gift would be best
for her father's birthday, she felt led to buy a Bible. She
wondered what to write on the flyleaf. "From Maggie" seemed too
cold. "From your little daughter" would not do, either, for her
father had said she was getting to be a big girl. Would "From
one who loves you" do? Scarcely, for quite a lot of others
loved him, too. Finally she went to her father's library. She
found that one of the books had this on the flyleaf--"From the
Author." Later, when her father opened his gift, and saw "From
the Author," he realized that he was not acquainted with the
Author of the Bible. He began to study his Bible, was converted,
and became a preacher. In telling the story of his conversion,
he often held up the little Bible, and told about the
inscription, "From the Author." Let us then accept it, read it,
believe it, confess it, and tell to others that it is a love
gift for them "From the Author." --Golden Sheaves
B. Revelation of Self
* Winston Churchill once said "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
* A young preacher frequently talked with a wise old farmer. One day the question under discussion was, "What is the greatest hindrance to spiritual growth and happiness?" The preacher said, "Surely it is failure to renounce our sinful self." "No," said the farmer, "the greatest hindrance is failure to renounce our righteous self."
C. Readiness for the Task
* Most of us resent being "used," but here is something which could change the world, and it is crying out to be used:
Just use me-I am the Bible.
I am God's wonderful library.
I am always-and above all-the Truth.
To the weary pilgrim, I am a good strong staff.
To the one who sits in gloom, I am a glorious light.
To those who stoop beneath heavy burden, I am sweet rest.
To him who has lost his way, I am a safe guide.
To those who have been hurt by sin, I am healing balm.
To the discouraged, I whisper glad messages of hope.
To those who are distressed by the storms of life, I am an anchor.
To those who suffer in lonely solitude, I am a cool, soft hand resting on a fevered brow
O, child of man, to best defend me, just use me!
If you have not yet discovered that wonderful book we call the Bible, it's time you did. In the words of Samuel to Saul, "Stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the Word of God" (1 Sam 9:27).
*The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way
of salvation, the doom of sinners, the happiness of believers.
Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its decisions
are immutable. Read it to believe, believe it to be safe,
practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to
support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler's
guide, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's
sword, the Christian's character. Here paradise is restored,
heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its
grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.
It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet.
Read it slowly, daily, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a
paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in
life, will be opened at the judgment, and will be remembered
forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the
greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its contents.
- Herald of Holiness (Dec 1, 1982)
Let the Word of God take your life to new levels through trials, through training, and through the transformation made available through the truth.