So good to see everyone and have everyone here this morning.
I gave you a little more than a minute cuz I was still greeting. So there's no way I can do that within a minute. I understand. It's a challenge for all of us. We are continuing a sermon series this Summer that a loose leaves been titled a pebble in your shoe. And and but really what is centered around is about scripture and faithfulness and obedience to God, but I wanted to talk about a pebble in your shoe because I wanted to share these truths that something the kind of challenge our traditional thinking about some of these subjects and carry with us and kind of ponder. And so what we talked about so far in the series if I can get my clicker to work, but it's user error.
There we go. Wait wait, we kind of talked about the nature of God is laying a foundation for this series that God is the original person and we Are Made In His Image a lot of the qualities that we think of as human qualities are originally God qualities that he gave to us when he made us in His image the qualities having feelings of making decisions. The things that we think of as personhood God is not this entity or this name was forced. He is personal and a person and he seeks a relationship with his creation those facts alone are stunning that wants you to discover in the universe that we have a maker and uncreated Creator who made this world and all of us, but you also discover that that maker is Seeking a relationship with us that's stunning and a blessing to us and then you discover not only is he seeking a relationship, but he himself has overcome. Run Holiness that puts a bridge or a barrier between us and him. So it's stunning that there is a Creator and that he seeks a relationship with us and that he himself provides the bridge that gaps that on Holiness for us to be in relationship with him in this is essentially the gospel God's compassionate unfailing love toward us. His Hesed is the Hebrew word used most often in the Old Testament to describe God and that's what it means compassionate and unfailing love and faithfulness his ass. It has been made known through the life teaching death burial and resurrection of Christ God in person who came and establish the New Covenant relationship with us. That's the good news. That's a summary of what you see when you look from Genesis to Revelation. What's the hardest scripture is that God is our maker and has provided the restoration of a broken relationship through Christ on the cross and he seeks that restored relationship and that's the gospel. Understand it that way. We added this truth last week. It's important to understand that in the Hebrew culture when it talked about love because one of her things were talking about is God's love for us and our love for God but in the Hebrew culture love and hate are understood by the Hebrews as establishing Covenant or keeping coming in or not establishing or not keeping covenants that's important because in our minds when we talk about love and we hear the word love we kind of immediately think about the cement out in the emotional nature of Love still in Romans chapter 9 when Paul says that God hated Esau but loved Jacob we're shocked by that but in the Hebrew Hebrew ears, that would have been God had a covenant with one and he did have a covenant with the other they didn't receive an established this Covenant. That's what he's talking about. We understand this concept. We understand that obedience to our wedding vows keeping. Our wedding vows is an act of love So it's not as difficult for us to understand that original cultural Concept in the Hebrew language as we originally think because if we think about wedding vows and we think about one spouse keeping those vowels being obedient to those vows. We understand that's an act of love. I couldn't say to my spouse. I love you, but I'm not going to keep our wedding vows. They would say that those two you know it because I love you. I am going to be faithful to our wedding vows. I'm going to keep our wedding vows. Now. There's always Grace involved in marriage and Grace involved in a relationship with the Lord but the direction which and which was driving and walking is that faithful keeping of those vows that we made all of that background helps us see some of the core facts of the Gospel here in just a moment a little differently, but the addictive the facts of the Gospel the life teaching death round resurrection of Christ precede the imperative our response of love and obedience so that when Jesus says if you love me obey my Commandments That that request for us to obey his Commandments comes after The Gospel has been explained. He's he's told the disciples is that he's teaching them in the context of saying them. I'm establishing New Covenant. This wine is my blood poured out. This this bread is my body broken and so it's in response to the gospel. It's in response to Jesus giving his life for us. It's in response to the groom as Paul refers to Jesus later in a fission and it is in response to the groove who's laid down his life and wooed us and one us with his love and self-sacrifice. It's in response to that groom whom we married that we are ass keep my Commandments keep the valves of our covenant. It's important to understand the chronology that we are responding to what God has done when we seek to obey him to show our love for him by a bank we to off and get the chronology different than we think if I go to church if I owe base if I do the Good thing I will be in good standing with God. Then I will be loved by him. Then. He will say Well done thou good and faithful servant but notice in Jesus own life before he does anything when he's baptizing comes up out of the water the Holy Spirit. God says, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased and had not even began his ministry.
So that's the pattern where God gives us his love and grace. He sends his son to Die For Us demonstrates his love for us while we were yet sinners Christ died for us and response to that. We hear his words if you love me obey my commands. So loving Jesus means obeying his Commandments in scripture. That's kind of the foundation that we've laid a little bit so far in this series. I love 1st John 5:3 out of the Amplified Bible. It says for the true love of God is this that we do his command that we keep his ordinances and are mindful of his precepts in teaching and these orders of his are not irksome burdensome or oppressive or grevious. I love the expansion on that first because it's not simply. Hey you better obey God. It is the groom who's done everything to win us as his bride who says keep the valves keep my commands and this Loving groom. His commands for us his scriptures his word. They're not grevious. They are the words of Life. They are the instructions that lead us to live life to the fullest the way he designed us to live it. So it's this blessing to be invited to be obedient to scripture. Seeking a lot of Jesus by keeping our commands or keeping our vows that is obeying. His commands in scripture means seeking to understand scripture correctly in order to obey God correctly. Now, this is the core of what I want us to walk away with today. So if you if you agree with everything I said so so far which is kind of the Gospel unpacked that God has provided for us to the death of Christ on the cross and we've responded to that great love by thanks. I accept that. I will follow and and were asked to keep those vows hit to keep his command. That means we we need to obey scripture cuz that's one of the main ways and Central ways that God has communicated to us. And so we need to get to know him through scripture and Obey those commands and so if that's essential than understanding scripture correctly is essential. You see The Logical connection of that understanding it correctly in order to obey correctly is essential to look at what Paul says in this is our verse today in 2nd Timothy 2:15 studying again. I have a bad cuz I like the expanded wording hear study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved tested by trial a Workman who has no cause to be ashamed correctly analyzing and accurately dividing rightly handling and skillfully teaching the word of Truth and I think that's an invitation for all of us who are walking in a relationship with God to handle the word of Truth rightly and correctly because understanding it accurately is essential to a bang it accurately and so that's a core Foundation of being a disciple being a student of being a learner is to handle scripture properly and understand it properly. Here's a couple of good news. Panthers 2nd Timothy 2:15 means just what it seems to mean. That's awesome in it. How many times does future say I know that's what it seems to mean but let me add some more information here. Where does it mean that you're great. I've been reading that for years and I thought it just meant what it seemed to me. And now you're telling me that mean something different. I read all of the Pastoral letters all of what Paul wrote that we categorize the Pastoral letters getting that overall sense of context in order to be confident about is Paul saying exactly what he seems to be saying here or is there other stuff in these letters that would make me look back at this verse inside wait a minute. He's implying but guess what when you look at all the factors involved he sang pretty much what he seems to be saying this first, he's counseling Timothy to handle God's instructions just were rightly and he's telling him that cuz it's in contrast to the false teachers that Paul's worried about in the life of the Church of that time. And so he sang unlike them they handle scripture to serve their own political culture. And Theological position in order to Curry favor now no one today. We never slip into the mistake of using scripture to make our own point. Do we whenever get on Facebook and say, you know, I'm not worried about the context. This looks like a good Hammer to hit somebody with cuz we're having an argument. I want to win sometimes it's easy to slip into that category of really were over scripture and were using it to support our own case that we kind of already decided. We might have a political conviction or cultural convictions or theological conviction that sometimes we carry with us and we twist and shove and push scripture in the fitting what we've already assuming it becomes this tool that were using instead of something we submit to instead of a tool that we let God use on our hearts and Minds to shape our convictions and that's what was going on in the churches that Paul was writing to Timothy about they were talking about a whole variety of issues. Some of it was political in a sense of well, we'll get will be in better stay standing with the Romans and the powers-that-be if we have a size this and we'll just have a thousand so much so that we're bending twisting shopping and making this, you know much higher priority than it actually is a Hole by the way this and said, The following I can have a seminar and workshop get a book published to Oliver size this more and sold their own Egos and Prestige came into play and Paula saying to Timothy just what it seems to say that verse listen and contrast those false teachers. You need to handle the word of God rightly and correctly and show yourself faithful to the word of God because as we read before here's what he says a little bit later and Timothy, here's the purpose of scripture. All scripture is inspired by God and useful for refuting error for guiding people's lives and teaching them to be upright and then he continues this is how someone who is dedicated the god becomes fully equipped and ready for any good work. See the purpose of scripture in our lives is for God to use it to equip us to be obedient to him. So studying scripture is not an end in love itself. You see how we can slip into mistake of thinking God's agenda for us is for us to have knowledge.
And if you're not careful the Christian Life can be made up of Bible studies. And really it should be made up of Bible doings.
We study in order to show ourselves approved before God correctly handling the word of God understanding it correctly and therefore obeying it correctly. The power of scripture is when we obey a truth understood accurately. The power of scripture is when a false belief or understanding in our life gets replaced with the truth of God in our life and we act on it. That's how scripture transforms us scripture does not transform me just because I read it. It is not a book of incantations. It is not transformed me just because I memorize it. I could memorize it and misunderstand what I'm memorizing and I'm trying to obey something that is not the truth of God revealed. And guess what that's going to thwart my spiritual life in my progress the way God transforms you and I is by replacing faucet believes in our life with the truth and the way he gets the truth in their life. Most dominant Lee is when we are students of the word we study it accurately handle it accurately understand it accurately and then we obey we apply that it's all organic. It's all together. I can't stop short and say well I just don't try to do it whenever I learn it off. I need to understand it all I just need and we get stuck in that stage of Get Ready Get Ready Get Ready Get ready, and we never go to get set go. We just Prep Prep Prep and so we can slip into the essence of the Christian life being attendance at church services and attendance at bible studies. And we never learn our neighbors first name. Or we never go to the hospital and pray with somebody or we never lead anyone to Christ or we struggle with the same sins 20 years and our walk with the Lord that we had when we first came to know him or we don't see that transformation in our lives that we don't see the power of God in our lives. So it's essential to understand the purpose of scripture is to equip us to do the things God wants us to do is to make us able to obey God Scripture wants to work in our lives in such a way that the fruit is obedience to God. It's not simply the fruit of knowledge. The fruit of knowledge is good. So I don't want to hear me. I love scripture. It's inspired. It's the word of God. We should study it. We should learn it. We should read it. We should memorize it. We should know it but that is to the end of being obedient to God allowing that fruit to be born in our life another good news about this passage when you read it and Timothy the focus of Paul's concern. Is the essentials of the faith and salvation? We are not called to know all the details of every doctrinal possibility, but instead of no the heart of the face, so well, that false ideas are obvious. Talk to Good News observations about this verse 1. It means pretty much exactly what you can memorize this 1st 2nd Timothy 2:15. And what it seems to be saying is what it means and you can memorize it and treasure that in your heart and apply that in your life. And secondly when you look at all the letters and read them from start to finish all three of the Pastoral letters that the issues that Paul concerns is concerned with the Timothy make sure he gets right and contrast with the false teachers are the essential issues of understanding salvation and God's character and our relationship with God now to me the good news of that is not expected to learn all the possible doctrinal understandings of every little verse in scripture. And if we're not careful teachings that could be out there. I've got to study all these sordid details and so we can slip in the studies that right right to Get Ready Get Ready Get Ready Get Ready Get Ready Get Ready To Rights, and we never shift to Go we just end up prepping over and over and over but I believe scripture models that what we are to know is the scriptures as a whole and the essential parts of scripture that reveal God's character in his nature and we were to know God and his character. So well that we can spot false teaching it becomes obvious to us because it contradicts the clear teaching of scripture and the character of God. So we don't spend time studying the falsehoods that are out there. We spend time studying the essential Christian truth so that Even if the Devil Himself would you scripture? You know that right that the devil can use scripture that just because scriptures and Bob doesn't mean it's automatically a word from the Lord. Do you realize that scripture to be taken out of context? Do you realize that a devotional You by to take scripture out of context that could tell you that God's plan for you is health and well that he's going to bless you no matter what happens in your life. But his goal was for you to be healthy from the Cradle to the Grave and wealthy from the Cradle to the Grave and it would not be that different than the adversary coming to Jesus and saying let me tempt you and using scripture itself. And each time. Jesus refuted his misuse of scripture not scripture itself, but Satan's misinterpretation is mishandling of scripture and he he refuted it because of the character of God. So when Satan would say, hey you should do this in there a verse that says that he says that's not the way it works. That's not the way he got his I know God. I know it's character get it away from me. I'm not going to go down that path. What about this? Maybe you should understand this verse this way and try to do this thing know they got that wrong to I'm not listening to you. But that's the model for us to know scripture. So well to know God's character. So well that we can immediately spot something that's false. So that someone that says to you if you're a good Christian, all of your prayers will be answered and if your prayers aren't being answered you must not be a good Christian. Y'all gonna say now wait a minute. in their passage in Jobe where his life is full of suffering and his friends come to him and say now Joe if you were right with God, you wouldn't have any suffering in your life and then got you up later and say hey you guys sit down. Shut up. And even to Joe he says you to where were you when I hung the Stars? Where were you and he announces and really in some ways what happens there is that false teaching is completely rejected the idea that if we are living right with God will never be sick. Our bank account will never struggle with all of our prayers will be answered. That's a false teaching but we fall prey to it. If we don't know the scriptures well and don't think of the life of Jesus alone is his life absent of suffering. experience on answered prayer in the garden Jesus get experience unanswered prayer. Could you and I answered prayer father. If there's any way this cup of suffering can pass for me. I wanted the pass. But there's that wonderful nonetheless.
nonetheless not my will be done, but yours Because of his knowledge of the father is accurate knowledge of the father he knew he could trust the father. Dojo learned that lesson eventually to write though. He slay me though. He slay me.
Yet I will trust him.
Where the bride at least the bridegroom and we've seen him give his life up for us on the cross as he not displayed his trustworthiness and self-sacrifice and his love for us so that even in a moment when we can't understand what's going on are we can't see why the answer is what it is or isn't what it is. We can say I trust him. The more we understand scripture accurately the more we can learn to trust God more and more itself. Really part of what I want to teach in the series is some of the Essential Elements of understanding scripture as accurately and I put them down there in the bottom and a hashtag and let me just make this as a little bit of a side. I think if you were trying to boil down what are some things I need to incorporate in my life as a student of the word in order to to Faithfully understand scripture on a regular basis. I think you need to learn to understand cultural aspects of scripture just like I studied and realize and discovered that in the Old Testament in the Hebrew culture. They would have understood love as Covenant keeping or Covenant breaking that was a cultural revolution that help me more accurately understand scripture and so often times when you're looking at a passage if you're struggling to understand it ask yourself. Is there anything cultural I need to investigate in order to understand this passage more accurately. The second thing is context and really the white or narrative I use different language, but it's nice to have three C's there for memory sake? Like on text I mean both the immediate context. So when I read the Timothy 2:15 this week, I went ahead and read all of 1st. Timothy all of 2nd Timothy all of Titus. I read all of the context of these letters so that I could not only know what comes right before and after the first but those letters has a hole so I can feel more confident about its meeting meaning and the context is not only the immediate context. It's also scripture as a whole. What do I know about God that is consistently clear you interpret unclear passages in scripture by clear teaching in scripture to find some burst and I'm tempted to read it first and it's this novel new thing that we've never heard about gods and I could totally get a crowd to come listen to that. I need to be careful. And say wait a minute if I'm interpreting this in such a way that it contradicts abundantly clear teaching throughout Genesis to Revelation about the nature of God of the character God then I need to ask myself. Wait a minute this context challenge me to study more in order to feel confident about the understanding of this passage in the third see is Covenant one way to keep yourself out of trouble when you're staying scriptures always ask yourself about the Covenant the parties terms and promises are the three phrases. You can always use who are the parties that's being spoken to In this passage and I reading something in the New Covenant between God and those who follow him through Jesus Christ. Am I read something under the old Covenant between God and Israel. We need to ask yourself that question who are the parties involved were the terms here? As God said that Israel in Malachi after all your unfaithfulness your attempt to be faithful against if you'll be faithful again, I'll go ahead and bless you financially so you can build yourself a Fascination and and do I falsely am I tempted falsely to pull that promise? Between God and Israel out and slap it on my sermon and is very popular to preach today and it's preached in our churches in Lexington that consider themselves faithful to the word of God and they are and many many ways, but that is not a true promise for you and I to take Malachi and say if you give to God he's going to open the storehouses of heaven and feel your bank account and I've heard it breached. So many times it would be solved by just saying Covenant parties terms and Promises who are the parties involved in this passage. What are the terms and what are the promises and do they apply to me? Am I one of the parties but this passage is talking about and what are the terms and what are the promises? So if we learn those things and I'm going to talk about these over the coming weeks as we continue to look at studying scripture being students of the word. I'm going to keep revisiting these themes but I wanted to introduce them this morning a little bit to give you practical ideas about being students of the word. So look at what temperature says I mean,
I did too late. Let me close out here with a couple of examples trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge. Him and He Shall direct your path. And I remember ice that verse Proverbs 3 5 and 6 and I seen it in my lifetime that we are tempted to look at this passage in Proverbs, and we're tempted to treat it like it's a paragraph in a contract. You're ever treated this way ever tempted to treat it this way. So I get it. I get it. This is awesome. I'm so glad that you had me memorize this trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding standings at all your ways acknowledge Him and He Shall direct your path. So here's the deal. God has made a contract here with me. If I if I leaned on how not my own understanding, but I trust in him then he will direct my pass if I ever lean on God and trust him and then not get an answer to your request for direction of your pan. And then you're tempted to say well I did my part and God didn't do his. Mama said out loud, but then we're tempted. The other mature comes along that says then maybe he really can't be trusted.
Maybe scripture really can't be trusted. Now what if instead I let scripture be authoritative over me and I let scripture be what it is. I understand Fred Craddock talk about this concept when we take a paradox in scripture those who are humble will be exalted by the Lord that's presented as a paradox. Okay, but what we do sometimes in North America because of the American mindset, we turn that into a strategy. It's even been preached that way. So would you like to be exalted I found the secret in scripture for you to be here to be exhausted. If you want humble yourself before the Lord will be exalted and suddenly guess what the goal is the goal is my own exaltation.
Doesn't that destroy the purpose and meaning of that scripture which is calling me to be humble or I get it. Thank you for little secret Jesus. I'll be humble and then you will exhaust me. I love that we take scripture and we make it what we wanted to be instead of saying that's a paradox. Okay. What is the Book of Proverbs?
Wisdom wisdom literature. Okay, so is wisdom literature a contract or a covenant with the reader of the wisdom literature? No. It is wisdom literature here is great advice. Is there great advice that is not 100% every bit of the time. It's a great way to live your life. It's good advice, but you can't turn it into a contract and say no. No, this is the way it's always going to be but we turn this passage into a covenant or contract and then when we misunderstand it and Miss Appliance then saying comes along and says, maybe God's not faithful. You trusted him in all your ways, but he didn't direct your paths may be scripture. Can't be trusted. so well-intended attempts to memorize that verse and live it out the adversary can stick his foot in there and turn it into something that works the opposite but if I handle scripture accurately and I say this is listen to The Book of Proverbs, so I know what this this is wisdom for me to live my life by but it's not a coven of a contract where I can say
Thanks instead. It's the way I should live my life and it's good wisdom for me, but it's not this jot and Tittle cross every T. Every died. I promise from God. Let me show you one more example, we do the opposite with this verse if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us all our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Think about how the adversary gets his foot into our thinking sometimes and so we treat proverb which is wisdom. We treat it like a coming it and then we treat this verse which is Covenant language, which is a contract we treat it like yeah. Yeah. I know what scripture says that but I'm not sure I'm forgiven, but I'm not confident in my salvation, but I worry about whether I'm completely cleansed. I'm not sure I got it right. I'm not sure. If you ever do this with this verse River struggle with a great sense of confidence or being a shirt of her own forgiveness. When in reality if I step back and say now, wait a minute what let scripture be what it is if it's a song It's a song If it's a proverb is a proverb if it's a parable it's a parable. Right, if it's a paradox, it's a paradox. What's a letter? It's a letter if it's the latter. Guess what it's to somebody and from somebody and I have to take into account contacts and I can't just pull out of her ass like a fortune cookie to let Him scripture be what it is brings with it a certain set of understandings and handling it in 1st John. He's calling forth Covenant language. So what he's telling us is this is a completely trustworthy if we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness affect applied in this verse is the idea that the sacrifices he talks about atoning sacrifice. Just before this verse that that sacrifice has already been made by Christ and so God is compelled because it would be unjust for God to require another sacrifice when a complete sacrifice has already been made through Christ and so he does not require another sacrifice for my he doesn't say well if you want Frabill for 3 or 4 days and just kick yourself over and over three days. I just punched myself in the guts then somehow you want that is that's a subtle form of making another sacrifice of adding to the work of Christ and John is saying here listen.
The sacrifice has been made and if we will confess our sins, he will forgive us. So how much good would it do us if we stop interpreting Proverbs like it's a contract. And start start interpreting 1st John like it's a contract. When those two things alone bless our lives. Do you see how if we understand scripture correctly and then apply it and Obey that correct understanding then it's God working his truth and his blessing into my life. That's why I so vital to be students of the word who take the time to understand it correctly. Now we're going to end on on this note and on about the worship team is that crowd can move to the stage. I know it'll be a lot of noise with the worship team getting up there. I got him on a break. Yeah.
You guys can come up and we'll finish on this. This is not the reason it's so important what comes into our minds. Aw Tozer said when we think about God is the most important thing about us. He continued we tend to buy a secret lol the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true. Not only the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that compose the church always the most revealing thing about the church is her idea of God. And so the challenge is for us to come to scripture and interpreted accurately handle it back really Let. Jesus be our guide and handling scripture and understanding who God is how often did Jesus teach you have heard it said but I say to you that's why it's his way of saying there's a there's a misunderstanding that's out. There. Here's the right understanding and we continue to need that in our own lives as disciples on an ongoing basis. It is important to Revere scripture and to protect it and treasure it. Absolutely. It's equally important to obey scripture and submit to it. And that means as a community we we we ask ourselves are we understanding scripture correctly? And are we paying it and could there be some treasured understanding that we've held onto for a long time that we end up saying wait a minute. That's under the you've heard it said thing. right There's churches that that that still believe that racism is somehow supported by scripture. There's false teachings that are in the church today. Paul was riding today. He wouldn't look around the churches in the world and say I'll do just no material here. There's nothing needs to be corrected. Ruby lots of things that he would write and say hey there there's false teaching you got to constantly submit to the word and let it be the authority and you be the student and do the work of understanding it correctly and don't bang because that makes you the light in the world that God has called the church to be because it's a cliche but it's true the best Bible some people ever read is you and I So it's even more important that we understand correctly and we obey correctly so that the image of God that were sending out to the world is accurate at again. I've been around Christians. The damage they sent to me based on misunderstanding of scripture with an image that kept me out of the church for years. They said to me well. Only accept certain kind of people if you change yourself a little bit Robbie then maybe you'd be welcome at our church and they since many of them sincerely believe that they were understanding scripture correctly. When it's all met a Christian who said guess what Jesus loves you just as you are long hair and all can you believe that I was inviting the church as a long haired 18 year old kind of person that you would not want at the dinner table with your children. This Christian lady just said hey, why don't you come to my house for dinner? But my husband using out of the church and never once did I get told, you know, if you cut your hair or if you'd straighten up a little bit. I just got welcomed in like family week after week after week. And that was the seed that grew into my coming to Christ. So it's vital that we never just settle and say I've got it all understood that we become students of the word on a regular basis and we humbly come to it on a regular basis and let the Lord correct and teach and rebuke and shape Us in order to do good in this world to reflect his goodness and always be ready to give an answer for the lot for the reason why were living differently. That's what it means to love him by obeying his commands.