Faithlife Sermons

Armed and Dangerous: Committed to Concealing God's Word In Your Heart

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Scripture Memory

Galatians 2:20 NASB95
20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Opening Scripture

Ephesians 6:10–20 ESV
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
New Series Introduction
Good morning, we are starting a new sermon series today titled.

Called to Commitment: Taking Your Spiritual Life to the Next Level.

Christians are called to commitment. Over and over again in Scripture, we are called to live a life of obedience, of perseverance, of commitment.
Commitment requires constant, consistent, patient, persistent pursuit. Commitment has an undeniable constant, an overarching ache to see a desired outcome come to pass.  No part of the person escapes that ache. It refuses to cease – regardless of our situations.
As Christians, if we are to achieve what God has set before us, we must move into a place of commitment where our biggest difficulties will not be able to cause us to waver from wholeheartedly pursuing what God has set before us. And to get to a place where we can be that committed to God, we need to shed a lot of “ourselves” – those things which cause us to look for momentary comforts.
We must allow God’s Word to allow us to see beyond that which our natural eyes can see. Only then will we be able to stand strong.
Abraham had to leave everything and follow God – Commitment. Moses had to face the Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt. - Commitment. When we look at the lives of Joseph, Joshua, Caleb, Gideon, Elijah, King David, King Hezekiah, King Josiah, Mary the mother of Jesus – they all did great things. But one word defined each of them – Commitment.
Commitment is inconvenient. But then, it was never meant to be easy.
It is not God’s intention to allow you to stagger through life, helplessly. God has set so much before you?
It may not be easy but pursue it. It’s worth it all – for it holds the potential to unlock the greatness God has set before you.
Commitment is the key to taking your spiritual life to the next level. That commitment is not a suggestion, rather it is something we are all called to.
Today, we are going to be looking at a vital commitment of the Christian life from the Psalter.
Join me in Psalm 119, we will be reading verses 9-16. Here we are going to view our need to be armed and dangerous.
Psalm 119:9–16 ESV
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! 13 With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. 14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. 16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
First thing we need to understand from this psalm is....

1. We are armed with God’s Word.

As we read at the beginning of the service, we are in a battle against the schemes of the Devil. In that battle there is only one weapon sufficient to defeat our enemy.
Eph 6:17 says that the word of God is “the sword of the Spirit.”
Hebrews 4:12 ESV
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Jeremiah 23:29 ESV
29 Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
Today, many people keep a gun in their homes for protection. To them, that gun is the guardian of their home.

A. God’s Word is our Guardian (Ps. 119:9).

God’s word is the guardian of our lives!
Psalm 119 is an alphabetical poem, or an acrostic poem. There are twenty-two sections ordered by the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each section contains eight verses.
Our section begins with the letter beth. In Hebrew, beth can also mean “house.” Herbert Lockyer believed that “the underlying thought of this stanza is making our heart a home for the Word of God.” I like that. But it brings up the question...
What is the condition of your heart, your home?
James Montgomery Boice has said,
“Apart from the grace of God in your life it will always be occupied by such filthy evil spirits as lust, greed, pride, and self-love. If you try to drive these demons out by yourself, they will only return in greater numbers and your latter state will be worse than at the first. God alone can cleanse the heart, and he does so through the agency of his Word, the Bible.”
Psalm 119:9 ESV
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
Alexander Maclaren wrote that the world is “a great deal fuller of inducements to do wrong than of inducements to do right.… a great many bad things that have a deceptive appearance of pleasure, a great many circumstances in which it seems far easier to follow the worse than to follow the better course.
We are in a battle, a battle for our minds, a battle for our devotion, a battle for our very hearts.
Left on our own, we would follow ways that seem right, but would ultimately lead us to death.
Proverbs 16:25 ESV
25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
That is why we need God’s Word in our lives. God’s Word cleanses us, God’s word purifies us, God’s Word is the only effective guardian of our souls, but it is not only our guardian. It is also our most effective Guide.

B. God’s Word is our Guide (Ps. 119:10).

Psalm 119:10 ESV
10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
One of my favorite hymns, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” was written by the British Baptist hymn writer Robert Robinson (1735-1790), who as a barber’s apprentice, fell under the powerful influence of George Whitefield’s preaching.
In the last stanza is a line that I believe portrays our need for God’s guidance.
“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” Many believe that this was autobiographical, referring to Robinson’s early life, when his mother sent him to London to be an apprentice.
It was during this time, according to hymnologist Kenneth Osbeck, that “he associated with a notorious gang of hoodlums and lived a debauched life” until he came under the spell of Whitefield.
What I believe the Psalmist is saying to us is that we are all prone to wander, even when it is our heart’s desire to seek God.
That is why we need the commandments, another word for God’s word. They are what anchors us. They guide us through the battle of life.
God’s word or lack thereof can be dangerous. But with God’s word we can become dangerously effective at navigating life.

2. God’s Word makes us dangerous.

A. We can be dangerous to ourselves (Ps. 119:11).

We harm ourselves when we sin against God gracious love (Ps. 119.11).
Psalm 119:11 ESV
11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Without God’s word in our heart, we not only have the potential to sin against God. Scripture says that is exactly what we will do.
We harm ourselves when we can’t praise God due to our sin (Ps. 119:12).
Psalm 119:12 ESV
12 Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes!
We can praise God as we learn from Him; as he guides us and guards us. As His word purifies our souls, we can celebrate what He is doing in our lives.
But when sin is present, the praising is much harder to accomplish. In fact, it is virtually impossible.
Church, the point is this, if we linger in our biblical illiteracy. If we continue to try to follow our own path rather than the path laid out for us in God’s Word, we will continue to sin, we will continue to be dangerous to ourselves and we will not be a threat to our enemies.

B. We should be dangerous to our enemies (Ps. 119:13).

Do you believe you have enemies? The Bible mentions at least groupings of enemies. They have been known as the unholy trinity. They are the Devil and his demons, Our Flesh, and Our World.
We should be dangerous to these enemies. We should be able to withstand them because we have the light of the world. We have the Logos, the word, the God-man Jesus Christ!
If we are constantly living obediently in that word and proclaiming that word, then God will be honored, and our enemies will be beaten with the ugly stick.
That is what happened for the Psalmist, as he hid God’s word in his heart, as he committed to conceal God’s Scripture in his soul, his lips began to utter that word back out into his flesh, and into his world, and the Devil shrank back in fear!
Psalm 119:13 ESV
13 With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.
What are our lips declaring? Gossip, pride, envy, jealousy, greed, and power. Or Grace, Mercy, Love, Redemption, and Salvation?

C. We can be dangerously victorious if we commit to conceal God’s Word in our hearts (Ps. 119: 11-13, 16).

Psalm 119:11–13 ESV
11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! 13 With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.
Psalm 119:16 ESV
16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
There is a battle for your mind. Satan’s singular aim is to draw away your devotion to Jesus. How do you defend your heart’s home?
We need to picture the Bible as our gun, our modern day equivalent to the Sword of the Spirit. Our gun needs ammunition to be effective at guarding our house.
The Holy Spirit cannot give ammunition you have not stored in the armory of your mind.
Donald Whitney, in his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life vividly illustrates it like this, “Imagine…ourselves... in the midst of a decision and needing guidance, or struggling with a difficult temptation and needing victory. The Holy Spirit rushes to your mental arsenal, flings open the door, but all He finds is a John 3:16, a Genesis 1:1, and a Great Commission. Those are great swords, but they’re not made for every battle.”
Just as there were swords for different occasions, there are bullets for different occasions.
One of the ways we can experience more spiritual victories is to do as Jesus did—memorize Scripture so that it’s available for the Holy Spirit to take and ignite within us when it’s needed.
Remember Jesus’ temptation by the Devil in Matthew 4. Three times the Devil offered Jesus things to get him to betray His Father, and Three times Jesus victoriously responded with “It is written.”
When Scripture is stored in the mind, it is available for the Holy Spirit to take and bring to your attention when you need it most.
Remember that memorizing verses is not an end in itself. The goal is not to see how many verses we can memorize, the goal is Godliness.
The goal is to memorize the Word of God so that it can transform our minds and our lives.
Listen to the words of the late Adrian Rogers.
Suppose that somebody comes and takes away all of our Bibles: Could we, with what we have in our minds, here in this auditorium, put the Bible back together again just out of our memories? “Say, I know this passage.” “Well, I know that one, and let’s write us out a new Bible, because we’ve hidden God’s Word in our hearts.” Suppose that you get marooned? Suppose that you get put in prison? Suppose that you are stripped from a Bible? How much of God’s Word have you hidden in your heart? How much of God’s Word have you memorized?
You say, “Well, I can’t memorize things, Pastor.” Let me ask you a question: If you got $1,000 per verse, do you think you could memorize some? It’s a matter of motivation, isn’t it? It’s a matter of motivation. Memorize the Word of God.
Church this new year, let us all commit to some kind of Scripture Memory program.
Dallas Willard once said,
Personally, I would never undertake to pastor a church or guide a program of Christian education that did not involve a continuous program of memorization of the choicest passages of Scripture for people of all ages.”
If we commit to know God’s Word, to be mastered by God’s Word, to memorize God’s Word, then we will be on our way to being armed and dangerous for God’s kingdom.
But there is one more thing the Psalmist wants us to understand.

3. God Calls us to be committed to His Word.

You see it is not enough to just know God’s word and memorize it. Even Satan knows God’s word. We must learn to love it and be committed to it. Just as we are to our spouse and families, or at least as we should be.

A. Learn to see God’s Word as your greatest treasure (Ps. 119:14, 16).

Psalm 119:14 ESV
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
Psalm 119:16 ESV
16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
Psalm 119:72 ESV
72 The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Psalm 119:111 ESV
111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.
Psalm 119:127 ESV
127 Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.
Psalm 119:162 ESV
162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.
Love God’s Word like it is your most valuable treasure. If you do that, you will learn to let it be apart of your life. You won’t just memorize it, you will meditate on it.

B. Don’t just memorize God’s Word; take your spiritual life to the next level by meditating upon His Scriptures (Ps. 119:14-16).

Memorization should stimulate meditation.
Again Don Whitney is helpful as he wrote,
“Whether you’re driving the car, riding the train, waiting at the airport, standing in line, rocking a baby, or eating a meal, you can benefit from the Spiritual Discipline of meditation if you have made the deposits of memorization.”
So what is meditation? The Psalmist says it is loving the Word of God.
Psalm 119:97 ESV
97 Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.
Solomon describes it as a blessing greater than all wealth.
Proverbs 3:13–18 ESV
13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, 14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.
Proverbs 2:10–12 ESV
10 for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, 12 delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech,
Paul exhorted us to practice it.
Colossians 3:16 ESV
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Meditating on Scripture is a lot like driving a stick shift. When you first start learning, it is hard to know where the gears are, when to press the clutch, and when not too.
But after you have driven it a while, it becomes second nature.
Friends, if you memorize Scripture and meditate upon Scripture on a regular basis as a means of growing to be more like Christ, then you will get the Word of God in you like that and you will begin to live a second-natured life.
God’s Word will saturate your life and you will live out the gospel centered life almost automatically, without even thinking about it, because the Word of God has so permeated your life that you live on biblical principles by second nature. Just like driving a stick shift automobile.
Conclusion:
Do you want to be armed and dangerous with the word of God? Do you want to be prepared for the things life throws at you? What about sharing the gospel message with others? Do you want to be more prepared, more effective? Then memorize and meditate upon Scripture.
Load your mental arsenals full of weapons and ammunition that the Holy Spirit can pull out of you to use for someone you know who is in need of the restoration and transformation the Gospel offers.
Hymn of Invitation:
Room at the Cross
Hymn No. 315
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