Faithlife Sermons

Holding On to God's Word

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When I became a follower of Jesus, I fell in love with the Word of God. I love reading it but I didn’t all of a sudden understand all of it...
The Bible can be tough to understand and to follow. It’s written in different translations that were published in different times when words meant something different than they do now.
Some love KJV while others it seems like a foreign language.
Some feel like it’s a book of rules.
Some think it’s an old book that’s not relevant in today’s world.
Other’s don’t know where to begin. OYB
If any of those statements describes you, I understand … me too.
That began to change for me when I went to a conference in Gatlinburg TN with Campus Life. It was there I bought a Bible I could understand when I read it. I began to love reading the Bible. I began to realize that it was one big story from beginning to end and that it was not a book of rules, but a love letter from God to me. I learned that every OT promise had a NT fulfillment.
I tell you this for a couple of reasons.
First, like other parts of Spiritual Growth, you don’t have to have it all figured out. Relax and don’t pressure yourself, just start reading, learning and it will come alive.
Secondly - the Bible is for you. Inside it are promises, principles and truths for you to build your life upon. So EVERY time you read it, expect God to speak to you.
Hebrews 4:12 NLT
12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
John
John 8:31–32 NLT
31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The bible is here for us to know the truth. Jesus is the truth so the Bible helps us know Him better.
Like Jon Elder and others did for me, I want to help you tonight. To do that there are some decisions we need to make.

Four Decisions we make about the Word of God.

1. Make it the foundation of my life.

Vital. As followers of Jesus, we believe it is the inerrant, true words and word of God.
If that’s true, and it is, we have to approach the Bible as the foundation upon which everything else is built on top of… our lives, our decisions, our world view.
Matthew 7:24 NLT
24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.
One of the many reasons the Bible is such a great foundation is that even though culture is changing, the principles in the Bible do not.
Examples
In our culture we are tempted to build our lives on…
Felings
Popular Culture
Our culture today wants you to follow it without discussion. You are either this or that… no in between.
Exodus
Exodus 23:2 NLT
2 “You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice.
Tradition
This hits us big time in church too. Traditions like music or different aspects of a service get people arguing.
We’ve always done it this way...
Mark 7
Mark 7:8 NLT
8 For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”
Reason
This can be dangerous because sometimes what God wants us to do doesn’t make sense.
Forgiving those who hurt us...
Giving 10% of what you make to God.
Spending time reading the Bible every day.
Going to church instead of a Saints game...
Proverbs 16:25 NLT
25 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
More and more the trend is to live by our own rules… like we have all been given permission to define truth.
Pro 16:25
Truth is not a sailboat … moving around the way we want it to.
Truth is an anchor … set in stone and ready to save our lives if we allow it.
Feelings
Feelings seem so real but they lie to us all the time. They can cause us to make really bad decisions. They also change all the time.
Judges 21:25 The Message
25 At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.
Success
Judges 21:
This is woven into Christianity in USA… the American Dream. It is the daily temptation to build our lives on success, money and wealth.
There is nothing wrong with success, unless its the foundation you are building your life upon.
Good news is that choosing to make the Bible the foundation of our lives is not that complicated. We just have to decide that no matter what we are facing, our first move it towards God’s word.
When we choose to make it the foundation of our lives, it will come alive like never before.
If you have not made this decision, I hope you make that today.

2. Make if the first part of my daily life.

The Bible needs to be the first thing we read… every day.
Romans 10:17 NKJV
17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The best time to read is in the morning.
Why would reading the Bible first thing in the morning be the best thing? Because if we are going to make it our foundation, we need to start the day there.
Matthew 6:33 NLT
33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Psalm 119:105 NLT
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Matt
Matthew 6:33 NLT
33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Matt 6:
First 15
5 Minutes in the Word.
Psalm 119:105
Psalm 119:105 NLT
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
5 minutes in Worship.
Psalm
Psalm 34:1 NLT
1 I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.
5 minutes in Prayer.
Phil 4:6
Philippians 4:6 NLT
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Next Decision …

3. Make it flourish in my life.

When you face a situation and you have the answer
When life feels out of control and yet you have peace because you know truth
When the bible comes alive to you!
Colossians 3:16 NLT
16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
Col
There is nothing like when you realize that you are living more and more by the principles in the Bible .
When you face a situation and you have the answer
When life feels out of control and yet you have peace because you know truth
When the bible comes alive to you!
Hebrews 4:12 NIV
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Heb
The Bible gives us supernatural wisdom, power and faith.
To have these, it’s important to dig into your bible. Read it, Study it, Meditate on it, Memorize it...
That means that you have lots of options to choose from in your search for a translation that works best for you. There are lots of good ones but if you’re looking for a few to start with check out the NIV, NLT, ESV, or New King James versions
Get a Translation I like.
The bible has been translated many times into English from the Hebrew and Greek it was originally written in. Each mainstream translation maintains its accuracy to the original text but has a unique style that sets it apart from others.
That means that you have lots of options to choose from in your search for a translation that works best for you. There are lots of good ones but if you’re looking for a few to start with check out the NIV, NLT, ESV, or New King James versions.
Get a Study Bible.
A study bible is a bible that has added commentary to help you understand what you are reading. This is especially helpful as you start your journey with the bible. It allows you not only to understand what you are reading but also gain context on the larger God story of the bible.
A good suggest of a study bible is the “life application” bible that can be found in several translations.
The final decision when it comes to the bible is a good one…that is to ...

4. Make it a weapon for for the challenges of life.

Ephesians 6:13 NLT
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
Eph 6:13
Eph
Ephesians 6:17 NLT
17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17 The Message
17 and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.
This is a powerful truth about God’s word…it isn’t just information, or just revelation, it is also ammunition for the battles we face in life!
No matter what you are facing I promise there is a verse that will give you that same confidence and the same victory.
One of the best ways yo can do this is to
Memorize Scripture.
You will always have it when you need it.
Psalm 119
Psalm 119:9–11 NLT
9 How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. 10 I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Four decisions that will allow the bible to become the center of your walk with God…
Make it the foundation of my life.
Make it the first part of my daily life.
Make it flourish in my life.
Make it a weapon for the challenges of life

Discussion

What is the Bible to You? Has this weeks teaching changed the way you see your Bible?
Discuss the First 15 Approach. How will giving God the first 15 minutes of your day impact your life?
Pray for each other
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