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Your Relationship with the Word of God

Three Relationships Key to Christian Growth  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Your relationship with the Word of God is vitally important to your spiritual growth

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Introduction
How many of us would like to grow spiritually over the course of the net year?
I believe on the basis of scripture that there are three vitally important relationships that we must cultivate if we are to experience real spiritual growth this year.
These three relationships are key to Christian growth: your relationship to the Word of God, your relationship with the Spirit of God, and your relationship with the Church of God.
We are going to take the next three weeks to look at each of these relationships in detail to determine what they ought to look like according to scripture.
One important point that must be emphasized is that to experience Christian growth you must first be a Christian. None of these other relationships will help you if you do not first have a relationship with Jesus Christ!
Today we are going to take an in depth look at what our relationship with the Word of God.
We must:

Receive the Word of God (Vs. 21)

James begins by instructing these believers to “receive” the Word of God.
We must position ourselves to receive the Word of God:
We must faithfully attend a church where the Word of God is preached and taught. (Every service including Sunday School)
We must faithfully engage in personal reading and study of the Word of God.
We must prepare ourselves to receive the Word of God:
You and I are presented with many opportunities to receive the Word of God. We can receive it as we read and study it personally, we can receive it as we hear it preached in the church, on our smartphone, on the radio…etc, we can receive it as it is taught in our Sunday school class and the list could go on.
There is no lack of opportunity to receive the Word of God for Christians in America. Yet James, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us instruction on preparing ourselves to receive the Word of God.
We must first lay apart “all filthiness” (moral impurity) and “superfluity of naughtiness” (excess of wickedness/depravity). This statement is similar to a statement made by the writer of the book of Hebrews- - lay aside every weight.
The point that is being made is that we must put aside known moral impurity and wickedness if we are going to be prepared to be receptive to the Word of God. If we are harboring known sin rather than confessing and forsaking it we are not in a position to be receptive to the Word of God.
We are also instructed to receive the Word of God with meekness, this simply means we are to receive it in humility, ready to allow it to confront and conform us to the image of Christ. We must forsake our pride and be ready to admit our faults and failures in the light of the Word of God.
Then James uses an unusual word speaking of the engrafted Word. This basically carries the sense that as we receive the Word of God, not only is it received into our minds, but the Word of God literally becomes a part of who we are.

Respond to the Word of God (Vs. 22-24)

This is the primary point of trouble for many believers who hear the Word of God but fail to do what they have heard.
We must do more than simply receive the Word of God we must respond to what we have received.
The Word of God produces spiritual growth when we rightly respond to it by applying it personally and implementing it consistently in our lives!
- dealing with the tongue.
What if we hear this portion of the Word of God taught or preached? Suppose that you have been struggling with controlling your tongue, maybe you still let a few curse words slip now and then. The right response would be to make a commitment to no longer curse and to make certain that the words that you speak are pleasing to the Lord.
Instead, many believers will hear the Word of God taught or preached and will be convicted by what they hear as it reveals error in their lives, but they will refuse to take concrete steps to address the issue.
James uses a wonderful illustration to help us to understand the foolishness of failing to rightly respond to the Word of God.
Presume that you look in a mirror and and see something terribly out of place, maybe your hair, maybe your makeup (ladies), maybe your tie is not straight, maybe there is a huge stain on your shirt. The right response would be to immediately address the issue and correct it.
This is also true when it comes to our response to the Word of God. We ought to immediately respond by correcting the errors the Word of God reveals.
This is why invitation time is so vitally important. If God speaks to your heart during the preaching, respond immediately don’t put it off and take the chance of forgetting to address the issue God has dealt with your heart about.
Whatever the Word of God reveals to us we ought to be willing to respond.
- We must be willing to allow the Word of God to penetrate into the deepest recesses of our mind, heart, and life so that it may conform us to the image of Jesus Christ, the living Word.

Remain in the Word of God (Vs. 25)

One right response to the Word of God does not produce a mature Christian. We must resolve to continually receive and respond to the Word of God over the course of a lifetime. This is ultimately what will allow us to develop into mature believers.
- continue- disciples indeed.
If we are sincere in our desire for spiritual growth, we must look intently into the Word of God with a desire to be transformed.
We must stay in the Word personally and position ourselves around the teaching and preaching of the Word consistently.
Those rare converts who cannot get enough of the Word of God. They are constantly reading and studying it and they long for the preaching and teaching of God’s Word as a newborn longs for milk. We must keep this hunger for the Word of God if we are to continue to grow.
Those who continue in the Word of God will not only be doers of the Word but will develop into doers of the Work of God. They will commit themselves to accomplishing the tasks that God has assigned to them.
They will be soul-winners, they will be teachers, they will be those who reap a spiritual harvest.
It is through our continuance in the Word of God that we receive the blessing of God upon that which we do.
Spiritual growth takes place when we continually receive and respond to the Word of God allowing it to shape and mold our thinking and our behavior.
How often we become hardened to the Word of God and preaching and teaching of the Word of God ceases to affect us! We must stay sensitive and keep a sincere desire to respond to the the Word of God every time we hear it!
Are you listening attentively today with the intention of responding to what you have heard from the Word of God? Will you be back tonight because you want to hear more from the Word of God? Will you study your bible this week with the intent of making the necessary changes to align your life to its content?
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