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Experiencing God 11 - God Speaks Through the Bible

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Reading: Psalm 119:97-105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

I.   The Bible is God Speaking

     A.  God speaks to us in the Bible

           1.  There are two views of the Bible (at least)

                 a.  The Bible was written by people about their experience of God.

                 b.  The Bible was written by God through people He inspired.

           2.  We hold to what the Bible says about itself

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness 2 Tim. 3:16

           3.  The Bible is an accurate record of God speaking to/through His people.

                 a.  God revealed Himself and His purposes in the Bible.

                 b.  God’s message is recorded accurately.

     B.  God speaks to us Through the Bible

           1.  The Bible is also a means God uses to speak to us — He speaks through it.

                 a.  It’s not only history — though it is that.

                 b.  God grabs us with Bible texts

           2.  We see Bible authors themselves grabbed by Bible texts as God spoke to them.

                 a.  Romans 4 is a reflection on Gen. 15:6 Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

                 b.  Heb.5:6 quotes Ps.110:4 and goes on for 6 chapters reflecting on that passage.

                 c.  The Psalmist in v.97 tells us his habit is to mull over God’s law all day long.

           3.  God speaks to us that way too.

                 a.  We’ll find a phrase, a verse or a passage coming to us over and over.

                 b.  Sometimes only a word like grace or love, peace, patience, self-control.

                 c.  When we want God’s help, sometimes He’ll answer us in this way.

II.  Read your Bibles!

     A.  To love is to Listen

           1.  We do not ignore those we love (at least not as a habit!)

                 a.  Those we love we listen to.

                 b.  We not only want to hear them, but understand them, so to please them.

           2.  The Psalmist says “O how I love your law.”

                 a.  Can we love God’s ways and yet not pay attention to them?

                 b.  Because He loves God’s ways he meditates all day on them.

     B.  Get used to God’s Voice

           1.  As we reflected earlier on John 10:4—Jesus’ sheep recognize His voice.

           2.  God will not contradict himself

                 a.  He won’t lead you to do what He condemns elsewhere.

           3.  Knowing God’s voice from Biblical reading makes it possible to recognize it elsewhere

                 a.  We’ll be looking at three other ways: prayer, circumstances and the Church.

                 b.  Not knowing God’s voice in the Bible makes us more vulnerable to deception

     C.  Read with an Open heart

           1.  To hear God speaking through the Bible read with an open heart

                 a.  We don’t hear often because we aren’t listening—we aren’t expecting anything

                 b.  Purposely and consciously open your heart to God speaking to you.

           2.  Don’t close off any part of yourself to a challenge from God.

                 a.  Be open to God’s moral challenge

                 b.  Be open to God challenging your life’s work, lifestyle, decisions, etc.

III. Meditate on God’s message

     A.  Read Carefully

           1.  After a few years in the Faith it’s easy to slip into skimming mode.

                 a.  We think we know the facts, so we skip over them like a stone over a pond.

                 b.  We read the Bible like children going through a museum.

                 c.  So instead of finding Bible reading more meaningful it becomes less so.

           2.  The point isn’t to get through the Bible

                 a.  Let the Bible get through to you!

                 b.  What does it really mean—for me!

           3.  Pay attention to the details, ponder the nuances, don’t gloss over the hard parts

                 a.  God chooses his words carefully.

                 b.  But don’t miss the forest for the trees!

     B.  Ponder the Meaning of the Message

           1.  It isn’t always obvious, is it?

           2.  What does/might it mean to me?

           3.  We gain not just knowledge but understanding.

     C.  Ponder the Application of the Message

           1.  The psalmist rises above “normal” because he puts God’s will into practice.

                 a.  God’s word lit his path, a flashlight to keep him from stumbling.

                 b.  Because he put it into practice.

                 c.  He wove God’s will, expressed in writing, into his day to day life.

           2.  What might God want you to do with the understanding he gives?

                 a.  If all you do is sit and contemplate, are you really doing anything?

                 b.  God is leading you in the ministry he created you for.

                 c.  If he speaks to you about hospitality open your heart and home to people, if it’s evangelism, show the way, if it’s caring, love in word and deed, if it’s service, serve, if it’s leading, lead, if it’s teaching, teach, if it’s praying, pray, if it’s worshiping, worship, etc.

           3.  What is God saying to you through your Bible reading?

                 a.  Open your hearts this week to what He might be saying.

                 b.  Meditate on a passage, verse, phrase or word this week.

                 c.  Put it into practice as you are able.

                 d.  Talk it over with at least one other Christian friend or leader.

The Bottom Line:

Open your Hearts to God’s Word. Weave His Words into your Life.

Hymn: Red#29 Wonderful Words of life vv.1-2

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