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Final Instructions: Respond to the Gospel

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We have become a nation of hearers rather than doers.

I. GRASPING THE PURPOSE OF THE WORD

          1. the only way to keep a firm grip on Christ — who is the Living Word of God — is to have a firm grasp of the Bible — which is the Written Word of God
              1. you can know nothing about God without God’s revelation
                  1. I’ve had other Christians—usually Charismatic Preacher—tell me that the Holy Spirit has, from time-to-time revealed to them some new truth about Jesus
                  2. the Holy Spirit has revealed to us all the truth about Jesus we need in the Scriptures
          2. the reason so many believers backslide and fall away from church is that they have lost their grip on spiritual things because they have failed to grasp firmly the Word of God
          3. it is not enough for you to come to church on Sunday and merely hear the Word spoken
              1. hearing the Word is only the beginning
              2. if you are going to have a firm grip on the Word of God, there are five other things you must do in order to apply the Scriptures to your life
                  1. you must also examine the word
                    • Revelation 1:3 “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” NIV
                  2. next, you must analyze the word
                    • 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” NIV
                  3. after you analyze it, you must remember it
                    • Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” NIV
                  4. the fourth step is to think upon the Word
                    • Psalm 1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” NIV
                  5. finally, you need to apply the word
                    • James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” NIV
              3. until you apply what you have heard, you really haven’t listened

A. THE BIBLE’S PRIMARY PURPOSE IS AS A BOOK OF REVELATION

          1. it is meant to introduce you to God
              1. it tells us of our problem with sin and rebellion
              2. it tells us of God’s wrath against sin, but also of His love for the sinner
              3. it tells us of His plan for our life in Christ
                • 1 Corinthians 1:9 “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” NIV

B. THE BIBLE’S SECONDARY PURPOSE IS TO INSTRUCT THE BELIEVER IN RIGHT LIVING

          1. until you have grasped the primary purpose of the Bible, instruction in right living will be of no avail
              1. you cannot accomplish on your own what you do not have the power to do
                • ILLUS. Trying to clean up my life shortly before I started going to church with Linda and was born again.
              2. but once you’ve been born again then you have the Holy Spirit in you assisting you to live the kind of life which brings glory to God’s name
          2. the Bible is a reliable guide for teaching us about right living
            • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” NIV
          3. this verse teaches us that the Scriptures are reliable in leading us in paths of righteousness because it is divinely inspired by God, which means it is trustworthy
          4. that word inspired literally means God-breathed
              1. without infringing upon the intelligence, individuality, literary style, or personality of the human authors, God supernaturally directed the writing of Scripture so that each individual author recorded with perfect accuracy God’s comprehensive and infallible revelation to man
              2. if God Himself could have done the actual writing with His own hands, it could be no more accurate and authoritative than it is now
          5. if you follow God’s recipe for your life, it is sure to be a success
              1. and please be aware that there are lots of false recipes out in the world today
                  1. they sound yummy, but they leave out key ingredients
                  2. they will lead you astray
                    • ILLUS. Dr. Benjamin Spock, in the mid-sixties wrote a book which at the time was considered the definitive way to raise your children. A whole generation of American mothers raised their children upon the authority of his credentials and what he said in that book. In 1981, Spock reversed himself and admitted that everything he had ever said in that book was wrong!
              2. be careful about the recipes of life which you follow
              3. the good news is that God’s word will never leave you astray
                  1. God will never have to come back and say, “Oops, I didn’t mean that!”

II. GAINING A PASSION FOR THE WORD

          1. one of the many main definition of the word passion is a deep and abiding interest and zeal for something
              1. Christians need to have a passion for the Word of God
              2. the opposite of treating prophecies with contempt, is to have a love, deep interest in, and zeal for the Word of God
          2. you will never be a joy-filled, prayer-engulfed, Spirit-led, Christ-honoring believer until you gain a passion for the Word of God
            • ILLUS. Polls tells us that, year-after-year the Bible remains the best-selling book in the United States. But year-after-year, Americans remain, stunningly ignorant about the contents of this best seller.

A. A PASSION FOR THE WORD WILL KILL OUR PASSION FOR THE WORLD

III. GROWING IN OUR PERFORMANCE OF THE WORD

          1. at this point, James 1:22 says it all: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” NIV
          2. lets be honest, many Christians have become professional listeners when it come to church and worship
              1. worship has become primarily a spectator’s event
          3. but, if we grasp the purpose of the Word . . .
          4. and if we have a passion for the Word . . .
          5. then performing the Word is the logical outgrowth

A. THOSE WHO PREACH AND TEACH THE WORD OF GOD HAVE A TREMENDOUS OBLIGATION BEFORE GOD

          1. my goal, and every of every teacher in our church is summed up by the Apostle Paul
            • Colossians 1:28-29 “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” NIV
          2. my job is to preach Christ crucified, buried, risen and ascended
              1. so that men may be warned
              2. that men may be taught and presented spiritually mature in Christ
              3. this is what I strive for

Paul tells the Thessalonian believers not to despise prophecies. When you or I fail to respond to the Word of God, we are doing just that. What has God said to your heart this evening through His Word? What will be your response to it?

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