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"These Words Are Your Life" by Pastor Jack Lash
Although great numbers of Christians believe that the Bible is God’s perfect word, infallible and authoritative, so many hardly know what it says! Deut. 11:18-19 says, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds." Instead, so many of us fix them on our shelves.
Several years ago I heard a news report of an old man who died, a man who had lived in abject poverty, scraping by on social security - a man who was well-known for always grumbling about having nothing. The report said that after his death, when they packed up his little apartment, they found among his things a diamond brooch - worth over two million dollars! All those years of living in poverty, he was a rich man! This reminded me of the way it is with Christians who live lives of spiritual poverty because they don’t cash in on the treasures contained in the Bible, who don’t dress their wounds with the healing ointment of the word, who don’t enrich their thoughts and feelings with the good news of God’s book.
The ability to teach the Bible is a spiritual gift. But the ability to study, learn, and know the Bible is not. These are for ALL Christians. Sadly, some Christians think it is possible to have a relationship with Jesus apart from the word of God. But Jesus himself would never have approved of this kind of thinking. In John 6:63 He said, "The words that I speak are spirit and they are life." In John 14:21 He said "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me, and he who loves me shall be loved by my Father and I, too, will love him, and will make Myself known to Him."
And Jesus’ words here are not new - we find the same thing in the Old Testament referring to the Old Testament Scriptures. Prov. 4:20-22 says, "My words ... are life to those who find them." Deut. 32:45-47 says of God’s words, "They are your life." A close relationship with Jesus cannot be had apart from His word. Having His word but not following it is disobedience. But if you don’t have it (in both your mind and heart), you CAN’T obey it. Of course, there are folks whose heads are filled with Bible knowledge whose hearts are far from God. But those who are true lovers of God will also be lovers of His Word.
2Tim.3:16-17 is a familiar passage: "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." Notice that ALL Scripture is profitable! ALL Scripture is useful! It is profitable and useful for a number of things.
First, it is useful "for teaching". To some extent every Christian is a teacher. All of us have someone to teach. But you cannot impart what you do not possess. The Bible is our textbook.
Second, it is useful "for reproof" - that is, for pointing out our errors. "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault" (Matt.18:15) – but only on the authority of God’s word. This is our only standard for judging errors and sins.
Third, it is useful "for correction." In contrast to reproof, which involves showing someone how and where he is in error, correction involves showing a person the proper way to act or believe. Once again, this can only be done on the basis of God’s word.
Fourth, it is useful "for training in righteousness" – each disciple of Christ must be trained in righteous living. We must train ourselves and we must train each other — to live righteous, obedient lives — on the basis of this book!!!
What is the end result of this? All Scripture being used for teaching; all Scripture being used for reproof; all Scripture being used for correction; all Scripture being used for training in righteousness. All Scripture being used so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. When we don’t make use of the word of God, we miss a lot!
As Christians we have at our disposal a handbook which will equip us for every good work!!! What a shame it is, what a CRIME it is when we leave the book on the shelf and live our lives by our feelings, by what seems right to us. What a shame when we fail to spend time each day before God in His word.
And we need to read and learn the whole Bible. The person who really wants to grow in God will want to hear EVERYTHING God has to say. He wants to understand God’s wrath as well as His love, he wants to understand God’s curses as well as His blessings, God’s commandments as well as His forgiveness. That person will read the WHOLE Bible. Not always in the order it’s found (although some kind of logical order is often advantageous). He will eat all of God’s food - not just pick out the potato chips and the ice cream and avoid the meat and vegetables.
It is a very sad thing to me that there are so many Christians who hardly ever read the Old Testament, for instance. I have met many people who have been Christians for 10 years or more who have never read the Old Testament through. Oh they may have read the Psalms, and the Proverbs, and Genesis, and maybe a few other books as well. But that’s about it. We need to realize that when Paul penned 2Tim. 3:14-17 he was talking about the Old Testament. All those things happened for us (1Cor.10:6)! And they were recorded for us (1Cor.10:11)! And they were translated into our language not so we can ignore them, but so that we can use them. We have a treasure on our shelf. Let’s put it into our hearts!
Psalm 1:2 says of the righteous man: "His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law He meditates day and night."