THE WORD OF GOD AND GROWING – the Text Book
1Th_2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
I often have conversations with Christians outside of this church about the importance of God’s word.
Not only is the word of God essential because it contains the truth and this truth is the only way a person has of being saved from damnation and having the hope of entering heaven.
But this truth is then essential to growing in Christ and as Ephesians tells us:
Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
If they accept this, then I must explain one further point to them and it is “where would you find the word of God in order to achieve salvation and growth. This generally causes some confusion because the Bible is so readily available in Melbourne and you can get it in so many varieties!
Thus the discussion about the various versions comes us and how the KJV is the trustworthy one.
This then leads on to which church you attend will then also make a huge difference to your growth and maturity as a believer. If the church has abandoned the word of God and does not preach it then time to move on, but then if they preach out of a corrupted version, you had better beware about what you are being fed from the pulpit as well.
The Word of God is absolutely essential to the salvation and growth of a believer and it is because oft his reason that I would like to spend few weeks focusing on how the word of God relates to my growth and how it works in my life.
I would like to focus each week on one a few aspects about it and my hope is that by the end your appreciation of how and why God gave us this incredible book will cause you to love it more, obey it more and become all the wiser because of it.
This week I would like to focus on the way the Bible has been given to us by God to give us new life and to help us to learn and grow in this new life.
In other words, how does the Word of God relate to me growing as a Christian?
Well one aspect of Bible is that it is a text book to gain knowledge of the truth and the wisdom to apply it.
Text books are common in school and are purposefully written so that the student can learn that truth and apply it to various circumstances in life and work.
Most textbooks have a sections which teach you the theory and then other sections which show you examples and other sections which give you questions to answer,
The Bible is the same:
1. It is filled with truth or knowledge. For instance it tells us that God is love in 1 John
2. It gives us examples to show us that this is true: For instance it recounts various stories where God demonstrates that love to people. From the saving from Israel from Egypt, to the Abraham, to the sending of God’s son to save the world. The Bible is full of examples to prove the statement that God is love.
3. There is then a test and that test normally comes in the form of commands. For instance, the Bible then commands us to love God with all of our being and our neighbour as ourself.
HOW, we answer that test, normally demonstrates how much we know the theory and how much we understood the examples!
Thus Jesus says in Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
This if I don’t keep the commandments of Jesus, I really cannot say that I have learnt that lesson and love Him the way I should love Him.
This the Bible is a wonderful source of knowledge and can be seen as a heavenly textbook about what God would like for us to learn.
GROWING IN WISDOM
There are two words we find in scripture which are closely related. Knowledge and wisdom.
‘Knowledge’ is often used in the Bible and can mean two things. It can mean the general knowledge that you gain by learning something new.
For instance, if I study a text book on geography and learn that the capital of Albania is ‘Tirana’.
Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
That’s knowledge. The laws and commandments we find in the Bible teach us what sin is. But the word knowledge can also mean to know someone personally. For instance, where the Bible says
2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
That means both a head knowledge and a heart knowledge. It means to know Jesus personally.
Wisdom on the other hand is the ability to discern or to make the right choices by applying the knowledge that you have. You can have knowledge but have no wisdom but you cannot be wise and have no knowledge!
Luk 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
Here the lawyers failed to show wisdom and use the Bible’s knowledge properly.
How I live is also a reflection of how well I KNOW Jesus personally……. I loving relationship normally means you want to make that other person happy and not to hurt them.
The Bible allows to gain both types of this knowledge.
WISDOM IS GAINED THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD
Jas 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Now how do you suppose that God gives a person wisdom? Does He just funnel it into their head through some ethereal connection? No. he grants this through the knowledge we gain.
Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Jas 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Yes, every good gift comes down from the Father of lights, including wisdom…… Maybe He does just pour wisdom into us like a jug.
Let’s read on… Of His own will begat he us – That means He chose to give us a new birth. That indeed was a wonderful gift from above. Salvation is a gift and cannot be earned as the scriptures teach.
But how does a person get reborn? ‘With the word of truth’ – A person can only be reborn by the Word of God, the Bible, the scriptures..
Thus God giving wisdom is essentially connected to the word of truth that saved us in the first place. If we were not born again through that word, we could not receive any wisdom because we would still be dead in sins.
But if we have the word of God, then God can give us the wisdom to us it because we have been made alive in Christ!
WE ARE BORN AGAIN & SAVED THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD
Jas_1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Here James clearly teaches that we are saved and born again with the word of God. Once again in verse 21 he expands further on this.
Jas_1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls.
If we look carefully at this verse, we discover that James is simply teaching that we should repent of sin (lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness), humble ourselves and receive the gospel (engrafted word) which is able to save our souls.
The apostle Peter agrees with the same thing.
1Pe_1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
So we see clearly, that salvation comes from the word of God, because the word of God contains the precious gospel that is the truth of God delivered to world to show them the purpose that Jesus Christ came to the earth.
Where the church has abandoned the word of God, we have seen the gospel also abandoned and obscured by traditions and other teachings which have been elevated above the most important truth.
Where a person desires to have wisdom, they must also follow the same system described by James and Peter. Through the word of God, repenting of sin, humbling ourselves under God and receiving it with meekness. In this environment, God grants us wisdom to use that knowledge through which we grow.
Let’s have a look how the word of God came to us in the first place.
HOW THE WORD OF GOD CAME TO US
2Pe 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
The more sure word of prophecy according to Peter is not something that came by someone’s simple opinion, and it did not come by the will and determination of man but came because holy men were moved by the Holy Ghost to write exactly what He wanted them to write.
That makes the Holy Ghost essentially the author of the Bible.
WE LEARN THE WORD OF GOD THROUGH THE TEACHING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The wonderful thing about being a Christian is that the Word of God which saved us, was given to us by the work of the Holy Spirit. When we received that gospel into our lives it was because He, The Spirit was working on our hearts giving the increase to the scripture verses that were planted in our hearts.
When we became born again, that author of God’s word then comes to live within our hearts and thus begins the real teaching and learning ministry of the child of God.
Every child in the world goes through schooling of some sort as they grow up.
This life is for us, a schoolroom and the Holy Spirit is our teacher.
The text book from which He teaches us is the Word of God.
That is why the preciseness of the word of God is so important to our growth and development as the children of God.
If this is evident to us then it is also evident to the one who is opposed to God and man’s redemption from the prison of sin that the devil has managed to cage him within.
Thus if he Bible is some sort of text book through which we learn, then the devil if he had half a brain would seek to undermine the integrity and precision of that textbook. If he can simply corrupt that textbook then he can weaken the classes delivered by the Holy Spirits in our lives. Do we see evidence of this? Yes, we do. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
Where was Jesus Crucified? Calvary. The only reason we know this is because of the King James Bible
Luk_23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.
33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.
Imagine some of those wonderful hymns we sing and what happen to them?
Burdens are lifted at ‘a place called the skull’ The place of the skull covers it all.
Question: Who is Lucifer?
Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Isa 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
In this passage, we are given the name of Satan before his fall. He was called Lucifer and he was described as the son of the morning.
New International Version
How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
Here the NIV removes his name and replaces it with the title, morning star. It’s only a couple of words and surely a couple of words don’t make a difference to any doctrine?
New International Version
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
Rev 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
Now what does that make Jesus? How can this be true? How can the Bible be free of error with this sort of stuff going on?
Nearly everyone has been conditioned to say that there is no doctrine that is changed in these new versions. That’s not true. There are dozens of examples of doctrines that are changed.
People then argue that they are easier to read and that’s more important than accuracy.
Analogy 1: What would you say if someone thought it ok to change the details of a prescription that a specialist had given you to treat a deadly disease that you had?
Analogy 2: What would you respond to someone who said that Shakespeare’s plays should be changed to suit today’s language?
Analogy 3: What if the medical textbooks that the medical students learned from I university were dumbed down to make them easier to read. How would you feel about that?
Yet, why do people feel it’s quite ok to play around with the vey words of the most important textbook and piece of literature in the world which is also the ONLY prescription we have to gaining eternal life. If we fail, we go to hell!
THE WORD OF GOD IS PERFECT AND TRUSTWORTHY
Psa 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
For me to grow, I must believe that I can trust the words that I read in this book. If I cannot trust the words in this book then I am only left with one other option in which to trust, the words of men.
We must understand that this book we hold in our hands is the most important textbook we have on earth today.
In it’s pages are contained the very words of God, applicable to all ages and people. It is always true, always right and we must first appreciate what it is worth.
Much of the Christednom has abandoned this book for the teachings of men and science.
The devil has done a good job of elevating the intellectualism of men above the truthfulness of God.
There is no comparison…. The bible will alwsys be true while everyone else is wrong.
Let’s look to this book as we rely on the Holy Spirit within us to teach us it’s truths and how to apply them to our lives.