Sermon:† Make the Most of your Bible
Summary:† Because the Bible is God's tool for our personal growth so that we can effectively face challenges in the world and in our own hearts and minds in order to adequately serve God and others, we need to make full use of and master it by being immersed in it together.
Text:† 1 Pet 2:2; Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12; 2 Tim 3:16
Scripture Reading:† Ps 19:7-11
1. Do you remember your first Bible?† I got mine in 1980, NASB, precious
2. Bible is a book unlike any other
a. Written by over 40 people over 1500 year period
b. Never out of print, regular best seller
c. More copies produced, ancient and new, than any other book
d. Translated into nearly every language in the world
e. Never been destroyed, some have tried
f. Some make it their life's word to study Biblical languages
g. Referred to simply as "the book"
3. Many consider it the most precious possession
a. ILL:† In Belarus, gave away Russian Bibles - expression on face
b. ILL:† Video clip - Chinese people Bible (some walked over 30 miles to get a free bible)
c. What is so special about the Bible?† It is God's Word
4. Sermon: Make the Most of Your Bible
a. Will look at metaphors & analogies for Word of God in Bible
b. What these teach us about how to make the most of it
I. (Psalm 1:1-3) The Bible is Water
A. ILL: We understand the imagery in Nebraska City
1. Apples in the orchard not grow on accident
a. A lot of work goes into it
b. Constant care, watered, pruning, etc.
c. Fall comes, have festival, efforts pay off with fruit
2. This is the imagery used in the Psalm:
a. Not a wild tree by a natural river
b. A "planted" tree - This tree was planted an cultivated
c. By canals (Hebrew is canal, not river) of water - irrigation
d. Tree does not wither, and bears fruit in season
3. You and I are the "tree" in the analogy here
4. Blessed if we do what? . . .
B. Avoid walking in step with the wicked, sinners, mockers.† How?
1. Delight in the law of the Lord
a. Law, "Torah" means "instruction"
i Not arbitrary, bare set of rules, but God's instruction
ii God is teaching us so that we can grow, be better
b. We delight in it
i Syn: Enjoy, relish, savor, cherish, appreciate
ii Ps 19:10 - Word of God is more desirable than gold, and sweeter than honey - it is a delight
c. ILL: Makes me think of steak dinner - delight, savor, and it is provides protein, nutrients, etc
2. Meditate on his law day and night
a. Meditate: Ponder, think about, reflect, mull it over, etc.
b. Ps 119:97 - Oh how I love your law, it is my meditation all the day
c. Ps 119:148 - My eyes anticipate the night watches that I might meditate on your word
3. Delighting and meditating on the word is to irrigate our souls
a. This is what provides water for our souls
b. Keeps our faith from withering and drying up
c. Leads to growth and to bearing fruit
C. ILL:† Man once complained he wasn't getting fed at church
1. Implied he was spiritually starving because Bible classes not deep enough, or relevant enough
2. Kind of interesting, he did not attend very regularly
3. My question:† When was the last time you read your Bible?
a. How often?† How much
b. If only Bible is Bible Class or Sermon, you will starve
4. I hope classes/ sermon beneficial, but
a. They can't be sole source of water for your soul
b. If you do not irrigate the tree, will not grow, will wither
D. How do you get to where you delight in Word of God so can meditate?
1. ILL:† Some not like water, only want soda, sugary drinks
a. Water is good for you, need plenty every day
b. Only way to desire water . . . drink it regularly
c. But once you get used to clean water, there nothing like it
2. That is exactly how we need to be with God's word
a. Read it on a regular basis - more than a sip
b. Meditate on it - notebook, write thoughts on it with prayer
c. After awhile, get to look forward to it, to need it. . .
3. Ps 119:82 - My eyes fail with longing for your word
4. *As we are watered by the word, we able to navigate challenges, dangers, of life. . .
II. (Eph 6:13-17) Your Bible Is a Sword
A. All parts of armor important, especially the sword
1. You would be able to function without other parts of armor
2. But without sword, will not last long
a. Cannot overcome enemy without the sword
b. Would be like having Kevlar, helmet, boots, but no gun
3. But text says take up the "full" armor of God
a. Consist of truth, righteousness, faith, the Gospel, salvation, and the word of God
b. Really need all of it to be effective in this struggle
4. Notice what is not mentioned?
a. Spear, Bow & Arrow are not mentioned
b. What does this imply?†
i Spear long distance, sword is not
ii The battle will be up close and personal
c. ILL:† Clayton Museum - Had Roman gladius/sword
i Less than 3 feet long
ii Not as impressive looking as display swords
iii But highly effective in hand to hand combat
B. Want to focus on the sword - Called the "Sword of the Spirit, the Word"
1. If the Word is the sword, what does that say about the battle?
a. Not a war of guns or even fists, but of words
b. It is a war of truth vs. falsehood
2. Look at the context (v.10-12)
a. Struggle not against flesh and blood
b. Struggle is the devil's schemes
i Devil rarely uses brute force for compliance
ii Devil is crafty, smart - knows people would resist
c. Instead, Devil uses ideas - false ideas
i Tells Eve - You will not die if eat
ii Will become like God
iii Then, he left
iv Filled with lies & half truths, Eve stare at the fruit
3. †(2 Cor 10:3-5) "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.† The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.† On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.† We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ"
a. We destroy false arguments!
b. Only captives we take are our thoughts - Captive to Christ
c. No wonder the enemy does not want Christianity in the public square - Truth is POWERFUL
C. ILL:† I have been hearing more and more how Christians in universities are ridiculed, harassed, and strong armed by Marxist professors
1. Used to think it most rhetoric and overreaction, but it is not
2. Here are some ideas pushed onto students
a. Man is inherently good - no such thing as sin, absolute morals, or hell or heaven
b. If you work hard, become wealthy - wealth is evil
c. Government is the ultimate authority - No one asks if it is right or wrong anymore, only if it is legal
d. Man is only a biological organism, product of random chance - reject inherent dignity of life
e. If going to have religion, doesn't matter which - can accept them all
3. I believe these underlying philosophies are part of the foundation of the mess society is in now
D. Do you see why God's word is call the sword of the Spirit?
1. Ps 119:160 The Sum of your Word is Truth
2. There is a biblical foundation for every academic discipline
a. Truth begins with God - He is the creator
b. Psychology is about the mind - Created by God
c. Sociology - God gave principles for relationships, and social institutions
d. Humanities, sciences, etc. - All connected to God
3. Learn to think biblically about life
a. ILL:† "Sharpening the Sword" study
b. Color code Bible by subjects as you read
c. Allows you to master the Bible
d. Will then recognize ungodly unbiblical ideas immediately
4. Take up the full armor of God, includes sword of the Spirit
III. (Heb 4:12) Bible is a Surgeon's Scalpel
A. Text doesn't specifically say this, but idea is there - sharper than sword
B. Bible can expose your inner self - kind of like a surgeon's scalpel
1. It not a sword, but a precision instrument
2. Can tell a lot about a person when open them up
a. Is person a smoker or not?
b. Did person exercise or not?
c. Did person eat right or not?
d. Did this person drink too much?
3. What you cannot tell -
a. Is this person a compassionate person?
b. Is this person trustworthy and honest?
c. Is this person selfish, generous, reasonable, wise, etc.
4. Only God's word can cut deep enough to thoughts & intentions
a. It exposes your thoughts and intentions
b. It can be like a trip to the doctor
C. ILL:† How many of you get some sort of medical tests?
1. Periodically - I go in for A1C - Often times I donít' want to.† Why?
a. If I haven't been exercising or eating right
b. I know that the results would not be good
c. Cholesterol high, blood sugar average high, etc.
2. There are many kinds of tests - Blood pressure, Colonoscopy, MRI, X-Ray, etc. etc. etc.
3. The most important test you do is with the word of God
a. This is surgeon's scalpel to open up thoughts & intentions
b. Will expose what is out of wack
D. How do you allow God's scalpel to do its work?
1. Expose your mind and heart to it - READ it regularly
2. If I skip regular scheduled tests, it could be fatal
3. How much more so when it comes to the word of God
4. **Allow God's word to examine us..
IV. God's Word is a Mirror (James 1:22-24)
A. See the analogy of the mirror?
1. What is purpose of a bathroom mirror?
2. Helps guide you in straightening yourself out
3. We need to straighten self out DAILY! (Have you seen what we look like in the morning?)
4. Not enough to hear God's word, but have to take action
B. Bob Goff - Wrote that he thought the term "Bible STUDY" was strange - "I thought we were supposed to do it, not just study it"
1. What if, I went to the doctor for my A1C
a. Got the printout for all my levels
b. Everything is out of wack
c. I memorize the printout, can quote my numbers
2. What good does it do to know it, but do nothing about it?
C. ILL:† Video Clip - How Not to Love Jesus
1. Father told daughter to clean room
2. She studied his instruction, memorize it, took classes on it
3. Thought she doing well - but she never actually did it
4. She was deceiving herself
D. I donít' just study God's word, but let it study me as well
1. Like a mirror, it shows what I need to adjust
2. My thoughts, intentions, actions, emotions
3. It molds me and shapes me into a godly - husband, father, employee, neighbor, employer, friend, etc.
1. Make the Most of Your Bible - (inv)
2. How do we make the most of God's word?† Suggestions
3. Switch metaphors:† Food
a. Don't rely soley on pre-chewed, pre-digested food - My sermons
b. Eat regularly - Read generous portions daily
c. Chew it fully so you can digest it - Reflection, journal-what God telling me?† What teach me about God, self? prayer, write action steps
d. Don't eat alone - Come to class, Bible reading group, worship, etc.
4. Make the most of your Bible