SECOND NATURE THE WORD January 12th, 2020 VIDEO – SECOND NATURE SLIDE 2 – TITLE WELCOME Good Morning! Welcome to Fox Valley Christian Church, where every member is a missionary. INTRO We are in the middle of our sermon series on Spiritual Disciplines. Where we are looking at some of the different spiritual disciplines. Not in an attempt to become Pharisees that are disciplined to practice different traditions and regulations … no, we want to pursue God and in so doing pursue godliness. 1 TIMOTHY 4:7-8 SLIDE 3 – SCRIPTURE 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; SLIDE 4 – SCRIPTURE 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. We want to pursue God through the spiritual disciplines and allow these disciplines to transform us. This is of great value in every way. So today … we are going to be looking at the Bible. And not just looking at the Bible to see what it has to say about spiritual discipline, but specifically looking at the spiritual discipline of Bible Intake. SLIDE 5 – TITLE BIBLE INTAKE I know that sounds like an odd way to say it, but when I was looking at this week I couldn’t decide what specific spiritual discipline that I wanted to focus on as it pertained to scripture … so instead, I have decided to look at the different spiritual disciplines that all involve Bible Intake. We are going to look at them, not in the order of most to least important … because they are all importance, but instead we are going to look at them from least to most difficult. The goal is not to pick one of these and make it sufficient to check a Bible Intake box, rather, the goal is for you to grow to be actively participating in a combination of all of these. Why? Because we are trying to pursue God. And when are heart is there, we want to pursue Him in all ways. HEARING THE WORD OF GOD To start, let’s look at the first way that we are able to intake scripture and that is through hearing the word of God. There is something powerful about hearing God’s Word. Years ago, my brother-in-law and I were working at the same place. I think he was 18 at the time and I got him a job with me. He had an old vehicle and only one station would come in on the radio and from time to time we would car pool with each other. On this specific day, he agreed to drive. I will never forget our conversation that day. Billy is a keep to himself kind of guy. He would always hide in his bedroom and I didn’t really know him that well … but I had the impression that Billy did not know God. Or at least Billy did not care to have a relationship with God. But when I got in his car, something surprising happened. Christian songs were being played on the radio. So I asked Billy, “Do you listen to Christian music?” His reaction was as if I had said the most offensive thing ever. He quickly exclaimed, “no!” So I gently said, “Billy, let me restate that. You ARE listening to Christian music.” “Oh,” he said. “It is the only station that comes in in this car.” Now … if you are not familiar with Christian music … or even Christian music stations. Here is what you find when you listen to them. Most Christian songs sing about God and His Word and many have direct quotes from scripture in them. When you are listening to the stations, they not only share stories, but they will often quote direct scriptures between songs. This is a powerful thing. Days passed, weeks passed, months passed … and over time Billy began to really listen to what he was hearing and one day Billy decided to give his life to Christ and start going to Church because of all of this hearing of God’s word that he was doing on a daily basis. ROMANS 10:17 SLIDE 6 – SCRIPTURE 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. This rang so true with my brother-in-law. Hearing God’s Word is one of the simplest ways to take in the Bible. - You can do it through Christian music By listening to a Bible app By coming to Church and taking part in a worship service By engaging in a small group Anywhere that the word of God is being spoken or sung is a place that you can be intaking God’s Word. SLIDE 7 – TITLE If you have not been to one of our Good Friday services the last few years, let me tell you … they are one of the simplest things I do and because of that they are one of the most powerful things I have ever been a part of. The last few years, I have simply read the last moments of Jesus straight from scripture. We take time to worship and do communion, but having God’s Word read is a very powerful thing. But don’t be confused, our goal is not just to intake God’s word, it is to obey what we are hearing. In Luke 11:28 someone yells and blessing to Jesus and His response is: LUKE 11:28 SLIDE 8 – SCRIPTURE 28 But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" Another way to say that would be, “who hear the word of God and obey it … and do what it says … and live out what they are hearing.” We want to be hearers of God’s Word so that we become doers of God’s Word. This is the simplest of ways to intake scripture. SLIDE 9 – TITLE READ GOD’S WORD But God expects more than just for us to hear God’s Word. It is written so that we can read it. He has paved the way and made it possible for everyone of us to have the Word of God written out for us so that we are able to read it. We should be readers of God’s Word too. 9 times in the Gospels we see Jesus repeat four simple words. “Have you not read …” Have you not read? There is something powerful about that question. That means that there is an assumption that if you are claiming to be one of God’s people that this means that you have read. This implies a familiarity with ALL of God’s Word. MATTHEW 4:4 SLIDE 10 – SCRIPTURE 4 But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY word that comes from the mouth of God.'" 2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17 SLIDE 11 – SCRIPTURE 16 ALL SCRIPTURE is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. All scripture … every word is God breathed and every word sustains us, equips us, completes us. All of it is profitable. Because of this, we should desire to intake every word and one of the simplest ways to do this is to simply open our Bibles and read. SLIDE 12 – TITLE Last week I was asked how much effort should be put into the Bible study before you come. What is my expectation for you? It is simple … there are about 4-6 chapters a week … that’s it. I simply expect you to read them. The goal of the Bible Study is for you to intake the Word of God. I want you to do this by reading in advance, by hearing God’s Word spoken of during the study and the hope and natural response is that you will crave Him more and seek Him through His Word even more. So, over the course of 4 years, we would like to see you read through every word … even the ones that you couldn’t fathom how they are beneficial … they are, they are the very word of God. STUDY GOD’S WORD Next, we find ourselves going from merely reading God’s word to studying it. I once heard that, “reading gives us breadth, but studying gives us depth.” Read the Bible can be compared to cruising a clear sparkling lake in a motorboat, studying is like slowly crossing that same lake in a glass bottomed boat. We see in scripture people who had a heart, not just for reading God’s word, but studying it so that they could more clearly see God and His commands for their lives. EZRA 7:10 SLIDE 13 – SCRIPTURE 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. Ezra taught the Word of God to a people that were coming out of exile and God’s Word was new and fresh to them. But before he taught it, he studied it so that he could more effectively teach it. A Church that desires to be missionaries, should be full of people that desire to study God’s Word so that they are more equipped to teach it and share it. ACTS 17:10-11 SLIDE 14 – SCRIPTURE 10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. SLIDE 15 – SCRIPTURE 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. The Bereans are marked as noble because they didn’t just hear God’s Word … they examined and studied it to verify that what was being taught to them was accurate. So many times I find people swayed by charismatic teaching or interesting teaching. Don’t be swayed by the mere words of people … go to the Word of God … read, examine, study for yourselves and verify that what they are teaching is in fact true. Because what you hear is not always true. SLIDE 16 – TITLE R.C. Sproul speaks to the lack of Biblical Study. Why do people choose not to study? It is because it is too hard? Is it too painful? Too demanding? R.C. Sproul says, “Here then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.” And all the people said, Amen. When we are true with ourselves … it is often a problem of effort. But if it is a problem of insecurity, where do I begin, how do I do it … I want to encourage you to come to the Bible studies … it really is a great first start. MEMORIZING GODS WORD The next way we intake God’s Word is by memorizing God’s Word. Psalm 119 is not only the longest chapter in the Bible, it is also one of the greatest chapters that speaks about the Word of God, I encourage you to read it, but in this Psalm it says: PSALM 119:11 SLIDE 17 – SCRIPTURE 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. The Psalmist literally memorizes God’s Word, he stores it in his heart for the purpose of obeying it and not sinning against God. For some, memorizing scripture comes easier than others. But we are all able to memorize. Some of you have lyrics to songs memorized, the National Anthem, phone numbers, addresses, birthdays. Some of you have memorized the names of all the intricate parts of a car and how they go together. We are capable of memorizing some pretty complex things when we are passionate about them. Memorizing the Word of God is not just something you are capable of doing, it is beneficial to you. SLIDE 18 – TITLE MEDITATING ON GODS WORD Finally, we come to meditating on God’s Word. I want to spend a minute here so that we are not confused by what this means. Biblical Meditation is not like new age meditation. You are not emptying yourself, you are not trying to become one with the earth, you are not seeking a void. Biblical Meditation is a deep mindset of remembrance. JOSHUA 1:8 SLIDE 19 – SCRIPTURE 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. What is Joshua being called to do here? He is supposed to meditate on it day and night, what does that mean? That means it is supposed to be on his mind, he is supposed to be thinking about it even when it is not in front of him to read. It is not supposed to depart from him. SLIDE 20 – TITLE For you, that might look like waking up in the morning, grabbing a cup of coffee and reading a chapter of the Bible. And then begin thinking about what you read. As you drive to work, as you go through your day … meditate on what you have been hearing, what you have been reading, what you have been studying, and what you have been memorizing. I spend a great deal of time throughout the week just meditating on God’s Word. Each week I will read through the scripture that I will be teaching on or read through several scriptures and then throughout the week as I am on the road I constantly have them on my mind and in my heart. I think on them, I pray to God about these scriptures, it is a constant meditation on the Word of God. It is one of the most beneficial things I find myself doing each week. QUESTIONS FOR THE ROAD So, we hear the Word of God, we read the Word of God, we study it, we memorize it, and we mediate on it. Why? Because we are pursuing God and His righteousness. Now … couple quick questions on this as we close: IF YOUR GROWTH IN GODLINESS WERE TO BE MEASURED SOLELY BY THE QUALITY OF YOUR BIBLE INTAKE … WHAT WOULD BE THE RESULT? It’s not. There are many things that lead us to pursuing God and His righteousness … but if it were the sole thing … how would you be doing? What would the result be? Please understand, the purpose of this question is not to cause guilt feelings. If it was, I would have my own guilt feelings here. The purpose of this is for us to be real and say … is this an area that I need to be growing in. If it is an area that you need to be growing in … then my next question is … WHAT IS ONE THING THAT YOU CAN DO TO IMPROVE YOUR INTAKE OF GOD’S WORD? What is one thing, this week, that you can do differently to seek God more through His Word?