Spiritual Growth and the Word of God
6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe 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. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." NKJV
A survey published yesterday said the only 16 percent of people read their Bibles every day. I guess I think that that is probably a little inflated.
Why is that so important? We live in a information age, with TV infomercials about everything from the ice age to new age. We have computers like we used to have calculators. We can get the news live from any country in the world, find out the weather and even see a satelite image of where we live. We have access to hundreds of books and magazines each month as they roll off the press.
With all this flood of current information, why would anyone want to read a book that hasn't been updated in almost two thousand years. What secrets could we hope to find in its pages. What useful information could people who live over 3,000 years ago have for us today?
The Bible claims to be a timeless book because it is authored by the timeless God.
That means that the principles that were true two or three thousand years ago are still true today.
Another thing that makes the Bible relevant today is that though technology has changed tremendously in the past two hundred years, people have not changed. Relationships between husbands and wives has not changed. Problems between the parents and the children has not changed. We can look at the sins of the people in the book of Genesis and you would think they came from today's newspaper.
The nature of people is still the same. People still are greedy, envious, liars, schemers, jealous. Wars still are fought on the basis of greed, racism, pride and the desire to dominate others.
The Bible does not have anything to say about the workings of modern technology but it has a great deal to say about people and how they are to respond to each other.
Also since the Bible has God for its author, we would expect to learn a great deal about Him. And one of the first things we learn is that He does not change. Since He doesn't change, the things revealed in the Bible thousands of years ago are still true today. We do not need to read up on the latest discoveries about God.
I would put forth one more thing before I begin an exposition of the text is that the general principles and promises connected with Bible study that we find in the Bible are applicable to our day and age.
- This Book of the Law
- This is referring to the Books of Moses or at least Deuteronomy.
- These books were the written revelation of who God was and how He operated.
- They told the accounts of Adam & Eve and show us that God is holy but yet gives mankind a choice of how they will respond to God.
- They give an account of God's holiness and how he destroyed a whole world in order to remove the influence of a sinful age.
- They show to what extreme measures God will go when by a rain of fire and brimstone God overthrew the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their sexual perversity.
- They tell of the accounts of Abraham Isaac and Jacob and how God had chosen them by grace out from the nations to be the recipients of His special love.
- But more particularly they tell God's law.
- In the law Joshua would read of God's holiness and His judgment (curses) on those who would not obey it.
- In the law Joshua would read how people were to respond to everything from finding an ox who has wondered to dealing with murder and adultery.
- And although we often think of the stringency of the law yet the law was filled with grace, forgiveness and mercy and demanded that God's people should live by those principles.
- Today it refers to all the Bible, but most particularly the New Testament.
- Although the Old Testament is a marvelous display of God's character the New Testament is even more.
- We do not realize how blessed we are to have the word of God.
- If you look around the world you will find that in countries where the Word of God is prominent you have a very affluent people.
- It is only when people are without the Bible or abandon the Bible that they have problems in society.
- We are so blessed to have the New Testament as a guide to enlighten us as we journey on this earth.
- It is the operators manual for mankind.
- This is God's revealed Word, His revealed will.
- What makes the Bible special is that it reveals all that we know for sure about God.
- The Bible has the power to change lives.
- I believe that is why God commanded that Joshua should continually be in the Word.
- As the old phrase goes, Sin will keep you from the Bible or the Bible will keep you from sin.
- Neglect the Bible and the opposite of what is promised to Joshua may very well be yours, you will not prosper and will have no success.
- The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to give life, new life, or the new birth.
- Our founding fathers understood the imperativeness of a people who were first governed by the word of God in their hearts and then governed by a fair and free government.
- Deut 5: 29 Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever! NKJV
- They knew that unless the heart of sinful men were brought under the power of God's word, there would be no police force great enough to constrain the evil of men and there could never be enough prisons to house the offenders.
- And yet today we live in this country more and more as if God has not spoken.
- Even among Christians we live as though we were the captain of our own lives.
- Paul says we were bought with a price.
- You can elect whoever you want to whatever office you will but unless there is a resurgence of the power of God's word in the lives of our people, it will be for nothing.
- And where else does this need to start but in the Church among God's people.
- 2 Tim 3: 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. NKJV
The Word of God is sufficient for all spiritual growth. As a matter of fact, without the Word there can be no spiritual growth.
I was listening to an account that someone gave concerning Stalin's attempt to destroy the Lutheran Church in Russia. First he imprisoned or executed the pastors. He sent the men off to be soldiers, transported the wives and children all over Russia. He confiscated their church buildings and burned all their Bibles and books. But yet when those wives got to their new location, they got together and began to write the Bible as they remembered it. They reconstructed the Bible and their books from memory without the aid of their pastors or husbands.
I wonder sometimes if something like that was to happen here how much of the Bible could we reconstruct.
Do we understand the importance of the Word of God to us enough to make it a part of our daily lives?
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com