Bible Lesson 196

What does the Bible say?

“Your Word have I hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You” Psalms 119:11.

“THE WORD OF GOD, WELL UNDERSTOOD AND RELIGIOUSLY OBEYED, IS THE SHORTEST ROUTE TO SPIRITUAL PERFECTION. AND WE MUST NOT SELECT A FEW FAVORITE PASSAGES TO THE EXCLUSION OF OTHERS. NOTHING LESS THAN A WHOLE BIBLE CAN MAKE A WHOLE CHRISTIAN.” A.W. TOZER

This month we will look to the source of our knowledge of God, and the only source that we can trust enough to venture our eternal security on, is the Inspired Word of God, the Bible. Certainly there are many well written books that have been penned that contain some knowledge of God but the Book inspired by God to lead men in the way that God would have them go, is the Bible. You will find that you are not qualified to know the truth until you have read God’s truth, written in His Word. (John 17:17). How should we then approach the reading and study of the Bible’

We must make up our mind that simply reading the Bible, perhaps for a certificate that applauds the fact that you have read it through in a year or so does not qualify us to know much about God, we must study, pray and strive to know it, in it’s context, to understand it. We must come to the Bible with a readiness to believe every promise implicitly, to obey every command unhesitatingly, to stand perfect and complete in all the will of God, before we will gain an understanding of the Word of God.

We tend to want to think of the Bible as a very large and wordy book that would take too much of our time, if we were to really begin to read and study and learn it’s contents. However, if we were to begin to read it with the understanding the author was not a man, but The Creator God who inspired holy men of old to write it, we would come to enjoy it and would look forward to that special time everyday that we could open this letter from God and rest upon it’s promises. Most of the time when one has been inspired by God to learn of Him, begins to read and ask God to illuminate the Bible for them, they can identify with Martin Luther, who stated about the Bible, “First I shake the whole apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then every twig’.and then I look under every leaf.”

God deals, by His Spirit with people who read the Bible, and He does not deal with each one alike. I know that when God began to deal with my heart, He moved on me to begin to really read my Bible. Something that I had tried and discontinued many times in my life. But this time it was different, almost like God was controlling my movements. I could not get enough of what was there. I love chocolate pie and reading the Word of God was now sweeter than the sweetest chocolate pie. I read it unceasingly, at first, having the usual questions that people have when moving from the flesh to the Spirit. As I read my Bible, it was as if God heard everyone of my unbreathed questions with an answer from what I was reading.

I read and studied the Bible for a period of Three years, while all the time that I was not reading, I was seeking out preachers who I felt were God’s men, and listening to them preach. It didn’t matter how far I had to drive, or how much it cost, but I was hungry for God and for His Word. This journey went on for three years before I finally fell down before His presence and confessed my sinfulness, and asked God to save me, if He would use an old beat up piece of equipment like me, I would be faithful. In His power I have tried my best to keep my promise to God. That is the reason that I always preach and teach that men must read the Word of God and believe it. Think about some of the things that you hear regularly, and then go to the Bible and see if what you have heard is the truth, according to the Word of God. I have been around a long time and have heard many sermons, but it seems that modern day evangelism and anyone who stands before a group with his Bible in his hand and speaks is an evangelist, whether they be Pastor, Preacher or one who uses the name evangelist, many of them seem to think that the phrase “Jesus Loves everybody regardless of their sin”,is in the Bible.

Can you find that in the Bible’ I can’t ‘ but I can find where Jesus said that “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he that loves Me. And he who love Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to Him.” (John 14:21-24). Think about that and make yourself form what Jesus said to us there. Some apparently don’t want to believe it but the Savior said it and He said in verse 15 of John 14, that if we loved Him we would keep His commandments. Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind, goes on in the next chapter of John, there in John chapter 15, and verse 10, and says “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” Now, before you begin to throw up, as so many who have been taught to defend an error, ‘We are not saved by keeping the commandments’; however, if we are saved by grace through faith, we ‘will’ keep His commandments. That is the change that takes place whenever any person is saved. We are saved to do the good works that God planned and predestined for those who were born from above, and recreated in Christ, (Ephesians 2:10; 2nd Corinthians 5:17). I know it is a bitter pill to swallow for people who have sat under cheap grace preaching for most of their lives; however better to hear the truth now and get right with God before we die, than to continue on without ever knowing the truth of God. It is a fact that preaching is supposed to be teaching, rather than entertaining as much preaching in our churches today have turned to be. When the truth is preached ‘line upon line’ just as the bible lays out as God’s plan for man, it will not entertain a lot of people, but it will edify those whom God has saved. Preaching, at least proper preaching turns out to be like laying railroad tracks.

All railroad tracks begin and are built laying sections one to another, and preaching should be the Word of God that connects together to say what the Bible says. The Apostle Paul writes to His son in the faith, Timothy and warns him, just as I hope I am warning you who read this bible lesson today, “That in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away. (2nd Timothy 3:1-5)”. Having said that In verse 12 of 2nd Timothy 3, Paul warns them that they will suffer persecution’..

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2nd Timothy 3:12). Then Paul says in chapter 4 of 2nd Timothy ‘..” I charge you therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: PREACH THE WORD! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Do you understand what Paul is doing here, He is prophesying about our Society today. What Paul wrote to Timothy in the above scriptures has come to pass in our day. It did not begin yesterday either, because the visible church in so many cases has been lifting promise verses, selecting certain verse and dumping certain others, to make cheap grace preaching acceptable to the sinners in their congregation, and in a lot of congregations today the sinners far out number the Saints. The problem is that so many of these ‘washed’ but not ‘starched’ members are satisfied to hear whatever costs nothing, at least nothing that will worry them, or that confronts their sinful lives, they will always make an excuse that goes something like this’ ‘O, our preacher is preaching the truth, he takes his Bible with him to the pulpit, and he preaches the truth. My normal thought is ‘What truth are you talking about” Listen people, and I say this with a broken heart, most members of most congregations in our day would not recognize the truth if they sat down beside it. As I said before, that breaks my heart but that is the truth. So many people today have heard so many altar-calls, and so many verses of ‘Just as I Am’ sung that they really believe that if they walk the Aisle, shake the preacher’s hand and get baptized, that that is all it takes to be saved. That is the reason that the Church of our day, looks so much like the world. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, commanded us to go into all the World ‘.teaching them to obey all that He has commanded us. Instead of going into the world and teaching them, we have found it easier to sit in the pew and invite the world into our congregation. How sad!

I mentioned a few lines ago, something about preachers today who do mental gymnastics with what God has said, and as a result of that we now think that we can use some kind of formula and if we can get someone to jump through our hoop and give us the answers to our formula, then we pronounce them saved and prepare them for church membership. Be very careful about pronouncing anyone saved, that is not your job, only the Holy Spirit has that responsibility. We have become so self important that we do not even allow most who come to the altar to confess and deal with their sin. We assure them that they are fine and give the benediction and allow another shipwreck in the church. We need to be taught that even as God in the Flesh preached here in this sin-sick world, that there were times that huge multitudes were so incensed by the Truth of the Word of God, from the mouth of the God-man, that they went away and refused to follow Him anymore. You will find one of these occasions in the Gospel of John chapter 6, beginning at verse 35-67, where Jesus preached to a large group of His disciples, (people who followed Him, wanting to be like Him); But Jesus preached the truth to them, and they all ran away from Him.

If a preacher today had 2 or 3 families leave because He preached the truth, he would require a psychiatrist to help him get through it. It didn’t seem to bother Jesus because when all of the congregation left, never to return Jesus asked the Twelve, which we would consider elders or deacons today, “Do you also want to go away'” (John 6:67). The twelve who for the most part were never going to leave, agreed with Peter’s declaration, “Lord, to whom shall we go’ You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68). That is a question that we all have to answer before we seek forgiveness of sin through Christ Jesus. We don’t have any other place that we can find eternal life and forgiveness of sin except in Jesus Christ. (Acts 4:12).

The Bible teaches us that the product of God’s Salvation is a word that most people in our day does not like to hear and that is Obedience. Like it or not Obedience is the fruit of our salvation and that obedience is willful and determined, it is not something that we can selective do. God does not save anyone to live a casual life as they go about doing nothing except what the world likes to do. If you have ever looked at the Catechism of the Presbyterian Church you will find that first question asked is “What is the chief and highest end of man'” The answer give is ‘”Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.” In other words, man can have no greater end than to glorify God by His obedience to His commands. What will that look like in a man’s life’ It will look like what the Beatitudes outlines as the life of a true Christian. The Christian is poor in spirit because He knows how far he has come from God’s standard.

He will mourn in spirit because He is ashamed of his life before God saved Him. He is meek or teachable, He is blessed because he hungers for righteousness, He is merciful because he has received mercy from God, He is pure in heart because he has had a heart replacement (from stone to flesh), He seeks peace with all men on God’s terms, He is persecuted for his righteousness, reviled and persecuted, falsely for the sake of Christ. He is the salt of the earth, salt is used to enhance taste and to stop decay, He is the light of the world because He is ‘In Christ , and Christ is the light of men’ and lastly, He lets the light of Christ shine before men, He is not ashamed of the Gospel, and he shares it wherever he goes. We have shown before that those who love Christ are the saved; because they love Him enough to obey Him. (John 14:21-24).

I hate to dare to use the illustration of sports in teaching about God, but that’s about all most people today care about is one of the many sports that draws crowds every day. If your choice of sports is soccer, how do you get on the team. First you learn the rules, then you make up your mind that you will follow the rules of the game, then you find what it take to be a member of some particular team. Then you apply for membership and they will look you over carefully because every member of any team can be a weak link and can destroy the ability of the team to win a game. That done you begin to memorize the plays and practice them, you learn the game rules so that you are not thrown out for not obeying the rules. You do whatever they want you, or require you, to do without complaint. Being on the Lord’s team requires that same type of things only much more strict because the difference is the difference between heaven for eternity or hell for eternity. Without doubt if I was able to ask you that question today, you would choose heaven, but heaven has a definite way to get in. In a sport you might be able to buy your way in or to muscle your way in, but you can’t do that with your eternal life. God has laid down specific things that must be done to get eternal life in heaven. We will all spend an eternity somewhere, and there are only two destinations, one is heaven and the other is hell.

Jesus tells us plainly in Matthew, that the gate (the place where we enter the road to our destination ) to eternal life in heaven is strait ; and we enter the road to heaven only through Jesus Christ and our God-given faith in him. Once through the gate we enter a narrow path that leads us eventually to heaven. There are not many roads that lead to heaven there is only one and it is difficult according to the Savior. That narrow way is maintained by obedience to the commandments of Christ. In speaking to us about where we will spend eternity Jesus Christ speaks to us about two gates, two roads, two destinations and our Savior says, “Enter by the narrow gate for wide is the gate that leads to destruction, and there be many which go in by it . Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and there are few that will find it.”

Jesus knows our frame and He knows that because the way is difficult there will only be a few that will take the time, make the effort and go in there. Many will choose that wide gate and that broad way that is so tempting for those who are unaware. (Matthew 7:13-14). It is very interesting to note that the very next thing that Christ does here in Matthew chapter seven is to warn us about being careful who and what we hear. Verse 15 warns us ..”Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Beware of Preachers who look to good, who are slick-tongued and word-merchants. They look perfect, but they do not preach the truth, and they will eat you for dinner. Sadly there are many of them out there today who milk the simple out of their money, which they spend like drunk sailors. Let us close this little lesson about what the Bible is all about by saying that we have been weaned off of bible Study; and so we are never sure what we believe. There is an answer but it requires a hunger and a thirst, and a heart that is determined to make sure we know what we think we know. Let’s really get in God’s army and learn our Bible and begin to work and ferret out the termites that are destroying us from within. Living in the world is a serious business and we only have the number of years that we will live here to make that eternal decision to serve God and follow His Christ.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob