Usually at the annual S.B.C. meeting the newspapers report that liquor sales were way down, but ice cream was selling at a record pace. The fact of Baptists not using alcoholic beverages is related to our belief that we should live a sober life which would influence others for good. It is a life based on several scriptures.
We are a people of the Bible, and we need to reaffirm ourselves in the
Scriptures. Today, on this day to honor fathers, I want to emphasize fathers
and the Word of God. I believe we need men who learn, love and live what
the Bible teaches. Please follow as I develop these points of the message.
In verses 9 and 10 of the text we have a question asked and answered . The answer is a testimony as to the effect of learning the Word of God. Biblical knowledge is essential as a foundation for Christian growth. All of us need to learn the Word. It is an interesting play on words that says, "the Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible." But that statement is also a great truth. We need to learn what the Bible teaches. How do you learn? I will recommend three ways.
ONE: you search the scriptures: In Acts 17:11, we read, "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the Word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so." These people searched the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was correct. They were eager to hear the Word preached, but they wanted to make sure the preaching agreed with the Scriptures. Today we are asked questions that weren't even thought of 20 years ago. What does the Bible say about some of this genetic engineering of our day? The only way we will know an answer is to search the Scriptures.
TWO you study the Scriptures. In Deuteronomy 17:19, we have this instruction, "And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes." If one "carefully observes", they will be studying. It is not enough to just search through the Bible. We must camp at a paragraph or chapter once in a while so we can really allow that passage to speak to us. If you're going to be serious about study, you should get a good study Bible. Some of you have a Bible without any study helps. It doesn't have a large concordance of cross reference system. You should buy a Thompson chain reference Bible. Perhaps you would prefer the Tyre or Master Study Bible. There is also a good study Bible called the Open Bible. But you need to get one if you're going to be serious about study.
THIRD: if the Scripture is to be learned, one needs to be submissive to the truth of Scripture. Some lessons will only be learned by yielding to the principles taught in Scripture. Notice that Romans 15: 4 & 5 states, "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus." Please note that verse 5 says "be of the same mind." That is relating to us that the Scriptures give instruction concerning perseverance and encouragement but we must be submissive in mind and spirit for a real learning experience.
Recently I read this story: "Some time ago, the First Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana, received the following letter. Enclosed in the letter was a nickel. The letter read: During the last few years the Baptist Tea Room was open, I lived in Shreveport and ate there regularly. The food was delicious.
There one time the lady cashier gave me 5 cents too much and I knew it, knowing all the time I was doing wrong. I am sending it to you today so that I can have peace with God about this. Your friend in Christ
You see, this man had learned the Bible taught "thou shalt not steal",
but he had not been submissive to it. This story appeared under a caption,
"The Cost of Peace With God". If we have learned the Word of God, studied
it and become submissive to it, we will be on our way to peace. Notice
the second point.
47 And I shall delight in Thy commandments, which I love. (NAS)
97 O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. (NAS)
140 Thy word is very pure, therefore Thy servant loves it. (NAS)
Please turn to Psalms 119; look at verses 11,47, 97, and 140. All of these indicate a love for God's Word. If I asked you today about your love for the Word of God, what would you say?
How do we demonstrate our love of the Word of God? Paul's words are recorded in the book of Philippians, which indicate a way to prove our love for the Lord. He says in verse 7 that he was imprisoned for the "...defense and confirmation of the gospel...". In verse 16 he says, "...I am appointed for the defense of the gospel...". Paul proved his love for the Word of God with his willingness to live or die for it. We can also be ready to defend God's Word.
It is interesting that Jude sat down to write about the common salvation. But in verse 3 of the one chapter book God used him to author, he says,"...I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." We can prove we love the Word by being willing to contend for it. In our convention at this time, some are saying, "Let's get on with the Bold Mission Thrust." They indicate contending for the Word of God has sidetracked us, but I would say sharpening the ax allows you to chop wood better in the future. If we love God's Word, we will be willing to contend for it.
Love for God's Word can also be demonstrated by a desire to memorize it. The Psalmist said, "...Thy word have I treasured (or hid) in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee." To treasure or hide God's Word in your heart indicates it has been placed in the memory. If we love the Word, we will want to memorize it. For some of us, that is getting harder to do; but it is still a real blessing and indication of our love.
We can also "meditate" on the Word of God to show our love. In the book of Joshua, we are told how he could be a success. Noticed verse 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 the n you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success." You see, success in the Biblical sense relates to power with God; and that comes in proportion to our meditation upon God and His Word.
Another way we indicate a love for God's Word is by `mastering` it. Notice what Psalms 119: 33-36 says; then turn to 2 Timothy 2:15 and note it says, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth." This peaks of a mastering of the Word. How does that happen? It comes after years of searching, studying, memorizing and meditation. God does not say some can be good Bible students but others can not. You have the opportunity to be a good Bible student and be known as one who loves the Book.
Last night I had the opportunity to talk with some former members (the Morgans). They have joined a Baptist church in Michigan that has a program for children and youth called AWANA. Those letters stand for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed. Their son had a trophy he won because he memorized two little books full of Scriptures. What kind of an effect do you think that Scripture memorization can have on his life? I think it will greatly add to his future success.
Do you love the Word of God? Are you willing to defend it, contend for
it, memorize, meditate on and master it? Those are ways you can prove your
love. Please note the 3rd point.
Please notice verse 17 of Psalm 119. The Psalmist has a desire to "...live and keep...: " the Word of God. This can be done in at least three ways.
First: we can live the Word by `acting upon it`. When we see the clear instruction of God, we should obey. Someone has said, "The Ten Commandments are not the Ten Suggestions." We can live the Word by acting upon it in our life-style. When we obey, we do not commit sins of commission.
Two: we can live the Word of God by `acting it out`. If our lives are a demonstration of God's grace, we will not only obey specific commands, but we will also look for ways to do good. This will keep us from being guilty of the sins of omission. In the book of James it says, "...to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin." (James 4:17) Christianity is not a list of don'ts; it is a life of do's. We need to act out the Word of God.
Recently I read a story about a pastor's grandfather. He relates: "grandfather Carter was past eighty when he took his first airplane ride, He had been visiting daughters who lived in Kansas City and Indianapolis. When he got back home he was eager to tell his son about the trip. `Son,` he said. `I didn't put my full weight down on that seat the whole trip.`" Now that's not an illustration for acting out the Word.
THIRD: we can live the Word of God by having an answer concerning it when we are asked about our faith. Turn to 1 Peter 3:15, it reads...being ready to make defense (give an answer) to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you...". We can live the Word by sharing it everywhere we go. On any question we are asked, we should have an answer. Occasionally you may have to respond, "I don't know, but I'll study that and get back with you
Have you ever seen Bill Graham in an interview situation? Isn't it amazing
how he has such wisdom in answering the questions he is asked? How does
he do it? He reads five psalms and a chapter in Proverbs every day. This
is in addition to his other Biblical studies. you see, i isn't an accident
when a person can give an answer to all queries. It is the result of learning,
loving and living the Word of God.
At a restaurant in Atlanta, those I was with started talking with a very powerfully built man. He was 6`5" and weighed 255, and it was almost all muscle. He regularly lifts weights, and said he could lift 575 pounds.
But I could show him 255 lbs. he could not lift. You see, you cannot
lift yourself. That's true physically and spiritually. If you u really
want to know the Word of God, you must relate to Jesus as the Word of God.
He will lift you and cause you to have spiritual life.