Disciples Study ScriptureSeries: Follow. James Dewhurst October 28, 2019
Disciples Study Scripture
Today, we are going to jump back into our 8-week sermon series we started a few weeks ago, called – Follow! Our weekly Real Groups are also discussing our Sunday sermons each week. During this series, we have been talking about the difference between having faith in Jesus and actually following Jesus. It takes more than Faith to be a follower of Christ. James 2:20 teaches us that “faith without works is dead!”
True disciples of Jesus commit to follow, imitate and duplicate all that Jesus did!
Today, as we jump back into our Follow series together, we are going to focus on the most foundational disciplines of a Jesus follower – Disciples Study Scripture!!!
Someone noted – “It’s funny how strong people’s opinions can be over things they know absolutely nothing about.”
WE HAVE A WORLD FULL OF CRITICS WITH NO CREDENTIALS!
A wise man said – “The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (ESV)
More than anything else, the Words of God are God’s thoughts written down on paper for us to follow. God’s Word is literally His opinion on every situation and subject!
While our opinions have a place, they should never be elevated to the point where they possess ultimate authority in our lives! God’s Word is absolute, not our opinions!
-My opinion may be that someone deserves a piece of my mind, but God’s opinion, in Proverbs 15:1, is that “a gentle answer turns away wrath.”
-My opinion may be that someone is due for payback, but God’s opinion in Romans 12:19, is, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay says the Lord.”
-My opinion may be that it is okay to keep holding on to un-forgiveness, but God’s opinion in Ephesians 4:32 is to, “forgive each other, just as Christ forgave you.”
-My opinion may be that it’s okay to continue living in certain sinful habits, but God’s opinion in James 4:8 is to “cleanse your hand’s sinners and purify your hearts”
-My opinion may be that it’s okay to chase everything this world has to offer, while God’s opinion in Matthew 6:33 is that we need to “Seek first the Kingdom of God.”
Question: When your opinion intersects with God’s opinion, which one wins?
Disciples of Jesus don’t just consider God’s opinion, they adjust their lives to it!
If that’s what you think Jesus, then I’ll change what I think!
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (ESV)
11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (ESV)
4 The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. (ESV)
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. (ESV)
The more of God’s Word we know, the more of God’s character we show!
We can’t be shaped by something we never consume!
2 Timothy 2:15
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (ESV)
The word Approved in the Gr. means: Genuine.
(Followers of Jesus read His words!)
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (ESV)
We will never put ON the mind of Christ until we put IN the words of Christ!
The reason for reading the Bible matters so much is because it always leads us to Jesus!
The WRITTEN WORD is always meant to connect us to the LIVING WORD!
There are often two extremes in the church regarding people of faith:
> Some are so intellectual that they can quote the Bible, know the doctrine and spout the theology, but they’ve never had an experience!
> The other extreme are people who fall in love with Jesus with no doctrine. They want to live on the emotion of the experience, without any foundation of biblical theology!
-We need the doctrine of Jesus to know what to believe!
-We need the person of Jesus to know how to believe!
Gods Word takes us from believing things about Jesus to knowing things about Jesus:
> When I don’t feel close to God, I know he never leaves me or forsakes me!
> When the circumstance looks hopeless, I know God has plans to prosper me!
> When my life is filled with confusion, I know that God will make my paths straight!
> When fear and anxiety are overwhelming me, I know God’s peace is guarding me!
> When I fail and turn my back on God, I know God never turns his back on me!
God’s Word creates a foundation in our lives that transcends what we feel or see!
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (ESV)
114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. (ESV)
Charles Spurgeon – “A Bible that is falling apart, usually belongs to a person who isn’t.”
Many books can inform you, but only the Bible can transform you!
I want to close with three reasons why studying God’s Word is so important:
1. God’s Word speaks to us!
Moses said in Deuteronomy 8:3 “He humbled you… to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
David said in Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”
Unless we open up the word and turn the light on, we will never know where to step!
God doesn’t speak in spite of His Word, He speaks in support of His Word!
The reason Christians struggle so often to hear God is because we aren’t reading God!
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6. in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
How much in our lives would change, if we just got God’s opinion before we acted?
2. God’s Word shapes us!
The Bible tells us in: Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
The most powerful part of God’s Word is that instead of us shaping it, it shapes us!
Since God’s Word is alive, as we consume it, it is actively working to change us!
Mark Twain – “The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible.”
3. God’s Word sends us!
2 Timothy 2:3-4 “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”
Carey Nieuwhof – “There is no shortage of information in our culture, but there is a shortage of meaning.”
The truth is – This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls!
Ministry: Offer a prayer for people who need to study God’s Word.
Need Prayer? Email: Prayer@realchurchohio.com