January 13

Have you ever read Psalm 119? It’s the longest psalm in the Bible, and it repeatedly reminds us of the importance for God’s Word, as well as the psalmist’s love for it.

  • Psalm 119:97 O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
  • Elsewhere we also find that a righteousperson finds “his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night”.—Psalm 23:2
  1. Let’s get really serious here: Do you love God’s Word so much that you want it continually? ________________________________________

But, your leaders must love the Bible first, and demonstrate a commitment to reading it, learning it, and transmitting it. Think about reading Genesis through Leviticus in one sitting. It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? Now think about gathering people together, outside in whatever the weather conditions were, and reading it to the whole congregation in one shot! That’s what Joshua did (Joshua 8:34-35) while everyone (men, women, children) stood!

In II. Kings 22 we read that they discovered the long-lost Law (Moses’ writings) in the Temple and brought them to King Josiah and read it. The result? A reformation of the king’s heart and a change in how Judah was led.

In the Book of Nehemiah chapter 8, Ezra the scribe took the Law and stood on a platform and read it all. The people stood at the reading of the Law all day long to hear the Word of the Lord, and it says that they listened to it attentively.

  1. Spiritual Thermometer Check: Do you get bored listening to long readings of the Bible, or reading large chunks of it yourself? ________________________________________________________
  2. Are you scared of:
    1. A reformation in your own personal life, knowing that the more you align yourself with God and His Word the more He will ask you to sacrifice, to forsake, and to commit to? ___________________________________________________
    2. A reformation in your church where a deeper commitment to the church family, to evangelism, to studying will become commonplace? _______________________________________

Remember in John 21:16 & 17 where Jesus is instructing Peter for the work ahead of him? What was Jesus’ instruction? “Feed my sheep”. As discussed yesterday, your pastors have one primary duty to the church and that is to be working diligently in studying, living, and transmitting the Word. This is in fact why we have church deacons. In Acts 6 after the early church in Jerusalem had some problems amongst the congregation, the church was directed to choose wise, spiritual men to lead the social service functions of the church:

  • “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.”—Acts 6:2
  • “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”—Acts 6:4

Early on the pattern for the church was for its leaders to attend to studying the Bible. And while I mentioned that it’s the pastors who answer to God for how they lead the church, you too have a role to play to hold them accountable on this task:

  1. Pray for them that they will run the race set before them and not deviate:
    1. I told a few people yesterday about one of my pastors who started off really well teaching the deep truths of the Bible, but ended his pastorate poorly due to pride, self-exaltation, pragmatism (doing what “works” rather than “thus says the Lord”), sensationalism and exaggeration so that he could get bigger crowds, and so forth. Pray we run the race well and do not go off to the left or the right.
  2. Confront them if they replace the Word as the primary message, if they lose faith in its inerrancy and sufficiency, and if they stop believing it altogether:
    1. I believe a church has full authority and responsibility to remove pastors who no longer stay the course on believing and teaching the Bible. Online you can read of hundreds of pastors who have left the faith. But, when one wants to stay in the pulpit, then he’s got to go!
  3. Be a Berean. The mark of the American church is not just biblical illiteracy, but biblical laziness. Remember all those old jokes about dusty Bibles? When’s the last time you went and checked what was taught to you? Or, do you just take the pastor’s word as truth with no questions?
    1. Note, I give cross-references so you can verify and study on your own. But, sometimes I quote concepts or verses off the top of my head. Make sure they’re the Word (or find their source in the Word) instead of blindly accepting them.
    2. Also, when listening to or reading other preachers and teachers, verify what they say. When they take a passage out of context to support their lesson, then they’ve deviated from what God’s message is because remember, the message of the Bible is the Bible. It’s not my message nor anyone else’s.
  4. Muslims spend long periods of time in their Korans, and Mormons study their Book of Mormon inside and out. Jehovah’s Witnesses memorize vast amounts of their butchered (massively mistranslated) New World Translation of the Bible. Why do we find it hard to be centered on, dedicated to, and invested in our Bibles (the actual inerrant, infallible, trustworthy Word of God)? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    1. Do we just not believe them to be that important? ___________________________________________________
    2. Do we not trust them to really answer the issues of 21stcentury life, and hope that some slick author or speaker can speak to our real needs better? ___________________________________________________
    3. Do we despise them? __________________________________
  5. Start moving into the next 30 chapters of reading this week. But, start of by asking God to excite in you a desire and love for reading it. Ask Him to open your eyes to wonderful, eternal truths that you’ve never seen before. Ask Him to keep you from being distracted by the cares of this world. I am praying for a real reformation of Waikoloa Baptist Church that finds its root in the Word and in prayer. This request is for me personally and for this flock collectively.

Wonderful Words of Life Hymn by P.P. Bliss

1 Sing them over again to me,

wonderful words of life;

let me more of their beauty see,

wonderful words of life;

words of life and beauty,

teach me faith and duty:

 

Refrain:

Beautiful words, wonderful words,

wonderful words of life;

Beautiful words, wonderful words,

wonderful words of life.

 

2 Christ, the blessed One, gives to all

wonderful words of life;

sinner, list to the laving call,

wonderful words of life;

all so freely given,

wooing us to heaven: [Refrain]

 

3 Sweetly echo the gospel call,

wonderful words of life;

offer pardon and peace to all,

wonderful words of life;

Jesus, only Savior,

sanctify forever, [Refrain]