Often referred to as ‘The Good Book’, people seem to hold of myriad of views on it and its authority. They have so many ways of interpreting it. They feel it is irrelevant and God only cares about us knowing Him and feeling Him.
People think it’s important but never seriously invest into knowing what it says. They would like to pick and choose what they like out of it. They have favourite bits, but ignore other sections.
In fact there is nothing in our Christian faith that has been attacked so much as the BIBLE, the WORD of GOD, because the devil knows that without it Christianity ceases to exist.
It is not just a good book, but the God Book.
John 1:1-5, 14 (NIV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Word of God is actually the prism or filter through which we know God!
Without God’s Word we all have a bunch of personal preferences and ideas, but there is no ULTIMATE truth.
- Jesus is the Word of God with skin on.
- His life reflects what it looks like to live God’s Word here on earth.
- Therefore JESUS is our ultimate example of God’s Word.
We find this exact Greek Phrase for WORD (logos) in one of Jesus’ teachings that gives some further instruction on HOW we approach and deal with THE WORD OF GOD in our lives.
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 (NIV)
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
The key to this is what it gives as a definition of the WORD of God. It is the message about the Kingdom!
If we want to know what the Bible is, it is not a:
- Self help book.
- New Idea magazine.
- Opinion piece in the newspaper.
- Policy document.
It is God’s communication about HIS kingdom that WE become a part of and it is NOT OUR kingdom that HE becomes a part of. It is HIS Kingdom that we become a part of!
There is a point of confusion brought about by the selfishness of western modern culture (including the many movements that claim to be trying to free us from the western tyranny of progress – which is still selfish and self focused at the core of their message) and the result is people that think God and HIS WORD should:
- Join MY life and exist to make ME happy and successful.
- Be subject to the culture around me that is prevalent.
- Fit our plans, wants and desires.
- Be chopped up and take the bits they like and reject what they don’t. It’s like Spotify Bible reading.
- We ADD Him to OUR WORLDVIEW.
But as a Christian GOD AND HIS WORD instead DEFINES our:
- Belief system
- Value system
The Word of God rules these things, rather than becomes subject to them.
We must understand this, and approach God’s Word right or we will draw the wrong conclusions about the WORD and from the WORD. We can’t just pick and choose what we want.
The result is we have a form of faith, but not a Biblical Christian faith! People have a faith, just not faith in God. They have a form of godliness.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)
3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
So the WORD of GOD is to be recognised in terms of:
- God’s commands and instructions (not suggestions). Ten commandments, not just ten suggestions.
- It is centred on HIS KINGDOM, not our little human view and kingdom.
- It is an eternal book with an eternal message.
We will probably dig a little deeper on some of this later in the series.
1. God’s Word must be understood
Matthew 13:18-19 (NIV)
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart.
We cannot change the meaning of the Words of the Bible. They are easily misinterpreted.
As Christians there is a level of understanding that God’s Word will lead to:
- Eternal salvation.
- Freedom and Life.
- God’s plan for our lives.
- God’s Blessing and favour.
But if we never take the time to understand it, then sadly people can miss any or all of those things.
Psalm 119:15-16 (NIV)
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
The WORD of God must be thought about, considered and understood, because it is a path to life and if we misunderstand the SIGNS or INSTRUCTIONS – the destination will not be what we think!
People are confused about why they live in captivity, brokenness, unfulfilled and in sin away from God, stuck, never maturing and many other things because they do not UNDERSTAND GOD’S WORD.
This is as good a reason as any to begin to read it and consider it. Take the time to understand what God says. Dwell in God’s Word. Rediscover a passion for God’s Word. Be inspired to get into the Word of God.
God’s Word must be active in our life!
Matthew 13:20-21 (NIV)
20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
This is the exact picture we get here that there is an acceptance of Christianity because it seems
- Makes me feel good.
- Is cool.
- My spouse is into it (or the girl/ guy I like).
- I want to change my life.
All of which are good, HOWEVER if there is not a growth into understanding from GOD’S WORD:
- Who He is.
- His ways.
- His expectations.
- The life of a Christian.
- Eternal perspective.
- True Christian WORLDVIEW.
- The Bible needs to be central to what you believe.
Then at some point the heat will get turned up and the person will throw in their faith.
I see this when life gets difficult or we face loss, hurt, grief and challenge that people start questioning God and turning back to the world for comfort.
It’s okay to get upset with God, but you have to know who is in charge.
Yes we have questions, but that is where when we put our roots down – OUR CONVICTIONS – they hold us through the heat!
The other NOTEWORTHY UNDERSTANDING HERE IS the WORD of GOD will lead you into trouble with this world! If you follow the Scriptures it will bring heat into your life.
If our values, worldview, purpose, focus and perspectives are not different to those that surround us without Christ, we should be asking why?
Too often in today’s culture we feel, think and are told that we need to bend our beliefs to validate everybody else’s.
- We are told tolerance means not that I disagree but I will still love you, but that I must believe what you believe.
- That I must not just put up with your decision, but agree with it.
- I have never before heard so much political and social rhetoric that people insist if we DO NOT BELIEVE IT WE ARE HATERS.
- We do not have to agree with everything. It is not Biblical.
Let me say this clearly, the WORD of GOD WILL BRING conflict with this world and yet Jesus never teaches us to bend to it.
We are to love the world – but we are also called OUT OF IT.
John 15:18-19 (NIV)
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. You belong to Jesus, not the world.
The good news for us is this:
- If the world were so good and kind – it wouldn’t be filled with the mess, brokenness, pain, evil and greed – CLEARLY IT DOESN’T HAVE THE ANSWERS, but the BIBLE does!
- So don’t be afraid to stand up to it. Don’t let the world make you feel bad.
3. God’s Word must be protected!
Matthew 13:22 (NIV)
22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.
This is simply making sure that the protection of GOD’S WORD is a priority in our life and we do that by keeping things that would choke it in check.
- Does that thought bring me closer to God or make me doubt Him?
- Does that relationship feed my faith in God and His Word or Choke it?
- Does that passion in my life draw me into God’s Word or replace it?
- We need to protect the Word of God in our lives.
In fact it’s quite clear in what chokes God’s WORD.
Cares of this life:
- Earthly focus rather than an eternal one.
- If we are not living for Eternity we have misunderstood this book and the result will be a choking of GOD’S WORD in our lives.
Deceitfulness of Riches:
- The idea that this world can satisfy – it never will.
- Only life in Christ Jesus can truly bring life and freedom.
- The world constantly fails us.
4. God’s Word Brings GREAT REWARD!
God’s intent within His WORD is not for some ridiculous power trip or to want to control people, but HIS HEART TO BLESS HIS PEOPLE!
Matthew 13:23 (NIV)
23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
Joshua 1:8 (NIV)
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
It is impossible to actually read and understand the Bible and NOT COME FACE TO FACE with GOD’S INTENT TO BLESS HIS PEOPLE!
We want to do this series because of the great BLESSING that life, eternal values, sense of purpose and closeness to God that it brings. Begin today to embrace a new hunger for God’s Word and it will transform your life and faith! It is essential to everything that we believe in this life.
Let’s go back to our opening passage:
John 1:1-4, 14
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…4 In him (THE WORD) was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Don’t read it as a set of rules – but a promise book!
It brought LIFE into the world – John 1 and can bring LIFE into our world!
Without it the darkness will continue to cover our lives and the power and life of His Word will be unseen.
Become a reader and a follower of God’s Word. It is the only way to be safe.
Suggestions for discussion
- How often have you heard people reason that God should exist to make them happy?
- It is so important to take the time to understand God’s Word. Discuss why this is.
- Why must God’s Word be active in our lives?
- Why do you think that people turn back to the world when trouble comes into their lives?