Abiding in the Word
John 8:31-32 – Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Tonight I would like to talk to you about Abiding in the Word of God.
There are three basic disciplines in the Christian life. These are:
· Daily meditation on the Word of God
· Daily communion with God through prayer
· Regular fellowship with godly Christians
These basic disciplines are vital and necessary for every Christian to live an effective and productive life in order to both glorify God and enjoy Him.
· They are basic because they make up the regular God ordained method for nurturing our relationship to Him and to His people the church, of whom we have become members.
· They are disciplines because these are something that require disciplined effort to maintain, habits to be formed and kept for the rest of our Christian life.
· They are vital because without them we will surely lack the kind of spiritual life that they produce in and through us, as we will be disconnected from the life giving sap of the True Vine, Jesus the living Word.
· They are necessary because we are new creations in Christ created to live by His Word and enjoy a communal relationship with Him and the Father, by the Spirit in prayer, and to become an effective and productive member of His family the church.
Now the first and most important discipline in the Christian life is the daily meditation on the Word of God. This is because the Word is where God speaks and communicates to us. It is the place where the understanding of who God is, what His purposes are in the world, and who we are and what our purpose in the world is communicated to us from the One who made us.
In fact, Bible is God’s way of speaking to us most clearly about everything we face in life, and how He expects to be worshipped and how He expects us to live. The Word of God is the wellspring from which all of God’s blessings flow into our life.
The Bible is an amazing book. Its not just a book you read for information, it’s a book you read for transformation. The Words of the Bible are the very Word of God and they powerfully change your heart and life as you consider and meditate upon them. The Bible enlightens us, changes us, judges us, equips us and makes us grow. It penetrates our hearts and like a sharp sword cuts out the cancer of sin from our lives. The Bible comforts us, fills us with joy, gives us hope, and it teaches us to worship and praise the Living and true God. The Bible is the living Word of God. Through it we learn to know and experience God and His Son Jesus the Christ.
Now in light of this, I would like for us to take a very brief look at 2 Peter 1:3-4…..
Now the main point here is that God is, through the Word, conforming us into His image. He is making us to be like Him and transforming us from the inside out, as we come to know Him, through the Word.
2 Peter 1:3-4 – 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. NASB
A. 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness – Here Peter is clear that we have everything necessary granted to us by God for us to live and become like God (godliness). All the sufficiency that we need to be godly has been given to us by God. Everything we need to be patient and kind, loving and gracious, wise and prudent, joyful and fulfilled….everything we need is already ours!
B. through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. – And here He describes how we get these all sufficient resources…. “through the true knowledge of Him.” That is, as we come to truly know Him. It is in knowing God that we have all that we need for life and godliness, because these things come from Him personally to us, and there is no other means by which they can be obtained except through personal relationship with Him. No religious duty, church work, community service, or any other means can cause us to become like Christ. That only happens as we come to know Him and trust Him, and love Him.
C. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, – And here is how we come to know Him, that is, through “His precious and magnificent promises.” It is through God’s revealing of Himself to us through the Word that we are transformed into His likeness.
2 Corinthians 3:18 – 18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. NASB
D. in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust – Now here we see that it is “by them you might become partakers of the divine nature.” You see it is by the promises, the Word of God, that we become “partakers of the divine nature.” Consider “partakers of the divine nature.” Here Peter is saying that through the “great and magnificent promises of God,” we “become partakers of the divine nature.” Here is what he means…we become like Jesus as we come to know God through His Word. Now this is God’s great purpose in our salvation, to conform us into His image, to make us like Him.
Therefore it is of utmost importance for us to spend much time with God in His Word. There is absolutely no substitute for daily meditation on the Word of God. It is simply the most important activity that we engage in as a Christian. We must learn to feed ourselves on the bread of life and through it to become like God and we come to know Him through the Word.
His Word is the all sufficient resource for us to have an abundant and glorious spiritual life for now and forever. It is filled with “everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him.” On the basis of these great provisions that God has made for us to become like Him through the Word, it is therefore imperative that we seek Him through the Word. As we behold His perfections, and His marvelous goodness, and we see His character and nature in the Word, we begin to long for and crave to be like Him because of His excellent greatness. This longing is zealously instilled in us by the His Spirit which is in us, and through this longing and powerful conviction by the Spirit, through the Word, we become like Him. Now it is obvious then, that if we spend little time seeking God through His Word and communing with Him in the Word, we will in very little degree become a partaker of His nature. Then we will remain in our pitiful state of doubt and fear, always looking for self-esteem and someone to make much of us, and remaining in our spiritually insensitive state of narcissism, serving self and sin, that we were in before we came to Christ. But if we let the Word of God dwell in us richly, we will come to posses all the wealth of knowing Christ, and living in abundant life that comes from walking in Him, by the Spirit, and partaking in the divine nature.
Colossians 2:2-3 – 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God
Our life will then be filled with the fruit of His Spirit….
Galatians 5:22-23 – 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. NASB
Now this is the very thing we are longing for, and searching for in all our pursuits. The problem is, these things are spiritual treasures that come from Christ and cannot be obtained in lasting form upon the earth, or through things in the earth. They are other worldly, supernatural. Therefore we will never have lasting joy and will simply never find it, until we find it in Christ. Jesus the living Word, is the wellspring of these treasures in our life. In fact, He Himself is the great treasure we come to know through the Word. This is what he describes in John 17 as being eternal life itself…that is know God and Christ!
John 17:3 – 3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. NASB
On this basis then, I want to encourage you to seek the Lord through His Word and to discipline yourself in this matter in 2010. It is the most important thing that you can do in your life, period. And not only do I want to encourage you to read the Bible and come to know Christ through it, but to in fact do what he says to do there. After all, He is Lord of your life, is He not?
James 1:25 – 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does. NASB
But if you only read the Word and spend time there out of a sense of duty, you will have missed the boat and this will simply become another religious exercise in futility which will not bring about the kind of abundant spiritual life that God promises. Instead it must become your great delight. Now this may in fact be a problem at this point. Maybe reading the Bible is a dreadful experience for you as you just don’t enjoy it, or it scares you to death with all of His holy commandments, or you have much trouble understanding it. To this I would like to encourage you to….
Cultivate a hungry heart and make the Word your delight – Learn how to delight in God and in His glorious Word. This happens as we begin to see the world through God’s eyes, as we come to understand His Word. And this we cannot do until we come honestly to God and ask Him personally for the understanding of His kingdom with a humble heart. Until we are honest with Him, and ourselves, about the sin that lives in our hearts, we will be blinded to the transforming power of the Word. We will be hiding in the bushes with guilty Adam. And what we need to do is come out into the open and fellowship with God. He will accept us and he will heal us, if we will let Him. I want to encourage you to open your heart before God, and let Him come in and wash your conscience, and forgive your sins, and set you free from the guilt and shame that sin has wrought in your life. And with this open honesty then, you come and fellowship with Him in the Word, and seek Him personally for the understanding of it, and He will grant you abundant life through it. In fact, you will begin to become like Him…loving, gracious, kind and patient, gentle and humble in heart.
Consider how those who have delighted in God’s Word before expressed their great delight in His Word. I have handed out this Scriptures and I want to encourage you to read them and meditate on them. I believe they will help you to cultivate a hungry heart that delights in and longs for God’s Word!
Psalm 119:127-131 – 127 Therefore I love Thy commandments Above gold, yes, above fine gold. 128 Therefore I esteem right all Thy precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way. 129 Thy testimonies are wonderful; – Therefore my soul observes them. 130 The unfolding of Thy words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. 131 I opened my mouth wide and panted, For I longed for Thy commandments. NASB
Psalm 119:47-50 – And I shall delight in Thy commandments, Which I love. And I shall lift up my hands to Thy commandments, Which I love; And I will meditate on Thy statutes. Remember the word to Thy servant, In which Thou hast made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, That Thy word has revived me. NASB
Psalm 112:1-3 – 12 Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments. 2 His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches are in his house, And his righteousness endures forever. NASB
Lets end with this Word from 1 Peter….
1 Peter 2:1-2 – 2 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, NASB
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