Love the Lord and Read His Word
How many of you have your Bibles with you today?
Hold them up, let me see them
In whatever form you have them in, be it digital or paper
Why don’t we all have a Bible? Is it because for some of us, it was not important to bring it?
In a time when we have a greater access to the Word of God then ever before, we instead see a nation of people starving for the Word of God
We see this when we look all around us.
And in fact many who are starving for Gods Word indeed have a Bible to call their own, or maybe even have it on their smartphones which is with them at all times.
And yet many are starving.
Imagine if we had a neighborhood of people who were starving for food to death, and yet they had a free buffet restaurant as a neighbor that said “all are welcomed in”
Sounds ridiculous, but This reminds me of our city, and our nation.
Amos 8:11 - "The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land-- not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.
That sounds like a time that will suck. But sadly, it sounds familiar.
There was a time when the Word of God would come to some specific people, and those prophets would be tasked to spread Gods message to the rest of the people
Now, all the people can go to Gods Word anytime we want! You don’t have to be special, or gifted. You can just pick up the very Words of God himself.
We can read any translation, in any language from the comfort of our homes using a piece of technology in our very pockets
But will you?
People died to help us get access to the Word of God. That’s right kids, the Bible was not always something just anybody was allowed to read.
And when some people stood up and said that everybody should be allowed to read it, they were put to death.
Blood was spilled so that you could access the Word of God.
How often will I turn to Gods word in a day?
How often will I turn to FB in a day?
How often will I turn on the TV in a day?
Sure, we are all busy. Work, school, family. But where do we make time for God?
Let’s all turn in our Bibles to Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 – slide 1
While you are turning there, let’s ask some tough questions about the Bible.
Before I was a believer, I challenged the integrity of the Bible. Could I trust it? Is it a spiritual text, or is it a manmade thing? What makes it different than any other religious text?
And when I became a believer, it was not because I was convinced. I had a heart transplant, but I still had many questions. I needed to explore the challenges to my faith that I used to issue
The first thing I needed to know is if I can trust the Bible to be the Word of God.
I found four reasons why I can trust the Bible.
Intellectually sound, rational reasons. Not just “because the Bible tells me so” but because of logic.
1 reason – Manuscript evidence. – Slide 2
A manuscript is the original texts that were written before there was a printer of any kind.
If I have to ask “how do I know that the book I am holding is anything like the original authors writings, because that was a long time ago and this was passed down a lot of times?”
Well we can look at ancient articles and scrolls dated hundreds or even a thousand years apart from each other.
So we can look at a copy of say the book of Isaiah that was written in 700 bc, and compare it to one that was written in 300 AD, and see that they are basically the same
And these manuscripts are available for scrutiny by anybody, so people can examine them to make sure they are real, and are actually as old as they say they are.
And we have a lot of them to compare to each other.
For example, we have over 24000 copies of manuscripts of just the NT alone which makes it the most well preserved book from ancient times ever.
The second place would be Homers Iliad at 643 copies, so it is not even a close second.
we know scientifically that the book we hold today is accurate compared to the books that were originally written.
And I could say plenty more on this topic, but I don’t have the time for it here today, so if you would like to explore this further, lets talk later
Another reason I know I can trust the Bible is because of the Archeological evidence – slide 3
Archeologists have been able to take the OT out into the middle east dessert and say “I should dig here” and sure enough they find old cities, towns, or evidences of culture and specific Bible characters.
I have a whole list of examples of archeological evidence for the Bible.
But one significant one tells the story of how John Rockafeller found oil in the middle east, and eventually created an oil empire of riches as a result.
Basically, he read in the OT Bible about Pitch flowing from the ground, which he knew to be unrefined oil.
He headed to the place in the middle east where he figured this should be, and started digging. Sure enough, he found oil and his family has been super rich ever since.
But time after time, archeologists are able to confirm the reality of the stories in the Bible, and we have not found any evidence that contradicts the history lessons laid out in scripture.
No other religious text can boast this completely. For example the Smithsonian did a study on religious texts . . . . . . .
But these two reasons just tell us that we can trust the historical accuracy of the towns and people, but what about the supernatural stuff?
The Prophetic evidence is why - Slide 4
Approximately 2,500 prophecies appear in the pages of the Bible, about 2,000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter—no errors.
The remaining 500 or so reach into the future and have not been able to come true yet, but we are waiting on them.
Still 2000 is a lot
If you would like me to provide you with a full list of fulfilled prophecy, let’s talk later.
No other text can boast this
Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (NASB)
21 [a]You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
So this scripture says that if somebody says it is a prophecy, and the thing does not come true, then it was not from God.
This is important to remember because God is not the only one, who uses forecasts of future events to get people's attention.
Satan does, too. Through psychics, pretenders, and others, come remarkable predictions, though rarely with more than about 60 percent accuracy, never with total accuracy.
Messages from Satan, furthermore, fail to match the detail of Bible prophecies
So if you have a religious text that claims to be composed of prophecy, or you are aware of somebody who calls themselves a modern day prophet, remember the warning God gives in Deuteronomy 18. If what they say does not come true, they are not of the Lord
I have a list of recorded so called prophecies that did not come true given by current religious leaders and self-proclaimed modern prophets, so if you are ever curious about the integrity of another faiths leadership, lets talk later
But the accuracy and the high volume of prophetic evidence in the Bible is staggering.
Peter Stoner, in his book Science Speaks says:
“We take silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas to cover all of the state two feet deep. then mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly…Blindfold a man and tell him…he must pick up the one silver dollar He would have the same chance as the prophets did of getting just eight predictions correct.
This is the probability of just 8 prophecies being fulfilled, and we have thousands.
Which brings me to my fourth reason why I can trust the Bible. The Statistical Evidence – fifth slide
Statisticians have calculated the odds of each one of these prophecies being fulfilled individually, so we can see what the odds are of any one prophecy, and trust me when I say that the odds are incredible that any one of them could actually happen.
If you want to look into any of this further, I can talk to you more about it later. I of course have a list of all the odds on each prophecy.
So before we read our scripture, lets review. Why can I trust the Bible above other religious texts?
These tell me that I don’t have to take it on faith that the Bible is the word of God
So lets turn to the Bible and see what it has to say about itself.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a]5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Shall we pray about that?
This passage sets a pattern for us for our daily lives. We are to love God, think constantly about him and his commandments, teach his commandments to our children, and live each day by the guidelines of his word
God emphasized the importance of parents teaching the Word to the children.
The Bible provides so many great lessons and holds so much awesome truth that it would be a shame to study it only one day a week.
We do not need to rely on our pastors and teachers to learn the word of God, but certainly our teachers and pastors are provided by God to be helpful.
What I am saying is that it is the same God inside us all, and God desires that we all know Him, and is sitting on the edge of his seat waiting for us to look to him.
And he is an awesome God
He commands us something that is not hard for us to do.
Verse 5 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.
And when we come to appreciate just what cost was spent on my salvation, and what I was saved from, that love is not something He even needs to ask me for
When we do love God with every fiber of our being, how could we not desire to please him?
When you are in love, you think about your love all the time.
You do things that you know would be pleasing and impress your love.
If you are really in love, you don’t have any other love in your life that compares
And you really want to get to know your love well
One way we get to know God, is by reading his Word.
Jesus said that this is the greatest of all the commandments ever given, to love God with every fiber of your being.
He said that if you do this much, and you love Gods Image, Mankind, the way you love yourself, then you will have effectively obeyed every single commandment ever.
This scripture goes on to say in Verse 6 that we are to keep these commandments on our hearts.
This means that we are to know them, and love them. Not that we are fighting to keep them, but that it is pleasing to do it.
Gods commandments are not a bunch of rules sent down from a cosmic dictator who hates to see us have fun.
He has put some warnings out there because he knows these things are in our best interest.
Like when we are taught to look both ways before we cross the street. We are not taught this because our parents hate to see us have fun, but because they know there is danger we need to be aware of.
So it is with God when he says wait to be married before you have sex, or to stay sober, or mediate on the words in the Bible day and night.
It is for our best interest, and if we don’t, it is our loss, believe it or not.
So to do these things becomes pleasing because you get blessed, and God is happy with you, and you love him, so it is good to see him pleased.
Verse 7 expresses how important it is to share these truths with the children, be them our kids, or even the kids in our life.
And how do we do this. “do what I say, not what I do”.. NO
Kids are going to follow our examples. I must walk the talk. They are always watching. My behavior has to match my words. My lifestyle has to be consistent with what I want them to learn, because they are not learning as much from my words as they are from my example.
But they are listening to my words too. Although, they would not be if my life was not consistent.
So If I earn some kids trust, and they start listening to my words, and I later show them a bad example, maybe because I was faking it for a while and my mask slips off, then they see that and stop listening.
To be able to teach anybody, especially children, God must be a part of my everyday life, not just the church stuff.
We need to teach our children to seek God in every aspect of life.
Verse 7 goes on to say that we are to be talking about this stuff when we wake up, and go to sleep, and all day in between.
When we are sitting at home or on the road, God is there and should be in our mouths.
Luke 6:45 says that your mouth speaks what your heart is full of.
Meaning I know what is often on your heart by what you are always talking about.
If you’re always talking about girls or boys, or if your cussing, or if you’re talking about games, sports, friends, TV, well then these are the things that are on your heart.
If you’re always talking about the things of God, eternity, and His kingdom, then I know He is occupying your heart.
Verse 8-9 it basically says that we should scream it from the rooftops. Ware it on your head like a hat that everybody can see.
Write it on your doorframe, so that everybody can see when they look to your house that you serve the Lord.
In closing, let me say this.
The word of God is under attack today, and people died so that you could have a level of access today that is greater then any other time in human history.
It is your loss if you don’t read the Bible.
Joshua 1:18 – mediate on the word of God day and night, be careful to do what it says, (so don’t just read it but live it) and you will be successful.
James 1:22 – basically says, don’t just hear about this stuff, don’t just read about it, but live it out. Let the word of God effect your life
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – The Bible is breathed by God, and is profitable for us to read because it helps us to teach, correct mistakes, rebuke sin, train ourselves and others in righteousness, and equips us for every day good works
Psalm 119: 165 – those who have the Word of God get great peace, and nothing can make them stumble.
This means that the Word, and the presence of Jesus in your life gives us a peace that far outweighs anything this world has to offer. And nothing can trip you up.
Yes, you will still have stress and trouble. But those things won’t throw you off.
(my example of peace)
Reading the Bible will help us to hear from God, because a conversation is a two way thing. We shouldn’t be doing all the talking in our prayer life. Lets let God do some, and one way he will speak to us is when we read his word
It will help us to identify truth.
I can identify a counterfeit by being intimately familiar with the real thing (explain money)
If there are leaders in my life who might lead me away from what pleases God, how will I know if I trust that leader?
Because I can test everything with the Bible, and if a leader goes against Gods word, then this is the one time I am permitted not to submit to my leadership.
The bible is not merely reading, but real help for real life.
when you discover the wisdom of Gods message in his word, you will want to share it and apply it to your own life.
the bible can sit on the shelf and collect dust or you can take time out of your life to regularly read it.
When you do, you are practicing the presence of God. And this is in your best interest.
Is there a sin you are struggling with? Of course, there is.
Well, don’t spend as much time trying to cut that out of your life. Instead, spend time in the Word and in prayer, and all of a sudden, God starts to do the changing in you.
If you want to be a better person, don’t worry about changing. Just worry about being in God’s presence more, and He will clean you up.
You’re the one missing out if you don’t read your bible regularly. Your missing out on truth, on blessings, on the presence of God in your life, and so much more.
Which brings me to my challenge for you today. If you have ever heard me preach, you have probably heard me issue a challenge at the end of each sermon.
My challenge for you is to read your bible every day for 30 days. I of course desire you to read it every day for the rest of your life, but lets take baby steps.
Pick up your bible, and read say one chapter, every day for thirty days.
Take the thirty-day bible challenge.
If you need help with this, then come to me and I will read it with you. Maybe on the phone or whatever.
But with our level of access today, no matter how busy you are, and with my help, you do have what it takes to read the bible everyday.
But will you? Will this be your priority?
Let us pray.
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