How to Benefit from the Bible

May 6, 2006 Psalms 19:7-11

Introduction: [Adapted from God Wrote a Book, by James MacDonald] – RECOMMEND IT – MRC!
1. We’re continuing our NEW ABF series this morning: God Wrote a Book – so far, we’ve spent our time on:
 Evidence for the Bible You Shouldn’t Ignore
 Where Did the Bible Come From? How did we get the 66 books we call the Bible?
 What Can the Bible Accomplish? – Psalm 19:7-11 [What a passage!]
2.  Our focus of this study is the Bible as our source of truth – the foundation of our faith!
- whatever source of truth a person has, and everyone does have one, it is an issue of FAITH
- what are you going to trust for eternity? How reliable is your source of truth?  How consistent is your source of truth?
3.  Our source of truth is God’s Word -- we believe it’s alive and powerful – it’s no ordinary book
[Review Memory Verse:  Psalm 19:10] – GET A BRAVE SOUL TO QUOTE IT! – then the class
 Psalm 19:10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
AND . . .[say them all together]
 Psalm 19:7 The LAW of the LORD is PERFECT, restoring the soul; The TESTIMONY of the LORD is SURE, making wise the simple.
 Psalm 19:8 The PRECEPTS of the LORD are RIGHT, rejoicing the heart; The COMMANDMENT of the LORD is PURE, enlightening the eyes.
 Psalm 19:9 The FEAR of the LORD is CLEAN, enduring forever; The JUDGMENTS of the LORD are TRUE; they are RIGHTEOUS altogether.
 REPEAT 19:10
Next week:  Psalm 19:11 – we’ll quote 7-11 together!
 Jesus, the Message of the Bible
4.  Our study this morning takes us to an important subject – it’s actually where ‘the rubber meets the road’ kind of study
- our topic this morning takes us to the reality of: How to Benefit from the Bible
5.  The previous subjects are important ones, but why is this one especially important?
[various answers – James 1 – we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only]
- we need to make the personal application our lives – not just knowledge (that alone makes a person proud), but learning to ‘discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness’ (1 Tim. 4:7)and actually APPLY to Word to everyday life situations!
- that’s part of understanding the sufficiency of the Scriptures and progressive sanctification
6. Let’s focus on 3 ways you can personally benefit from God’s Word:


I. Pick it up!


“If you want to benefit from the Bible, you’ve got to pick it up.  It’s not doing any good on your desk.  It’s not helping anyone on your shelf.  It doesn’t matter if you have a nice Bible on the coffee table or a great one in the glove compartment of your car.  The Bible is not some magical book that will do its work hanging in a little box around your neck or in a shirt pocket close to your heart.  In order to benefit from the Bible, you’ve got to pick it up!”
- James makes a good point, but it always seems like we have a reason NOT to pick up!
Input:  Name a reason you’ve heard for not reading the Bible.
• It’s old and boring – what does my life have to do with the OT characters in Babylon?
• I forget to read it – I’m easily distracted by other things
• I’m too busy – I can’t seem to find the time, I’m too busy and have a 100 things to do
• I don’t understand it – it’s just too complex and hard to get the point
Q:  What is the common denominator in the person who ‘picks it up’ and the person who doesn’t:?
Answer: C H O I C E – a decision to do or NOT to do it! Grace allows for that – you can choose to pick it up, or choose to let lie where it is and do nothing!
- or you could say the condition of the person’s heart – one is good, one isn’t
Q: Do you agree with Proverbs 23:7
 Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. . .
- if you do (and I hope you do – it’s inspired by God), then consider the following question:
[Note: Consider breaking out into small groups and answer the following question]
Q: What is going on in the heart of a person who regularly and joyfully reads his/her Bible on a regular basis? Same question for a person who doesn’t pick it up?
Heart FOR the Word Heart AWAY from the Word
 Fear (respect for God)
Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant.
 Joy in the Lord/Delights in Him:
-  Jeremiah wrote an interesting verse regarding how the Word of God benefited his life:
 Jeremiah 15:16 - Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.
- this is similar to what the Psalmist wrote:
 Psalm 119:16 I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.
 Love for the Lord – wants to know Him
 Desire to OBEY the Lord
Deuteronomy 7:9 "Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. [various answers]
 Doesn’t want to know God
 Doesn’t love God very much – i.e. doesn’t want to know what He says
 Proud – I don’t NEED the Word
 Lazy – I need it, but not enough to make it happen
 Other things are MORE IMPORTANT
- it’s probably not surprising that not everybody has an attitude that seeks after God
- not everybody WANTS to read the Word, study it, let alone OBEY it – Jeremiah also wrote:
 Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed and they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the LORD has become a reproach to them; they have no delight in it.
- Why don’t we always delight in the Word?  We don’t like guilt, because we don’t like to CHANGE
- if God’s word is true, then I’m wrong, and I need to change & grow!
- that what Peter was talking about when he wrote:
 2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
- so after you pick it up, you . . .


II. Size it up.


- we need to recognize God’s Word for what it is – that’s what Psalm 19:7-11 is all about
- we need to place the right value on the Word
A.  Nine Biblical pictures of God’s Word:
1.  Fire
 Jeremiah 5:14 – Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Hosts, “Because you have spoken this word, behold, I am making My words in your mouth fire and this people wood, and it will consume them.
- God’s Word is like fire; it consumes people’s hearts – their excuses for NOT obeying God or their sinful & selfish desires
- It will burn the dross and the useless things out of your life so fast
Q: Is God’s Word a ‘fire’ in your heart? . . . or is it an ‘ice cube’ to the soul?
2. Sword
- Paul describes the Christian life as ‘spiritual warfare’ and therefore we need to have the armor of God on so we can fight and win – we only have ONE offensive weapon:
 Ephesians 6:17 – And take. . .the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.
Q: Can you give an example of the Christ using the Word of God in a situation?
Example: Jesus Christ Himself used the Word of God as a sword to deflect the temptations of the enemy (Matthew 4:1-11)
- The sword of God’s Word quickly cuts to the heart of the matter.
- It pierces us, it penetrates us, it prescribes the specific answers a the right time and in the right place where we need them.
 Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword; piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
3. Hammer
 Jeremiah 23:29 – Is not my word like. . .a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
Point:  You need to be very careful about a hard heart – or about being stubborn or proud
> if God can’t get to you with the FIRE or the SWORD . . .The hammer’s going to fall.
 Read Psalm 95 – a Psalm of praise, we studied this in our series on Psalms
- focus on v. 6-11 – v. 11 – choices have consequences!
4. Seed
 I Peter 1:23 – Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.
 Luke 8:11 "Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.
“Sometimes we have to hear the same thing several times before it really starts to connect.  In the same way God’s Word planted in the human heart will bear much fruit and bring much beauty over time, but it requires a willingness to plant the seed by faith and wait.”
5. Milk
 1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow.
- you don’t see people crying very often because they haven’t been fed physically – sometimes my kids act like they are ‘starving to death’ – but they always seem to make it till we feed them
Q: How many times have you seen someone filled with worry, fear, or discouragement because they have neglected God’s only provision for their spiritual nourishment?
- note that Peter said ‘as newborn babies long for the pure milk’ – what is Peter trying to communicate?
> it’s OK to be a baby for awhile – that’s normal . . . but he adds “so that by it you may GROW!
> here again ‘progressive sanctification’ is emphasized
- at some point, it’s time to move away from the milk of God’s Word and into the ‘meat’ – it’s time to see the need to grow up!
6. Meat
Milk is like the elementary or basic things of the Bible
Example of a “milk truth”:  This is God’s Word, we are sinners, Jesus died for us, we suppose to love others and forgive people when they repent
 Hebrews 5:12-14 – For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness. . .But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice, have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Q: What is the one of the most important phrases in this verse?
A: ‘Because of practice’ – i.e. faithful obedience, consistently using the Word, living by it
Q: What’s the RESULT?  Your senses will be ‘trained to discern good and evil’
- this is in part what Jesus meant when He said in the Sermon on the Mount:
 Matthew 5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
- whether it’s milk or meat, you need to be hungry or you’ll never be ‘satisfied’
> maybe that explains why so many people and DISCONTENT – they are ‘eating up the TEMPORAL in exchange for the ETERNAL!”
7. Light
Q: What does light do?  Exposes
 Psalm 119:105 – Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
- The light of God’s Word shines on our path and says, “Don’t go there.  Bad idea.”
Point: The will of God is revealed in the Word of God!
Example: Yet some want to say “God told me to do _____”, when His Word clearly contradicts what they supposed say God wants them to do!
 I John 1 – walk in the light. . . instead of living in the bushes of Gen. 3
8. Mirror
- Sometimes it’s ugly!  Reveals reality – what we really look like in God’s eyes
- Sometimes the problem is in our heart.
 James 1:23-25 – For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.  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 will be blessed in what he does.
- God’s Word shows us ourselves!  It confronts us with truth and convicts us about our true need.
- The real power then is not in the words exclusively but in my doing what the Word says:
 Psalm 19:11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.
9. Bread – Jesus was quoting Deut. 8:3 when He said:
 Matthew 4:4 … “It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD."'
- Jesus went on to say that HE was ‘the Bread of Life” – i.e. the Living Word of God!
B. Personal Evaluation:  How often do you pick it up? Size it up?
- the bottom line question is: What are you going to DO with the Word? Ignore it or …


III.  Eat it up!


 Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.
“What is food to our bodies, Scripture is to our souls.”
*  Here are 5 things you need to do if you want to eat God’s Word and feed your soul:
A.  Read it
If you use a serious posture, you’ll get a serious result.
B.  Learn it
1. What portion of my reading stands out to me?
2. Why does this part have my attention?
3. Is there an example for me to follow?
4. Is there an error for me to avoid?
5. Is there a duty for me to perform?
6. Is there a promise for me to claim?
7. Is there a sin for me to confess?
C.  Pray it
“When you are praying back the truths of God’s own Word, you can be confident you are praying as God would have you do.  You can also be confident that God will respond to what you are asking if the direction truly comes from His Word.”
-  He might not respond exactly as you think – or in the timing of the answer – but He will respond to your request because He promised it!
Ex:  Eph. 5:25 - Lord, help me to love my wife as Christ loved the church. . .
Ex:: Eph. 5:22,32 – Lord, help me to be submissive to my husband and reverence him
Ex: Eph. 6:4 – Lord, help me not to provoke my children to anger but be bringing them up in your disciple and teaching!


D.  Obey it –
- this is where we struggle the most – it’s not really understanding the Word, it’s OBEYING the Word
- Discuss some reasons why we DON’T obey – fear of man, lack of faith, don’t really want to, think it’s too much trouble, etc.
E.  Share it
- this is the Matt. 28:19-20 commission!
“The reason why we share God’s Word is not for ourselves; it’s for others, and then as a by-product we get the incredible blessing of seeing almighty God use it.”
 Isaiah 40:8 – The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.
 2 Timothy 4 – preach the word
Conclusion:
Memory Verse: Psalm 19:11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.
Next Week: Jesus, the Message of the Bible! [Mother’s Day]
- May 21 – The DaVinci Delusion – 3 week study on a cultural ‘hot topic’ that has serious ramifications to the person and work of Jesus Christ and implication to His Word!
- Each person (or couple) will be given a book next week
A Quest for Answers: The DaVinci Code, by Josh McDowell


ABF Series: God Wrote a Book
How to Benefit from the Bible
Introduction:

I. Pick it up!
“If you want to benefit from the Bible, you’ve got to pick it up.  It’s not doing any good on your desk.  It’s not helping anyone on your shelf.  It doesn’t matter if you have a nice Bible on the coffee table or a great one in the glove compartment of your car.  The Bible is not some magical book that will do its work hanging in a little box around your neck or in a shirt pocket close to your heart.  In order to benefit from the Bible, you’ve got to pick it up!”
Q:  What is the common denominator in the person who ‘picks it up’ and the person who doesn’t:?
Answer: __ __ __ __ __ __
Heart FOR the Word Heart AWAY from the Word

 

 

II. Size it up.
A.  Nine Biblical pictures of God’s Word:
1.  _________
 Jeremiah 5:14 Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Hosts, “Because you have spoken this word, behold, I am making My words in your mouth fire and this people wood, and it will consume them.
2. ___________
 Ephesians 6:17 And take. . .the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.
 Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword; piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
3. ________________
 Jeremiah 23:29  Is not my word like. . .a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
 Read Psalm 95
4. __________
 I Peter 1:23  Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.
 Luke 8:11 "Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.
5. _________
 1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow.
6. ____________
 Hebrews 5:12-14  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness. . .But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice, have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
 Matthew 5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7. _____________
 Psalm 119:105  Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
 I John 1 – walk in the light
8. _____________
 James 1:23-25  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.  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 will be blessed in what he does.
 Psalm 19:11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.
9. _____________
 Matthew 4:4 … “It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD."'
B. ______________ _______________:  How often do you pick it up? Size it up?
III.  Eat it up!
 Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.
A.  ___________ it
B.  ___________ it
1. What portion of my reading stands out to me?
2. Why does this part have my attention?
3. Is there an example for me to follow?
4. Is there an error for me to avoid?
5. Is there a duty for me to perform?
6. Is there a promise for me to claim?
7. Is there a sin for me to confess?
C.  ___________ it
D.  _________ it 
E.  __________ it
 Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.
 2 Timothy 4 – preach the word
Conclusion:
Memory Verse: Psalm 19:11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.
Next Week: Jesus, the Message of the Bible! [Mother’s Day]
* May 21 – The DaVinci Delusion (3 parts series)

ABF Series: God Wrote a Book
How to Benefit from the Bible
Introduction:
Memory Verse:  Psalm 19:10
 Psalm 19:10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
 Psalm 19:7 The LAW of the LORD is PERFECT, restoring the soul; The TESTIMONY of the LORD is SURE, making wise the simple.

 Psalm 19:8 The PRECEPTS of the LORD are RIGHT, rejoicing the heart; The COMMANDMENT of the LORD is PURE, enlightening the eyes.

 Psalm 19:9 The FEAR of the LORD is CLEAN, enduring forever; The JUDGMENTS of the LORD are TRUE; they are RIGHTEOUS altogether.


I. Pick it up!
Quote
Q:  What is the common denominator in the person who ‘picks it up’ and the person who doesn’t:?
Answer: C H O I C E
 Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. . .
Heart FOR the Word
 Fear (respect for God)
 Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant.
 Joy in the Lord/Delights in Him:
 Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.
 Psalm 119:16 I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.


 Love for the Lord – wants to know Him
 Desire to OBEY the Lord
 Deuteronomy 7:9 "Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.

Heart AWAY from the Word
 Doesn’t want to know God
 Doesn’t love God very much
 Proud
 Lazy
 Other things are MORE IMPORTANT
 Jeremiah 6:10
 2 Peter 3:18
II. Size it up.
A.  Nine Biblical pictures of God’s Word:
1.  Fire
 Jeremiah 5:14

2. Sword
 Ephesians 6:17
 Hebrews 4:12
3. Hammer
 Jeremiah 23:29
 Read Psalm 95
4. Seed
 I Peter 1:23
 Luke 8:11
“Sometimes we have to hear the same thing several times before it really starts to connect.  In the same way God’s Word planted in the human heart will bear much fruit and bring much beauty over time, but it requires a willingness to plant the seed by faith and wait.”
5. Milk
 1 Peter 2:2
6. Meat
 Hebrews 5:12-14
 Matthew 5:6
7. Light
 Psalm 119:105
 I John 1 – walk in the light. . .
8. Mirror
 James 1:23-25
 Psalm 19:11
9. Bread
 Matthew 4:4
B. Personal Evaluation:  How often do you pick it up? Size it up?
III.  Eat it up!
 Jeremiah 15:16
A.  Read it
B.  Learn it
1. What portion of my reading stands out to me?
2. Why does this part have my attention?
3. Is there an example for me to follow?
4. Is there an error for me to avoid?
5. Is there a duty for me to perform?
6. Is there a promise for me to claim?
7. Is there a sin for me to confess?


C.  Pray it
“When you are praying back the truths of God’s own Word, you can be confident you are praying as God would have you do.  You can also be confident that God will respond to what you are asking if the direction truly comes from His Word.”
D.  Obey it
E.  Share it
“The reason why we share God’s Word is not for ourselves; it’s for others, and then as a by-product we get the incredible blessing of seeing almighty God use it.”
 Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.
 2 Timothy 4 – preach the word
Conclusion:
Memory Verse: Psalm 19:11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.
Next Week: Jesus, the Message of the Bible!
* May 21 – The DaVinci Delusion