Isaiah 40, verse 8, which we've already heard in the song.
Here it is. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever. We stand at the beginning of a new year.
We look back over 2022. Much has withered, much has faded, much that we did is of little or no consequence, but this we know that the Word of our God will stand forever. Many cultural changes have taken place over the last year, certainly here in the United States in our Western civilization, and I think one of the most radical changes which has happened is an attack on truth.
Not that it is new, but its intensity has increased. We lived in an age of skepticism, an age of cynicism, an age of spin, an age of fake news, an age where there is a crisis of confidence in who we can believe. In fact, more basically, what is truth? Where can we find the truth? Is there such a thing as truth? For many people, the answer is no, there is no absolute truth. It is my truth which is based on my feelings, my experience, my opinions.
Now here, we who are followers of Jesus Christ depart radically from such thinking. We who are followers of Jesus Christ have a steadfast commitment to truth. Jesus said in his prayer to his Father in John 17 verse 17, sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth. Jesus also said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. In answer to Pilate, who was asking about truth, Jesus says in John 18, everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice. You a seeker after truth, listen to the voice of Jesus.
And here at Calvary Church, at the beginning of a new year, we reaffirm our unswerving commitment that this book, the Bible, is the Word of God. The truth that the Bible is God's Word, that is God's Word in written form, is always undermined, is always denied right from the beginning, right from the Garden of Eden. Our enemy, Satan, is the father of lies, Jesus said. He is the deceiver.
He's behind all of the error, all of the untruths. Paul reminds us that he blinds the minds of the unbelievers. So that means that we must stand firm in believing that when the Bible speaks, God speaks.
So in this age where there's an attack on truth in our own country, where we have difficulty knowing what is true and people argue and debate and we wonder what is truth, we say we believe that God's Word is truth. Now I hope you've come with your Bible. Turn to 2 Timothy, that's towards the end of the New Testament, and this is Paul's last letter.
He's about to die. He's writing to Timothy, whom he has mentored, who he has discipled, and he's passing on to Timothy some important truths. Chapter 2, first of all, 2 Timothy 2, verse 15, do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of truth. Notice what Paul says, it is the Word of truth. Verse 17, their talk will spread like gangrene, among whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. Paul is saying there is truth. These men in the first century had swerved from the truth. Verse 25, verse 24, the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome, be kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance, leading to a knowledge of the truth.
Notice that. Chapter 3, 2 Timothy 3, verse 7, Paul talks about people here always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. A lot of information going in. They're always learning, they say, but they never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Chapter 4, 2 Timothy 4, verse 3, the time will come when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of evangelism, fulfill your ministry. The apostle Paul certainly believed in the truth. He believed that people can deviate from the truth.
There is right and wrong, there is good and evil, there is truth and there is error, and we must stand on the truth. It's very interesting in church history that at the time of the Reformation, the Reformers placed the pulpit at the center of the church, at the center of worship. Prior to that, there was the altar. Sometimes people come into the sanctuary and say, where is the altar? Well, there is no altar. Our only altar is the cross, which is above us. Central to the life of the church, in the view of the Reformers, and rightly so I would say, was the pulpit. It was the place for the exposition of the Word of God. The house of God is not a stage for performers, it's not a theater for entertainment, but is a place where we come, as we've done this morning, to worship our God, to remind ourselves that there is a true God, to remind ourselves that the only way of salvation is found in our Lord Jesus Christ, and then humbly, quietly, to listen to God speak to us through His Word.
Sadly, that is becoming rather rare in our country. Rather than preaching God's revelation, many pastors are substituting their own ideas, their vision, their opinions, their imagination, their personality. And increasingly, in some places preaching seems more about the preacher and his lifestyle, his opinions, and perhaps even his clothes, rather than the Word of God.
And many people seem to like that. Sometime ago, Goodney and I were on vacation, and we attended what they call a megachurch in another state. Now when I go, I enjoy worship, I enjoy singing, but I want to hear preaching. And I thought this man was going to preach. And he stood up, and after some introductory remarks, he began telling a long, rambling story about going to a store and selecting a type of shirt. And I looked around, I thought, you know, what is all this about? And the audience seemed mesmerized by this rather pointless story of him buying a particular shirt. And I'm thinking, who cares about your shirt? And I'm looking at him, and I thought, you know, by the look of your skinny jeans also, you would look terrible in a kilt. I mean, what on earth?
What on earth is going on? John Milton wrote of those preachers and the hungry sheep look up and they're not fed. And I thought, when is it time to stop talking about yourself and your clothes and your interests and open the Word of God and say, thus says the Lord.
You say, well, it was just a harmless story. Well, perhaps, perhaps. But the underlying philosophy to me was, he was communicating that life is all about me. That's what people want, isn't it? We want a God that we can control. We want a God who can help us fulfill our dreams, a God who can help me be successful, a God who is there to help me. And so, as Paul writes to the first century, what happens? People choose a preacher, choose a pastor, go to a church where they're going to be reinforced in their own prejudices and desires. Paul says they turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Isn't that tragic? In the so-called church of Jesus Christ, people would go and rather than hearing the exposition of the Word of God, they're going to turn away from the truth and wander into pointless myths. What's the answer? Let's stand and read it together. It's from 2 Timothy 3 and it's from verse 14 through chapter 4, verse 2. Will you read it with me? Now, remember Paul is talking to Timothy, but as for you — you reading it with me? Let me hear you — but as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you've been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom, preach the Word.
Be ready in season and out of season. Reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching. Amen.
Please be seated. What is Paul saying? That the Bible is the Word of God. He says here in 2 Timothy 3, verse 16, all Scripture is breathed out by God. The Word of God is inspired by God. God, not man, is the origin of the Bible. So we believe in the inspiration of Scripture. This word inspired, translated here in the English Standard Version, is breathed out.
It is the very breath of God. That means that this book, the Bible, is breathed out by God and is alive and life-giving. You say, well, it was written 2,000 years ago. Some of it was written 3,000 years ago. How could it be alive? How could what someone wrote thousands of years ago be alive and living today?
Answer? It is the very breath of God. In Matthew chapter 4, the Lord is being tempted by Satan. Some of you know that passage. And in answer to one of the temptations Jesus gives this answer, He's going to quote from Deuteronomy chapter 8.
Here it is. He says, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Notice the tense. It's not that it came from the Word of God.
That's true. But it's deeper than that. It is every word that comes, present tense, from the Word of God. Again, another example would be in Hebrews chapter 12, where the writer is talking about discipline, that whom a father loves he disciplines. And he says in Hebrews 12 verse 5, and have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? My son do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. He's quoting from Proverbs 3. But notice verse 5. Have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you, present tense as sons?
Isn't that wonderful? Here we are reading the Holy Scriptures, and it is alive, living, life-giving. Men who wrote it were carried along by the Holy Spirit so that what is written is the very Word of God. The Bible is God's Word written.
It is inspired by God. It is also without error that the Word of God is without error. God's truth is revealed in Holy Scripture. It is the only divinely authoritative writing.
I realize there are other people who claim that they've received a vision. The Mormons have there a Book of Mormon and so on. But the Holy Scriptures are the only divinely authoritative writing. So we believe, and believe very strongly, that truth is not reached through dialogue.
It's not getting a group of people together and kind of brainstorming and coming up with a consensus of truth. We believe that truth has been — I'm going to need another mic if this keeps happening — truth is revealed by God. The God who is truth is a God who never lies, a God who breathed out the Holy Scriptures. Therefore, the Scriptures are absolutely true, absolutely reliable. Our Lord Jesus said in John chapter 10, Scripture cannot be broken. Think of that. Scripture cannot be broken.
Why is that? Because God never lies. Because God is absolute truth. Scripture cannot be an error. We believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. That's why we can absolutely claim the promises of God. God is faithful. His Word is true, and therefore we can claim the promises of God. It's inspired by God.
It's inerrant. It is relevant and sufficient for every spiritual need. You say, is it really relevant? Wouldn't it be better that you address some of the kind of affairs going on, John, rather than reading an old script, an old Scripture? God's Word is always relevant because it's alive. It is eternal. Thomas says in Psalm 119 verse 89, forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. We heard in the song, I read it from Isaiah 40 verse 8, the grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our Lord abides forever.
Jesus said, heavens and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Now, because the Bible is the Word of God, it is sufficient. It's all that we need for our salvation and our spiritual growth. All the answers regarding salvation, all the answers regarding how you're going to grow spiritually are found in God's Word.
It is sufficient. He's revealed all that we need to know. Do we have questions about certain things, certain mysteries about the Trinity, the incarnation, and so on? Yes, we have questions, but all that we need to know to be authentic followers of Jesus Christ is revealed in Scripture. That's why we test everything against the Word of God. I find it's very sad that professing believers, having regard to some of the changes in our society, with laws with decision by the Supreme Court and so on, regarding marriage and regarding the definition of a man and a woman and all of that, people talk about, well, we must be — it's important that we're on the right side of history.
Now, that sounds very clever, doesn't it? It sounds rather reasonable, because we know that people in the past have made mistakes about certain things, and we all want to be on the right side of history. But who writes the history? Isn't it God, ultimately, who writes history?
Not us, not to us give our interpretation and bring in our own prejudices and desires in interpreting history. No, what's important is not so much trying to figure out who's on the right side of history, but it is rather looking at Scripture and saying, has God said anything on the subject of marriage? Has God said anything on the subject of gender? Has God spoken on the question of sexuality?
Isn't that the question, rather than who's on the right side of history? No, the Bible is our sole authority. Now, because the Bible is the Word of God, Paul is saying to Timothy, and I'm saying to you, that the Bible must be faithfully proclaimed. Notice again the words in chapter four, verses one and two, if you have your Bible there.
Notice how strongly Paul says this. He says, I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus. The picture is that there is Timothy. He's standing before God and Jesus Christ, who is to judge the living and the dead. And by his appearing at his kingdom, each one of us are going to stand before God.
At any moment, we believe that our Lord Jesus Christ may return. Therefore, what are you to do, Timothy, having regard to our truth of Scripture, having regard to the fact that all of us are going to stand before God, what are you to do, Timothy? Verse two, preach the Word in season and out of season.
Reprove, rebuke, exhort with complete patience and teaching. Paul charges Timothy to preach the Word. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, the work of preaching is the highest and greatest and the most glorious calling to which anyone can be called.
Why is that? Because it's a proclamation of the truth of God. And my passion in life, as I've often said, is to glorify God through the exposition of His Word. The preacher's authority is not in himself, not in his remarkable insights or opinions, not in his charismatic personality, certainly not in his feelings.
The only authority that the preacher has is in the Word of God. And so when you come, as you've come this morning, and as I stand here, the goal is not to hear the voice of John Monroe. It is to hear the voice of God.
What could be grander? What could be more majestic, more awesome than hearing God speaking to you? And therefore God's Word must be proclaimed and must be communicated, Paul says, in season and out of season, recognizing that as the truth is proclaimed, whether from a pulpit, whether in your home, or whether in the bank where you work, wherever you are, there is always opposition. In the Garden of Eden, Satan successfully tempted Eve to question the authority, the reliability, the relevance of God's Word, and his strategy continues. What's the view today about truth? The common philosophy is that each person is his or her own authority in interpreting life. It's up to you, it's up to me to determine what path we choose in life. So the authority is not in Scripture now, the authority is in myself. It reminds us, doesn't it, if you know your Bible, for the last verse in the book of Judges, where the writer says there was no king in Israel. In a sense, no authority, no voice from God.
What was the result? Everyone did what was right in their own eyes. If you do not bow to King Jesus, if you do not acknowledge that He is the Lord Jesus, what do we do?
Our society is now working on this. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes. You have your truth, I have my truth. I don't interfere with you, you don't interfere with me. I don't judge you, you don't judge me.
I can indulge in the most bizarre behavior. I can come up with the most ridiculous opinions and people will say, well, that's your truth. The Scriptures say, no, there is truth and there is error. So human reasoning, our feelings, our experiences, sadly they become the measure of truth rather than divine revelation. And so what's the task of the preacher?
The task of the preacher is to open this book and say, thus says the Lord. I'm not the authority. Your traditions, your agenda, your opinions, your perspective, all of them may be very interesting and we can talk about them, but they are not authoritative. Surely was one of the strong emphasis of the Protestant Reformation, sola scriptura, Scripture alone. No, the authority was not found in the tradition of the church.
The authority is certainly not found in the individual. We must bow before this God who has given us His Word and say, now what does the Scripture say? Therefore, Paul says, it's going to be difficult to be there. People are going to turn away from it sometimes, but this is why I want you to do. I want you to preach the Word. I want you to be a trumpeter for God. People sometimes ask me why I left Scotland and went to Dallas Theological Seminary.
Good news, I had never been to Dallas, I had never been to Texas. But when I sensed God calling me into full-time ministry, and I thought, where am I going to be trained? I discovered that Dallas Theological Seminary had as their motto, caruxonton logon, coming from 2 Timothy 4 verse 2, preach the Word.
And I thought, I want to go there. I want to learn to be an able, competent expositor of the Word of God. If the Word of God is inspired by God, if the Bible is inerrant, surely its truth must be proclaimed.
So what am I saying today? I'm saying, first of all, the Bible is the Word of God. I'm saying, secondly, if that is true, it's got to be communicated. It's got to be read, it's got to be preached. And then third, I'm saying to you, the Word of God must be personally obeyed.
Did you get that? You and I must obey the Word of God. You notice what the Scripture does? God's Word leads to salvation. Chapter 3 verse 14, he talks about difficult times, people deceiving, people turning from the truth. But as for you Timothy, chapter 3 verse 14, continue in what you've learned and have firmly believed. Notice the de-emphasis on being novel or creative, which is the cry today. As preachers, we're meant to be creative. We're meant to be novel.
We're going to come up with something different. That is not the apostolic method at all. The apostolic method is this. God has revealed His truth. This is the gospel, and it must be passed on to the next generation.
That's our commitment to Calvary. Not to do some new truth, not to be novel. Obviously, we want to present it in a persuasive way, but we're to continue in what we've learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it. Here, the gospel from his mother and his grandmother, and how from childhood, the old King James says, from infancy, you've been acquainted with the sacred writings. Notice this, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. The Word of God leads us to salvation.
I'm an example of that. I was taught the Word of God by my mother, my grandfather, my parents and my grandparents, as many of you were. This is why at Calvary we teach the Word of God to our children, young children. This is why we started Calvary Christian Academy, because we're committed to communicating the Word of God to children.
Why? Just to give them more information? No, primarily to lead them, Paul says, for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no salvation apart from the Word of God.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ. Romans 10 verse 17. What does Peter say? In 1 Peter 1, he agrees completely with Paul.
This is what he says, 1 Peter 1 verse 22, having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth. You hear, you've got a dirty heart. Your life's a mess. You've got a dirty tongue. You need purified. You need cleansing.
People go to certain places for to be detoxed, to get bad things out of their system. Where is this spiritual detox? How can we be spiritually cleansed by obeying the truth? For a sincere brotherly love, says Peter, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you've been born again.
How can we be born again? Not of perishable seed, but of imperishable through the living and abiding Word of God. Notice this description of Scripture. It is living — it comes from God, inspired by God — it's living and it's abiding for all flesh is like grass and all is glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the Word of the Lord remains forever.
He's quoting from Isaiah 40. End of the year, we look back. One of my very close friends passed away on December 29. Known him since I was a boy.
A passionate preacher of the gospel. Some of you have friends, relatives who died last year. Some of you began the year 2022 with great hopes and aspirations and they've been dashed.
It's the glory of man, isn't it? It's there, the celebrity. It's there for a little bit, and then they're gone. The best soccer players in the world, after a few years, they've become pastor. And they leave Europe and come over to the U.S. to play in their declining years to make a lot of money. The Hollywood star fades.
It's gone. The businessman who seemed to be doing so well, oh, it's been a tough year, 2022. The glory passes, doesn't it? You say, that's a gloomy perspective of life.
No, it's realistic. Notice the contrast. The word of the Lord remains forever. And this word is the good news, the gospel that was preached to you. Why do we preach the Word of God? Why preach the gospel? Because it is the transformation of the life. It changes life now as we come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. But for all of eternity, we'll be with our Savior. Everything else goes.
All your achievements, all your money, all your possessions, gone. But this abides. The Word of God abides forever. And Paul is reminding Timothy, Timothy, I want you to communicate the Word of God. Remember that from a child you've known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation. That is, this word, the truth of the gospel, is to be understood, is to be communicated. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.
But it's to be personally applied. That is true wisdom. It is a wisdom, says Paul, leading to salvation. The preaching of the Word of God leads to salvation. It also leads to spiritual maturity. You will never, never be a mature Christian. It may be 30, 40 years since you were converted. But if you are not in Scripture, you are not mature.
Notice what he says about this Scripture. Not only does it make us wise for salvation, it is profitable, verse 16, for teaching. We need to be taught to be reproved. We need to be reproved from time to time, corrected, training in righteousness.
That takes time, doesn't it? To be trained, to be ready. As being in the gym, some of you made resolutions this year. You're going to spend more time in the gym. You bought some workout machinery. And you're going to get yourself, you think, in good physical shape.
Nothing wrong with that, but here's a better training. Here is a training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. How am I going to be mature? How am I going to be ready to be used by God?
How am I going to be brought to spiritual maturity? The answer, the Word of God. You see, truth — this is one of our big failings, I think. Our goal is not just biblical knowledge. Biblical knowledge is good. You must read and understand the Bible. But the truth that you read, the truth that you understand, has to be obeyed and integrated into your life. The preaching and teaching of the Word of God is not just to give you more information, not to fill your little notebook and tell me all the Bible studies you go to.
Nothing. How is it that this individual goes to these Bible studies, but there doesn't seem to be any transformation of the life? Scripture is not given to make us smarter sinners, but to make us sanctified saints, to make us more like Jesus Christ. And it is the personal application of the Word of God, the obedience of the Word of God as I humbly receive it, that brings us to maturity. Scripture talks about those who are just babies in Christ.
They're still on the bottle. They've been saved 10 years, but spiritually speaking, they're still in diapers. What's wrong? Not being brought to spiritual maturity. You see, the foolish person, Jesus says, hears the Word of God, but does not obey it. Remember the little parable He tells at the end of the Sermon on the Mount? The greatest sermon ever preached, some say.
What does He say? He tells a little story about the wise man and the foolish man. And He says, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house upon the rock. Now, I want to ask you, are you a wise woman? Are you a wise boy? Are you a wise man? Oh, you might be able to answer a Bible quiz pretty well.
That's impressive. But how much of these truths are being integrated into your life? Do you want your life to have a solid foundation in 2023? You don't know what's going to happen. I don't know what's going to happen. Your world may be rocked.
Mine may be rocked. It may be the best year of your life, or it may be the worst year. None of us know as we stand on the threshold of 2023, but this I do know, that if our life is based on the Word of God, if I come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, as I read the Word of God, as I hear it preached, and it's been incorporated into my life, that is going to make me wise so that when the storms of life come and difficult situations come in life, I will be able to make wise decisions.
Why? Because we know and obey the Word of God. That's my challenge for you today, to obey the Word of God. At the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away this year, but when she was crowned — I think it was 1953 — she was given an object by the moderator of the Church of Scotland, and it was described as, quote, the most valuable thing that the world affords. Now, she's going to get these beautiful crown jewels, which are worth millions, et cetera. But here is something that was given to her, and it was said it was the most valuable thing that the world affords.
What was it? It was the Bible. Do you believe that? Why preach and teach the Bible? Because it's the very Word of God. Because it is absolute truth. Because it's living and powerful. It has changed my life and has changed millions of lives down through the centuries.
How does that happen? How does a life be transformed? Here are four quick responses I'd like you to make today. First, read the Bible daily. One of the problems is we don't read our Bibles. I'm challenging you, all of you, at least 15 minutes a day, read your Bible. How much time do you spend on your phone, iPhone? How much time do you spend watching TV?
How much time do you spend shooting the breeze? I want you a minimum of 15 minutes every day in the Word of God. Not your little devotional calendar, not some commentary, not some book about the Bible.
They've all got their place, and that's not what I'm asking you to do. I want you to do something which is very basic, is to get a Bible, if you don't have one, and every day open it and read it. Don't tell me you're too busy. Please, don't say that. We have a Bible reading plan, two years.
It's on our web. If you're not familiar with the Bible, I'd ask you to begin with the Gospel of Mark. It's the life of Jesus. If you're familiar with the Gospels, how about a book, Philippians? It's only four chapters. Read it, and re-read it, and re-read it, and re-read it. Read the Bible. Not a book about the Bible, not a course on the Bible.
That's fine if you want to do that, but that's extra. I don't know if the Lord gives you extra credit for that or not, but here's the assignment. Will you do it? Some of you are not going to do this. I'm challenging you.
Please. If we believe this is the living Word of God, you need to read it. One of our problems is we do not know our Bibles because we're not reading them. Read your Bible every day. Secondly, pray before you read the Bible. If it's true this is the Word of God, pray. Pray. Expect to hear God speaking to you through His Word. Now, this is not mysticism, where you close your eyes and just say, well, I wonder what's going to come into my mind.
No, that's not it. I don't want you to listen to your heart. I want you to listen to God, because God speaks to you in His Word. Before you read the Bible, pray Psalm 119 verse 81. Here it is, open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from your law. That was the Old Testament law. Could you pray that? Lord, I'm starting reading Mark's Gospel.
Open my eyes today that I may behold wonderful things from your law, from your Scripture. You say, well, I read it. I don't get anything from it. Well, probably you're not — you're reading it too quickly. You're not meditating on it. And I suggest you're probably not praying. Expect God to speak to you. Similarly, when you come into the sanctuary on a Sunday, expect God to speak to you through His Word.
So you pray before you read the Word. First, read the Bible daily. Secondly, pray before you read the Word of God. Third, obey the Word of God. Take God at His Word. If you've never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, take God at His Word.
The message of the Gospel is believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you'll be saved. Claim the promise. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. That's obedience. That's the obedience of faith. But as you read the Word of God, claim the promises of the Word of God. Is there a sin I need to repent of?
Is there some commandment I have to obey here? Help me to live a life of faith. I'm reading the Word of God. I'm listening to God, and now I am to obey it. Obedience.
That's hard for us, isn't it? That's why it's important to come with a humble heart. Don't be a critic of the Word of God. Tremble, as it were, at the Word of God. Fourth, commit to worship at Calvary.
I'm saying Calvary, but if you're visiting your other church, whatever it is, your home church, commit to worship at Calvary. Don't just come on a Sunday morning when you feel like it. Now, some of you just come when you feel like it. It's amazing the excuses people have for not coming to worship God. Oh, I don't feel so well.
They feel well enough to be able to go to the football game to go to work, but they just don't feel like it. It's a weak view of the church, isn't it? This is the church of Jesus Christ.
Make a commitment to come to worship every Sunday, to worship God, to look up to the greatness and the grace of God, and to hear His Word. You say, well, you know, I have my own little group. Oh, wonderful. You're in some little spiritual clique where you reinforce one another. That's great. You've got a Bible study, you've got a dinner club, you've got a fellowship group on a Saturday night, and because you go to that, you think, well, I don't need to come to worship God on a Sunday.
Really? This is the church of Jesus Christ. Wonderful to have little groups on a Saturday night or a Friday night with your friends. Praise God for them. That is not the church of Jesus Christ. There is no substitute for corporate worship with a family of God where you worship God and where you hear His Word. And as the — and as the Word of God is faithfully preached and taught, and as we pray, I trust there will be a great sense of the power and presence of the Lord over the century when we realize that God is speaking to us. That God is speaking to us, and that lives are being supernaturally changed and transformed. When you're in the dark, God's Word will be your light. When you're confused, God's Word will be your guide. When you feel you're sinking, God's Word will be your solid rock. When you find yourself in a spiritual battle, God's Word will be your sword. When your heart is hard, God's Word will be like a hammer smashing your sin. When your heart is cold, God's Word will be a fire. When your heart is broken, God's Word will be your comfort.
I can testify to that. That in the tough times of life, what sustains us? Man will not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the life from the mouth of God. God's Word will make you wise unto salvation. God's Word will equip you for every good work.
It is the living, powerful, eternal Word of God. Therefore, read it. Meditate on it. Memorize it.
Love it. Obey it. And your life will be transformed and will be a tremendous blessing to others. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever. Our Father and our God, we bow and ask that we will be like the Psalmist who can say that He delighted in the law of the Lord and He meditated on it day and night. Increase our appetite for Your Word, and may many lives be transformed through the living and powerful Word of God. We thank You for this firm foundation. We thank You for the truth of the gospel. We thank You for the truth of Your Word. Help us not only to know it, but to live it and to communicate the great truth to others. That You so loved the world, that You gave Your only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. We thank You for that living message which has saved us and is transforming us. And so we pray for Your presence and Your blessing on us. In Christ's name, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-03 12:36:35 / 2023-01-03 12:52:00 / 15