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1169. Satisfying Bible Intake

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
January 20, 2022 7:00 pm

1169. Satisfying Bible Intake

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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January 20, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Jon Daulton continues the series entitled “Walking with God” with a message titled, “Satisfying Bible Intake,” from Psalm 34:8.

The post 1169. Satisfying Bible Intake appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform. Our program features sermons from chapel services at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Every day, students are blessed by the preaching and teaching of the Bible from the University Chapel Platform. Our next speaker is Director of Student Life at Bob Jones University.

BJU President Steve Pettit will introduce him. Well, it was a good day at Bob Jones University when 27 years ago, Mr. John Dalton came to serve here in this ministry. And for 27 years, in varying roles that God has given him, he has served the student body.

Currently, he is the Director of Student Life, and I don't know anyone more committed to the scripture and the student body than Mr. Dalton. And so as we are working this week through the idea of walking with God and seeking the Lord and seeking His Word, I wanted John to come and share with you this morning. So would you please open your heart as he comes to preach God's Word?

Let's give Mr. Dalton a warm welcome this morning. Let's take our Bibles and go to Psalm chapter 34. Psalm 34 verse 8 will be our theme verse as we get into our message today. You're familiar with that verse which says, "'O taste and see that the Lord is good.'" And when you've done that, you'll experience the blessing that comes from those who trust in Him. Our theme this week is walking with God. And yesterday we were stirred, I think sincerely motivated, to behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ in a way that we're changed into that same image, the image of Christ. And I trust that you were motivated to make that your lifelong objective. And I hope Chapel gives you the kinds of things that we received yesterday that you can take and think and meditate on.

I'd like to descend today into a little bit of the practical implications of that kind of an objective. How do we get to the point that we're actually successful in beholding the glory of God and being changed into His image? We get the impression that that has something to do with Bible intake, something to do with God's Word taking up a regular habitual consistent dwelling in our own hearts.

So we know that. How do these verses strike you? Job 23, neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips. I have esteemed God's words more than my necessary food. More to be desired, Psalm 19 10, are they God's words than gold, yea, than much fine gold, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. Psalm 119, how sweet are God's words unto my taste, yea, they're sweeter than honey to my mouth. Jeremiah 15, God's words were found and I did eat them, and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts. 1 Peter 2, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of God's Word so that we can grow thereby. How do those verses strike you? Well, I think they illustrate the fact that a significant part of our success in beholding the glory of God and being changed into that same image of Christ is having this kind of satisfying Bible intake every day, maybe more than once a day.

And that that process is actually designed to be enjoyable, to be delightful, to be meaningful, to be something you actually look forward to. Now maybe some of you read those verses and you said, yes, that's me. By God's grace, I really think that those verses match my experience.

I want to be the kind of person that's hungering for God's Word every day, and that's what I've experienced, and God's given me grace and help in that respect. But some of you read those verses and you said, uh, no, that's not me. That's not my experience. Frankly, I find the Bible hard to understand, I find it a bit cryptic, I find it outdated, and I really can't tell you the last time I actually enjoyed reading my Bible. But then maybe there's a third group that says, you read those verses, you heard those verses, and you said, hmm, I know that's what it's supposed to be like. I know that, but I'm afraid that's just not my experience.

But I want it to be. And I think this message is perhaps at least primarily for that third group. It has applications for all of us, but that third group, and maybe that's the largest group here today in this building. Those who read words like that and find the desire for God's words being compared to natural bodily appetites to eat food, and we say, that's what I'd like, but I'm just not sure that's what I've experienced. Our simple theme is just this, every believer can enjoy a satisfying habit of Bible intake.

That isn't relegated just to people who've turned 50, or people that have studied the ancient languages, or people that are studying theology, or pastors. This is reality that every one of us as believers can actually experience a satisfying habit of taking in God's word on a regular basis. And I want to entice you to that today, and draw you toward that, because I understand from having done it myself for many years, that it's not all roses, it's not all easy, it's not all a piece of cake. And it takes some perspective as we try to get to the point that we realize this in our own personal experience. How do we get to this point? How do we get to where we actually enjoy a satisfying habit of Bible intake? Well, number one, we have to deal with some obstacles, and you've got those two obstacles that are presented to you there, and I want to just take a minute to deal with both of these. Because if we don't deal with the obstacle, this isn't just about falling in love with Jesus and the Bible. The fact is, you've got some natural hindrances that will keep you from actually enjoying that satisfying habit of Bible intake.

So what are the obstacles in the way? Here are two. These are the two that come to my mind. Let's go to 1 Peter 2. We read that verse off the slide initially, but I want to read verse 1, which comes right before the verse we read.

In fact, the last verse of 1 Peter 1 says, But the word of the Lord endures forever, and this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. Wherefore, laying aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisies and envies and all evil speakings, desire the sincere milk of the word. You see, you can't get into, and I can't get into a regular habit of enjoyable, satisfying, meaningful Bible intake if I'm not dealing with the sin in my life.

Now, you might be like me. You look at verse 1 and say, boy, where's all the real bad stuff? I mean, I don't see the real wicked sins, right? These are kind of the kind sins.

These are the ones that are a little bit softer. Well, they're just as evil, aren't they? How are you dealing with sin in your life if you're not dealing with your own personal transgressions of God's law? That which requires confession and agreeing with God about your sin and trying to do the right thing by God's grace. There really is no way, there's no shortcut to get to a meaningful time with the Lord. What are those sins that are enumerated there?

We're not going to preach a message on each one, but malice and guile, hatred, dishonesty, hypocrisy, envies, saying evil things about each other. Can I find myself in all five of those? Yeah. What am I supposed to do with it? What am I supposed to do with those things? Well, that word laying aside is an interesting word, and sometimes in the New Testament it's used literally, like when Saul was cast out of the city. He was cast out, he was laid aside.

But, most times though it's used more in a metaphorical sense, in the sense of taking off clothing perhaps that's filthy or dirty and throwing it aside and getting rid of it. Dealing decisively with it. What's your relationship towards the natural fleshly proclivities that you've got in your life today? What about those strong emotions that you're feeling, negative emotions towards a roommate, towards a parent? What about the things that you tweeted or texted about people this morning?

Do you have a sense that those violated God's law, and are you dealing with them accordingly? To the extent that you turn from sin, to the extent that I turn from my sin, to that extent I'll have a refreshing time with the Lord. I've been in situations before when I get up in the morning, I usually get up before most people in my house get up, and it's quiet, and I'm trying to get in the Word, and what does God do? God brings something to my mind, right? Like you've experienced this, and wow, the way I spoke to my wife the other night was wrong.

That was wrong, I shouldn't have done that. Or how I handled one of my children, or what I did here, and so I've got to do something with that. And as I turn from my sin, God gives me grace and restores fellowship, and I'm able to enjoy the satisfying presence of His Spirit. So there's certainly an important responsibility to deal with the obstacle of turning from my sin, but the second one is, focus my mind. I think this is one of those tremendous hurdles that all of us face when it comes to actually having meaningful time with the Lord.

It's trying to get some type of control of what's going on in here, right? Philippians 4.8 is pretty straightforward. Brethren, think on these things, right?

True, just, honest, pure, lovely, good report, praiseworthy, virtuous, right? And I think what God's doing there through the Apostle Paul is giving us a grid. If it doesn't fit that criteria, don't think about it. In other words, learn to say no to some things. He says, Kent Hughes in his book, Disciplines of a Godly Man, he says, A Christian mind demands conscious negation. A Christian mind is impossible without the discipline of refusal. Learning to say no to some things. But in addition to that, we've also got this verse in 1 Peter chapter 1 that talks about girding up the loins of your mind, and that has that imagery you've heard before of a clothing, a garment that was worn in old ancient times, where that loose garment had to be gathered up and tucked in a belt so it wouldn't impede the progress of the individual who was needing to be more mobile, more able to get around. Gird up the loins of your mind.

Strengthen yourself so that you can say no to some things. I read a book a few years ago by Nicholas Carr called The Shallows, How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read, and Remember. And I was encouraged, right, because when I finished, I realized, okay, now when my wife thinks I'm going senile, I can actually say it's too much YouTube I've watched.

That's the excuse I can give. But the book catalogs the way in which digital media has literally changed the way we read. That's small, so I'll read it to you. The switch from reading, he says, the switch from reading to power browsing is happening very quickly. The digital environment tends to encourage people to explore many topics extensively but at a more superficial level. With the flood of digital text pouring through our computers and phones, people are spending more time on reading than they used to. But it's equally clear that it's a very different kind of reading, which is characterized by browsing and scanning, keyword spotting, one-time reading, and non-linear reading.

Now there's nothing wrong with browsing and scanning or even power browsing and power scanning. We've always skimmed newspapers more than we've read them and we routinely run our eyes over books and magazines in order to get the gist of a piece of writing and decide whether it warrants more thorough reading. What is different and troubling is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of reading. This is not a rant on the internet, okay?

All it is is to say we are a product of our environment many times and what we have to realize is if we're going to have a satisfying category or practice of Bible intake, we're going to have to actually do more than skimming. We can't just jet ski. We've got to scuba dive, alright? We've got to get down underneath and we've got to think differently and more carefully and thoughtfully. Let me give you some suggestions on this. How can we do this?

First of all, let me suggest this. As you try to deal with the battle in your mind, take your time to be in God's Word in the morning. Now that's not a Bible verse that tells you you have to do that. But in the morning, your mind is less cluttered, your strength is stronger. You say, you know me, I'm a zombie. It takes me an hour to wake up.

Change it. There's no easy way to say that. I was a dorm soup for nine years, okay? Most of my life was at night, late hours. And I just had to come to the point where I said, you know what? I've got to be up early because I had children that were babies and they made noise and they were up. So I had to get up before them to say I'm going to become a morning person, even though my natural possibilities are going to be to stay up late. Take time in the morning to look at God's Word. Reading right before you go to bed just presents the challenging of focusing on all the day's events without a new day's energy.

Can I make a second suggestion? Use a paper Bible. There's nothing wrong with reading on your phone. Nothing sinful about a Bible app that gives you a Bible plan, but those plans generally are designed to give you short bursts of truth when what you really regularly need is more long periods of exposure. Reading that way on a device many times keeps us engaged on a superficial level and also keeps us connected to the distracting device itself.

It's not in the Bible. It's just a suggestion. But the last thing is this. Take note of distractions. I always keep some paper right next to me.

Because it is amazing that when I read my Bible, everything I have to do for that day comes tumbling into my mind. So I'm writing things down. I'm not jumping to the computer and taking care of the email. I'm actually keeping a list of things that have to be done. Don't let the thoughts that come into your mind distract you. Write them down and give attention to them later.

So deal with the distractions. Deal with the obstacles. But then secondly, relate to a person.

Learn to relate to a person. That's what Psalm 119 is all about. It's a conversation, right, that's going on between David and God. You're not intersecting a book. This is not about a book.

This is about a person. You're coming to the King of Kings, to the ruler of the universe. And David in Psalm 119 is pleading and praising and worshipping and begging a real being, his God. If you just looked at the first person pronouns, I, me, my, mine, 278 of them. The second person pronouns, you and your, 226. Times God is named and directed addressed like, oh Lord, 20 different times.

What are we saying? There's a relational component to my Bible intake that I cannot ignore. This is not just about reading a printed page. It's a page that reveals a risen Lord who desires to meet with me and loves me and cares for me.

I got an email from a student a few years ago. Here's what he said. I thought this just was beautiful. It kind of captured this point. He said, last night I got alone with God for the first time in a long time. It was such an encouragement. It was weird because I didn't know where to start. I started by talking to him about my current situation and how I wasn't worthy of anything. And I told him everything about personal struggles.

That was hard to do, but I did it. As soon as that happened, it felt like all the weight came off my shoulders and it was a great feeling. I felt like I was talking to a friend that I haven't talked to in a while and I just kept talking. And the more I talked, the more I opened up to him. I asked him to let this be my turning point and to guide me as I try to make things right with him. He said, I can go on and on.

He said, but last night was a special night for me. I woke up this morning and I prayed for the first time in a long time. And I know it's not an easy road for me, but I'm ready to do whatever it takes to have the relationship with the Lord that I used to have. Praise God.

He's got it. He's realized this is a relationship with a person. Can I suggest you devote yourself in the morning when you get to your Bible and you get to your quiet place? Just get yourself devoted. We tend to think in terms of having devotions as if that's somehow I'm getting something from the Lord and that's not entirely wrong.

But think in terms of getting yourself devoted. Here I am, Lord. Here I am for your purposes, for your service today, and I'm devoting myself to those.

It's not completely wrong to think about it passively, but there's an active component to this. I am here. I want to be devoted to you.

And you know what? I can't tell you how many times I sit down with my Bible in the morning when it's still dark out and I've got my Bible in front of me and I say, Lord, I don't want to be here. I don't want to be here. Well, you say, why do you do that, John? You just want therapy or something?

Well, no. It's an admission on my part, but I'm not afraid to tell the Lord about it either. Because then He ministers grace to me and truth to me in a way that I need it because He knows I'm having a real problem with my motivator that morning.

So devote yourself and then welcome Him. Lord, please open my eyes. Help me to see truth. While it is a printed page that reveals a risen Lord, it's also a living word and I need the Holy Spirit of God to turn the lights on in my understanding in ways that coffee won't even do it.

Right? And give me eyes that see truth and receive it and appropriate it in my life. So devote yourself to Him.

Welcome Him. The third thing I would say is embrace structure. One of the commendable traits of your generation is the way in which you prize authenticity and that really is a virtuous trait. And I think you do that for a number of different reasons.

Some of them you've seen your share of fake and phony people and you don't want anything to do with that. And as a result of that, you just stay in hypocrisy to such an extent that you have little to no appreciation for anything that seems forced. You're focused on how you feel and if you don't feel right, it seems inconsistent or it seems fake. As a general rule, you'd prefer something organic or spontaneous, not something that's foisted upon you. This tendency can make it very difficult to live with a routine because routines frankly are boring.

They're fairly monotonous. But can I suggest some things to you just about this that are so crucial to you having a satisfying time of Bible intake? Get yourself first of all a place. Where are you going to go every day to meet with the Lord? Maybe it's the prayer room. Maybe it's the living room if you're at home. Maybe it's an office.

Maybe it's outside of the soccer field. You pick out a place that you're going to be every morning that will help get you there. Pick out a time. I'm going to be here each day at this time.

Maybe it's just going to be 15 minutes, but I'm going to be there at this time. Don't leave it as one of those things that's kind of on the end of the day that just kind of, not sure if I'm going to get around to it. Set a place. Set a time. Set a plan. What are you going to cover?

What are you going to do? Following a plan not only gives you direction, but it also provides a little bit of a sense of accomplishment. We're human beings. We enjoy doing things and seeing things accomplished and done. So a little plan in reading your Bible actually not only strengthens your heart and gives you God's mind for the day, but it also gives you a little boost.

A little sense of accomplishment, which I think is very, very good. But here are some suggestions. What are some things you could do? What are some plans you could follow? Well, you could read the Bible from beginning to end.

That would be a good thing. I'm finding that more and more who are your age, who are starting out and getting into this habit, have a difficult time starting with that. Maybe instead read 12 of the shorter books of the Bible in a year. Take the 12 shorter books.

My wife and I did this probably 10 years ago. We just took 12 of the shortest books in the Bible, assigned one to each month of the year, and read that book through one day each month. So January we read Philippians 31 times. February we read Psalm 119. We made that a book. We read that 28 times. March we read Colossians. We just worked through.

Not a Nahum, okay? Not that there's anything wrong with that book, but some of those New Testament shorter epistles, plug those in. You know what? When you've read a book 30 times, you kind of know what's going on in that book. Give yourself a week of mulligans. You've missed seven days. You've still read it 22, 23 times. You've got a sense of what's happening there. You're taking in God's Word, your understanding.

And you get done reading a book like that, and you start to gain an appreciation for what really is not just the superficial things that have always caught your attention, but the themes that actually are the underpinnings of the book. Write out your own copy of the Bible. My wife and I have written books of the Bible out. Just write it out by hand. Sometimes writing for you is a little bit better. It keeps your concentration better. Write out a book.

Nothing wrong with that. Memorize a chapter by reading it repeatedly. You may not be real big on a particular memory plan, but how about just getting a chapter like Romans 8? I've been working on that for actually the last year and a half. And what do I do? I just read through it. I'm constantly reading through it. And I've picked up some of it. Some of it was familiar. Other parts I'm beginning to pick up because I'm just reading it over and over again. Great way to memorize. Use a marking system.

If you're like me, you like the color. So get out pencils and pens and use something in a paper Bible that you can highlight themes that keep dropping themselves and help tie things together. Journal. Journal for some people, we guys tend to think that's kind of feminine. Only girls journal.

No, actually, that's a human thing. That's a great thing. And a journal doesn't have to be a long two-page entry. It could be as simple as one sentence that says, here's something I learned from this verse.

And then a prayer. Two sentences that says, this is how I want to take it and apply it to my life. Journaling's great. Build your own topical counseling files. Some of you are biblical counseling majors.

How about reading through the Bible and every time you come to a particular issue, take it and drop it into a file that says, by the end of, you've read the whole Bible through, you've got a real helpful index to help you figure out how to deal with people's problems or your own problems. And then lastly, don't be inflexibly rigid. Don't be so hard on yourself that you say, boy, I said I'm going to do this so I'm not stopping for six months. You know, if it's not working for you, flex. Realize there's a different way to do this.

I can use a different plan. There are many different ways to see God's Word take up a rich dwelling in our hearts. It was when I was 16 that God began to work in my heart to get me into a regular habit of Bible intake. I look back at some of those things I read and highlighted in my Bible when I was 16 and I wasn't always real good with applying because I didn't have the right interpretation.

But you know, that's when it started and it was college. It was this time when I was your age, when I was sitting in these seats, that God started to work in me and it is a challenge. It's not something I'm perfect in, but every one of us as believers can have a satisfying habit of regular Bible intake and it will be crucial to the way we walk with God. Let's pray. Father, help us with these simple thoughts. I pray that you would take your Word and you would burn it into our consciousness. I pray that we would seek you and we would find you when we search for you with all of our hearts.

Bless these young people and give them the desire of their hearts to really have enjoyable, meaningful time with you every day. In Jesus' name, Amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached by Rev. John Dalton, which was the second message of the three-part series called Walking with God. Listen again tomorrow as we conclude this series on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-21 08:06:30 / 2023-06-21 08:17:24 / 11

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