Thankfulness

What does God’s Word say about thankfulness? Keep in mind that this just a small amount of the verses available. All of them just couldn’t be included in one place.

Philippians 1:3 – 5
3   “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4  “Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5  “For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;”

—  I Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Psalm 95:2 —
“Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving,
and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”

— Psalm 100:4
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

Psalm 105:1
“O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name:
make known his deeds among the people.”

Psalm 118:1 —
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: 
because His mercy endoureth forever.”

— Ephesians 5:20
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

Psalm 136:1
“Oh give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good:
for His mercy endoureth for ever.”

— Colossians 3:17
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

John 6:11 —
“And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks,
he distributed to the disciples,
and the disciples to them that were set down;
and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.”

©2018 Mark Davis

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Conclusion

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Over the past several posts we have seen how the local church is an essential component to the growth of the believer.  The reality is that when God’s people utilize God’s ordained instrument the results are unbelievable.

There are three specific, positive results that are revealed by Paul in Ephesians 4: 13 – 16 with the condition that they will come to be if the members of the church body will faithfully exercise their individual spiritual gifts.

  • The church will be unified and loving (v. 13).
  • The church will become mature and wise (vv. 13-15).
  • The church will become effective and successful (vv. 15-16).”[¹]

In light of these statements it is imperative that we recognize that this success is not necessarily equal to the success as would be defined by the world.  However, this success will be exactly what God has planned for that particular ministry.

Romans 12 is another passage to consider when attempting to understand this concept.  In Romans 12: 3 – 8, we find the Apostle Paul exhorting the Roman church to utilize all of their gifts for the effectiveness and efficiency of the ministry.  Paul makes it clear in verses 4 – 5 when he says, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”[²]

Therefore it is imperative to recognize what God’s plan is and then, as God’s children, follow this plan while utilizing their individual God given gifts. When we take God at His word and follow His plan be prepared to see amazing things take place in our own individual lives while also in the lives of those around us both individually and corporately.

[¹] Wayne Mack & Dave Swavely, Life in the Father’s House, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2006), 158-159.
[²] Romans 12:4-5, KJV.
©2013 Mark Davis

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Within the context of the local church there are several pieces that can, and should, encourage the spiritual growth of the believer.  Those things can range from the pastoral leadership to the people you sit next to during the service to the appearance of the facilities, inside and out. 

While it is certainly healthy to have all of those “things” being just right, the reality is that the pin-point aspect that should encourage spiritual growth, and thus being seen through all of the peripheral items mentioned above, is the Word of God itself.

The Bible speaks much about the value of itself but we will focus only a few key passages in this post.  In 2 Timothy 3: 16, the Apostle Paul states that “All scripture is profitable….”  In making this statement, Paul is most definitely including the writings of the Old Testament (the Law) in conjunction with the writings of the New Testament.

No matter how you attempt to translate what appears in our English Bible as “All Scripture” you will find that “all” means all and “Scripture” is referring to the writings found within the canonical Bible.

As we follow this idea to the next step, we need to explore what these writings are profitable for.  Paul’s statement continues by saying that it is profitable for “doctrine [teaching], for reproof [rebuking], for correction [adjusting], for instruction [training] in righteous-ness.

Thankfully Paul does not stop at this point but he continues on to tells us for what purpose these things are profitable.  In verse 17 he tells us that they are profitable in order to guide the man of God to be “perfect [proficient], thoroughly furnished [equipped] unto all good works.

This plays out in a number of different ways in the local church today but John 17:17 provide some great insight here that helps us see exactly why it must be central.  The words of Jesus Christ read “Sanctify them [make them holy] through thy truth: thy word is truth.”  This verse provides a concise view of what medium must be used in order to see growth in the body of Christ.  The Word of God is the only medium that will not change and is profitable for many things (2 Timothy 3:16).[¹]

Paul, in Ephesians 4:15, exhorts the reader to be “speaking the truth in love”.

When true lives are married to love, the Spirit is free to do his work, and the result is wonderful.” [²]

The sufficiency of Scripture must be relied upon in both the life of the teacher and the life of the student (all believers).  If this reliance is not found on one side of this equation the effectiveness of the medium of growth greatly diminishes.

__________________________________________________________________________________

[¹] Not only is God’s Word profitable for instruction in righteousness (which is what we all love about it) but it is also profitable to reprove and correct us when we make those wrong turns that we are all prone to make in life.
[²] R. Kent HughesPreaching the Word: Ephesians, (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1990), 136.
©2013 Mark Davis

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The ultimate goal of the preparation of the saints and the work of their ministry is the building up of the body of Christ.”¹ This building up of the body ultimately finds itself producing a great level of unity within the body of Christ.  This unity allows for believers young and old to be able to come together around a common goal and push forward.

As the local church (the body) grows toward Christ-likeness individually, the corporate unity begins to take place.

Having established that the gifted people were given to the church for the immediate purpose of preparing all the saints to minister for the building up of the body of Christ, Paul explains the need for the process to continue until attaining the goal that believers mature to the measure of the fullness of Christ.”²

Maturity does not always equate to unity nor does unity always equate to maturity.  Many times one will make the other to be more likely, but they can be used synonymously.  Full maturity that is to the measure of the fullness of Christ cannot humanly be experienced this side of eternity, but it is extremely necessary for the believer to continue to strive toward that end.  Paul explains in verses fourteen and fifteen the importance of growing individually so that the whole body can function as it was designed.  If one part has failed to develop as it should then failure is eminent and thus the entire body will suffer.

____________________________________________________________________________________

¹ Frank Thielman, Ephesians, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2010), 280.
² Harold Hoehner, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2002), 551.
©2013 Mark Davis

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Having briefly explored how gifted leadership is essential to the growth of the church in verses 7-11, Paul begins explaining how that takes place in verse 12.  In this verse the process of discipleship is established as the means for growth.

He says quite simply that God has given gifted leadership to the church ‘to prepare God’s people for works of service’ (v.12a) – or as it literally reads, ministry.”[1]

The word commonly translated as equipping is the Greek word karartismos which “basically refers to that which is fit, is restored to its original condition, or is made complete.”[2]  Christ, through His divine power, “hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” however, those things must be honed through the sound teaching of the Word by those that have been appointed to be over the body – the leadership.[3]

This teaching can be done from a pulpit, classroom, one-on-one, e-mail, instant-messenger, etcetera.  Regardless the means, this teaching must be taking place.  The body of Christ is the most obvious people-group that such teaching would take place in.  Although the ministers of the church are ultimately over the teaching material and training times this does not have to be done only by the church staff.

Many times a fellow lay person would be the best person to work with another lay person in order to immediately break down barriers and see God’s Word do a great work.  This can be one of the most rewarding relationships a believer can have.

When a believer takes a personal interest in a fellow believer, it causes both parties to think and study so that they can be better equipped and therefore would be able to equip others also.

The Bible speaks specifically to these types of relationships in Proverbs 27:17 and 2 Timothy 2:2.  Within both of these passages it becomes apparent that believers can have a great impact on each other and not be considered “official” church leadership or staff.

_________________________________________________________________________

[1] R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Ephesians, (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1990), 134.
[2] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 152.

The Christian’s Flashlight

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

—Psalm 119:105 (KJV)

A Letter To A Young “Bride-To-Be”

From A Wife Of 54 Years

Wedding Rings

Dearest Patricia*,

If I remember right, you were in your mid-teens when I first met you: we worked together in DVBS (Daily Vacation Bible School).  I thought very highly of you then, and still do.

I saw you as a young lady who was kind and thoughtful, desiring to be a help wherever possible.

I was so pleased when I observed a friendship beginning to develop between you and your future fiancée.  I quietly hoped things would work out as they eventually did.  I think you will be a good wife to him, and he a good husband for you.

A marriage can be something beautiful; God planned that it should be that way.  I am convinced that a husband is a gift from God.  He is a treasure to be cherished and honored all the days of his life.

There are some things I have learned through my 54 years of marriage.  I wish I had pages to tell you about them all, but I will just share some of what God has taught me.

  • To be a successful wife, you must be a “prayer warrior”.  Read Phil 4:6, 7. Learn to pray, and to trust the Lord in everything: Pray as you cook, as you approach difficult tasks, as you teach and discipline your children, and in everything.  Oh, what peace we have in our hearts when we learn to pray and trust.

Jesus said that without Him, we can do nothing.  He speaks to us through His Word – read it daily; memorize verses and passages, especially those that are most meaningful to you. The portion of the Bible that is in your memory bank is the part of God’s Word that is always with you.

  • Continually practice Ephesians 4:32 in your relationship with your husband, and your children.  This is a must.  Somehow, in the daily grind of life, we have a tendency to forget to practice that admonition, especially at home – it is so very important.
  • We must remember to always practice kindness, thoughtfulness, and courtesy with each other. And don’t forget forgiveness. All of this is essential to good relationships. And, it is true, “what goes around, comes around”
  • Maybe you don’t need this, but I’ll add it anyway:  Keep your house neat and tidy.  I have learned from personal experience, that family relationships are better when things are neat than when the house is messy and disorganized.
  • Be careful to continue keeping yourself attractive for your husband.  He will appreciate that.
  • Remember, you don’t always have to be right.  Let your husband be the leader. He can’t be the leader if you don’t follow. And pray for him. God tells us to pray for those who are in authority over us, and surely that would include a husband.
  • Remember, he hasn’t walked this path before, he is just learning, even as you are.  It’s okay for you to tell him how you feel about things, and what you think is right. Then leave it there, and go to your prayer closet and let the Lord guide your husband into right decisions.

In our marriage, there were times when I was sure I was right, then found that I was wrong.  At those times I was glad that I had left the working out of the situation to the Lord, instead of me insisting on having my own way.

  • Keep your husband’s confidences private, and don’t tell others his faults.  We know that no one is perfect but let other people think he is.  Words are strong. If you say derogatory things about him, you will find yourself thinking less of him, and so will others.  Focus on his qualities and pray about those things that you are disappointed in.

Go to Proverbs 31:10-31.  This woman is my favorite woman in the Bible. It is a wise choice to follow her example.

May the Lord richly bless you and your ”soon–to–be husband”.  I desire every good thing for the two of you.

D. S.

*Name has been changed to protect the guilty.

From the Editor – The previous letter was written to be placed into a keepsake scrapbook for the wedding.  Select women from her church were asked to add things like favorite Bible verses, recipes, words of encouragement and things of that nature.  This was the letter that Doris Swartz wrote to be placed into that scrapbook.  Doris had been widowed 11 years prior to this and added to me, “Some things are learned after you lose your mate that you wish you would have understood while he was still alive”.  — Mark

Other submissions from Doris Swartz:

Doris Swartz Pt. 1 – How I Traded Fear For Peace
Doris Swartz Pt. 2 – How God Led Me To Work With Children

Our Holy Scriptures

Core Beliefs: 

Our Holy Scriptures – The Bible

Through the sands of time, God has used men/people to chronicle history (mostly of the Children of Israel), from the beginning of time to near the end of the first century A. D.  In this article, I will attempt to show you how we can know that the Holy Bible is our Word from God that we can hold to be true and infallible so that we can use it and ONLY IT as our road map through life.

The Holy Bible is compiled of 66 books, ranging from Genesis to Revelations, including the Old Testament and the New Testament.  We hold that the WHOLE Bible has been compiled by men by the inspiration of God to become the Holy Bible that we hold today.

The Scripture is Verbally Inspired Directly BY God:

Verbally – Verbal means that every word of Scripture is God-given. The idea is that every single word in the Bible is there because God wanted it there.

Plenary – Plenary means that all parts of the Bible are equally authoritative. This includes such things as the genealogies of the Old Testament. All parts of the Bible are of divine origin. Jesus said:

Luke 16:17; “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.”
Paul wrote: “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

After having that said, I want to emphasize that Scripture contains the exact words, forms of words, and wording that God desired. The fact that a certain word in Scripture is found in the singular rather than the plural is all part of the divine work. Everything in Scripture is there because God wanted it to be.

II Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

It is important to emphasize that the Bible contains the exact wording that God wanted. When the Holy Spirit worked with the various writers of Scripture He moved them in a mysterious way to bring about exactly what God wanted to say.  We have to remember that the inspired words of God are the words that are found in the original manuscripts.

There are many different translations and interpretations today that do NOT convey the words and thoughts that God had in mind when they were originally given.  When choosing a translation that is more “inspired” than the rest, you need to look at the texts and compare them to the original GREEK (New Testament) and HEBREW (Old Testament).  There were no original texts that were written in Aramaic or Latin except for several chapters in Daniel and a brief passage in Ezra, which were written in Aramaic.  These were later translated and, in a lot of cases, adulterated by “not-so-inspired” men that did not believe that God had a reason for putting certain words in certain places.  They changed words, removed words and added words to be able to meet their agenda.  DO NOT be deceived by these translations.  Other supporting scriptures include; I Corinthians 2:13; II Peter 1:19-21; Titus 1:2, 3; Hebrews 6:18).

God’s Word has been preserved down through the ages.

God’s Word is important enough to Him that He would go to any extreme to preserve His Word so that it will say the same thing now as it did 4000 years ago (the originals – not in some translated manuscripts).  We have available to us now, the same truths that the Hebrew children memorized in Torah school and knew by memory by the time they were adults.  In Matthew 5:18 Jesus says, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled”.  In Matthew 24:35 Jesus also says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”.  And in I Peter 1:25 it says, “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you”.

God, Himself, has vowed that absolutely nothing, even the end of the heavens and earth, would change His words and that they would be preserved, or stay the same, from the time they were written down the first time to the end of the heavens and earth.  Other supporting scriptures: Psalm 12:6, 7; Proverbs 30:5; Psalm 19:8; Psalm 119:140; Matthew 24:35; Luke 16:17; Revelation 22:18, 19; Deuteronomy 12:32.

The Bible is Truth without any error whatsoever (John 10:35; Matthew 5:18, 19).

It is the complete and final revelation of the Will of God to humanity (Deuteronomy 12:32, Revelations 22:18, 19).

The Purpose of the “Testaments”

In the Old Testament, we see allusions to the coming of a new testament or covenant to mankind.  That being the case, we can see that God never intended for the Old Testament (the Law) to be the final testament or covenant.

The Old Testament was incomplete in the fact that it never provided a way to forgive our sins and to provide a way for us to be able to spend eternity with God in Heaven:

Hebrews 10:1 “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

Hebrews 10:2 “For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

Hebrews 10:3 “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

Hebrews 10:4 “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” 

The Old Testament foretold the coming of a new testament:

Galatians 3:19; “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

Galatians 3:20; “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

Galatians 3:21; “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

Galatians 3:22; “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Galatians 3:23; “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

Galatians 3:24; “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

The Old Testament foretold of the coming of a Messiah which will provide permanent forgiveness of sins:

Isaiah 53:10; “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah 53:11; “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”

Galatians 3:25; “But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

A final way for mankind to obtain final absolution from our sins:

God, through His Holy Scriptures, has provided a final way for mankind to obtain final absolution from our sins through the sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and His shed blood on the cross:

Acts 5:31 “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins”.

Acts 13:38; “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

Acts 13:39; “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses.”

Ephesians 1:7; “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”

Colossians 1:14; “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

God has provided a final sacrifice from our sins:

The next statement is made referring to Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 10:9; “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

Hebrews 10:10; “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Hebrews 10:26; “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins”.

The New Testament became the fulfillment of the Law by the shed blood of Christ Jesus, His death, burial and ultimate resurrection. Other supporting scriptures: Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20;  1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 9:15, 20; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 30:5,6; Isaiah 8:20; II Timothy 3:16; Revelation 22:18, 19.

The Bible is Truth without any error whatsoever.  As we have seen above, if the scriptures were given by God verbal plenarily, and if He has preserved it through the ages, then there is no way the scriptures can change from being the Truth and, as such, would continue to be without errors. (John 10:35; Matthew 5:18-19)

It is the supreme standard by which all human conduct, Christian unity, creeds, philosophies and opinions must be tried:

We have seen that the Word of God (Scripture/Bible) has been inspired by God and that it is perfect in all that it says.  God gave us His Law that gives us a guideline for personal activity – what should be done or not, and if something should not be done what the consequences would be if it is done and sometimes it will tell us that if we actually do something that is good, what the reward will be.

God has given us the ability to choose in all aspects of life.  He has given us these guidelines and tells us the good and the bad of things and lets us make the choice from there.  He then tells us what will happen if we make the wrong choice or what the blessing will be if the correct choice is made.

There are more verses through the Bible giving us these guidelines than I can even begin to list.  Here are just a few for you:

Proverbs 28:26; “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

1 Thessalonians 5:12; “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

1 Thessalonians 5:13; “And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

1 Thessalonians 5:14; Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

1 Thessalonians 5:15; “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

1 Thessalonians 5:16; “Rejoice evermore.

1 Thessalonians 5:17; “Pray without ceasing.

1 Thessalonians 5:18; “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:19; “Quench not the Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:20; “Despise not prophesying (Teachings).

1 Thessalonians 5:21; “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

1 Thessalonians 5:22; “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

This list covers almost everything regarding human behavior.  If it isn’t written here, it is implied within at least one of them.

It is the only unerring canon that determines truth:

Deuteronomy 4:1; “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.

Deuteronomy 4:2; “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you”.

Deuteronomy 17:19; “And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them”:

Psalm 119:11; “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee”.

Psalm 119:105; “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”.

Romans 15:4; “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope”.

Hebrews 4:12; “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”.

These scriptures, as well as many prior to this, are excellent statements that prove that the canon of the scriptures (66 books) is the truth.  Yes, there are many books, many authors and many different statements within the Book, but these scriptures have been studied by scientists to verify the manuscripts are from the time period that it would have been written in, scholars have studied the words, statements, phraseology, writing styles, etc. to verify that the works were written by ONE true Author – God – at the hands of humans.  The true manuscripts have been vetted and the false (non-Spirit inspired) manuscripts weeded out so that we finally end up with the final 66 books.  All prophesies made that were to have been fulfilled, have been fulfilled when they were supposed to be fulfilled, save the ones that are still yet to be fulfilled regarding the End Times and the Second Coming of Christ.

We also have to remember that if there were any one place in the Book (The Holy Bible – all 66 books) that contradicts another place/statement therein, then we could not trust anything within the Bible to be true.  If there were any inconsistencies within the covers of the Bible, then we would not be able to trust ANY other words in the Bible to be true.

We have to believe all of the Bible or none of it at all.

©2012  Mark Davis

Lesson 4 – The Word of God – Assignments

Lesson 4

The Holy Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

   Growing in Grace – Lesson 4 Print out here

Assignments

1. Memorize Psalm 119:11. Also, we suggest you memorize Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 119:103, 105.

2. Read John, chapters 1 -7. Note the miracles you find in this section. Please enter your findings under the “NOTES” at the end of this page.

3. Answer the following questions in your own words:

1. What are two things the Bible claims for itself? (II Timothy 3:16)

______________________________________________________________

2. For it to become profitable to us, what must we do? (II Timothy 2:15)

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3. What is one of the purposes for which God gave us His Word? (John 20:31)

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4. Who wrote the Bible, according to II Peter 1:21?

______________________________________________________________

5. What part does the Bible have in the life of the blessed man, according to Psalm 1:2?

______________________________________________________________

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6. What is the food of the newborn child of God? (I Peter 2:2; Matthew 4:4)

______________________________________________________________

7. What is the Word of God able to do? (Acts 20:32)

______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

8. What will memorizing the Word of God do for us? (Psalm 119:11)

______________________________________________________________

9. Who is a wise man? (Matthew 7:24; James 1:22)

______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

10. As we come to the Word of God, Psalm 119:18 would be a good prayer for us. Write that prayer out as it is given in this verse.

______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

11. What will God’s Word do for us, according to John 15:3?

______________________________________________________________

12. When tempted of Satan to overcome the attack, three times Jesus said, “As it is __________________.”

13. From Joshua 1:8 list at least four things that God says concerning the Word of God in the life of the Christian.

1. ____________________________________________________________

2. ____________________________________________________________

3. ____________________________________________________________

4. ____________________________________________________________

NOTES

1. A blessing I have received each day from reading my Bible:

Day 1 ________________________________________________________

Day 2 ________________________________________________________

Day 3 ________________________________________________________

Day 4 ________________________________________________________

Day 5 ________________________________________________________

Day 6 _________________________________________________________

Day 7 _________________________________________________________

2. Miracles I found in my reading of John 1 – 7:

John 1 ________________________________________________________

John 2 ________________________________________________________

John 3 ________________________________________________________

John 4 ________________________________________________________

John 5 ________________________________________________________

John 6 ________________________________________________________

John 7 ________________________________________________________

3. Truths I learned about the Bible, the Word of God, from the reading for this week:

John 1 ________________________________________________________

John 2 ________________________________________________________

John 3 ________________________________________________________

John 4 ________________________________________________________

John 5 ________________________________________________________

John 6 ________________________________________________________

John 7 ________________________________________________________

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Lesson 4 – The Word of God – Lesson

Lesson 4

English: The Bible

The Holy Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

   Growing in Grace – Lesson 4 Print out here

THE WORD OF GOD

Second Peter 3:18 commands, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE BIBLE

The Bible is the Word of God.

Our Lord wants us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ after we are saved. In Lesson 1 we saw that one of the most important things is our assurance. After assurance we need to grow in grace. To grow, we need food. The Bible is the food that we need.

We are babies in Christ when we are first born again.

I Peter 2:2, 3 – “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

A baby Christian – no matter how eager, no matter how willing – is still a babe in the Lord. You and I were born physically as little babies and needed to grow. Even so, when one receives Christ and is born again, he is a spiritual baby. He needs to grow, to develop, and to become mature. Babies grow physically without a great deal of effort on their part, and growth is very normal and natural. However, certain conditions are essential for physical growth. One of the essentials for  physical growth is food – a proper diet. And the same is true with spiritual growth. There must be the right food – a proper diet. The food needed of spiritual growth is the Word of God.

I said physical growth comes without a great deal of effort on the part of the child. This is not the case with spiritual growth. We become mature Christians only as we consciously endeavor to become mature Christians. We do not have to command our children to grow physically: but God does command Christians, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).

A baby must eat to grow. He begins with milk, and bit by bit he takes stronger food from pabulum through baby food until finally he can chew and digest beefsteak. He must eat right to develop. Someone has said, “We are what we eat.” That being true, it is vitally important that we have a good diet.

The same is true with the spiritual baby. He begins with a desire for the milk of the Word. He should develop so that later he would be able to feed on the meat of the Word. The tragedy is that some people never develop to take stronger food than just the milk of the Word.

Hebrews 5:12-14 speaks of the sad condition of believers who have not grown to discern good and evil. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

The writer of Hebrews here states that more Christians stay on a milk diet when they should be eating meat. They ought to be teaching God’s Word, but they cannot do so because they are still babies and have need to be taught by others the first principles for scriptural truth. Paul was burdened that this condition existed among the Corinthian believers. “I have fed you with the milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able” (I Corinthians 3:2).

The Bible is the spiritual food for your spiritual development.

When you accepted Christ as your Lord and Saviour, the Lord Jesus, who is the Living Word, came into your life by faith. Now you must feed on the Bible, the Written Word, which is the spiritual food for your spiritual development. It was through the Word of God that you first learned of salvation; and it is the same Word of God that gives food, strength, comfort, inspiration, challenge, wisdom, encouragement, and all that is necessary for growth and a successful Christian life.

Therefore, the Bible must become your first priority. The blessed man in Psalm 1:2 is blessed because “his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” The only way to avoid spiritual malnutrition is to read God’s Word and to meditate (think carefully) on the things God has said to you in His Word.

The Bible should be sweet to the Christian.

The Bible should be as sweet to the Christian as it was to David according to Psalm 119:103 – “How sweet are thy words unto my taste” yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

God tells us in Psalm 19:10, 11 how precious and sweet should be the truths of God’s Word to us – “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”

The Bible is vital to us – “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Also, Deuteronomy 8:3.

WHAT THE BIBLE DOES FOR US

We are saved through the instrumentality of the Word of God.

I Peter 1:23, 25 – “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. But the word of the Lord endureth for ever … And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

We are changed by the Word of God.

Psalm 119:7 – “I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.”

We grow by the Word of God.

I Peter 2:2, 3 – “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

We are cleansed by the Word of God.

Psalm 119:9 – “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

Our faith develops by the Word of God.

Romans 10:17 – “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Everything we believe must be based on the Word of God. Second Peter 3:18 states that we are to “grow in … knowledge.” That knowledge comes from the Word of God. The Bible must become our authority so that everything we believe is checked by the Bible.

We are kept from sin by the Word of God.

Psalm 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

We defeat Satan through the Word of God.

Psalm 17:4 – “Concerning the works of men, by the word of the lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.”

The Lord Jesus, when He was tempted of Satan, answered Satan by quoting passages from Deuteronomy. With each temptation Jesus answered, “It is written.” (Note Matthew 4:4, 7 and 10.)

HOW WE SHOULD LEARN GOD’S WORD

We have stated that the Word of God is our food for spiritual strength and nourishment. It is also our offensive weapon to use in the spiritual battles which we will face.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

The Bible is more than just a book with a cover and some pages. It is the written Word of God that needs to be internalized so that it can be effective in our lives. As we internalize God’s Word, we know its benefits as our spiritual food and as our spiritual weapon.

The NAVAGATORS have used the illustration of the hand1 (image has been inserted into the book which I am not able at this time to reproduce to put into this article. It is a line drawing of a hand holding a book with each finger and thumb tagged with a verse reference and the word it stands for. Each of these labels are described below):

A. We hear the Word of God for faith.

Romans 10:17 – “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

B. We read the Word of God for food and strength.

Job 23:12 – “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”

C. We study the Word of God for Knowledge.

II Timothy 2:15 – “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

D. We memorize the Word of God for an effective testimony.

Psalm 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

E. We meditate on the Word of God for spiritual profit.

I Timothy 4:15 –Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”

Note in Psalm 119:15, 16 how that meditating brings delight. “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes; I will not forget thy word.”

Note also Psalm 104:34 – “My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.”

After we have heard, and read, and studied, and memorized, and meditated upon the Word of God, we have one thing more we must do: Obey the Word of God.

James 1:22-25 – “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso … being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

1 Adapted from The Hand Illustration, Studies in Christian Living, “Walking with Christ.” ©1964 by The Navigators. Published by NavPress, P.O. Box 6000, Colorado, CO 80934. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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