“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”1 John 4:1 NLT
Pastors Corner 4-15-2012
This week I want to follow-up on a Pastor’s Corner that I wrote a couple of weeks ago. It was about Making God’s Word a Priority in your life for forty days. If you have not started I encourage you to start and if you have started I want to encourage you to continue. There have been a few days that it has been late and we were tired and it was a challenge to continue. The easy thing would have been to say we will skip tonight because it is late and pick it up tomorrow, but commitment does not work that way. If you are committed to doing something you do it when ever possible or reasonable. The benefits of spending time with God’s word and the family will be far greater that a little extra rest. I will leave you with a funny picture that has happen several times when we are reading God’s word. It seems that Rusty (Sherlene’s cat) thinks that it is the best time in the world to cuddle. He gets up in my lap, purrs loudly and watches and listens to everything. To someone looking in the window, knowing about Making God’s Word a Priority might think, “WOW” they must be serious because they even read to the cat. Continue reading and God bless.
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
After hearing Paul and Silas preach the Bereans then searched through Scripture for themselves to determine if what they heard was truth. They took it upon themselves to make certain they weren’t being taught bad doctrine.
This evening I turned a Christian tv program that I wasn’t familiar with. I watched for a few minutes, interested in who the man was and what he was preaching about. After about five minutes I turned the channel; he was teaching incorrect about a passage from the Old Testament. (I should say that this was not a prophetic teaching, just so you don’t think I was biased. Clearly there are differing views on eschatology and I don’t think that is an issue with our salvation.) He was just plainly teaching it wrong: bad doctrine. I knew this only because I had studied on this passage a few months, maybe longer, ago so I was familiar with the meaning.
The Bible exhorts us to study for many reasons. Not the least of these is so that we will know if someone is teaching or preaching bad doctrine. If you have not studied a subject or passage and you hear it taught or preached on it is your duty to study it and see if it has been presented right. If you think about it, quite a large portion of the New Testament addressed heresy and bad doctrine at the time of it’s writing. And God’s Word clearly tells us there will be false teachers and heresy to deal with until the end. Being mislead by a teacher or preacher is very serious; both his and your eternal destiny could be at stake.
Psalm 119:72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
When I was younger I never looked forward to sports in gym class too much. There were always so many kids in the games that is made it much less fun and really less physically profitable; when you’re playing softball with 35-40 kids you don’t get much playing time or exercise. But oh how I loved the pick-up games after school! Often times there weren’t enough of us to field two teams. But that didn’t matter to any of us: we all got play that much more!
Just a little while ago Billie and I got home from a small group Bible study at church. It was such a blessing to get together with some of our brothers and sisters and dig into God’s Word as a group. I think these smaller, informal studies are a lot like those pick-up games we used play after school; with the fewer number of folks involved, those that attend seem more inclined to “get in on the action”. I think often times we are a little inhibited during Sunday school, I mean no one wants to offer up an answer in front of the whole church that they are a little unsure of. But in a smaller, less formal setting we are much more apt to dive right in. And doing so we learn so, so much more, both individually and as a group.
If you’re not involved in a small group study I encourage you to get involved with one. And if your church doesn’t currently have one, start one up! You’ll be surprised by the interest that you’ll find others have. And I am certain that you’ll be blessed and learn a lot in the process.
Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
At my church we just finished week three of a multiple week series studying the Book of Revelation. I have to be honest with you- I’ve never been much of a prophesy-guy; it’s just not “my” area. Now, that isn’t to say I don’t have a desire to better understand it; I do. And that’s also not to say that God won’t light me afire for prophesy; He might. But up to this point it hasn’t been a major focus for my study time.
Regardless of if God gives me a greater interest in this area of Scripture or not, I have gleaned quite a bit in our study so far. There is one single sentence that has given me the most light so far, not just in this study but for all of Scripture and I’d like to share it: The Bible is like a jig-saw puzzle, you have to see how how the whole thing fits together to get the picture. A lot of time I think we forget this fact. From the first verse of Genesis to that last word in Revelation, Scripture all points to Jesus. If we will keep this in the front of our minds when we read and study we will get so much more out of God’s Word.
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
I remember a story my mother told me from her childhood; forgive me, Mom, if I don’t get this 100% correct, it’s the point I’m after.
Once my grandfather heard that his mother-in-law, Mom’s grandmother, had called her and one of her sisters “streetwalkers”. This infuriated my grandfather to the point he confronted her as to why she would say such a thing. She told him that’s how they spent their afternoons, doing nothing useful but walking up and down the street. The way she used the word and the way he perceived it were two totally different things. Context is everything…
This is true with Scripture, too. Before we quote a verse that “backs up” our point of view, we need to make certain that we are using it in the context in which God meant for it to be used. To “pick & choose” Scripture and quote it in a way to make our point, not in the way God intended it, is wrong. When we take our opinion and brand it as “Bible” we are making a grave error. And to do so causes nothing but harm to the Body of Christ.
Bible study is a very important, or should be, of each believer’s life. Daily time spent in His Word is essential for our relationship with God and our spiritual growth.
Sadly, there are those that delve so into their study of Scripture they forget their real purpose of doing it in the first place. What good is it to know Hebrew and not know Him or to know Greek without knowing God? The Bible is God’s love letter to us. We should never become so academic in our studies that we loose perspective of the goal to know God better and become closer to Him as we read about Him.
Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.