Sunday Sermon: ‘A Light Unto My Path’

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I am amazed at the number of times I see Christians making major choices without knowing whether or not it is the will of God. Some choices in life are small and insignificant and therefore I feel confident that most of us will survive wearing brown shoes on a day when we should have worn black. But there are also many choices in life that carry greater consequences and if we make the wrong choice, we may have to deal with the results the rest of our lives.

Many of you are currently involved in the Wednesday night Bible study – “Experiencing God.” If so, you are learning a lot about making choices. But for today, let me say this, every major choice and many not so major choices should be guided by the principles found in the Bible. Consider what David wrote in Psalm 1

Psalm 1
1      Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2      But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3      And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Notice, the man who prospers is the man who meditates in God’s Word day and night. That does not mean that all he does is read his Bible. It does mean that he keeps his mind saturated with godly principles. To meditate means to think deep within ourselves. Those who meditate can accumulate a great deal of wisdom. Wisdom is knowing what God’s Word says about life and then making choices based upon that knowledge.

Today I want to address the subject – “Why should I worry about what the Bible says?”

Let’s begin answering that question by learning why we call the Bible – ‘The Word of God.’ We do so because that’s what the Bible calls itself.

Pr 30:5  Every word of God is pure …

Lu 4:4   Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Ro 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Heb 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, … and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Regardless of what men may think of the Bible, the Bible plainly states that it is the Word of God. There are many who struggle with that. They wonder how a book written by men can be the Word of God. The Bible tells us how that happened.

2 Timothy 3
16     All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17     That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The reason a book written by men can be the Word of God is because what they wrote was given to them by God. There are two key words that we need to understand at this point. First of all is the word ‘scripture.’ Here it means the actual writings of documents produced by these men. It’s the Greek word ‘graphe’ from which we get the English word graphite, that stuff that runs down the middle of a pencil. What Paul is saying is – the things they wrote were given to them by God. That brings us to the second important word. It’s the word ‘inspiration.’ It literally means – “God breathed or God breathed out.” We can only try to imagine what it must have been like for men like Paul and Peter as they were given God’s Word to record. Peter gives us some insight to this in 2 Peter 1:21

2 Peter 1
21     For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:
but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

God’s prophets were men moved by the Holy Ghost. The thought behind the word moved is something wind in the sail of a ship, causing the ship to be moved. In addition, it also carries the idea of bearing a burden. As you read the various letters of the New Testament, it seems that each letter was written to address a particular problem or set of problems in a particular church. Apparently God put a burden on the apostles hearts to try to address the problems and help these churches. As these men begin to write, the Holy Spirit moved in their spirit and gave them insight that could only come from heaven. He filled their hearts and minds with thoughts from God and thus enabled them to write what we call The Word of God.

There are four key thoughts that I want to place in your mind this morning as a way of helping us to understand why it is so important for us to live our lives under the authority of God’s Word.

1. The Penning of God’s Word

One of my favorite stories in the Bible concerning the inspiration and authority of God’s Word is found in the book of Jeremiah and involves a wicked king named Jehoiakim. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God gave several warnings to King Jehoiakim and Judah. But instead of listening to what God had to say, King Jehoiakim cut Jeremiah’s prophecies into little pieces with a pen-knife and threw them into the fire. End of God’s Word – right?  Wrong. Do you know that God did? He commanded Jeremiah to take another scroll and write the words down again, only this time, God added even more judgment to Jehoiakim. (You can find the story in Jeremiah 36)

Psalm 119
89  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Though there are many skeptics and critics of the Bible, it remains to be truth because it comes from He who is truth – God. Though many would like to do away with the Bible, it is eternal because it comes from He who is eternal – God. Therefore the Bible must be authoritative over our lives because it comes from He who is authoritative over all – God. The question is not – “Is this the Word of God?”, but – “What authority does this Word hold over our lives?” You see, we can believe that this is God’s Word, yet not live under its authority. We can have a Bible in our homes or even in our hands, but not in our hearts? Yet if we want to have God’s blessings upon our lives, we must live under the authority of God’s Word.

2. The Proclaiming of God’s Word

Because the Bible is the Word of God for man, it must be proclaimed to man. Or in other words, it must be preached.

2 Timothy 4
1   I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

5  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

The word ‘preach’ means to proclaim, publish, herald it out for all to hear. The call is not to deliver a sermonette to Cristianettes. The call is to rightly divide the Word of Truth. Look at 2 Timothy 2:15

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.

The word ‘workman’ means laborer. Preaching and teaching God’s Word is hard work. I praise God that we do not have Sunday School teachers here who show up on Sunday morning and read a lesson out of a book. To ‘rightly divide’ the word of truth means to cut a straight line with it. It is to handle it properly.

Down through the years I’ve had some people to tell me that it should take more than an hour or so to prepare a sermon. Here is my reply. I can take some 2 X 4’s, a hammer and some nails and build you a table in a matter of minutes. But if you want a piece of furniture fit for your home, then it will take me a lot longer. It will take me longer to design it and make precision cuts and then to fabricate it in a way that it will be appealing. In addition, I will probably spend all most as much time sanding and polishing that piece of furniture as I did preparing it. Now I’m not suggesting that my messages are like fine pieces of furniture; I know better, but I can promise you that I spend a great deal of time in preparing what I present. As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am commanded to labor in my diligent study of God’s Word so that I might cut a straight line in my teaching. Not only that, I am to proclaim it boldly and with ‘all authority.’ Go to Titus 2:15

Titus 2
15  These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

My authority as a pastor is not that I am better than anyone else or that you should serve me. Actually, I am to serve you, the saints of God, His chosen generation, His royal priesthood, His holy nation, His peculiar people; that have been called to shew forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.” I am to equip you as the saints of God to do the work of the ministry and the way I am to equip you is through public speaking, exhorting and if need be, rebuking with the authority of God behind me. And even if there are those who oppose me, as long as I know that I am rightly dividing the word of truth, I am not to allow men’s opinions or personalities to persuade me to do otherwise. Peter adds something important to this –

1Peter 4
11     If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;

There’s nothing wrong with a good story or a clean joke and I use both sometimes during a sermon. But my job is not to entertain you. My job is to be so in tune with the mind of God that when I speak, I speak the very authoritative words of God. That’s sobering!

I am to handle God’s Word in a proper manner because it is God’s Word. I am also to handle it in a proper manner and rightly divide it because the blessings of your life are dependent upon your comprehension of what God has to say.

3. The Promise of God’s Word

A great book in the Bible is the book of Joshua. As many of you know, Joshua was given the responsibility of leading the children of Israel into the Promise Land and helping them take possession. Simple task – right? Well it would have been if it had not been for one minor problem. You see, there were already people living there who were fortified in their cities and who were so big and strong that the 12 spies forty years earlier had called them giants and regarded themselves as grasshoppers in their sight. What was Joshua to do?

Joshua 1
5  There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6  Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
7  Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

I feel confident that it was this passage that was in David’s mind as he wrote Psalm 1. Perhaps he had heard it as a boy and it never left him. Mediate in God’s Word day and night so that you may do all that it says, and if you will, you will be prosperous.

Now comes perhaps the most important part of my message, There is many a defeated Christian in this world who believes that this book was penned by God. And they also believe that men like myself should boldly proclaim it. They also are aware of many of the promises found in this book. Yet they are defeated. Why? Notice, God didn’t command Joshua to hold Bible studies so that the people could ‘discuss’ or ‘debate’ what it says. God commanded Joshua to study it so that they might ‘do’ what it says.

4. The Practice of God’s Word

In Matthew 5-7, we have what many call ‘The Sermon on the Mount.’ In my opinion, it is the greatest sermon ever preached. I want to call your attention to two things about this sermon: how it began and how it ended. First of all, consider how it began.

Matthew 5
1   And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2  And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when you realize your own spiritual poverty before God and therefore seek God and His guidance. From that point, Jesus then preached a sermon that covered everything from doubt to divsion to divorce. Then Jesus ended His sermon with these words –

Matthew 7
24  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

I’ve asked this question to a number of people, but only a few have given me the right answer. What determined whether this house was built upon the sand or upon a rock?
Matthew 7
24  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine,
and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

26  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

What determines whether a life is built upon a rock-solid foundation or shifting sand? Blessed are those who hear and do.

Conclusion

My primary purpose today was not to convince the skeptics that the Bible is the Word of God. My primary purpose today was to ask those of us who believe it is – “Are we living our lives under its authority?” So let me ask that question – “Are you?” “Seriously, are you?” Are you meditating in it day and night so that you might make your decisions, both big and small based upon it’s eternal principles? You see, there are biblical principles that should be directing even what we wear. God is concerned with what we wear and what we see and what we listen to and how we spend our money and the words that come out of our mouth and the thoughts that float through our head and what you do for a living and how you treat other people and everything there is about your life. God’s Word tells us that we can honor God, even by what we eat or drink.

Let me assure you that you can learn more about God’s Word. If you are a believer, you have the Spirit of God dwelling in you to teach you and to guide. In addition, we have many opportunities here at Twin Oaks for you to grow as a believer. There is also Christian radio to help teach you. There are also numerous books and Bible studies. I can also assure you that there are many here who will do everything we can to help you.

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