The Bible describes the Word of God as (1) Spiritual Food (2) A formidable Weapon suitable for spiritual warfare and (3) the Power of God unto Salvation.
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.”
Study to Shew Thyself Approved
Last week, I preached on the IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER …
I mentioned how PRAYER is to be the Christian’s REGIMENT & the STUDY of GOD’S WORD his DIET.
And so today, I’d like to focus on the Importance of READING, & STUDYING, & RIGHTGLY DIVIDING GOD’S WORD.
Which means to rightly interpret and handle God’s Word with diligence.
2 Timothy 2:15:
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
There are so many deceptions out there today on so many levels & on so many doctrines …
That the average Christian is confronted almost daily by some kind of heresy and is susceptible to false teaching …
… because the average Christian is not spending enough in God’s Word & studying out the Bible for themselves …
They’re relying on their PASTOR or some extra-Biblical source for instruction in God’s Word.
But we need to be like the Bereans in the Book of Acts, whom Paul commended for searching the Scriptures daily.
As a CHRISTIAN, you should READ THE BIBLE from cover to cover (from Genesis to Revelation) … and make it your goal to do that every year.
… And to set aside TIME DAILY for personal Bible study.
Psalm 119:103 says: “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
& GOD’S WORD IS OFTEN COMPARED TO FOOD IN THE BIBLE, because the BIBLE is absolutely essential to our GROWTH, HEALTH, & WELL-BEING as Christians.
In Ezekiel 3, the prophet Ezekiel eats a roll, containing the PROPHECY of GOD’S WORDS which he was instructed to preach:
1 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.
2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
4 And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them.
This represented Ezekiel’s responsibility & acceptance as a PROPHET OF GOD to PREACH His words.
… & it expressed his inner compulsion AS A SERVANT OF THE MOST HIGH GOD to preach God’s Word.
In the same fashion, Peter & John testified before the Sanhedrin in Acts 4 when they were FORBIDDEN TO SPEAK GOD’S WORD:
19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
When Jesus was being tempted of the devil in the wilderness, He also appealed to God’s written Word.
He said: “It is written [which is an appeal to the Bible itself], Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
So, GOD’S WORD is described as one of the most basic staples of FOOD in existence: which is BREAD.
That’s how fundamental & necessary the study of God’s Word should be to our daily diet.
Bread is the most common of all foods in all cultures.
In Job 23:12 it is written: “… I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”
Jeremiah the prophet said: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart … ” (Jeremiah 15:16).
So when you’re in a really good Bible study and iron is sharpening iron as you draw closer to the truth of God’s Word, it becomes the joy and rejoicing of your heart …
The Apostle Peter instructed new believers: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
• So, the BIBLE is compared to another, basic elementary food: MILK for newborn believers.
MILK is the most essential and nourishing food for newborn babes.
Paul the Apostle wrote to the carnal Christians at the Corinthian church: “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able” (1 Corinthians 3:2).
In Hebrews 5:13-14 The Bible uses the milk & meat analogy again:
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age …
And if the Bible references food as a suitable metaphor for God’s Word …
… then studying God’s Word should be as natural and necessary to our life as eating physical food.
JESUS HIMSELF SAID: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
The vast majority of mainstream Christian churches feed their members the milk of the Word week after week after week …
… and they neglect teaching the deep things of God …
THE BIBLE ALSO DESCRIBES GOD’S WORD AS A WEAPON.
1 Corinthians 10:4 says: “For the WEAPONS of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds”
• & the Bible describes God’s Word primary as a SWORD:
Ephesians 6:17 says to take: “… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Hebrews 4:12 says: “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.”
• God is carefully scrutinizing our lives through His Word.
• His WORD exposes us.
• His WORD is quick: which means it’s ALIVE.
• His WORD is a two-edged sword. That means it has no blunt side. Every side of God’s Word is SHARP.
• His WORD is SO DEEP that it penetrates between soul and spirit, between joins and marrow.
• This implies that there is nowhere within us that God’s Word cannot penetrate.
• JESUS HIMSELF is described with a sharp two-edged SWORD coming out of His mouth.
Revelation 1:16: “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword …”
Revelation 2:12: “ … These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges”
& IN VERSE 16: “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth …”
• This symbolizes the accuracy and severity of GOD’S WORD in JUDGMENT.
Revelation 19:5 also says that Jesus will rule the nations with the Sword of His mouth:
“And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron … “
Notice that the sharp sword goes OUT OF HIS MOUTH, symbolizing His WORD.
Jesus will be literally ruling the nations with HIS WORD.
SO WE SEE GOD’S WORD as a FORMIDABLE WEAPON & a SWORD OF JUDGMENT.
Jeremiah 23:29 says: “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”
God said to Jeremiah: “Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them” (Jeremiah 5:14).
So GOD’S WORD is also described as a FIRE, a FIRE that devours people like wood.
So this is the POWER OF GOD’S WORD & we are privileged as God’s people to have His Word right here at our disposal in the KJV.
We can have that FIRE of GOD inside of us, that food to nourish us …
… that weapon to strengthen and defend us against heresies & lies & deceits of the devil.
Paul said to Timothy: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3).
• And so the weapon analogy is juxtaposed with WARFARE.
And NO SOLDIER wants to go into BATTLE with faulty or defective weapons at his side.
In 1 Timothy 1:18 Paul says: “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;”
In 1 Timothy 6:12, Paul tells Timothy to: “Fight the good fight of faith …”
In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul himself says: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”
& When you have the WORD OF GOD at your side: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper”.
We need to be thinking in terms of battle in this world …
Satan is going to come up against us & attack when we’re doing work for the Lord …
WHEN WE STUDY & INTERNALIZE GOD’S WORD …
FIRST, our souls are nourished with SPIRITUAL FOOD, as we progress from MILK to MEAT …
SECOND, God’s Word helps us grow into strong & efficient soldiers of Jesus Christ …
… WHO ARE READY to go into WARFARE …
… PREACHING THE GOSPEL & FIGHTING A SPIRITUAL BATTLE TO WIN SOULS.
• THE BIBLE EVEN SAYS that God has MAGNIFIED HIS WORD ABOVE HIS NAME!
That sounds like an incredible statement, but Psalm 138:2: “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”
GOD HAS MAGNIFIED HIS WORD EVEN ABOVE ALL HIS NAME!
• What does that remind you of?
Who’s name is MAGNIFIED ABOVE ALL NAMES?
Philippians 2:9-11 says:
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
This is the POWER of GOD’S WORD displayed in CREATION.
We saw HIS WORD at the JUDGMENT, when Christ returns with the SWORD of HIS MOUTH …
And we see God speaking the CREATION into being through THE WORD OF HIS MOUTH when He said, in the Beginning: “Let there be light: and there was light.”
So the WORD is PRESENT from the ALPHA to the OMEGA, from the beginning & to the end …
6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
9 For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast.
Hebrews 11:3 also says that: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God …”
In Revelation 19:13, Jesus is described as the WORD OF GOD:
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
All this to say: We need to be reading the Bible daily ALL THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES:
Joshua 1:8 says: “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.”
That’s the REAL prosperity message: forget about Joel Osteen’s devilish gospel straight from the mouth of Satan.
I’m preaching the REAL PROSPERITY MESSAGE here.
Meditate day & night in the WORD, and THOU SHALT MAKE THY WAY PROSPEROUS.
It’s not FREE. Salvation is FREE.
But you need to be working diligently day & night …
… studying to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
The very 1st Psalm of the Bible says:
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.
Look @ the context of 2 Timothy 2 which we started this sermon with:
14 Of these things put [them] in remembrance, charging [them] before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, [but] to the subverting of the hearers.
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane [and] vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
We’re not supposed to come to the Bible w/ the purpose of being argumentative.
We’re not supposed to DEBATE DOCTRINE or to get PHILOSOPHICAL & lofty …
And puff ourselves up on our own knowledge.
… or even coming to the Bible with our own personal views.
I don’t care what my personal views about the Bible are.
I don’t want to know what I think …
… I want to know what GOD SAYS.
2 Peter 1:20-21: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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.”
There’s only 1 CORRECT interpretation of God’s Word:
And we arrive at that by careful study, without an agenda, rightly dividing the word of truth by the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:9 says: “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.”
THE BIBLE IS ITS OWN WITNESS.
We don’t need to defend God’s Word. It proves itself. We just need to understand it and speak it.
Finally, GOD’S WORD HAS THE POWER TO SAVE.
Psalm 19:7: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul …”
Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
When we go soul winning, preaching the Gospel, we can tell people about Jesus all day in our own words …
… but it is the GOD’S WORD that ultimately saves …
We have the same CREATIVE POWER that created the universe in our hands to save souls …
ISAIAH 55:10-11 tells us that GOD’S WORD will not come back empty. It will accomplish what it set out to do:
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.
When we preach the GOSPEL to the LOST, we always preach with the BIBLE.
James 1:21 says: “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
Peter 1:23 says that we are BORN AGAIN by the WORD OF GOD: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
James 1:18: “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
So GOD’S WORD is: (1) FOOD (2) A WEAPON (3) THE POWER OF SALVATION.
By contrast, there are dire warnings for those who ignore or reject God’s Word:
Proverbs 13:13 says: “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”
2 Chronicles 36:15-16:
15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:
16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee…”
Jesus Himself said in John 12:47-48:
47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
So once we’ve put all this together, once we’ve FED on & GROWN by God’s Word …
• Once we’ve studied to shew ourselves approved …
• Once we’ve taken up our sword to do battle …
• We must put into PRACTICE what we have learned.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
This is saying that studying the BIBLE is like putting a mirror to our souls …
When we study God’s Word, it REVEALS who we are …
And once it reveals WHO WE ARE, it should RESULT IN CHANGE.
But we have to choose to ALIGN ourselves with GOD’S WORD.
And the man who understands God’s Word, but chooses not to live by it … or is lazy and undisciplined ….
… is like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and instantly forgets what he saw.
Jesus said in John 14:23 Jesus: “ … If a man love me, he will keep my words …”
To be a committed disciple of Jesus, we must KEEP HIS WORD: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31).
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.
The Bible even PROMISES that if GOD’S WORD abides in us, God will answer our prayers:
John 15:7 says: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
In Conclusion, God’s WORD IS ETERNAL, it’s PERFECT, it will never pass away.
ISAIAH 40:8: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”
In Matthew 24:35 Jesus said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
PSALM 119:89 says: “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”
The Apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 1:25: “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever”
Psalm 119:105 says: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
And we must study God’s Word in order to be effective evangelists and preachers of the Gospel:
1 Peter 3:15: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
And also, of course, to have correct doctrine and not be deceived by every false teaching that’s out there …
2 Timothy 3:16-17: “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.”
So like last week, the admonishment was to set aside TIME to pray …
In the same way, my admonishment this week is to couple your prayer time w/ the study of God’s Work so that you will be complete …
… a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”