Sermon Titled “Know The Word” (Psalm 119:9-11,17-19,33-40) – Sunday 27th July, 2014
- Psalm 119:9-11 “9How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.10I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.11I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
The verses above encourage us to soak ourselves in God’s word, that we might keep ourselves free from sin. Yet a quick internet search on bible-reading statistics reveals that maybe only 20 or 30% of Christians actually read their bible daily (despite many claiming they own more than one bible) . Another statistic suggested that only 5% of adults have a biblical worldview; if that’s true then it must also be true that most adults are not actively spending time in God’s word.
The truth is, we need to not only know about God, but we need to also know God. How is that possible though if we don’t take the time to read and study His word? Everything we need to know about Him – His character, His values, His laws, His expectations, His love, His power and divine nature, and ultimately His message of eternal salvation – is recorded in the bible. If we read and hear only snippets of the bible then we are seeing God and all of His glory through a set of murky lenses. A clouded knowledge of God is kind of like the proverbial blind men and the elephant.
In a village where six blind men lived, they were told about an elephant that was in their presence. Since they had no clue what an elephant was, they each decided to feel it so they could at least visualize what it might look like. But since they each touched a different part of the elephant, their descriptions were all vastly different.
To the first blind man, who touched the elephant’s leg, it felt like a pillar. The second blind man touched the elephant’s tail and said it was like a rope. The third blind man touched the elephant’s trunk and likened it to a thick branch of a tree. The fourth blind man, who touched the elephant’s ear, said it felt like a large fan. The fifth blind man touched the belly of the elephant and thought it felt like a huge wall. And the sixth blind man, who touched the elephant’s tusk, described a solid pipe.
The moral of the story? The six blind men each gave a different account of what they believed an elephant to look like, and they were all correct, to some degree. Christians who know only a portion of God’s word can accurately discuss the parts of the bible they know, but they will never understand the bible in its entirety because they cannot see the “full” picture. And with only a limited knowledge of God’s word, they are at greater risk of making unbiblical choices, and they position themselves in such a way that they cannot receive the full extent of responsibilities and blessings that God desires to give them.
There is a connection between spiritual growth and the amount of time one spends studying the bible. Statistics also show that regular bible readers are more involved in religious activities that cause them to give up more of their time and energy in helping and serving. They do these things because they are “tied” to God’s word, they are influenced by God’s word, and they have discovered great joy in obeying God’s word (Psalm 119:33-40).
The “unfaithful,” on the other hand, are subject to the negative consequences of ignoring (and that includes being oblivious to) God’s word. Isaiah 30:1 warns of adversity falling upon the disobedient:
- “Woe to the obstinate children,”
declares the Lord,
“to those who carry out plans that are not mine,
forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,
heaping sin upon sin;”
In all fairness, the bible is not easy to read, nor is it easy to make sense of. There are many verses throughout both the Old and New Testaments which require extensive amounts of study and even then interpretations always differ. But regardless, God yearns for us to learn about Him and be led by Him. He says in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
His call to us is one that requires us to trust Him, believe Him, and have faith in Him. The better we know Him, the more He refines us and empowers us. In turn our prayer lives become more effective, and intimacy with God becomes something we crave for. We are essentially engaging in a reciprocal and progressive relationship, one which takes us further away from ourselves and closer to our heavenly Father.
- John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”