Continuing with the theme of “how should a believer use the Bible”, I want to consider the effects of the Word of God when it is used wisely from being preached to the impact upon the soul and life in the Kingdom of God.
First, the Bible needs to be preached! There are many ways to preach the Word … I want to suggest three ways today.
(a) Preach it from the pulpit. By “pulpit” I am referring to a pastor / teacher (or lay preacher) who uses every opportunity to proclaim the Word of God.
2Ti 4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
Proper preparation is required. Working the text to understand it before declaring it is vital. Note the instruction for those called and gifted to preach … “be prepared in season and out of season” … be ready and be eager … and note the triplets … correct (error doctrine), rebuke (false teaching) and encourage (the people of God with true doctrine … with food for the soul). We need to pray intensely for “preachers”, ordained or lay, to be faithful and proclaim truth in a world where so many pulpits are entertaining and even deceiving the flock.
(b) Preach it in the house. Like it or not, the head of the home is the husband / father. His duty is to “preach” the Word of God to His family.
Deut 6:7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
(Context Deut 6:4-9.) We desperately need a revival of godly leaders in our homes for the task of winning the children for Christ rests upon the father (or mother if the father is not a believer or the home is a single parent home). The Church (Sunday School’s) duty is firstly not evangelism but spiritual education. We therefore need to pray for godly dads who accept responsibility for their children’s souls. Consider the glorious change to society, schools, neighborhoods and homes when our children are won for Jesus at an early age!
(c) Preach it through the way you live. Not all are called to preach and teach the Gospel … but all are called to walk the talk … to live intentionally for the Lord Jesus Christ because we have a world out there watch us.
Mat 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Second, the Bible needs to produce faith. Why does God call men to be preachers and teachers of the Word? As they proclaim the Truth of God, the objective is that people believe the very Word they proclaim. Look at what John says:
Jn 20:30 “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
John was firstly speaking about his gospel, but this also applies to all of the Bible as the Gospel can be preached from the Old as well as the New Testament. The object of the teaching and preaching … as well as one reading the Bible is to generate faith … saving faith.
Third, the Bible needs to be practiced! What do you do with Sunday’s sermon? What do you do with the Bible Study teaching each week? Do you absorb it and live it? Do you practice what you have been taught?
Jas 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
James shows us the negative … the one who hears and refuses to apply the teaching. He also shows the positive … the one who eagerly uses what the Bible teaches for spiritual maturity. The word “intently” in verse 25 carries with it the desire to learn and change through application. Practicing the Word is not always easy … but there needs to be “trying” because after trying a few times you succeed.
Fourth, the Bible needs to produce spiritual growth. The Bible is preached to produce saving faith. Then the Bible needs to be practiced to the point where it is productive … developing spiritual growth … causing adult faith that leads to intentional living.
1Pe 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. 2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
See that? Your use of the Scriptures must result in you … growing up (grow up verse 2). God’s intent is that we be adult Christians, digesting solid foods (healthy Biblical diet) which will produce maturity in Christ.
God did His part … He gave the Word. The preacher does His part proclaiming the Word. It’s now your turn!
Dear Lord, our glorious Father in Heaven, By Your Spirit show us how to develop a hunger for and a better use of Your Word so that we attain the spiritual maturity You desire for us as we travel towards our eternal home. Amen.