I want to write about the absolute importance of scriptural knowledge in the christian life. There are so many reasons for the christian to not just read, but study the bible. If you are evangelical, than you believe this bible is the revelation of God. It was inspired and placed specifically so man can know what God has chosen to reveal to us about Himself. It is my opinion that to “search for God” without studying this book is not only dangerous but arrogantly puts God to the test. Now, why does the christian need to know this bible? To name a few, 1- It contains the gospel and that is the power unto salvation (Rom 1:16), 2- it builds faith (Rom 10:17), 3- Jesus Christ while in the flesh of man, studied the bible and proved that by quoting scripture many times, 4- it is an act of worship, love and obedience to God, and I could go on and on, but lastly, 5- it is what we make our stand on. I cannot possibly go through all the mentioned topics at this time, the one I want to focus on today is this “making a stand”. What do I mean by that? I mean standing on the word of God, which is what saving faith always looks like. A great example of this is Abraham. God spoke to him, promised to give him many descendants through a son. Abraham being so old, this was a radical statement, how did he respond to what God said to him?
Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
My friends, God is speaking to us today, just like He spoke to Abraham. God is speaking to mankind through His inspired bible. People tend to think that they are learning God’s word through the preacher. You can take the preacher’s word for it if you dare, but all soul-concerned christians filter everything they hear through the clear teaching found in the word of God. I have very little tolerance for preaching that is not described as “expository preaching”. I am not (and neither should any christian be) interested in preaching that is not rooted in the clear texts of the bible. If your preacher is not an expositor, than you may as well be reading philosophy or listening to some sort of motivational speaker. I am sad that I must agree with some of the secular criticisms of the church today. Many people regard it as “self help psychology” or even “motivational speakers”. Some preachers preach self reliance, self worship, powers within yourself, your tongue (name it-claim it), prosperity gospels, justification by faith but must be through the sacraments of rome, worship of mary-apostles-saints by prayer, some claim new revelations that supersede or are in addition to the bible ect.. These are obvious false doctrines. However, there are some really good preachers and teachers out there. Contrary to the teaching of Rome, we must recognize that they are all fallible. We are all fallible. Making your stand on the words from preachers and teachers is ok if that preacher or teacher is expounding the word of God. Because, if that is the case, then you are not standing on a man’s words or wisdom but God’s. However we must remember if you do not know the bible, how will you be able to tell the difference between the word of God being preached and the preacher’s own philosophy? Especially when the preacher uses scripture to push his own ideas of psychology or philosophy. The devil uses scripture too. He used it in the temptation of Christ. It is a dangerous thing, a dangerous place, no, it is eternally fatal to not know the word of God. To make a stand on false teaching is to build a house on top of sand.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” (Mat 7:24-27)
Isn’t this a most motivating lesson on why we should know exactly what we are making our stand on? As our Lord just said, the rain is coming, the floods will rise and the winds will slam against us. Its not a matter of if, but a matter of when. I go further, these storms aren’t always quick, coming and going. I would say most of the time they linger. The fight usually isn’t won in the first round by knockout, its a real fight, against a real, strong opponent. Winning isn’t done by beating your opponent, but by surviving through the last round to a judge’s decision. We must be ready. What does this look like in our lives? Consider Peter’s teaching here:
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; (1Pe 3:15)
Making a defense, to me, is drawing up your own personal confession of faith. Its important that the knowledge by which the faith is standing is in the word of God. Christian people are not philosophers. They dont sit around theorizing what “could be”. They are only concerned with the knowledge that is actually given. They believe to go any further than what the word has clearly revealed is speculation and can be fatal. We are a people that is intelligent enough to know, that we know very, very little concerning God and His ways. What do I mean by that? Very quickly I will show you that Paul makes this abundantly clear in Romans 8:
For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
Now Paul is making many points in this chapter. What I want to point out is, Paul is speaking to christians that are led by the Holy Spirit. It is abundantly clear that we are weak, we still do not see, we are ignorant, so much so that we don’t even pray as we ought or if you like, do not know what to pray for as we ought. So in light of this ignorance, the worst thing we can do is wander off in ignorance outside of the knowledge that is revealed in the bible. All roads eventually will end here: Those that truly want to know God, will spend time learning His word. Whether it is led by a teacher or their own personal study. We always hear teaching about being christ-like, loving others as Christ did, and that is very good. But if we are to truly take seriously “being Christ like”, then you will study your scripture. When Christ was tempted by the devil, How did He respond?
And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.‘”
And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'”
And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.‘”
Need I make another point? Christ made His stand on the word of God. When the storms of the devil come, the flood waters rise and the winds slam, it is only those who stand on the word of God that will withstand the onslaught.
I must end with this. We have a most loving and merciful God. Why would we not take time to learn about Him? Can we honestly say we love Him but do not read His word? He wants us to know about Him, what He has done, what He is going to do, its all there in His bible. I wonder if I go too far when I say: To not have any interest in the bible is to not have any interest in God. I pray He forgives us of our laziness and lack of love. No-one loves God or worships Him as He deserves. We all fall short of that. But God in His long suffering has chosen us and loves us anyways. He justifies the ungodly or the unrighteous. Go to Him and He promises to not turn you away, but instead will show you an abundance of grace and love. As said in my favorite psalm:
Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.