Summary: How does the Bible change the life of one who reads, studies, applies and obey it?
We have considered how the Bible is inspired. We talked about how our Bible came to us as it is today and how the early church determined which writings were inspired by God and which ones were not with the Apostolic test: Is the testimony tied to the Apostles? Is it endorsed by the Apostles? And does it reflect the message of the Apostles?
We have also thought about how the Bible is useful for helping us walk a path of righteousness - being right with God and doing right for God, by teaching us what the right path is; rebuking us when we get on the wrong path; correcting us so we can get back on the right path; and training us on how to stay on the path and continue with God.
Now today, I want us to focus on verse 17, as we think about how the Bible is transformational. (READ TEXT)
1. It changes us from being centered on self to centered on God - “the man of God”
There are all kinds of ways a person might be known. He might be known as a “man of means” or a “man about town” or a “man’s man.” But you will notice that any such title has its focus on that person.
Not so with the title, “Man of God.” The focus of this title is on God, not the person. By the way, Paul is using the word “man” in the general sense, that is, he is referring to men and women.
What he is telling us here with this title is that when a follower of Christ makes use of the divinely inspired Word of God by reading it, studying it, applying it, and obeying it, the result will be that they will turn from being focused on themselves to being focused on God.
In the study, Experiencing God, author Henry Blackaby says that “The Bible is a God-centered book. When we open it, we come face to face with the author, who calls us to orient our lives around Him.”
The more we open our Bibles to read, study, apply and obey, the more we’ll find our lives oriented around God as opposed to ourselves.
Pastor Scott Chafee says, “The essence of sin is the shift from a God-centeredness to a self-centeredness. To be self-centered: life is
focused on self, we are proud of self and our own accomplishments, we have confidence is in self, a dependence on self and our own
abilities, seeking acceptance from the world and its ways, selfish and ordinary living. To be God-centered: we have confidence in God, dependence on God and on His abilities and provision, our life is focused on God and His activities, we have humility before God, we deny self, seeking first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and seek God’s perspective in all circumstances.
You know, the circumstances of life have a way of revealing our heart. As the old saying goes, “People are a lot like cups. You don’t really know what’s inside until they are upset.”
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” - Deuteronomy 8:2 (NIV)
When you face a time of testing, what is revealed about your heart? Is your response one that is centered around yourself, “Why me?” Or is your response one that is oriented toward God, “What, Lord?”
To become more God centered, we need to spend time opening God’s Word to read it, study it, apply it and obey it.
2. It changes us from being self-dependent to God-dependent - “thoroughly equipped”
If we will open God’s Word to read it, study it, apply it and obey it, then God will use His Word to equip us . . .
A. To meet the challenges we have in this world.
“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” - Psalm 119:114 (NIV)
“Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees.” - Psalm 119:116-117 (NIV)
“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” - Psalm 119:165 (NIV)
B. To face the difficulties we have in this world.
“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” - Psalm 119:28 (NIV)
“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” - Psalm 119:50 (NIV)
C. To overcome the temptations we have in this world.
“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” - Psalm 119:9-11 (NIV)