Summary: In this lesson, we discover there is a better way to build a better Bible reading habit, all by redirecting our emotions and rewards.
Today’s we are looking to build a Bible Reading Habit. And let’s confess there is not a man alive who couldn’t do better in this area. But let’s address the facts. And there are two on your page today I want you to notice.
First, as many of you know, The Bible is the best-selling, least read, and most misunderstood book in the world. (Slide) Many of you are already aware that the Bible is the first book ever printed and widely dispersed after the printing press was invented in 1440. Yet the problem for many of us is not that we don’t have a Bible, it is that we don’t read it. Just look at the second statistic from the Gallup Organization. They say that in their studies of Christians, 64 percent of those questioned said they were "too busy" to read the Bible. (Slide)
I assume this fact isn’t shocking. But what this tells us, is that there is a major gap between Bible ownership and Bible use. A 64% gap!
And I find it astounding that we believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, and yet are too busy to read the most valuable resource we have that contains objective and inspired truth.
So, our goal in today’s lesson is to discover the value of Bible reading with the outcome of developing new Bible reading habits that get us consistently into the Bible more.
One best practice I have used over the years is reading the Bible on audio early in the morning. A number of years back, I got hooked on this and I fell in love with it. I have a pair of headphones next to my bed, and when I cannot sleep, or wake early in the morning, I read my Bible on audio. It took me a while to get good at reading this way, but I loved it.
But let’s turn to the text today in your handbook. The text is an extension of last week’s text. Let me read it for you today and it is a short extension of the text from last week.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ 24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”’ Matthew 7:21-27 (Slide)
I think this text is great on teaching us the value of God’s Word. Jesus begins by creating a lot of tension around the fact that in the end there will be believers who think that they know the truth, but get it all wrong. Here Jesus is referencing the religious officials of the day and the fact that their righteousness was built on performance and showmanship alone. And although their life manifested righteous actions, underneath their motivations were misaligned.
But then Jesus connects a construction analogy to help us understand the connection between the value of God’s Word and our deeper motivation. He imagines a violent storm striking two types of houses or men. In the situation, everything appears very similar on the surface, except for a few one unseen difference – the location of the foundation. There is one house, or man, who hears and does, contrasted with a man who hears and “looks like he does.” Thus, one man builds his life on a rock, and the other on the sand.
Let me say it this way to bring attention to what Jesus is illustrating.
There is one man who hears and pretends.
There is another man who hears and does not pretend.
And the difference between the two is “how they listen” and act. The deeper issue for Jesus is one of motivation. Showmanship means nothing.
But remember, like last week, Jesus is not giving us construction advice, he is talking about the methodology we use to build our life. And with the inclusion of the additional text, we discover that Jesus is taking the application beyond proclamation, appearances, showmanship, and seen behaviors into motivational change. This is found by connecting the introduction in verses 21-23 with the illustration in verses 24-27. And the call is for us to get both right.