Summary: It is impossible to grow in your relationship with God without growing in your relationship with God’s Word. We won’t grow unless we get into the Word.
Drinking the Bible
Rev. Brian Bill
October 25-26, 2014
Video: “Week in the Life of a Neglected Bible”
If you and I are not reading the Bible on a regular basis, we will never know its truth and we won’t grow in truth. According to a Barna survey, 82% think that the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves” is directly from the Bible; 63% cannot name the four Gospels and over half do not know the book of Jonah is in the Bible.
Another poll discovered that 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. According to a survey of high school seniors, over 50 percent believe Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.
That reminds me of the new minister who was asked to teach a boys’ Sunday School class because the regular teacher was on vacation. He decided to see what they knew, so he asked them who knocked down the walls of Jericho. All the boys denied having done it, and the preacher was saddened that they didn’t know the right answer. He decided to bring it up at the church business meeting: “Not one of them knows who knocked down the walls of Jericho,” he lamented. The members were silent until finally one seasoned saint spoke up. “Preacher, this appears to be bothering you a lot. But I’ve known all those boys since they were born and they’re good boys. If they said they don’t know who did it, I believe them. Let’s just take some money out of the repair fund, fix the walls, and let it go at that.”
Ed Stetzer wrote a blog post this past week called, “Biblical Illiteracy.” Here’s part of what he said…(I posted the link on the Edgewood Facebook page if you’d like to read all of it).
Both inside and outside the church, there is a problem. Non-Christians don’t have even the general idea of the Bible they once did. Christians are not seeing the life change that real Bible engagement brings. The result is a nation in spiritual free fall…
There is no excuse. It’s not as if we don’t have access. The average American—Christian or not—owns at least three Bibles. Even those who don’t have one in their home can download it free to their smartphone...The Word of God is more available than ever. People have died to bring us what has led to modern translations of Scripture, yet we are dying from lack of knowledge.
Simply put, we have a biblical literacy deficit in part because we have a spiritual maturity deficit. Plenty of research shows the correlation between spiritual maturity and reading the Bible. If you want spiritually mature Christians, get them reading the Bible…Reading and studying the Bible are still the activities that have the most impact on growth in this area of spiritual maturity. As basic as that is, there are still numerous churchgoers who aren’t reading the Bible regularly. You simply won’t grow if you don’t know God and spend time in His Word.
To this point, two years ago LifeWay Research surveyed more than 2,900 Protestant churchgoers and found that while 90 percent “desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do,” only 19 percent actually read the Bible every day.
Listen. There is no way to please and honor Jesus if you’re not drinking from the Bible on a daily basis. Here’s a summary statement for our sermon today: We won’t grow unless we get into the Word.
Our preaching passage is found in 1 Peter 2:1-3: “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
Let’s begin by looking at verse 2: “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” The word “desire” is a command from a root word, which means, “to burn” or “to crave” and is expressed in eager action. It’s translated as “greatly desiring” in 2 Timothy 1:4. You and I must make a deliberate decision to deeply desire the Word of God. We must be intentional because it won’t happen automatically. We need to know the Word of the Lord if we want to grow in the Lord of the Word.
I should point out that the phrase “newborn babes” doesn’t necessarily mean that Peter’s readers are brand new in their faith. In this context, milk does not refer to basic and elementary teaching as it does in Hebrews 5:12-13 where milk is contrasted with meat or solid food. Here Peter is simply saying that all believers are to long for the Word with the same kind of intensity that a baby does for milk.