Summary: This message is about the value of putting God’s Word into our lives. Particulary, it was to promote actually listening to the Bible on tape.
January 5, 2003 Romans 10:17
¡§Faith comes by hearing¡¨
A new year has begun, and with the coming of the new year, many people make new year¡¦s resolutions. One man called his parents to wish them a happy New Year. His dad answered the phone. "Well, Dad, what¡¦s your New Year¡¦s resolution?" the son asked him. "To make your mother as happy as I can all year," he answered proudly. Then the mom got on, and the son said, "What¡¦s your resolution, Mom?" "To see that your dad keeps his New Year¡¦s resolution."
Often those resolutions have something to do with losing the weight that we gained over the holidays. A woman walked into her bathroom at home. As she did, she saw her husband weighing himself on the bathroom scales, sucking in his stomach. The woman thought to herself, "He thinks that he will weigh less by sucking in his stomach." So, the woman rather sarcastically said to her husband, "That¡¦s not going to help." Her husband said, "Sure it will. It¡¦s the only way I can see the numbers."
Regardless of whether or not you have made any New Year¡¦s resolutions in some written or thought out form, I would imagine that all of you would agree that you have a desire to make 2003 better than 2002. You want to be a better parent, a better spouse, a better employee, a better son or daughter, a better Christian. Whatever area of your life that you want to improve upon, or whatever resolution you have made for this year, so long as it is a good thing, I want to give you something this morning that will empower you to achieve that goal for 2003. And surprise, surprise, it is all wrapped up in this book that I hold in my hand.
In this book are the means for improving every relationship that you have. In this book, all things being equal, are the means for you to be in better financial shape at the end of 2003 than you are right now. In this book are the means for you overcoming all those habits that seem to have a stranglehold on you right now ¡V things like smoking, overeating, alcohol, pornography or even biting your nails.
I want to take you through a 3-step process that, if followed, will enable you to become not only what you want to become in 2003, but will help you become what God wants you to be for all eternity.
Step #1 ¡V Possession of the Word ¡§the Word of God¡¨
The first step is the easy one. All the work had already been done for us.
The Word of God is the starting point. It originates with God. It belongs to God. It is God¡¦s revelation ¡V or revealing ¡V to mankind. He has revealed His character, our condition and His plan to change our condition so that we are formed to match His character, and we can be in relationship with Him. The Bible makes several important claims about itself:
„X Inspired ¡§All Scripture is given by inspiration of God¡¨ (2 Tim. 3:16)
„X Profitable ¡§and is profitable¡¨
„X Powerful ¡§sharper than any two-edged sword¡¨ (Heb. 4:12)
„X Eternal ¡§my words shall not pass away¡¨ (Matt. 24:35)
We, as a church recognize that if we are to prosper and if we are to please God, then all that we do must be built upon the truth of the Bible, God¡¦s Word. That includes when and where and how we build a building to house this body of believers. When that time comes, I want to copy the practice of a church that I heard about this week.
Several months before the church moved into their new building in, the ministry staff met at the new site for a special staff meeting. Most of the building still wasn¡¦t carpeted, and some of the rooms still had no drywall. They handed out hard hats, magic markers, and a few Bibles. The senior pastor instructed the staff members to go to the classrooms and offices in the building where they would be working and write Scripture verses on the concrete floors. He told them, ¡§Someday soon the Scriptures will be covered with carpet. But I hope you will always remember what you have written today. And what we do today will be a visible reminder that we are always to stand on God¡¦s Word.¡¨
Those in the children¡¦s ministry wrote things like, ¡§Let the little children come to me¡Kfor the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.¡¨ In the education wing, the education ministers wrote, ¡§Study to show yourself approved unto God,¡¨ and ¡§Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.¡¨ In the music practice rooms, the music ministers wrote, ¡§Sing and make music unto the Lord,¡¨ and ¡§Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.¡¨ In the offices of the preaching team, they wrote passages like, ¡§Preach the Word in season and out of season,¡¨ and ¡§Watch your life and doctrine closely¡Kif you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.¡¨