Summary: 4th of the Take a Hike: Walking in the Spirit series. This lists different ways we can get the Bible into our lives.
2 Peter 1:19-21 – Getting the Word into Our Lives
I read of a minister who was visiting one of his members. The lady of the house was trying to impress him about how devout she was by pointing out the large Bible on the bookshelf and talking in a very reverential way of it as "the Word of God". Her young son interrupted the conversation, "Well, if that’s God’s book, then we’d better send it back to Him, because we never read it!"
Tonight, as we continue our series on walking in the Spirit, we are going to look at how we should approach the Bible. What do we do with it? This isn’t going to be a message about how to study it, though that’s not really a bad idea either. This is about different ways that we put it into our lives. Let’s read from 2 Peter 1:19-21.
The main thoughts from my message tonight come from the Wesleyan author and speaker Keith Drury. He’s written some excellent books over the years, and his latest one is called With Unveiled Faces. It’s about knowing God better through spiritual disciplines, practices and habits we put in our lives in order to bring us closer to Him.
Our text says that we will do well to listen to the word of the prophets. Now, notice it says “word”. Not “words”, but the singular. Put together, representing the whole OT. It says that as we study the word of the prophets, as we understand scripture more and more, and as we apply it, there will be a dawning in our lives. It’s compared to daybreak.
As an aside, the passage also uses a word that the NIV translates “morning star” – the KJV uses “day star”. The word in Greek is “phosphorus”, which means “light-bearer” – one who carries light. It likely means the planet Venus, the brightest thing in the night sky. What’s interesting about the word is that in Latin, it still means the same thing, but the word is translated “lucifer” – from “lux” meaning light, and “fero” meaning “to bear”. It’s funny that one of the names we give to Satan, Lucifer, is actually better name for Jesus. Satan doesn’t bear light; he just appears that way. Christ is the light-bearer. I wonder if we rob Christ of His deserved glory when we call His enemy, literally, the one who brings forth light. Anyway…
The passage continues with a further explanation of scripture. It says that it didn’t come from man – it came as the Holy Spirit inspired people to write. The word means “being carried along.” It’s not that people just wrote down what they thought would be right, as most people would say today. It’s that the Holy Spirit led people to write they did. Not so much of an exact dictation, but more of a thought-by-thought process. Each writer wrote in his own style, but the thoughts came from the Holy Spirit.
So the Word, the Bible, is not just men’s thoughts, but it is the very thoughts and message from God. And it will light our way – it will provide illumination for us. It will help us go through life.
John 17:17 says that the Word is truth, and it will sanctify us. It will set us apart; it will make us holy. Ephesians 5:26 says that we are cleansed by “the washing with water through the word” – that is, as we expose ourselves to the Bible, and as we think on it more and more, it cleanses us. Hebrews 4:12 says that the Bible cuts us open and exposes our motives. James 1:22 compares the Bible to a mirror, showing us what we look like. The Bible is infinitely useful for accomplishing God’s plans for our lives.
There is a story about a rabbi and a soap-maker, who went for a walk together. The soap maker had some negative things to say about religion: "What good is religion? Just look around you. what do you see? Trouble, misery, wars - even after all these years and years of preaching and teaching about goodness, truth, peace. What good is religion with all its prayers and sermons if all this evil still exists?
The rabbi kept quiet as they continued their walk. Then they noticed a child playing in the gutter. The child was just filthy with dirt and mud. The rabbi said to the soap maker: "Look at this child! Now you say that soap makes people clean, but what good is it? With all the soap in the world this child is still dirty. What good is soap after all?"
The soap maker immediately answered him: "But rabbi, soap can’t do its job if it isn’t used!"
"That’s exactly right,’’ said the rabbi. “And so it is with religion. It will not accomplish anything unless people use it!"