Summary: How to let the Word of God change your life
The world is quickly changing. We see that in technology, in culture, in politics, you name it. But it seems the place we are not changing is in ourselves. Have you changed much in the last year? Now I’m not talking about external things. You may be have changed your job, your home, your relationships, whatever, but I’m talking about your heart. Are you more holy this year than last year? Are you more loving? Have your grown in faith and dependence on God?
If we are honest I think that many of us would have to say, “No.” How do we really change? The key is the Word of God. Now listen, we are in church, and this is an obvious answer. But really, how much have we been changed by the Word of God? Think about it. How many sermons have you heard in your life? Well, there’s 52 weeks in a year and then there’s TV preachers and sermons on the radio and internet. That doesn’t include small groups studies and Sunday School. That’s a lot of listening to the Bible. But even with all of this teaching how much have we changed? For most of us, not much. Does this mean that this Christian thing just doesn’t work? Does it mean that the Bible really isn’t that effective? No. The problem isn’t with the Bible. The problem is with us. If you think you’re going to change just by coming Sunday by Sunday and sitting in these seats and listening, let me tell you, you’re going to be disappointed. This morning we are going to be looking at a passage that tells us how to let the Word of God change us. Listen, time is precious. You gain absolutely no credit before God just coming to church and sitting here every week. Let’s be real, if we don’t change, then why bother coming?
But if you are dying to change, then listen carefully. This will be a very practical sermon and I promise if you put these verses into practice, you will change and not just change for change’s sake; you will become more like Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at this passage again (read verse). In this passage there are four steps we need to take to let the Word of God change us. The first step is found in verses 19 to 21. To really change we have to humbly accept the Word of God. (Read verses 19-21)
Verse 21 says we have to humbly accept the word planted in us that can save us. When we hear the Word of God, we must have the right attitude. We must be absolutely convinced that the Bible is the ultimate authority on how to live life.
In the movie Waterworld, in the future the world is covered by water. But there is a rumour that some dry land exists somewhere. The legend says that there is a map to dry land tattooed on the back of a little girl. The movie follows the desperate search for this girl by a band of renegades and cutthroats and the hero, Kevin Costner trying to protect her. That girl was so valuable because she provided the only road map to salvation. Do you know that in the Bible we have something even more valuable. It is the map that keeps us on the narrow path that leads through this wicked world and to the gates of heaven itself. What’s your attitude toward the Bible?
It is absolutely true and dependable. This isn’t just a collection of opinions and wise sayings from philosophers and mystics. This is the very Word of God. If there is ever a conflict between public opinion and the Word of God, the Bible is right. If we ever have a difference between our personal experience and the Bible, we must believe the Word of God. You see, we can misinterpret events in our lives. It’s the Bible that gives a true evaluation. We must humbly submit ourselves to the authority of the Bible.
But there are potential attitudes that will block us from humbly accepting the Word of God. These verses list three blocks. The first is being unteachable. Look at verse 19a (read verse). We are instructed to be quick to listen and slow to speak. It’s been said, there’s a reason why God gave us two ears and one mouth. When we are speaking, we can’t learn. We are airing our own opinions and thoughts. This kind of attitude is deadly when approaching the Bible. They say you can’t fill up a cup when it’s already full. We have to be willing to learn. We need to listen and seek to understand the Bible. Be teachable.
The second block is found in the end of verse 19 and verse 20 (read verses). The second block is being angry. What is this anger about and who is this anger directed toward? Well look at the context of the first part of chapter one. The passage talks about going through trials and temptations. When life gets tough one reaction is to become angry at God. When life’s troubles have caused our hearts to become bitter, we won’t listen to the Bible because we don’t trust the author. You may be sitting here this morning and your heart is closed to the Bible, because you are angry at God. Let me tell you that God loves you and He is for you, not against you. You may be thinking, “You don’t know what I’m going through.” You’re right, I don’t know, but I do know this: God is trustworthy. He is faithful. And He loves us. God proved that by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross. When I was in university I remember talking to a young woman about God. She told me she had grown up as a Catholic, but now she doubted God. She said that she couldn’t believe that God was good with all of the pain and suffering going on in the world. I remember looking at her and saying I could never doubt God’s goodness. Because Jesus Christ died on the cross, suffering for me, I could never question God’s love for me. Don’t you doubt it. God loves you.