Summary: If we truly want to be changed, we must begin dealing effectively with the issues that affect our lives. If we need radical surgery, don’t settle for a bandaid. Let’s “incline our ears” to the full truth of God’s Word
Inclining and Applying God’s Word – Part 1 – Proverbs 2:2
Intro: We have focused on “receiving & treasuring the Word and as we see in today’s text, this is for a purpose: “so that you may…” One precedes the other. We must receive God’s Word and treasure it before we can truly “incline” & “apply”.
I. Inclining: The Transforming Power of the Word
NOTE: We incline our ears & apply our hearts by setting our hearts on obedience to the work of the Word of God in us.
A. By nature, we do not want to listen to God
1. Even when we are aware of the delights His Word offers us
B. We want the benefits of eternal pleasures w/o having to change
NOTE: The Word is designed to transform us & bring us into full agreement with who God is. This is the knowledge of God. Only through obedience to His word is His life infused into ours.
NOTE: When we behold, through Scripture, what God is like, how He feels and what we look like to Him, we are changed. We are not transformed by our resolve or dedication, but by the power of the Word abiding in us.
C. The Word has the power to bring about this transformation
READ: Psalm 19:7-10
D. The transformation process:
1. At first, the Word allures us
a. This is an enjoyable experience
b. The Word tastes sweet & we experience its pleasures
c. We begin to grasp the magnitude of God’s love
2. Our pursuit begins to change us into His image
a. We begin to experience pain as the Word works on us
b. It begins to wage war on areas of our heart in rebellion:
1. against the truth of God
2. against His ways and His leadership in our lives
NOTE: The purpose of the original sweetness of His Word is to equip us to endure the difficulties that come with change.
NOTE: Despite the pain that comes with change, we must pursue this transformation if we are to fulfill our destiny of knowing God.
If we are starving for the true knowledge of God, we will be willing to endure the process and stay the course no matter the cost.
II. The Inner War
NOTE: The most powerful thing about the true knowledge of God is that it gets right to the core of our being.
A. We each have inner strongholds built with lies against the knowledge of God
1. The Word reveals any unbelief, greed, jealousies, etc.
B. The power of truth enters us to break this internal agreement with lies and darkness
C. As we pursue the deeper things of God, we encounter resistance
1. This resistance is internal & the law of sin is at work in us
2. It cannot be overpowered by our own strength
3. We are broken & sinful by nature
4. Our experience & environment has affected us
5. Many try to fix their problems through counseling & prayer
NOTE: These are powerful tools, but they cannot replace the implanted Word working inside of us.
NOTE: Many churches are good at breaking off depression, addictions and fear, but they don’t follow that up with filling people up with the Word of God and teaching them how to pursue God.
D. Part of the problem is that we live in a “quick fix” world
1. Spiritual cancer is rampant today
2. The repair is a journey, not a sprint
3. Strongholds must be identified, dismantled & replaced
QUOTE: In his book, “The collected Works of St. John of the Cross”, St. John said, “The purpose of the Word is to impart, infuse the life of God. Where a soul is not prepared for this, or has things in opposition to it, the Word comes as a fire and burns the soul” (page 650)
4. Dismantling & replacing strongholds is called “Dying to self”
NOTE: To succeed in this, we have to want the true knowledge of God in our lives more than we want our strongholds or our secret sins.
Concl.: If we truly want to be changed, we have to begin dealing more effectively and long-term with the issues that affect our lives.
If we need radical surgery, don’t settle for a bandaid.
Let’s “incline our ears” to the full truth of God’s Word
Next week we will talk about “Applying our Hearts”