Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Rick Boyne for sharing this sermon from Acts. It has been a blessing as well as a great help, as I spend my days caring for my dying father.

The Berean Church Shows Why I Need to Read My Bible Acts 17:10-12

A man was talking with a farmer about his soy bean and corn crops.

Rain had been abundant, and the results were evident but the farmer’s next comment surprised him: "My crops are especially vulnerable. Even a short drought could have a devastating effect." "Why?" the man asked. The farmer explained that while we see the frequent rains as a benefit, during that time the plants are not required to push roots deeper in search of water. The roots remain near the surface and a drought would find the plants unprepared and even a short dry spell could quickly kill them.

Some Christians receive abundant "rains" of worship, fellowship, and teaching. Yet when stress enters their lives, many have no idea what to do or worse, they blame God for being unfaithful. The reason is their roots have yet to make it deeper than the surface. See they may be sitting under some of the most anointed teaching known to man but they fail to get personally involved with the Word and its Author. It’s so important to understand that only those rooted deep in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, through His Word will survive the droughts of life.

The message today is about the importance of reading God’s Word and understanding that we must have more than just a surface knowledge of God’s Word in our lives.

Too many come to church and leave their bibles sitting on the shelf or the table where they sit all week. That Bible is more obedient than most dogs because you set it on the table/shelf and tell it to “Stay” and it does. It remains there unopened, all week.

I read about a seminary professor who, while studying in the Holy Lands, met a man who claimed to have memorized the Old Testament--in Hebrew! Needless to say, the astonished professor asked for a demonstration and a few days later they sat together in the man's home. "Where shall we begin?" asked the man. "Psalm 1," replied the professor, who was an avid student of the psalms. Beginning with Psalm 1:1, the man began to recite from memory, while this professor followed along in his Hebrew Bible. For two hours the man continued word for word without a mistake as the professor sat in stunned silence. When the demonstration was over, the professor discovered something even more astonishing about the man.

The man was an atheist! Here was someone who knew the Scriptures better than most Christians ever will, and yet he didn't even believe in God.

Jack Kuhatschek, Taking The Guesswork Out of Applying The Bible, IVP, 1991, p. 16.

It’s not about memorizing Scripture. It’s about hiding it in your heart.

I have a little test for you.

Don’t answer out loud but which of the following phrases are not found in the Bible?

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

God helps those who help themselves.

Confession is good for the soul.

Money is the root of all evil.

Honesty is the best policy.

How many of these did you recognize as Scripture?

The truth is not a single one of these, as read, are found in Scripture, yet many of you sitting here, right now, arguing the point in your mind. So I’ll challenge you to show me. But please wait until after the service.

I want to show you something that may seem a little confusing.

Looking at [1 Thess. 2:13KJV] “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

The KJV says “When you received the word, you received it”

For some this sounds like double-talk but it’s not. It’s actually 2 different words in the original language.

The first word is Paralambano, in the original and means to casually taste something, or to hear it with only your ears

The second “recieved” is Decomai, meaning to hear it with your heart, to embrace or welcome.

They not only heard it with their ears, but welcomed it their hearts.

How important is it that we hear the Word with our hearts and not simply with our ears?

Let me give you a few good reasons for taking our personal Bible reading seriously.

1. So I can know, for myself, the truth about God and the Bible…

Notice what the Bereans did, in verse 11. They didn’t simply accept Paul’s words as truth. They searched the Scriptures to make sure they were being told the Truth.

The people of Berea were even tempered and open-minded. They had a willingness and a desire to know the truth and they, personally, searched the Scriptures for confirmation of what Paul was teaching.

Just because someone has a fancy title before their name and claims to have some anointing, people will fall for their scam. If you have $ you can get a document stating that you are Dr. so and so. I received an email from a bank about a problem with my account. I looked up the bank’s website, called the number and told the lady about the notice and that I didn’t have an account there. She told me it was a scam but the document looked real. It’s called “cut & paste…”

2. So I can live my life, according to the plan God has for me…

How can I live my life accordingly without knowing what God expects from me? How can I know what God expects if I never read His Word?

Too many Christians are trying to tell God what to do, without giving a single thought to living God honoring lives. They want certain things to happen and instead of seeking guidance from the Word they focus on trying to get God and others to see things their way.

However, the prophet Jeremiah, in chapter 29 & verse 11 reminds us that God has a plan for each of us and He knows exactly what it will take for us to accomplish His plan.

Now if I listen to the baloney that’s being presented, as biblical truth today, I might be convinced to believe that God is some puppet and I’m the puppet master, controlling His actions.

[Psa 119:9-11 NKJV] “9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed [or by living] according to Your word. [God’s Word] 10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word [God’s Word] I have hidden in my heart, [Why must I hide God’s Word IN my heart?] That I might not sin against You.” [Added] Too many hide God’s Word on a shelf and never take it down.

(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB) “All Scripture [not some of it. Not the pieces we want to pull out of context. ALL SCRIPTURE] is inspired by God and profitable [Useful] for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” [Added]

[2Ti 3:16-17 NLT] “16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”

The third reason personal Bible study is important to us is:

3. Reading my Bible enables me to defend my faith…

When I use the word “defend” here, I’m not using it as you might think. The word used for defending one’s faith is different than defending my family or myself. It’s not a call to arm yourself and put your dukes up for a fight. The way the word is used here means to give an answer for something, much like taking the stand in a courtroom to give and answer for why you are there.

Let’s say that you’ve been in an accident and the opposing party claimed that you ran the stoplight. When you go to court you plead your case. You are telling what you know to be true because you have knowledge of the facts. I often wonder why we use certain terms in debating as in the courtroom, like argument. We’re being argumentative or quarrelsome, yet we call it an argument. We say we defending when we’re not doing battle. We’re simply giving an answer for what we know to be the truth.

Let me show you how that works when we give defense for Christianity.

[1Pe 3:15 NIV] “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”

In the KJV the word is defense, where in the NIV it says “to give an answer.” But notice the attitude we are to use, when giving the answer. “But do this with gentleness and respect,”

[2Ti 2:15 NLT] “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.”

That leads to the fourth reason personal Bible reading and study is so important.

4. So I will be able to, correctly, tell others the whole truth and nothing but the truth…

How can I tell the truth if I have no idea what truth is?

How can I say “The Bible says” if I really don’t know that what I’m quoting is actually Scripture?

How can I know God’s truth, how can I share His truth if I never open the pages of His Word?

[2Ti 4:2 NIV] “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.”

Notice that Paul says we are to correct, rebuke and encourage BUT with great patience and careful instruction.”

Why should 2 Timothy 4: 2 be so important to us? We can answer that question by reading the next two scripture passages.

Let’s look again at [2Ti 4:2 NIV] “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.”

Why? Verse 3 gives the reason.

[2Ti 4:3 NIV] “3 For the time will come when people will NOT put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

How do we accomplish verse 2?

Do we beat them over the head or we try to out scream and out cuss them out if they reject what we say?

Well, let’s look to Scripture, once more for the answer.

[2Ti 2:24-26 NIV] “24 And the Lord's servant must NOT be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be GENTLY instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

My challenge to you, this week is to get in the Word and find some awesome treasure that will help you to walk as the man or woman God designed you to be.

Thank you Pastor Rick Boyne