Summary: Jesus confronted the complex. His message was and is simple. Let’s get back to the basics He taught us! Why make it difficult?
Some things are complex and complicated. Politics. The sport called Cricket. Defining the word “the”. The human brain. Cats.
However, faith was never supposed to be complex or confusing. Man has this propensity to make things harder than they should be. When Jesus arrives on the scene man had severely complicated matters. So, last week I challenged you to really ask yourself if you are truly a disciple. Remember we said disciples are disciples because they choose to obey. This leads me to a conclusion. If we are going to be disciples, then not only must we follow the example of Jesus but of the first disciples. If they were disciples because they obeyed what did they do? Let me pose this question another way. In recent years a local church has defined “disciple” in what may be one of the best and most succinct way. They say a disciples is a “fully devoted follower of Christ.” I think they are right. But my question is what then is a disciple devoted to? Fortunately for us we are told.
Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
We are clearly told exactly what the disciples were devoted to. The very first one is that they were devoted to the apostles’ teaching. Man I wish we had record of those lessons don’t you? I so wished we had a document where their teachings were written so that we could devote ourselves to those teachings! I say that tongue in cheek because we do. What those early disciples were hearing we can read. It is what we call Scripture.
So simply stated the disciples were devoted to study of Scripture. In fact, Paul comes along and instructs those of us who want to obey to devote ourselves to this same practice.
2 Timothy 2:15 (AMP)
Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.
So the early disciples and then Paul giving instruction to his disciple Timothy reveal that disciples should study.
Most of us after school have an aversion to the concept of study. So we have substituted listening for learning. Notice it didn't say listen to the Word to grow in ability to handle the Word. I am not discounting the necessity and benefit of hearing the Word. However, too many of us only want to learn from someone else’s work. The result is we simply don’t study like we should. We have a tendency to become lazy. We expect to be spoon fed.
One of the issues is that the earliest trick the enemy used against us is the one he will continue to use. He approaches Eve and says “Is that what God said?” That challenge leads Eve into failure and sin simply because she didn’t know what God said. So often just because we don’t study we don’t know. And our lack of study results in the fulfillment of the truth in Hosea 4 which states, “My people perish or are destroyed due to lack of knowledge.”
In the Yosemite and Yellowstone Park' s there are signs that say, "Do not feed the bears". Most people think the signs are to protect people. The signs are to protect the Bears. If they depend upon the tourists for food, then in the fall, they starve to death. Every year the Rangers have to remove the dead carcasses of bears who were so dependent upon the Tourists for food that they forgot how to find food for themselves. If we don't feed on the Word ourselves, we wind up like the Bears, dependent upon pastors, teachers, podcasts, or TV preachers for "food" and we spiritually starve to death.
A recent survey revealed that most Americans don’t know first-hand the overall story of the Bible—because they rarely pick it up,” One of the researchers said, “Even among worship attendees less than half read the Bible daily. The only time most Americans hear from the Bible is when someone else is reading it.” He went on to say “Americans treat reading the Bible a little bit like exercise. They know it’s important and helpful but they don’t do it. Americans are fond of the Bible but don’t read it.”