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Summary: The true disciple (student) of Jesus Christ abides (lives) in God’s Word.

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The Bible: Living In The Word

(John 8:31-32)

[HTML formatted version of this sermon is located at:

http://members.aol.com/abidingitw/livnword.html]

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, then you’ve probably heard lots of sermons about how important it is to read the Bible. So I don’t want today’s lesson to be just another rehash of things you’ve already heard over and over before.

Instead, I’d like to focus today on some things about studying the Bible that I don’t hear pastors teach very often, if at all. These are things that God has clearly put in His Word for us to know. However, these are also things that are easy to read over and miss if we don’t take the time to look at them carefully.

The Bible has a lot to say about itself, and I can’t think of a better place to start than to look at what Jesus Himself had to say on this subject. In John Chapter 8, Verses 31-32, we read,

John 8:31-32

31 Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, {then} you are truly disciples of Mine;

32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (NAS)

The first thing I notice in Verse 31 is that Jesus was talking to "those Jews who had believed Him". That’s important because Jesus was about to say something that is only for believers. Jesus is not going to say something to everyone, only to persons who are saved, only to born-again believers.

This is because Jesus is about to speak about the Bible, and Bible study is not for everybody. God’s Word can only be spiritually understood by believers. We are told this in:

1 Cor. 2:14: But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. (NAS)

This verse tells us that a "natural" or unsaved man can’t understand spiritual things. Unbelievers are spiritually dead. Every human being is born that way, and doesn’t have a living spirit inside of them until they are saved by believing in Jesus Christ. That’s why the salvation experience is called being "born again". The dead spirit within a person is made alive by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. This is what the term "regeneration" means. So only a spiritual person can fully understand spiritual things, and only born-again believers are spiritual.

To an unbeliever, the Bible is just like any other book. They can study it academically, but they don’t fully understand the spiritual meanings to it like we do as Christians. That’s why we shouldn’t argue about the Bible with unsaved persons. We need to stay with the message of the gospel, about how Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. This will be understood by unbelievers because the Holy Spirit will make the gospel message clear to them.

But all of that is not the most precious part of what 1 Cor. 2:14 is teaching us as believers. Again, we are told in that verse that things in God’s Word are spiritually understood. What this means is that learning the Bible is not a matter of human intelligence. And that is the first point I want to make today from these verses.


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