Summary: A sermon regarding Peter's lesson of how to spend time alone in the Book, studying the Book for yourself, and having time alone with God.
This morning, I’ve titled my message “The Most Important Lesson I Could Ever Teach,” and I want you to know that’s not an exaggeration. It’s not something I just thought to get your attention. I really believe this. And in some ways, I believe that this is the most important lesson I ever learned. In fact, if this were the only lesson I ever learned, it would be enough. It’s the lesson that in this passage, you’ll see Peter is saying himself, he says I am going to die soon, but you have to get this. So in some ways, it’s the thing that he felt like I have to impart this before I die. And what this lesson is about is something I was taught when I was in high school, and I was taught the lesson of how to spend time alone in this Book, studying this Book for myself, and having this time alone with God. Once I figured out how to read this Book, which it’s really not hard especially nowadays with all the helps and everything you’ve got on the Internet, once I figured that out, and once I began to study, and learn this for myself, I was ok. That’s really all I needed because now I could open up this Book and just know what God has to say to me and just do what it says. I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life dependent on other people to explain it to me. I could just do it by myself. In fact, I don’t know how people- Because I know a lot of you don’t read the Bible for yourself, and personally, I don’t know how you can pull off following God in our culture, in our world without this time alone with God. This is great. You learn from someone else, and you can listen to other messages. But there’s something so different when you study it for yourself, when you spend that time studying it for yourself because the truth is for me it’s the only time when I can’t lie. I can lie to you. I very easily can lie to you. I believe I have the ability to lie to anyone. I’m that good- great quality to have in your pastor. It’s really not that hard to deceive someone. I can pretend that I’m humble. I know the way to say it and the looks on my face and just the right words to make you think that I’m humble or to make you think that I’m close to God or to think whatever you want to think about me. We get pretty good at communication; most of us are pretty good at communicating who we want other people to think we are. But then there’s that time when you’re alone with God, and there’s no one to lie to, and there’s one person who right now knows. Even as I’m speaking right now, you don’t know what goes on in my heart and what thoughts are going on and the intention of my words. Maybe I’m saying it to make myself sound better. Maybe I’m telling you this so that you don’t think that I’m really thinking. There’s all of that going on. You don’t know, but then I’m alone with God’s Word. Then I’m alone, and I’m studying the Book for myself, and here’s God telling me I’ve got to do something. And here’s a God that knows not only my word but also the intention of my heart.
He knows when I’m trying to sound good even in my prayers. And there are times when we’re dumb enough to even try to sound good in our prayers, trying to make it sound like we really love Him and want to be with Him when He knows our hearts. He’s seen us all week and saw how we long for all the other things in the world, and He’s just an afterthought. But we’re dumb enough to say, ‘Oh God, I’ve just wanted You, and thanks for this.’ It’s the one time when you have to be real. I was asked just yesterday, someone came up to me, and said, “Hey, with all the success and stuff, how do you keep from being just super arrogant? You’re just kind of arrogant. How do you keep from being majorly arrogant?” And again, I just said I don’t know how anyone survives without spending time alone with God. If I did not have time with God, I would be so self-centered, so arrogant, so in my own world because I can fool people. And it’s this time when I am here just thinking, ‘Ok well, here is what God says,’ and I can’t think of a time in my lifetime when this lesson was more needed because I see, as I travel, there are just fewer and fewer people that love this Book and love the truths in this Book. And people instead are looking for new ideas, new thoughts, and they would rather listen to opinions of other people rather than really looking at this Book that’s been around for thousands of years. These words that have been around for thousands of years, that have proven, those over time that have changed lives over the centuries, and yet we try to run to these other things.