Summary: Part 2 of the sermon regarding spiritual discipline of Bible reading / study.
January 27, 2008
Spiritual Discipline: Bible Reading (EVE)
Tonight I want to get as practical as I can. I want to try to answer some of the questions you may have which you have not asked, and maybe are uncomfortable asking, because if we were to be really honest, we don’t want many people to know we don’t read the Bible or just don’t know how to.
Theologian R.C. Sproul once said we don’t read Scripture “not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.” Yikes!!! That’s quite an indictment, I think partly true, but I really think another aspect is what I just mentioned, we just don’t know how to read the Bible, and when we don’t know how to do something it is kind of scary.
Let me give you an example. I am petrified of putting things together. I am not overly mechanical. I have lots of tools in the garage, and I know how to use most of them, the problem is, I get a little anxious and nervous, even on simple jobs. And let me tell you, when you feel that way, you tend to find the safest avenue . . . and that is to do absolutely nothing . . . or you can call a friend or call in an expert and pay someone else to do it. Last weekend I finally put together my Christmas present. It was sitting in the garage for the past 3 weeks before I had the nerve to do it. And wouldn’t you know it, I picked the coldest day of the year to go into the garage and start this project. And wouldn’t you know it, I had absolutely no problems putting it together, and in the end I felt great that I did it. By the way, my present was a punching bag, speed bag and punching bag stand. . . just call me Rocky for now on.
We go through some of that same fear when it comes to reading the Bible, so when we are fearful, or just uncertain, we don’t do it, and we ask the pastor to teach us all we need to know to live our lives and lead us to draw closer to Christ. So, I’m going to tell you one of my pet peeves about one comment church people make, and fortunately, I have not heard it here. But people will leave a church saying, “I’m not getting fed.” WHOA!!! You’re not getting fed? Let me tell you, you are only in worship for about 1 hour per week, you have 167 other hours in the week to feed yourself.
This is why the writer of Hebrews is so angry about what is going on in the church. In Hebrews 5:11-14, we read,
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
According to the writer, the people should be eating solid food. They should be teachers and chomping on meat, however, they are still drinking milk and not as advanced in understanding the Word as they should be. “Constant use of spiritual teeth makes it possible for us to masticate the solid meat of the Word, the deep things of God.” The image I gain is what it means to eat beef jerky. (TAKE A BITE) Beef jerky is good, but you need to have strong teeth to take a bite out of it. In the same way, as we grow in Christ, we develop spiritual teeth which helps us grow from milk drinkers to solid food eaters.
Sticking with the food motif, as he was battling cancer, David Watson wrote,
As I spent time chewing over the endless assurances and promises to be found in the Bible, so my faith in the living God grew stronger and held me safe in His hands. God’s word to us, especially His word spoken by His Spirit through the Bible, is the very ingredient that feeds our faith. If we feed our souls regularly on God’s word, several times each day, we should become robust spiritually just as we feed on ordinary food several times each day, and become robust physically. Nothing is more important than hearing and obeying the word of God.