Friday, February 25, 2011

I Hate This Part (2)

[I've revised this post a bit. Hope y'all like it.]

Well, here it is. Part 2. If you haven't read part 1, you should probably start with that.

Ok, so let's read John 4:24 once again: "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth." (Some versions of John 4:24 replace the word "truth" with "word." I believe both are acceptable since John 17:17 says "Your Word is truth.")

So I've tentatively tried to cover what worshiping in Spirit involves. Now comes the truth aspect. There generally tend to be two camps of people. One camp spends a lot of time reading the Scriptures, memorizing, learning, and studying it. They are normally very wary of the work of the Spirit and tend to put God in a box. The second camp is a group of people who base almost everything they know off of the work of the Spirit and place more importance on that than in studying the Scriptures and knowing what they have to say for their lives.

To borrow from an idea of Matt Chandler, I think these two groups should hang out a lot more than they are, cuz maybe they'll rub off on each other. Honestly, they're both wrong. As illustrated in the verse we just read, there needs to be balance of the two arenas. Going to extremes on either end of the spectrum is wrong and does not align with God's will.

In fact, it is safe to say that these two areas (Spirit and truth) are thoroughly intertwined and cannot be separated. This is evidenced by Ephesians 6:17, which claims that "the sword of the Spirit... is the word of God." (Emphasis added.)

Let me make a short list of some people and I'll ask you what they have in common:

1. Paul
2. King David
3. Any of the Old Testament prophets
4. Martin Luther
5. John Calvin
6. Jesus

So? What common characteristic do these people (and God) share? Well, let me tell you: they all knew the Scriptures in and out. They lived, breathed, and consumed the Word of God daily. So, I must draw a conclusion from this:

Any great man of God must be a great man of knowing the Bible.

Don't believe me? Let's think logically. If you expect to be a godly man or woman, how on God's green earth do you plan to accomplish such a thing without knowing what being godly means by finding out through the Word?

The Word has many different functions. 2 Tim. 3:16 says that "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." Also, Heb. 4:12 claims that "the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." King David even claims "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you," and "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:11;103)

So we can see that the Word of God provides a flood of purposes. It is used for teaching, reproof, correction, training, conviction, deliverance from temptation and evil, comfort, and more. But let me make a point to leave you with an impression of one of the many reasons to know the Scriptures:

We live in a world ruled by Satan.

He will take every chance he gets to destroy the credibility of our faith. Lucifer has managed to make people think that every Christian is a fool and ignorant because he doesn't know how to think. So, the times we live in require us to be able to know our faith and be able to defend it.

Scriptures testify to this fact when we are told that we must be ready to preach the word "in and out of season." (2 Tim. 4:2) In 1 Pet. 3:16, we are commanded to always be ready to defend the hope that we have. It is upon this verse that the entire idea of apologetics (a fancy word meaning "defense of the faith") is founded! So be ready, at any moment's notice, to be able to stand up for what you believe in thorough logic and reasonable thought. We do this by learning the Word of God.

Let's look at Timothy. Timothy is a character of the New Testament who was a disciple of Paul's. Paul wrote two entire books of the New Testament simply addressing this guy, and one of the things that he says to him is "Watch your life and doctrine closely." (1 Tim 4:16) Read that again. Did you miss the part where he put "life" and "doctrine" on the same level? Sounds pretty important, huh?

Often, words and phrases take on meanings that were never intended. For example, there is a trend in today's culture with the word "faith." It is often preceded by the words "blind" or "leap of." But let me say this - I would not follow anything with my heart which did not first make sense to me in my brain. There is a direct correlation between what I believe with my heart and what I know with my head. And it comes out of a result of knowing the Scriptures. Thoroughly.

To know what the Bible says allows me to be able to defend myself from the onslaught of seemingly intellectual arguments against my faith.

So know your doctrine, and guard it with your life.


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