En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘desire’

A Site For Single Dads & Moms Raising Daughters!

Posted by Scott on February 3, 2008

Growing in Grace-site for your daughters

 I wanted to let you know about a new online magazine for girls.  Growing in Grace is just getting off the ground and I think they are off to a great start.  I have included their own description of their ministry below.  I’m excited about this.  I think it is so important to not just teach our girls truth but to live it out daily and this group of moms are doing just that.  They are taking their passions & desires and sharing it with you and your daughters.  Their website is full of great articles geared towards women of all ages.  Go over to Growing in Grace & check them out!

 

From their site…

 Welcome to Growing in Grace Magazine! We are a mother-daughter ministry publication that desires to bring encouragement to relationships in the lives of women of all ages. Our most treasured and valued relationship is with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When we have our relationship with Him in it’s proper place, then all our other relationships can be blessed by Him. The Bible says that there is none righteous, no not one. Praise the Lord for His saving grace. He freely gives us His grace, knowing full well that we are not perfect. Our relationships will never be perfect, but as we are ‘Growing in Grace’ we will see His love and mercy abound as we strive to live in that grace.

2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (KJV)

www.LivingStones4Moms.com

-Scott Bailey 2008

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-From A Dad:After All the Punishment…God’s Mercy! Micah 7

Posted by Scott on January 2, 2008

 After all the punishment, the refinement, the sifting as wheat…our God desires to stop His wrath and heap upon us His mercy and grace to His elect, His chosen people, the remnant of exiles because of our failed humanity.  Micah 7 is a great conclusion for God’s people.

Whenever we find ourselves in the middle of such a sinful and wicked people, it is necessary to look to our Lord and wait on Him for relief, direction, and restful peace. 

In the events that surround our sinfulness, we must work through the punishing refinement that is necessary until the Lord in His gracious love subdues His wrath and begins to restore us, rebuild us, and expand the borders to which we are now confined.  During this refining period much like silver, all the impurities, the froth are burned away by an intense fire.  This fire brings us to .999% pure.  We will only be 100% pure at the time that our bodies are returned to our souls at the time of Christ second coming when we meet Him in the air. 

In the refining periods of our lives, the world watches with its sneering glow at how the God we claim to worship finishes His work in us.  This is the testimony that we lay hold of in our Lord. In Micah 7 we read the witness account of the world as it sinks to about the lowest point in its history at the time when even fathers and sons could not trust each other, because of the vile sinful wickedness that existed in that day.  In the midst of this time the world was watching to see if the God of Israel would spare His people.  At the height of His wrathful punishing restoration, the aroma of the Lord’s compassion fills the air like freshly blooming roses after a spring rain.  It is so strong that all people in existence in that area of the world could smell it.  His chosen people, the remnant, His elect were the recipients of this compassion.  The Lord’s tremendous unfailing love was blossoming again towards His people.  In amazement the others around witnessed this miraculous love and commented about this great testimony. 

The Lord promises His restful peace and prosperity to return to His people. 

          “I will do mighty miracles for you, like those I did when I

          rescued you from slavery in Egypt.”

This was a display for all that were watching this love affair between the Lord and His chosen people.  This was in order for God to be mightily glorified and honored in the day of His remnant’s restoration.  All the soulless arrogant people would be shown how insignificant they really are in the light of the larger providential plan of our sovereign Lord. 

In grand amazement the people could only wonder who this God was that put blinders on and pardon the sins of His people.  To their surprise the Israelite’s God did not remain angry for very long nor did He punish them completely for all their sins…His grace is always intervening shortly after His wrath has fallen when His people cry out to Him and call our Lord by name.  In a short period of time they realized all the events that took place was to rebuild His remnant and destroy those wicked proud sinful people who had taken Israel hostage.  They thought they could do as they pleased and get richer and richer off the backs of God’s people, but His wrath would soon fall upon them with no reprieve.  God can and will use people and events for His purposes, both the good and bad.  As this has played out, because God “delights in showing mercy”. 

We finish the story to find God, the almighty one, the sovereign Lord of us all with His arm open wide spreading His faithful and unfailing love out like a table cloth adorning a grand oak table with a feast fit for only the family of the King.  For those of us in the 21st century this promise of faithfulness and unfailing love remains.  This feast is still spread upon His table for us.  Our greatest need as believers is to turn back towards our holy and majestic God.  We will witness the most magnificent transformation in our lives as God pours out His fresh mercies, faithfulness, and unfailing love upon His chosen people.  The Lord wants us to move in the direction of holiness…a purified vessel ready for daily use by our awesome Creator.

 For You, O God, tested us, You refined us like silver.  You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.  You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance.”  -Psalm 66:10-12

For those of us that are a part of this remnant, His chosen people, we will be refined, purified, and stretched.  However, the promise of God is that our ultimate end is not destruction.  We need to hold onto what God has promised us even though everyone around us including voices in our heads may tell us differently.  Difficulties will come our way…this is a part of the suffering we as believers must endure.  Many times as we march forward as we sense God would have us do, things may get worse before they get better, just count on it.  God is doing a far greater work in us than we could ever imagine.  In just a short time, our sovereign Lord will bring us into that “place of abundance”, as He promises.

Just as the Lord promised Israel He would rebuild their cities and extend their borders, He intends to do the same with us.  Although we may be surrounded by pitch darkness, the Lord will be our light. 

Are we ready to be rebuilt by an awesome God?  Are we ready to have our borders extended beyond our sight?  In the quest for His holiness we will experience His righteousness soon.

-Scott Bailey © 2008

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Conversion to Christ: The Making of a Christian Hedonist!

Posted by Scott on October 20, 2007

Conversion to Christ: The Making of a Christian Hedonist


By John Piper September 18, 1983


Matthew 13:44-46

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. 

Last week we saw that the infinite and overflowing happiness of God is the foundation of Christian Hedonism. God is happy because he takes perfect pleasure in the excellence of his own glory, especially as it is reflected in his divine Son. God is happy because he is sovereign and therefore can overcome every obstacle to his joy. And God’s happiness is the foundation of Christian Hedonism because it spills over in mercy to us. When God calls men and women to himself, it is not out of a deficiency that he needs to fill but out of fullness that he loves to share. We concluded last week by saying that not everyone has an eternal share in God’s joy, because there is a condition that must be met. The condition is that we obey the command: Delight yourself in the Lord (Psalm 37:4). But many people take more delight in riches and revenge and recreation than they do in God. And so they have no share in God’s saving mercy; they are lost. What they need is conversion to Christ—which is nothing more than the making of a Christian Hedonist. That’s what I want to talk about this morning.

Someone may ask, “If our aim is conversion, why can’t we just say, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved’? Why bring in this new terminology of Christian Hedonism?” It’s a good question. Here’s my answer. We live in a superficially Christianized society where thousands of lost people think they do believe in Jesus. In most of my witnessing to unbelievers and nominal Christians, the command, “Believe in Jesus and you shall be saved,” is virtually meaningless. Drunks on the street say they do. Unmarried couples sleeping together say they do. Elderly people who haven’t sought worship or fellowship for forty years say they do. Every stripe of world-loving church attendees say they do. My responsibility as a preacher of the gospel and a teacher of the church is not just to repeat precious biblical sentences, but to speak the truth of those sentences in a way that will prick the conscience of the hearer and help you feel your need for Christ. What I am trying to do is take a neglected and essential teaching of Scripture and make it as pointed as I can in the hope that some hearts will be stabbed broad awake. And therefore I say, when a person is converted to Jesus Christ, that person is made into a Christian Hedonist. Unless a man be born again into a Christian Hedonist, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That’s what I want to try to show from Scripture.

Created by God

Before we can focus on conversion, we need to review the great truths about reality that make conversion necessary. The first truth we have to face as human beings is that God is our Creator to whom we owe heartfelt gratitude for all we have. The best evidence for this is in your own heart and life. Why is it that the judicial sentiment of your own heart automatically passes judgment on a person who snubs you when you have done him a favor? We automatically hold a person guilty who fails to have any gratitude to someone who has shown him great kindness. Why? You know it would be a totally unsatisfying answer to say: I feel that way merely because I got spanked as a child for not saying thank you. We don’t let people off the hook that easily. The quickness with which our hearts judge inconsiderate people bears witness to our true belief: ingrates are guilty!

The real reason for why our hearts respond this way is that we are created in God’s image. Your judicial sentiment, which automatically holds me guilty if I ignore you after you’ve saved my child from drowning, is the voice of God in you. An aspect of the image of God in you is that you involuntarily hold people accountable for ingratitude. Therefore, you know in your heart that there is a God to whom we owe heartfelt gratitude. It would be utterly hypocritical to think that God expects any less gratitude for his gifts than you do for yours. “O, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endures forever” (Psalm 107:1). Therefore, if you will simply own up to the moral standards which you automatically make on your neighbor, you will not be able to escape the fact that the law of God is written on your heart and it says: a creature owes his Creator the affection of gratitude in proportion to his dependence and God’s goodness.

Falling Short in Sin

And that leads to the second great truth which human beings must face: we have not felt, nor do we now, nor will we feel tomorrow the depth and intensity and consistency of gratitude to God which we owe him as our Creator. And we do not even need the Bible to tell us that we are guilty. We know that we have not rendered to God what we demand for ourselves from our neighbor. We know that the judicial sentiment in our heart which holds other people guilty for ingratitude, also bears vivid witness that God holds us guilty for our astonishing ingratitude to him. And if we suppress this witness in our own hearts, the Scriptures make it plain, Romans 1:18–21:

The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth . . . For although they knew God they did not glorify him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.

When every human being stands before God to give an account of his life, God will not have to use one sentence of Scripture to show people their guilt and fitness for condemnation. He will simply ask them three questions: 1) Was it not clear enough in nature that everything you had was a gift, that as my creature you were dependent on me for life and breath and everything? 2) Did not the judicial sentiment in your own heart always hold other people guilty when they lacked the gratitude they should have had in response to a great kindness? 3) Has your life been filled with the joy of gratitude toward me in proportion to my kindness to you? The case is closed.

Under God’s Wrath

And so the third great truth we have to face is that the wrath of God is upon us because of our ingratitude. Our own judicial sentiment requires that the moral accounts of the universe be settled. We do not allow indignities against our own character to be swept under the rug. How much less God! The righteousness of God means that he must uphold the worth of his glory. When we, by our ingratitude, belittle the worth of God’s glory, the accounts of justice must be settled. A man is worth more than a cat. And therefore you can go to jail for defaming a man’s character, but nobody has ever been convicted of libel against a cat. And God is worth more than a man—infinitely more—and therefore the defamation of his character through manifold marks of our ingratitude brings down a sentence of eternal destruction. The wages of sin is (eternal) death (Romans 6:23).

Christ: The Wrath-Absorber

The most terrifying news in the world is that we have fallen under the condemnation of our Creator and that he is bound by his own righteous character to preserve the worth of his glory by pouring out his wrath on the sin of our ingratitude. But there is a fourth great truth that no one can ever learn from nature or from their own consciences, a truth which has to be told to neighbors and preached in churches and carried by missionaries: namely, the good news that God has decreed a way to satisfy the demands of his righteousness without condemning the whole human race. He has taken it upon himself apart from any merit in us to accomplish our salvation. The wisdom of God has ordained a way for the love of God to deliver us from the wrath of God without compromising the righteousness of God. And what is this wisdom?

We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:23, 24)

Jesus Christ, the Son of God crucified, is the Wisdom of God, by which the love of God can save sinners from the wrath of God, and all the while uphold and demonstrate the righteousness of God.

Romans 3:25, 26,

God put Christ forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over our former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.

How can God exonerate sinners who have been ungrateful for his glory and yet demonstrate his righteous and unswerving commitment to his glory? Answer:

God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh. (Romans 8:3)

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree. (1 Peter 2:24)

Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. (1 Peter 3:18)

If the most terrifying news in the world is that we have fallen under the judicial condemnation of our Creator and that he is bound by his own righteous character to preserve the worth of his glory by pouring out his wrath on the sin of our ingratitude, then the best news in all the world (the gospel!) is that God was willing to sentence his own Son in our place (Galatians 3:13) and thus demonstrate his righteous allegiance to his own glory and still save sinners like you and me!

What Must I Do to Be Saved?

But not all sinners. Everybody is not saved from God’s wrath just because Christ died for sinners. And this is the fifth great truth we need to hear: there is a condition you have to meet in order to be saved. And I want to try to show as my last point that becoming a Christian Hedonist is an essential part of that condition.

“What must I do to be saved?” is probably the most important question any human can ask. Let’s look for a moment at the different ways God answers that question in his Word. The answer in Acts 16:31 is “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” The answer in John 1:12 is that we must receive Christ: “To all who received him . . . he gave power to become children of God.” The answer in Acts 3:19 is, Repent! That is, turn away from sin. “Repent therefore, and turn again that your sins may be blotted out.” The answer in Hebrews 5:9 is obedience to Christ. “Jesus became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” Jesus himself answered the question in a variety of ways. For example, he said in Matthew 18:3 that childlikeness is the condition for salvation:

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

In Mark 8:34, 35 the condition is self-denial, the willingness to lose your earthly life for Christ:

If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.

In Matthew 10:37 Jesus says the condition is loving him more than anyone else:

He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (See 1 Corinthians 16:22; 2 Timothy 4:8.)

And in Luke 14:33 the condition for salvation is that we be free from the love of our possessions: “Whoever does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”

These are some of the conditions that the New Testament says we must meet in order to benefit from the death of Christ and be saved. We must believe on him, receive him, turn from our sin, obey him, humble ourselves like little children, and love him more than we love our family, our possessions, or our own life. This is what it means to be converted to Christ. And this alone is the way of life everlasting.

One Condition for Salvation

But what is it that holds all these conditions together? What unites them? What one thing impels a person to do them? I think the answer is given in the little parable of Matthew 13:44:

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then from his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

This parable describes how a person is converted and brought into the kingdom of heaven. He discovers a treasure and is impelled by joy to sell all he has in order to have this treasure. You are converted to Christ when Christ becomes for you a treasure chest of holy joy. The new birth of this holy affection is the common root of all the conditions of salvation. We are born again—converted—when Christ becomes a treasure in whom we find so much delight that trusting him, obeying him, and turning from all that belittles him becomes our normal habit.

Someone may say against Christian Hedonism: “It is possible to make a decision for Christ without the incentive of joy.” I doubt that very much. But the issue this morning is not: “Can you make a decision for Christ without the incentive of joy?” Rather, the issue is: “Should you?” Would it do you any good if you could? Is there any evidence in Scripture that God will accept people who come to him out of any other motive than the desire for joy in him? Someone will say, “Our aim in life should be to please God and not ourselves.” But what pleases God? Hebrews 11:6:

Without faith it is impossible to please God. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

You cannot please God unless you come to him in search of reward.

What did Jesus say to Peter when Peter focused on his sacrificial self-denial and said, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you” (Matthew 19:27)? Jesus saw the seeds of pride: “We have made the heroic decision to sacrifice for Jesus.” And how did he banish that pride out of Peter’s heart? He said:

There is no one who has left anything for my sake who will not receive a hundredfold . . . now, and in the age to come, eternal life.

Peter if you don’t come to me because I am a greater treasure than all those things you have left, then you don’t come to me at all. You are still in love with your own self-sufficiency. You have not become like a little child basking in the beneficence of his Father. It is pride that wants to be anything more than a little baby branch sucking righteousness, peace, and joy from Christ the vine. The condition of salvation is that you come to Christ in search of reward and that you find in him a treasure chest of holy joy.

To sum up: There are five great truths every human needs to own up to. First, God is our Creator to whom we owe heartfelt gratitude for all we have. Second, none of us feels the depth and intensity and consistency of gratitude which we owe our Creator. Third, we are, therefore, under the condemnation of God’s righteousness. Our own judicial sentiment shows us we are guilty. Fourth, in the death of Jesus Christ for our sins God has made a way to satisfy the demands of his righteousness and yet accomplish salvation for his people. Finally, the condition we must meet to benefit from this great salvation is that we be converted to Christ—and conversion to Christ is what happens when Christ becomes for you a treasure chest of holy joy. Every biblical invitation of the gospel is rooted in the promise of lavish treasure. Christ himself is ample recompense for every sacrifice. The invitation of the gospel is unmistakably hedonistic:

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to me and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear that your soul may live. (Isaiah 55:1–3)


© Desiring God

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

-Scott Bailey 2007

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Kindling for Christian Hedonism by John Piper!

Posted by Scott on October 20, 2007


By John Piper October 30, 1983


Psalm 19:7-11

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

Christian Hedonism is very much aware that every day with Jesus is not “sweeter than the day before.” Some days with Jesus our disposition is as sour as raw persimmons. Some days with Jesus we are so sad we feel our heart will break open. Some days with Jesus fear turns us into a knot of nerve ends. Some days with Jesus we are so depressed and discouraged that between the garage and the house we just want to sit down on the grass and cry. Every day with Jesus is not sweeter than the day before. We know it from experience and we know it from Scripture. For the text says (Psalm 19:7), “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” If every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before, we wouldn’t need to be revived.

The Bible Kindles Joy

The reason David praised God with the words, “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul,” is because he had bad days. There were days when his soul needed to be restored. It’s the same phrase used in Psalm 19:7—”the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” Normal Christian life is a repeated process of restoration and renewal. Our joy is not static. It fluctuates with real life. It is as vulnerable to Satan’s attacks as a Lebanese marine compound to a suicide bomber. When Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:24, “Not that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy,” we should emphasize it this way: “We are workers with you for your joy.” The preservation of our joy in God takes work. It is a fight. Our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, and he has an insatiable appetite to destroy one thing: the joy of faith. But the Holy Spirit has given us a shield called faith and a sword called the Word of God and a power called prayer to defend and extend our joy. Or, to change the image, when Satan huffs and puffs and tries to blow out the flame of your joy, you have an endless supply of kindling in the Word of God. And even though there are days when we feel that every cinder in our soul is cold, yet if we crawl to the Word of God and cry out for ears to hear, the cold ashes will be lifted and the tiny spark of life will be fanned, because, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” The Bible is the kindling of Christian Hedonism.

My aim this morning is to motivate you to wear the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and to wield it for the preservation of your joy in God. There are three steps we need to climb together. First, we need to know why we accept the Bible as the word of God. Almost everybody in the world would agree that if the one and true God has spoken, then there will be no lasting happiness for people who ignore his word. But very few people really believe that the Bible is the word of the living God. Nor should they believe it without sufficient reasons. Second, we need to see some encouraging examples of how the Bible kindles and preserves our joy. Finally, we need to hear a practical challenge to renew our daily meditation in the Word of God, and to bind that sword so close around our waist that we are never without it.

Jesus—The Foundation for Confidence in the Bible

1) In the limitations of time that we have, perhaps the best way to take the first step is for me to commend to you why I accept the Bible as the word of God. The foundation of my confidence is Jesus Christ. You don’t need to believe first that the Bible is infallible in order to know that it presents you with a historical person of incomparable qualities. The possibility that the historical Jesus was a con artist or a lunatic is to me so remote that I am drawn to confess that he is true. His claims are not the propaganda of a deceiver or the presumption of a schizophrenic. He speaks with authority, forgives sin, heals the sick, casts out demons, penetrates the hearts of his opponents, loves his enemies, dies for sinners, and leaves behind an empty grave, not because he pulled the wool over the eyes of the world but because he is the ever-living Son of God who came to save the world. He has won my trust through his words and deeds.

From Jesus I move backward to the Old Testament and forward to the New Testament. All four gospels present different evidence that Jesus considered the Old Testament to be the word of God. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says he came not to abolish but to fulfill the law and the prophets, and in Matthew 22:29 he says that the Sadducees err because they don’t know the Scriptures. In Mark 7:8–9 Jesus contrasts man-made traditions with the commandment of God in the Old Testament. In Luke 24:44 he tells the disciples that everything written about him in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled. And in John 10:35 he said simply, “Scripture cannot be broken.” Therefore, I read the Old Testament as the word of God because Jesus did.

Six Observations on the New Testament as God’s Word

But Jesus did not stay on earth to endorse the New Testament. My confidence in the New Testament as God’s word rests on a group of observations which taken together provide a reasonable ground of confidence.

1) Jesus chose twelve apostles to be his authoritative representatives in founding the church. He promised them at the end of his life, “The Holy Spirit . . . will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said” (John 14:26; 16:13). 2) Then the apostle Paul, whose stunning conversion from a life of murdering Christians to making Christians demands some special explanation, explains that he (and the other apostles) have been commissioned by the risen Christ to preach “in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:13). Christ’s prediction is being fulfilled through this inspiration. 3) Peter confirms this in 2 Peter 3:16 by putting Paul’s writings in the same category with the inspired (2 Peter 1:21) Old Testament writings. 4) All the New Testament writings come from those earliest days of promised special revelation and were written by the apostles and their close associates. 5) The message of these books has the ring of truth because it makes sense out of so much reality. The message of God’s holiness and our guilt on the one hand, and Christ’s death and resurrection as our only hope on the other hand—that message fits the reality we see and the hope we long for and don’t see. 6) Finally, as the Baptist Catechism says, “The Bible evidences itself to be God’s word by . . . its power to convert sinners and edify saints.”

For these reasons, when I read the Old and New Testaments, I read them as the word of God. God is not silent in my life. He is uncomfortably vocal and precise about all kinds of things. I count it as a singular act of grace on his part that he has appointed for me that my life work is to understand his word and teach his church. When the Bible speaks, God speaks. Which means that the things said about the word of God in the Bible apply to the Bible. And I have been simply overwhelmed in preparing for this message by how much the Bible has to say about the value of the word of God. What a treasure we have in the very words of God! “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10).

The Word of God Is Your Life

2) That leads us to the second step this morning, namely, some examples of how the Bible has so much value for us. Why is a life of meditation on Holy Scripture a life of joy? Most of the specifics I want to give you may soon be forgotten, but I hope the total impact of the Bible’s value will make you want to read it more regularly, more deeply, and more joyfully. Consider these benefits.

In Deuteronomy 32:46–47 Moses says, “Lay to heart all the words which I enjoin upon you this day, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no trifle for you, but it is your life.” The Bible is not a trifle; it is a matter of life and death. If you treat the Word of God as a trifle, you forfeit life. Our physical life depends on God’s Word because by his word we were created (Psalm 33:9; Hebrews 11:3), and “he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). Our spiritual life begins by the Word of God: James 1:18, “By his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth.” “You have been born anew . . . through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). And not only do we begin to live by God’s Word, we go on living by God’s Word: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). Our physical life is created and upheld by the word of God, and our personal-spiritual life is born anew and lived by the word of God. Therefore, the Bible is “no trifle for you, it is your life!”

The Word of God Begets Faith and Hope

The Word of Christ begets and sustains life because it begets and sustains faith. “These things are written,” John says, “that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). “Faith comes by hearing,” writes the apostle Paul, “and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). The faith that starts our life in Christ and the faith by which we go on living come from hearing the Word of God. If faith is of eternal importance for your daily life, so is the Bible.

Sometimes faith and hope are virtually synonyms in Scripture. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1). Without this hope for the future we get discouraged and depressed and our joy drains away. Hope is absolutely essential to Christian joy (Romans 15:13). And how do we maintain hope? The psalmist puts it like this (78:5–7), “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children . . . so that they might set their hope in God.” Paul puts it so plainly: “Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by the steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). The whole Bible has this aim and this power: to create hope in the hearts of God’s people.

The Word of God Sets Free and Provides Wisdom

Another essential element of life is freedom. None of us would be happy if we were not free from what we hate and free for what we love. And where do we find true freedom? Psalm 119:45 says, “I shall walk in freedom, for I sought thy precepts.” And Jesus says, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). And lest we miss the point, he says later in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.” The word of God is divine truth that frees us from deception. It breaks the power of counterfeit pleasures, and keeps us free from stumbling into the stupidity of sin. “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). “I have laid up thy word in my heart that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11; cf. v. 9). The promises of God are the liberating, guiding power of godliness: “Through his precious and very great promises you escape from the corruption that is in the world . . . and become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4; cf. John 15:3). Freedom, guidance, likeness to God—all these come to us as we meditate upon and trust the Word of God, the Bible.

Of course, the Bible does not answer every question about life. Every fork in the road does not have a biblical arrow. We have need of wisdom in ourselves. But that, too, is a gift of Scripture. As the text says, “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple . . . the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:7–8; cf. 119:98). People whose minds are saturated with God’s Word and submissive to his thoughts have a wisdom that eternity will prove to be superior to all the secular wisdom in the world.

The Word of God Restores and Comforts

Nevertheless, our bent will and imperfect perceptions lead us time and again into foolish acts and harmful situations. That day is not sweeter than the day before, and we need restoration and comfort. Where can we turn for comfort? We can follow the psalmist again: “This is my comfort in my affliction, that thy promise gives me life . . . When I think of thy ordinances from of old, I take comfort, O Lord” (Psalm 119:50, 52). And when our failures and our afflictions threaten our assurance of faith, where do we turn to rebuild our confidence? John invites us to turn to the Word of God: “I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). The Bible is written to give us assurance of eternal life.

Satan’s number one objective is to destroy your joy of faith. You have one offensive weapon: the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). But what many Christians fail to realize is that you can’t draw the sword from someone else’s scabbard. If you don’t wear it, if the Word of God does not abide in you (John 15:7), you will reach for it in vain. If you don’t wear it, you can’t wield it. But if you do, what a mighty warrior you will be! “I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (1 John 2:14).

Devote Yourselves to the Word of God

3) So the Bible is the Word of God, and the Word of God is no trifle. It is the source of life and faith and hope and freedom and guidance and wisdom and comfort and assurance and victory over our greatest enemy. Is it any wonder, then, that those who knew best said, “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:8)? “I will delight in thy statutes, I will not forget thy word” (Psalm 119:16). “Oh, how I love thy law, it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). “Thy testimonies are my heritage for ever, yea, they are the joy of my heart” (Psalm 119:111). “Thy words were found, and I ate them, and thy words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by thy name” (Jeremiah 15:16). But are we to pursue this joy like Christian Hedonists? Are we to throw the kindling of God’s Word on the fire of joy? Are we to pursue our holy pleasure by meditating on the Word of Christ? Indeed, we are. For the Lord himself has said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and your joy may be full” (John 15:11).

On this Reformation Sunday I beseech you not to let the blood of the martyrs be spilled in vain. Don’t let the labors of Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin, and Zwingli be spent out in vain. God raised them up to free the Holy Scriptures for us. We despise God and insult his saints if we treat the Bible as a trifle in our lives. Martin Luther knew as well as any man who ever lived that every day with Jesus is not sweeter than the day before. And according to Roland Bainton, he wrote these words in the year of his deepest depression:

And though this world with devils filled
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God has willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for him—
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure:
One little word shall fell him.


© Desiring God

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

-Scott Bailey 2007

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