Thursday, January 23, 2014

It is "Spiritual Exercise" (How the Bible Helps Me Grow)

We officially continued our new series this past Sunday "40 Days in the Word" with part 2" How does the Bible Change Me? You can listen to the podcast at or you can download it from iTunes  

We talked about how the Bible Transforms us. The Bible isn't like other books because the Bible is God's Word. It is alive and has power to change lives. We talked about how the Bible recreates our lives. You'll want to check out the link above. The past 2 blogs we talked about how God's Word helps get rid of our guilt and how the Bible builds our faith. Let's look at part 4...

The fourth thing the Bible can do in your life is it stimulates my growth.

The Bible stimulates our spiritual growth. I always compare reading the Bible to working out and exercising. Many people are probably made that one of their New Year resolutions. When you exercise, you don’t see instant results. You often feel sore so you know something is happening but you don’t see larger muscles or less fat right away. However, over time, as you faithful exercise, you become stronger and more fit. The investment into your health begins to compound and there is change.

In Acts 20 Paul says to the people in the city of Ephesus, “I commit you to God and to the Word of his grace, [He says, I’ve got to leave, I’m getting ready to leave, he’s never going to see these people again.  As he’s leaving the Ephesians he says to them, I’m going to commit you to God and to the Word of his grace] which can build you up [Circle that.  That’s stimulating my growth.  The Word can build you up.]  and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

What does that mean: “Give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified?”

You know what an inheritance is.  An inheritance is what you get for being part of a family that’s rightfully yours. 

Let’s say Mike Illitch was your father and he writes a will and he dies.  What if you never, ever took the time to read the will?  The only word that would describe that would be ridiculous.  Because you would not be getting in on what was rightfully yours.  You would not be benefiting from that which belonged to you as a child of Mike Illitch.  You would not be able to enjoy the blessings of the Illitch family because you don’t even know about it.

When you cross the line into a relationship with Jesus, when you put your life in Christ’s hand, when you trust him for salvation, you’re not just a believer.  You’re a belonger.  You become a part of God’s family.  Now you get family privileges.  There are family responsibilities and there are family privileges.  You, the Bible says, have an inheritance, a spiritual inheritance, that you’re going to gain from God.  Not just here on earth but eternally in heaven.  And by the way, God’s richer than Mike Illitch in every area.

What if you go through your entire life not knowing the power, the opportunities, the blessings, the benefits that are available to you as a child of God?  You never even took the time to know what they were. That would be ridiculous.  Because God says I want to stimulate your growth and give you the inheritance that you have as my child, that which rightly belongs to you.

Let me show you another verse.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 we looked at this verse last week.  “All Scripture is God-breathed, [theopneustos.]  and is useful for [notice it says four things, useful for…] teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that [that’s called a hina clause in Greek, here’s one of the main purposes of the Bible] so that the man [or woman] of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 

One of the main purposes of the Bible is to help you live out the purpose God has for your life. That you will be thoroughly equipped, that you will have all you need, you’ll be fully prepared, you’re ready to face life and you’re not ill-equipped.  You’ve got everything you need to take on life.  And he says the way God gets you ready for life, the way God gets you ready for his purpose is through the Bible.  And the Bible does four things.  He says it’s for teaching and rebuking and correcting and training.

Let me explain that in a little different way.  Teaching is God shows me the path to walk on.  That’s teaching. Rebuking is when God shows me how I got off the path, and I’m now in the ditch. That’s called rebuking. Correcting is how I get back on the path, the right path for life, for my life. And training is how I stay on the path and don’t fall off in the ditch again.

That’s what those four things are.  That’s the way the Word of God helps me grow.  As I faithfully read, study, think about and memorize God’s Word, your faith and relationship with God will grow stronger, stronger and stronger. Then all of a sudden you will look back and think to yourself, “Wow, I’ve really changed. I haven’t realized or noticed that this area of my life is completely different. I am stronger now.” That is the power of God’s Word.

Adapted from thoughts from Rick Warren and the 40 Days in the Word Campaign

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