Sunday, September 30, 2012
Standing for God in this Generation
There's this proverb that says that experience is a comb which nature gives us when we are bald. You may never live long enough to be bald, specially ladies. For this reason, I'd like to just jot here a few key lessons I learnt from the sermon. May God bless his servant Pr. Makhanu for this message.
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" 2 Timothy 2:15
Theme: Are we standing for God in this generation?
Standing= devoted, settled, established by some law. As used here, a continuance in God's word.
(1) Standing for God. This statement begs for question marks. Why stand when we can assume a more comfy position? Can't we just sit, squat? Can't we sleep? Sadly, we are not in the business of relaxing. What is the link between what we believe, profess and do? In response to these thoughts, you'll realize that other attitudes portray contentment or worse, slothfulness. Saved for those that are disinclined to work. Revisit our text today, what characterizes workmen?
(2) More often than not, we treat God the way we treat His word. For this, being His expressed will to all mankind, is simply Him in letter.
(3) The word "study" in the text is a command, not a suggestion. It is a directive to be diligent. It is a charge to conduct a meticulous research. The Scripture is a gold mine. This, then, is a mandate to mine the gold, his precious stones hid therein. And, this must be done with extreme care in treatment of details. It doesn't say "read". For this can be like hearing without listening.
(4) Why study? A persistent zeal for study and the application of the lessons learnt will be appreciated in times of testing. At such times, we shall not be found wanting but standing. Standing firmly on the promises of His Word.
(5) Nothing good comes out of a life dwelt away from God and His word. It's fruit is shame. Gladly, there is an antidote. Paul prescribes it in the right dosage this way, "study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
(6) Why rightly? The study must be done with precision. In the school of Christ everything must be done straight, in fact much more than an engineers precision. Remember, He did it once "in the beginning" and it was perfect. Christ exhorts us elsewhere "be ye perfect as your father in heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48) He didn't say try to be perfect etc. The Master accepts no zero errors for He's done the zeroing of His instruments. (2 Tim. 3:16) Accordingly, those who handle the Word must never waver; not in the spirit nor in the letter of the Holy Writ.
(7) "The fact that you can quote the Scriptures cannot make you biblical." I mean Satan did it. Yet without him we could not have known sin. Wearing biblical costumes only is not enough. It could be a masquarade costume! As the word commands "So speak ye, so do" (James 2:12), the student of the word quotes and applies those quotes in her life. She quotes the word in context of the larger word. And note; she never blows verses out of proportion to suit their situation and audience. What if the only verse you ever read in your whole life was Genesis 4:8?
(8) Stand approved unto God? Though expressed in human tongues, it is not for personal interpretation. We're being approved unto God and not man. It goes therefore without saying, that the word itself must be allowed to interprete itself. "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little"(Isa. 28:10, 13). God has preserved the little details. He'd done the zeroing, remember! This word remains to be the test of faith.
(9) The diligent student of the Bible cannot help being transformed by it. It is the one that brought life out of nothing at the creation and brought existence to dead Lazarus. It removes all foolishness bound in the heart. This is the rod we were warned never to spare. The wise man who ever lived sums this up like this, "train a child in the way he should go and he'll never depart from it."
(10) The word was penned by 40 different authors, but one Writer. Men from all nations, all continents and varied professions played a part. But it was the King of Kings, the Lord of all nations that did speak. Essentially, God merely used various publishers over a period of over 1500 years to compile the greatest Encyclopedia of all time!
(11) This word of truth compares itself to a mirror, looking glass (Jam. 1:23). The closer you hold the mirror to your face, the more clearly and sorrowfully you notice that erupting acne on your nose. You take it a distance away, you may only notice the wide smile on that face, and conclude that all is well. Let's hold the word of truth closer!
(12) This word is compared with water. It cleanses the thoughts and soothes the weary.
(13) It is a fire. (Jer. 20:9) It makes us malleable. It sets us ready for panel-beating.
(14) The word of His holiness is a hammer (Jer. 23;9). It has done the heating, now it panel-beats us to the right shape. The road is narrow and the gates strait. We must be able to fit. It transforms us.
(15) It is the living word (Heb. 4:12). It quickens. It gives life. And this life is imperishable (1 Pet. 1:23), lasting as eternity.
(16) The word is a lamp, and a light (Ps. 119:105). A lamp by day, a light by night, that the workman might not stumble over a stone by day or slip into a ditch or sewer by night.
(17) The 5 C's of interpreting the scriptures:
~We must all strive to live by the dictates of of the word of truth.
~We must all "dig a little deeper" into His word.
~We must allow God be God and let Him make the necessary changes in us, that we may be better candidates for heaven.
~Since this Book is meant to be a discerner or critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart, let the Book criticise us (Heb. 4:12).
~And lastly, if you think you are still standing, what are you standing on? Therefore, "let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:13).
Mwenyezi Mungu akubariki!