Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Vision (5.22.14): How is the Word to be read and heard?

Image:  Scene from May 17th CRBC Church Family Fellowship hosted by the G. Family.

Here are abbreviated notes from last Sunday afternoon’s message in the Spurgeon’s Baptist Catechism series:

Q 73:  How is the Word to be read and heard that it may become effectual to salvation?

A:  That the Word may become effectual to salvation we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer, receive it with faith, and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.

Here are the catechism’ seven admonitions, along with its seven prooftexts:

1.  With diligence:

Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

Are we diligent in daily reading of the Scriptures?  In at least weekly, Lord’s Day by Lord’s Day, attendance upon hearing the Word of God (cf. Heb 10:25)?

Are we as diligent in hearing the Word as we are in caring for our physical bodies?  Would you go days and weeks without eating, bathing, grooming?  Then why go the same length of time without Bible intake?

Are we as diligent in keeping a commitment to hearing the word as we are to our jobs or other commitments (schools, family, etc.)?

2.  With preparation:

1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Are we aware that it takes spiritual preparation to hear the Word?  Perhaps we do not sometimes “get something” out of reading Scripture or hearing sermons because our hearts are distracted.

3.  With prayer:

Psalm 119:18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

Might it be helpful to begin your reading of the Bible with a prayer for illumination?

4.  Receive it with faith:

Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

Note the contrast here between those who are profited by the word and those for whom it does not give profit.  Our hearing must be mixed with faith.  If we are always just spectators or evaluators, we will not get the full benefit of the word.  We must say “I believe, help thou my unbelief.”

5.  Receive it with love:

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

It is possible to know the truth and to outwardly obey the truth but not to love the truth.  Just as there are children who might be outwardly obedient to parents but who rebel when they gain their independence, so it is not enough just to know the truth or to merely obey the truth outwardly, but we must love it.

6.  Lay it up in our hearts:

Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

There is the reading of the word; there is the hearing of the word; and there is the hiding of the word in our hearts.  Have you memorized the word of God?  Do you know more lyrics of secular songs or the dialogue or secular movies or even uninspired Christian songs and movies than you do the word of God?  Which will be of more profit for you?  And how might memorized Scripture be used as resources for your personal Christian life and for your ministry?

7.  Practice it in our lives:

James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

We are not only to know the truth, but we are to practice it.  The Bible is not to be a museum piece to be observed, but its teachings are to be put into living practice.

Love your enemies… Do unto others as you would have them do unto you… Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the love of Christ… Flee fornication… Practice hospitality…. Keep yourselves from idols… Love God and love your neighbor as yourself…

May God helps us through Christ faithfully to read and hear his Word.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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