In this sermon, Pastor Babij continues teaching on the purpose of the church and the high priority of correct doctrine. Pastor Babij stresses the need for Christians to know and practice the doctrine of the apostles that was delivered to them by God Himself. Pastor Babij details how true Christians love to learn and do the Word of God and to gather together with other brethren. Pastor Babij closes by admonishing believers to check their lives and confess any lack of desire for the Word of God in order to be healed and renewed.
Let’s open our Bibles and turn to Acts 2 again. Today we are laying the foundation of getting to the four-fold purpose of the church. We’re heading there next. If you notice, I’ll be looking at one part of a Scripture passage today but also we’ll be in Romans and 1 Peter. Acts 2:42 says:
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching.
Let’s pray. God, we are so thankful to have Your Word in our hands. When You started the church and poured out Your Spirit on it, after You ascended into Heaven something new happened. People began to receive the Word of God and the Holy Spirit and people’s outlook on life, eternity, God and salvation all changed. They became convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment. You brought them to see their need of Jesus Christ, even to those who rejected Him. So I pray that as we look at this passage and consider it this morning, that we would take seriously what You say in Your Word about doctrine. And I pray that as we begin to look at it, we would understand and appreciate it more than ever. And I pray this in Christ’s Name, Amen.
So from last week to this week, we have been looking at what it means to be a Christian, what it means to live the Christian life after initial conversion. To be a Christian means that a person becomes new and undergoes a complete change in thinking, action, and direction. With this change, people are also moved from what they had been to what they are now. They now are joined to the church and now are constantly found together with all who have believed in the same message about Jesus Christ.
Now this was very unusual, especially when we look at the first chapter of Acts where we have all these different people groups. They would never have gotten together for anything, let alone studying the Word of God. Simply put these first Christians had become a gathering together type of people and that’s what Christians actually become as all other true Christians have done since then. So the real first indication of new divine life is the drawing together of God’s people who have this life in common with them. In Jude 1:3 says this:
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
That word “common” is the Greek word koine, which means “a common language.” This was the commonly spoken and written Greek language in the Near East in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. In other words if people wanted to do their business, they would speak in the common market language or dialect so that everyone understood. That’s exactly what the New Testament was written in. Today the Bible is translated into other languages so that people can understand it.
Likewise, Christians have a common faith which was for all handed down to the saints. In other words, this is the Apostles’ doctrine, which all real Christians can hold and use to measure what they believe. These newfound believers don’t go back to their old religious systems to try and fix them. They leave it all behind and instead gather with God’s true children and follow Jesus and His teachings. These are not people who occasionally go to church or who go because they have no better thing to do. They don’t go to church because it’s a social custom, which is the case sometimes in the United States.
We don’t see among these first believers a reluctant assembly to Sunday morning worship where they hope and pray that the sermon will not be too long. You will not find that attitude among these new believers. This is the attitude we all need to have, all the time. Sometimes we get stale and stagnant, so there is a priority that this first church had. They were to be devoted to the Apostles’ teaching or doctrine.
Now doctrine and teaching are used not to distinguish from understanding, knowledge, wisdom, prudence, since these belong to every systematic body of knowledge and they characterize theology above all. Rather, the word “doctrine” is used to signify that theology is a body of knowledge that does not originate in nature or human investigation as other disciplines do. It originates in divine revelation and authorization. That’s always been the case in Scripture.
We go back to Isaiah 51 and we find Isaiah saying this in verse 4:
For a law will go forth from Me, and I will set My justice for a light of the peoples.
God is saying that the teaching shall come down from Heaven to earth; it doesn’t originate on earth. Even when we come to the New Testament, we find in other places like in Galatians 1:11, where it says:
The gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
We did not receive it from man, nor was it taught by man. Rather, it came from Heaven to earth through revelation. Even when Peter gave that great pronouncement in Matthew 16:16, when he says:
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus responds in verse 17 by saying:
And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
It didn’t originate from man, but from Heaven to man. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:3 this:
The doctrine conforming to godliness.
In other words, the teaching that comes from Heaven to us now in Scripture should lead us not only to salvation in Jesus Christ but also to godliness. False teachers cannot lead us to holiness or godliness. Only God’s Word can lead there. So at this particular point, we find here that we have already seen that real Christians experience a change in position, from not being a believer to becoming one. Then they have new priorities that they never had before. But there is a third thing in Acts 2:42 that I will stress this morning. They were continually devoting themselves to the Apostles’ teaching.
In other words, the third characteristic common among the experience of Christians all the time and everywhere, is that there will be a change that takes place in their desire. They will be devoting themselves to something and must have a desire to do so. It was the Apostles’ doctrine, the doctrine of Christ and God’s salvation, that just delivered them from the false teaching of their day, their blindness and deception. Now they desired something they never desired before. The Psalmist grew to love God’s Word and it said that he began to desire it. It says in Psalm 119:97:
O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
If you just consider that for a moment, it is an exclamation of wonder. In this passage of Scripture, it is a simple Hebrew word that means, “the human love or appetite that an individual has for God’s law, for revelation that comes from God to man.” Of course this is in the Torah, which is the divine teaching that is from God. The Word of God points to the didactic or the teaching nature of Scripture. God dispenses true doctrine to humanity concerning at least four areas of life: what we should believe, what kind of character we should cultivate, how we ought to live, and the direction a believer’s life should actually take.
We reconsider where we are going, what we are supposed to be doing, thinking, and the difference between what we were doing and what we are doing now as a believer. So the real child of God loves the Word of God. They live in it as if he or she could not live without it, and views it as spiritual food and medicine to their soul. The prophet Jeremiah wrote this in Jeremiah 15:16:
Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.
You see this delight and joy and love for God’s revelation coming out of people that have life that comes from God. Theology is the doctrine of being alive to God, that’s what it is all about. We were dead to God before, but now we are alive to Him so that now when He speaks, we are listening. We should want to hear what God says, there is nothing more important to hear than what He says about things. He tells us the truth, just the way things are. When we hear that truth, truth has a way of ringing in our ears that we cannot argue with.
An unreconciled sinner has no love for God’s law or Word. They do not think of it and when they are confronted with God’s design, the unsaved will hear it only as a condemnation of their sin but they never stay long enough unless God works on them. They never say that this conviction is the first step that moves them towards the Lord and salvation. When we see ourselves just the way we truly are, that is when we see our need of God.
So if a person truly loves something, they will spend time with it. If you love the Word of God, you will love the whole of the Word of God and you will hold to its obligations and privileges. Bottom line is if you love something, then you will commit to it. You will spend time with it, as the Scriptures put it right here in Acts 2:42. You will be devoted to it. Real Christians do not simply try God and if it doesn’t work, go back to their old way of life again. They become new and now that they know their need for God and His Word, will actually go to it. It’s just like fish need water in order to live and a tree needs soil in order to grow.
So in our passage we see that there are new bents the Holy Spirit of God puts in a believer’s heart that really never changes but just expands and grows. What’s the first one? Well it says there in verse 42 that new Christians have a new bent to continually devote themselves to new daily priorities. It says again:
They were continually devoting themselves.
In other words, these people continued steadfastly. They were giving priority to something that they never gave priority to before. Associating with other Christians became the center of their lives. The greatest joy for these new believers was to meet together. They had become members of the same family and were drawn together because of one person: Jesus Christ. Their eyes and minds were opened to the truth and Biblical priorities.
When someone becomes a real believer, their desires change. They desire to follow Christ, to please Him, and to fellowship around Him and other believers of like faith. They desire to pray to Him and learn about Him by continually devoting themselves to the community of other believers all around the same thing. They were now joined after initial conversion, and became members of the Christian church. What was the first and primary thing they gathered to do? They again devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching. They wanted to learn as much as they could about what the Apostles received from God and how it gave light to the Old Testament.
They were given the message of salvation and now they couldn’t get enough of the Word of God. In other words, they wanted sound doctrine. They didn’t want another word from a man or philosopher or scribe, or religious Jewish leader. They wanted and got a taste of revelation that came from Heaven and when you get a taste of that, you want more. There’s nothing to go back to once you get a hold of it. The Apostles’ teaching and sound doctrine is what they wanted.
The Church is supposed to exist to be the place where you receive divine truth. It’s the place where people can grow through the unfolding or exposition of God’s Word. That’s why we meet together. We can never let this one thing go by the wayside, it always must be a central thing. This is very basic of our Christian life but we must constantly be reminded about it. It’s not about doctrine specifically, but all kinds of other good things. But if we must grow, we have to do so by the Word of God. There’s no other way to grow.
A second thing to observe in Acts 2:42 is that real Christians have a bent for a continual need for more of the Apostles’ teaching. Here is a very important fact that genuine conversion manifests itself in a person by newfound desires for a knowledge of the truth. Martin Lloyd Jones said:
One simply cannot be a Christian and have no desire for a knowledge of this truth, it is impossible.
In other words, if you do not desire the Word of God, you are not a Christian. The Word of God says that. Why do Christians want this doctrine? The life of God is in their soul and the Spirit of God indwells them. They have now a new appetite for spiritual things. One thing in particular: learning what the Bible says. They want a new appetite for spiritual growth and nourishment.
Now if you take your Bibles and turn to 1 Peter 2:2, it says:
Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.
Here is the most instinctive characteristic of a newborn baby, which is that they want milk. They don’t understand why they want milk. They are born alive with this strong desire for their mother’s milk. If a baby doesn’t have this desire, then we start asking what is wrong. The baby will not grow and stay alive if they don’t have milk. It’s exactly the same with real Christians. Because of their new life in Christ, they long for the pure milk of the Word.
As soon as somebody becomes a believer and trusts Christ with their life, the first desire that God gives them is to want milk. They want the milk of the Apostles’ teaching, the Word of God. They do not want any substitutes or junkfood. Newly born Christians know they want unadulterated spiritual food. If they don’t get it at first, then Spirit of God has a way of bringing it to them. When they find it, they will drink away because it’s so wonderful and they are afraid of missing out on any of it.
Calvary Community Church has been and is passionately committed to helping Christians grow in knowledge, wisdom, and discernment through the systematic expositional teaching of the God’s Word because that is the only thing that God uses to grow people spiritually. But on the other hand, what happens if you have been a Christian for some time and that desire is no longer there? Thank the Lord that the Word of God also addresses that issue. Just like in the physical realm when someone loses their desires for food, we start looking for sickness and disease. We look for the root of what is causing them the loss of desire for life sustaining food.
Similarly, in the spiritual realm when someone loses their desire for drinking down the Word of God and for desiring spiritual food, we should start looking for some spiritual sickness, for sin. And we should wrestle down the root of what is causing the loss of desire for life sustaining spiritual food which is only found in the Word of God.
If anyone is in this condition today, or if you find yourself in this condition sometime in the future, then there are at least five things to look for that could actually rob you of your desire for the Word of God. The first thing is found in 1 Peter 1:23 which says:
For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
The first reason would be that you lay aside your Bible and you stop going back to the source of your new life. Because the source of my conversion and growth is the Scriptures. And at any place, I can get busy in my life and neglect God’s Word. And all of a sudden, I have good intentions but have not been spending time in the Word of God thinking about it and mediating upon it. I have been doing other things in my life that are important and good but what happened along the way is that it moved me aside from my Bible and the source of life God has given.
A second thing found in 1 Peter 2:1 is that we stop taking sin seriously so we become careless in putting off sin. The verse says:
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
In other words what is going to rob you of your desire? Sin! Malice could also be evil or wickedness. You are angry or hateful for some reason and it has consumed your heart. Now these sins include many other types although it is not an exhaustive list. The sin of deception includes double-mindedness. James 1:8 says:
Being a double-minded man, [you are] unstable in all [your] ways.
The next one is hypocrisy, which is simply that your heart grows cold towards God and you begin to question Him. We can go on in this long avenue of questioning God in everything, like He somehow gave us the short end of the stick. We become hypocritical in just going through the motions with no passion or desire to live for the Lord.
Envy is another one. It means wanting what others have. Greed comes into a person’s heart and they have departed from their desire for the Word. And now they only desire wealth, money, and what they can do for them. So a person stops taking sin seriously. There is no desire for the Word when we sin, so we have to continually take off sin and put it to death. In its place, we need to put on righteousness. If we don’t put off our sin, it means we love our sin more than God and His work.
Number three is that we stop admitting we still need for the Word of God. This verse of needing the pure milk of the Word is not just for new believers. This is a desire that believers should have all the time throughout their whole Christian lives. The desire for the milk of the Word of God should never go away.
Then a fourth thing is that we just stop pursuing spiritual growth. It says in 1 Peter 2:2:
Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.
What happens is that when we get caught into any of these, we drift away and there is a lack of nourishment that leads to poor spiritual health. Growing in spiritual maturity means that you are practicing your discipline of yourself in holiness and godliness. You are learning to live as a soldier in the midst of battle. One thing a soldier does especially when he is ready for battle is that he is always ready. He doesn’t have the privilege to take off his armor and lay down his weapons. This is where God grows believers, to realize that we will always be in a spiritual battle while we are on this earth. But that is what makes us strong. The battle drives us to yearn more for the Word of God. We realize in life and in battle that we need God’s wisdom. Also in 1 Peter 2:3-5, we stop remembering how good God is and who’s family we represent. It says in this verse:
If you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. As Living Stones and coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Sometimes a true believer will fail. Have I had times of coldness, times of not having a desire for the Word as I should have? Yes I have. Thank the Lord it was always short-lived. If not too much time goes by, you end up realizing that you need to hear from the Lord and His Word. The regular direction of your life is to always to want the Word of God and to say no to the flesh as much as possible so the Word of God can have priority. We have to overcome our flesh because we know it often doesn’t want to get up on Sunday morning, or any morning. We just want to roll over in that nice bed, especially when we have something important to do.
Meanwhile the Spirit of God is saying to get up and get out there! Get in the Word! Be sure of this brethren, you are not done with Scriptures after you make an initial profession of faith. You must receive confirmation of your profession of faith as to its genuineness. I can’t give you assurance of your salvation. The Word of God can because the Spirit is using the Word to bring you to the place to give you assurance of your salvation. Just like it says in Romans 8:16 which says:
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.
Do we need to know that? Yes we need to know that every day. We are children of God and therefore we ought to live as children of God. Once you are confident that you are a Christian and you see some spiritual fruit, you are not done with the Scriptures at that point. The Spirit of God also has to transform your mind. The Spirit of God’s tool for transformation is the very Word of God. He must correct how wrong you and I have been about most things, and all things spiritually. He must, through His Word, teach you how to worship. That’s the first purpose of the Church, by the way, that we are heading towards.
We all didn’t know how to worship God because we didn’t know who God was. We can’t worship something we don’t know. Then we find out what God has done and how He demonstrates His love towards us. He is a compassionate God, but also a God of justice and He is not going to let us slide.
As I began to learn who God is, I began to learn how to worship and really thank Him. I now knew that anything I had is because of our God. He doesn’t give the same gifts and talents to all people alike. The gifts and talents He gives is for His own sake and glory. He teaches us how to pray, how to witness, how to love God and people, how to put off sin and put on righteousness, and how to live righteously in this world while we are here. So we can learn how to be faithful servants of our Lord Jesus Christ. We will do what our God wants us to do while we are here.
So we are never done with the holy writings and hearing God speak through the Word of God. That’s why this passage of Scripture is so important to you and I because we must continually give ourselves over to its reading, study, hearing, and meditation. The Scriptures will build you and I up and make us stable and strong. That’s what the doctor Luke wrote to us in Acts 20:32 where it says:
And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
We join all those who have been brought out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light which now occupies the Church of Jesus Christ. A quote from Christian Johnson’s book Men of Integrity, says:
A Bible that is falling apart probably belongs to someone that isn’t.
Now let me ask you, since you have made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, has your Bible become your close companion? Is your Bible well-worn because of constant use? Are you turning to the passage the preacher tells you to turn to, regardless of whether you know it or have it memorized already. It is good to do this so that you follow the flow of things so that you get preaching that is verse by verse. You can’t sit there like a bump on a log, you need to start thinking. Wipe the sleep from your eyes and engage your mind by moving through the Scriptures. Are you picking your Bible up every day and reading it? It should be the goal of every Christian to wear our their Bibles. Your Bible should not rot out, it should wear out. Things that wear out do so because of use. Things that rot do so because of lack of use.
Of course these days many people have moved away from paper Bibles. So I must admonish you also to wear out your iPhones, iPads, and computers. Wear them out because you are using them daily for Bible studies, reading, searches, and sermon note taking. Do this because you have come to desire the Word, and long for it, and love it.
I’m still considering having a paper Bible Sunday. On a particular Sunday, you leave all of your electronics at home or in your car and we’ll be checking you at the door. I wanna see your paper Bibles. There’s something about it when a whole bunch of people rustle papers in a Bible. You can’t do that on your phone; it doesn’t even squeak on this new glass.
What’s important here is engaging yourself in the Word of God. In fact this is as basic as it’s going to get but we all need to hear it and tell it to other people. Just as you develop an appetite over time for certain kinds of food, also as a Christian you develop an appetite for a particular spiritual food. And it’s only found in the Word of God.
Now that brings me to another passage in Romans 12:1-2. This great book on doctrine probably has the heaviest in all the Bible. Paul in these verses says:
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
In other words, this new appetite that the Spirit of God gives us at conversion that continues throughout our Christian lives is for spiritual development and transformation to a certain goal. It is leading us to a certain goal, it is not just filling our minds with knowledge and facts but leading us to a personal relationship with God. Here it says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. A transformation is to assume an outward expression that reflects what is deep within. The process takes place in our minds for it is our thought life that controls our attitudes, feelings, and actions.
So we are to let our lives be changed from the inside out. Brethren, how much were our minds opposed to God? When we study the Word of God, we find how much we were opposed to Him. It was in everything we thought and did almost. John Calvin said this:
Nothing can be more true than that the renewal of the mind is necessary for successful inquiry to every part of the will of God. The natural man is in everything opposed to the mind of God.
So here is a renewal of a believer’s mental powers. Our whole bodylife is to be evidenced of a constant interchange. This is actually the Greek word for metamorphosis. It means to be changed in form, and transformed or changed in character. It’s the kind of change the Holy Spirit wishes to work in the life o the believer. But to do it, He must have control of the body and free access to the mind. In other words the Holy Spirit wants to etch the likeness of Jesus Christ into all of our characters.
We live in a world of modern day medical marvels. One such marvel to me is the hip or knee replacement surgery. It’s amazing that doctors can do those things. Usually surgery is needed because a person’s join has worn to the point where there is no more cartilage, so it’s just bone on bone. It becomes very painful and the person starts to walk with a limp and then finally has to use crutches. If they don’t do something about it, it almost debilitates their whole life and they become crippled.
But thanks to modern day surgery, a person can have a hip replacement and quickly recover and move around again, sometimes better than many years before. However some people, months after surgery, are still limping along. The phenomena usually has nothing to do with failure of the surgery. It has to do with the failure of the mind. The mind has been trained to expect pain for a long time on that joint. So the person limps in anticipation even when there is no pain. Usually someone goes back to the doctor and complains of having to limp despite having the operation. He does the examination and takes the x-rays and says there is nothing wrong with the person’s hip; it’s all in their head.
So what happens is the person’s brain needs to be retrained to line up with the new normal, which is no pain. And usually once a person gets that, they get up and start walking and have no problem. So when God has given you and I new life, the old one is gone along with all the sinful things done, thought, or said. We have been forgiven, we’re brand new creations, but we end up limping around for a while until we have a change in thinking. We limp around in our old sin and then come to Romans 6 and the Bible says to consider ourselves to sin and alive to righteousness.
Then you finally get that God is doing this in your life and He wants you to think and consider everyday that sin has no more authority over you. You can be tempted by sin day and night but when it comes down to the sin dangling on the hook, you can actually know that you don’t want it because it doesn’t please the Lord or lead you to a place where you grow spiritually. All of a sudden you realize that God has given you the authority to say no to sin, and you stop doubting and actually gain confidence to boldly live your Christian life.
To get up on your own two feet and live with gusto for Christ, you become someone who is living and speaking it. So you stop limping around because you have a change in thinking. That’s what Romans is telling us here. It’s accomplished by the renewing of one’s mind. Romans 12:2 says:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
So the mind is the organ of moral thinking and knowing. When it is renewed, it no longer thinks or understands or judges as it once did. Old things pass away and all things become new. We will no longer fit into the mold of this world and its ways and thinking. But with increasing insight into the divine perspective, because we have been in the Word of God and the Apostles’ teaching, our whole outlook and experience will change. So why doesn’t a Christian think as they once did? Because his or her mind is being transformed and renewed by the Word of God. We begin to mind the things of the Spirit, which we never did before.
Also we stop minding the flesh as we always used to mind before. The flesh’s voice becomes dim and distant and God’s voice becomes stronger and clearer. Every day we wake up and have this clarity we never had before. This is because we’ve been in the Word of God. We were captive conformists to the world’s system and beliefs. That is why Scripture gives Christians the command to be careful not to do something. We are not to be conformed to this world.
Here’s an interesting Greek word, conform, and it means this: a fashioning of something by using a shaped container. I guess the translators had a hard time translating this passage because some used it in the middle tense. In the middle tense, the word means this: to conform oneself to, change one’s behavior to be like. In the passive sense, the word means this: allow oneself to be changed to be like, to be conformed to, to be like someone or something. Now I would say that’s a great problem to have because both of them come together.
One translation put it like this: don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. So the transforming of the mind is so the will of God, or what is willed by God can be apprehended. I said not too long ago that we have a new appetite for spiritual development and transformation towards a certain goal. The goal is found in Romans 12:2:
So that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
That is the goal, that God would transform your mind to move your will. The problem is our own will and mind. But God’s correcting those problems. As long as you give yourself good spiritual food, you will grow in Christ. The transforming of the mind is so that what is willed by God can actually be apprehended and carried out.
Only a yielded will can desire, discover, and choose God’s will. In other words, we are now willing conformists. No longer to the world and its system, no longer to the god of this age, no longer to the will of the flesh. But we are now conformists to the Apostles’ doctrine and that is what changes our minds. The Apostles’ doctrine only has a divine source to it. It’s like what 2 Peter 1:20-21 says:
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
The renewed mind tests out the will of God, that it might prove what the will of God is. That’s what we are trying to answer all the time, what God’s will is. We can know the revealed will of God. But we cannot know the secret will. We won’t know what will happen tomorrow or how long we’ll live. Only God is in charge of that.
It says in Deuteronomy 29:29:
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.
In other words, the Bible is prescriptive. It’s like when you get a prescription from the doctor’s office. You need to get that medication and take it. The Word of God is something we can understand. And the more we’re in it, the more we can understand it. The more we understand it, the more we obey it.
Maybe the dilemma of most Christians today is that they are so worried about the future and the secret things of God. Don’t worry about knowing that stuff. Let the Word of God transform your mind and you will find out more about yourself and who God is and what He desires for His children. And then the goal is for service, for you to serve in the body and meet together. Your divine spiritual gift is to be used in the body. That’s where this is all headed. The Christian should be asking and answering questions in league with their dedication to God.
For example, knowing how to test the will of God is actually revealed in God’s Word. We can ask if the thing is well-pleasing to the will of God. We need to know whether we are being transformed from the inside out, or is what we are going to do bringing about Christ likeness and God’s glory.
If we ask some of these questions, we will find out that we don’t want to do these things anymore. The Word is the criterion and the measuring stick for knowing what is good, well-pleasing and advances maturity. It was C.H. Lenski in his commentary that said:
We discover from His Word alone and we subject all our own conceptions of what is good for us, pleasing to Him, and complete, holy to that Word. Everything tested without the Word is deceptive and wrong.
The renewed mind does not want to disregard God’s will but wants to know and do it. The Church exists in order to help Christians understand the truths of Scripture and the methods and behaviors to live them out. That’s why we are here. It starts with a desire after initial conversion. God gives you the Apostles’ teaching and doctrine and it is what must be our priority together.
We have this body of believers that is being transformed and growing in God’s Word. They become the light in a community and where God plants them to a dark world. They take the gospel now out to those who haven’t heard it yet. So what is a church? A church is a place where we find true hope. It’s a place where we can connect with God. It’s a place where we connect with other people of the faith and where we are encouraged by the truths of holy Scripture. Then we go out and live it. When we come back to the book of Acts, that’s exactly what they did.
I pray that as we look at these things, that you would examine yourself and see where you’re at. Then after you identify what’s in your life that has quenched the desire for the Word of God, confess it. If you don’t see it, ask God to show it to you. We all have to have this desire all the time for God’s Word.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank You, this morning. Your kindness to us in allowing us to know the Word of God and have part of it, hear it, and read it. I pray that we would all this morning take it seriously. I pray that we would be honest with ourselves because we know that many have been exposed to the Bible but it still remains to them one of the least understood books of the world. I pray that we would all come to the place to know that the Bible is a clear, dynamic, intriguing, fearsome, and life-changing book which brings its readers face to face with the infinite and almighty Creator. The Bible teaches us that Christianity is not so much a religion, as it is a vital relationship with the only Perfect Human, Jesus Christ the Son of God.
Lord, I pray that as we go out into the world, that we would be people who exemplify an understanding of the Word of God, so that we would be carrying out the will of God. And I pray this, this morning, for all of us today and forever in Christ’s Name, Amen.