Text: Psalm 119:9-16 April 28, 2013.
1) Memorizing the music: When our kids were taking piano lessons, their teacher insisted they memorized their music. They not only needed to play several pieces of music flawlessly at a recital; they also needed to play them by memory. The reason was this: She didn¡¯t want her students to say when asked to play: ¡°I¡¯m sorry. I don¡¯t have my music with me.¡±
2) Memorizing the Bible: When I was small, I was taught not just to read the Bible but to memorize some famous passages of it such as Psalm 23, Psalm 119:11,105; Proverbs 3:5; John 3:16; Luke 2:8-14; Philippians 4:13, etc. I believed that memorizing verses of the Bible would keep me from doing bad things. The fact was it didn¡¯t work as I wished. In fact knowledge in my head didn¡¯t help me win victory over sin. It made me feeling guilty every time I did something wrong.
SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT THE BIBLE:
1) It is the word of God: ¡°All the Scripture is God-breathed.¡± (2 Timothy 3:16) ¡°Breathed¡± means ¡°From the breath of God, God spoken.¡± Many religious literatures, most literature, contain some good teachings on moral value and conduct. But all were written by men, from the mind of men, ¡°breathed¡± by the life of men. They are teachings of men. Only the Bible was written from the life, breath of God. This is a very important nature of the Bible. No one may know God or things about God by reading anything else, except the Bible. In the Bible, God tells us who he is, how he wants us to live and what will happen when we finish our journey on earth.
2) It is the path to eternal life: ¡°You diligently study the Scriptures because you think by them you possess eternal life. There are the Scriptures that testify about me.¡± (John 5:39) No other book in human history testifies about Jesus, the Savior God sent to the world to redeem the world from their sins. No one knows how many millions got saved because of their diligent study of the Bible. According to survey, 60% of people found salvation in Christ did so because they read and studied and believed what the Bible says. In this church, we have Bible classes on Sunday morning and Friday evening for all 3 languages and all age groups. There will be a class suitable for you and your family.
3) It brings energy to life: ¡°The ordinances of the Lord are sure and together righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold. They are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.¡± (Psalm 19:9-10) One of the most revered giants in the Bible is King David. He told us how the Bible, the word of God nourishes his life and soul. In Psalm 119, he used the 22 Hebrew alphabets to describe the value and function of God¡¯s word to his life. The Bible is more than just a book, it is the very life of God to man. The words and principles in the Bible bring nourishment, comfort, vitality and strength we need in all kinds of life situation. Someone said that the Bible is an encyclopedia of life for all people. That is not an over statement.
4) It illuminates the path of life: ¡°Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.¡± (Psalm 119:105) We all have times we don¡¯t know what to do, where to go, or how to handle our life. It is at that moment, God¡¯s word comes to light to point us to the right direction, choose the right path, and find the best method to lead us out of trouble to a higher ground. The wisdom and love of God supersede all human wisdom and intelligence. God is our creator and He knows our needs. God is in control of all of our life situations, and He loves us more than anyone in this world. He will give us the best no human being can give. So, go to the Bible when you are confused, in deep trouble, in a dark alley. Pour out your heart and needs, and seek His guidance and God will show you the way and grand you the peace of mind.
PROPER ATTITUDE TO THE BIBLE: (Psalm 119:9-16)
1) Make a commitment to follow. ¡°How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.¡± (119:9) No man can keep his way clean and pure by just ¡°knowing¡± God¡¯s word, but by ¡°living according¡± to God¡¯s word. It is not how much we know the Bible that means anything to our life; it is how much we live out the word in the Bible that counts. I am not trying to discredit the importance of knowing or memorizing the Bible, but without life application of the word what good does it have to our everyday life and spiritual growth?
2) From the head into the heart: ¡°I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.¡± (119:11)This is one of the most memorized verses in the Bible many kids learn it from their toddler class. We need to treasure the word of God in the Bible as the most precious treasure and keep them in our hearts at all time. Keeping God¡¯s word in the heart, not just in the head is a very important attitude to show our love and respect of the Bible. If we allow God¡¯s word to influence or direct our heart we are in much better position to follow God¡¯s direction.
3) Be humble and teachable: ¡°Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees.¡± (119:12)It is hard, if not impossible, to teach arrogant people, those who think they know it all. People full of pride will never learn anything new, different to what they already know or opposite to what they believe. That is why it is harder for people with higher education to be humble to accept the teaching of the Bible. We need to have a teachable heart to seek, read and obey the word of God to receive the benefit of it. Only a humble man will accept the fact that God is much wiser and higher in everything we may imagine then he will receive the benefits from knowing and following God¡¯s word.
4) Be joyful to follow his word: ¡°I delight in your decrees; and I will not neglect your word.¡± (119:16)This is a very important part on the effectiveness of seeking, learning, treasuring and obeying the word of God and it is: We delight to do it. We are not forced to do it but we want to do it and are happy to do it. This is a very important attitude we need to have in treating the Bible. No one can really get any benefit from something if he is being forced to do his duties. Being delightful is being joyful and happy. We love to read the Bible, follow the Bible and we do it with joy every time we open the Book.
MOVING FROM HEAD TO HEART:
1) Learning the background of the Bible: This is about learning the facts of the Bible: The history, the languages, the culture, the background, the writers, the components of the books and the nature of its real authorship: God. You can get all these information on the internet or any book that teaches the introduction of the Bible. It is important to know these before you embark in reading, studying and knowing the contents of the Bible.
2) Learning the meaning of the Bible: This step is a little deeper than the first step. There are two ways to get the meaning of the Bible: By reading books like commentaries, sermons, articles of the Bible, book to book or topic to topic. The other way to learn is by participating in worship services where preachers expound the meaning and teaching of the Bible in practical ways. Attending Bible classes at church or other locations where believers meet to share through discussion the meaning and the application of the Bible. In doing these, you need to know if the church is teaching the Bible the right way. There are churches that teach the Bible the wrong way. If you read books, you also need to know who the authors are and if they interpret the Bible correctly. Going to a church or reading a book that doesn¡¯t teach the Bible the right way can lead you away from the truth God wants you to learn, to know and to follow.
3) Absorbing the Bible in the heart: This is an even deeper step than the last two. This step is more than just knowing the meaning and the principles of the Bible; it is also about how to apply the meaning and principles of the Bible to your everyday life. This step is absorbing, transforming and installing biblical truth into our heart to become part of our belief and life. This step is very important because it changes our value, purpose and ways we life, make decisions, deal with people. We are being changed to different people by the power of God¡¯s word. Paul expressed his change of life in Philippians 3:7-10. After his encounter with the Lord, he is no longer the same man. The purpose of knowing the Bible should result in changing our life.
4) Living the Bible in everyday life: ¡°Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.¡± (James 1:22) God gives us a Bible not just for us to read, to know or to memorize so we may feel religious before God and others. He gives us this Bible so we may come to know him, to believe in him and to live our life according to his word to glorify him. We are to live, to think, to speak, to make decisions, to set up our life goal in accordance to the word of God. Paul said, ¡°If we live, we live to the Lord; if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.¡± (Romans 14:8)
1) Knowledge is light: Many people symbolize knowledge as light to brighten your future, to direct your path and to enrich the quality of your life. These may be true to a certain extend. But the most important light in our life is the capacity to know God, to know His word and to follow His teachings in the Bible. Jesus wants us to be the light of the world, to shine the true light to people around us so they may see the most important thing of their life: to know God, to love God and to serve God. The true light is the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to know him, to receive his teachings in the Bible so we may have his light in us. Do you know the way to true happiness, the way to meaning of life, the way to eternity of your soul? God has spoken in the Bible. All we need to invest our heart to learn, to absorb and to follow.
2) Knowledge is power: We all agree the importance of knowledge in our life. That is why we send our kids to the best school to receive the best education, hoping they will learn knowledge to better their life. Most knowledge we learn are related to our ability to work and make a living which is important. But there is another kind of knowledge that is much more important to our life, both this life and eternal life and that is the knowledge about God and His teaching. This knowledge benefits us more than getting a good job and making a good living. It is about how we live to glorify God, be a blessing to others and finally live in eternity with God in heaven. This knowledge comes from God¡¯s word in the Bible. So, don¡¯t spend all your life in pursuit of worldly knowledge, set your heart to know God through diligent study, meditation and application of God¡¯s principles of life from the Bible.