Saturday, August 11, 2018

August 12, 2018

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." Psalm 119:9-16

If I have not yet made the case for the truth and reliability of God's Word, let me try one more time.

First, let's review. The evidence we have presented to this point:

1) Fulfilled Prophecies - every prophecy concerning Jesus was fulfilled completely.

2) Historical Accuracy - if measured by the same standards as other commonly accepted ancient documents, the Bible would fare well.

3) Miraculous Preservation - for ages the Scriptures have been under attack by kings, emperors, and czars. These tyrants have tried to destroy copies if the Bible, killed the people who printed them, and arrested those who possessed them. Still, the Scriptures not only survived, but remain a number one best-seller!

4) Unity of Structure - The Bible was written over 1,500 years by 40 different writers in three different languages on three continents and yet there is a single theme - the redeeming love of God!

5) The Influence for Good - It can easily be documented that everywhere the Bible has been honored and taught, the social climate and culture have been superior to non-biblical cultures. That has been true throughout biblical history. No other sacred writing has impacted history to a greater extent than the Bible.

So, faith in the Bible is well-founded. However, there is one more convincing and powerful proof for the veracity of the Word. What is it? It is the proof of a changed life!

When someone begins to study and believe and live by Biblical truths, that life changes dramatically. People who used to be hateful, suddenly become loving. Why? The power of the Word? People who once were very selfish, suddenly begin devoting their lives to serve others. Why? The power of the Word. The Word of God has transforming power!

How can you see that power in your life?

Love the Word

Is the Word of God a controlling passion in your life? Do you love it more than life itself? Light the Psalmist, you should delight in His Word. When you do it will transform your heart and mind.

Learn the Word

The Psalmist hid God's Word in his heart. That takes time and effort and study. Read it. Memorize it. When you do it will transform your heart and mind.

Lean on the Word

What do you depend on when you have to make a tough decision? Where do go to find strength during a difficult time? When you need encouragement, where do you go to find it? Jesus leaned on the Word - even though He WAS the Word! When you lean on the Word you will find it transforms your life.

Live the Word

If you are a believer in Christ and a lover of the Word, I am guessing that you chose that way because of a significant person in your life who lived out the Word. For me it was a man named Ralph Westafer. He lived out the Word so well and with such passion that it was hard NOT to believe in the Word. I'll bet you know someone like that.

Will you commit to become someone like that?

August 11, 2018

"I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against God" Psalm 119:11

Americans like the “bottom line” so let’s get to the bottom line for this verse. 

How does that sound?

This little verse with a big message is, in fact, the answer to an important question posed in verse nine, “How can a young man keep his way pure?”

So, the bottom line is that everything we have studied so far only matters if you are interested in living a pure and holy life. Others need not apply.

David, the Psalmist declares that the reason he hides the Word of God in his heart is because he doesn’t want to sin against God. If sin doesn’t bother you the Word won’t matter that much.

Logically, if staying pure and holy in all your thoughts and actions is important to you then you will meditate and memorize the Word of God. Therefore, if you are not meditating or memorizing the Word of God it would indicate a lack of interest in holy living.

If you have filed your Bible in the “inspiration reading” section of your mind or if you keep it on hand as a reference book you are not that concerned about sin. Very, very dangerous!

Here in this last half of the verse, are contained two very important truths about sin. Before we wrap our consideration of this verse allow me to point them out.

First, he says that sin is a choice – “that I might not sin”

One of the main blessings of salvation in Christ is it can free you from the power of sin. You no longer have to live as a slave to it. The main message of the Cross is Jesus became the atoning sacrifice for your sins that you can be free!

Every sin is preceded by a thought. If you entertain that thought it becomes a temptation and when you dwell on that temptation it usually leads to sin. So, before you sin you have to run a couple of red lights. You sin because you choose to. For someone who claims to be a Christian, that is exceedingly dangerous.

Think about it. When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness He had to rely on quoting the Scriptures He had hidden in His heart. If Jesus Who WAS the Word had to rely on the Word to resist sin, what makes you think you can ignore your meditation and memorization?

Second, he says that sin has a consequence – “against God”

When you sin it is against God. When you choose to sin you choose against God. When you refuse to humble yourself to the Word to meditate on it and memorize it you are choosing against God’s wisdom and truth.

I am not sure you want to do that. You probably don’t want to do that. You certainly shouldn’t do that!

You also sin against yourself in that your sin breaks your fellowship with God AND you are the one who will have to live with the consequences of your sin.

Sin complicates your life. Sin alienates you from God. Sin has consequences that you can choose to avoid. Why wouldn’t you? You can choose purity from sin or you can suffer the penalty of sin. It is all dependent on what you do with God’s Word.

That’s the bottom line.