We're starting a new series called 'Our Disciplined Response'. Essentially it's about the spiritual disciplines or at least 4 of them.
Christianity at it's core about not about what you do. It's about what Jesus did and does. But that doesn't mean that you don't have a part to play. In fact, we read in scripture over and over about the grace of God that's offered to us, and our response, which is faith.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— (Ephesians 2:8)
not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:9)
You could think about it like this: Grace is the part God plays. And Faith is the part we play. Although unsurprisingly, without him we're not able to do our part. He gives us the gift of faith.
I see a generation that’s in the midst of revival, that has the potential to change the world, that excels at public passion, but potentially doesn’t have the private devotion required to change the world.
And so we thought in a new year that it's a good opportunity to focus in on some of the core Christian practices so that we can get the year started on the right foot.
Also, we have this devotional for you. It's a 21 day. (Give devotional)
For week 1 we're talking about bible study.
In order to do that, we have to know how Jesus lived and what Jesus taught.
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23)
“If you love me, keep my commands. (John 14:15)
… “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. (John 8:31)
We all love that last part, but it's not just any truth, it's the truth of Jesus's teaching.
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)
To be a Christ follower is to be more influenced by Jesus than anything else. B/C if you were more influenced by something else, let's say television. Let's say you are influenced mostly by TV and secondly by Jesus. Well that would make you a TV follower, not a Christ follower. To be a Christ follower is to be influenced more by Jesus than by anything or anyone else.
Which brings up the question: How do we get to know the teachings of Jesus? If we're all about Jesus, where do we go to find out who Jesus is, and what Jesus taught. That's of course the Bible. That's why as people who Jesus, the Bible is very very dear to us.
We don't worship the Bible, we worship Jesus, and that's why we read the bible.
God’s goal for us is to know and love God and be transformed into the likeness of God’s Son Jesus. One of the primary means God uses to accomplish that goal is Scripture. (William W. Klein - professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary)
A man who loves his wife will love her letters and her photographs because they speak to him of her. So if we love the Lord Jesus, we shall love the Bible because it speaks to us of Him. (John Stott 1956)
I'm a bible teacher, but if I had my perfect way, you'd know Jesus more through the Bible than through sermons you hear.
Hearing something from a preacher, then going to the Bible yourself to make sure the preacher isn't full of balonga, is a great thing that the Bible actually encourages.
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)
Interesting. Here we read about this group of new Christians that Paul is disciplining, and it says they were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, because they listened to what Paul said, but then they went to the scriptures to double-check him.
So we're not people who say 'The paid professional preacher man said it, so I have to believe it.' No, we're not into group-think here, you can think for yourself. All I can present to you is an idea. But then it's up to you to do your own homework and decide if you agree with me or not.
For lots of Christians, the Bible is a source of shame. They're ashamed that after this many years of following Jesus, they still don't know the Bible as well as they should. If that's you, I would like to say that maybe this year can be a year for you to dig into the Bible in a way you haven't before.
It's not only important to study the Bible, it's important to get the Bible RIGHT.
People used the bible - crazy things:
“I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work. The founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God.”
We need an anchor
The Bible is telling a story. The story of Jesus
NOT: isolated statements that float unattached out in space.
Also, it's not "Data""
I've heard people arguing over some theological issue and they say "I don't see the data for your position."
The Bible is not data.
A collection of poems, stories, letters, accounts. Real people. NOT "Can I find one scripture to support my point, BUT "How did Jesus do it?”
Jesus not part of the story. He IS the story.
Hoping this week will be very practical for you. Let's talk about the discipline of Bible Study. This is a how-to. So you grab a bible, you flip it open, then what?
ONE Way to Study // New Year
There's lots of different ways that people study the Bible. And I would never want to force upon you a way of studying scripture that isn't the way that works best for you. But I know that at the beginning of the year that there's people who are looking for an intro on how to study stricture, or maybe some of us that are looking for a FRESH way to study scripture. I'd like to introduce you to a few resources that I think might help with that.
Time is only an issue with stuff you don't care about.
Amazing how resourceful. But for those who do care: Can be overwhelming/hard.
So tonight I have not 1, but 2 acronyms for you. First we have SOAP then we hacve SPECK. SOAP and SPECK
Each word : process for getting understanding from Bible in short amount of time.
4 Steps. Easy.
If you do this, I promise that the bible will make an impact on your life.
A lot of people are doing this. Even without SOAP. Principles.
First thing: Pray - Ask God to reveal.
Take time reading and allow God to speak to you. Highlight, underline or do something to mark the scriptures that stand out. When you’re done, reread the verses you marked, look for one that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it down.
1 verse is enough - remember a phone number
Where to start?
Notes from messages
Youversion plans - Joy, Trust, Forgiveness, Guilt, Finding Strength in Suffering, Why does God love me?, Grief, Dating and Relationships, Addictions, Depression, Confidence, Loneliness
What is this scripture saying? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to you. Write the scripture down in your own words.
What is that really saying? In my own words.
Personalize what you have read by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Maybe it’s instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise or corrections for a particular area of your life. Write how this scripture can apply to you today.
How does this apply to me?
This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He’s revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two-way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say. Then, write it down.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, (Hebrews 12:1)
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:3)
S - Hebrews 12:2 - For the joy set before him he endured the cross,
O - Jesus was able to go through incredible pain and even a brutal execution because he focused on the joy ahead of him.
A - When I'm struggling, it's important for me to remember the beautiful future God has in store for me. Just like the apostle Paul says, even when struggles come, they're not even worth comparing to the future God has for us.
P - God, help me to focus on your promises instead of being poisoned by the negativity of the world. I believe in you, and I believe that you're faithful to your promises. And as that becomes real to me, it's empowers me to go through hardship. Thank you Jesus.
Done. - That’s not enough. - That's more bible study than 90% of us are doing. If I were to go through notes on phone, and see this, God is working in you.
Could mention precept and principle stuff.
First of all: SPECK. Some bible scholars tell us that when we're reading the Bible it may be a good idea to look for some of the following:
SPECK - Does this passage show me:
Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:17)
Challenge: This week do one SOAP bible study.
(Prepare - communion)
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your teaching. (Psalm 119:18)
Isn't that beautiful?
Partnership And again, it speaks of the partnership between God and us. It's us reading and studying the text, and God opening our eyes to see the beauty in it.
As - pass - Spend a minute reconnecting with God. It's the beginning of a new year and this is a new opportunity for you to do the things you know God has called you to do. So in your own way, take a second and offer this year up to God and let him speak over you and instruct you on what he might have you do with some of the time you've been given this year.