Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Gleanings From God's Word

One of my main goals for this blog is for it to be an exhortation to me to get in the habit of daily (or at least regularly) working on developing and writing out studies or devotionals, in a context that is not as formal - which will also give me the opportunity to comment on some passages or issues I have been studying or that have been pointed out to me. With that purpose in mind, here are two passages that I have been discussing and thinking about lately:

1) Matthew 13:52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

This is one of my favourite verses that I apply to preaching and teaching the Word of God. God says an householder is to bring forth things both new and old. I don't have a lot of sympathy for dry preaching, about the same old things - without any new insights into those passages. I cannot identify with someone who preaches the exact same message year in and year out. (I just heard about some youth conference in the States where the preacher preached the same message he did the year before!) Of course, if it was an evangelist preaching a series of messages as he travelled around to various churches, I would expect some repetition of messages (but not within each particular church though!), as he presents the series the Lord has given him - BUT except for some old evangelists I have read about, most evangelists that I am familiar with will present a new series every year. I am all for periodically going through the fundamentals of the faith in a series of messages, like a Bible conference, but I am referring to overall preaching style. If a preacher always rehashes the same old material they are not like the householder that Jesus was speaking of here.

Even when reemphasizing the "old" truths, there are always new ways to present it. I love preaching on the story of the Prodigal Son, for example, but I never preach it the same way twice to the same audience. When I have covered it again, I have tackled it from different angles. Those listening may reject the message from God's Word, but I don't want it to be because I am a lifeless preacher or because I present the same old thing they've heard countless times before. There is so much to choose from within God's Word - it doesn't need to be boring!

On that note, when is our Bible reading boring or lifeless to us? When we are not getting anything new out of it - whether new insights, new understanding, new principles learned to be applied, or even fresh reminders of old truths, newly impacted upon our own hearts. (Of course, sometimes we don't get anything out of the Word of God because our hearts are not right before the Lord and there is sin in our lives - but I am referring to when we come to the Bible without any known sin on our conscience, but we approach it carelessly or listlessly read it.) I try to make it a habit to not just read a well-known passage and come away with what I already knew about it before (ie. just skimming the surface), but to dig in, to look for what the Holy Spirit would teach me today from that passage of Scripture.

I am certainly not advocating new doctrine or sensationalistic preaching (ie. preaching to gain an audience, for itching ears, or to entertain) - but our study of the Word of God should always be fresh - we should always be teachable, studying and meditating on the Word of God (not just speed-reading our set number of chapters for the day), always gleaning new things to pass on to others, EVEN WHEN reinforcing the foundational truths. That is something I try to do when I teach and preach. I can emphasize the main truths of a passage and still bring out something new for consideration, something that the Holy Spirit pointed out to me when I was studying it out, presenting it in a manner that catches the listener's attention.

Perhaps I have not explained this in the best way, but hopefully you will understand what I am trying to say. Is your study and teaching/preaching of the Word of God static, dry, lifeless - or is there life to it? Do those listening to you catch your excitement and enthusiasm for God's Word, or do they "dwell in 'the land of nod' when they are in church" (phrase courtesy of J. Vernon McGee)?

Now back to Matthew 13:52. The definition of the word "treasure" as used in this verse means "the place in which good and precious things are collected and laid up." I believe when we study the Bible, meditate on it, and memorize it, then we are storing up these precious promises and principles in our hearts.

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

What is in your heart? Good treasure from the Word of God? Are you storing those precious treasures in your heart and mind? Do you share those spiritual riches with others?

2) Matthew 10:24-25 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

In email discussion with a friend of mine in Australia, Pastor Buddy Smith, he pointed out the following insight on the above passage:

"Being under the Lord's authority is in verse 24, and likeness to Christ is in verse 25. In fact, the word for "enough" is the same word as "content" in Phil. 4:11, and "sufficient" in II Cor. 12:9. Ah, to be a disciple who is contented with my Master's sanctifying work as He makes me more like Him. That is enough for me!"

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Is it enough for you to be conformed to the image of Christ, to be made like Him? Are you content with being like Jesus Christ in this darkened world?

Song of Solomon 2:1-2 I (Jesus) am the Rose of Sharon, and the Lily of the Valleys. As the Lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.

1 John 3:1-3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

1 John 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

May 17th/06
Jerry Bouey

No comments:

Post a Comment