Listen To The Book

Bible Book: 1 Peter  1 : 23-25
Subject: Bible; Word of God; Holy Living; Christian Living
Series: Helps To Holy Living
Introduction

Peter told us to be holy even as God is holy. He was not talking about living under the law but living in love. Jesus once said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Peter was calling all Christians to prepare their minds for action. He is telling us that we must be turned on, tuned in and psyched up in order to live for Jesus in this wicked world!

In 1 Peter 1:13-25, we find four prompters to pure practice, we see four helps to holy living. We have already previewed three of these and today we come to the fourth.

Peter shared that we must:

i. Look For the Blessed Hope

ii. Live Under the Blood

iii. Love the Brethren

Now we come to consider that holiness requires that we Listen To The Book – that we hear and live out the teachings in the Bible. We must appreciate and appropriate the Word of God in order to live holy lives.

A proper appreciation of the Word of God will lead to a proper application of the God of the Word. The Bible is a source of bringing us into alignment with God's will and purpose for our lives. So let’s look at the subject: Listen To The Book!

Sadly, in our modern world, fewer people are aware of the true teachings of the Bible than perhaps ever in history. At least a greater percentage of people are less informed regarding God’s Word than at any other time in history. Without a doubt, the Bible is the single most outstanding piece of literature in the world. At one point in American history you were considered lacking in education if you did not know the Bible. Today the Bible is banned from most schools, and those who believe the words of the Bible are considered radical, right-wing, nut jobs!

A few years ago, a test of Bible knowledge was given to five classes of high school seniors. Most of them failed the exam completely! Some were so confused that they thought Sodom and Gomorrah were lovers, or that the gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luther, and John. Others said that Eve was created from an apple, and that the stories Jesus used in teaching were called parodies. More than 80 percent of the pupils could not complete such familiar quotations as "Many are called but few are (chosen);" or "a soft answer turneth away (wrath)”. It is sad that a nation based on the Judeo-Christian ethics found in the Old and New Testament has reached a point of such ignorance concerning God’s Word.

A Gallup poll conducted some years ago revealed that 60 percent of Americans did not know what "the Holy Trinity" was. Sixty-six percent couldn't say who delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and 79 percent were unable to name a single Old Testament prophet.

I read some years ago about a boy who was asked some questions in church about the Bible. His answers revealed that even people who attend church regularly may not understand the scripture very well. On his paper he wrote that the “epistles” were the apostle’s wives and that “Sodom and Gomorrah” were husband and wife.

Why is the Bible important? It is God’s Word to man. It tells us the truth in world full of lies and half-truths. It reveals God’s plan of salvation through His Son. He records much of the history of God’s dealings with nations, families and individuals. Also, the Bible shares the history of the early church. The Bible also looks to the future and reminds us of coming judgment, a place called heaven and the final and everlasting Lordship of Jesus.

Today we are going to look at some reasons that we must listen to the Word of God.

I. Listen because it is the Life-Changing Word of God

Peter mentions being born again also in 1:3.

The Word is involved in salvation - Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

A. Life-changing when Preached

My wife and I were in Israel for the first time in 1977. We visited the Nazareth Baptist Church and heard a testimony from Fuad Shakninni, the Arab pastor of the church. He told how he and his brother went to the church when they were boys in an attempt to break up a revival service. The preacher shared God’s Word during the service and Fuad and his brother fell under conviction. Both of them were saved and became Christian ministers. Fuad went on to pastor the very church he had hoped to disturb. His brother, Fiaz, served in the Georgia Baptist Convention and I got to meet and work with him when I was Vice President for Evangelization the convention. You see, the Word of God has power to change lives when it is preached and presented to mankind.

B. Life-changing when Pondered

When E.V. Rieu was translating the New Testament for Penguin Books, his son remarked, "It will be interesting to see what dad makes of the Gospels, but it will be more interesting to see what the New Testament makes of him." After his work was finished, the translator stated, "My work on the New Testament has changed me."

Who Should Read the Bible

The young to learn how to live.

The old to know how to die.

The ignorant for wisdom.

The learned for humility.

The rich for compassion.

The poor for comfort.

The dreamer for enchantment.

The practical for counsel.

The weak for strength.

The strong for direction.

The haughty for warning.

The humble for exaltation.

The troubled for peace.

The weary for rest.

The sinner for salvation.

The doubting for assurance.

The Christian for guidance.

When the Bible is pondered and considered carefully, it has life-changing power. Many people avoid the Bible because they sense the power in it and don’t want to fall under the divine strength within it.

I went to make a visit with a pastor some years ago while preaching a revival in his church. We went to visit a lady that he had been praying would come to know Christ. She came out on the porch to sit and talk with us. Everything was fine till I picked up my Bible and asked if I could read some verses to her. She reluctantly said, “Well, okay.” I turned toward her and opened the Bible. The moment the Bible fell open in front of her, she got up and hurried into the house. We waited a few moments, but she did not return. We knocked on the door and she came and spoke to us. She said, “I’ll be happy to talk with you but I don’t want you to read the Bible.” The pastor and I agreed after we left that the Bible frightened her as if she knew the power that was held within its pages.

II. Listen because it is the Living Word of God

A. Living seen in its Power

William Ramsay sought to disprove Luke and Acts. He studied Greek carefully and then sought to go to Greece and Asia Minor in order to use his knowledge to disprove the story of Luke and Acts. As he looked for ways to destroy the two Bible books, he fell under conviction and was gloriously saved. His writings following his salvation became classics in Christianity.

No matter how dusty a Bible may become on the outside, it is never dry on the inside! There is power in the Word of God because it is a living book.

B. Living seen in its penetration

The Bible penetrates into the marrow of the bones. Listen to Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Word of God goes down into the very thoughts and intents of the individual’s heart. Reading the Bible and studying it carefully can help a Christian learn to live a holy life. This is true because we do not really know ourselves. Only God knows the human heart. He discerns things about you that you cannot ever know about yourself unless He reveals it to you. He does that in several ways, but one way He shows you where you are and where you ought to be in life is through the scripture.

C. Living seen in its productivity

The Bible is like seed sown in the ground. Note Matthew 13:18-30. Hear we read a description of the Parable of the Sower, as told by Jesus. Our Lord pointed out that the Word of God is seed sown in the lives of men and women. When a person’s heart is open to receive the seed of God’s Word, a beautiful harvest comes from it. God’s Word is productive if you are willing to actually receive it. So many of us never live holy lives because we ignore or reject what God says to us in His Word. To live holy and productive lives as Christians, we must receive the Word of God and nurture it in our hearts and minds.

Scientists tell us that seeds have been known to germinate hundreds of years after lying dormant in the ground. God’s Word is like that. Studying God’s Word places seeds in your heart that may not seem to produce results immediately, but in time the seed will break forth and germinate. Never doubt the productivity of the Bible in your life.

D. Living seen in its pertinence

The Bible is always up to date. Many people think the Bible is an old and outdated book. How sad for someone to think that way. The Bible is more up-to-date than your morning newspaper or your updated news report on your digital device. The Bible never goes out of date because its author never goes out of date. The One who inspired it is the God of heaven. All of history is but a breath to Him. A thousand years is as a day in His sight. Fads on earth come and go, but God’s Word always true and useful.

III. Listen because it is the Lasting Word of God

A. It is the Inerrant, Infallible Word

Look at Psalm 119:11, 89. God’s Word does not contain errors. Man will do his best to destroy the Bible’s veracity, but the scripture is true because the Author is true and righteous.

B. It is the Imperishable Word

The Bible cannot perish, for it is settled in heaven forever. If man could destroy every copy on earth, God could produce another copy immediately.

Just think of what would be required to get rid of the Bible. First, of course, you must get rid of all the copies in all the languages. There are at least 400,000,000 copies of the entire Bible on earth and many more if you count all the Testaments and other printed portions of the Book. Then you must go to the libraries of the world, select every book that has a verse of the Bible in it, and cut out all those verses. If you cut out the Bible verses in some literature you would find it to be unreadable. Next, in order to get rid of the Bible, you would have to go to all the law books in the world and take out all laws that reflect scripture. Since many laws are based on the Bible, that would be a daunting task. Furthermore, you would have to go to all the art galleries in the world and destroy every work of art based on the Bible, since the Bible stories are often reflected in these works. You would have to destroy all the books of poems that contain scripture, all the sermons in print, and all the digital copies of God’s Word in its entirety or in parts and pieces. And, you would have to go to all the cemeteries in the world and destroy every tombstone and grave marker that has Bible verses on them. Lastly, you would have to blot out the memory in the heart of every person who has memorized passages of scripture. Some people have memorized entire books, and few can quote the entire Bible.

Destroying the Bible is impossible. Since this is the one book that will last forever, the Christian ought to take seriously the work of reading, studying, and living its words. It is impossible to live a life that is holy without the Holy Bible!

C. It is the Indispensable Word

Note how relevant and up to date the Bible is by listening to the following: (I have copy of this in a file but no reference for where it was found.)

The Bible contains:

The mind of God

The state of man

The way of salvation

The doom of sinners

The happiness of believers

The Light to direct you

The Food to support you and the Comfort to cheer you.

The Bible is:

The traveler's map

The pilgrim's staff

The pilot's compass

The soldier's sword

The Christian's charter

A mine of wealth

A paradise of glory and a river of pleasure.

The Bible's

Doctrines are holy

Precepts are binding

Histories are true and Decisions are immutable.

Christ is the grand subject of the Bible!

Our good is the great design of the Bible!

The glory of God is the glorious end of the Bible!

Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practice it to be holy.

IV. Listen because it is the Loving Word of God

Note Isaiah 40:1; 6-8.

The Bible is God’s love letter to mankind. To place it aside is to toss love’s sweetest letter in the trash bin.

When Elizabeth Barrett became the wife of Robert Browning, her parents disowned her because the disapproved of the marriage. The daughter, however, wrote to her parents almost every week. Her letters told them of her love for them and how much we longed to get back together in a loving relationship with them.

Ten years later a huge box came in the mail from her parents. She was excited to receive something from them and opened it quickly. Inside she found every letter she had sent to her parents for ten years, and not one of them had been opened.

Had her parents opened those letters, it is likely that her love for them would have melted their cold hearts. The same is true of man. If we will open the Bible, God’s love letter to us, it has the power to soften our hard hearts and bring us to saving faith in Jesus Christ. And, if we are saved, the Bible has the ability to guide us into holy living that honors its author!

Conclusion

Holy living is impossible without the Bible. It is the Word of God and contains God directions for salvation, living and eternity. Those who seek to live a holy life must do so by believing, reading, studying, and living out the Bible. There has never been a holy Christian who ignored God's Word.

Let the person without Christ know this day that the bible records God's love for you, the death of Jesus for you at Calvary, and His resurrection that promises every believer eternal life. Turn from sin and trust Him today as your Savior.

Let every Christian know this day that the Bible contains all you need to know about living a holy life. Let us recommit ourselves to Him and to His Word.