Good morning friends and family and welcome to another awesome day the Lord has made for you and me. We are going to conclude last week's message on how important it is for us to be in God's Word.
For those who joined us last week, we looked at many scriptures, but especially the temptations used on Jesus after He was baptized and after the angels led Him to the desert where He was fasting 40 days and where He would be tempted. We saw where when Satan tried to use scripture that he twisted and situations and places that made the temptations more enticing, and Jesus came back at Him with the true Word of God.
Please turn to Joshua 1:2 and we will continue with this lesson. Praise Jesus?
Joshua 1:1-9 KJV Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, (2) Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. (3) Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. (4) From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. (5) There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (6) Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. (7) Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. (8) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (9) Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Now there are preachers who will get all excited over verse seven where it says "prosper where ever you go." Filthy rich is not what I think God was referring to, and we will get to that in a minute.
I want to look at for a few moments where it says. (7) Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. (8) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: Praise God.
Let's look at the word observe. The Hebrew word is shaw-mar' properly to hedge to guard; generally to protect, attend to, beware, take heed (to self), keep observe, preserve, regard, reserve.
So that tells me when we read or hear someone teaching from the Word of God, we need to observe, take heed, beware, listen and then act upon. Amen? How do we find what the Word of God says? We read, and more than that, we find that verse 8 says to meditate on it day and night.
Those who make the Word of God their rule and walk by that rule will both do well and make great progress. We will be full of life and be rewarded for God’s work as we keep our eyes upon His will. Last week we looked at how do we find God's will for our lives, remember? By reading His word.
Now, to get to what I mentioned about prosper. So many take the word prosperous to mean God will bless you with fancy cars, jets, mansions, a million dollars, and the list goes on. Let's see what the Hebrew word for prosperous means in this verse.
tsâlach tsâlêach tsaw-lakh', tsaw-lay'-akh A primitive root; to push forward, in various senses (literally or figuratively, transitively or intransitively): - break out, come (mightily), go over, be good, be meet, be profitable, (cause to, effect, make to, send) prosper (-ity, -ous, -ously).
Please turn to Psalms 119. Let us look at more verses showing that we as believers should be reading and studying the Bible.
Psalms 119:1-18 KJV ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. (2) Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. How much of their heart?(3) They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Obey (4) Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. (5) O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! (6) Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. (7) I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. (8) I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. (9) BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. (10) With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. (11) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (12) Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. (13) With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. (14) I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. (15) I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. (16) I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. (17) GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. (18) Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. 1 Timothy 4:1-16 KJV Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (3) Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (4) For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: (5) For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (6) If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. (7) But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. (8) For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (9) This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. (10) For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. (11) These things command and teach. (12) Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (13) Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. (14) Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (15) Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. (16) Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
2 Timothy 2:15-18 KJV Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (16) But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (17) And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; (18) Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
Friends, when we are in God's Word and meditate on it, there will grow in you a discerning spirit to help you know when a false gospel is being taught, like what is referenced in verses 17 and 18.
I tell you there is so much nonsense being taught in churches, and because so many people will not open their dusty Bibles, they have no clue. They go to a building where the people are soooo nice. The pastor makes them feel right at home with his comforting words and teaching not the cross, the blood, or on hell, but only Jesus is luvvvvvvvvv. No teaching on repentance. Salvation is for everyone who comes to the church. A place where the music is so professional sounding and they sing only songs that I like. Someone reading this might say, "Brother Jim, my pastor says because I give money to the church, I am going to Heaven." Well, if that was what you were told, you need to be getting into the Word of God and see for yourself if that is what it says. Your pastor is not reading from the same Bible I'm reading from. Now for those who just read this and start jumping and screaming with joy and says, "Brother Jim says I don't need to tithe", you heard or read this wrong. It is important that we tithe. What I am saying is beware of those who say if you sow 58 dollars in to their ministry that within a certain time frame you will be blessed. You are not hearing from God.
Let's continue with scripture. Timothy 3:15-17 KJV And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Let's look at the promises found in Psalm 91.
Psalms 91:1-16 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (2) I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (3) Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. (4) He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (5) Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; (6) Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. (7) A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. (8) Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. (9) Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; (10) There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. (11) For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (12) They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (13) Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (14) Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. (15) He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. (16) With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
Wow!! When you really study this chapter it's powerful. This chapter promises protection from the destruction that others would bring on us. From what I get out of this, it assures the true believer that he or she will not undergo the outpouring of God’s wrath upon sinners (verses 3-7). The believer is protected, while others suffer (verse 7). In fact, the believer will look on as God’s wrath falls upon the wicked (verse 8). The righteous are protected because they have taken refuge in God (verses 9-10). God asks His angels to watch over His own. They will intervene, even to the point of preventing one from stumbling and falling upon a stone. He will enable the saint to subdue dangerous foes. (Isn’t it interesting that God promises victory over the lion and the serpent, both of which are symbols of Satan?)
Let’s quickly look at 2 more scriptures. 1 Peter 5:8 KJV Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Revelation 20:2-3 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (3) And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Jesus' victory over Satan’s schemes meant that He, and He alone, was qualified to die for our sins. Last week when we looked into the temptations that Jesus went through, Jesus would not put the Father to the test by leaping from the temple, but He would obey the Father by going to the cross. He knew that the Father would not keep Him from death, but that He would deliver Him through death, by raising Him from the dead.
What do these two temptations and the response Jesus made have to teach us? There are a number of lessons for us to learn. I am going to mention a few more verses, and I would urge you to look them up on your own.
First, we should learn that Satan will use a wide range of tactics in his efforts to tempt us to sin. We should recall that there were many more temptations than just the three that Matthew and Luke have recorded (Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2). We should also note that the temptations did not end here.
Luke 4:13 So when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him until a more opportune time .
If Satan does not succeed with one approach, we can expect that he will simply move on to another. With the first temptation, Satan seeks to attack our Lord at the point of his weakness. His hunger and probably weak physical strength. When this fails, Satan moves on to attack Jesus at the point of His strength. His trusts in God the Father and His commitment to obey God’s Word. Satan tests us in every point, as He did with Jesus, our Savior.
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.
Satan’s temptations almost always promise us some benefit, without really describing the cost. In the first temptation (that of Adam and Eve), Satan promised Eve that they would be like God, knowing good and evil. He also promised her that they would surely not die. They did die, and the knowledge of good and evil that they obtained was no blessing.
One of the most foolproof tests of our actions is to answer a very simple question. Who is serving who? Ask yourself this. "Am I trusting God and seeking to serve Him, or am I demanding that God serve me?"
I think sometimes people are tempted to trust in Christ because of all that He can and will do for them. Some preachers and evangelists promise potential converts that God will make them happy, prosperous, and popular. That is not what Jesus said, or what Paul preached:
Luke 14:25-35 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, (26) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (28) For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (29) Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, (30) Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. (31) Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? (32) Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. (33) So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (34) Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? (35) It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Friends, there are so many more scriptures that we can look at showing us the power there is in God's Word. We can certainly look at many more verses that show us that we do need to be in His Word and meditate on it. For some, drink the milk, and for others, chew on the meat. Regardless, I think we looked at enough scriptures that show the importance of reading, meditating and keeping the Word of the true living God sealed in our hearts. Praise Jesus.
Church, I'm not sure if a third part of this series will be what I feel led to teach on next week or not, but God will lead me on what He wants you to learn. Also, Leanna and I will be gone for a week, but I will be opening skype up as I do every Sunday to share the word of God.