Eagerly Examine God's Word

An Important Part Of Sharing The Bible Is Examining God's Word

Ross Sawyers
Jun 25, 2023    57m
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When learning how to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, it is important to spend time examining God's Word. When we know the Word, we can help other people understand it. We find that some people love it while others hate it, but by sharing the Word and scientific evidence, more people are open to considering it. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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June 25th Eagerly Examine God's Word.mp3
Ross Sawyers: [00:00:01] I can tell we needed to do that, that was nice. I think I mentioned this before, but a guy asked me one time, he said, why do we do the welcome? And I said, well, I said, My son met his wife during a welcome at his church. He was a single guy so he said, oh, good reason. So at a minimum, maybe we matchmake when we do it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:24] It's great to be here today, and I love the opportunities we have to worship and honor God and our music and our prayers and then to get in His word and see what he has to say to us in his word. Depending on your age and the kind of things that you read, you may or may not know the name, Josh McDowell. Decades ago, I think he's probably in his 80s now, but Josh McDowell grew up in a home that was an alcoholic, really abusive home. He had no interest in faith, certainly a faith in Christ. When he arrived at the University, he saw these people that attracted him just by the way they interacted with each other, their joy, and their love for each other, and he started hanging out with them a little bit. And finally, he just asked them, he said, what is it that makes you different than the other people that I see? And they told him, they said, Jesus is the difference. And he didn't believe it, I mean, he just thought that was, however he was thinking on that day. And so he set out to prove that Christianity, that the evidence was not sufficient, that Christianity was true. And he went on this quest, he devoured information, studied, studied, studied, and he came to the conclusion that Jesus is who he said he is. And Josh McDowell at a university became a follower of Jesus, and he's dedicated his life to leading others to follow Jesus and to give the evidence so that people can see the evidence and the facts are true.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:04] One of his most known works, probably two. One is his story More Than a Carpenter. And then, he did a multiple-volume book called Evidence that Demands a Verdict. And it's just a thick volume of evidence of Christ being who he says he is. Now, fast forward several years, several decades, now he's married and has kids. His son Sean is a teenager, and now Sean comes to his dad and grows up with a totally different experience. His dad grows up in the home of an alcoholic, abusive home, Josh comes to Jesus. He raises his son in a loving home, a home that I can't imagine having a dad that is more equipped to lead a family in the faith than Josh McDowell was, and he leads them that way. And his son comes to him, Sean, and says, I don't know that I believe this. And what did Josh do with his son? He said, son, he said, I'm actually glad that you're in that place, and he encouraged his son to seek it out. And he said, I just want you to do me a favor. I want you to seek out the evidence, be honest with the evidence, and be objective in evaluating its logical conclusions. And if you come to the conclusion after studying the evidence of Jesus that he's not who he said he was and you're not interested in following him, but at least come to that by a logical conclusion from the evidence.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:04] I want you to think about that in the Scriptures today. If you'll turn to your Bible to Acts Chapter 17, verses 1 through 15. Acts is towards about the back three-quarters of your Bible, the verses will be on the screen if you want to follow along that way, I would encourage you if you have a Bible app or your Bible to open it as well and kind of check it as we're going. I'd like to think about one idea today in Acts 17, we're going to cover 15 verses. we'll hover in a few places a little bit longer than others. And the whole idea I want us to think about today is to eagerly examine God's Word, eagerly examine God's Word. And this is why we will focus on that idea, and it will become more and more clear as we unpack the Scripture, we want to anchor to what God says, and that's where we get this idea today.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:57] Let's begin in verse 1 of chapter 17, "Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews." And the first thing I want to say in verses 1 through 3 is the reason that we eagerly examine God's Word is to help others understand it. If you're a follower of Jesus, then we want to be people who can actually help other people understand God's Word. And for us to do that, it will call for us to eagerly examine it. Now for context, in Acts 16, Paul has been in Philippi, and he leads this jailer to Jesus. Jordan preached on this a couple of weeks ago and did a fantastic job unpacking the word. And so we see all these things happen, people coming to Jesus. But as often happened with Paul on his journeys of bringing the gospel, the message of Jesus, several people don't like it and they run him out of town and now he's on the move again. On the move, that's where we are in this part of Scripture, and he's moving from Philippi.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:06] And now in verse 1 of chapter 17, he's in Thessalonica Now where is Thessalonica? Maybe some of you have been to Greece. If you have, you probably know, maybe some of you love maps, and so, you know. For the rest of us, just get Greece in your mind if you just have some basic geography, go to Europe, go a little bit south and you've kind of got Greece right in there. In the northern part of Greece is Thessalonica, and it was 100 miles from Philippi to Thessalonica, it was about a three-day walk if they really got after it. And what we seem to notice Paul is doing on his journeys in taking the message of Jesus, he's going to major strategic population cities, and Thessalonica was the second largest city in that part of Greece in that day. It's a seaport city. Now imagine just the strategy of going somewhere that's a seaport city to be able to bring a message that you want to spread to other people. And what better place in that day than a seaport, where people are coming in from all over the world and people are going out to all over the world. And if people know Jesus, then their companies are paying them to take the message of Jesus all over the world.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:29] Now, when I think about Dallas Fort Worth, I think about a strategic city. We're not a seaport city, but we have an airport less than ten minutes from us that goes all over the country and all over the world. And we have trips going out this summer, global opportunities where people are going to places to bring the message of Jesus to those places, but we don't have to be just people going on a mission trip to take it. What better deal than your companies paying for you to travel all over the country and all over the world, and they're paying for you to be able to take the message of Jesus along with your job? We are in a strategic place for the message of Jesus to go out, it's a question of whether we will go out with it and be on the move, just like Paul. So that's the context.

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:46] He arrives in Thessalonica, and there was a synagogue, and he goes to that synagogue in verse 2, "And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures." So it was his custom when he arrived at one of these major cities to go to a synagogue. Now, Paul has a Jewish background and he's going to those who have a Jewish background first. So he goes to the synagogue where they are the people that know some of God's Word, they know the Old Testament of God's Word, the way we talk about it, they would know that part of God's Word, and for three Sabbaths he reasons with them from the Scriptures. Now the word reasoned carries with it the idea of dialog. So he's coming into the synagogue and he's having a dialog with them, it's question and answer.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:39] It would be more the vibe of our life groups. I would hope that in your life groups that there is a lot of questioning and answering that's going on, that there's dialog, and that you're reasoning with each other around the Scriptures. Yes, there's a teacher, he's bringing the teaching from the scripture, and then we go back and forth, it's a setting where we can more easily do that. And that's what's happening with Paul, he's reasoning with them, and I want to note that he's reasoning from the Scripture. He's not questioning, answering with them from his feelings, and he's not questioning and answering with them from his tradition, some of this may play in, but he's reasoning from the Scriptures. He's not looking around at the Thessalonica culture and reasoning with them from the culture, he's reasoning with them from the scripture, from God's Word.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:43] In January, we spent three weeks, three Sabbaths, talking about the trustworthiness of God's Word and why it's the place we would reason from. If you missed out on that, I would encourage you if you have doubts about the trustworthiness of the Scriptures, I'd encourage you to go back to those sermons. I did two, and Eric Estes did one, and to relisten to the evidence behind the trustworthiness of God's Word in the Scriptures. It's from the Scriptures that He came, God is our authority, and he makes himself known through his word from the Scriptures.

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:26] Verse 3, Not only is he reasoning with them, he's explaining it to them. That word, explaining, is an interesting word, it comes from the word open. So by explaining, and their question and answering of each other, he's opening up the things of God in the Word of God. In Luke chapter 2, verse 23, it talks about opening the womb, so the idea of this word is the idea of opening the womb. It's the same word that you used in Luke, 24 verses 31 and 32, and their eyes are opened. Now, I don't know what that conjures up for you when I talk about the opening of the womb, but it reminds me of March 27th, 5:41 p.m., 2023 when our grandson came out of our daughter-in-law's womb. That may be a little much for you at the moment, but that is what that is. And what happens when the womb is open, life comes out. And Paul is talking with them, they're asking questions, he's giving answers. He's asking them questions, and they're answering, and they're going back and forth. And he's opening up for them, life. And when God's Word comes to life, our grandson is almost three months old, that little boy is on the move, he doesn't stop moving, and his legs never stop. They have to swaddle him just to get him to be still for a little bit to quit burning so many calories. Life, it just springs from the womb, life springs from God's Word.

Ross Sawyers: [00:13:17] He was explaining it, and then it says he was giving evidence of it. The word evidence is to set forth. He was just laying out before them the evidence of Jesus. Question and answer, open it up, open in God's Word, and setting the evidence before them. The evidence of what? That the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and he said this Jesus, who I'm proclaiming to you is the Christ. He's giving evidence of the core message of the Bible, of Jesus Christ crucified, Jesus Christ Risen, Jesus is the Savior, Jesus is the Messiah, he's just laying it out for them.

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:28] Paul did this in different ways depending on his audience. He's in the synagogue with those who are practicing Judaism, so he's coming from the Scriptures with them because they have a background in the Scriptures. If someone doesn't have a background in the Scriptures, we might go at it a different way. We would still come from the Scripture, but we want to start where someone is, and Paul starts where people are. In this case, they're religious people, they mostly probably understand, again, what we call the Old Testament, and as someone said, these are some of the hardest people. To become followers of Jesus. Because they know God's Word, and they're convinced of the way they think about it, but they miss Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:34] It would be a good pause here, not asking today, do you know God's Word, although that's good. I'm asking, do you know Jesus? You can know a lot about religion and God's Word and not know Jesus. It's why Paul is going to the synagogues, they know God's Word, but they don't know Jesus. He was the same way, he was a Pharisee of Pharisees, a religious leader. He knew God's Word, he did not know Jesus until Jesus appeared to him on the Damascus road, and then everything changed.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:30] Our youngest son one time, and our oldest son, we were [inaudible] them, and our older son was crying. And we asked him why he was crying, and he said because the Bible is boring. Maybe you've cried sometimes thinking the same thing. And then Barrett, the younger brother, this is when they were little, he looks at me and he goes, I think it's boring too, but I don't cry about it. It comes to life when we know Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:17:10] And Paul had eagerly examined God's Word, but he didn't know Jesus. When he knew Jesus, it changed everything, and so he's giving them the evidence. What perhaps would he have done? Let me just give you a sample, let's just say we're the religious crowd of that day and I'm trying to explain to you, Jesus, from the Scriptures. What scriptures might Paul have used if he was giving them evidence that Jesus is the Christ? So I choose a few, Psalm 2, verse 7, and in that psalm, it says, "You're my Son, and today I have begotten you, I've Fathered you." And we have that language of fathered or begotten in John 3:16, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." Psalm 16:10 says, "For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay." He will not be abandoned. And then Psalm 22:16-18, "For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. 17I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 18They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots." that's exactly what happened to Jesus. Maybe he would have gone from Psalm 22:1. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus said that on the cross. And then Isaiah chapter 53, verses 4 through 6, just a piece of that part of Isaiah, it says, "However, it was our sicknesses that he himself bore and our pains that he carried. Yet we ourselves assume that he had been afflicted, struck down by God, and humiliated, but he was pierced for our offenses. He was crushed for our wrongdoings." The punishment for our well-being was laid upon him, and by his wounds, we are healed. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.

Ross Sawyers: [00:19:23] But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him." Oh, can you imagine them hearing it?

Ross Sawyers: [00:19:32] And imagine Paul, who had known the Scriptures. And then when he met Jesus, he goes back and he's reading and goes, oh, wow, that does speak of Jesus. And what Paul is doing here is the way we want to approach God's Word, every bit of it points to Jesus. When we read the Old Testament, it points us to Jesus. When we read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, it talks about Jesus. When we get past the Gospels, those four books of the Bible, and the letters of Paul, and the other books of the New Testament, they take us back and point us to Jesus. Everything here is about Jesus. In Luke 24, Jesus, after he had been raised from the dead, he's walking with these two men along a road headed to Emmaus, a city. And he begins from the Scripture to explain himself. Like he takes them through the Scripture to explain who he is. For us to know where we start with someone it requires us to be really good listeners to understand what someone's background is, to understand how they understand Jesus, how they understand God's Word, and then we start from there. Next week we'll see another way that Paul does it with someone who has no background in the Scriptures, this week there's a background in the Scriptures.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:07] Now what happens when we reason, explain, and give evidence of Jesus? Well, some people love it, and some people hate it. Verses 4 and following, "Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women." So some were persuaded, they listened to Paul, and it would seem now they became believers of Jesus and now they're following Jesus. And the gospel is this simple, by the way, Jesus lived an absolutely perfect life, he died on the cross for your sins and mine, and God raised him from the dead. And when we believe what Jesus did with grace, and in faith, we believe he did it for us, that's when we become a follower of Jesus, and then we move on in relationship with him from there.

Ross Sawyers: [00:22:12] Some of these were persuaded and believed that and they joined up with Paul and Silas. So now they're joining, it's a small group that's starting to happen. And then a large number of God-fearing Greeks. What's a God-fearing Greek? Those would be ones that wanted to be a part of Judaism, the Jewish faith, but they didn't quite go all in. For example, they would not get circumcised, that doesn't sound like a bad idea to me, I think they were wise. God-fearing Greeks. And then leading women, Ray Stedman comments on this, he's a pastor from years ago, a fantastic preacher. But in talking about these leading women of the day, they would have been educated, they would have understood Greek philosophy, and they would have understood all the emptiness of Greek philosophy. And then they had converted to Judaism, so they would have understood the Old Testament, but it would have been burdensome to them to think about the law, and what a relief to hear about Jesus and the grace that comes through him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:25] So we have those that love, what they've just heard, and they respond to it, and then there's those that hate it, they don't like it. But the Jews in verse 5, and this isn't all the Jews, it's just some of the Jews, they became jealous, and jealousy is never a good motive, "Taking along some wicked men from the marketplace, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people." Now, the idea here is, is that the few people decided we don't like what's going on here, we don't like that people are turning to Jesus, and we're going to make sure this goes away. So they head to the city center where people gathered, and the idea here of wicked men is just these idle loafers, just think of people with nothing to do, and they recruited them to be a mob and then they go on the attack.

Ross Sawyers: [00:24:20] Now, I know that's hard to envision in our country right now that people would gather people up and get a mob mentality going in our cities. But at least regardless of your thoughts on that, it gives you a picture of what was happening. And not only were they creating an uproar in the city, but now they attacked the house of Jason, this is all we know about this man, Jason. If you want to do a study, a character study of someone in the Bible, study Jason, it won't take you long, and you can have success. But I love this guy, he was willing to host Paul, Silas, and his crew, and it cost him. Not only was there an uproar in the city but now there's an uproar at Jason's house. Now it's somewhat easy to imagine uproars in cities, most of us don't have an experience of a mob coming to attack our home. But we had a speaker here a few years ago when we talked about the underground church, his name is Bob Fu, and he leads a ministry called China Aid, helping Christians in China who are being persecuted. He himself was persecuted and escaped the country, he lived in different places in the US but wanted a place where his family would be safe from those trying to get to him, so he moved to West Texas. Seemed safe for Christian, doesn't it, until it's not. Because people came from all over the country to his home, and they just formed and protested outside of his home. Now just imagine, guys, your wife comes home with your three kids, and you have this mob that's in front of your house day in, day out. So they had to extract their family and get out for weeks while that mob continued to protest Bob Fu, right here, it is the same thing. When people hate Jesus, they do mob mentality kinds of things.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:41] Now, mostly our marketplace today is not the city like it was in their day. As far as conversations and different things happen, where is it today for us? Social media, that's our marketplace. And here's a little bit of what the mob does on social media, here's some Twitter feeds. They're talking about the Bible, so say the fairy tale, because that's all it is when the book can't be supported with any evidence and its fantasies, we know are lies. Now we know the evidence is overwhelming for the Scriptures and for Jesus. And yet this is what flies around in the social media world, it's just another book of fiction, no more, no less. The next one, Jesus is dead, has been for a while. Next one, when you die believing in Jesus, you die believing the biggest lie ever told. Okay, that's just a sample, and, you know if you're out there, what runs around?

Ross Sawyers: [00:27:55] He said, well, okay, we know that's not true, or we can discern that. But let me ask you this, we just finished a series talking about worldview lenses, and the studies tell us today that one out of ten people in the church actually have a biblical worldview. Now, if the bulk of people that are in our churches don't have a biblical worldview, that kind of thing gets very persuasive over time. The more and more it's out there, it's an onslaught, it's not just four Twitter feeds that you look at and say, no, that's not right. It's an onslaught of that in the marketplace, social media, where our kids hang out and our teenagers and young adults and older adults. And where we get shaped and molded when we haven't eagerly examined the Scripture to be able to resist.

Ross Sawyers: [00:28:56] See, some people love it, some people hate it, and they want to disrupt. And "When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting". Now they made it a political thing, bringing it to the city authorities. “These men who have upset the world have come here also". It's not a bad idea if we upset the world with the message of Jesus, we don't want to upset the world with the way we deliver the message of Jesus. But if Jesus upsets the world, it's Jesus that's being rejected, and it means we've probably done a good job of explaining who he is. And then Jason welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there's another King, Jesus. So what were they riled up about? What charge did they bring? The same charge that was brought against Jesus, who was told he was saying he was a king, and that was a threat to their king.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:50] Now, I don't know if they're really concerned about the threat to the king, probably the king they're upset about that's being threatened is the king of self. Jesus is a rival to the king of self. And to follow King Jesus, we die to king self, and surrender to the true King, and self does not go down easy. They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities heard these things. And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them. The same strategy used today, Jason had to put up a bond, a certain amount of money, and then if he did anything to disturb the peace again, with the gospel, with the message of Jesus, then he loses his money.

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:54] It is the same tactic Satan uses today to threaten us with our money. A few years ago, I started reading things that I thought, oh, interesting. We've not had to think about that in the US. And what I started reading, is that we need to be talking about a theology of firing. Are we going to be willing to lose our jobs for the sake of Jesus? Some will be asked to do that. Because some will be asked to stand up in their workplace and not go with the prevailing values. You might be the best at your job, but if you don't go with the flow of the corporate values, then we're going to hit you at your pocketbook. Or we'll just keep you held firm in the position you're in and you're going to go years without ever being promoted. God has different things for different people, but are we willing to stand up against values that are in opposition to God? We want to be in tune with God's Spirit to know what and how he would have us go at it in every given situation. But the threats will come because it affects our money, and it affects our living. And fair enough, by the way, that's scary. He did it here, Satan did, and he's using the same tactic today all over the world today outside of the US, people are not able, people that are Christians are not able to get some of the best jobs, they have some of the worst jobs, people are living this all over the world. We're new to that game, it's been happening for a long time now. Well, that's what happens when we eagerly examine the word and respond to it, we help others, and then when we know that we're helping them, that's potentially what can happen, they'll either love it or they'll hate it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:33:18] And then in verses 10 and 11, some people are actually more open to consider it, some people are open to consider God's Word, "The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea." So now they have to leave by night, and that's the choice they make this time for him. And they leave for a smaller town, "Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews." This is the custom of Paul, so he goes to the synagogue. It looks like a slightly different reception as a whole in Berea than what he received in Thessalonica.

Ross Sawyers: [00:33:52] Verse 11, "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Now, the word noble-minded here, we know the word noble, it's your well-born, high born, you just had a kingly kind of birth, but it also carries the idea of being open-minded, tolerant, generous in spirit. Now, let me draw a distinction from our culture today in what tolerant means by what I just defined. Tolerance, by definition, is Jerry has an idea, and I have an idea, and we don't see it the same. Jerry, we have a conversation about it, respectfully. Jerry doesn't agree with my conclusions. I don't agree with Jerry's conclusions, but we can tolerate one another because we value each other as men that are made in the image of God. We can be open-minded about the other ones saying, I really want to consider what Jerry says. I know his life. I know what he studied; I want to know what he said. I want to be open to what he's saying, and I hope he will be the same, and we will be generous in our spirit toward one another, that's what toleration was in a past day. Tolerance today is, Jerry tells me what he believes, if I don't accept what Jerry believes, then I'm intolerant, that's the new definition, and that's what we're working with as a whole in our culture. And everybody thinks of it differently, I would just say, if you ever hear the word tolerance, have a conversation about what do you mean by that, and let me explain what I mean by it, so we're at least having the same conversation.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:06] So when we're talking about being open-minded, that they had an open mind to listen to the Scriptures, so they received the word with great eagerness. I love the word eagerness. When my mom was dying a few years ago, and I was praying and just kind of walking with God in that season of time, Psalm 5:3 is a verse that He gave me that I just walked with. And it says, "In the morning, Lord, you'll hear my voice; in the morning I'll order my prayer to you and eagerly watch." And I couldn't control a thing that was going on, but what I could do is meet the Lord in the morning and I could pray to him, and then I could just start watching during the day eagerly to see what he's going to do. And there are some things I probably didn't love that he chose to do, and some things I love he chose to do, but I just could eagerly watch what he was doing. I love the word eagerly.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:57] So we want to come to God, and we pray to him eagerly, and then we eagerly examine the Scriptures. We come to his word eagerly. But we're also told in Romans chapter 8, verse 23, that they were groaning with and eagerly waiting for our adoption as sons. So there's the sense today that if you've received Jesus, that you've been adopted as a son or a daughter. But that adoption is not yet final until that day when we go to meet Jesus face to face, and then that adoption is final. And they're eagerly waiting for it, eagerly waiting.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:39] Paul says it in another way in Philippians 3, he says, "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." So I'm eagerly praying, eagerly examining God's Word, I'm eagerly anticipating that day when my adoption is final, and I'm eagerly awaiting to be with my savior Jesus. So, Paul explained, but they examine the Scriptures how often? Daily. Daily, to see whether these things were so. I've said this often over the years, and I'll say it again, you do not need to take my word for it. You should examine what I say from the Scriptures to see if these things are so from the Scriptures. And if they're not, and many of you over time have come back to me and said, hey, what about this? It's usually when I make a stupid comment that I shouldn't have said, that's generally what I end up doing. But sometimes I miss, and there are so many of you that study the word so diligently and have come back and said, hey, what about this? What about that? This is what that means, did you consider that? So that's for the life group leaders as well, that you should take what they say and then go examine it yourself in the Scriptures. And you're saying, gosh, I don't even know where to start reading the Bible, period. How am I supposed to examine what somebody else says? It takes time, so you just kind of start, people can be a help and over time you'll be able to. So they were eager to do it and they did it daily.

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:27] Well, what is it about God's Word that brings to life? What else does the Scripture say to us? What do we know about the Scripture? Second Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed." It is breathed out by God. The Scriptures that we have, God is the one who's breathed them out for us, this is His word. And it's profitable for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness. It's profitable to teach. We have a summer Bible study on Tuesday nights, we're teaching God's word. Our life groups were teaching, some people were one on one, they're being taught one on one. This is teaching, I have a teaching team, and we have different people who teach. So it's profitable when we teach God's Word, it brings life. And then it's also profitable because it rebukes, it shows us when we're wrong and when we're off. Aren't we grateful that God is kind enough to let us know when we're off? So it does that, we read it and we think, oh, no, I didn't know that or I was ignoring that. But he'll rebuke us, he will show us what's wrong. But he doesn't leave us there, he doesn't just show us what's wrong, he corrects. And in his word, he shows us what's the right way. And then he trains us, when we come to Christ, we're made righteous in him, and now we're being trained to be what we are. So that the man of God or the woman of God might be fully capable and equipped for every good work.

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:11] For those of you who are wondering right now, I generally use New American Standard, and they have flipped it on me on these verses. So I am getting tripped up, and only a few of you know that because we're a few dinosaurs that are still using New American Standard and you're loving that we probably shifted here, but I at least want to own that for the five of us that are aware. Colossians 3:16, "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God." We want the Word of God to richly dwell within us, and when we sing, we're not just singing, it's God's word. We're singing truths from God's word. So it's richly dwelling within us in multiple ways.

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:56] In Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." People will say to me and they'll say to others that teach from here, hey, it's like you knew me or something, it's like you were sitting in my house the other day when you were talking. We don't know that, but God's Word is living and active.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:23] We just had, for our children this week, and for our preschool age the week before, active camp. And they're active in sports and they're getting after it, but they're also active in God's word. And God's word is living and active, it is alive, it's not stale, it's not old, it's not boring, it is alive in Jesus, that's God's word. "His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path." As it unfolds in Psalm 119, it gives wisdom to the simple. It's why the 85-year-old uneducated grandmother in the country is one of the wisest people around because she knows Jesus and knows his word. It unfolds, and it makes wise the simple.

Ross Sawyers: [00:43:24] So what do we do with God's word? How do we eagerly examine it and study it? Ezra 7:10 is helpful. Ezra is the Old Testament, "Ezra had firmly resolved to study the Law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel." I love that about Ezra, he studied it, and then he practiced what he studied. and then he taught it. Study it, then live it, practice it, and now teach it. Memorize it. Psalm 119:9 and 11, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You." How do we have a fighting chance today for purity? By treasuring and memorizing the Word of God so that we have something to counter every lie, every deception, and every darkness that comes our way.

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:31] Psalm 1:2-3, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law, he meditates day and night. 3He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers." How do we meditate on God's Word? We memorize it so that it can just roll around in there, and we study it. You say, well, I don't know how to study it. We've been teaching one method, and there are so many ways to study God's word. We just try to do something that would be a simple way that all of us could do that we could at least pass on to get started, and then there's a number of ways you can do it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:45:17] The Discovery Bible study method is a way we've taught, and we would just take this passage, you could practice. You could take Acts 17:1-15, really, I would break it down and maybe just do 1 through 3 this week. And ask the question, read through it, and say, what does it say? Just what is it saying in its plain meaning? What does it say about God? What does it say about people? What does it say about what we should do with it? And then who do I pass it on to? When we receive Jesus, we receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can teach every one of us. One of the best things we can do is find a one-on-one mentor, get involved in a life group. If you're really diligent, study on your own, go for it, but somehow get with people to be a help. If you don't know those people, we can help you find those people. There should be no reason that we can't get in position to be able to eagerly examine God's Word. It does take work, and it takes effort.

Ross Sawyers: [00:46:34] This week, Jim Dennison wrote, and he mentioned Josh McDowell. And he said about Josh McDowell that he asked a question of people, he said, "If I could answer all your questions, would you become a Christian?" And Jim Dennison said, I love that question that Josh McDowell asked, and I've asked that question, I can't tell you how many times over the years, I've never had someone answer yes. And Denison goes on to write and he said, we cannot use facts to persuade those who do not believe in facts. So while the evidence is there, and we want to explain and open up God's word and eagerly examine it, we are ultimately dependent on God to open the heart to receive the truth of Jesus crucified and risen. And what good news, that he does that again and again and again, and we never know when that moment or day will be.



Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051
817.488.1213