21 Days in the Word - Tool 10 - The "P's" of Bible Learning
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As we have said, having tools and a plan to maximize our time in God’s Word is hugely important. In the next couple of days we want to go through some great tools that all begin with a P.
The first "P" is preparation.
Recently I did a sermon series on the importance of making room for God. This applies to Bible learning. We learn and grow according to the degree we make room in our hearts for God’s Word to have its greatest life changing impact. In Matthew 13 Jesus teaches a very important parable on God’s Word called the parable of the sower. We see that when the seed which is God’s Word is planted it has a very different result in different hearts and lives depending on the kind of soil that it is planted in. We have soil that is closed off, hard, and uninterested. The birds of the air steal it and it bears no fruit. There is shallow soil where an emotional immediate response is made but then it quickly shrivels up and dies. There is soil with weeds that although there is some growth of the Word in the heart it eventually gets chocked out by the distractions and thieves of other interests, concerns, and discouragements. Then of course there is the good soil where the seed bears fruit and multiplies. In some of this soil there is a 30, some a 60, and some a 100 percent multiplication and return. This is the kind of heart we all want to have. The key is how the soil is prepared. Here are a few thoughts on how to prepare it right.
1. Be hungry, eager, and ready to learn and put in to practice what you hear. In Acts 10 Cornelius had his family gather after an angel told him to send for the apostle Peter. They were “all in” ready, “prayed up,” and eager for the Word. There is a saying that says, “When the student is ready the teacher will come.” They were ready. The result was before Peter could finish the message they all had been saved, repented, and were filled with the Holy Spirit speaking in tongues. We see this same kind of readiness in Samuel’s heart when he rose to hear the Word with the prayer, “Speak Lord your servant is listening--ready to obey.”
2. Have a plan to be a doer and not just a hearer of that Word. Rick Warren says, “One of the great problems in the American church today is that most Christians are educated far beyond their obedience.” It is actually dangerous to keep hearing the Word and not doing anything about it. It is possible for sermons and readings at some point to actually start to inoculate you to transformation in the way that a small dose of some disease in a vaccination does. Someone said the sun that melts the wax can harden the clay. I was so impressed with a sister in our church named Sasha who told me last Sunday that after each sermon she goes home and decides her list of how she is going to put what she heard into practice. She gave me a list of what she had done with my last couple of sermons. Needless to say, her encouragement put me in preacher’s heaven.
3. Receive the Word in faith. In Hebrews 4:2-3 the writer referring to the children of Israel who ended up dying in the wilderness said, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the Word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter the rest, as He said…
When we expect, believe, and are willing to begin to declare ourselves recipients of the promises the power and the life change that the Word of God says it will bring we make our hearts “ignitable” to the fire of God’s Word. We allow it to have its biggest effect. Joel Osteen has people uses a declaration I like and encourage you to adopt in some way to prepare yourself to respond in faith. It is “This is my Bible, I believe and declare that I am who it says I am, I can do what it says I can do, today I will receive the eternal infallible Word of God. I will never be the same.”