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Today’s Scripture:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”  John 5:39 (KJV)

Introduction:

Another ministry page on Facebook asked how often people read their Bibles.  Out of the 80 comments half of them (which is better than what I was expecting) read their Bibles daily.  The other half said the either barely read it at all or they don’t read it as often as they should.  See, that tells me that there’s a knowledge in the body of Christ that they need to be reading the Bible daily.  One person said that time just seems to get away from me.

I used to feel like that too until I did this fast from the worldly entertainment venues, and found that I had given more of my time to being entertained than I did enriched.  I spent more time watching television than I did anything else, and now that I’m not watching television at all I realize that I have tons of time that I didn’t know I had.  See, many of us (myself included) need to adjust our priorities.  We need to stop playing games with God because play time is literally over.  If you cannot look around at the state of the world we’re in, and not be listening for that trumpet to sound…then my friend it’s a pretty good sign that when that trumpet does sound you won’t hear it.

See, I believe the trumpet is going to be like the sound of rain that Elijah heard.  Everyone thought he was nuts, but he kept saying that he heard the sound of rain.  Then one day it rained, and all those who thought he was nuts realized he wasn’t so crazy after all.  I believe that the trumpet is going to be just like the sound of rain…only true believers will hear that trumpet sound, and the rest of the world who thought us Jesus Freaks were weirdo’s are going to realize that we were right.  But, by then it’s going to be too late.

I wasn’t going to go there, but apparently the Holy Spirit needed to give some of you a prophetic kick in the butt, and so there it is.  When nearly half of those who responded said that they barely read the Bible…that again is what I believe is the greatest issue facing the church.  Which is why this topic is so burned on me, and why I know this is a timely series to get into.

Today’s Message:

So, how often should we read our Bibles anyways?  Well, the correct answer really is daily.  The Amplified Version of the Bible of  John 5:39 reads this way:   “You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me!”.  Acts 17:11 (KJV) says:  “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

I want us to take a look at Acts 17:11 for a moment. There are two points that I’d like to dig into a bit here.

First, they received the word with all readiness of mind.  Brings to mind something that Jesus spoke to us in the Be-Attitudes.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.  See, it takes a hunger and thirst for knowledge, righteousness, and the things of God to want to hear the voice of God.  Everyone always talks about how they want God to speak to them.  I hate to break the news to you, friend, but God has spoken to you.  He spoke 66 books into existence, and the Word of God as Peter says is a more sure word of prophesy than the day they witnessed God speaking to Jesus from heaven saying:  “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.”.  What Peter is saying is that they were witnesses to the audible voice of God, but he still points back to the written Word of God as a more sure Word than what actually heard God speak…audibly.

When you go to church do you go to hang out, socialize, see people you haven’t seen since last Sunday, or do you go with purpose?  Do you go to really worship God?  Do you go to hear and receive with a readiness of mind the Word of God?  Do you go to have an encounter with God, or do you just go for the great music?

Secondly, here is the point…they searched the scriptures daily.  Add to this point the Amplified Bible’s translation of John 5:39, and we really have a mouthful of things to talk about before we end this message.

“Search and investigate and pour over the scriptures diligently”.  How is it that you study your Bibles?  Do you just read it…just to read it…or do you search it, investigate it, and pour over it?  I am ashamed to admit that sometimes I do get caught up in just reading it to read it, but I do also know what it is to investigate scripture.  Some times when I’m writing messages like this I’ll get to going on little side journey’s because something else catches my heart, and the Holy Spirit leads me in another direction…but that cannot happen when I just read the Bible just to do it out of habit or routine.  No, it’s good to make reading the Bible a habit, and it’s important to make sure reading it is part of your daily routine.  However, there is a difference in just reading the Bible, and really studying it isn’t there?  Let me ask the question this way…how long has it been since you sat down, had a topic in mind, grabbed a concordance, your Bible, a pen and paper, and maybe another translation or two of the Bible…and studied a topic?  Here…I’ll ask it of you an even easier way.  Do you study the Bible like you studied your school books?

I have to admit that I haven’t really sat down and done a topical study in a while.  When I do I have my normal Bible, a parallel Bible with 4 different translations, a commentary Bible, a notebook, highlighters, different colored pens, and I have my computer open to YouVersion.  But, that’s what is meant by really pouring over the scriptures.  I’ve had some really awesome times studying the Bible like that, and even I am challenged to know that I need to be doing that more often.

Here again, we read one of the most important reasons to read the Bible.  Because it’s about Jesus, and the only way we can know Jesus is to search the scriptures.  By the way, I still haven’t seen any responses or comments about where the three times it is written…”In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  I haven’t forgotten about it, but I am just curious to know if anyone has found all three places yet…and would like to share where they found them?

That’s what I mean by “investigate” the scriptures.  There’s an open question on the table about where that particular verse is written three times.  I’ve even given you a couple of really good hints.  The first hint is that the first time we read it is in the very first book of the Bible.  The other two times it’s written the same person wrote it.  Once in his gospel, once in his own books later in the Bible, and here’s a third clue.  The person that wrote it twice has a gospel, and wrote three epistles…and the book of Revelation.

Interactive Study Questions:

Remember I did say this was an audience participation series?  I’d like to see some comments, responses, and answers to the study questions.  I’d like to see an answer to my bonus challenge question, but if you don’t want the prize I have to send you…then it’s your loss.   Anyways, here are today’s questions:

  1. What does John 5:39 tell you about God’s relationship with His Son?
  2. What do you think the purpose of the Old Testament is?

Let’s Pray:

Lord God, we come to you today acknowledging that we haven’t been as diligent in searching the scriptures as we ought.  We admit there are days that go by that we don’t even look at the Bible let-a-lone pick it up.  Lord, give us this readiness of mind to study and search Your Word.  Give us a hunger and a thirst for Your Word that will only be satisfied by being saturated in the studying and reading and hearing of Your Word.  Teach us, Lord God, how to pray the scriptures, and Lord…we ask this of You in Jesus’ mighty name…Amen & Amen.

In Closing:

Believe it or not, I am being challenged as I write these messages too.  I am being challenged to spend even more of my time reading the Bible, searching the scriptures, and really saturating myself in the Word of the Lord.  It’s important to know it, read it, study it, and speak it.  It’s also good to know it because when you pray the Word of God you are praying the very Will of God.  God cannot deny His Word…if He said it…and you pray it…then He has to respond to it.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Blessings & Grace;

Pastor B

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