Today’s Scripture:  “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”  Ezra 7:10

Introduction:

For this message we go to a book in the Bible that not many know about…and many probably don’t even know exists.  The book of Ezra.  Not much is known about Ezra or the book that he wrote, but I love how you can find something like:  “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra 7:10.

This verse gives us a couple of things to talk about as we look at “Interaction With The Word”.

Today’s Message:

So…as we talked about yesterday and a couple other times throughout this series we have clearly come to the understanding that the Bible is Jesus in book-form.  Can we agree on that?  If not, just take a moment to re-read John 1:14 (KJV) a few times, and eventually as you read it…you’ll come to the conclusion that the when we hold the Bible in our hands we are holding Jesus.  When you look at the Bible that way…I promise you that it will give you a different perspective…and when you realize that Jesus is the Word and the Word is Jesus…then you realize like I have that the Bible is really Jesus in book-form.  Okay?

So, if that’s the case then every time I read the Bible…watch this now…I am having a personal encounter and interaction with God.   Is that right?  Think about it.  If in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  If the Word became flesh and dwelled among us.  Then every time I read the Bible…then I am interacting with the Word…and when I am interacting with the Word since the Word was with and is God…then I am interacting with God.  I am encountering God every time I read the Word of God.

So, take a moment to allow that to sink in.  Meditate upon that for a moment, and see how that might impact how you look at the Word of God.  I know for me that when I got this revelation, and I began to look at the Bible and understand that when the Bible talks about:   “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1 (KJV), and then you add “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (KJV).  Then you add to it a few more verses like:  “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;”…you begin to understand that God, Jesus, and the Bible are all the same…and that when I am reading the Bible…I am encountering and interacting with Him…that gives me the easiest answer in this entire series.

Why read the Bible?  To interact with God.  We read the Bible to interact with it’s Author.  We read the Word of God because it’s the easiest way for Him to speak to us.  It’s the easiest way to encounter Him, and it’s the only way that the Holy Ghost can work in our lives.  Remember that the Holy Spirit hovered until God spoke.  So…as long as God’s Word isn’t being read and spoken into and over our lives then the Holy Spirit can’t do anything in our lives.  Why?  Because the Holy Ghost responds to the spoken Word of God.

That gets us back to not just reading the Word or just hearing the Word, but doing something with the Word of God.  That gets us back to why the Word of God is the ammunition  for our prayers, and that prayer and the Word of God are the only offensive weapons in the Armor of God.  It gets to the under lying point of this entire series.

Listen…if you take nothing else from this series.  If you remember nothing else from this series.  Even if you never read another scripture from the book of Ezra again…I implore you to remember this point right here:  Reading the Word of God guarantees that we encounter God…every single time.  We can never open the Word of God, read it, and not have an encounter with God.  This book, this thing that sits and collects dust on our coffee table or nightstands…is the surest way to have an encounter and interact with God.

Can I ask you a simple question?  What other book in the world can you read it and immediately have an encounter or interaction with it’s author?  I mean this is true of books whether they are secular or Christian.  Can you read a Stephen King book and come away with it having a personal encounter and interaction with Stephen King?  Can you read a Rick Warren book and come away with having a personal encounter or interaction with Rick Warren?  Can you read a Dr. Seuss book and have a personal encounter or interaction with Dr. Seuss?  The answer to all three of those questions is an emphatic…NO.

You may read someone else’s book, and come away from it thinking they are talented or have really good knowledge or wisdom.  You may read someone else’s book, and get maybe a glimpse into their mind (which I don’t necessarily know is a good thing).  But the one thing that you cannot ever get from anyone else’s book…even  an auto-biography is a personal encounter or interaction with it’s Author.  The only book of it’s kind…is the Word of God.  There is no other book that compares to the Word of God.  There’s no other book like it any where.  There’s no other book ever written that can compare to the Bible…because no other book in the world allows you to not only have the opportunity to transform a life from darkness to life, there’s no other book in the world that offers the reader and hearer and opportunity to enter into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ to find eternal life, and there is no other book written anywhere by anyone that offers you the opportunity to have personal interaction and encounters with the Author every time you read it.

No, friends, this book…the Bible is not just any old book.  This Book is special.  This Book is one of a kind.  There is no other book written under Heaven that compares to the Word of God.  In fact, I believe that thanks to this verse from the Book of Ezra we now have the number one reason why we should read the Bible…To Encounter and Interact with God.

Friends, if that’s not a good enough reason for you…then I don’t know what is.  If this message would’ve been made available on the first day…then I wouldn’t have a reason to write 31 messages about why we should read the Bible…because in my opinion…Encountering God is the only reason I need…and I would hope that it’s the only reason you would need.  The rest of these messages describe something about the Word of God, how we should respond to the Word, and why the Word of God is important to us…but today’s message is the absolute best reason for reading the Bible.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think any other point is needed in this message.  I believe I’ll end this message right here by naming:  Encountering and Interacting with God as the number one reason to read the Bible.

Points for Pondering:

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra 7:10

  1. What are three things that Ezra was determined to do?
  2. Are you determined to do these things?
  3. Why/Why Not?

Conclusion & Prayer:

The three things that Ezra was determined to do was he prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord (the Word of God), to do it (do what He read in the Word of God), and teach in Israel statutes and judgments (teach others the Word of God).

By now I would hope that you’d know that Christlike Ministries NWA and Pastor Bryan’s desire, passion, and determination is to do these three things.  Seek the Lord…Do what He leads us to do…equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.  In fact, this is a good place to remind you of the mission and vision of Christlike Ministries NWA are.

The Vision:  My heart is to share the love of God with you, introduce those of you who don’t know God to Him, and help those of you who do know Him…to know Him better.

The Mission:  To assist believers in developing their relationship with Christ through Bible study, prayer, and worship. Building quality believers so that they can experience God in a more intimate way.

About Us:  The desire of this ministry is to draw people to God through establishing a personal relationship with His Son…Jesus.  Building quality believers so that they can experience God in a more intimate way.

That, my friends, is the ministry that you are supporting every time you visit and “like” our Facebook page:  Facebook Fan Page of Christlike Ministries NWA, follow us on Twitter:  Twitter for Christlike Ministries NWA, join our network on LinkedIn:  Christlike Ministries NWA on LinkedIn, read our messages on WordPress:  Christlike Ministries NWA Messages on WordPress, or visit the official website:  www.christlikeministriesnwa.org.

I guess I feel it necessary to repeat one last time my personal pledge to you as the pastor, founder, and message writer for Christlike Ministries NWA.  That is this:

This ministry is about the integrity & character of Christ…and that means we will stand upon & up for the Word of God.
The Bible will ALWAYS be the ultimate authority over my life, my home, and my ministry…and it’s the foundation upon which this ministry will stand until the day the Lord comes for us.
That is my personal promise & pledge to you. This ministry will Preach the Word & be held accountable to the integrity of the Word of God!

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, as we begin to wrap up this series about Why Read The Bible may we realize that the most important reason for reading Your Word is because this is the primary way that we can not only interact with You, but have a personal encounter with You as well.  Every time we open Your Word and read it…You are speaking to us, You are interacting with us, and if we’d just think about it for a moment we’d realize that You are wanting to have an encounter with us.  Lord, let us no longer take Your Word for granted, let us no longer take a nonchalant approach to Your Word, but rather let us treasure it as David, Ezra, and others who understood that Your Word isn’t just another book to read, but the most direct way to have a personal encounter with You.  Lord, thank You for Your Word, and thank You for writing a book that is like no other in the Word.  There’s no other book in the world like the Bible because it’s written by no other Author…because there’s no other God that compares to You…and we thank You that You’re so full of grace and mercy and a desire to have a personal relationship with us that Your Word was written so that we could have that personal interaction with You.  We give You glory and honor…and ask these things in Jesus’ name…Amen & Amen.