Scripture Reference:  Mathew 4:4

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Introduction:

It’s been a long while since I felt lead to get into a series, but this seven message series seems like the perfect one to get into, and I’m believing that God is going to speak some awesome things to us through it.  I’d simply like to ask you to believe and pray with me that this series will be one that will be good for us, and that it will instruct us in a way that we will not only hear it…but apply it.

So, thank you for your patience, and I hope you’ll join me as we see what God has to say to us through this series.

Today’s Message: “Scripture Engagement”

About a year ago we did a really long series “Why Read The Bible?”.  I remember as I was preparing for it there was a startling statistic that said that nearly 85% of Bible believing Christians either don’t read their Bible at all or read it as much or as often we would like to or should read it.  I find myself in the not as often as I’d like to or should.  However, the truth is that unless we know the Word of God we cannot have a clue what we have, who we are, or what God has done for us.

It’s absolutely vital for us to read the Bible, and yet like many I find that it’s something that even I have to force myself to do some times.  Why?  Is it because we’re so busy that we don’t have time?  If that’s the case we need to shut off the phones, computers, and televisions for a while…and reacquaint ourselves with the Word of God. Is it because we’re doing things that the Word of God will point out and we’ll feel convicted?  If that’s the case then if there’s things you’re doing that make you not want to read the Bible…then we need to stop doing those things, repent, and get back to walking with the Lord.

It can be easy for Christian leaders today to look to the latest, best-selling business books for tricks and quick fixes for leadership. But while these types of materials have their place, our most powerful resource as Christian leaders will always be the Bible.

Listen, I’m not opposed to reading books by good, Bible based Christian authors. I’m not opposed to reading Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life”, but what I am opposed to is when those novels take the place of the Word of God behind the pulpit.  There’s nothing wrong with reading and trying to use the principles in someone’s book, but there’s a lot wrong when someone’s book takes the place of the Word of God in the pulpit.  It’s no wonder there are so many churches that have no power of God, have no movement or anointing of the Holy Ghost, have no signs or wonders, and are completely powerless, dry, good for nothing churches…because they have replaced the Bible and what “thus saith the Lord” with whatever popular Christian book’s author says.

There is NO power in any other book, but the Word of God.  Yes, there are good points and ideas and principles to apply to our personal walk with the Lord, but when you stand behind a pulpit and you would rather preach what Rick Warren wrote instead of what Paul, Peter, Timothy, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote by inspiration of the Holy Ghost…then YOU are deceived…your entire congregation is deceived, and you’re going to answer for substituting the Word of God.

You cannot leave the Word of God out of your pulpit and expect God to be happy about it.  If you are…then you are the one who is deceived…and you’re also on the devil’s payroll.  The devil is the one who wants to make sure that the Word of God isn’t preached in the church because as long as he can keep people out of the Bible…it keeps them from discovering that they have the power and authority to defeat him.  The devil is defeated by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God…not Rick Warren, not Joel Osteen, not Joyce Meyers, or any other preacher that’s written a book.  The Bible is the ONLY book that has the power to save, destroy yokes, and teach us how to take the power and authority we have to defeat the enemy in our lives.

Get those Christian novels out of the pulpit.  They don’t belong there.

Take a moment to reflect on two reasons why this is true: 1) The pace of the leader sets the pace for the team. Your ‘go-to’ source of spiritual strength will ultimately be the one that influences those you lead. 2) In the hectic world of church leadership, it’s all too easy for pastors and church leaders to end up simply reading the Bible to prepare (or cram) for the next weekend’s message, instead of to intentionally engage God’s Word.

What is your “go to source”?  Is it the Word of God or the latest book written by TD Jakes?  Is it the Bible or what you hear on TBN?  If your source isn’t the Bible then you aren’t being lead by the Holy Ghost, but by a man or woman.  If you’re source is the latest Christian living book…then you’re not being lead by God…but by the person who wrote that book.  If you’re preaching the latest Christian living novel in your church…you’re not only leading yourself to follow that author, but your entire congregation.  Don’t use your pulpit to point people to TD Jakes…use it to allow the Holy Spirit to point them to Jesus. 

We have to “intentionally engage” the Word of God.  There’s NO substitute for it.  You cannot get the power of the Holy Ghost apart from it.  If you need proof look back at the creation of the world.  The Holy Spirit did NOTHING until the Word from God was spoken.  If you’re quoting TD Jakes to illustrate a point that’s one thing…but if you’re quoting him because it’s your sermon…you aren’t leading people to Christ…but to TD Jakes.

Don’t get things twisted here either.  I love TD Jakes, Charles Stanley, David Jeremiah, Joyce Meyers, and the list goes on and on.  There are a lot of good things they have written.  They have a lot of good things to say and to apply to our lives…but when you would rather preach what they say instead of what God says…that’s where the problem lies because there’s no power or anointing apart from the Word of God.

When Jesus spoke the words “People need every word that God has spoken,” he was not only identifying a great need in our lives, he was tapping a deep hunger in our souls. While fasting and praying in the wilderness, Jesus asserted the fact that his greatest sustenance was the Word of God. The reality is that people deeply need God’s Word, especially those who preach and teach it.

The Word of God is essential to the Christian walk.  It’s how we know the voice of the Shepherd. It’s how we know who we are in Christ Jesus. It’s how we know what Jesus did for us on the Cross. It’s how we know what God thinks about situations.  It’s how we get the answers we need for every area of our lives. 

There are some who say the Bible is old, outdated, and not relevant to today’s issues.  However, that’s because they have forsaken it.  IF you feel the Word of God has no way to relate to what is going on in the world today that’s simply because you are not reading it.  The Bible is still relevant to what’s happening in the world today because it prophetically describes in accurate detail what today’s world is like.  The Bible is still relevant today.  The Bible is the ONLY book that is still writing it’s story today.  It’s the ONLY book that is still revealing itself, and it’s the ONLY book that is proving itself to be truth right before our eye.

Faith comes by hearing and by hearing the Word of God.  We cannot grow, we cannot mature, and we cannot become who God desires us to be without being a student of the Word of God.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

We simply MUST hear and read the Word of God in order to grow and become the people who God desires us to become.

Matthew 4 is the chapter that immediately follows the baptism of Jesus. When John baptized Christ, the Spirit of God was present in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father affirmed Christ saying, “This is my own dear Son and I am pleased with him” (3:17). Immediately following that affirmation of God and validation of the Spirit, the enemy endeavored to question and diminish the identity of Christ (“If you are God’s Son …” 4:3).

Can I be any more clear about the importance of the Word of God in our lives?  It is absolutely vital to our walk with God.  We simply must read and study the Word for ourselves.  We cannot even blindly accept what our pastors or preachers say without making sure that what they are teaching and preaching lines up with the Bible.  If you don’t read the Bible…then you will not know if what’s being preached is taken out of context or if it’s really what thus saith the Lord. It’s easy to see what so many Christians have no idea what to believe as truth…because they are cared to and fro by every wind of doctrine…and they refuse to investigate for themselves as to whether or not what’s being preached is scriptural or not…because they don’t read the Bible…they just allow every pastor and preacher so and so to impart into their lives without checking with the Word of God to see whether what’s being preached is biblically accurate or if it’s a lie straight from the pit of hell.

Listen to me very carefully.  I didn’t realize for a long, long time that what was being preached to me was a lie. I used to think that just because the person preaching had a degree and was standing behind a pulpit was telling me the truth because they have a degree and are standing in the pulpit.  However, once I began to study the Word of God and began to understand and familiarize myself with the Voice of the Shepherd…and once I did that I was able to know when someone was preaching something that didn’t line up with the Word of God. Now, I am very good at discerning what’s a lie and what the truth is…but until I was actually encouraged by my pastor to check what he preached against the Word of God…I had no idea that satan is preaching sermons all across this nation. 

Yes, that’s right, friends.  I said satan stands up and preaches in church on Sunday mornings too.  Do you know how I know that?  By reading and studying the Word of God.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of Matthew 4 is the natural way in which Jesus wielded the Word of God (the Scripture) as his inspiration from the Father and his weapon against Satan. It flowed from his lips seemingly effortlessly and naturally. It seems that the Word of God kept Jesus focused in heart and clear in mind. He asserted that God’s Word was more important than his next meal.

The Bible is linked to things like food, water, and air.  Outside of prayer our only offensive weapon in the armor of God is the Word of God. Do you know how we get the Word of God to flow from our lips?  By getting it into our hearts.  Jesus said that the fruit of our lips is what is sown into our hearts.  If you want to be able to effortlessly and naturally allow the Word of God to flow from your lips you have to get it into your heart.  We have to read it, listen to it, and read it some more.  The more Bible that gets in you…the more Bible will come out of you. 

We cannot live in the natural without food, water, and air.  We cannot live in the supernatural without our spiritual food…and that spiritual food comes from digesting the Word of God.

In our ministries, we are called to respond to the greatest need of all: spiritual hunger. Although physical hunger must be satisfied, Jesus emphasized that food alone is insufficient for life in its truest form. The words of God are the food we need most.

Listen, if what I’m writing points to myself or anywhere else…then it’s no good.  I don’t want my writing to point to me.  I want it to point you to Jesus.  I want it to point you to the Word of God.  The whole mission and purpose of this ministry isn’t for me to be noticed, but for you to establish, develop and maintain your own personal relationship with God.  My goal and mission is to encourage people to read the Bible, pray, and attend a good, bible teaching church.  My goal and mission is to have an Ephesians 4 ministry that’s useful to feed, develop, and help you to maintain your relationship with God so that you can begin to grow, walk and flourish in doing what God’s calling you to do.

When God called me into ministry He used the encounter that Peter had with Jesus at the end of the Gospel of John to do it.  I had read that encounter hundreds of times, but one day the Lord made it very personal…but the key to it becoming personal is I had to read it hundreds of times before I was able to hear the Shepherd’s voice.  As He asked Peter if he loved Jesus…I began to sense that question wasn’t for Peter…it was for me…and just like Peter I answered in stages.  My first answer was kind of nonchalantly given, and by the end of that encounter I understood that I was being called to feed, minister, and tend to His sheep.

Listen to me, preacher…this right here is free…and it’s not part of today’s message…but it’s important that you have your pride bubbles burst.  Are you ready for this?  This is what Jesus told me when He called me into ministry that keeps me from getting prideful over the followers God has led to my ministry.  Are you ready!?!  Some of you need this to burst your pride bubble…don’t get mad it me…it’s from the Holy Ghost…

The sheep I draw and lead to your ministry are not your sheep – they are Mine. – Jesus

That’s right, friends.  You know how I know that was the voice of Jesus?  I read the Bible.  I know His voice.  He said that My Sheep know My voice.  I know His voice.  I heard His voice yet again as I was reading through a devotional book, and the Bible verses for that day were Psalm 28:7-9 (NLT). That was when I understood that He was calling me to be a pastor.  He gave me that title.  He called me, He anointed me, He chose me, He educated me, and He graduated me as Pastor Bryan J. Kizer of Christlike Ministries NWA…and He did all of it through the Word of God. 

If I never took the time to read the Bible I wouldn’t have known His voice.  I wouldn’t have heard Him call me into ministry in 2001, and I wouldn’t have heard Him graduate me as Pastor in January of 2011.  If you’ll notice, I began this ministry full-time in February of 2011. 

So, the Word of God is absolutely vital to us as believers, friends.  It’s the reason why I am writing these messages today…and I would like to encourage you to do like I’ve had to do.  I’ve had to fast from television, computer games, sports talk radio, and secular music because those things had more of an importance to my life then the Word of God.

Friend, we must do whatever we must in order to ensure that we are actively engaged in the Word of God…especially in this day and age where there is so much garbage being preached in today’s churches.  The only way we can know what’s pure and true is by reading the Bible…other wise we’re going to wind up being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine like Paul warned.  Was that Paul? Was it Timothy? Was it Peter? Who was it that gave that warning? If you don’t know…maybe it’s time to get out your Bible and start reading to find out…Amen!?!

Closing:

Well, praise the Lord!  Wasn’t that an awesome message?  What a wonderful way to get back into writing for the Lord.  This is why I took such a long time between series.  I never want to write without the anointing from the Holy Ghost.  I hope you receive this message with the heart in which it was written.  I always write from an attitude and heart of love.  My desire is for us all to be changed and transformed…and for all of us to use what the Lord speaks through my writings to help us to grow, mature, develop, and maintain our relationship and walk with God. I don’t want what I write to point to me…but to Him.  In the end, this is all really about Jesus…and my desire to help us all learn to conform more and more into the image of His Son.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this message.  It’s the first message of seven in this series.  I hope that you like it, and more importantly apply it…and come back for the next message in this series.

Blessings & Grace to you.

Pastor Bryan J. Kizer

Christlike Ministries NWA

“My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 16:24

 

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