Episode 38: The Importance of God's Word in Our Lives

Peace to Live By Episode 38: The Importance of God's Word in Our Lives - Daniel Litton
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[Transcripts may not match broadcasted sermon word for word, and may contain extra material that was cut from the broadcast due to time constraints]

       Today, I want to talk about the importance of God’s Word in our lives. Indeed, it is very important that we align our thoughts and steps in our day-to-day lives with God’s Word because His Word is Truth. From his Word comes the understanding of reality for how things really are, and whatever his Word tells us is the truth that we can live by. Without God’s words, we would be wandering stars with no certainty to where we are going in our lives, or for that matter, with where will be spending our life after this one. But his words instruct us—they give us life. Our lives, as Christians, bear the good fruit of his Word.

       There has to be something that we base rules and morality on, in our world, for our lives. We cannot make them up ourselves because we, as humans, don’t always do things the right ways. No, there has to be an ‘outside’ source that gives us the way we are to live our lives. We believe that this comes to us in the Bible. Now, even though the Bible appears to have been written by human authors, in reality it was written by God himself. He is the Divine Author. We have to believe that if we are going to believe that His Word is special and above any other writings that come from the hands of humans. God used humans to write his Book, as that’s the way he chose to write it, but in reality they are his Words. Don’t get caught up in a human way of thinking, in a human perspective.

       But I want to look at the importance and greatness of God’s Word today by examining a passage in Psalms, particularly Psalm 19. The Psalm was written by David, the man who was after God’s own heart. And he explains to us how great God’s Word really is. So, if you’ll turn over there or tap there, let’s consider Psalm 19, starting in verse 7. Now, when you get a chance, read verses 1 through 6 to learn about how God has revealed himself through nature, as I just briefly touched on. But today our focus will be on the Bible. Psalm 19, starting in verse 7, the text says:

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalms 19:7-14, ESV).

Let us examine this passage, along with some other ones, as I discuss the importance of God’s Word today in our lives, as believers.

       Like David tells us here in Psalm 19, that God’s Word, or law, is “perfect,” “sure,” and “right.” One of the first things you’ll come to understand when you first become a Christian is that God’s Word, the Bible, is perfect. It is perfect in what it says. That is, there are no flaws or errors found in it. You should have been taught that by someone right after you become saved. We have to believe this, as Christians, because if God’s Word isn’t perfect, then what’s the point? In that case, it would be just one books among the many books about life. It would just be human ‘opinion’ that is equal to every other human opinion. But when we understand that the Bible is in fact true in every aspect, this means we can trust what it says for every area of our lives. We can trust God that he guides us into what is best for us, and that he himself, is trustworthy. If his Word wasn’t trustworthy, then he would not be trustworthy.

       Jesus believed that God’s Word was trustworthy. Do you remember what he told Satan during his temptation in the desert? After Satan had tempted him, he told him, ““‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4. ESV). Food is important for our well-being, for our day-to-day living. We have to have food to sustain our lives, right? Jesus especially I’m sure felt the hunger pangs at the point where he said this because he was fasting as he was facing Satan’s temptations. Food undoubtedly sounded really good to him. But, food, while it is important and given to us by God to sustain us, is not the most important thing in our day. Really, the most important thing that we should take in is the Word of God, “every word that comes from the mouth of God,” as Jesus said. Indeed, Jesus told us God’s Word is perfect, for he said elsewhere, “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18, ESV).

       Now sometimes we come to the Bible with a critical mindset, questioning in our hearts if what is said is really true. But as I already established, we have to decide before we come to his Word that it is in fact true in everything it says. Otherwise, then we can just pick and choose what we want to take from it, and it doesn’t become very effective for us. If you look at the pages of Scripture that way, you will just start to pass by more and more verses and passages you don’t like until you have completely false picture altogether. That’s not a good place to be in because it will lead you into error. All of God’s Word has to be considered as true, from the front to the back. This way, you can let it have its full impact on our mind, on your thinking. Remember, if God is wrong on one point, then really he can’t be trusted at all. Jesus said God is perfect, so he cannot be wrong about anything if we are trust him (see Matthew 5:48).

       But going back to Psalm 19, we can note that David uses several different words to describe God’s Word, which are “testimony,” “precepts,” “commandment,” and “rules.” The Bible is testimony because it tells us about God and the lives of some of his choice saints. It also gives us his precepts, commandments, and rules. This is the truth from God’s Word that shapes our lives into goodness. Without knowing what is right and true, we would not be able to follow goodness in our lives. The Apostle Peter told us in his second epistle, “His [God’s] divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:3-4, ESV). So, we need God’s “knowledge,” his Word, to have “life and godliness.” And Peter notes how God has given us “his precious and very great promises,” to be “partakers of the divine nature.” That’s serious business; that’s true life. It is these “promises” that continue to make us more like Jesus by escaping the ways of this world.

       David also points out how God’s laws revive our souls. When we are feeling down and out, God’s Word can bring us back on our feet. It can bring us out of the dumps. Sometimes we are down because of a certain life situation. Sometimes we are down and out because we are longing for something in our lives that we don’t have yet. And sometimes, things just in general aren’t going that good, or least, that’s the way we perceive our surroundings. But whatever the situation or case, the Bible can lift us up out of our slumber. It is written in Proverbs, “The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net” (Psalms 25:14-15, ESV). The Bible is able to care for our spiritual life and godliness. We are to fear God, or reverence him for who is, and this reverence of him, his greatness, is clean for us and will endure forever for those of us who know him.

       God’s Word also makes “wise the simple.” Anyone of us ‘average’ persons can understand the great things of life, and gain great wisdom and insight through studying God’s Word. The writer of Hebrews tells us, ““For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV). By the Scriptures we can discern both good and evil. By them we can know what is God’s will and what is not. By following God’s Word, we are led into life, into the right and correct ways of living. James tells us in his epistle, “the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing” (James 1:25, ESV). The Bible not only gives us answers for life’s issues, but it also gives us liberty in its Truth.

       So, the commandments of the Lord are “pure, enlightening the eyes” and are “clean, enduring forever.” Through Scripture, we can understand morality. We can understand the things God considers evil, to be avoided, and we can understand the things that are good. God clearly defines what is appropriate, and what we should avoid. Humans derive different opinions based on what they think, based on their emotions, and based on elements of the culture in which they reside. We know, though, that truth cannot be developed based off of people’s opinions. Just like there are natural laws and order in the world and universe, so it is with morality and goodness. What is really true and good, clean and pure is what God says is right.

       Now, David says, “the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.” It is true that through God’s Word we cultivate an underlying joy that is present regardless of our circumstances in life. We have this joy because no matter what is going on, whether good or bad, we understand that God is in control and is behind all the details. There is nothing that filters into our lives which is outside of God’s control. God just didn’t set the world in motion and then step back to see how things would turn out. That’s a deistic perspective. God is very involved in our world, and does have say in everything. The writer of Hebrews so clearly tell us of Jesus that, “he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3, ESV). If Jesus, as God, is not in control of everything, then he isn’t in control at all. Even though mankind still has free will, God is still in complete control.

       On a personal level, what is great about God’s Word is the fact that it renews our minds into right thinking. Really, when each of us became a Christian, all things became new. We became knew creations, with our old selves passing away. We were born-again, as Jesus put it. And, it was through the living and abiding Word of God that this was accomplished. Someone shared the Gospel of Jesus with us, and we believed in those words. And thusly, we were born-again. The Apostle Paul told the Romans, in Romans chapter 12, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (12:2, ESV). So, as we, as believers, are new creations, we are also instructed to renew our minds in Christ, and then we are able to live better lives based on the goodliness that we have learned and cultivated into our minds. We learn from the pages of Scripture what is the will of God, which Paul called good, acceptable, and perfect.

       So, then, really it all comes down to the fact that, “the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb,” as David said. Indeed, there is nothing in this world, no other book or even religion, which can bring us true life. The Bible is not just one of many books that is completely true. The Bible is the only book in the world which is completely true. God’s Word is the greatest word to be desired because of its complete truthfulness and refreshment of our souls. David would say elsewhere, in the most famous Psalm, that God restores our souls, and leads us in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (see Psalm 23:3-4). How does God do this? How does he lead us? Well, he accomplishes his leading of us through his Word. When we read his Word, it refreshes and restores our souls. It shows, gives, and enables us, by the power of the Spirit of God, to follow his righteousness.

       Now, the psalmist also points out the fact that, “Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” The other great thing about the Bible is its warnings to us. That may sound kind of weird, but warnings are good because they keep us out of trouble, if we will listen and follow them. God warns us about something because he loves us, not because he’s a cosmic killjoy who loves to see us suffer, as people. No, God wants what is best for us, each of us individually. Warnings, when harkened, keep our actions in step and preserve our life toward problems that could develop. When we sin, in the most basic sense we go against God, and that’s not what we want to be doing. We want to live the best lives that we can, honoring God’s Word so that God will be pleased, we will be preserved, and others will be helped. Following what the Bible says gets us the best out of life.

       Continuing in Psalm 19, we read, “Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.” Often times we don’t even know when we are sinning, and we sin so easily that we don’t realize we are sinning. So, God’s Word can show us new areas where improvement is needed, areas where we didn’t realize we had a problem beforehand. But sometimes we are sinning purposefully, even though we know better and know we shouldn’t be. Sometimes we have secret, ‘pet’ sins in our lives. And the more and more sinning that we do, the more we let sin have dominion in our bodies, and we lose control. But our goal, as Christians, is to live the best lives that we can, keeping away from sin by identifying it through the pages of Scripture.

       If we turn over to the New Testament, to Romans chapter 6, we can see a little section from the Apostle Paul which sort of commentates on what David was saying here. In Romans chapter 6, let’s start in verse 12. We read:

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:12-14, ESV).

So, we see that we, as believers, can still let sin reign in our flesh if we are not keeping our thoughts and actions aligned with God’s Truth. Once we keep on sinning, we give ourselves over to the power of sin, and Satan can even gain a stronghold in our lives. But, by instead presenting ourselves to God, following his Truth in our lives instead of following sin and the ways of this world, we gain true life and sin loses any dominion it has taken in our lives. We have been brought from darkness, death, into life in the Spirit. And because we are no longer enslaved to the old Jewish law from the Old Testament, but instead our living under Jesus’ Grace, with the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to choose right (see John 1:17).

       Ultimately then, for each one of us, our goal in life should be, as David ends with, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” If we fill ourselves with God’s Truth, and fill our minds with God’s Word, acting on those words, we will have good actions and attitudes in our lives. Our words which we speak and our thoughts inside our minds will be aligned with the Truth, God’s truth. And we will then be more pleasing to him, and really helping out ourselves. Like I stated, when we follow God’s truth we live life to its fullest extent. Since is Words are good, right, and pure, they give us life. Life only comes to us through God’s Word, through our Lord, the firm foundation upon whom we can stand and who makes us right with him. The Apostle John tells us of Jesus, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5 ESV).

       I want to close with the fact of what Jesus told us at the end of his great sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, and I think it brings some good insight into what I have talked about today with God’s Word. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7, starting in verse 24:

““Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27, ESV).

The words we are putting into our lives matter. If we will follow Jesus’ Words, the things he says to us, our lives will be built upon a firm foundation. When trouble comes in our lives, we won’t have to worry because our house is built on the rock. We have God on our side, and we are anchored in the Truth.

       Therefore, in conclusion today, it should be noted that God's desire for mankind, for people, is that everyone come to accept His Truth through believing in his Son, Jesus Christ, whom God sent into the world to die for the sins of the people of the world. God wants to be in a personal relationship with everyone, and even though all of us have sinned against God, He has provided a way for us to reconnect, to regain that communication with Him. Jesus bore all sins of all time when he died on the cross, some 2,000 years ago, and was a perfect sacrifice for our sins in God's sight. Therefore, anyone who believes that Jesus' blood atones for his or her sins will be saved from any of God's wrath to come in the future.

       This invitation I am giving today is open to anyone who would believe in God. There is no sin, or series of sins, that you could commit that would disqualify you from receiving God's free gift of salvation. Any sin you have committed, no matter how heinous, is forgivable. God guarantees he will come into your life, making you born-again, so that you can live life to its fullest extent, becoming like his Son, Jesus. Don't think that God couldn't possibly love you, because God does love you. Remember what the Apostle John penned, “For God so loved the world” and that was why he sent his Son Jesus to die for all sin (ESV). God doesn't hate anyone.

        If you would like to be set free from the weight of your sin and believe in Jesus, all you have to do is pray a simple prayer like this:

“God, you are right about me. I have done things that are offensive to you, and I have not been in right relationship with you. God, please come into my life and forgive me of my sins, the things that I have done that were wrong against you. I believe that Jesus is Lord of the universe, and that he came to earth as a human 2,000 years ago and died on the cross for my sins, shedding his blood as a complete payment for everything I have ever done wrong, or will do wrong. I believe that Jesus rose from the dead three days after his death, and that now he sits in heaven above with you at your right hand. Please Father, transform my life and make me like Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”

If you have prayed that prayer with me today, you can know for sure that you are now safe from any of God's wrath to come, which includes Hell, and that you have full access to His benefits and that He will be with you forever.

       Let's pray:

       God, thank you for your love. Thank you for the opportunity to share this message, your message, with others. I pray for those who have just accepted the truth, who have just accepted reality, that you would make them grow in their newfound faith. Help them to be like your Son, Jesus. I also want to pray for those who still have not accepted your truth, that they would seriously consider these things, your things, and that they would come to a place where they would willingly accept your truth as you present it. Soften their hearts, Father, for no one knows except you when the end has come. Help each and everyone of us today as we go from this place of attention. Keep us from the evil one, and remind us of your truth always. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

-Daniel Litton