Friday, April 25, 2008

A Willingness and Passion to Study and Know the Scriptures

“I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” – Psalm 119:11

The heart’s cry of a healthy church should be that we might not sin against God. According to this passage in Psalms, the way to accomplish that goal is to have God’s word protecting our hearts and minds. The church must be passionate about learning and knowing God’s word.

This falls under the mantle of “Discipleship”, but it also requires more than talk. The word of God is living and active, according to Hebrews 4, and therefore must not be reacted to as a lifeless work of literature. The leaders of a healthy church must set the pace of passion for His word by drenching ourselves in His Word’s sanctifying power.

“Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” – John 17:17

The word “Sanctify” means to “Set apart for holy use by God.” God’s own words are what set us aside for His use. Jesus prayed this prayer for us in John 17, not just those disciples who were there.

When items were sanctified in the Old Testament, they went through a special cleansing ceremony by the priest. Since Jesus said that the word of God “sanctifies” us, He was saying that it “makes us clean for God’s use.” His word has a cleansing effect on us to wash away the dirt of the daily grind in the world. The leaders of the church should be firmly grounded in scripture themselves to lead the laity into a passionate love for the word of God.

How do leaders motivate the body to be passionate about knowing the scriptures?

1. Teach the Truth – Scripturally sound messages

2. Set the Example – Daily personal study by all leaders in the church

3. Be Accountable – Leaders asking each other about personal studies

4. Provide Study Helps – Both at church and for home study

5. Be Genuine In Lifestyle – Live out what we preach and teach

6. Live Out the Victory – Do not complain or argue among the body

7. Let God Prove Himself – Watch and Pray according to His will

When the church passionately pursues the truth in Scripture, God will reveal Himself as He is. Otherwise, we have false expectations and our foundation in like quicksand. In the story of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7, Jesus says the fool heard the word, but never acted on it. The wise builder heard the word and put it into practice. That foundation is indestructible! It is true for individual lives and for the church family.

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