Home Bible Study- Lutz, Florida
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4
Welcome, one and all to Home Bible Study. We’re going to continue studying the book of Romans in due course, but I wanted to take time to wish you a Blessed 2014 and begin the New Year with this reflection.
I’m a Believer…now what?
Once you become a Believer, a process of change begins in your life called sanctification. This is a period of Spiritual growth in Christ Jesus.
Let’s begin with this Bible verse.
1: Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
We must not compare ourselves to men.
Instead we must heed the Word coming from the Apostle Peter,
1 Peter 1
1: but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
2: because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
The Apostle Paul writes regarding our spiritual growth,
13: …until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a (what’s the next word) mature man (or woman), to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (this is our goal).
For example in Ephesians 4:32 we are commanded: Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
From this we know God’s behavior towards us becomes our measure for our behavior towards one another.
Now we’re not going to get there overnight. This is going to take time.
Can I get fries and a coke with that?
Unfortunately, we live in a world where we want to fast-track just about everything.
We may be used to drive-thru restaurants, microwave ovens, and smart phones, washing machines that do everything but fold our clothes for us, computers, and the like. These objects speed up our chores, boost our productivity, and increase our already fast-paced lives. But downsides exist to modern technology. One that goes undetected by the user (for the most part) is that it produces an inner desire for instant solutions to every problem that is encountered.
But not every process lends itself to acceleration. Sanctification is one of these.
Sanctification is a life-long journey. We have so much to learn along the way about the Lord Jesus Christ and ourselves and there aren’t any shortcuts.
Truth is people grow little spiritually after salvation. Although there is usually a burst of excitement and enthusiasm following one’s salvation experience this fades in time. Most Believers fail to pursue spiritual maturity through prayer, Bible reading, Bible study and fellowship.
Believe me when I say God is not pleased when His children opt for comfort and complacency. This is why God’s Word commands each one of us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:17.
How can you “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior if your Bible remains on the bookshelf unopened and unread?
How can you “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior if you don’t understand what you are reading? And how can you mature as a Believer if you read your Bible but you don’t know what it means?
Therefore the first step in Spiritual growth is “cognition.”
God’s pattern for Spiritual growth starts with understanding what the Bible says and what it means. If you don’t know what it means, you don’t have the Truth.
Scripture is its own interpreter, as you spend more time in each book, studying as you go, you too will come to know this truth. But what does this book say?
10: “For He (the LORD God) says, ‘Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there.’ “
In other words, the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself.
Scripture must harmonize. Therefore when trying to examine one Bible verse we must approach it with an eye to what the whole Bible says about that topic.
The next step and true sanctification begins with the "renewing" of your mind.
You must know the Truth – it’s a simple as that. You’re not going to get there any other way. It’s not an emotional or mystical journey. Spiritual growth won’t happen by osmosis either. Sanctification requires the discipline of constantly putting God’s Word in your mind.
Please understand this:
- Without the Truth of Scripture, there is no mechanism to restrain your sinful flesh (1 Corinthians 10:13).
- The only certain method for true Spiritual growth starts with absorbing God’s Word routinely (Romans 10:17).
This is a command to Believers from Scripture. It is not a suggestion my friends.
2: ...And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the (what) renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Cognition leads to “Conviction"
As you grow in your understanding of the Bible, you begin to develop convictions out of that understanding. These beliefs determine how you live.
As God’s Truths take hold in your life, they produce principles that you desire to live by and that you do not want to violate. This is sanctification. It’s the transformation of your heart (first) and then your mind that compels you to obey God’s Word.
Consider this: when you read the Bible you’re not just trying to know it academically. You’re studying the Word of God to develop a set of convictions that will rule your life, the lives of your loved ones, and guide you all toward greater Christlikeness.
If you’re truly growing spiritually, you don’t read the Bible for educational purposes, or because you “feel” the need to do so. You don’t approach the Bible casually or carelessly and you don’t flippantly disregard its truths.
If you’re truly growing spiritually, you come to Scripture eager for spiritual nourishment which it alone provides. Just as Peter wrote,
1 Peter 2
2: like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”
During the first 4-8 months of life, newborns need only breast milk or formula to meet all their nutritional needs. This is the analogy Peter is using in this verse. A new Believer should be content with “the pure milk of the word” until such time as they are able to handle the meat or deeper Truths of God’s Word.
In closing I want to leave you with these thoughts. Your parents may not have told you everything you wanted to know while you were growing up in their care. This act was based on their good judgment and sensitivity to your needs.
In truth, Scripture may not tell us everything we want to know.
But the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.
But you won’t truly love God’s Word if it’s not already shaping the way you live today. And it can’t shape the way you live today if you don’t understand what it is saying and what it means. This is why any pattern for spiritual growth that doesn’t start with the study of God’s Word cannot lead you to sanctification.
John F. MacArthur
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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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