SanLo Community, an update for the week of June 9, 2019…
More Than a Book – Psalm 19:7-11 – Pastor Scott
We are starting a new series this week – Why doctrine matters. Doctrine is defined as beliefs held and taught by the church. Doctrine is so important. It’s good to know that what we believe and teach here is solid and straight from Scripture. It’s not anything we made up or water down or twist to fit our needs. We believe the Bible is inerrant (which means has no errors) and we use it as a basis for what we believe and what we teach. So we start the series on doctrine talking about the Bible! I was told the three most important things in studying the Bible – context, context, context. It’s crucial that we stick to what the Bible says. There’s a lot of new teachings or religious leaders making up beliefs to fit their agenda. But there’s an old saying – if it’s new, it isn’t true.
The Bible has been around for centuries and many intelligent people have tried to find errors or contradictions in it and have failed. The Bible is more than a book. Some call it a love letter from God to us. Some say BIBLE – Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. It’s known as God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures, the Living Word. It is the best-selling book in the world. The most important thing is, the Bible is 100% truth. So why does the doctrine of Scripture matter?
1) Scripture has the power to change and transform us. It helps us live the lives we were created to live (vv.7-8a) Law = “torah - teaching, instruction, doctrine.” The Bible teaches us and is perfect = “entire, whole, complete, free from blemishes.” For centuries, people have tried to prove the Bible is wrong and that it has holes in it. Yet no one can. It has stood the test of time. It is free from error and that is so important. Especially if we are to live our lives based on what it says. It is perfect and it revives the soul. God’s Word can transform our soul and revive it. Revives = restores, turn away from evil, turn towards God; moving back to a point of departure. When you fall away and find yourself far from God, the Bible can help bring you back to a right place with God. It refreshes, revives and rejuvenates, restores. The Bible changes us in most beautiful ways. It revives the soul but it also changes our way of thinking. It says (v.7b) Testimony = reminder, warning. The Bible helps us know what is right and wrong. Knowing it makes us wise. It is sure = something you can stand on, trust, believe in. It is reliable. Wise = not just smart or intelligent. An intelligent attitude in the way we live, in matters of general interest, basic morality, prudence in secular affairs, skills in the arts, moral sensitivity and spiritual experience. (v.8) Precepts = rules intended to regulate behavior or thought. That’s what the Bible can do – it can help us! Because these precepts are right, they bring joy to the heart. The Bible gives joy to the heart (touches us emotionally), makes us wise (intellectually) and restores our soul (spiritually). The Bible is much more than a book. It is a life changer.
2) Scripture keeps us from sin and danger. (v.8b) The Bible warns us and it enlightens the eyes. When you don’t have sight, you can hurt yourself – bump into walls, trip on things, or fall in holes. We can have both eyes open and working but we can still make bad choices. Scripture helps us avoid pitfalls. Warning signs are meant to help us avoid danger. God’s Word comes from God and is pure. God is pure and He will never lead us into sin or impurity. In fact, it lights the path. Psalm 119:105, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. The Bible keeps our feet on the path. The Bible helps us see what we should and should not do; where we should and should not go; who we should and who we should not hang out. The Bible puts light on what we need to see. We need to let the Bible light our way and we shouldn’t be use to the darkness of this world.
The Bible warns us, like when we are dealing with children. The Bible says not to exasperate (irritate intensely) our children. But sometimes as adults we do exactly that and it never helps. So if we take heed and listen to the warning, it’ll lead to a more peaceful home.
3) The Scripture brings us our greatest joy. (vv.10-11) When we think of rules and laws, we may think of chains that prevent us from having fun. But as much as the Bible points to danger and warns us, it also points to success and rewards us. The reward comes when you obey what Scripture says. It’s more valuable that gold which even back in the psalmists’ time was considered one of the most valuable commodities. Being warned is only part of the equation. If you are warned but don’t take heed, you will suffer the consequences. But if you read and obey, then you will be rewarded. (Proverbs 2:1-5) We need to read the Word. We need to study it, memorize it and apply it to our lives. The Bible itself is a treasure. We take it for granted in this country. Bibles come in all shapes and sizes. They have pocket Bibles, giant Bibles, leather Bibles, hard cover, soft cover, Bible apps for the phone. You can get the King James, New King James, ESV, NIV, NASB, RSV, Living Bible, even the Bible in Pidgin. But in some countries, you can be thrown in jail for having a Bible. Bibles are so scarce that whole communities have to share one Bible. Each person would be responsible to memorize a section and recite it for the group. In countries like this, they treasure the Bible. But here, we tend to take it for granted and forget what a treasure it really is. How important it is to get into the Word and allow it to change us and help us be the people God created us to be; to help us live the lives God created us to live!
Proverbs 3:1-2 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. The Bible is not just some book that’s meant to sit on the shelf – ready to be pulled down when we need it. It’s not a dictionary or a cook book. It’s much more than just words on paper. It is life changing. It’s something we all need to read and commit our lives to. Charles Spurgeon said “I would recommend you either believe God up to the hilt, or else not to believe at all. Believe this book of God, every letter of it, or else reject it.” Greg Laurie says, “Success in the Christian life is dependent on how much of the Bible you get into your hearts and minds on a daily basis and how obedient you are to it.”
Reading the Bible can make a difference in your life the way nothing else can. Reading Scripture can bring you joy that you can’t get from anywhere else. It can help you be a better parent, son or daughter, worker, neighbor, friend. It can give you peace that surpasses all worldly understanding. Reading the Bible builds your foundation so you can stand when the storms of life come. Knowing that we stand on the truth will help us withstand any storm.
For the Beauty; Let Us Adore Him; Scandal of Grace; Speak O Lord; Doxology.
Thank you to Munetaka (Morry) and Sandy Mori of our Nichigo department, for sharing their journey from the golf course to the mission field, including a year of training at Tokyo Biblical Seminary starting at the age of 65! With Morry’s graduation this past March 20th, they now have been called to serve with JEMS in Amakusa, an area of Japan where Christianity had roots centuries ago, but under persecution, unsuccessfully attempted to be completely eliminated by the ruling shoguns. They are responding to the call to assist other Christians in the area, including Lily Suzuki, to bring the gospel to the people there.