Explore Biblical Truths

Explore Biblical Truths

Chapter Two

Explore Biblical Truths
Crave Spiritual Milk 25 The Bible Is God's Blueprint For Our Lives 33
Crave Strong Meat 27 Increasing Your Love For God's Word 35
Devoted To … The Apostles' Teaching 29 God's Keeping Power Through His Word 37
What Is In The Bible? 31 Discussion Questions 39

1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12-14;

1 Peter 2:1-3

Crave Spiritual Milk

Not all memories of being a soldier are fond ones. While I was stationed in Korea, the only eggs and milk I and my fellow soldiers had were powdered. Later, in Japan, we had fresh eggs and milk. I remember, as we disembarked, we were told that milk was available. It was 1:00 a.m., and we waited in a line that was at least a city block long, to enjoy a small glass of milk. These luxuries lasted only two months, before returning to Korea, where we were again served powdered eggs and milk.

Peter admonished Christians to desire the 'sincere milk of the Word'. There are 13 words for 'desire' in the Greek language (the original language of the New Testament). The one which God inspired Peter to use was 'to desire earnestly', or 'to long for'. David wrote in Psalm 42:1, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God." (NIV)

Spiritual nourishment comes from God's Word. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) If we are to grow spiritually, we must be in God's Word. This requires a deep desire for the Bible. God's Word is pure and free from all evil admixture. We receive a spiritual life from Christian literature and music, but our best nourishment comes from God's Word (Bible).

How would you answer the following questions?

  • Would you stand in a long line at 1:00 a.m. to be able to read God's Word (i.e., to enjoy the 'milk of the Word')?

  • Would you be satisfied with 'spiritual powdered milk', if you had tasted that God's Word is good?

A new believer needs the 'pure milk of the Word'. But if a person, who has been a Christian for a long time, continues to consume only the 'milk' of the Word (and little or no 'meat' of the Word) he simply manifests that he is still a 'baby Christian'! (Hebrews 5:12-13, Living Bible)

"Heavenly Father, bring a thirst to my soul for the sincere 'milk of the Word', and help me to grow quickly in the Christian life so that soon I can enjoy the 'meat of the Word'.

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AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: With God's help, I will read the Bible faithfully, with an open heart and mind to the Holy Spirit. I will make every effort to obey the Word of God!

– Lowell Weller-

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Hebrews 5:12-14; Jeremiah 15:16

Crave Strong Meat

"Fast-food drive-through's" are popular in our society today. Years ago they didn't exist. Food took time to prepare and to cook, even in restaurants. Many Church-goers want 'spiritual fast-food' also. It is easier to sip milk than to chew food. In many churches more time is spent singing than in preaching. While singing is uplifting and an important part of the Sunday morning or Sunday evening service, the preaching of God's Word is of vital importance. The Word causes us to see truth. The read and the preached Word give direction in our lives. The 'meat of the Word' is both convicting and reassuring. The Greek language gives seven words in the New Testament for 'meat'. The one used in Hebrews 5 means nourishment and sustenance. While candy and ice cream taste good, it is meat and potatoes and vegetables which sustain us.

Recently I watched an evangelist on video. Only a part of a Bible verse was used in his sermon. The rest of his message consisted of personal experiences and humorous stories. Although his humor was well received, his 'message' lacked the 'meat of the Word'! It is true that newborn babes in Christ need the 'milk of the Word'. However, if we are to grow into mature Christians, we need the 'strong meat of the Word'. God's desire is for us to Grow Up – to become disciplined and insightful and discerning and mature followers of Christ! 1 Corinthians 13:11 and 1 Corinthians 14:20 tell us that, as believers, we are to "put away childish things" and that we are to become mature believers.

Here are a few suggestions that will guide you as you 'SEARCH the Scriptures'.

S-seriously("The people of Beroea gladly listened to the message, and they searched the Scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas' statements to see if they were really so. " – Acts 17:11; see also 2 Timothy 2:15)

E–earnestly ("I have thought much about your words, and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin." – Psalm 119:11; see also Joshua 1:8)

A-anxiously ("How can a young man stay pure? By reading your Word and following its rules." – Psalm 119:9; see also John 20:31)

R-regularly ("They – believers – delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely." – Psalm 1:2; see also Acts 17:11)

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C-carefully ("Then Jesus quoted them passage after passage from the writings of the prophets, beginning with the book of Genesis and going right on through the Scriptures, explaining what the passages meant and what they . said about himself." – Luke 24:27; see also 2 Timothy 3:16)

H-humbly ("And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. So don't fool yourselves." – James 1:22)

"Lord Jesus, my parents were faithful to aid my physical growth. I invite You to aid my spiritual growth."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: God being my helper, I resolve to activate my desire for the 'strong meat of God's Word'!

– Lowell Weller –

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Acts 2:41-47

Devoted To … The Apostles' Teaching

The sponge is a wonderful and amazing creature, and is quite useful after its life is over. The sponge can be glad it is not alive to fulfill its role in a common household, however, especially my household. Our one-year-old child creates some pretty ugly, disgusting messes. But it is nothing that a little water, soap, and sponge cannot clean up. Our trusty sponge soaks up all the milk-sopped toast, the spaghetti sauce and mashed bean combination, and of course, the potato salad watered down with apple juice. Sponges work wonders. They perform their jobs well by soaking up whatever juicy fluid comes their way.

People are like sponges in many ways. We soak up things that come our way. Sometimes those things are good, but unfortunately, sometimes those things are bad. The things that our world offers in many aspects are not good for us. On the big scale, it presents us with a world view that is often at odds with God's way of thinking and acting. On the small scale, there are all kinds of worldly activities that tempt our spirits and seduce our bodies which are detrimental for a healthy life in the Spirit.

God desires us to soak up good things. He wants to bless us by pouring out his grace upon us so that we can live lives that please him. This is not easy because of at least two factors. 1) The world has such a powerful influence. After all, we live in the world. But Jesus told us we are "not of this world" (John 15:19) and a little later he told us of his ability to limit the power of the world, "Fear not, I have overcome the world." (John 15: 33). 2) The world shapes our way of thinking subtly. We do not even notice that we are beginning to think and act less like we are subjects in the kingdom of God, and more like we are rulers in the world.

Luke tells us in Acts 2 of several practices of the 1st century Christians which God used to grace them with his way of thinking and doing, His way of holiness and love. Perhaps one of the most important ways was being devoted to the Apostles' teaching.

Attentiveness to God's way of thinking is necessary to overcome the world's power and to even notice it when it begins to influence us in an unrighteous way.

This requires spending time with God's Word and soaking it up like a sponge. Being devoted to the Apostle's teaching means ordering one's life around the Word of God,

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sitting under its authority, letting it ask questions of us, make demands on us, shape the way we think and act, taking it into our heart and bead. We, metaphorically – speaking, must let it soak through the skin into every muscle tissue, vein, artery, capillary, bone and marrow. We need a thorough saturation of the Word of God in our lives. This kind of devotion occurs when we hear the Word taught and preached on Sundays, when we read the Bible each day, when we memorize and meditate on particular verses, and when we spend some time each week deliberately and slowly reflecting on a meaningful passage of the Apostles' Teaching in Scripture.

"I thank you for your Word, O Lord, which grounds me in what is true and good and allows me to see things your way and not my own foolish ways."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I am blessed as I delight in the Law of the Lord and as I meditate on it day and night.

– Martin Adamson –

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2 Peter 1:12-21

What Is In The Bible?

The Bible has long been the best seller, most homes have at least one. We sing, "The B- I-B-L-E, yes, that's the book for me." But how many people know what is in it? I don't mean a lock of the baby's hair, a pressed flower from Aunt Matilda's wedding, or a bookmark crocheted by grandma when she was a girl. The Bible is a book; it was meant to be read.

Get acquainted with the Bible. Nearly any kind of story you want, you will find within the sixty-six books which comprise the Old and New Testaments.

A family came to visit us on the Olympic Peninsula. Just before they left, the mother put pajamas on the three boys because she knew they would fall asleep on the trip through the woods and over the water. Then the father asked them what Bible story they wanted to hear. Immediately, one boy stated he wanted a story about frogs. His father recalled and told the story of the frogs: hundreds of frogs, thousands of frogs, millions and millions and millions of frogs, here a frog, there a frog, everywhere a frog, from the book of Exodus. God had sent Moses to go down to Egypt-land and tell old Pharaoh, "Let my people go!" It's an exciting story and it contains worst things than frogs. You ought to read it.

You want to read a story about an orphan girl who became Queen? Read the book of Esther, but beware, her uncle's message to her might smack you between the eyes: "How do you know hut that you were sent to the kingdom/or such an hour as this?" Esther risked her life to save her people, the Jews. Talk about women's liberation? Read about Queen Vashti in the same story who stood up for what she believed and all the king's men were afraid of what their own wives might do if they heard of it.

Do you want to know where we came from? Read Genesis. But you might think you are reading today's newspaper. Do you want to know what is going to happen in the future? Read Revelation. But don't become discouraged; read the last chapter!

The Bible is more than a storybook. It is the Word of God. It tells us that God Almighty, the Creator and Ruler of the universe, loved us while we were still in our sin. H tells the story of redemption from sin. God sent His only Son to earth to pay the penalty for sin by dying on the cross for us. The Bible tells of the resurrection and

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Jesus' victory over sin, death and the grave.

Do you want to know how to live your life, pleasing God daily? Read Paul's Epistles. The Epistles are not the apostle's wives; they are letters written to the churches.

Read the Gospels to learn about Jesus, his life, his teaching, and his miracles. The miracles really happened and God still cares about each individual who comes to Him and cries out for help. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by me." That is why Jesus came; to show us the way to heaven. The Bible is our guidebook; we should read it and obey it.

"Father, I thank you for the Bible and how reading it can change my life and give me hope."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: The Bible is God's love story to me. Its message never ceases to move me.

– Laura Drewer –

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Psalm 119:105; John 1:1-18

The Bible Is God's Blueprint For Our Lives

When God created Adam and Eve in the beautiful Garden of Eden, they were innocent. God came down and walked and talked with them. God told them they could eat from all the trees in the garden except from the tree that was in the middle of the garden. Adam and Eve were happy as long as they communed with God.

Then they made a mistake; they got in communion with the serpent. The serpent questioned what God had said and planted doubt in Eve's mind. She listened to him and desired what he promised. She and Adam both ate of the fruit of the tree that God had explicitly told them not to eat of.

Psalms 1 warns us today about communicating with the wrong people. First a person just walks along listening to the wicked, then he stands still considering his suggestions, finally he sits down and gets involved.

God gave us the Bible to reveal Himself to us, to communicate His will to us and to teach us how to live.

The first sentence of Genesis says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." When our schools teach otherwise, students have no foundation to build their education on. When they are told that the mighty majestic mountains, the microscopic desert flowers and the multitude of stars and planets probably appeared after an explosion, they are left with unanswered questions. Reading the Bible reveals that God is the creator and sustained of every perfect detail in heaven and on earth. The Bible explains that God made man from the dust of the earth and breathed into him the breath of life. He is our Heavenly Father who loves us, disciplines us, and gives us an abundant life of joy and peace.

John 1:24 states that the glory of God was revealed when God's Son became a man. God's love and compassion for mankind was demonstrated through the teachings, the miracles, the death and resurrection of Jesus. Before he ascended into heaven, Jesus promised that he would return and take his loved ones to live forever with Him.

Jesus taught what God's will is for all men as he sat on the mountain, as he walked in the way, and as he ate with the disciples. We are to be stewards of God's creation. We

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are to live in favor with God and man. We are to live as Jesus lived: full of compassion, mercy and forgiveness. God's will is that all men should come to believe that Jesus died to pay their penalty for sin, that he rose to have victory over sin and the grave, and that he will return as he promised. God's will is for his followers to share his story as they go into the world and make disciples.

We have the Bible. God's Word which is quick, powerful and sharper than a two edged sword. It judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is not enough to just hear or read, but we are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly as we teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in our hearts to God. (Colossians 3)

"Thank you, Father, for your Word that reveals your love for us through Jesus and shows us how to live according to your will."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will continually read, study and obey your Word that I might not sin against you.

– William Drewer –

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Psalm 119:89-105

Increasing Your Love For God's Word

"Oh, how I love your law!" (Psalm 119:97)

It would take several pages to express my feelings about the Bar Mitzvah service I just attended. According to Jewish tradition, my best friend's son became a man today and has earned the right to publicly read and interpret God's law. The ceremony itself was awesome and inspiring. As I watched this young man speak and sing Hebrew, I could envision Jesus at that age, standing in the Temple before teachers, rabbis, friends and family, participating in the same ritual which has been passed on for centuries, yet only recorded for the last eighteen hundred years.

The experience of sitting in the Temple, which was shaped like a tent to represent the tents in which the Hebrew people lived during their journey to the Promised land, was deeply touching. I never could have imagined the joy which filled that sanctuary. Watching the "ark of the covenant" opened and the scrolls containing the Torah (laws of God) lifted and held as one cuddles a baby, pulled a sting attached to my heart. As this young man paraded around the sanctuary holding the Torah, the congregation would lean over to touch the Torah with their prayer books and quickly kiss the book. To hear him speak on the Scripture chosen for that day filled me with pride and wonder.

The most striking feeling I had was found in observing how these beautiful people love God's Word! I could see it in the smiles on their faces. I could sense it as they excitedly reached out to touch the Torah. I could hear it as they spoke God's Word in the ancient language of Hebrew.

This humbled me. This made me realize how much I have taken God's Word for granted. I was forced to ask myself how much I really loved God's law. Yes, I do love God's Word. His Word is power. His Word brings salvation. But do I love His Word with the same passion I witnessed today? Do I caress my Bible with the awe struck delight of knowing this book contains God's Holy Word?

Perhaps I could not respond in as affirming way as I would have hoped, but I do know one thing is now certain. From this moment on, I will have a new attitude toward God's Word. I long to have that joy in my heart which I witnessed today. "Oh, how I love your law!"

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Sabbat Shalom!

"As the Psalmist, O Lord, let me love Your Word. Let me taste the sweetness of its truth and discover the beauty of its wisdom. In loving Your Word, I will grow ever- increasingly in my love for You. Let Your Word be my delight, my salvation and hope. In Jesus' name. Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will hunger for the Word of God, for it satisfies the deepest cravings of my soul.

– Thomas Duckworth –

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Hebrews 10:10-39

God's Keeping Power Through His Word

Waking before dawn is not unusual for me. It is not a preference, but lying awake in the dark hours of the morning occurs quite often. As I lay in bed this morning, a phrase came into my head. I am not going to say I heard the voice of God, but I have no doubt that God gave me these words and the following image.

"Hold on to the Word of God." Nothing more was said, just these simple words. Immediately I knew that the expression had a double meaning. The Word of God is Jesus. The Gospel according to John states, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was GOD… And the Word became flesh (Jesus) and dwelt among us" John 1:1, John 1:14. The second meaning is in reference to the Bible being the Word of God.

Upon perceiving these words, I saw an image of a man falling from a ledge. I presumed that the man was me. As I was falling, I noticed I was holding a rope in my left hand. It is human instinct, when falling, to release any objects in our hands in order to catch ourselves. But I reminded myself as I was falling, to "hold on to the Word of God." Still holding the rope, I fell into a pit of black mire. Sinking into the pit of dark, thick liquid, I continued to hold onto the rope with my left hand. After a few moments of being unable to move, I suddenly felt a tug on the rope which prompted me to grip it with both hands. In another moment I was being pulled back up to safety.

That rope clearly represented the Word of God. Had I not been holding onto the "rope," I would have plunged into the pit and drowned. Although I am thankful that I could hold on to the "rope," I am even more grateful for the greater truth of this early morning experience. God is on the other side of the rope. We can trust Jesus and God's Holy Word because God is on the other side of His Word.

May I pass on this bit of encouragement to you? Hold on to the Word of God. Cling to Jesus. Hold fast to the truth of His written Word. There may come a time when all there is between you and a life altering experience is His Word. He will uphold you. He will securely pull you to Him. Although we cannot see the other end of the rope, we can hold on to what we do have: His Word. Hold on to the Word of God.

"Heavenly Father, You have given me Your Word and I thank You. I recognize that S-atan and the world would try to pull me away from you, but as long as I hold on to that

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which You have given me, I shall prevail. Do not let me be distracted from Your glory and power, that I may trust You all the days of my life. Jesus, I hold on to You! Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: God will never let me down. He will always lift me up.

– Thomas Duckworth –

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Discussion Questions

  1. Tell why you think far too many Christians do not have an apparent intense "hunger" for knowledge of God's Word, as revealed by their sporadic reading and study of the Bible?

  2. In terms of Biblical content, how would you distinguish between the "Milk" of the Word and the "Meat" of the Word?

  3. Tell with what degree of conviction you agree (or disagree) with the following statement: "Attentiveness to God's way of thinking is necessary to overcome the world's power and to even notice it when it begins to influence us in an unrighteous way." What specifically can you do to become more "attentive" to God's way of thinking? Do you regularly spend time with God's Word and "soaking it up like a sponge"?

  4. Why do you think so many people throughout the world want to own a copy of the Bible, more than any other book? Why do so many people find the Bible to be such an interesting book to read? In "essence", what is the "central message" of the Bible?

  5. In seeking to share God's "Good News" with people throughout the world who have seldom or never read the Bible, how would you "outline" God's "Plan of Salvation"? What "basic information" would you choose to share with an "unenlightened" person regarding the following Christian "concepts" (doctrines)? (a) God's creation of mankind; (b) Man's fall into sin; (c) God's giving of the Old Testament Laws, and the purpose of these Laws (i.e., the ceremonial laws and the moral laws); (d) the Incarnation (i.e., the embodiment of God in human form for 33 years on the earth); (e) the purpose of the death and resurrection of Jesus; (I) the meaning of repentance and 'saving' faith; (g) God's power to transform human nature; (h) the conditions which God requires of a believer to maintain a "vital" Christian life and an "up-to-date" relationship with God.

  6. Put a "check" by the following statements which best describe your attitude towards the Bible:

    1. __ A "Holy Book" which should be venerated and placed in a visible and prominent location in my home.

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    2. __ An interesting book which contains accounts of ancient history, Jewish poetry, and moral precepts, worthy of being read occasionally.

    3. __ A Book which should be taken "very literally", worthy of being "hallowed" and "worshiped".

    4. __ A Book which is the result of both divine inspiration and human insights, that must be interpreted carefully because of the nature of "progressive revelation" which makes this Book distinctive from all other books.

  7. Share a "dark experience" (a "pit") in your life when you found that the "precious promises of God's Word" brought relief and enlightenment and comfort and encouragement to your troubled heart and mind.

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