The Tremendous Advantages of God's Word
Rom 3:,2 GW Is there any advantage, then, in being a Jew? Or is there any value in being circumcised? (2) There are all kinds of advantages. First of all, God entrusted them with his word.
So far in Romans,. Paul has condemned the unrighteous, the self-righteous, the self-righteous Jew, and those who would rely on the outward sign of circumcision for their salvation. As we heard last week, the same applies for those in the Christian church, who would point to their baptism alone or their self-righteousness for salvation.
So of what advantage was it to be born into a Jewish family and to be circumcised, or what advantage is it to be born into a Christian family and be baptized? Without the addition of faith there is no advantage as far as salvation goes, however as Paul says there really are tremendous advantages and first and foremost on the list is that the Jew and the Christian has the Word of God.
Think about it. Circumcision and baptism are necessary elements of salvation, but how would anyone have known to circumcise or how would anyone know to baptize without the Word of God? Here it is in black and white, not some oral tradition handed down through the ages, but black and white words from God, handed down through a people group that God entrusted with His Word. Jews and spiritual Jews or Christians.
He said to the OT believers, “you must be circumcised in order to be saved., “
Gen 17:14 GW Any uncircumcised male must be excluded from his people because he has rejected my promise."
He said to the NT believers, “you must be baptized in order to be saved!”
Mar 16:16 GW Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Necessary elements for salvation, circumcision and baptism, effective only when accompanied by faith in the promised Christ of the OT and the risen Christ in the New. And there it is in black and white. Some may say, “well how can God change the requirements like that?” Fair question.
But the fact is He didn’t. He made circumcision and baptism a requirement for both Old and New Testament believers. A requirement that was fulfilled by Christ. NT believers, Christians, are circumcised in Christ when we are baptized because we “put on Christ” and all that He did to fulfill the Law becomes ours ...including being circumcised on the 8th day of His life.
And Jews who held to the promise of God concerning the coming Messiah were all baptized when Christ was baptized by John thereby fulfilling all “righteousness” for them.
But that’s not the only advantage to having the Word of God! The Word of God is a means of grace that is able to generate faith!
Rom 10:17 GW So faith comes from hearing the message, and the message that is heard is what Christ spoke.
Psa 19:7 GW The teachings of the LORD are perfect. They renew the soul. (His Word gives new life to the soul made dead by sin) The testimony of the LORD is dependable. (What an advantage to those who have the Word of God! They have something that is dependable!)
In a world that says truth is whatever you choose to make it, we have the Word of God which is absolute truth. Jesus said in Jn 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth, Your Word is truth! The Psalmist continues: It makes gullible people (those who are susceptible to the ways of the world, oh wait that would be you and me) wise.
Not only is God’s Word a means of grace but it is also helpful in showing us how to live!
2Ti 3:16 GW Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. (not one jot, not one tittle, not one syllable is missing, and every bit of it is God-breathed!) All of them (all of God’s Words) are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God's approval.
Look at some of the advantages of God’s Word that we find in the 119th Psalm. Do you want to live a life of integrity? Psa 119:1GW Blessed are those whose lives have integrity, those who follow the teachings of the LORD. Follow the teachings of the Lord....have integrity.
Young people, do you want to keep your life pure? (9) How can a young person keep his life pure? He can do it by holding on to your word.
Do you want help in your time of temptation? Then memorize God’s Word! (11) I have treasured your promise in my heart so that I may not sin against you. When the devil tempted Jesus He didn’t say, just a minute, I need to get my concordance out.
Do you want to find joy? (14) I find joy in the way shown by your written instructions more than I find joy in all kinds of riches.
Happiness? (16) Your laws make me happy.
Need strength as you walk through this vale of tears? (28) I am drowning in tears. Strengthen me as you promised.
Looking for hope? (49) Remember the word you gave me. Through it you gave me hope.
Comfort? (50) This is my comfort in my misery: Your promise gave me a new life.
Wisdom? (100) I have more wisdom than those with many years of experience, because I have obeyed your guiding principles.
Direction? (105) Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.
Peace and solid footing? (165) There is lasting peace for those who love your teachings. Nothing can make those people stumble.
And that’s all found in just one Psalm! But we need to be careful here in one point. A person could build a pretty good life for himself simply by following God’s rules. But if that’s all we do....verily, verily, we have our reward. If that’s all we do, then we have fallen into the trap of the self-righteous.
Even if we do a “pretty good” job of following the precepts of Scripture, it will not save us. The Lord demands perfection and we can only get perfection through personal faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that Cornelius was a devout man who respected God, prayed to God, and gave to the poor. He followed the precepts of the Bible, but it was not enough.
So God sent Peter to him, and Peter shared the Good News about Jesus Christ, and Cornelius and his household believed and were baptized. Furthermore this Word though practiced in part cannot be accepted as a whole without the aid of the Holy Spirit.
1Co 2:14 GW A person who isn't spiritual doesn't accept the teachings of God's Spirit. He thinks they're nonsense. He can't understand them because a person must be spiritual to evaluate them.
See the advantage of being a baptized Christian! Not only do you have the Word of God at your disposal, but you have the Author living inside of you from the moment of your baptism! Even a child can understand and accept the teaching of Christ.
We won’t understand all of Scripture this side of heaven but we can and will understand what the Perfect Teacher, the Holy Spirit teaches us as we get into His Word and allow His Word to get into us. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it doesn’t matter what kind of secular education you have, when you enroll in the School of Christ at your baptism, you are ready to be taught.
Still another advantage of having the Word of God is we know the standards by which we will be judged on the Last Day. Jesus said in Jn 12:48,
Joh 12:48 GW Those who reject me by not accepting what I say have a judge appointed for them. The words that I have spoken will judge them on the last day.
Again, this speaks of the need for us to have a personal relationship with Christ, because we cannot accept what Jesus has to say without the aid of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is present in this Word!
1Jo 5:6b. The Spirit is the one who verifies this, because the Spirit is the truth.
This Precious Word is not a lifeless composition of letters! It is alive! The Holy Spirit is in it and with it. This Word is powerful! It knows you better than you know yourself!
Heb 4:12 GW God's word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God's word judges a person's thoughts and intentions.
God’s Word cuts through all the trappings and shows us that we are sinners! Romans 3:10 says there is none righteous not one!” So the biggest advantage of having the Word of God is that it show us that we indeed lack righteousness. The Holy Spirit working in this Word convicts us of our sin and show us our desperate need for a Savior!
Oh what a tremendous advantage we have living in a nation that has the Bible, the Word of God! Ah, but as the saying goes, “familiarity breeds contempt!” We get spoiled, we get lazy, we forget about our indwelling Teacher and Bibles lay on coffee tables for decorations, or tucked away in the back of closets, or unused on our book shelves.
Let me ask you, “when was the last time you read your Bible alone?” Has it been that long? “ What
would you think if you sent love letters to your wife and she never took the time to read them? You
would start to suspect that maybe she isn’t very interested in you. That is exactly how God feels. He
sent you 66 letters in the Bible and you rarely read them, what should He conclude about your love
“I don’t have time.” Make time! Get up a little earlier, go to bed a little later, make Bible reading
part of your lunch hour! (Gasp) What would people think? I don’t know, what would they think if you read love letters from your wife during your lunch hour? What would they think about your marital relationship?
It’s not that difficult! It’s a matter of want to. We have Discovery Devotional books available on the back table. These are great ways to start, to whet your appetite for more. There are many other fine devotionals available. They are good, they are helpful, I encourage you to use them. But.......don’t stop there.
Get into the Bible on your own! Devotionals are very useful because they can help you see things you might have missed, but to rely solely on them would be like having a co-worker read your wife’s love letters and tell you what they mean.
Go slowly. Begin by praying and asking the Holy Spirit to teach you. Then I recommend reading a psalm a day, one chapter from the OT, and one from the New. This is not a race, pour over every word, let the phrases of the Father speak to your heart.
Underline those things which really strike you. When you’re done with your daily reading, go back over the underlined portions. Meditate on them, pray them back to the Father, write them down in your own words in a journal. Talk with others about those things that God has been speaking to you.
Get into a small group Bible Study, we are getting ready to start another “Spiritual Travel Guide Group here at Living Word, please let me know if you are interested.
When our Bibles get dusty, our hearts get dusty, our lives get dusty and the Light of Christ within us dims and we lose our luster and our witness. The Law that God has written on our hearts needs to be quickened, it needs to come alive. And it comes alive when the Gospel is brought to it.
It’s like John the Baptist (representative of the law written on our hearts) leaping in the womb of Elizabeth when the Word of Life was brought alongside in the womb of Mary.
Luk 1:39-41 GW Soon afterward, Mary hurried to a city in the mountain region of Judah. (40) She entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. (41) When Elizabeth heard the greeting, she felt the baby kick. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
There is a whole world out there that needs the Law that God wrote on their hearts to come to life. They need someone to bring the Word of Life to them. I’m so grateful that Greg and Donna have heeded the call and are working in Spain.
That’s one dusty country! The Bible has been out of the hands of the common people and in the hands of the clergy for a long, long time. The church there is for the most part without the Living Word. But the Hanchett’s are trying to change that, they are bringing the Word alongside the dusty hearts of the people of Spain and we need to pray that the Holy Spirit will work in that word, blow the dust off, and bring revival!
Wycliffe Bible Translators is a ministry that has been around since 1942. Their mission is to translate the Bible into the languages of the various peoples groups around the world. They have completed 578 translations and are currently working on another 1246. But there are still 380 million people in the world without Scripture in their own language!
380 million people that do not have the advantage of the baptized Christian in America. They do not have the written Word of God.
Oh, how can we begin to say thank You to God for such a precious advantage. And how can we not embrace the solemn responsibilities that go with such a great gift.
The responsibility to read it and accept it as truth. (Our actions speak louder than our words in this regard) Joh 14:15 GW "If you love me, you will obey my commandments.
The responsibility to bring it to others through various mission endeavors including the mission field of our children.
The tremendous advantages of possessing the Word of God.
William How’s hymn O Word of God Incarnate sums it up nicely.
O Word of God incarnate, O Wisdom from on high.
O Truth unchanged, unchanging, O light of our dark sky.
We praise Thee for Thy radiance, that from the hallowed page.
A lamp unto our footsteps, shines on from age to age.
The Church from her dear Master, received the gift divine.
And still that light she lifteth, O’er all the earth to shine
It is the golden casket where gems of truth are stored
It is the heav’n drawn picture of Christ the Living Word
It floateth like a banner before God’s host unfurled
It shineth like a beacon above the darkling world
It is the chart and compass that o’er life’s surging sea
Amid the rocks and quicksands still guides O Christ to thee.
O make Thy Church dear Savior a lamp of burnished gold
To bear before the nations thy true light as of old
O teach the wand’ring pilgrims by this their path to trace
Till clouds and darkness ended, they see thee face to face.
The Word of God! Treasure it! Read it! Believe it! Trust it! Share it, until our Lord returns. Everything else in this world will fade away, but Jesus said this about His Word:
Mat 24:35 GW The earth and the heavens will disappear, but my words will never disappear.