Theme: The Flourishing Soul
In these lessons we see that our growth in holiness is dependent upon our being grounded in the Word of God, which points us to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only source of salvation and sanctification.
Scripture: Psalm 1
Yesterday we looked at the first two things the Word of God provides. Today we consider two more.
Third, the Bible is where we learn the will of God for our lives. We have many questions in this area. We say, “Here I am living in this particular time, in this particular place, with these particular talents. What am I to do? Which direction am I to go in? Am I to do this or that? Am I to move here or there?” We have no specific answers to these questions in the Word of God, but we do have great principles that will guide us in ninety-nine percent of the circumstances.
David knew this truth too, for he wrote: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Ps. 119:105). We cannot always see very far down the road. But we do not have to see far down the road. All we need is the light of the Word of God to shine upon the next step. God leads us step by step and thus provides blessing.
I have said that the Bible gives us principles rather than specifics, but sometimes the Word of God can be remarkably specific. When my wife and I were living in Switzerland, we had a home Bible study that met on Friday nights. Different people came, some believers, some who were not. On one occasion a girl came with whom a number of people in the Bible study had been working. She had a difficult situation at home. She and her husband were not getting along too well and at times they actually came to the point of having knock-down, drag-out fights. They actually hit one another. She would hit him. He would hit her. Sometimes she would go to work on Monday with a black eye.
The first night that she came we were in Matthew’s Gospel and had progressed as far as the fifth chapter. We read the passage aloud and came to the verse which says, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (v. 39). Everybody was thinking of this girl’s situation. When we got through reading and it was time to discuss it, nobody had anything to say. There was the longest pause I have ever experienced in a Bible study. Everyone sat absolutely mute.
Finally the girl herself spoke up. She said, “You know, that’s a very interesting verse.” (We all knew which one she was going to mention.) She said, “I think I understand what it means. It means that if somebody hits you and you hit him back, he is probably going to hit you again. But if, when he hits you the first time, you don’t hit him back, then the chances are he won’t hit you again and you will get past that sort of thing.”
We said, “Yes, that is certainly one sound reading of the text.”
Then this girl said something very profound. She said, “But you know, it’s not so easy to do, is it?”
Well, the Word of God was speaking to her quite specifically. And God continued to speak. Some time later, after she had returned to England, we learned that she had gone to a Billy Graham crusade at Harrowgate and had become a Christian. The Holy Spirit speaks through the Bible. But, if we do not hear the Bible, we lose opportunity for that kind of direction.
A fourth thing the Word of God will do is protect us from spiritual counterfeits. There are many of them. I am always distressed in the way Christian people who should know better can hear a sermon that is utter liberalism and come out thinking it marvelous. The problem is that they have not fed upon the Word. They do not know the difference between a true sermon and a false one because they do not have the knowledge by which the counterfeit can be detected. Only the Word of God will keep us from falsehood and lead us in the right way.
What is the third way the Word of God provides for us? How does it accomplish this for us?
What is the Bible’s fourth provision?
Reflection: List some examples of spiritual counterfeits. What does the Bible teach that reveals them to be false?