Category: Exhortations

Last week, I posted an exhortation to being immersed in Scripture. This week I want to talk a bit about how I am attempting to do that.

I have been following the modified version of Professor Horner’s Reading System (here)

Part of that as I learn Greek this year is reading some in Greek.

I am attempting to also get back into habits of study and psalm reading, which I will write on when I have done them.

Each year I have attempted also a 90 day reading plan and have listened through an audiobook form of the Bible once.

One habit that I am trying to get into and have been for a while is carving out a 1-2 hour block each week to just read the Bible in a sequential fashion.

The Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon said of John Bunyan that his works were so centred on the Bible; “Why, this man is a living Bible!” Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline”

I want to echo Spurgeon’s prayer from the same sermon; “Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models, and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord.”

All too often we treat the Bible as if it is a chore to do, I think in part this comes from our misunderstanding of what the Bible is; ever hear of the backronym “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”? It is this approach that I want to combat today, the problem with this understanding of Scripture is that it limits 2 Tim 3:16-17 to just “All Scripture is breathed our by God and profitable for teaching, and for training in righteousness.” so what’s left out? “for reproof,” and “for correction,” and “That the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Paul is clear here that the focus of Scripture is that we might be conformed to Christ, (after all that is the purpose that the Spirit came (John 16, et al)) this conformation is not just one of head, that of giving us instructions, do’s and don’ts, that of giving us things to affirm, or deny. No! Scripture as wielded as the sword of the Spirit is meant to bring us closer to Christ in His fullness. Christ as Prophet, Priest and King, Christ as the Eternal Son of God to whom we are to be conformed to. If you encounter Scripture and do not come out being a little more like Christ, then you haven’t encountered Scripture. If you encounter the Spirit and don’t come out a little more like Christ then you didn’t encounter the Spirit. We do not worship a God who is afar off, and commands obedience, but one who is very near, to be in our mouth and heart. Let the Blood of the Children of God run Bibline.

If we’re focused merely on the Gospel as the answer to the question “what must I do to be saved?” We miss the point, when Jesus was preaching in the wilderness it was not just an answer to that question that he gave, but more than that through his manifestation of the Kingdom freedoms he proclaimed good news; the setting free of the captives, the giving of sight to the blind, the healing of the brokenhearted. And why did he preach these things? Because the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him, that selfsame Spirit is now poured out upon His people the Church, so get to it Spirit-people! Join Christ and the Spirit in doing the works of the Kingdom, set free the captives, give sight to the blind, heal the lame, bind up the brokenhearted! Happy Pentecost everyone!

Matt 28:16, the disciples went…
This is a gathering of the fledgling Church to receive her reason for being, so what is it?
First the basis of her constitution; “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Christ our King and saviour is victorious, it is from this basis that we strike out, consist and have our unity as the Church and we are given our function;
“Go therefore…” this function is not given to a mere select group of the Church, but to the Church as a whole, if we as the Church are not going then do we continue to be the Church?
“Make disciples…” Again this is a function of the Church, we need to be as a community making disciples, who are we making disciples of? This is supplied next; “of all nations…” the Psalmist cries “let the nations praise you O God” We the Church need to be going, we need to be making disciples, so often we the Church neglect these, we stay, we leave disciple making to a select few, we do not have the national scope of bringing Kingdoms to their knees in submission to Christ. “Baptizing them…” We in the west have all but given up on this, no longer is Baptism the ritual of Christian initiation but altar calls we work people emotionally to the point of making a confession of faith and do not disciple them, let alone baptise them! What use is it for us to get them to confess that Jesus is Lord but that the next day they turn around and do not know why or what the consequences were to their confession; “No longer are they their own, they were bought for a price.” If Christ invested so much in us, should we not invest so much in them for whom He died?
How should we baptise them? We baptise them in union with God, as he has revealed himself, trinity in unity and unity in trinity “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This is not the end of our responsibility to them as the Church; “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” So as they are joined into the Church they also need to be Going, they also need to be discipling, they need to have a vision for the nations to come under the sovereignty of God and they need to be baptizing others. And finally the most precious promise, the one that should comfort us; “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” this should not only comfort us but hold us to the high standard of Christ, He is with us and calls us, prompts us to Go, disciple, and baptise!

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

From my OT notes: Father, I am having trouble focusing upon this study, whether it be my own sinfulness or if I am under attack, I ask for you presence.

Our faithfulness and perseverance is something which should inevitably in my mind be seen as a gift from God. It took me four hours to get through the study that I penned the above prayer in, I am thankful to God that he brought me through. I still don’t know whether my inability to continue when I prayed was due to myself or outside forces, I think that is inconsequential when we consider that God is faithful and he will bring us before him ((Jude 24)) to seek him and enjoy him is what I seek to do through study and hopefully that is what I have managed today.

Father of Heaven, we know you are faithful even when we are unfaithful, through your lavish giving of yourself through your Son may we come to enjoy and cherish you for you are the first and best of all things, Amen

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

From my daily reading: I think often that I fail to do this, what indeed would be the best way of doing so?

The challenge dear family is to have the Gospel always on our lips, always in our hearts so that as we commune together we might be an encouragement to one another in light of the faithfulness of God. It is so very easy especially in the culture that surrounds us to treat our Christian faith as an individual thing, however it is not so displayed in Scripture. God called his Church unto himself that he might glorify himself in us.

Spirit guide us to be able to speak the Gospel to each other, equipping and building the Church so that in her the Father, Son and Spirit might be glorified, spark a desire in us that we might long for God as the deer pants for water.