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Jack Graham - The Bible According to You

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    Jack Graham - The Bible According to You

Please take your Bibles and turn with me to book of Joshua chapter 1. As the Apostle Paul said these are examples to us. We read and study the Old Testament as well as the New Testament because in the Old Testament we have examples of how we're to live our lives in faith. And, of course, the very foundation of our faith and the Gospel that we share is "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek". And so we're grateful for the united testaments of our faith. And in the Old Testament as in the book of Joshua you have the story of the children of Israel after wandering in the desert for 40 years, stuck in the desert. Due to their own rebellion, God had delivered them out of Egypt, but due to unbelief they wandered in the wilderness; they became desert disciples. But now after 40 years in the desert, Moses has died and Joshua is prepared and is being prepared to lead the children of Israel across Jordan and into the land of promise.

Now just as a bit of recap over what we've already covered. Remember that Canaan, the land of promise, given to the children of Israel, promised to the Israelis to that day and to this day. You see, as Christians we are united, not only in our history but in our destiny. And this is one of the main reasons that we support the children of Israel. Faith and our future is uniquely connected. And so Israel is prepared to go over and to take the land that God had given them. But Moses dies and now Joshua, General Joshua is taking command and is now being prepared to lead the people over. And God says to them in Joshua chapter 1, as we covered earlier, "I've already given you this land". And what you need to do now is by faith, take it!

So Joshua is being prepared and Joshua, of course, is facing an uncertain future. He doesn't know what is on the other side of the Jordan, what they would face, because there are battles to fight in Canaan. In fact, the people that were occupying Canaan at that time were in effect evildoers themselves. They were terrorist, immorality, prostitution, child sacrifice. These were pagans, these were false religionist who were living in the land. And now God is telling this band of believers from Israel to go and take it. There were powerful, fortified cities in the land, and people who were far from God. And God would say to Joshua, say, "You go and take it because, though there will be battles to fight, to be won and lost, I'm going to give you the land that I have promised you".

So as an example to us, we're reminded there are battles to be fought. We are in a spiritual battle. What we're seeing in Israel is an outburst of the spiritual conflict that is going on in the world today. There is a devil and he's powerful, and he's evil, and he's moving. We asked a rabbi friend of ours recently: "Why do people hate Jewish people so much"? Because, he says, "God loves the Jewish people and the devil hates everything and everyone that God loves". And so we face an enemy and as followers of Yeshua, of Jesus, we know that the world is becoming more and more hostile towards people of faith. Not only Jewish people, but followers of Jesus. And so there are battles to fight and there is some fear and trepidation and that is why God says to Joshua on three occasions in Joshua 1: "Be strong and courageous; be strong and courageous; be strong and courageous because I am with you".

So God promises His presence and His power. And then in verses 7 and 8, and this is our text, this is what God says to Joshua and to us: "Only be strong and courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go". You know what success is? Success is not measured as to how the world measures success. Success is the progressive realization of the will of God in your life and mine. That is real success. Jesus said, "What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul". So He says, "according to the law that Moses my servant..."

Now remember as God is giving His word, just as an aside here, but very important. The Bible is inspired; you're going to see that. But God used human beings, God uses people like Moses, prophets and patriarchs and apostles to deliver His Word. And so as Moses is the human author of the first 5 books of the Bible, The Pentateuch, The Law. This Law has now been kept and journaled and the priest were taking care of it and preserving it, and so Joshua was very familiar with the law of God as delivered by Moses. You know, of course, of the Ten Commandments, written by the very finger of God and delivered by Moses. The moral law of God. The basis of all civilization in the law of God, the Ten Commandments.

So he said, "You have it, do not turn from it to the right or the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. The Book of the Law (the Bible) shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success". God said, you're going to defeat every enemy. Said, no one will be able to stand before you. And I can say to the people of Israel today that that promise is still true for the Israelis. That ultimately no one can stand against it. And no one can stand against those who follow Jesus. And we are to move forward.

The title of this series is FORWARD, because we're not looking back into the desert experience. You know, if you live in your past, defeated by your past, are you listening? If you live defeated by your past, you've already lost the battle. Satan already has you. But, no, we are moving forward in freedom and in fulfillment and in the fruitfulness of a life that God has given us. This promise land, God said, "I'm never going to leave you and I'm going to give you My word. My strategy is for you to do according to the word of God. My word to you". Jesus said in the book of Revelation to His Church, "I set before you an open door". But just as He was saying to the Israelis, He's saying to you and me, "The door is wide open, but you need to have the strength and the courage to go through it and to take Me at my word"!

And so there's no way that we can win apart from the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. You say, "Well, I thought you said, pastor, we'd already won". Yes, we've been given the victory, but now we have to go and take it. We need to possess our possession. We need to seize and do what God has told us to do in our generation to obey Him. Let's talk for just a few moments about this Book of the Law. The authority of the Word of God. If you're taking notes, and I always encourage you to take notes, think about the authority of the Word of God. This book is not a human book, it is God's Book; it's the Jesus Book because the story of the Bible is the story of redemption and salvation that God has given to us. And so authority in the Word of God, when God says to Joshua and to us, "Keep the Law of God, that you shall live according to My laws, to My Word".

And now the Bible encompasses not only the Law, the Pentateuch, the first books of the Bible, the first five, but also the prophets and the psalmists and the proverbs and the gospels and the apostles. This is now the Word of God, preserved and protected for us throughout generations. And so the Bible is to be treasured. This book is a treasure house of Truth! It's good to read good books, but live in this Book! Love God's Word because it is authority. He says, "Keep the word and the commandment that I've given unto you". The Bible is God's book; it is written and therefore, it is true; it is trustworthy; it is timeless. It is inspired; it is infallible; it is inerrant; it is indestructible. But it is God's Word. To attack or to deny or discredit or disbelieve or try to deconstruct or disobey God's Word is to attack, disbelieve try to endeavor to destruct God Himself! Because God is in His Book, His Word is His breath.

In fact, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says it: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness". In fact, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says it: "All scripture is given by inspiration", literally meaning breathed out by God. Just as my breath is producing my words over my larynx throughout my throat and through my tongue to you, God's breath is giving and the word of God is alive because His breath is in it. Just as He breathed into humankind and they became the life of God, the live that God gave, so that He breathed into His Word and His word is alive. This is a living Book, and therefore, it is authoritative.

Jesus underscores this in Matthew 5:18. He says, "For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until it is accomplished". We believe that Jesus the Messiah fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, and therefore, when He speaks of authority... You know, Jesus believed the Bible. Of course, He did. You can't pick and choose what you believe about the Bible. Some try to do that. "Well, I like the part that says love everybody. I like the part that talks about 'judge not, lest you be judged.' But I don't like the part about the sanctity of life, that life begins in the womb. I don't like that part". Or "I don't like the part, thou shall not lie, or thou shall not steal, or commit adultery".

And so people want to accommodate, we live in a world of compromise and accommodation! And what I am saying to you is what God was saying to Joshua! Get into God's Book, believe it, receive it, live according to God's Word; the authority of God's Word in your life. Stay with me for a moment because I want to talk to you again about the sufficiency of Scripture, the sufficiency. What did God say to Joshua? He said, "Now don't turn from this to the left or the right; you'll have success". And He said, "The book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night".

The sufficiency of Scripture, meaning that the Scripture is not only truth, but the Word of God meets every need in our lives. And this is why we are to meditate on it. Whatever the subject, whether it is faith or finances of family or the future, what the Bible is what God says and it's true. So I want to give you ways in which the Word of God can be sufficient in your life, powerful in your life. And I learned this a long time ago as a boy using my hand and the five fingers of my hand. So I would encourage you to take notes and this will help you learn how to assimilate and meditate upon God's Word in your life.

Number 1: hearing. So that's like the thumb represents hearing the Word of God. When you come to a worship service and a Bible teaching just like this, or a Bible class, how are you to hear the Word of God? By asking God to open your eyes to truth. Have you prayed, have you come prayerfully, respectfully today? Did you ask God to speak to you through His Word? You see, it's hearing the Word of God. And this in some ways is level one of your engagement with your Bible. This is why we gather each week and multiple times throughout the week, to hear the Word of God. And God sends preachers and teachers and leaders among us to help us understand the Scripture. But you should come expectantly and excitedly I might add, asking God to speak.

I would encourage you to take notes. The weakest ink is better than the strongest memory. And so often you hear something and it goes in one ear and out the other. You ask what did the pastor say today? "I don't know". Maybe take a note or two; write in your Bibles and bring a pad, bring a pencil. Hear the Word of God. This is so often with our Jewish friends, how the Jewish people have maintained the integrity of their faith throughout the generations and generations and generation and generation is the hearing of the Word of God. "Hear, O Israel".

So start with hearing the Word of God. Then reading the Word of God. Now this is on you to read the Word of God. It's good to have someone read it to you. You know I believe in that through The Bible in a Year. Thirty-eight million people have downloaded the reading of God's Word. It's not Jack Graham and my little introduction and application at the front end and the back end of this Through the Bible. It's the Word of God. It's the hunger that people have to God's Word and the reading. So it's good for someone to read God's Word to you. Read God's Word to your children in a translation that they can understand and hear you read the Scripture. Again, I'm telling you it was my grandfather reading the Scripture to me that put the Word of God in my life so long ago. It's good to read it out loud sometimes for yourself.

Now typically we read silently, but when it comes to the Word of God, I would encourage you from time to time to read it out loud; read God's Word out loud and hear yourself speaking God's Word because now it's getting in you and through you. Read the Word of God. And when you read the Word of God, don't just rush through a passage just to check, you know, a Bible a day keeps the doctor away. No, get a passage. I like reading long lengths of passages but normally I'm concentrating on a small passage. I read it through, and when I do, I'm underlining it, I'm highlighting it, I'm taking some notes in the margin of my Bible. You say, "Can I do that; can I write on my Bible"? Of course, you can! In fact, your Bible if you're writing in it and note-taking in it and underlining, can be a legacy piece for your children and their children that they'll pass on from generation to generation.

So reading God's Word. And then as you think it through and pray it in and write it down, the next step is study the Word of God. So you're at the big middle finger at this point so study the Word of God; that's the next step. So what are we doing? We hearing God's Word, we're doing it faithfully. We're coming to hear God's Word. We show up because we're hungry for the Word of God! We get up in the morning and we read our Bibles. No Bible, no breakfast! Before the world rushes in, while it's still relatively quiet.

Get a time and a place where you're reading God's Word. Study it; that's the next step, as you take steps of spiritual growth and development as a disciple that you begin to study God's Word on your own. There are wonderful study Bibles that are available to us today that previous generations did not have. There are notes. You can study your Bible by reviewing your pastor's notes and the preacher's notes on Sunday. You can study your Bible. It's good to hear it; it's good to read it, but take the next step of studying God's Word. Know what it says; know what it means. A lot more about that, maybe at another time.

And then memorizing! So that's the fourth thing. Memorizing the Word of God. I'm glad that I learned as a young Christian to begin actually memorizing the Bible, portions of it, scriptures of it, great texts, great scriptures, great promises. And so I have a file in my head of God's Word and it's always expected that when I have a need in a certain hour, a certain time, even when I'm preaching it's the scriptures that I've memorized so long ago, I'm able to share with others, because that's important that it's always in our mouth, he said; that we're not only hearing but we're speaking God's Word, but we're memorizing it. Are you memorizing scripture? You say, "Well, you know, I drink a lot of diet coke and my memory is not as good as it used to be". I guarantee if I gave you $50.00 for every scripture you memorized, you would be a scripture memorizing machine. It's a priority. And so I'm typically always working on a scripture, a passage scripture that I'm memorizing.

Are you memorizing scripture? And then fifthly is meditating on Scripture. So how is it different, hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, how is meditating different? Well, I'm not talking about meditating like a monk, like an Eastern religion where the idea is, you know, to get on a yoga matt with some lululemons and fold your fingers and mmmmmmmm... That's not, that's emptying your mind. The goal is not to empty your mind. In fact, if you empty your mind, that's dangerous. Some of us don't have much to empty! So if you are emptying your mind, you're inviting even demon forces into your head.

So the goal of biblical meditation is to concentrate. The word is concentrate, meditate, simulate scripture into your life. It's a word that can mean to mutter. You ever just go around muttering or talking to yourself? It's the idea of meditating. It's like a song you can't get out of your head. You're meditating, thinking about it. Because as the mind goes, so do you go. As the mind goes, so the man goes, so the woman goes. And so I want to fill my mind with scripture. That's meditating. It's like ingesting food, it's like digesting food. It's life to us! And so in that morning time, and you can, whenever you choose to have a quiet time, you can have it at any time, of course.

In fact, we're to meditate upon the Scriptures day and night. But I like the morning because the first 20 or 30 minutes of your day sets the priority and the pace of your day. I just want to fill my life with the presence of God, His Word at that hour. I make an ungodly hour, a godly hour! And so day and night meditate on the Word of God. What does Psalm 1 say? "Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers".

You see, there's the success, the prosperity and, if you're taking notes, that's the final point that we'll just skip this morning. But it's the authority of God's Word. "Have I not commanded you", it is the sufficiency of God's Word to fill us up and meet the desires. I'm telling you, there is joy, there is strength, there is power, there is grace, there is mercy in God's Word! And God's Spirit enlightens us and moves us in His Word. When I then pray, as I'm talking to God, having listened to God, I can talk to God like He's sitting in the next chair! God is with me; God is in the room! Because what we have is a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ! And so it's real. This is not religious experience or ritual. This is a reliable relationship with God. Thus I speak then and I just say it and that is the proficiency of God. Then you will have good success.
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