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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - The Bible Tells Me So? - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - The Bible Tells Me So? - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - The Bible Tells Me So? - Part 2
TOPICS: God's will, Discovering God's Will

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". Most preachers will tell you that to know God's will, you need to know God's word, and that's good advice but at the same time it assumes something that many Christians don't do, and that is, read their Bibles on a regular basis. Today, I'm going to mention three practical ways to make God's word a part of your daily life. My message is titled: The Bible Tells Me So, on today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".

I can't tell you the number of times after a sermon, somebody has come up to me and said, "Who told you"? I say, "What do you mean"? "Well obviously, somebody told you about my situation, and you tailor-made that message just for me". Well, you know the answer to that. I didn't know about their situation, but God knew about it. And he was able to use his word, to penetrate that individual heart. That's what God's word does. Hebrews 4:12, again, "For God's word is alive. It's active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of the soul and the spirit of both joints and marrow, and is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart".

God's word cuts through all the malarkey and gets to the heart of the matter in our life, that's the Jeffress' paraphrase. That's what God's word does for us. Somebody has said, "The Bible is alive. It speaks to me. It has feet, it runs after me. It has hands. It lays hold of me". God's word can speak to us about our situation, and give us the direction that we need. And thirdly, God's word communicates God's purpose for our lives. It communicates God's purpose for our lives. Don't let anybody mislead you. Yes, the Bible does tell us God's will. Did you know God's will for your life right now has already been written in scripture? It's found in Romans 8:29. If you want to know God's will for your life memorize Romans 8:29. It says, "For whom God foreknew, he predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the first born among many brethren".

You know what that verse is saying? It's saying God so loved his Son, Jesus. He was so pleased with Jesus Christ, that he decided he didn't just want to have one child. He wanted to have many children. He wanted to have many sons and daughters, just like his firstborn Jesus, and that's why God saved you, if you're a Christian. He saved you, not just so that you could escape hell. He saved you so that he could begin molding you, shaping you, conforming you, to become just like Jesus. Specifically, that means God wants you, to love exactly the same things that Jesus loved. To think about the same things Jesus thought about. To behave in every situation, just like Jesus behaved.

That is God's will for your life, that you become a replica, a perfect image of Jesus Christ, in your thoughts, your attitudes, and your affections, and he's in the process of doing that in your life right now. You know how God's going to shape you into the image of his Son. You know how God's going to do that? He's going to take his chisel and his Hammer, and he's going to chip away everything from your life that isn't like Jesus, that's what he's doing. He's trying to chip away those habits, those attitudes, those priorities, that are unlike Jesus. Sometimes it's a painful operation. Contrary again to what the TV preachers are telling you, God's will is not for everything to be easy in your life.

In fact, it's the hard things in your life those hard things, that some of you are running away from right now. It's those hard things that God uses to make you just like his perfect Son. That's God's general purpose for your life and for my life. But God also gives specific guidance in our life. Again, so many Christians are seeking a fresh word from God. "Oh God, what do you want me to do in this situation?," when God's already spoken in his word? Let me give you some just real practical things God has already revealed to us, about what we're to do. First of all, we are to only marry another Christian.
Some of you say, "Oh, you know what, I fell in love with this wonderful person. Oh God, do you want me to marry them? Show me". You don't have to pray about that. God's already spoken about that. You're only to marry a believer, or God's word says we are never to divorce, except in the case of adultery and desertion. "Oh God, I'm not fulfilled. I'm unhappy in my life and I've met my true soulmate in life. Oh God, show me if I'm supposed to leave my mate, to go find true happiness in life". You don't have to pray about that. God's already spoken about that. Matthew 19:9, 1 Corinthians 7:10 - 24, we're not to divorce except in the cases of adultery or desertion. We're to pray continually.

1 Thessalonians 5:17. We're to refrain from critical speech. James 3:5-12, we're to attend church regularly. You know, people asking were you going to cancel for this event? Are you going to do this, or...? I don't have to pray about that, okay? We're not to forsake the assembling together of ourselves. We're to perform our job with enthusiasm and excellence, Colossians 3:23. We're to refrain from grumbling. Mark that down, especially Philippians 2:13, okay? Some of you that can be your life verse right there, Philippians 3:13, "Do all things without complaining or grumbling". We're to share the gospel with unbelievers.

Quit, "Oh Lord, if you want me to witness to this associate or this family member, just show me if I'm supposed to witness to them". Don't pray about it, just do it. You don't have to ask God about guidance for that. The Bible says, we're to share the gospel with unbelievers. We're to submit to those in authority. Ephesians 5:23 through 6:12. Again, some of you are struggling about issues, about whether or not you ought to do this or that, when those in spiritual authority have already given you the direction you need. Much of what we need to know is already found in scripture. Well, now it's time to get real specific and practical. If the Bible can do all of these things for me if God wants to speak to me through scripture, how do I allow the Bible to become a part of my life? How can I make sure I'm listening to God's voice?

I could give a lot of suggestions but let me just mention three practical ways, to make God's word a part of your life. First of all, don't neglect your spiritual preparation. If you truly want to hear the voice of God through his word, don't neglect your spiritual preparation. You see, folks, God doesn't speak to everybody through his word. There are two prerequisites, two conditions, to hear from God in his word. First of all, write it down out to the side. You have to have a supernatural power to hear God's voice. You have to have a supernatural power.

D.L. Moody said one time, "Trying to read the Bible without the Holy Spirit is like trying to read a sundial by moonlight". You just can't do it. You see, when you become a Christian God sends his Holy Spirit into your life and his Holy Spirit illuminates. It throws light on. It allows you to understand the truth of God's word. There's some of you here today maybe you've been reading the Bible, you're like the Ethiopian eunuch and it just didn't make sense to you. You need a teacher, and that teacher is the Holy Spirit of God. We need a supernatural power, but secondly we need a submissive mind. If you're going to understand God's word if you're really going to hear God's word you need to come to scripture with a submissive mind.
My old professor, Howard Hendricks says it best, when he said, "God didn't give us his word to make us smarter sinners". I want to say something, not in the least bit judgmental because I'm one of us, we're all a part of this. Folks, it's not enough to have it up here. God didn't give us the Bible, to increase our level of knowledge, but to increase our level of obedience. The real question is not how many facts we know about the Bible. See, the question really is no longer, "Do I take the Bible literally". The real question is, "Do I take it seriously"? God gave us the word to apply it and if you approach the Bible with the idea, "Well, Lord show me what you want me to do so I can decide whether or not I want to obey," God's not going to reveal himself to you.

In Psalm 119:33, the Psalmist talked about the relationship, between understanding and obedience. He said, "Teach me, oh Lord the way of thy statutes, and I shall observe it to the end". He said in other words, "Lord, if you will teach me what I need to know, I pledge to you, I will obey what you revealed to me". If we're going to come to the Bible to hear from God we have to do so with a submissive mind. John Ortberg writes, "One of my college friends had been sexually involved with his girlfriend for two years. As we neared graduation, he wondered about marriage. 'Is it God's will for me to marry this girl?' he asked. My friend really didn't want guidance. He already had clear scriptural guidance about sexual behavior, that he wasn't the least bit interested in. All he wanted to know was if this girl was the big deal of the day or if he should wait to see what's behind door number two".

His story reminds me of that old saying "Light obeyed bringeth more light. Light rejected bringeth the night". If we want to hear from God's word, we have to have a supernatural power, yes, but we also need a submissive mind. Number two, if you're going to hear from God through his word, develop a plan, develop a plan. Just imagine somebody who said, "You know one day I would like to build my dream house". What's the likelihood of that actually happening, if all he has is a dream? You need more than a dream. You need a plan. If you're going to build that dream house, eventually you have to hire an architect. You have to develop the blueprints. You have to engage a contractor, you have to get the cost. You have to pour a foundation, you have to set a deadline. You have to do all of those things, to make that dream a reality.

And it's the same way with God's word. If you simply say, "Oh God, I would like to know more about your word". That's not enough. You need to have a plan. Let me suggest to you that a plan, if you're really serious about hearing from God's word, you need to have a plan that has these three ingredients with it. First of all, you need a period of time a period of time that you set aside for reading God's word. Now, some people do best in the early morning. Some people don't get saved until after 11 o'clock, so that doesn't work, they do better late at night. It's not so much when you do it it's the idea that you have a period of time every day 20 minutes when you say, "If I don't do anything else today I'm going to be in God's word, and let God speak to me".

Many of you know Steve Farrar, who ministers here in this area. Some years ago he wrote a book, "Point Man," a great men's book, but in that book he confessed that there was a period of his in his life, he was even in ministry, when he became what he called a spiritual anorexic. You know what an anorexic is? It's somebody, who has developed a psychological aversion to eating. He has no appetite. As a result, he ends up starving to death.
Steve Farrar said he had gotten to that point in his spiritual life, where he didn't want to read God's word and yet he was starving to get death spiritually and so desperate was his condition that he finally made this resolve, he said it revolutionized his life. He said, I'm so desperate to hear from God that I'm going to make this commitment, that every morning before I go outside to retrieve the newspaper or before I turn on the network news I'm going to spend 20 minutes reading in God's word. And he did , and lo and behold, when he began doing that, his spiritual appetite came back, and he began to receive the nourishment, that he needed from God. Have you come to that point in your life, that you are so desperate to hear from God, that you're willing to set aside a period of time to do just that, we need a period of time.

Secondly, your plan needs to designate a place, and by that I mean, there needs to be a geographical location, where you meet with God. "Are you saying God can't meet with you anywhere"? Of course he can meet with you anywhere but I think there's something special about having a place you've designated where you're going to read your Bible. You know, when God met Jacob, he met him at Bethel. When God met Moses, as we're going to talk about tonight he revealed himself on mount Sinai. God met with his people at geographical locations. I think there's something about having a chair by your bed in the bedroom, or maybe in your office, or the sewing room, or some special place where you meet with God. There needs to be a place.

And then number three you need to have a program for reading through God's word a program for reading through God's word. Suppose somebody came up to you and said, "I've read this great book that will revolutionize your life and I want to give you a copy of it". And you take it, you're a little skeptical but you say, "Well, if it's life changing book, I'll read it". So one night you open that book, open it up in the middle you read a couple of pages, makes no sense to you. Then you look back at the back, read the last couple of paragraphs, makes no sense to you. You open it up to the front, read a couple of lines what in the world is this about? And you close the book, and say "I don't understand what the big deal about this book is".

You'd never read a book like that. And yet many people approach God's word in that kind of haphazard way. Don't you think it makes sense that we ought to read the Bible at least with the same amount of respect that we would read any other book? We need to have a program for reading God's word. Now, through the years many people have suggested different plans for reading the Bible. A lot of people have their read through the Bible in a year plan, and if that works for you, that's great. I don't want to discourage you, those plans have never really worked for me because what I found is, I'm more interested in getting through those four chapters, and checking them off the list sometimes, than I am really in hearing from God.

Listen, it's not how much of the Bible you've read but how much of the Bible has been incorporated into your life that matters. I often say, you know, the Bible took 1,600 years to write. Why do we feel like we have to rush through it in a year? I think it makes a lot more sense, to read smaller sections of the Bible, and let God's words speak to you. I came across a plan a few years ago that John macArthur developed, that has really been of great help to me, and maybe you'll find this helpful too. John suggests that you take one book of the New Testament say the book of Philippians, and you read through it once a day every day of that month. Say starting February 1st you read Philippians once a day for all 28 days and you say, "Well, you know, I'm not a pastor. I have a real job. How could I ever have time to do that"?
Well, remember, most of the books of the New Testament, can be read in 20 minutes or less, did you know that? It only takes 20 minutes. But you know what? If you read through the book of Philippians 28 times, by that last week, you'll know that book, backwards and forwards and inside out. You'll be able to understand what God is saying through his apostle Paul. And it's that same way through every book. The Bible wasn't meant to be read verses at a time, or even chapters at a time, but in its entirety. And when you come to longer books like Romans or Matthew, just divide it up into thirds. One month, the first third of Romans, the second month, the second third, the last month, the final portion of it and I think you'll find that to be a very helpful plan.

Number three, if you want to hear from God through his word, learn to distinguish between principles and precepts in scripture. Learn the difference, to distinguish between principles and precepts. Remember, the whole purpose of reading this book, is to change your life, to hear from God, to operate your life according to his plan. But if you don't know what commands are meant to you, now you're going to be really confused if not misled.

One of the questions, whenever I'm on a radio talk show or TV talk show, there'll always be somebody who'll call in, some unbeliever asking the same question and this is what they'll say. They'll say, "You Christians are so hypocritical. You pick and choose what parts of the Bible you want to follow". And they'll use this example. They'll say, "Now, you Christians you say homosexuality is wrong, and you quote Leviticus 18, and yet in Leviticus 19 it also says you're not to wear a garment that's made with two different kinds of fabric. So why is it that you say Leviticus 18 applies for today but you say Leviticus 19, 'oh, that was for the Jews back then'. Isn't that inconsistent"?

By the way, how would you answer that question? How do you know what parts of the Bible apply to us, and what parts don't apply to us today? The key is in knowing the difference between principles and precepts in scripture. Precepts, commands are specific commands that apply to us. That's what a precept is. It is a specific command that applies to us. For example, Chuck Swindoll says, "If you were driving along the highway and you see a sign that says speed limit 35 miles per hour, that's a precept. That's a command. No ambiguity there. Anything above 35 miles per hour, you're breaking the law". A principle on the other hand, is a guideline a general guideline, that you have to apply to your individual situation.
For example, as I was creeping along this morning, on the way to church through the fog, I saw a sign that said, "Drive carefully". And what does that mean to drive carefully? Well, again, Swindoll says that means you need to be careful. But how that applies you have to have the wisdom to how to apply that. If it's foggy like it was today it means maybe 30 miles an hour but on a beautiful sunny day with no weather it could mean 70 miles an hour. There's no way to list all the contingencies on that one sign, of what drive carefully mean. It's a principle that you have to apply.

Now it's the same way with God's word. Some of God's word are precepts, specific commands. Abstain from sexual immorality, do not criticize or grumble. All of those things are specific commands. Principles are general truths, that we have to live. Now precepts, the commands we follow are found in the New Testament. That's where we find the specific commands that we are to obey. The Old Testament contains principles, that we apply to our individual situation. For example, we don't live under Leviticus 19 anymore. We don't have to worry about wearing a wool and cotton blend, okay? That's not against God's law for us today.

But there's a principle from Leviticus 19, that as God's people, we're to live holy lives. We're to live lives that are distinctive from unbelievers. We have to apply that to our situation today. You say, "Well, wait a minute. You didn't answer your own question. Then why do we apply that prohibition against Leviticus 18 about homosexuality"? The reason I'm preaching on those, is those precepts are repeated in the New Testament and that's where I find the precepts that I'm to follow. They're found in the New Testament of scripture. Know the difference between principles and precepts. If there's one truth I want you to come away with, from today's message, it's this. The Mark of truly belonging to God is your desire to hear his voice and obey him. "My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me".

Do you desperately have that desire in your life to know God's will for your life? If so, realize that although God might speak to you in many ways, the primary way he's chosen to reveal himself to you, is through his word. Are you desperate enough to hear from God? Do you so want his approval in your life, that you're willing to develop a plan to hear the master's voice? Oswald Chambers writes, "The mere reading of the Word of God, has power to communicate the life of God to us, mentally, morally, and spiritually. God makes the words of the Bible a sacrament, a means whereby we partake of his life. It is one of his secret doors for the communication of his life to ours".
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