Dust on the Bible

 

Hosea 4:6  MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: BECAUSE THOU HAST REJECTED KNOWLEDGE, I WILL ALSO REJECT THEE, THAT THOU SHALT BE NO PRIEST TO ME: SEEING THOU HAS FORGOTTEN THE LAW OF THY GOD, I WILL ALSO FORGET THY CHILDREN”

 

            The prophet writing by the direct of the Holy Spirit tells the Israelite people that God will forget them.  What was their problem?  They didn’t know the word of God, they didn’t read and study the scripture; they had forgotten the law of God.  Most folks that are active, working members of the Lord’s church are probably not in the same spiritual condition as the Israel to whom Hosea is writing.  But that still doesn’t mean that we spend as much time with the Word of God as we should.  I fear that due to the press of time, the many diversions that demand our attention today, that far too many are as one of the old country songs states so well that was probably written well before the time I was born:

 

            I went into a home one day to see some friends of mine

            Of all the books and magazines, not a Bible could I find

            I asked them for a Bible and when they brought it, what a shame

            For the dust was covered over and not a single word was plain

 

            The first part of the chorus goes:

 

            Dust on the Bible, Dust on God’s Holy Word

            The words of all the prophets and the sayings of our Lord

 

            and ends with:

 

            Get the dust off the Bible and redeem your poor soul.

 

            We may not need to clean the dust off our Bibles; but how much time do we really spend searching the scriptures?  How much time do we work at understand the will of God for us?  Have we really gone beyond the first principles of the law of God that we read about in Hebrews 12?  What happens to people who neglect the study and keeping of God’s word?  Let’s turn to the schoolmaster for an example that I fear apply to many in this world today:

 

            The Law of God was given by him to his people at Mount Sinai:

 

Exodus 19:1  IN THE THIRD MONTH, WHEN THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE GONE FORTH OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, THE SAME DAY CAME THEY into THE WILDERNESS OF SINAI.”

 

God prepared them to receive his Word, his Covenant which he would give through Moses.  He called them to the mountain, manifested his might and his majesty through the things that they saw on the mountain and then called Moses up to receive his words.

 

Exodus 19:20  AND THE LORD CAME DOWN UPON MOUNT SINAI, ON THE TOP OF THE MOUNT: AND THE LORD CALLED MOSES up TO THE TOP OF THE MOUNT; AND MOSES WENT UP.”

 

God did as he promised.  He gave Moses the law.  He gave it twice.  The first time the faith of Israel failed, they abandoned God and worshipped a golden calf as we have studied many times before.  So after destroying first tablets of stone Moses went back up the mountain again and received the law from God a second time and Israel swore to keep it, telling Moses:

 

Deuteronomy 5:27  GO THOU NEAR, AND HEAR ALL THAT THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL SAY: AND SPEAK THOU UNTO US ALL THAT THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL SPEAK UNTO THEE; AND WE WILL HEAR it, AND DO it.”

 

Did they do that?  Yes, for a while, for a while, grumbling, gripping and grumping all the way.  Then it came time to go into the land of Canaan and they balked, but that’s another lesson.  We know the history of the Israelite nation, their unfaithfulness, their constant wavering back and forth, they denied God as their King and sought a king like other nations.  They became divided with the Southern Kingdom following God, sort of, and the Northern Kingdom worshipping their foreign gods.  They went, in about 870 years, from promising that they would obey the command of God in Deuteronomy 5 to having completely lost God’s word.

            Then amongst their bad kings and good kings, we find a good one, Josiah who began his reign of Judah at age 8.

 

II Chronicles 34:1-2  JOSIAH was EIGHTS YEAR OLD WHEN HE BEGAN TO REIGN, AND HE REIGNED IN JERUSALEM ONE AND THIRTY YEARS.  AND HE DID that which was RIGHT IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD, AND WALKED IN THE WAYS OF DAVID HIS FATHER, AND DECLINED neither TO THE RIGHT HAND, NOR TO THE LEFT.”

 

In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purged the land of it’s idol worship, he decided to repair and restore to use the temple, the house of God.

 

II Chronicles 34:14 “AND WHEN THEY BROUGHT OUT THE MONEY THAT WAS BROUGHT UNTO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD, HILKIAH THE PRIEST FOUND THE BOOK OF THE LAW OF THE LORD given BY MOSES.”

 

In order for something to be found, it must first be lost, must it not?  So Judah had completely lost the book of the Law given by God to Moses.  It was not only dusty it had been completely lost; they didn’t even know it was there.  Not only had the Northern Kingdom of Israel completely rejected and abandoned God’s word as Hosea had told them about in our beginning scripture approximately 200 years earlier but now the Southern Kingdom, that part of Israel’s offspring that God would preserve to being his Son into the world had completely lost the word of God.  How sad their neglect.  Why is it so sad?

            Because the Bible is the word of God!  It is the only communication that we have today from the one that will judge us.  It is the only set of instructions available that will determine whether we spend an eternity in heaven or hell.

 

Hebrews 1:1-2  “GOD, WHO AT SUNDRY TIMES AND IN DIVERS MANNERS SPAKE IN TIME PAST UNTO THE FATHERS BY THE PROPHETS, HATH IN THESE LAST DAYS SPOKEN UNTO US BY his SON, WHOM HE HATH APPOINTED HEIR OF ALL THINGS, BY WHOM ALSO HE MADE THE WORLDS.”

 

            We are to preach and teach according to the oracles of God.

 

I Peter 4:11  “IF ANY MAN SPEAK, let him speak AS THE ORACLES OF GOD, IF ANY MAN MINISTER, let him to it AS OF THE ABILITY WHICH GOD GIVETH: THAT GOD IN ALL THINGS MAY BE GLORIFIED THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, TO WHOM BE PRAISE AND DOMINION FOR EVER AND EVER.  AMEN.”

 

            How can we do that if the Oracles of God are sitting on a shelf gathering dust?

 

I Corinthians 3:8-10  NOW HE THAT PLANTETH AND HE THAT WATERETH ARE ONE: AND EVERY MAN SHALL RECEIVE HIS OWN REWARD ACCORDING TO HIS OWN LABOUR.  FOR WE ARE LABOURERS TOGETHER WITH GOD: YE ARE GOD’S HUSBANDRY, ye are GOD’S BUILDING.  ACCORDING TO THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH IS GIVEN UNTO ME, AS A WISE MASTERBUILDER, I HAVE LAID THE FOUNDATION, AND ANOTHER BUILDETH THEREON.   BUT LET EVERY MAN TAKE HEED HOW HE BUILDETH THEREUPON.”

 

How can we plant or water or labour in God’s vineyard without a thorough knowledge of God’s word?  How can we have usable knowledge of God’s word if our Bible’s are gathering dust, or being neglected from Sunday to Sunday?

            The Bible is our source of faith:

 

Romans 10:17  SO THEN FAITH cometh BY HEARING, AND HEARING BY THE WORD OF GOD.”

 

            That faith is our source of life, oh, not the physical life that we cling to so tightly; that will be taken away from all of us probably sooner than we’re ready.   But the faith that is the source of our spiritual life, our eternal life, our life with God:

 

John 5:24  “VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, HE THAT HEARETH MY WORD, AND BELIEVETH ON HIM THAT SENT ME, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, AND SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION; BUT IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE.”

 

John 11:25  JESUS SAID UNTO HER, I AM THE RESURRECTION, AND THE LIFE: HE THAT BELIEVETH IN ME, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE: AND WHOSOEVER LIVETH AND BELIEVETH IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE.  BELIEVEST THOU THIS?”

 

Yes, our spiritual life is dependent upon our faith, or belief in Jesus Christ and what we do about that belief.  How can that faith be nourished if our Bible is neglected?

            But the Bible does much more for us than just providing a foundation for our faith.  It furnishes us completely unto every good work doesn’t it?

 

II Timothy 3:16-17  “ALL SCRIPTURE is GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, AND is PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, FOR REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, FOR INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS:”

 

            Yes, it’s inspired, its God breathed, it is the Word of the almighty creator who shaped this earth and all its wonders and who will judge us in the last day:

 

II Peter 1:20-21  KNOWING THIS FIRST, THAT NO PROPHECY OF THE SCRIPTURE IS OF ANY PRIVATE INTERPRETATION.  FOR THE PROPHECY CAME NOT IN OLD TIME BY THE WILL OF MAN: BUT HOLY MEN OF GOD SPAKE as they were MOVED BY THE HOLY GHOST.”

 

I Timothy 6:11  “BUT THOU, O MAN OF GOD, FLEE THESE THINGS; AND FOLLOW AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS, GODLINESS, FAITH LOVE, PATIENCE, MEEKNESS.”

 

            God’s word, the Bible, provides all that to us and more.  It provides doctrine or teaching, sometimes reproof, or rebuke, identifying to us that which is wrong, giving us instruction in that which is right, providing for us instruction in righteousness.  But it can’t do that if we neglect to read it; if we neglect to study and use it regularly, if we allow dust to collect on its pages, if we allow it to languish on the shelf from Sunday to Sunday.

            The Bible is the perfect law by which we will be judged.  First of all it is perfect:

 

James 1:25  “BUT WHOSO LOOKETH INTO THE PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY, AND CONTINUETH therein, HE BEING NOT A FORGETFUL HEARER, BUT A DOER OF THE WORK, THIS MAN SHALL BE BLESSED IN HIS DEED.”

 

            Not only is this law perfect but we’re to look therein. That means study, know, understand and appreciate it as the word of the almighty!

 

II Timothy 2:15  STUDY TO SHOW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD A WORKMAN THAT NEEDETH NOT TO BE ASHAMED, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH.”

 

            Why Paul?  Why should we study?  Why should we treat God’s word the same as we would any other knowledge or skill that we need to accomplish a task, make a living, or provide for our families?  Because it will determine our ultimate destiny:

 

James 2:12  SO SPEAK YE, AND SO DO, AS THEY THAT SHALL BE JUDGED BY THE LAW OF LIBERTY.”

 

John 12:48  HE THAT REJECTETH ME, AND RECEIVETH NOT MY WORDS, HATH ONE THAT JUDGETH HIM: THE WORD THAT I HAVE SPOKEN, THE SAME SHALL JUDGE HIM IN THE LAST DAY.”

 

            Yes, we will be judged.  By what?  By the words that Jesus has spoken, by the words that his apostles taught as directed by the Holy Spirit, by the words recorded by the writers of our Bible at the direction of the Holy Spirit.  The words of God, do we need a better reason to never let our Bible get dusty.

            We find salvation in nothing else.  In spite of what men may think, in spite of many men teach, in spite of the fact that some people believe that God is still revealing his will to them and them exclusively (Mormonism is an example, with the book of Mormon) there is no other place for mankind to turn, but to God.

 

            Mankind has become such as was described by Jesus:

 

Matthew 15:8-9  THIS PEOPLE DRAWETH NIGH UNTO ME WITH THEIR MOUTH, AND HONOURETH ME WITH their LIPS; BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME.  BUT IN VAIN THEY DO WORSHIP ME, TEACHING for DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.”

 

            Jesus says that those who teach something contrary to His word are worshipping in vain because they teach the commandments of men.  There are many today, in fact the majority, that do this and there are more and more of these people gaining a foothold within the body of Christ, even to the extent that there are congregations of people even in this city that call themselves the children of God that I’m afraid that he doesn’t even know.  Many are like the Galatian brethren and much of the reason is the dust on their Bibles or their neglect of diligent study.

 

Read Galatians 1:6-11

 

            The gospel preached is not after man, it is not the works of man, it is the Word of God.  As such we should never neglect it, we should hunger and thirst after it because within it we find our eternal salvation.

            In addition we as Christians must be governed by the New Testament and nothing else.  How on earth do people think they should be able to win the game of life without knowing its rules, regulations and rewards?  The short answer that question is they can’t, they’re just fooling themselves.  Paul wrote to his son in The Faith, Timothy:

 

I Timothy 1:3  AS I BESOUGHT THEE TO ABIDE STILL AT EPHESUS, WHEN I WENT INTO MACEDONIA, THAT THOU MIGHTEST CHARGE SOME THAT THEY TEACH NO OTHER DOCTRINE.”

 

            “TEACH NO OTHER DOCTRINE”, teach no other teaching, teach nothing else but that which Paul at the direction of the Holy Spirit had taught.  We can’t even know what Paul taught, what the Holy Spirit gave him to tell us if we have dust on our Bible.

 

II Timothy 2:2  AND THE THINGS THAT THOU HAST HEARD OF ME AMONG MANY WITNESSES, THE SAME COMMIT THOU TO FAITHFUL MEN, WHO SHALL BE ABLE TO TEACH OTHERS ALSO.”

 

            And we have an obligation.  We have a responsibility; we have a divine commission to teach others:

 

Matthew 28:19-20  “GO YE THEREFORE, AND TEACH ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST: TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU; AND, LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAY, even UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD. AMEN.”

 

            Teach, baptize and then teach again, and some more and forevermore until our lives end or this world is brought to an end.  How can we teach what God would have us to teach if we have dust on our Bibles?  The words of God alone, the laws of Christ as presented in the New Testament, that and that alone must guide, control, direct and serve as a pattern for our lives.  Something less is not enough, something more is too much; something different gives us a false security that will vanish at the judgment seat of God.  And sad will we be in judgment if there is dust on our Bible.

 

            The word of God does not and cannot fail.

 

Joshua  21:44-45  “AND THE LORD GAVE THEM REST ROUND ABOUT, ACCORDING TO ALL THAT HE SWARE UNTO THEIR FATHERS: AND THERE STOOD NOT A MAN OF ALL THEIR ENEMIES BEFORE THEM; THE LORD DELIVERED ALL THEIR ENEMIES INTO THEIR HAND.  THERE FAILED NOT OUGHT OF ANY GOOD THING WHICH THE LORD HAD SPOKEN UNTO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL; ALL CAME TO PASS.”

 

            That was true in the days of the beginnings of the nation of Israel, the days of Joshua and it’s still true today because:

 

Matthew 24:35  HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS AWAY, BUT MY WORDS SHALL NOT PASS AWAY.”

 

            Dare we be so inattentive, so unloving of God and his eternal word that we would let our copy of it gather dust from neglect and lack of use?

            This “Word of God” makes us wise unto salvation; just as Paul told Timothy:

 

II Timothy 3:14-15  “BUT CONTINUE THOU IN THE THINGS WHICH THOU HAST LEARNED AND HAST BEEN ASSURED OF, KNOWING OF WHOM THOU HAST LEARNED them; AND THAT FROM A CHILD THOU HAST KNOWN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, WHICH ARE ABLE TO MAKE THEE WISE UNTO SALVATION THROUGH FAITH WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS.”

 

            Yes, the scriptures will make us wise unto salvation, they are the only source of The Faith and Jesus said:

 

John 10:27-28  MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, AND I KNOW THEM, AND THEY FOLLOW ME: AND I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE; AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, NEITHER SHALL ANY man PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY HAND.”

 

            Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit confirms and reinforces this in:

 

Romans 8:38-39  “FOR I AM PERSUADED, THAT NEITHER DEATH, NOR LIFE, NOR ANGELS, NOR PRINCIPALITIES, NOR POWERS, NOR THINGS PRESENT, NOR THINGS TO COME, NOR HEIGHT, NOR DEPTH, NOR ANY OTHER CREATURE, SHALL BE ABLE TO SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD, WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.”

 

            But the neglect of our soul will, the failure to feed ourselves spiritually, allowing dust to gather on our Bibles will allow us to fall away.

            Obedience to God is necessary and there’s no better way to understand that than to listen to the words of Jesus himself:

 

Read Matthew 7:21-29

 

            We can’t do the will of God unless we know the will of God and we can’t know the will of God with dust on our Bibles.  Oh, we may think we know it, and we may to an extent.  But that knowledge is perfected by our constant searching of the scriptures, that memory is maintained only by repetition, the repetition of constant reading and studying of God’s Word.  We can be lead astray and that can be done much more easily if our knowledge is shallow.  We have a lot of folks working to lead us astray today just as they did in Paul’s day:

 

Romans 16:17-18  NOW I BESEECH YOU, BRETHREN, MARK THEM WHICH CAUSE DIVISIONS AND OFFENCES CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE WHICH YE HAVE LEARNED; AND AVOID THEM.  FOR THEY THAT ARE SUCH SERVE NOT OUR LORD JESUS CHIRST, BUT THEIR OWN BELLY; AND BY GOOD WORDS AND FAIR SPEECHES DECEIVE THE HEARTS OF THE SIMPLE.”

 

            If there’s dust on our Bibles, if we don’t renew, reinforce and reinvigorate our minds with spiritual food constantly, just as we do our physical bodies we will be lead astray by “GOOD WORDS AND FAIR SPEECHES.”  We will starve do death spiritually.

            Lastly the Bible provides something else to us.  It is the means that God has provided to us to initiate and maintain our relationship with Him as His children:

 

Romans 10:17  SO THEN FAITH cometh BY HEARING, AND HEARING BY THE WORD OF GOD.”

 

Mark 16:16  HE THAT BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED SHALL BE SAVED; BUT HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT SHALL BE DAMNED.”

 

Luke 13:3  I TELL YOU, NAY: BUT, EXCEPT YE REPENT, YE SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH.”

 

Matthew 10:32  WHOSOEVER THEREFORE SHALL CONFESS ME BEFORE MEN, HIM WILL I CONFESS ALSO BEFORE MY FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN”

 

            Back to Mark again to understand the necessity of being baptized:  If we’ve done all this, but neglected our souls, neglected our responsibility to our Father and his family, if we sinned in any way then we must do as Peter told Simon:

 

Acts 8:22  REPENT THEREFORE OF THIS THY WICKEDNESS, AND PRAY GOD, IF PERHAPS THE THOUGHT OF THINE HEART MAY BE FORGIVEN THEE.”

 

            If your sin is public or known then the repentance must be public and known as well.

            If you have any of these needs then come………