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The One Thing

Chris Holland
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Chris Holland

Associate Director of HopeLives365 and World Evangelist for Adventist World Radio

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  • May 23, 2020
    12:30 PM
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You ever wondered what it means to truly follow God How is it that you have quiet time with God What does it mean to develop a personal relationship with Jesus but most importantly how do I develop and flourish in that relationship that I might have peace in the storms of life Let's pray together Heavenly Father we are so grateful to be able to come together and now as we study your word we pray that you would open our eyes that we might see and be transformed we pray in Jesus name Amen It was December the $261960.00 Franklin Field in Philadelphia Pennsylvania it was the n.f.l. championship as it was called at the time it positioned the Green Bay Packers against the Philadelphia Eagles the Green Bay Packers with their new 2nd year coach Vince Lombardi the game began at noon on December the 26th and it began at noon because there were no lights at Franklin Field it was about 48 degrees Fahrenheit 9 degrees Celsius when they began the game the field was in quite poor condition because of the high temperatures in the middle of winter caused pools of water throughout it was a battle of the Titans in front of about 65000 people. And in a back and forth game it came down to the final minute Green Bay was losing by 4 points they needed to score a touchdown but they were driving down the field behind their star quarterback Bart Starr with 30 seconds left they called a time outs 30 seconds at the Philadelphia 30 yard line Bart Starr and Jim Taylor in the backfield and in fact that was what happened after a short completion Bart Starr lined up with what would be the last play of the game and he threw a pass to Jim Taylor and as he was closing in on the goal line only one thing stood be hit between he and the goal line and that was linebacker Chuck Bednarik Jim Taylor 60 was running toward that goal line but Chuck Bednarik stopped him short of the goal he stayed on top of him for an extra long few moments to assure the time expired at the Green Bay Packers under 2nd year head coach Vince Lombardi lost the n.f.l. championship but on that day something happened with the Green Bay Packers something happened with Vince Lombardi there in the locker room Vince Lombardi said these words to his young men this will never happen again you will never lose another championship. Author David Maraniss recounts in his book when pride still mattered a lot the life of Vince Lombardi he records this story the following year on the 1st day of training camp for the Green Bay Packers as these professional athletes all arrived for their brand new season after their previous season and and had ended in such a bad way with the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles these players arrived at training camp with great expectations there would be new plays better plays smarter plays more effective plays better mechanics they were going to be better Vince Lombardi had a different idea because he took nothing for granted he took these 38 professional football players and began a new tradition with the team he wanted to start from scratch get back to the very basics and he made the assumption that all of his players would begin with a blank slate and he began with the most elemental statement he picked up a football he held it out to these professional football players and he said Gentleman this is a football back to the basics. Lombardi put the fundamentals 1st every year at training camp there after lumbar d. would be given with those words gentlemen this is a football You see he knew that the will to win was not enough he knew that for his team to perform at their best they knew his players needed to know that they had prepared as thoroughly as possible to win which meant that he had to begin at the most fundamental understanding that it was a football and this was the game of football focusing on those fundamentals meant repetition sometimes drive repetition sometimes repetition that seemed almost too much and although his players some of them were the best in their game he reviewed basic techniques of blocking and tackling and he insisted on intense conditioning drills by the way it applied in the same way to the player's personal life Lombardi was best known as having players of good character because he instilled in every player that the virtues of hard work sacrifice perseverance competitiveness selflessness and respect for authorities respect for authority were the fundamentals for Excellence in life and so I want to ask a question today could it be could it be that the secret to success in leading a Christ centered life lies in a principle of returning back to the basics Could it be that the key to having peace in the storms of life through a personal relationship with Jesus rely on getting back to the very fundamental rights. Today I want to explore with you 2 biblical metaphors that I believe revealed the key of getting back to the very basics the metaphors when you 1st read them are seemingly opposite of one another. Yet in their contradictory nature they actually function in a complementary experience these 2 metaphors are the metaphors of sitting and walking I want you to come back with me we're going to go back in time back to the time of Jesus and there with Jesus we're going to pick up on a story where Jesus in Luke in the 10th chapter had sent out the 70 to go and minister and as those 70 had returned from their ministry Jesus needed some time to step aside and so he went to visit his what the Bible describes as his good friends there in the town of Bethany just a few miles just a few kilometers from the city of Jerusalem there in Luke tap Chapter 10 beginning in verse 38 we hear and understand the story now what happened as they wind that he entered a certain village and a certain woman named Martha welcomed him into her house and she had a sister called Mary who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard his word but Martha was distracted with much serving and she approached him and said Lord do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone. Therefore tell her to help me in Jesus answered and said to her Martha Martha you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed and Mary has chosen that good part which will not be taken away from her I want you to take notice Jesus has come likely tired and hungry he's come for a little bit of the retreat there in Bethany it would appear from Martha's scurrying around that Jesus has somehow surprised the family in his arrival and by the way this Mary and Martha are sisters and their brother Lazarus lives there and Bethany as well Martha is the older of the 2 sisters and she is as the Bible says distracted with much serving Jesus was in her home it makes sense to be focused on serving Jesus but the Bible makes reference to the younger sister Mary it simply says that she sat at Jesus' feet and heard his work the description of Martha is simply distracted with much serving the Bible does not convey emotion sometimes but it is very clear in this story that not only was Martha distracted but she became quite frustrated she became quite frustrated as she was pouring out her efforts in to the serving of Jesus that she noticed that her sister was sitting at the feet of Jesus this didn't sit well with Martha and not sitting well with Martha Martha out of her frustration says Lord do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone. Therefore tell her to help me in her frustration she gives Jesus a command and again the Bible doesn't record in toto Nations but I imagine in my mind that Jesus in a very gentle voice said Martha Martha you are worried and troubled about many things what were the many things that she was worried and troubled about here the Bible tells us she was worried and troubled about and distracted in particular with serving and then Jesus said this phrase but one thing is needed the one thing what is that one thing that Jesus said is needed that one thing that Jesus said that was needed is the sitting and hearing of his word and Jesus says that this is the good part and it would never be taken away from Mary the word there here is the Greek word a Kuo and it literally means to comprehend to understand to listen with understanding what is it mean to sit at the feet of Jesus what does it mean to true truly here to comprehend to have that understanding to learn. Well I want to draw a few principles here 1st what do we understand Mary was sitting there was a specific time where she was sitting she was hearing which means she was listening to Jesus with an understanding an attempt to try to learn from Jesus what does the Bible say about this whole issue of hearing it is a word used throughout the Scriptures to describe this idea of comprehending and understanding Luke just a few chapters back Luke 815 says this but the ones in this is the parable of the Sower the ones that fell on the good ground are those who having what is it say there heard the word with a noble and good heart keep it and bear fruit with patience you see Jesus describes this whole issue of hearing being good ground what is good ground you know I'm growing a garden right now a good ground or good ground for growing a garden is ground that is well fertilized crowned that is loose ground that it is a living organism in and of itself that when I put the seed in the ground it provides the nutrients for that seed to grow. When we're hearing and I'm going to talk about all of this together when we're hearing are we hearing with good ground are we hearing an atmosphere in which the seed of the Word of God will have optimal optimal growth what does it mean to hear Jesus says in Matthew chapter 7 and verse 24 these are the words he says about hearing therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock you see hearing leads to wisdom what does Matthew 1115 say Jesus says these words he says he who has ears to hear let him hear Jesus was emphasizing the point you need to hear the teachings of the Scriptures hearing the word John 847 Jesus once again with some very pointed words says this in John Chapter 8 and verse 47 he who is of God hears God's words therefore you do not hear because you are not of God You see to hear God's words means we are of God were dedicated to God we are attempting to come with a Christ like character to become like God 13 times in the Book of Revelation the word here appears hearing sitting at the feet of Jesus hearing the 1st metaphor is sitting keep that in mind I'm going to put a pause button because now I want to look at the other metaphor one is to go back further in time go back further in time all the way to the Book of Genesis. There in Genesis we have recorded just a few short verses about a man who gives us this 2nd metaphor Genesis Chapter 5 beginning in verse 21 it says this Enoch live 65 years and be got Methuselah after he be got Methuselah in it walked with God 300 years and he had sons and daughters so all the days of Enoch were 365 years and in it walked with God and he was not for God took him and want to remind you about the time in which in it was living in Genesis Chapter 6 it describes what the conditions of the earth were at that time it says in verse 5 of Genesis 6 the Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually in it a lived in a difficult and very very evil time but the Bible says that Enoch walked with God in it was so close to God that he named his son Methuselah which literally means at his death it will calm you see him it was so committed to God he maimed his son a name that was actually a prophetic warning because Methuselah died the very year that the flood came that know what prepared the earth for him it was so committed to this walking with God that in the midst of evil he stood hand in hand with God and apparently became so close with God that God said you know what in you're closer to heaven than you are to earth I'm taking you to heaven with me what does it mean to walk with God. Genesis 69 describes Noah and it says this is the genealogy of Noah Noah was a just man a perfect man in his generations know what walked with God Turn a few verses excuse me a few chapters later in describing Abraham the Bible says this in Genesis 17 in verse one when Abraham was 99 years old the Lord appeared Abramson said to him I am Almighty God walk before me and be blameless Abraham fell on his face and spoke with God What does that mean Abraham prayed you see him walking with God walking with God was a symbolic action of a literal working in an individual's life and I believe Psalm 86 and verse 11 most clearly articulate are 2 metaphors of walking in the hearing and what that means and how that functions in the life of a Christian Psalm 8611 says these words teach me your way oh Lord I will walk in your truth unite my heart to fear your name Don't miss this now. You see the natural result of hearing God's Word is the response of action and what is that action the action is the uniting of our heart with God's heart to then walk in His ways you see that our heart is in harmony with is walking with God is not walking in some trance It's not walking in some vision floating above the ground like you are some. Some. Monk or Hermant but rather walking with God is not being shut away from the world it is being in constant communication with God that then you can be in the world and provide avenues of bridging from world into God's presence what do I mean by this you see when we are walking hand in hand with God our heart becomes his heart and when our heart becomes his heart we can walk with him and do the things he asks us to do Amos $33.00 says this can to walk together except they be agreed so how is it then that we can walk with God How does our heart become God's heart or rather how do we internalize God's heart in our heart why I believe the Apostle Paul gave us a clue when he said it 1st that's alone eons chapter 5 in verse 17 pray without ceasing pray without ceasing So what is prayer what is prayer and what is this idea of uniting our heart with God's heart. Prayer quite literally is to ask to vow to petition to invoke but in its most simple terms it is to communicate it's walking with God is being in constant communication with him what is a comparison or illustration of this the best illustration that I can think of is my wife and I my wife and I walk every morning and when we walk every morning we talk we talk about things that maybe happen the day before we talk about things that we're going to do that day we talk about things that we want to do in the future we talk about our goals we talk about our dreams we share with one another we're talking but as we're talking we're not talking and I'm walking 20 meters ahead of my wife we're talking as we're walking together in and what is interesting is as we walk together we challenge one another we challenge one another in keeping up with one another or sometimes slowing down with one another maybe I'm having knee pain because well I played football when I was in high school I tell people I had the option when I went to high school to play in the marching band or to play football for me surgeries later I made the wrong choice now I will tell you when we're walking together it is this adjusting to the same speed as one another to challenging one another we become lockstep with one another and that's the 2nd illustration in the military that's what they call they call it lock step it is when the group or a unit. Is marching where every individual is moving in the same way at the same time to be one unit you see God desires to be one unit with us that we would be lockstep with him and the only way we can become lockstep with him is through hearing his word and praying and communicating with him in the book patriarchs and prophets it says this Enoch was a man of strong and highly cultivated mind and extensive knowledge he was honored with special revelations from God Yet being in constant communion with heaven with a sense of divine greatness and perfection ever before him Don't miss this he was the humblest man the closer the connection with God The deeper was the sense of his own weakness and imperfection you see as we draw nearer to God We sometimes may feel like we're being told or we are farther from him because as our heart becomes one with it's our we begin to realize the deficiencies of our heart it is like a mirror when you look in a mirror and you look in a mirror and you stand 2030 feet away from a mirror you may look in that mirror and say I look pretty good but then as you draw closer to that mirror you begin to notice I have less hair than I used to have a put on a few pounds that I didn't know I put on oh I've got a little I've got a scuff here I've got a scuff there I have a blemish here I have a blemish There you see as we draw nearer to God we sense our own weakness and imperfection but in drawing nearer to God we find greater strength in him to overcome those weaknesses and imperfections so let's make this deeply Pratik practical What does it mean to sit at the feet of Jesus. And to walk with Jesus what does it mean to sit at the feet of Jesus and to walk with Jesus there are 2 fundamental 2 fundamental principles in sitting and walking the 1st fundamental principle is we must hear the words of Jesus we must hear the words of Jesus which then will in turn lead us to walk with him but in hearing the words of Jesus there are 32 different types of hearing there is the private hearing of the word and that is through studying and through reading God's word Acts 1711 demonstrates to us the need for personal study Acts Chapter 17 and verse 11 many of you are familiar with this this is the Apostle Paul traveling from Thessalonica to Berea and there in verse 11 describing the those in but excuse me those in Berea He says these were more fair minded than those in Thessalonica in that they received the word with all readiness and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so you see. The Bereans received the word and then they studied the word it was a private study they took the words and they studied the words and when we are reading the Bible there is an individual responsibility so there is this private hearing of the word where we hear the word and then we respond to it through study Nichol who is the founder of the year of the Bible movement had this to say everything about our faith is built on scripture but so many of our lives aren't we live our lives based off of good ideas or good talks even going to church isn't enough if you go to church and all you do is listen to podcasts you're missing out you need daily bread God wants to speak to you you see my dear friends in this coronavirus in this covert 19 world that we've been living in it has it has challenged many of us as pastors to develop online digital material but here is my great fear through all of this digital material have we so much digital material so many sermons to listen to so many teachings to listen to that maybe we lose sight of our own personal need to study the Bible you see it is through a private hearing and our own personal study of the word that God can speak to us in ways that public proclamation can now don't that doesn't mean that we get rid of all the preachers and get rid of all the preaching just hang on for a moment we're going to get the public proclamation there is need for private hearing you see my dear friends because in those private moments with God God can speak to us in a way. That he possibly might not be able to speak to us in a more public forum village rabbies UK Araya us the late Ravi Zacharias says this many years ago God reach down to me as a teenager in a hospital bed in India with a page from the Gospel of John the Book of Books is a mirror for the soul and a map for a life meeting our deepest hungers for truth love justice and forgiveness as you read it you will find it reading you I encourage you to let it fill your soul are you hearing that you see in a private reading of the word in our private study of the word it is a mirror and in that mirror it reveals to us our deepest hungers it reveals to us the blemishes of our soul but it fills us with the power of the Holy Spirit that we might grow and be more like Jesus the 1st principle of hearing and walking is to privately hear God's word a personal study in God's Word in just a moment I'll talk about how we can personally study God's word but then comes the public hearing of God's word 1st Timothy Chapter 4 and verse 13 has some very powerful words and I'll be very forthright with you this I've studied this passage a number of times and never noticed and tell do just in preparations for this very presentation something. That is I believe profound and powerful 1st Timothy $413.00 says this till I come give attention and now Paul is giving instructions to Timothy how to be a successful pastor which in turn we should now how can what does this mean for us give attention to reading to exhortation to doctrine now that word reading. When you read that word you say Oh Ok I will I don't know of Pastor Holland Why are you getting so excited about this that we're there reading is very interesting word it actually is literally to be translated the reading aloud or the public assembly and reading you see Timothy was instructed to publicly read aloud the word then exhortation is to publicly preach the word and then doctrine is to publicly teach the word but public reading throughout the Bible reading aloud in an assembly was vital to the growth for God's people and in those times where the reading of the word aloud to the people did not happen is when the people turned from God and turned to idolatrous ways Moses in Deuteronomy Chapter 31 as he is getting ready to leave to Joshua the leadership of Israel says these words in Deuteronomy Chapter 31 so Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests the son of Levi who bore the Ark of the covenant of the Lord and to all the elders of Israel and Moses commanded them saying. At the end of every 7 years at the appointed time in the year of release at the Feast of Tabernacles when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place which he chooses you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing what was all this law literally they were to read they were to read aloud the 1st books of the Bible why because every 7 years there was this need to re anchor the people back to The Creator so they understood where they came from but there was this public reading of the word By the way it's very interesting in ancient Judaism by the age of 12 or 13 all young children would have memorized the 1st 5 books of the Bible they would have been to a b. they would have been able to recycle them by memory. Joshua read aloud as the children of Israel were preparing for their great conquest Joshua chapter 8 and verse 35 the Bible reads there was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women the little ones and the strangers who were living among them it friends every major event in the history of God's people was preceded by the public reading of the word in 2nd Kings Chapter 23 Israel had gone into significant apostasy and there in 2nd Kings 23 the young boy King Josiah something amazing happens there in 2nd Kings 23 verses one and 2 know the king sent them to gather all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to him the king went up to the house of the Lord with all the men of Judah and with him all the inhabitants of Jerusalem the priests and the prophets and all the people both small and great and he read in their hearing all the words all the words of the book of the covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord this great revival was preceded by the public reading of God's word. As Rich after 8 verses $1.00 to $3.00 The children of Israel had gone into exile in Babylon and now they were coming out of that captivity in Babylon coming back and what did as redo as written as are a chapter 8 verses one through 3 notice what the Bible says now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Watergate and they told as were the scribe to bring the book of the Law of Moses which the Lord had commanded Israel so as are the priest brought the law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the 1st day of the 7th month then he read from it in the open the square that was in front of the Watergate from morning and sell midday before the men and women and those who could understand and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law the public reading of God's word and then I would remind you of Jesus himself what was it that Jesus did immediately after he was anointed from ministry You'll remember he was anointed for ministry when he was baptized spent 40 days in the wilderness and as he came out of that wilderness According to Luke Chapter 4 Jesus went to the synagogue and what did Jesus do there in the synagogue in verses 16 and 17 the Bible says so he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up and as his custom was he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read and he handed the book of the property and he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah and when he had opened the book he found the place where it was written and there Jesus read Isaiah 611 in 2 and parent that equally inserted a portion of Isaiah 586. You see Jesus began his public ministry by 1st reading publicly and reading aloud the Word of God my dear friends yes to hear the word we need private study private time in the word where we're looking at the word we're reading the word we're internalizing the word but then there is this piece of the public reading and I'm differentiating here from public reading and Proclamation you see right now I am proclaiming the word because I'm making commentary on the word but we need times at least according to the Bible where the word is publicly proclaimed that in that public proclamation we might have time to internalize that word through the hearing because as all of you are well aware you see I can privately read but I have a very different experience when I simply am listening I'm not necessarily distracted by the words on the page I'm not distracted by the cross references in my Bible I'm just intently listening and you see the public proc the problem reading of God's Word is different than simple preaching Mikol once again the founder of year in the Bible says these words I've spent the majority of my life not loving the Bible I think we've taught people that go to church to love music and good preaching but most of us have not been taught to love the Bible and read the Bible on our own it's almost like this foundational part of our faith that were missing. Let me tell you about a personal experience of publicly reading or publicly hearing the word I met a man a number of years ago by the name of Tom Meier and Tom Meyer is a professor at the Shasta Bible school and graduate college he is referred to as the Bible Memory Man Tom Meyer has memorized over 20 entire books of the Bible but let me tell you where my thinking was very much transformed and in preparation for this very present station I needed to be reminded of the profound effect it had on me so many years ago it we were visiting the Creation Museum there where Tom Meyer was speaking in we went to hear Tom Meyer twice the 1st time we heard him he reciting Genesis chapter one through 11 by memory straight through and we sat and we just listen and the creation story and the story of the flood takes on a whole new reality when you just simply listen and you hear the word publicly proclaimed later that day though Tom Meier from memory publicly spoke the entire book of Revelation you see in these and times we study the Book of Revelation but we often study the Book of Revelation in a cherry picking kind of fashion we pull a verse here we pull a verse there but when the word is publicly proclaimed I would remind you the original church. Many of them they couldn't read for themselves and so the only wary they would hear the word is to have the word read and the Book of Revelation itself was written as a letter and that letter would have been read to those churches the 7 churches of Revelation but to hear the Bible read the Bible recited from memory Revelation one through Revelation 22 all of a sudden the story takes on a much more profound impact friends I cannot I cannot overemphasize the importance of the word the importance of the word in private study the importance of the word in public reading or public recitation from memory and the proclaimed word there have been many throughout the centuries that have attempted to lay the Bible aside the French Revolution banned the Bible the Roman Catholic Church banned the Bible you see the French Revolution was motivated by atheism which denies the God who gave is word where as Roman Catholicism denies the word which tells us about the God who gave it it's either way it is a 2 edged sword when we remove the word we remove our link to The Creator I'm not telling us that we need to worship the word we need to worship the God of the word but the word is what leads us into that relationship with him. The book The Great controversy says this Satan well knew that the Holy Scriptures would enable men to discern his deceptions and withstand his power it was by the word that even the savior of the world had resisted his attacks at every assault Christ presented the shield of eternal truth saying it is written my dear friends for hundreds of years for hundreds of years the circulation of the Bible was forbidden the people were forbidden to read it the people were forbidden to even have it in their homes and yet today in the 21st century while the Bible is freely circulated at least in Western countries are neglect of it are neglect of studying it is having the same effect as it had in the dark ages where it was prohibited and forbidden there are a number of authors that will talk about the dark ages in the reason the Dark Ages were so dark is because men and women lost the ability to read and write think about this 21st century we are living in today handwritings not even taught in classes anymore and many young people have lost the ability to read anything that stretches far beyond $240.00 characters you see we are having a really emergence of the Dark Ages God does not desire there to be a dark age God desires that his word would shine as a light in the darkness now experienced. You see in the 11th centuries the wall done see in missionaries gained access to the homes of people through their secular trade or profession and although the word of God was prohibited during that time the missionaries carried copies of the Scriptures with them in their travels during their business that they transaction opportunities would be presented and they would present some portion of the Word of God to their customers here's the reality my dear friends if we are not reading and studying the Bible if we don't know what the Bible actually says for ourselves we can begin to take steps we can begin to take ideas we can begin to take rationales and we can begin to take personal viewpoints that. In an incremental fashion will lead us away from the Bible and we will become functionally illiterate of Biblical knowledge there are many on the Internet to these days on youtube and particularly that are proclaiming things that are not in this Bible we need to learn to hear God's word through our own personal study through the public hearing of the word and through the public proclamation of the word you see Satan is not just interested in deceiving the world but he is interested in deceiving if possible even the elect according to Matthew chapter 24 and the only way to do that is to distract our minds from this book you see Jesus overcame Satan through the words It has written I would remind you though that Satan's temptations came from the very word itself because he misquoted the Scriptures and he pulled the scriptures out of their context you see we need to be clear on what Jesus Christ the true Christ really says what his true prophets really say and the only way that we know what Jesus and the prophets say for real is by being in the word to have a personal experience in the word to personally study the Word and to internalize that word for ourselves the great controversy comments once more. The effort to grasp the great truths of Revelation imparts freshness and vigor to all the faculties It expands the mind sharpens the perceptions and ripens the judgment the study of the Bible will ennoble every thought feeling and aspiration as no other study can it gives stability of purpose patience courage and fortitude it refines the character and sanctifies of the soul an earnest reverent study of the Scriptures bringing the mind of the student in direct contact with the infinite mind would give to the world men of stronger and more active intellect as well as of nobler principle than has ever resulted from the able is training that human philosophy affords the so missed says in Psalm 119130 the entrance of the words giveth light it giveth understanding my dear friends God is calling us to hear the word to hear the word Remus hear the word privately in our own study we must hear the word publicly. And then we hear the word corporately through the proclamation of that word remember of the Council of Timothy and 1st Timothy for the reading publicly of the word the x. sortation and teaching of the word my dear friends in Hebrews Chapter 10 versus 24 and 25 says this and let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as is the manner of some but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching and you see God is calling us together to come together in corporate worship and yes we are socially distanced right now and being socially distanced for the last 8 weeks 9 weeks 10 weeks could possibly develop in us a habit or a rhythm of not coming together in corporate worship my friends even though there is more access today in the digital world of more sermons and more church services the Bible instructs us that we need to come together for fellowship and there is time coming where we can come together and assemble together and when we assemble together we need to assemble it together in a place that not only has the word read aloud but that teaches and preaches x. or Taishan in doctrine the words of the Bible too often my dear friends people go to a church looking for the truth if you do that you are going to be led in a very very dangerous path we don't go to a church looking for the truth we go to the Bible re seek and find the truth and then go find a church that teaches it my dear friends if you are part of a church that is not teaching and preaching from the word you may have friends you may have family you may have loved ones that are closely attached to that church but my dear friends the church is called to exhort and teach the doctrines of this book. And if it does not do so that it is on the outside and it is defined by revelation 18 as being a part of the confusion of Babylon God is calling all people to come to the word to read the word to study the word privately to hear the word publicly and to be part of a congregation that proclaims the word and that is our calling but when what does it mean to walk with God in the same way that there is the private study of God's Word and the public hearing of God's Word walking with God is defined by both private and corporate experiences there is private prayer Mark 135 speaking of Jesus Himself says now in the morning having risen a long while before daylight he went out and departed into a solitary place and there he prayed you see Jesus had a place for prayer he had a time for prayer It was alone time is so much 5 in verse 3 says my voice you shall hear in the morning oh lord in the morning I will direct it to you and I will look up and then many of us know Psalm $45610.00 Be still and know that I am God there is a time needed for a private prayer what is prayer I've already talked about it prayer is communicating with God I grew up in a church tradition that had preprinted prayer books written eloquently It is interesting when you read through the book of Psalms which many of the Psalms are prayers they are not filled with flowery language. They are filled with Hearts being poured out before God sometimes asking God where he is sometimes asking God why he's let these things happen sometimes even challenging God what is prayer prayer is coming into communion with God and communicating with him Paul says to pray without ceasing that doesn't mean that we stick it on our knees all day long it means we're in constant communication like that walk that I have with my wife where we're walking in step we become in step with God through that constant communication yes in our private prayer we have a time for prayer where we come where we kneel where we lay prostrate before the Lord and we and we call upon him with our own personal needs but then comes that moment by moment you see too often we have this idea that we pray in the morning with personal devotional time in the morning and then we forget about all about God and so we pray in the evening but you see to walk with God means that we're communicating constantly with him there is that private prayer of communication we can prayer way we can pray while we're talking to somebody maybe you're having a difficult conversation you can be in your mind praying and asking God to give me wisdom on what to say I don't know what to say I don't know how to say it Lord help me and give me the strength to not get angry don't you know help me to not get frustrated whatever it may be but then in addition to the private prayer is the corporate prayer you see hearing and Walker excuse me sitting and walking to sit is to hear the Word of God to hear the Word of God in private study to hear the Word of God publicly read to hear the Word of God publicly program claimed through the exhortation and teaching of the word and to walk with God is to pray to privately prarie and then to come together. As an assembly as Hebrews 10 outlines where we corporately pray together and as I wrap this all up how do we make this intensely practical What does it mean to hear the word what does it mean to hear God's word in private study I would recommend to you that you follow some systematic approach to studying the Bible on a daily basis I would as Martha did she had a time a specific time and a specific place where she sat at the feet of Jesus have a specific time and a specific place some of your parents you have little ones that specific time in that specific place may be dictated by their waking hours that may mean that you need to get up early that may mean that you need to get up earlier than possibly you desire to get up but you want that private time and studying the word whatever it is that works for you maybe you have a night shift job maybe you have odd hours that you work whatever it may be find a time and a place where you study the word study the word systematically You can study the Bible chapter by chapter if you read 3 chapters a day you'll read through the entirety of the Bible in one year if you want to read through the Bible faster it's actually very simple if you have the time to do it. You read 40 chapters of the Bible every day and you read the Bible in one month some of you're saying that's crazy Well maybe you have 2 or 3 hours every day to read those 40 chapters but read systematically read a chapter a day read 2 chapters a day read 3 chapters today or read systematically by going store in this story or possibly your systematic study is going verse by verse I I know someone right now that is going they'll only read a couple of verses at a time so they can internalize those verses understand those verses and really really just be profoundly impacted on a few verses right now I'm systematically reading story by story through the Bible whatever it is for you but then the other piece that has been immensely helpful to me is something that's actually quite simple now for the young people that are watching this here that I'm holding in my hand is a pen and when you open the cap there is this is a fountain pen this is an old time pen but in there is and I'm being a little facetious we've forgotten the art of writing but I have a journal and every day I write down I write down what I'm reading and then I write down my thoughts and then I write a little brief prayer the reason I like to write things out is it gives me the opportunity to interact with the passage to talk about my feelings how did this passage make me feel and fundamentally I ask 3 questions when I'm interacting with a passage and those 3 questions I ask are as follows What does the passage say is quite simple what does it say what is the passage question number 2 what is the passage saying to me and thirdly and most importantly what is the invitation of Jesus through the passage that I have just read what's he calling me to do. And then I spend time in prayer and I have a prayer list at the back of my same journal and so obviously this journals are not going to last forever so the beauty of this is when I finish this journal I will rewrite my prayer list but I'm always adding people to my prayer list I have my family in my prayer list I have friends in my prayer list I have specific things in my prayer list their constant reminder of that which I'm praying for that is your private time and then I spend time in prayer for me to have that list keeps me very focused my mind wanders very easily and if i ever since my mind wandering I go back to my list and helps me refocus what about public the public reading of the word I would encourage each of you to get involved in a small group and you know I need to say exercise a bit of caution there are Maronite many small groups that are founded on the principle of opinions but when we're talking about the word we want to be in a small group that is focused on the word what might happen if there was a small group in your small group was very simple you had little snacks little things for your social but then it came to the time where your going to just listen to the word where you would actually play an audio bible of a specific portion of Scripture you would pause it for a moment everyone would have their own little journal books they could react individually then you would play another portion they would react individually and then in those interactions individually you come to the end and you simply pray where I'm not teaching on it no one's giving their opinion on it we're allowing people to simply hear the word and interact for and I know some people say that's crazy it's but what would happen if we had accountability groups small groups that gather during the lunch hour in the morning in the evening whatever it was where there would be public proclamation of the word where we would hear the word and be transformed by it. And then of course there is corporate worship corporate worship where we come together where the word is Central where the word is central because we hear the voice of God we hear the voice of God centrally through the power of His word my dear friends there is one thing that Jesus said about Mary she had the one thing and that one thing was time to sit at the feet of Jesus and then walk in His ways a friend there's one thing for you no matter what the situation is right now we're facing covert 19 but you know what one's covered 1000 is over we're going to face something else maybe going to face a divorce maybe you're going to face a tragedy in your life maybe you're going to face the death of a loved one I don't know what it is you're going to face but whatever it is you're going to face whatever it is. If we are sitting and walking privately hearing the word publicly hearing the word privately praying publicly pray is going to give us the foundation on which we can stand and follow God and so as I end today as I end today was used the wrong thing to illustrate my point as we end today. I hold this book out to you. And I say ladies and gentlemen. This is the. Go and spend time and let's pray Heavenly Father. You want to speak to us in the quietness of the moment. And there is this hurried pace that's going on all around us. Even in covert 19 we have Microsoft teams and we have zoom and we have face time and we have Skype and we have Google Hangouts and everything else now that's seemingly made us even more busy than we were before. And so today Lord I pray that each individual listening right now would have a moment to reprice or ties. And they would place a high priority into the private reading of your word and study of your word to the public hearing of your word. Private prayer. And a public prayer because we know Lord transformation can only happen through your word. We pray for that transformation. And I pray for everyone that is listening and watching. They would sense the need. To be in your words. Pray this in Jesus' name amen. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon leader visit w w w audio verse or.

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