HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE

HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE

HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE AND GAVE GIFTS TO MEN

The context of Ephesians 4:8 lies in the passage of Ephesians 4:1-16. Paul was speaking of the unity of the body of Christ which should inform the spiritual conduct of every believer. He declares that there is one Lord, one Faith, one baptism and by this he meant that believers are eternally united in Christ who purchased them with his shed blood.

He also recognizes that God has given each believer special gifts by which to minister to the body of Christ. These gifts and offices are set out in Ephesians 4:10-12 and the purpose of these gifts is clearly outlined in “Ephesians 4:12-13 where he teaches that these gifts and offices are “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”

To understand Jesus “led captivity captive and gave gifts to men, we need to appreciate that Paul is foremost describing the death and resurrection of Christ by which he descended to lowest parts of the earth (place of the dead) and on the third day, He rose again with Power and in Glory. 1 Corinthians 15:4 says of Christ “He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures”

There is divided opinion on the meaning of the first part of Ephesians 4:8 regarding Christ having “led captivity captive”. Some theologians believe that the statement is symbolic of Christ’s victory over death in the same way that a triumphant ancient king led captives as he celebrated his victory. Matthew Henry Commentary observes concerning this verse: “As great conquerors, when they rode in their triumphal chariots, used to be attended with the most illustrious of their captives led in chains, and were wont to scatter their largess-es and bounty among the soldiers and other spectators of their triumphs, so Christ, when He ascended into heaven, as a triumphant conqueror, led captivity captive, He gave gifts to His followers”

Other Bible scholars view Paul’s statement here as a foreshadow of the triumph that Christ would make of His divine enemies when He comes to earth to conquer them and reign as Eternal King (Hebrews 1:13; 10:12-13). While this is futuristically true of Christ, the passage context favors the first interpretation because the passage clearly alludes to Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection on the third day. We can therefore deduce that Jesus snatched spiritual captives from Satan (cf. Matthew 27:52-53) and conquered Death and Hell (1 Corinthians 15:55) and empowered His Church to eternal victory.

Besides, Christ gave the church (believers in Him) gifts on His ascension when He sent the Holy Spirit to take His place as the Superintendent of His Church on earth.
Ordinary men like Peter were henceforth empowered by the Holy Spirit to minister for Christ so that the Church moved into all ages, resounding with the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Notice that Peter preached the first sermon under the influence of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and as scripture affirms “…the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)” Many other signs and wonders were performed by the apostles confirming that the Power of the Kingdom of God was now resident with men (Daniel 5:21b).

By taking captivity captive, Christ clearly demonstrated that henceforth “… the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:5) and that Kingdom of God shall advance against the kingdom of darkness “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). This is the true Kingdom Power that Paul contemplated as he penned the letter to the Ephesians. The Church as Christ’s Kingdom agent on earth will conquer and break the strongholds of satan by the Power of the Risen Christ.

 So, every child of God received something from the Lord, take time to discover what you have been given to fulfill His purpose on earth. Colossians 4:17 says, “And say to Archippus (insert your name), “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”

Be Blessed

 
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Sin Is A Thief Of Glory – Overcoming Besetting Sin

Sin Is A Thief Of Glory – Overcoming Besetting Sin

Sin Is A Thief Of Glory - Overcoming Besetting Sin

A fault to which a person or institution is especially prone.
"there was a danger of the country reverting to its besetting sin of complacency"
synonyms: Persistent, Constant, recurrent, recurring
 
                                                   Sin Is A Thief Of Glory
sin

Sin, Enemy of Soul

Sin causes Christians to become craven cowards who live in humiliating defeat. They can't stand up with courage against sin because of the secret sin in their own lives. They excuse the sins of others because of the disobedience in their own hearts and they can't preach victory because they live in defeat. Some of them once knew what it was like to live victoriously, taking vengeance against sin, having fulfilled Christ's righteousness in their own lives. They experienced the power, the courage, the blessings that come to those who are obedient to the Lord. Today they are but a shadow of their old selves. Now they hang their heads in shame, unable to look the world in the eye, victimized by a sin that rules their lives. A besetting sin has robbed them of their spiritual vitality and one enemy after another is raised up against them.

Hebrews 12:1 King James Version (KJV)

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us"
Four ministers got away for a retreat. As they sat around the fire talking, one pastor said, “Let’s all share our besetting sins. I’ll go first. My besetting sin is that every so often I slip away from the office to the race track and bet on the horses.” The second pastor volunteered, “My besetting sin is that I keep a bottle of wine down in my basement. When I get really frustrated with my deacons, I sneak down there and have a nip of wine.” The third pastor gulped and said, “My besetting sin is that I keep a punching bag at home. When I get mad at somebody in the church, I go home and think about that person as I hit the punching bag.” They all turned to the fourth pastor and asked, “Well, what is your besetting sin?” He hesitated, but they coaxed him. Finally, he said, “My besetting sin is gossip, and with all that I've heard here tonight, I can’t wait to get home!”

Yes, we all struggle with besetting sins. They’re like a piece of furniture that you keep hitting your shin against. At some point, you would think you would learn to avoid it. But when it’s been a while and you aren’t thinking about it--Whack! You do it again.

The first thing to consider in how to overcome habitual sin is to note the change, or transformation, that takes place when a person is saved. The Bible describes the natural man as “dead in sin and trespasses” (Ephesians 2:1). As a result of Adam’s fall into sin, man is born spiritually dead. In this state of spiritual death, man is unable and unwilling to follow and obey God and habitual sin naturally follows. Natural man sees the things of God as foolishness (1 Corinthians 2:14) and is hostile toward God (Romans 8:7). When a person is saved, a transformation takes place. The apostle Paul refers to this as the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). From the moment we place our faith in Christ, we are in the process of sanctification.

The process of sanctification is that by which those who are in Christ are conformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Sanctification in this life will never be fully complete, which means that believers will always struggle with remaining sin. Paul describes this battle with sin in Romans 7:15–25. In that passage he notes that, even though he desires to do what is good in the eyes of God, he often does what is evil instead. He does the evil he doesn’t want to do and fails to do the good that he wants to do. In this, he is describing every Christian’s struggle with sin.

James says we all sin in many ways (James 3:2). Experience tells us that we struggle differently with sin, perhaps one sin being more of a tripping point for one believer than another. For some it might be anger whereas for others it is gossip or lying. We might refer to a sin that is particularly difficult for us to overcome as a “besetting” sin or a "habitual" sin. These besetting sins are often, but not exclusively, habits that we developed during our lives as unbelievers and require more grace and discipline to overcome.

Part of the process of overcoming these habitual, or besetting, sins is in recognizing the transformation that has indeed taken place within the believer. Paul writes, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). When Paul says, “Consider yourselves dead to sin,” he is telling us to remember that, in coming to Christ, the power of sin has been broken in our lives. He uses the metaphor of slavery to make this point. We were at one time slaves to sin, but now we are slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:17–18). At the cross the power of sin was broken, and, in becoming Christians, we are set free from sin’s mastery over us. Therefore, when a Christian sins, it is no longer out of the necessity of his nature, but because he has willfully submitted himself to sin’s dominion (Galatians 5:1).

The next part of the process is recognizing our inability to overcome habitual sin and our need to rely on the power of God’s Holy Spirit, who dwells within us. Back to Romans 7. Paul says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (Romans 7:18). The Christian’s struggle against sin is one in which our ability does not match our desire. That is why we need the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul later says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11). The Holy Spirit, through God’s Word (John 17:17), works sanctification in the people of God. Habitual sin is overcome as we submit ourselves to God and refuse the temptations of the flesh (James 4:7–8).

Another part of the process of overcoming habitual sin is to change the habits that facilitate it. We have to adopt the attitude of Joseph who, when tempted by Potiphar’s wife to come to bed with her, left the room so quickly that he left his cloak in her hands (Genesis 39:15). We simply must make every effort to run from the things that tempt us to sin, including access to food if we are given to overeating, and access to pornography if we are tempted to sexual sin. Jesus tells us to cut off our hand or pluck out our eye if they “offend” us (Matthew 5:29–30). This means removing from our lives the things that tempt us to sin even when those are things we enjoy. In short, we have to change the habits that lead to habitual sin.

Finally, we need to immerse ourselves in the truth of the gospel. The gospel is not only the means by which we are saved, but it is also the means by which we are sanctified (Romans 16:25). If we think we are saved by grace, but sanctified by our own efforts, we fall into error (Galatians 3:1–3). Sanctification is as much a work of God as justification. The promise we have from Scripture is that He who began a good work in us will complete it on the last day (Philippians 1:6).

Jesus Christ consistently encourages us to be an overcomer like Himself Rev. 2&3 and He profoundly counselled us in Rev. 3:18 "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." This simply means if we are in Him, and He in us, the wicked on cannot tempt us to continue to live sin.

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THE JOY OF EVERY BELIEVER

THE JOY OF EVERY BELIEVER

ACT. 1: 10-11

“And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel: 11 Which also said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.”

The “second coming” is the term used to refer to the future event when Jesus will return to Earth, conquer His enemies, and reign as King of the world. Jesus described His return in Matthew 24:30: “Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” John saw Jesus as a mighty warrior in Revelation 19:11-16: “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the Name by which He is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has a Name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”


The concept of Jesus’ second coming was a mystery to Jews and Jesus’ followers until He ascended into heaven after His crucifixion and resurrection. The Jews knew of the suffering Servant (Isaiah 53) and the conquering King, but they didn’t understand that the work of the Servant and the work of the King would occur at two different times (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7; Zechariah 14:4). People laid down their coats and palm branches for Jesus during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem because they expected a military leader to save them from Roman rule. Even after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the disciples didn’t understand He had to leave and return. After Jesus ascended to heaven, the angels explained to the confused disciples, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

People today still confuse Jesus’ second coming with the rapture of the church, which occurs prior to Jesus’ second coming. The rapture is described in I Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” During the rapture, Jesus will come down to the skies to collect His followers, but He will not set foot on the Earth; He will remain in the air.

Zechariah 14:4 says that Jesus’ feet will “stand on the Mount of Olives.” When Jesus returns, He will fulfill prophecy, destroy His enemies (Zechariah 12:1-9; Revelation 19:15-16), gather and bless His people (Isaiah 11:11; Zechariah 12:10), and reign as King (Isaiah 11). We cannot know when Jesus’ second coming will occur (Matthew 24:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2), although we can look for signs—events that must occur beforehand (Matthew 24:4-29; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 6–18). Like the other prophecies about the end times, the promise of Jesus’ return is to give us encouragement (Titus 2:13) and to exhort us to continue to trust and obey Him (Matthew 25:19-21).

It is so amazing to see wives/husbands looking forward to the return of their spouses, children always love to see their parents return home, and laborers count calendar to the day they will receive their wages.  

In all these, the relevant question for every professed child of God is: are you ready to receive Him back? are you prepared? are you even looking forward to this great return of our Lord, Master, Elder brother, our nearest kinsman, husband of the Church, Savior, Messiah, The Rewarder, Jesus The Christ.

OUR RISEN LORD!
Who is Worthy in the Heavens or on the earth to pay the debt of Sin for everyone?
Who can win the Victory over satan, death, hell and the grave?
He is The LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH, JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.
Ohhhh! He alone is Worthy!
To Worship and Adore!
The Lamb of God, Victorious- OUR RISEN LORD!
He purchased our Redemption
Our righteousness is HE
Please, Exhalt the Name of JESUS CHRIST, THE KING
HE IS WORTHY!

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WHY IS PRAYER A DIFFICULT TASK FOR SOME CHILDREN OF GOD?

WHY IS PRAYER A DIFFICULT TASK FOR SOME CHILDREN OF GOD?

PRAY AS IF EVERYTHING DEPEND ON GOD

Luke 18:1 says, “He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray, and not give up.”

Yes, the Bible tells us we should “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Unfortunately, for many of us, a few minutes spent in prayer feels like forever. Why do we struggle so much with prayer when we know how vital it is to our relationship with God?

 

We certainly don’t lack information about how to pray. Christian bookstores are packed with books that explain in great detail the various methods of prayer. But perhaps we need to also direct our attention to our motivation, our attitude, in prayer. The following article, entitled “Focus on the Father” by Rusty Rustenbach (excerpted from Discipleship Journal, Issue 6), explores how our attitude can make prayer an adventure rather than a burden.  As you read through the article, underline any portions that stand out to you. Then respond to the questions and exercises.

 

Privilege of Prayer

Of all the ingredients in discipleship, the area many of us struggle with most is prayer. According to one recently published estimate, a typical Christian layman spends about three and a half minutes each day in prayer. Full-time Christian workers average about seven minutes per day. This pitiful situation must amaze even the Lord Himself, for Isaiah 59:16 records that when no one was found to intercede for His people, God was appalled. Why do we fail to take full advantage of the privilege of prayer? Is it a lack of discipline? Are we too busy? Are we unmotivated?

 

1. What things make it difficult for you to spend quality time in prayer?

 

_Too busy or tired

_ Can’t concentrate

_ Don’t know what to pray about

_ Don’t feel like it

_ Feel guilty

_ Not convinced it makes a difference

_ Other:

 

Perhaps the basic cause of our weakness in prayer relates to how we view God. We may have no genuine awe for the One “who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth” (Isaiah 51:13). God seems more like a superhero from a child’s cartoon, whittled down to human size.

 

If we aren’t captivated by God, prayer is a tedious task. It becomes a discipline that only those with wills of steel can master. I once regarded prayer as “gutting it out” before God. It meant trying to bring reams and reams of petitions before the Lord. The more requests I could bring, the more spiritual I was.

 

2. What similarities do you see between the author’s approach (bringing “reams and reams of petitions before the Lord”) and Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 6:7?

 
 
 

3. How would you compare the focus of prayer in Matthew 6:7 with the focus in Matthew 6:9-13? Which of these is most like your approach to prayer?

 

Communion or Wrestling Match?

I also misinterpreted statements from godly men about the importance of prayer. Martin Luther’s statement that “I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer” implied to me that prayer was a guaranteed formula for success.

Rather than being a dynamic communion with the sovereign Lord of the universe, to me prayer was an exercise meant to wrestle effects into the lives of people and to manipulate God’s hand. Prayer became lifeless

and tedious. It was like castor oil: terrible tasting, but good for me.

 

4. Which of the following statements describe your general attitude toward prayer? Check all that apply.

_ Prayer is like a marriage—it is hard work but can be very rewarding.

_ I want to like prayer, but I really don’t.

_ Prayer is like writing “thank you” notes—it is an obligation I need to fulfill.

_ I look forward to prayer.

_ I enjoy the time I spend in prayer, but I would like to go deeper.

_ Other:

 

Yet God reminded me of the truth I was neglecting: He wanted to commune with me. What does this mean? Communion is defined as the intimate sharing of thoughts and emotions, and an intimate fellowship, rapport, or communication. This is the kind of relationship God wants with me.

 

5. How is God’s desire for communion (intimate relationship) with us expressed in the following verses
a. Isaiah 30:18

b. Isaiah 65:1-2

c. Jeremiah 33:3

d. Matthew 23:37

e. Romans 5:8-10

f. 1 John 4:9-10

6. Summarize in your own words the most significant or meaningful insight you gained from the verses above.

 

What Is Your Picture of God?

I saw I had become hardened to the excitement of walking in continual awareness of God’s presence. I realized afresh that He desires open communion with me. He has little interest in the petition gymnastics I was trying to perfect in prayer. He wants me to be preoccupied with Himself. Seeing God this way enables us to stand in awe of Him. It stimulates our heart to vital communion and conversation with Him. Seeing God as He is requires faith on our part, but whoever is enamored and thrilled with God is then rightly motivated to pray. Discipline will still be necessary, but prayer won’t be drudgery. I believe that is hat John 4:24 is hinting at: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (emphasis added)

7. Read John 4:4-30, the context of the story of the woman at the well:

  • a. How did the Samaritan woman’s inaccurate picture of God affect her ability to worship Him “in spirit and in truth”?
  • b. What aspects of God’s character are hardest for you to grasp (for example, all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, sovereign, holy, righteous, loving, merciful, faithful, and so on)? How might this affect your prayer life?
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When Your Future Looks Uncertain, Meditate On These

When Your Future Looks Uncertain, Meditate On These

Question

God has answers to all queries of Life

When Your Future Looks Uncertain, Meditate On These

 At one time or another, all of us will face times of uncertainty. Maybe you graduated from college and have no idea what you will do this coming January. Perhaps you just lost your job. Or you’ve just moved to a new area where you know no one. Maybe you’ve just started a new job and feel overwhelmed at the challenges that loom before you. Maybe you’re single and wonder if you’ll ever get married. Has the doctor given you a medical prognosis that is heart rendering?
Your life may even be so uncertain you don’t know where your next meal will come from. The reality is that none of us are secure in this world except in Christ. Nothing is certain. We aren’t guaranteed our next meal. We aren’t even guaranteed our next heartbeat. Even when we feel secure, we are incredibly fragile and completely dependent on the Lord for every breath. But when we are particularly tempted about the future it is important for us to meditate on these bedrock truths. My suggestion would be to copy these verses and put them somewhere so you can see them regularly, like in your Bible or on your fridge. Even if you only meditate on the first three or four, God will use His Word to encourage your heart.
[bctt tweet=”When Your Future Looks Uncertain, Meditate On These” username=”@evangelbisola”]
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
  • I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8
  • Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. Psalm 37:37
  • I will restore health to you, and I will heal all your wounds Jeremiah 30:17
  • He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32
  • Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:17-18
  • My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 24:13-14
  • Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33
  • For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
  • My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. John 10:27-29
  • Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” Hebrews 13:5
  • . When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2
  • You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
  • I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. Psalm 37:25

No one will do it for you but you to encourage yourself in the Lord your God like David in 1Samuel 30:1-6. The Word of God cannot fail Psalms 119:89. The Name of God has never fail. David said “they look to Him and are radiant” Psalms 34:5. The love of God will not put you to shame. The Master of all-creation is in control.

If only you will call on Him today, He is just a breathe away and waiting for you to act Now.

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WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE WORD OF GOD?

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE WORD OF GOD?

The Word
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE WORD OF GOD?

Psalm 119 is an amazing Psalm, it is not only is it the longest Psalm (176 verses!), but it is also the Psalm that deals the most directly with the topic of Scripture. Virtually every verse, in one way or another, refers to God’s Word. David (who is most likely the author) uses a variety of terminology to describe God’s Word: commandments, law, statutes, precepts, ordinances, rules, words, testimonies, etc. These all refer to the Scriptures as they existed in David’s day (essentially the Pentateuch).[bctt tweet=”WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE WORD OF GOD?” username=”@evangelbisola”]

Thus, Psalm 119 is one of the best examples of Scripture speaking about Scripture. It is the Word about the Word. And in it, we find David interacting with the Word of God in five ways that should be paradigmatic for all believers:

TRUST

Trusting the Word of God. Time and time again, David expresses his belief that the Scriptures are true (v.151). He believes in them (v.66). He trusts in their reliability (v.42). He states: “The sum of your word is truth” (v.160).

trust

This first step is key. If a believer doesn’t really regard the Word of God as being fully and entirely trustworthy, then none of the other steps below will follow. This is why the church needs to be quick to deal with the repeated criticisms of the Bible that so often permeate our culture.

STUDY

study

 Studying the Word of God. David doesn’t just believe the Word; he is a student of the Word. He learns it (v.73), he seeks it (v.155), he has memorized it (v.153), and regularly meditates on it. This step ought to naturally for the follow the first one. If God’s Word really is true, then we ought to commit ourselves to being diligent studiers of the Word. We need to embrace it with our minds, as well as our hearts.

MAKE USE

Using the Word of God. It’s one thing to believe and know the Word. It is another thing to rely on it. To look to it as a guide during the difficulties and challenges of life. To lean on it for encouragement and hope.

use

David repeatedly affirms that he uses the Word of God as a “counselor” (v.24), to give “strength” (v.28), and to bring “comfort in affliction” (v.50). He states, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (v.105). In short, the Word of God is the very source of life for David (v.156).

This reminds us a very important attribute of God’s Word: it is alive. It is powerful and active. When we talk about the attributes of Scripture, we must remember that it is more than just a true book (encyclopedias can be true). It is also a living book. It is the place where the God of the universe meets us and manifests himself.

 

DELIGHT IN THE WORD

 Delighting in the Word of God. What is amazing is that David takes things one step further than we might expect. It’s not just that he trusts, studies, and uses the Word of God. He actually has affection for it. He has a deep emotional affinity towards it. He “loves” God’s Word (v.159), he “rejoices” at his Word (v.162), the Word is “wondrous” (v.18), it is “better than thousands of gold and silver pieces” (v.72), and “sweeter than honey to my mouth” (v.103).

delight

I am convinced that this is the missing piece for most believers today.  For many, the Bible is viewed almost in a utilitarian fashion—it is a mechanical, sterile tool that Christians are supposed to use. It’s like taking your medicine.

In contrast, David has passion, zeal, and excitement for the law and commandments of God. And the reason for this is not hard to find. David loves God’s law not because he is a closet legalist. He loves God’s law because the law reflects God’s own nature and character. He loves God’s law because he loves God—and who God is and what he is like.

Any Christian who says they love God but then despises God’s law is living a life of contradiction. Indeed, they are living a life that is the opposite of Psalm 119. To love God is to love his law.

OBEY

 Obeying the Word of God. Not surprisingly, the prior four characteristics naturally lead to this last one. David repeatedly expresses his desire to actually obey God’s law. He wants to follow it, keep it, and fulfill it.

obedience

In our world today, the concept of “obeying the law” is not a popular one. Many see this as contrary to grace. However, two things should be kept in mind. One, David is not keeping the law in order to earn salvation—he is obeying out of love for God. He is obeying out of a heart of faith.

Second, we should remember that Jesus Himself was very much about “obeying the law.”  Before we too quickly despise the concept of law-keeping, we should remember that Jesus delighted in keeping His Father’s law. And He kept it absolutely perfectly—for us. He obeyed on our behalf, and His righteous status is imputed to us by faith.

Indeed, Jesus embodies all five of these characteristics. He trusted, studied, used, delighted in, and obeyed God’s Word. In fact, He did all these things even more than the first David. While David certainly serves as an example of what to do with God’s word, Jesus is the ultimate example, the One greater than David has come; and He loved God’s Word because He is the Word JOHN 1:1.

Freely give!

Thank you for stopping by, we hope you are richly blessed by His Infallible Word. May your Joy be full in Jesus’ Name

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