Today we are in week three of our series “Collide.” In week one, we laid the foundation for standing firm on the word of God, the only truth we can find in this world.
Then last week, we talked about the first thing God desires out of our lives once we learn to stand firm in our faith, amidst the conflicting values of the world we constantly collide with. We must be renewed and transformed.
So, today in week 3, we are going to take it one step further, because after God begins to transform us, we have to pursue the source of truth so that we can ultimately live it out. God’s Word, the Bible, is powerful and effective.
To illustrate this fact, listen to this true story…
“One day a shoemaker in Meshed, a very religious city in Northeastern Iran, brought home for his lunch some cheese, which the grocer had wrapped in a page of the New Testament, which he was using as wrapping paper.
After eating his lunch, he picked up the piece of paper and read the story of the man who hired laborers for his vineyard, and at the end of the day paid all the laborers the same wage, whether they had worked twelve hours or one.
The shoemaker liked the story, and the next day went again to the grocery store and bought cheese, asking that it be wrapped ‘in another page of that book.’
Finally, on the third day he bought what remained of the New Testament and showed it to his brother. The two of them then went to a missionary, who gave them a complete copy, and also gave them regular instruction in the Word of God.
Both men were later baptized and were among the first believers in that city.” (Dr. William Miller)
Even when the words of scripture are torn page by page and used as trash, it still has power to redeem.
The Apostle Paul wrote a very telling verse about sin in Romans 7 and let’s read it together…
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15
In this verse, Paul is talking specifically about sin. But I wonder how many of us take this same principle and apply it to our time spent with God in His word, or lack thereof.
We know what we should do, but do not do it. I am believing that today is the day God is going to give each of us a new hunger for His Word.
Much of the Old Testament Book of Proverbs is the result of King Solomon’s God-given wisdom, experience, and concern.
The Book emphasizes the central theme of Israelite wisdom, which is this, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction”.
This thought appears throughout the Book, especially in the portions contributed by Solomon.
For example, in Proverbs 23 God emphasizes how important TRUTH is, when King Solomon wrote this…
“Buy the truth and do not sell it – wisdom, instruction and insight as well.” Proverbs 23:23
We have already said the truth comes from the word of God. But once we have it, how do we keep it? The first step is what the writer of Proverbs makes clear in the verse we just read…
Don’t sell it
The author is not talking about us standing on the side of the road with our Bible, attempting to sell the physical Bible to someone.
Instead, the writer is talking here about an internal struggle. It is one thing to receive the Word of God. But it is another thing altogether to actually keep it as our priority in life.
Have you ever known someone who once may have been very close to God, but then started having doubts about the truth of Scripture. Perhaps, they started to doubt what they believed, and were swayed in a different direction by the world.
Unfortunately, this happens to many people. As we mentioned in week one of this series, the things of the world can be seductive and enticing. They attempt to CONVINCE us of their truth (a worldly truth), rather than THE truth of the Bible.
It is easy to sell ourselves short by selling what we hold onto as the truth in Scripture. Maybe some of us are in that place right now.
We feel an internal war going on within us. We feel as if we are being pulled in two different directions, and the direction of the world is gaining an advantage because we know it will offer a satisfaction that we can see and feel, although it is so temporary.
Jesus had an external dialogue with a woman about this same struggle in her life. It was recorded in our Gospel lesson today in John 4.
In this story, Jesus offered the woman the true source of life, one that would satisfy her completely.
Before this interaction, she was in the middle of being pulled in worldly directions, all the while searching for what would actually help her in life, and then it just came walking into her life in the form of Jesus.
The truth incarnate, Jesus Christ, collided with her sin and she was set free. The Bible tells us elsewhere that Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh, just look at John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
Therefore, what this means IS THAT, if we know Jesus, we know the truth. And then the question becomes how do we learn more about the truth?
We must spend more time in the word of God. Once we know it, and we learn not to lose it, there is a proper response God desires from us as a third step, and that is…
Go share it
All throughout the Bible, it is made clear that God’s Word was never meant to just dwell within us. For example, Jesus came to them and said…
“…go and make disciples of all nations … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
This passage is often called “The Great Commission.” Jesus commands His disciples to go and spread the word of God … the Gospel message about Him to the world.
I believe the same commission is given to us when we become a believer in Christ; when we begin to read and study the word of God; and even when we begin to put it into practice, we are then called to go and share it.
And, amazingly, sharing God’s Word with others will always strengthen our own faith as well!
I often share how I came to faith in Christ as an adult, and how my faith has steadily strengthened over the years. And what I have noticed is that in these conversations about Jesus and how I love Him, my faith becomes even stronger.
I think I am helping someone else see Jesus for who He is, all the while I am strengthening my own faith … without even realizing it.
It is as if God shows up even more anytime we share what we believe.
I think I should reiterate a fact that all of you know well, but perhaps don’t think about very often. Sharing my faith and complete belief in Jesus Christ is not just my responsibility.
You see, God calls every one of us to do the same. We are all called to give your faith away, to share the gospel freely.
And what a joy it is to share with others what God has done through the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ.
You and I have a story to tell. Obviously, our stories are not as dramatic as Jesus’ story, but to whomever you are talking to, it is just as important to them.
Share your story with someone this week, and then share with me how it made you feel.
Today, maybe you are in a place where you are tempted to sell yourself short by following worldly temptations rather than the eternal truth of the word of God. Perhaps that is what holds you back from sharing your faith.
You feel like you have an internal wrestling match going on. The Kingdom of Man and the Kingdom of God are colliding within you, and you feel like you need to make a choice.
But today can be the day that you fully submit to God’s Word once and for all. It is the only fundamental source of true in this world. God’s Word is the only thing that can fully satisfy you for eternity.
I pray that God would soften your heart today for His Word and His Gospel.
Once you receive the word, as we talked about today, pray for opportunities to share it.
This is as simple as knowing what it says, living it out, and sharing your story of redemption with those around you … anyone willing to listen.
Pray for an open door to share this week with someone close to you. There’s so much joy that comes with giving. In fact, Jesus said this in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Christ has called each of us to BELIEVE, RECEIVE, and most importantly GIVE. I pray that all of us are ready for the open doors coming our way this week … as we continue to GIVE in His name. Amen