Sermon Wilfred - Spiritual Growth, Daily Bible Reading, and Why?
In my second preaching, I spoke about the possibility that our Lord Jesus Christ will return next year. Jesus says: WATCH and heed the signs. It is a clear order to watch because no one knows when Jesus will return except for God the Father. Jesus clearly described how the Rapture of the Church will occur and indicated who is taken and who is left. It is the choice of every individual Christian. In my opinion, the task for me and pastors is to prepare the Church SO THAT BELIEVERS are taken. Even if Jesus does indeed return next year, there is little time left to win the unbelievers, and every believer has a hard task of winning people for the Lord Jesus Christ. Now is the time to announce convenient or inconvenient. And it is the free choice of every believer to listen to my sermons, study my websites and Instagram or move aside.
I want to start this sermon with the necessity of reading the Bible daily. How do we read the Bible and WHY? To start with the latter, it is:
- First, it is God's speaking to you,
- Secondly, it is our weapon against the powers of darkness,
- Thirdly, it reveals sin in our lives,
- Fourthly, God's Word convinces the unbeliever.
So we must have a top of the head Bible knowledge. THEREFORE we have to read the Bible daily.
How do we read the Bible?
The Bible is God's Word, it is Divine authority. You can say that there are translation errors from the Hebrew or Greek origin, but the translation is done very careful. As in any language, one can say the same things in different terms. That is why it is good to read the Bible in more translations. And master your foreign languages to read the Bible in those languages as well.
You do not read the Bible like an ordinary book or novel. It takes your time in preparation, first confess sin and ask the Holy Spirit in prayer to open your eyes and show what God wants to say and teach you today. It is the Holy Spirit who makes the Bible clear. At the fall of man, the communicative (Holy) Spirit was taken away and man could NO LONGER communicate with God. After the adoption of Jesus Christ as Savior, man receives the Holy Spirit so that man can understand God's Word and communicate with God again.
After more than 30 years of Bible reading, there are still things new to me because I skip in the past and the Holy Spirit speaks to me. And I read the entire Bible in 1 year. It is also a matter of spiritual growth because the (young) believer cannot process all sin at once and bring them under the control of the Spirit in his or her life.
It is taking all the time and isolating yourself (But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret Matthew 6:6). It is your PRIVATE time with the Lord God. And remember well that God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are HOLY Who dwell in Heaven, so show all the RESPECT that God deserves.
If you are in a hurry and do not have the time to read the Bible, it is hard to expect to be focused on understanding God's Word and listening to what God wants from you.
After reading, it is time to reflect on what these Bible verses have to say to you personally.
It is also advisable to consult Bible comments. In general, comments in English are the best.
At the Bible study circle you hear the explanation of other Christians.
If you do not understand something, submit it to the Holy Spirit to explain it to you. Sometimes you receive the explanation very quickly, sometimes you receive the explanation in a wonderful way, sometimes it takes months (years) until the time when you are ready to receive the answer.
You need knowledge of the Bible in resistance to satan and for evangelism and your spiritual growth.
Without thorough Bible knowledge, without the sword of the Spirit, that is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17), we are unable to defeat the roaring lion of satan (1 Peter 5:8).
Jesus used purely God's Word in Matthew 4:3-11 to resist Satan, and in verse 11, Satan suffered defeat and left. Thus, with every attack of satan on the believer, the believer has to use God's Word (Bible text (s)) to resist satan. That requires ready Bible knowledge by heart, which you only possess if you read the entire Bible in 1 year.
With love one can use Bible texts to evangelize and approach the unbeliever with John 3:16 being the best known.
It is God's Word and the Holy Spirit that convince the unbeliever.
By practicing in God's Word with every attack of Satan, one grows spiritually. But that requires thorough Bible knowledge because Eve fell at the fall of Satan through the half truths. And pay close attention to Satan's abuse of God's Word in the temptations of Jesus in Matthew 4.
Learn Bible verses by heart that you find important in the fight against Satan and for evangelism.
Can one test everything with the Bible as to whether it is from God?
Basically yes, but not always. Matthew 25 describes the 5, 2 and 1 talents and how Jesus asks for an account of how people have taken care of their neighbor. My money is not mine but God's. How I spend my money, I will have to answer to Jesus. One day I saw that a sister in Christ urgently needed a washing machine. I went to the store, saw that cheap washing machines that I knew did not wash clean and watch a good washing machine and noted the price and looked in other stores. But a voice in me said: NO. But the Bible says that I must take care of my neighbor. But I did not buy, I listened. More than a week later this washing machine was 400 reais, 100 dollars cheaper. And I was allowed to buy the washing machine, load it in my car and deliver it to my sister in Christ. The Holy Spirit knows the future, knew that the washing machine would be cheaper a week later. That is listening and obedience.
Let us look at King Saul. The prophet Samuel ordered Saul (1 Samuel 15) to destroy the Amalekites, including the cattle. What does King Saul do? He destroys the Amalekites, but spares the best cattle. When Samuel meets Saul after the victory, he hears the cattle. And ask why did you not execute the command of God and destroyed the cattle? Note his excuse: I have saved it to sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel's answer is (verse 22):
Personally I find it hard to listen when the voice speaks to me. It is not always possible to determine when it is from God or not. Yes, I have made mistakes, but luckily I can confess my sins and be forgiven by God.
A brother in Christ wanted to borrow money and in my disobedience I borrowed. I knew that this brother is unable to manage money, but he said he needed the money to start business. After two years he was bankrupt. I would like to tell you about the work of the BEM. A Dutch missionary society that works in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Their job is to help a family for three years. How? The children can go to the semi-internate from 7 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon where they eat and receive education. The parents can then work and earn money. In addition, a garden to grow rice and vegetables. After three years, they must be independent and able to take care of themselves. That is an excellent project started 50 years ago. Many are doctors, lawyers, predecessors, social counselors or teachers in one of the 13 semi-internates.
What does the Bible say about work?
2 Thessalonians 3:10
That is a serious Bible text. Which we must take seriously. Ho, Wilfred you cannot mean that. You live in Brazil where the unemployment rate is 13%, so difficult to find a job. Yes that is true. I myself have been unemployed 2x 3 years in the Netherlands. However, no lost time. That time was a time of spiritual growth. Was able to pray for 3 hours to bring unbelievers before God, by name, of movie and television auters. A time of Bible study. A time of social work.
Here I see unemployed believers hanging behind the television, performing nothing all day, no visits to brothers and sisters, no spiritual growth. They live in literall poverty and spiritual poverty. Sorry to say, but this Bible text applies to them.
Because God Will is to use your time in the relationship with Him and in work for Him.
YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IS THE MOST IMPORTANT IN YOUR LIFE.
That relationship is necessary to be taken and to go to Heaven. If you are not already interested in that relationship on earth, why go to Heaven? After all, you are not fulfilling your royal priesthood on earth. You are not a representative of God on earth, how can you reign with Jesus Christ as king in the 1000-year Kingdom of Christ? Your life as a Christian is your testimony, your preparation. Let us take these tasks seriously. That is not a passive behavior but an active Christian life under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The choice is up to US!