The Word of God is something upon which you and I need to learn to feed.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? You doing all right? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. Nice to be back with you. I never cease to marvel and to thank God for the friends that He has sent my way who take time to listen in fellowship together with me as we walk through portions of the Word of God. My daily prayer is that God will fit some portion of what is said specifically to your own personal need. That’s what the accountant calls the bottom line, that is where it really matters.
God’s Word is forever true, whether or not anyone reads or believes it. “Forever O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven.” God’s Word is always and forever true, but it becomes of value to you and to me when we make it our own and we apply it to some point in our lives. And my purpose therefore in producing these broadcasts day after day is that in answer to prayer, the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit might take God’s Word and custom fit it, you may say, to your own personal need. May that be so today, by God’s grace.
We’re in 1 Timothy 4, we’ve come to verse six. The last time we got together we were noting that everything you touch is made holy by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God who, through you, makes life a miracle and connects all that you are with the eternal purposes of God. An awesome concept, and one that dignifies life and makes you and me responsible far beyond the mere carrying out of daily tasks.
Now we come to verse six, Paul says, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine whereunto thou hast detained.” Let me just walk around in this verse a bit with you, if I may.
First of all, he says, “Put the brethren in remembrance.” That means you remind them of something they already know. Pastor, let me speak with you for a moment. You are not required to dig up something absolutely novel and new in order to be a good pastor or a good preacher. The content of the Word of God is fixed and the Truth of God is what it is. It’s impossible to improve upon what God has already given us in His divinely inspired inerrant Word, the Bible. Paul says, “Put the brethren in remembrance of these things.” That is, remind them of something they already know.
Now, how do you get away with reminding people of something they already know without being accused of repeating yourself and being boring? I think the answer lies in relating the same eternal, unchanging Truth to the changing situations of life. Your illustrations need to be as new as today. Your applications need to be as relevant as today. Paul the Apostle had no difficulty regarding what to watch on television. He didn’t need to speak of that. Peter didn’t have any difficulty whatsoever about watching blue movies. Today, we have different circumstances, but we have the same eternal Truth to proclaim. Make sure… Well, first of all, make sure your preaching is expository. If you limit yourself to topical preaching I can guarantee you, you’ll move in two or three years, you’ll run out of stuff to say. Expository preaching never gets old.
The formula for lasting in the pastorate is to stick to expository preaching, make three calls a day, love the people, make friends with the undertaker, and have a heart that is always tender toward the needs of people. But, the relevance of your message does not depend upon dredging up some new, novel, out in left field kind of an idea. You stick to the eternal Truth of God, expository preaching, not ‘what do I say about the Bible’? What does the Bible say to me? There’s the difference. “Put the brethren in remembrance.”
A small thought here, I am disturbed over the fact that people are coming out of seminaries without the idea of needing to get out and call on people. I asked a young man who had graduated from seminary recently and was in his first pastorate, complaining a little he was about the fact that the people weren’t really on the job for the Lord. I said, “Do you get out and call among the people?” “Oh, no, that’s their job, I’m in the study and preparing my sermons.” [chuckle] Well, I said, “Didn’t they tell you in the seminary what importance there is in calling on your people?” “Oh, no, they said, ‘You be a counselor and you train your people to do the calling.'” [chuckle]
Well, I’ll tell you, I have to disagree with that approach. “A home-going pastor makes a church-going people,” they used to tell me, and I think it’s true. Three times a day, three calls a day, make that your level of calling, Pastor, three times a day, go tell somebody about the Lord Jesus. You’ll find your church grows 10% a year as a result.
All right, that’s the end of the detour, I had to throw that in because I feel deeply about it. “Put the brethren in remembrance.” There is no sin in reminding people of eternal matters. Now, if you’re repetitious on other things, watch out. If you repeat yourself in terms of either your remarks, your illustrations, the way you set up your sermon, whatever it may be, if you repeat yourself on those things, watch out. But you don’t ever go wrong in sticking to the eternal Truth of God.
“Put the brethren in remembrance.” Old truth, new application. Old truth, new illustration. I visited our brother Billy Graham’s meetings in Tallahassee, just a little over a year ago now, and was privileged to sit there in fellowship with others in this tremendous crusade that resulted in the fact that thousands of people made commitments to the Lord Jesus Christ, a thrilling experience for us all. But I noticed that although I recognized his sermon outline, it was full, his sermon was, full of references that were as new as that day’s newspaper. And that week’s. For instance, Time magazine, whatever, he had quotations from authorities, he had illustrations. It was fresh.
Now, I know that our Brother Graham has help in his staff, people who as staff workers help along this line in supplying him with various types of illustrative material and quotations and helpful sayings. I know that, and not all of us can do that sort of a thing. We have to dig it out for ourselves. But the point is the same, the point is the same, it’s the old truth and brand new application and illustration, because life is always changing, it’s never quite the same. You never step into the same river twice because the water into which you stepped a moment ago is now gone.
Now, he said, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, though shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ.” Minister. Remember, we said that ministry is sharing God with people at the point of their need. At the point of their need, you will be a good minister. Well, it’s our word “diákonos,” from which we get our English word “deacon.” Sharing God with people at the point of their need, meet their need, share your experience and your knowledge of God with them. A good minister is one who shares God with people at the point of their need.
Now, he said, “Nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.” He said, “Remind people of eternal Truth, share God with them at the point of their need.” Then he said, “What will happen to you, is that you’re going to grow up, you’re going to be nourished up in the Word.”
The Word of God is something upon which you and I need to learn to feed. This is a concept that many people miss. My heart aches for some whom I know who are dear believers, they do love the Lord, but their lives are beset constantly, and I think often times needlessly, with problems and discouragements and tensions that they would not necessarily have to endure if they were feeding on the Word of God.
Feeding on the Word of God. “The words that I speak unto you,” Jesus said, “They are spirit, and they are life. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Our Lord Jesus quoted that passage during His temptation in the wilderness.
Oh, you want to think about this matter of feeding on God’s Word? Now, it’s more than reading the Bible, you must realize that, don’t you? All of us, I suppose, read the Bible at some time or other, either in the morning or at night before we fall asleep, or on special occasions. But the Bible speaks of God’s Word as food. “He humbled thee” -I’m reading now from Deuteronomy 8. “He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger. Fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know, that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord, doth man live.”
Job said, “Neither have I gone back from the commandments of His lips, I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” The Psalmists said, “How sweet are Thy words unto my taste, yeah, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found and I did eat them and thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by thy name O Lord God of hosts.”
And then Peter says, “As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby.” Just a few verses that remind us that we need to feed on the Word of God. Nourished up. I want to talk with you a little bit about that before we go on. Well, time will run out before we get into it, right now. But we’ll come back to it the next time we get together, God willing. How to feed on the Word of God and what it will do for you and for me.
Father God, today may we be true to Thy Word, growing because we’re feeding upon it. In the name of the Lord Jesus, amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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