Life To The Fullest
There’s more to life than just existence and making it through.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again, dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Everything going all right at your house? Well, I’m glad to be back with you and I want to turn again to the fifteenth chapter of the book of Romans. In this little series, we’ve been thinking about the practical application of the gospel as found in Romans chapter 12 through the end of the book. And now we’ve come to the 15th chapter and the last time we got together we were looking at Romans 15:4 where Paul says “Whatsoever things were written before time were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
The purpose of the Bible, what is it? Well, overall it is to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Savior said “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me,” John 5:39. The Scriptures, Old and New Testament are all about the Lord Jesus Christ. When you realize that, the Bible begins, perhaps for the first time to make sense to you. And instead of being an aggregation of books written over hundreds and hundreds of years by many different authors, it now becomes the revelation of God who as the writer to the Hebrew says “God, who in time past spoke unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.”
The Bible begins to make sense when you realize that it’s all about the Lord Jesus. But the process of gaining help from God’s Word is signaled to us in these words in Romans 15:4. It says “what things were written before time”, that is in God’s Word, in the Scriptures, “were written for our learning.” Learning. To learn something new from the heart of God every day ought to be the goal of every child of His. To learn something new from the heart of God every day ought to be the goal of every child of God.
You and I ought not to be content simply with scanning the Bible or looking for some familiar comforting verse that will make us feel better. We ought to dig in God’s Word until we’ve learned something new from our Lord day after day. That, dear friend, is the way to grow. As a matter of fact, learning something new day by day quite apart from your study of the Word of God but just as s general principle, learning something new day by day is the only way to keep growing mentally and as a personality.
Many people are just walking around waiting to be buried because they stopped growing years ago. The only growth that has taken place is around their midsection but their brain has been static, lo these many years—no learning has been taking place. A person who keeps learning is bound to be promoted on his job and a person who keeps learning in academic work is bound to do better either as a teacher or as a student.
And a Christian who keeps learning things from the Bible is going to be a better Christian and a more effective servant of God. They were written for our learning. Never be satisfied until you have gotten something new for yourself from the Word of God every day that you live. Now, what’s the result of that? Written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Learning, patience, comfort, hope — this is the procedure.
Strangely enough, he puts patience next after learning because when you’ve begun to understand something new that God has opened up to your heart and mind, you are more willing to allow God to have time to work in your life. Greek word for patience in your Greek New Testament is “hupomonês” which means to stay down. Stay down. Don’t pop up or give up or blow up, but stay down, stay under, wait on God. The Bible says “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
“Trust in the Lord and wait patiently for him,” says the Psalmist in the 37th Psalm. Wait on the Lord, patience; “Ye have need of patience,” says the writer to the Hebrews, “that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” Now, patience is a quality that is both learned and given. It’s a quality that comes from the way God deals with us in our faith. Paul says, “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: and access right into the throne room of God in this grace wherein we stand.
And not only so,” he says, “but we glory in tribulations also,” we actually rejoice in the midst of our troubles, “knowing,” I’m reading now from Romans 5, “knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience, and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.” So patience is something that comes from walking with God through the trials of life. It’s also something that you learn as you read God’s Word and begin to apply it to your own experience. As you walk with your Lord through the trials of life and as you read and study His Word and allow Him to reveal Himself to you, you’ll find yourself more willing to wait on God’s timing in any given situation.
As a result, you’re far less fretful or panicky through patience and comfort of the Scriptures. Applying God’s Word to your life makes you far less panicky than you would be otherwise. Comfort of the Scriptures. There is a sense of knowing that God is in charge and the things are going to turn out the way they ought to in spite of the way they seem to be going right now. Oftentimes in the midst of a trial, we tend to look up and say, “God, what are you trying to do to me? Are you trying to kill me? If I have to take any more, it’s going to kill me.”
Now, Paul went through that very same experience, did you know that? He said, “I would not have you ignorant of our trouble that came to us in Asia that we were pressed out of measure,” he said, “I’m getting more than my share. Above strength I can’t take any more,” “insomuch we despaired even of life,” “If I have to take any more, it’ll kill me,” “But we had the answer to all of this that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.” He delivered us, 2 Corinthians chapter 1 is the passage I was quoting.
So that in the midst of trouble even though you don’t like it, even though you say “I’m getting more than my share,” even though you say “I can’t take any more,” even though you say “If I have to take any more, it’ll kill me;” this is the human reaction. Paul had it and so do you and I sometimes. In the midst of all that if you’ll just go to God’s Word and let Him whisper His Word to your heart, you’re going to have His comfort. In the midst of trial, you’re going to be calm and in perfect peace.
That, I think, is what Isaiah 26:3 really means, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.” How can you have your mind stayed on God? By reading and studying and meditating upon his Word. The Psalmist says in the first Psalm, “His delight is in the law of the Lord; and is His law doth he,” that’s the Scriptures, “in His law doth he mediate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Can you think of any better description of a person who is at perfect peace and whose life is productive in spite of what’s going on? The winds may blow and the tempest may come and all of that but here is this tree planted by the rivers of water, tall, stately, calm, fruitful—that is the picture of the believer whose mind is stayed on God. And the way to have your mind stayed on God is to be in His Word day by day. Do you see the point? Why should you read and study your Bible? Why should you meditate upon it?
Why should you insist upon having a contact with God’s Word first in the day before anything else? Why, because it makes all the difference in the world as to whether you’re going to be harried and hurried and harassed or whether you’re going to be calm and steady and fruitful and as the Word says “You’re comforted.” I think you and I have our choice. We can do it either way. I would hope and pray that you and I may take the right choice and that we might get into the Scriptures everyday so that our hearts would be strengthened and comforted by the blessed Holy Spirit as He applies these things to our lives.
Then he says “that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Real inspiration because the Word of God reveals the person who is our living hope. “Born again,” says the apostle Peter, “unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Because he’s alive we know we’ll survive the ordeal of physical death and we’ll have that wonderful resurrection with a sin-proof and death-proof and pain-proof body that God will give us. “Our citizenship,” says Paul in Philippians 3, “Our citizenship is in heaven from whence also we look for the Savior the Lord Jesus Christ who shall change this body of our humiliation that it might be fashioned like unto His body of glory.”
There’s hope when you read the Word of God. It witnesses to your own spirit that there’s more to life than just existence and making your way safely to social security and an anonymous burial where people say nice things about you. There’s more to life than just existence and making it through. You’re on your way to the glory land. And the Lord Jesus Christ is alive today as God’s proof of what the Lord wants to do with every child of God. Rejoice today, dear friend. Get into the Word of God and let it give you hope and inspiration for the days that lie ahead.
Now that’s Romans 15:4. “Now,” he says, “may the God of patience and consolation,” there you have it, patience and hope again. Consolation is another word for comfort, isn’t it? Patience and comfort. “Now the God of patience and comfort grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.” This expression is going to crop up again in this chapter. Down in verse 13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
We’ll get to that a little later on. But right now, he says, “may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be likeminded one toward another.” Does that mean we have to agree in everything? No. God has made us with differing points of view. It does mean that there will be agreement on the things that really matter, the things that are eternally important. We’ll get at that the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, grant to us to be in Thy Word and thus to gain patience and comfort and hope, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing.
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