Text: James 1:18
Memorize: He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we would be a kind of first fruits of His creation. James 1:18
Scriptures: James 1:18; John 6:63; Jeremiah 2:3; John 1:13; 2 Corinthians 6:7; 2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:15; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 14:4
God wants to use his Word to give you a fresh start in life.
Without God’s Word, we could never be saved. We wouldn’t be headed for Heaven. We wouldn’t know about Jesus’ death on the cross. We wouldn’t know about God’s purposes for our lives.
Without the Bible, we can’t know God.
God wants to give you all of that — but it starts with his Word. Through the Bible, God recreates our life. When I feel like I’m at the end of my rope, God uses the Bible to give me a fresh start, a do-over. The Bible calls it being “born again.” In James 1:18, the Bible says, “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth” (NIV).
The Bible is often compared to a seed. Once the Bible takes root in your heart, it begins to sprout and grow and bear fruit. As God’s Word does that, God changes your life for the better.
Jesus says this in John 6:63 about his Word: “The words I have spoken to you — they are full of the Spirit and life” (NIV). God’s Word isn’t just words on a page. It’s spirit and life. It’s spiritual power. His Word can transform society and transform history. It can do the impossible. It can change your life.
D.L. Moody, a famous Chicago pastor from 100 years ago, said, “The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge; the Bible was given to change our lives.”
How do you need your life changed? What part of your life do you feel powerless to change?
The Bible says the Word of God can change things that you cannot change on your own.
Make God’s Word a regular part of your life, and get ready for the impossible!
HYMN: DOWN AT THE CROSS
Text: Ephesians 5:25-26
Memorize: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
Scriptures: Ezekiel 18:9; Romans 5:16; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 1:30; John 15:4; Galatians 5:16,25, 1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1
You don’t have to live with guilt, regret, or shame anymore. Too many people are stuck with memories from their past that they can’t get over. Either you’ve been hurt and have resentment or you’ve hurt someone else and you have guilt.
God doesn’t want you to carry that heavy baggage throughout your life. He wants you to be free. That’s one reason God gave us the Bible. He uses his Word to eradicate our guilt.
I remember many years ago, when I was preaching, a woman came up to me in tears. She began to pour out a very sad story to me, complete with all the bad mistakes she had made. She was distraught and weeping profusely. She kept saying how very guilty she felt.
Then I read her 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (NIV). It’s the soap-dish verse. God says he’ll give you a bath; he’ll get rid of the dirt on your life, forgive you, and wipe away your sins.
Then I took her to Romans 8:1: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” She asked, “You mean all the things I’ve done wrong in my life, God’s not going to punish me for?” Nope. “Why?” she asked. Because Jesus paid for those things. “What about those I’ll commit tomorrow?” she asked. Jesus paid for those, too.
God’s Word cleanses the dirt, cleans up my mind, and washes my body. It gets all the dirt, the junk, the grime, the grit, the shame, and the sin out of my life.
The Bible says in Ephesians 5:25-26: “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.”
HYMN WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS
Text: John 8:31-32
Memorize: So He said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. John 8:31
Scriptures: John 2:2; John 15:7; 2 John 1:9; John 15:4-9; 1 Samuel 12:14; John 8:36; John 6:55
Nothing can change the lives of people like the Bible. I’ve seen alcoholics and addicts get their lives sober and clean because they started reading the Bible. I’ve seen God’s Word turn self-centered, narcissistic men who abuse and misuse women into godly husbands, wonderful dads, and upstanding citizens in the community.
Laws can’t change human hearts. If I believed they could, I’d be a politician. I have zero faith in politics to actually change the greatest problems on the planet. You can make laws to outlaw racism and bigotry, but no law will turn a bigot into a lover of people of other races. Only God can do that.
Jesus said it like this in John 8:31-32, “If you abide in my Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (NKJV).
Secular universities all around the world have the second half of that verse printed in stone on university buildings: “The truth shall make you free.” But those same universities ignore the first part of the verse. Your own opinions and the opinions of others won’t set you free. Only the Bible will. Even when obeying the Bible is hard and uncomfortable, it will set you free.
Do you believe everything you read online? Of course not! Do you believe everything you watch on TV? No. Do you believe everything you read in the newspaper and in “People” magazine? No. Why do we spend more time reading and watching what we know is a lie than reading what we know is the truth?
The fundamental question you’ll face in life is this: What will be your authority? Will it be God’s Word or the world? Will it be what God says is true or public opinion? You need to decide, and you need to do it soon.
If the Bible isn’t infallible, inerrant, and flawless, you’re in a heap of trouble. The Bible tells you how you can be saved. It tells you that your life isn’t an accident. The Bible tells you how to be forgiven. It tells you how God can use you for good in the world.
HYMN: TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS
Text: Exodus 23:29-30
Memorize: If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36
Scriptures: John 6:66-71; John 15:4-9; 1 Samuel 12:14; John 15:8; 2 John 1:9; John 2:2; John 1:47; Exodus 23:29-30
Most of us aren’t confident or courageous. Most of us are flat out scared to death. We’re afraid to take risks, afraid of failure, and afraid of dying. We’re not walking confidently because we’re not people of faith.
Do you want to be a person of faith? Faith is God’s Word activated. The Bible says in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word about Christ” (NIV).
If you’ve ever read a verse in the Bible and all of a sudden thought, “I can do this! I can do this!” you’ve just had your faith activated by the Word of God.
It’s the difference between the Bible and self-help books. Self-help books often give you helpful insight. They can tell you the right thing to do, but they just don’t give you the power to do it. Self-help books tell you that you should stop worrying or you should give up all your bad habits. Helpful, yes, but you don’t have the power to keep the advice. Those books aren’t alive.
But God’s Word not only tells you what to do; it gives you the power to do it. And it increases your faith as you do it.
When I read the thousands of promises in the Bible where God says he’ll act on our behalf if we obey him in some manner, it gives me confidence. I know that if I do what God asks of me, he has promised a certain result.
For instance, God had promised the Israelites the Promised Land. They were going to go across the Jordan River into Israel and take on some tribes that were already living there. They didn’t think they could do it. They thought the goal was too big.
In Exodus 23:29-30, God is saying to the Israelites, “You know these enemies? They’re bigger than you. But I’m not going to give you the whole land in the first year. You’re going to take it over a little bit at a time — one battle at a time. You’re growing stronger. When you’re strong enough to handle it all, you’ll get it all.”
HYMN: YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN
Text: Acts 20:32
Memorize: And now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified. Acts 20:32
Scriptures: 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Acts 14:3;1 Peter 1:4; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 5:5;Acts 9:31; Acts 11:23; Hebrews 9:15
You have an inheritance coming to you. If you read God’s Word, the Bible promises one for you. The Bible says in Acts 20:32, “I commit you to God and to the Word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified”. An inheritance is what you get for being part of a family that’s rightfully yours.
Pretend your father is Warren Buffet, and he dies. If you never took the time to read the will, you’d be foolish. You wouldn’t get what was rightfully due to you. You wouldn’t benefit from what belongs to you as a child of Warren Buffet.
When you become a follower of Jesus, you’re not just a believer — you’re a belonger. You become a part of God’s family. Family privileges come along with that decision. You have a spiritual inheritance.
But if you walked through your entire life and you didn’t know what benefits were available to you as a child of God, that would be sad — and foolish. God wants you to grow and know what’s available to you from him. You need to read the Bible to do that.
The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
The purpose of the Bible is to help you live out the purpose God has for your life; it’s God’s inheritance that’s due to you. God wants you to be thoroughly equipped for what you’ve been made to do. To do that, he does four things through Scripture:
• He teaches you. God shows you the path on which you should walk.
• He rebukes you. God shows you when you’re off the path.
• He corrects you. God shows you how you can get back on the path.
• He trains you. God shows you how you can stay on the path.
That’s how God’s Word helps you grow and get that great inheritance God has prepared for you.
HYMN: COME INTO MY HEART, O LORD JESUS
Text: Ephesians 5:26
Memorize: To sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word. Ephesians 5:26
Scriptures: Leviticus 8:6; John 3:5; John 13:10; John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Colossians 3:16; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 4:12
Truth be told, you can’t even fathom your full potential. Only your Creator can. Only God, the one who made you, knows all you are capable of being. Your parents, your spouse, your friends, your boss — they only get a glimpse of your potential.
Only God knows what you’re truly capable of.
Most people live for the approval of others. They spend all of their time worrying about what others think of them. Your life has been limited by replaying tapes in your head of people who lied to you. They may not even mean to lie to you, but they still do. They’ve told you that you can’t do something that you shouldn’t even bother because you’re not worth much anyway. You’ve played these tapes over and over in your mind. And they’re lies. The people that made those statements about you have no idea about your potential. You have to talk to your Creator for that.
Only he knows what he can do through your life. And only he can unlock that potential. How does he do it? The Lord frees us through his Word. Jesus said this in John 8:31-32: “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (NLT). God’s Word will unlock all you’ve been made to do and be. Through it, you’ll be able to do things you’ve never thought possible.
How do you do that?
1. Learn God’s Word. God won’t unlock your potential until you actually open the Word and learn it. You won’t unlock potential by osmosis. You’ll start to do it by learning what the Bible says.
2. Accept God’s Word. The Bible has to be the authority in your life. You may not like what you’re reading, but if you want God’s best for your life, you need to accept what it says as the final authority for how you live.
3. Obey God’s Word. You can’t just learn God’s Word and accept God’s Word. You have to do what the Bible teaches. You don’t get blessed for the parts of the Bible you know. You get blessed for the parts of the Bible you do.
HYMN: HAVE YOU BEEN TO JESUS FOR THE CLEANSING POW’R?