It was another great Sunday at Northstar worshipping together. Our morning started by observing the Lord’s Supper and reflecting on Jesus and the sacrifice He made so that we can experience eternal life. Our worship leader Tanner Blankenship summed it up beautifully when he said, “There’s no one in this room who’s messed up too much. Christ died on the cross to save us from our sins and there’s no hope apart from that. We need him every day.”
We continued our “Think to Change” series which is taking us through fundamental components of our faith and examining what we believe, how we should then behave, and based on that behavior what we will become. Today’s message was about the behavior we can expect as a result of believing that the Bible is God’s Word to us.
Alex Kacere, our Youth Minister, delivered the message and God truly spoke through him to all of us. In his message, we examined reasons to study the Bible, how to study the Bible, and some practical action steps.
First, Alex framed the context of his message with a great analogy. He has always been an athlete and training is a critical component of a successful athlete’s career. Part of that training is setting the foundation with instruction. For example, a batter must be told where the strike zone is and what type of pitches to swing at. Then, the batter must stand at the plate and actually swing—the instruction must be applied in order for growth to be achieved. Studying the Bible is similar. It provides us the instruction needed to form our foundation and then it is up to us to apply that foundation so that we can grow and improve with God’s loving guidance.
Alex also pointed out that there is a difference between simply reading the Bible and studying the Bible. In 2 Timothy 2:14-16, we are called to unashamedly know the Word of truth. In order to know it, we must have a deep understanding of the truth. Proverbs 4:23 and Proverbs 7:2-3 emphasize the importance of our heart—it is the source from which all of life flows. The Bible consistently points to guarding our heart and protecting the teachings. Solidifying the teachings of God’s Word in our heart allows goodness and truth to flow out of our lives.
We then examined why we should study God’s Word. There are multiple important reasons; some of the ones we learned about include:
- To defend against the enemy
- To follow Jesus’ example
- Jesus quoted scripture 31+ times in the Bible (Some examples: Matthew 4:4, 4:7, 4:10 Matthew 21, Matthew 22:37)
- We want to know God and we want God to be known
- God reveals Himself through the written Word—the Bible.
- God has revealed truth about life and offers guidance through His Word
This begs the question, how do we actually study God’s Word? Alex outlined 5 steps to take.
- Know the audience that is being written to
- Many resources are available for this, like study Bibles or trustworthy online resources
- Use correct theological interpretation
- Meditate on the Word
- 20+ times in the Bible we are told to meditate on the Word
- “Meditate” is reflection, pondering, and allowing the Word to sink in
- Pray for God to speak to you through the Word.
- Pray over the scripture
- Some scripture can be hard to understand or is complex, reach out to God for clarity
- Apply God’s Word
- Applying scripture is what makes it real in your life.
- Let God’s Word govern your decisions and plans
Alex concluded his message by challenging us with an “action step” to take. Over the next week read either 1 Thessalonians or Ephesians (5 and 6 chapters respectively). As you read through the Word follow the 5 steps for studying scripture. Consider the audience, interpret it in a theologically sound way, meditate and reflect on the Word, pray over the scripture, and then apply it to your life. Lastly, expect amazing things from God as you invest in your love relationship with him through studying His Word and applying it to your life.
These are just the high points of Alex’s great sermon. We really recommend you take some time to listen to the sermon in its entirety on the podcast. We also hope that you can join us in person in the weeks to come, as we continue our #ThinkToChange series. Next week we are going to hear about what and who we can expect to become by believing and studying God’s Word.