Good morning. If you’ve got a Bible, please go get it. Go to Romans chapter three. If you’re new, that’s how we start the sermons. Here’s what we’re going to do. I have a hard time calling this much of a sermon. It’s more of what we would know in the Bible as an exhortation out of Romans chapter three. We’re going to start there here in a moment. And what is an exhortation? An exhortation. Exhort is a word that means to call alongside. It’s the way you would talk to somebody if you were encouraging them. Let’s say you’re both running together, and someone begins to become tired or faint, and you’re encouraging them. “Come on. Keep up. Catch up. You can do this.” It’s an encouragement. That’s what this is intended to do. I don’t believe that for most of you, you’ll hear something new. I do believe that even the things you already know, it’s really good to be encouraged in and it’s right in our text. And so, we’re going to definitely do that.

I want to first read you 2 Timothy 4:1-2. And you’ll see why we do this. Paul tells Timothy, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, (here’s the word) exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” We’re commanded in Scripture to exhort. You know, every now and then people need kind of a kick in the rear. It’s true. The Bible is faithful to do that. Every now and then, hardheaded of us need a thump on the head. The Bible is faithful to do that. But do you know, quite often what people actually need is a slap on the back to encourage them and help them that hope is there. It’s real and here’s how you’re going to get it. And that’s what this is intended to be. May the Holy Spirit help me and may the Holy Spirit help you to hear this accurately so we can be built up in what the scripture actually says.

The title of the message is “Our Chief Advantage” (Romans 3:2. We looked at “What Advantage?” (Romans 3:1-2) last week. Our chief advantage comes directly from this text. We’ll see it in Romans 3:1-2. “Then what advantage has the Jew?…” Right? It’s coming out of chapter two where he explained that outwardly moralistic people are not necessarily right with God. It’s not the outward that God cares about. It is the inward heart. “What advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?” In other words, is there any benefit to being the people of God in the Old Testament? Verse two, “Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.” Now we need to spend some time on this verse because we have to get the words right. These are translation choices, and we want to challenge one of them. The first one is this “To begin with”. This is the ESV English Standard Version, okay? And this is one possible translation but it can be misleading. Because when you see it this way, and it says “To begin with” that can lead you to believe that the apostle is about to give a list. He’s not. He doesn’t give a list. And the fact that he doesn’t give a list is used by some people to try and disprove the authenticity of the divine inspiration of the Scripture. They say, “Well, Paul started one thought but then he deviated from it. He got confused and then he didn’t. He never added to the list.” And so, when you say, “To begin with”, it can sound that way but he doesn’t talk about that. That’s not what it’s speaking about. “To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with (here it is. You’ll see why it’s important) with the oracles of God.” This is synonymous with what? This is the Word. The Word of God. They were entrusted with that. That is our chief advantage. Our chief advantage is that we can hear the Word of God, that we have access to Scripture, and that we can use that to our advantage. We’ll get to that here in a moment. But when you understand what this word needs to say, you can see it in a couple of other translations. First of all, here’s the NASB New American Standard translation, the most literal you’re going to probably be able to read in English. If you can study Greek and read Greek, you can go to the Nestle, and you can do that the other way. But probably for most, it’s going to be easiest to read the NAS. And it says it this way, “Great (this is Romans 3:2) in every respect. (And it says this) First of all…” “First of all”. Now the way you can take that is two possible ways. It could be “First of all” as in that this is the first of all this list. Or it could be “First of all” saying that it is the first and everything else follows after it. It is the latter. It is the latter is the meaning of the text. The author of intent is to say that the chief advantage for the Jews was that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. In fact, if you look at the King James version, which I rarely ever do, but you know, well, I mean, that’s what I first memorized when I was discipled. Romans 3:2 in the King James says, “Much in every way: (and it uses this word) chiefly (that’s where I borrowed that term for “Our Chief Advantage”) chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” So when we say first in this way when we say chiefly in this way that word is protos. The word protos is used very specific term for a very specific purpose. And it is to say this is first and has no equal, and everything else comes underneath it. This is our chief advantage. What? The Word of God.

In fact, this form of this word is used in a very famous scripture that you’ve probably read before. And then that is Matthew 6:33 which says this, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Now when Jesus says, “Seek first the kingdom”, is He then going to come in afterward and say, “And second, seek this, and third, seek?” No, no, no, He’s not saying first of all in a sense, He’s saying “first”. In other words, here’s the principle in Scripture, if you get the first thing right, everything else will take care of itself. It will line up. If you seek God first, everything else will line up. And our first advantage, our chief advantage as Christians is, as it was to the Old Testament Jew. It was the chief advantage was first, and it was the fact that they were even within earshot of the words of God. We in America, especially evangelicalism, or so-called evangelicalism, tend to take hearing the Bible, talked about, preached, and referenced, kind of for granted. But listen, back in the days when that was written in Romans three to hear the words of God was the chief privilege on the earth, and it still is. Amen. It is the chief privilege of the people of God. It always has been. It always will be. It is the first thing you get it right, and all else follows. It was their advantage above every other nation, the Philistines, the Syrians, and the Babylonians. And it is to our advantage in everything pertaining to life and godliness. If we get that right, we get it all right.

So, I’m going to go through a few things that the Bible is chief in. I want to exhort you in this and in case you wonder, well, what’s the point of this message? The point of this message is for you to read your Bible. Yeah! “Wait way I came to church where they-” What do they teach? “I should read my Bible.” Like the roll of the eyes. And you might say, “Yeah, but I do read my Bible.” That’s right. And here, if I exhort you husbands to love your wives, are you really gonna go, “I already love my wife”? No, even if you do, can I still exhort you to keep doing it? Even do it better and be encouraged that there’s a reward for it and there’s hope in it? All the wives said, “Yes, you can tell him that.” Yes.

Chief In Faith

So here we go, just a few the Scripture is our chief advantage, “Chief In Faith”. It’s “Chief In Faith”. What do we mean? That means that’s actually where faith comes from. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” It is chief in faith. If you’re here and you say, “You know what, I’m struggling with my faith. I feel like my faith is weak. I feel like when times of testing come, my faith sometimes seems to falter or fail me. I have I struggle with these doubts.” And, by the way, that’s the whole of Christian life. You’re going to struggle with something. You really are. How do you grow your faith? It’s not by feelings. It’s not by your emotions. That’s why we sing songs but we don’t have cheerleaders who are worship leaders. Your faith grows as you read Scripture. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.” That is your chief advantage to grow in your faith.

Chief In Salvation

In fact, that’s actually how you were born again. It’s “Chief In Salvation”. It was chief advantage, if you will, in salvation. 1 Peter 1:23 says, “Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable (how did that happen?), through the living and abiding word of God.” How is a man saved? He hears the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing. Hearing by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit grants him faith to believe and repent of his sin and trust in the Savior. That is the ordo salutis. It’s the Latin term for the order of a man’s salvation. And the Word of God, if it’s left off to the side, you lose your advantage of leading people to Christ, and you lose your advantage of encouraging yourself in your walk with Jesus. Now the problem is everything in our culture wants to strip the Christian of his Bible. They want to silence pulpits. They want to silence teachers and develop some more nuanced, sophisticated, culturally relevant methods of communicating truth. Look at me. That can go back to hell from whence it came? You say, “You sound like you’re mad about that.” I’m mad about that because when churches get talked out of their chief advantage for reaching the lost what are we left with but the tactics of man that will fail? That’s humanism. And if you do get people to come to your organization, all you’ve built is a gaggle, not the ecclesia, the called-out ones who are the real church. And so, we’re called to preach the Word. We’re called to reach the lost by preaching the Word of God. It is the eternal seed. That’s how it goes to work. It’s chief in our advantage there.

Chief In Knowing God’s Will

Here’s another thing. It’s chief. The chief advantage “In Knowing God’s will”. Want to know God’s will? This is how you’ll know it. Deuteronomy 29:29. If you’re a men’s theology graduate here in this room or watching online, or you’re in the class right now, you already know this. The very first flag that we learn in men’s theology is Deuteronomy 29:29. It says “The secret things belong to the Lord our God…” In other words, there are things you’re not going to know. There are questions you’re going to have. Your tiny little brain that started back in 19 whatever. Or for some of you, 2000. You children. Your little brain will not be able to understand or know everything but look, “…But the things that are revealed (what is that? That’s His Word) belong to us and our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” That’s right. You want to know what God’s will is? Here’s how you know, you open and read and study and understand and apply God’s Word, and what you find out is, you begin to see His will. Now, it doesn’t give a detail of every nuance, does it? Right? You won’t find chapter and verse on whether or not you should buy a Chevy truck or a Dodge truck or a Ford truck, right? Common sense will tell you to buy the Ford. You don’t need the Bible to tell you that. But what it will do is it will tell you why you do what you do and where it should be aiming you. You see, listen to me, God’s Word is like a compass. It will pertain to everything pertaining to life and godliness. But it will be like a compass. It will keep you in the direction you are headed or that you’re supposed to be headed. But there’s a different road map, and it’s called guidance so we’ll get to that in a moment. But if you want to know God’s will and the aggregate and the overall, you have to go to the Scripture. If you separate from that, you’re actually cutting off your chief advantage. I’m here to exhort you, please don’t do that. Please don’t do that. It’s impossible in this church, in these services and online and on TV, that many won’t see this and hear, “Wait, there’s a way I can know God’s will?” That’s right. Study the Bible. Now, when I say study the Bible, it does not mean you open it and you read one verse, and you close it and you like “Ah it didn’t help. It didn’t help.” It takes time. It takes effort. And that’s how we love God with our whole mind. But boy, the payoff is huge. It’s the chief advantage of the Jew then, and it’s the chief advantage of the disciple today.

Chief In Sanctification

Here’s the next. It’s “Chief In Sanctification”. “Chief In Sanctification”. But what do we mean by sanctification? What does that mean? Sanctification, in case you don’t know, is the process that every Christian goes through. Every true Christian, from the moment they’re born again to the moment they either die or Jesus returns, whereby God continues to repeatedly conform you more and more and more to the image of His Son. That’s what sanctification is where you bear more and more of the fruit of the Spirit. And how does it happen? John 17:17, Jesus is praying for you Christian, and He says, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” You want to be more like Jesus? Get in the Bible. You want to bear more of the fruit of the Spirit? Get in the Bible. You’re not going to do it by trying harder to change let me just tell you this. The Bible is not something you just read. It reads you. And you don’t just turn its pages. Its pages turn you. It has the ability to transform the human heart. If you want to grow in Christ, you got to read this book. It’s the chief advantage. Why in the world would you lay it down?

Chief In Wisdom

It’s chief. It’s the chief advantage of wisdom. “Chief In Wisdom”. What is wisdom? Wisdom is the ability to know the end from the beginning. It is seeing from a higher perspective. Lowly wisdom, earthly wisdom just sees things from men’s perspective, but God’s wisdom sees things from God’s perspective. You can hear and know and trust the words of God. They’re written down for you. You don’t have to trust some man. That’s why we put these verses in two foot tall letters back here so I can yell at you and you’ll know I’m not making this up. It. You want to make sure that everything that someone’s telling you is actually in the text. Why? Because it can give you the correct view of God. Proverbs 2:6 says, “For (who?) the Lord gives wisdom; and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” What does that? What does it mean by “His mouth”? That means His words. Words are what comes from the mouth of God. And where are those found? They’re found recorded in the 66 books of the Old and the New Testament. And if you lack wisdom, by the way, James tells us what? It’s free. It’s free. And that’s good if you’re here and you lack wisdom, and which, by the way, I mean you lack wisdom, and you should ask for more, okay? We tend to think of somebody making a big mistake and they need more wisdom. I need more wisdom. You need more wisdom. We need it every day. And so, what do we do? We ask for it and then we open the Bible. It does not come through a magical download. Parents, let me ask you a question, have you ever told your child something on repeat? Now all my kids are grown. I have four grown kids. And all my kids are grown, and so I’ve watched this four times, have you ever told your child something, and you tell them on repeat, and they just don’t seem to get it, and then later on in their life, someone else tells them the exact same thing and they wheel around to you and tell it to you like you’re learning it? And you go, “Yes, that is awesome. That so and so told you that.” Now inside you want to choke them and the person that told them. That’s how wisdom works. That’s how wisdom works. I can say it to you. I can scream at you till I’m blue in the face. But if the Scripture gets in, the Holy Spirit goes to work, and now you say, “Oh, I get it. I see it from God’s perspective. Now it makes sense.” And the grace follows that deep knowledge. That’s why Peter puts it in that order. Don’t have time for that.

Chief In Warfare

Here it is. The next one. It’s “Chief In Warfare”. Our chief advantage in warfare. Warfare. How? Spiritual Warfare. Spiritual Warfare. That means dealing with the demonic under satanic attacks on your mind. And if you’re here new and you’re saying, “Wait, is this a church that believes that demons are real?” Yeah, I do because they’re real in the Bible and they’re actually still active. It never says it ended so demons are still functioning. I’ve seen people that I would classify as demon-possessed, and I believe that demons still try to afflict Christians. That’s what Satan does. He’s the accuser of the brethren, and he’s also the tempter, and he does that through fallen angels, who are evil spirits. How do we deal with that? Well, Ephesians 6:17 says it this way, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the (what?) sword….” You need a weapon if you’re in a fight. Okay? You cannot hand to hand this. You need not just wrestle. You can have a sword. “…The sword of the Spirit, which is (what?) the word of God.” It’s the quoting of the text. And if you think you’re too spiritual for that, if you think, “Well, I don’t really need the Bible. I know how to resist temptation all on my own.” Then what you’re saying is that you’re more spiritual than Jesus. Because how did Jesus resist temptation when He was on earth? He wielded the Word of God. Matthew 4:4, Matthew 4:7, and Matthew 4:10. The devil tempts him. Verse four, “But he answered, ‘It is written…’” Verse seven, the devil tempts him, “Jesus said to him ‘Again, it is written…’” Verse 10, the devil tempts him. And Jesus said to him, “‘Be gone, Satan, for it is written…’” Every time a Christian uses the Word like that it’s like a sword thrust against the enemy. Now, what are the mechanics of that? I don’t know. I don’t have to know. I do know it works. I can tell you this temptations fall down when you stab them enough. Accusations come apart when you stab them enough. When condemnation comes on, let me give you a perfect example, when condemnation comes on a Christian, the accuser is whispering in your ear. First, he is the tempter, and then once you succumb to the temptation, he becomes your accuser. That’s how it always works. He offers something he’ll never deliver, and then he accuses you rightly, but he accuses you of being condemned and damned of God and no longer loved. But when the Christian comes out from under that, opens the Bible, and lands on Romans 8:1 they read what? There is, therefore, therefore what? Well, then you go back and you read Romans seven and it’s Paul talking about O wretched man that I am who will deliver me from the body of this death. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Jesus for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. That’s Romans six actually. It’s going backwards but I’m putting that together. Those are sword thrusts that cause the accuser to stand down. Why would you lay your advantage down? Why would you close your Bible? Why would you make an excuse that you don’t have enough time? Now I feel like I’m rebuking you. I really want to encourage you so I’m trying my hardest. But if you’re not picking up your Bible, guys, it does not work by osmosis. And anytime I ask someone, I say, “Hey, where are you? How much Bible are you reading?” And they give me this answer, “Not enough”. Any pastor worth his salt knows what that means. Here’s the translation, “I don’t read my Bible.” Not enough? Oh, get up and read it. Open it up. You say, “Well, I’m not a morning person.” I’m not either. Do I look like a morning person to you? I am a night owl. I need coffee to feel saved. You amen that? But this is the goal is every morning be found. If you got to have a cup of coffee, have a cup of coffee, open the Bible. I like to do it before I mess up my day, right? Because I need this. It’s chief advantage. I want to wield it first.

Chief In Good Works

Here’s the next one it’s “Chief In Good Works”. “Chief In Good Works”. Yes, those works were ordained for you. And yes, if you’re saying I want to grow in those works, how do I do it? Start with scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17. We camp here a lot. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.” Why? Look at verse 17, “That the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” “Every good work”, there’s nothing you’ll lack the ability to do if the Scripture is in you and flowing out of you, God will lead you to it, and God will walk you through it. It’s the chief advantage. You say, “I want more fruit in my life.” That’s where you start.

Chief In Guidance

Here’s the next one. It’s “Chief In Guidance”. “Chief In Guidance”. Now, what did we say about wisdom? Wisdom is more like a compass. It’s like being on a super high ladder, and you can see the end from the beginning. But guidance is more of a road map. Does that make sense? That’s why you don’t just need a compass in your car if you want to get somewhere you’re going, right? You need a map because there’s going to be turns and there’s going to be detours, there’s going to be peaks and valleys. That’s what guidance actually is. It is present counsel for the moment of need. Psalm 119:105 says it this way “Your word is (what?) a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” The Christian need not ever stub his toe, as it were, on the bed frame of life. Word. Yeah I mean if you’ve ever gotten up in the middle of the night, and once you’re married, it becomes of supreme importance that you don’t wake her up or him, and so you get up and you don’t want to turn a light on, and you’re very careful, and you’re kind of nervous, and you bang that pinky toe. Some of you feel it right when I said that. Bang! It’s like electricity goes through your body, then your spouse wakes up, thinks you’re an intruder, and your life is ruined for at least 15 minutes. But you know what I find when I wake up in the middle of the night, whether I need a drink of water or gotta go to the restroom whatever I keep my iPhone beside my bed, and I keep the light on dim but all I got to do is just push that button, just turn the lightest, the littlest bit of light, and I can see plenty. Have you ever experienced that? It doesn’t take much. Listen to me. The Word of God is a floodlight. It will show you every nook and cranny, every crack, every deviation in your path, you need not trip or stumble in terms of guidance. You have the Word of God, and not only that, you’re here, you have the counsel of believers around you who can pour that into you. Don’t yield up that advantage. Don’t stumble through anything personal, relational, or financial, don’t go through anything alone. Let the brothers and sisters walk with you. Let us all walk together in light of the counsel of God. This is chief advantage.

Chief In Comfort

It’s also “Chief In Comfort”. “Chief In Comfort”. If you’re here and your heart’s broken, and there will be many over something, you have a broken heart. I have a broken heart this morning. I have news that things have happened, people’s lives that I love from the past, and God is doing some works there, but it’s still my heart’s broken. But do you know what I do? I got to go to the Bible. I got to go what does the counsel of the holy one say? What does God’s Word say about this? And when I get that, I have comfort every single time. The God of all comfort, the Holy Spirit, ministers by ministering the Word. Psalm 119:49-50 “Remember your word to your servant, in which you’ve made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction that your promise gives me life.” Where do you find the promises? You find it in the Bible, and you see it that hope is never lost, as long as God’s at work, that’s tremendous comfort. If you’re here and your heart’s broken, you need comfort. And yeah, that comes through family. Yes, that comes through people around you. But don’t yield up the great advantage. Your chief advantage is that you get that directly from the Scripture.

Chief In Assurance

Finally, it’s “Chief In Assurance”. It’s the assurance that you’re saved, it’s the assurance that you’re loved, it’s the assurance that you’re adopted, it’s the assurance that you’re wanted, it’s the assurance that God’s not done with you, it’s the assurance that you haven’t lost His favor. What was gained for you in Christ is permanent, and we see that in Scripture, everything else is empty. Here’s just an example, famous obviously, Romans 8:28-32. How do we know? We know it because it’s in the Word. “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified (that’s salvation) and those whom he justified, he also glorified. (That’s you being raised from the dead one day.) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” What greater assurance is that? Look down at Romans 8:38-39, “For I am sure (how are we sure? We’re sure because the Word our chief assurance) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” What needs to be the motto? Here needs to be the motto of the Christian, three easy words: bring the book. Bring the book. My heart’s broken, bring the book. I need guidance, bring the book. I need wisdom, bring the book. I’m in warfare, bring the book. Bring the book.

Say, where do you get that? It’s replete through scripture, and what you see in your Old Testament is every time that the Old Testament saints got away from Scripture. What happened? Downhill they go. And every time God was going to bring a reformation, a reforming and a reclaiming, a revival, what would He do? He would reinstate the book. They would come back to Scripture, always turning back to Scripture. They didn’t go find earthly counsel. They would go right back to Scripture. In fact, one of the chief examples of this is that when Jerusalem was going to be rebuilt, right? In the book of Nehemiah, Israel, actually, the kingdom of Judah was in captivity in Babylon for 70 years. When God brings them back, He’s going to rebuild Jerusalem. That’s a picture to us of Him rebuilding the people of God, of how He works, not only in the church but in individual lives. And this is how the revival kicked off. Nehemiah 8:1 “And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra (Ezra was the lead scribe) to (what? bring the book) bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel.” And he would read to them and they could weep under it and sit under it and repent under it and understand and all the chief advantages would follow after that. If it had to start here, why? Because it’s first. It’s the chief advantage, and it’s always where they started.

One more story in the narrative, King Josiah in 2 Kings 22 I’ll read out of that. King Josiah became the King when he was eight years old, which is kind of scary, but I figure an eight year old would probably do better than some of the politicians that I know. That’s free. 2nd service only. Josiah wanted reform. Josiah wanted change. Josiah wanted revival. Josiah wanted real revival of God getting His people back. And this is how it went. It’s how it worked. God orchestrated this. Josiah had sent leaders to reinstate the temple and clean it out. We’ll start in verse eight. “And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.’ And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. And Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, ‘Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord.’ Then Shaphan the secretary told the king ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.’ And Shaphan read it before the king. When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he (what?) tore his clothes.” That’s a picture of the way that he repented. He repented. How many of you would love to see the White House tear their clothes? How many of you would love to see the heads of state tear their clothes? How many of you would love to see church leaders tear their clothes? How many of you would love to see some of your loved ones tear their clothes? Bring the book. It’s the only way it starts. It starts no other way. Let me give you a few quotations from one of your favorite pastors. “No true revival has ever begun with the statement, ‘Bring the guitar’. Many false ones have. They all start with, ‘Bring the book’. It is the word of God that’s chief. Or ‘Bring the psychologist’ or ‘Bring the politician’. Now, I’ve got nothing against guitars. I’m kind of on the fence about any psychology. I’ll leave the other one out. ‘Bring the book’. No true wisdom was ever gained with the statement: ‘Consult the media’. No eternal Insight was ever secured through the statement: ‘Trust the science’. ‘Bring the book’.” What does the bringing the book look like? It looks like you first as an individual bringing it to bear every single day. Be found with the Bible. Read your Bible. Not a verse. Because people say, “What’s the minimum?” Okay? Is that where we are? If you want a minimum, I’ll give you a minimum, it’s a chapter. At least read a chapter and stay in succession. You could probably fit two. Some of you I know you go through us with us in men’s theology, we do 10 chapters a day, and that leads you from Genesis through Revelation three times every year. We just do that on repeat. You’d be amazed at what happens in your own heart, your own mind, and the fruit of your own life. God goes to work. For some of you husbands, you need to lead your wife. You need to take her by the hand, sit her down at the dining room table, and you might only know John 3:16. Open to it, read it to her, pray, and discuss. And if you want to know more, let the church help. We’ve got equips that has been on the reg throughout the years. We can put you in a d-group. We can recommend resources and commentaries for you to read. You can do that. By the way, ladies that is not an opportunity for you to elbow him in the ribs. If the brother is in church this morning, you got yourself a winner. You’re welcome, guys. It’s true. What you want to do is you want to bring the book to bear.

I want to read you two verses out of Proverbs 3:5-6. This is actually text that I have hanging on the wall at my house. And I don’t have a lot of text hanging, I’m generally against that, but just for personal reasons. But this one always lands and always reminds me of something specific. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” I tend to do that. I think a lot of men and women and children do. But rather “In all your ways (look) acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Just “acknowledge Him”. What does “acknowledge Him” mean? It does not mean that you wake up in the morning and you go, “Hey God, wassup”. No, acknowledging God is to acknowledge His godness over you and your need for that godness by opening the Scripture and saying, “Lord, open my eyes. Let me behold wonderful things from Your Word. Help me see Jesus Christ and His finished work. Help me. Lead me. Cause me to see my sin and repent of it with godly sorrow. Help me change my heart. Work deeply inside of me, cut me, and change me, Lord.” And you know what? There’s gonna be days where it just feels like you’re just dragging and it’s like, “Ah, come on, I’m in Leviticus. It’s the boneyard to the one-year Bible.” Read it anyway. Do it anyway. Stay in it. Don’t quit. Let me say it to you this way. You can do this. You can do this but it’s going to take you choosing it. God will not read the Bible for you. He will not. He also won’t pray for you. He’ll pray through you by His Spirit. But if you’ve got the Word of God, you’ll start to know the will of God, and your prayers will thus echo that one last statement I want to make.

I hope you’re exhorted but I want to tell you this, it’s not optional, family, okay? It’s not optional. This is food, it is water, it is nourishment, it is milk, and it is meat, and you need all of the above. Without it, you’ll be spiritually depleted, and you’ll wonder why you’re still a weak Christian. It need not be that way. And today can be the day where you just say, “You know what, I’m starting over. I’m going to open it up.” And if you’re wondering, “Where do I start?” I’d recommend just reading the book of John and then going all the way through the New Testament. Start that way or start in Genesis at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start I’ve heard. Thank you. That was good for you to recognize the sound of music, and if you don’t know what that is, your movies are horrible. John 8:31 says, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.’” Does that mean just constantly reading the Bible? No, it means abiding with it in your heart. But part of that evidence is going to be the hunger, the thirst, and the desire to know Him through His Word. May you be exhorted. This is your chief advantage. If you put that first, I promise you everything else will follow.


Steve LeBlanc


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