Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2, NKJV)
There is a word that must be announced to the world. The word that must be preached is the very word of God. It is not a message wrapped in the creeds and confessions of men (Jude 3). Neither is it a word shrouded in personal testimonies and experiences (2 Cor. 4:5). It is not a word designed to please men, nor is it meant to align with the prevailing customs and traditions of the day (1 Thess. 2:4; Col. 2:8). This word is not shaped and molded by the philosophies which men have developed through the ages, for it is supremely superior to every thought of mankind (1 Cor. 1:18, 21-25; Isa. 55:8-9, 11). We speak of the word of God, the “Holy Scriptures,” which are inspired of God (divinely-breathed), not men. The Holy Scriptures completely equip us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:15-17; 1 Cor. 2:10-13). When you read the Bible, you are reading God’s words. The Bible must be preached, received, obeyed and respected because it is the word of God; not the word of men (1 Thess. 2:13-14). (Please take time to read the Scripture references in today’s tip – they are the words of God.)
13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:13–15, NKJV)
Christ’s apostle reminds Timothy of the nature of evil men and the error they spread; they grow worse and worse. Evil does not remain dormant; it is active, decomposing truth and trust in it. Impostors are evil, deceiving people with their false doctrines as they contort the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-7). In striking contrast to the decaying nature of evil deceivers, the Holy Scriptures give us a stable, reliable and unfailing guide to “salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” The Old Testament law is a tutor to bring souls to Christ, as it did Timothy (Gal. 3:24). Now, salvation is fully revealed and obtained in the gospel of Christ (Gal. 3:25-29). Let us commit ourselves to be guided by the teachings of the Scriptures to avoid the growing deceptions of error and sin.
“Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus;” (Acts 1:16, NKJV)
The Holy Spirit inspired the Holy Scriptures, and by them He speaks to us today. Do not expect the Spirit of God to speak to you through some “better felt than told” experience. The Holy Spirit will not give you an impulse of the heart apart from the Scriptures to convince you to follow the Lord. He speaks to us all in exactly the same way, by means of the words He put in the mouths of the prophets (2 Pet. 1:21). By these words the Holy Spirit speaks, convicting “the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jno. 16:8). Listen to what the Spirit is saying to you. Read the Scriptures, gain understanding, and follow His will.
137 Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are Your judgments. 138 Your testimonies, which You have commanded, are righteous and very faithful. (Psalm 119:137–138, NKJV)
God’s judgments, His judicial pronouncements, are upright and reveal His righteous nature. His commands are very faithful and trustworthy. Therefore, when confronted by the testimony of God’s word concerning our lives, we are called to humbly accept His word. By His word He calls sinners into the salvation of His Son, Jesus Christ (Acts 2:39; 4:12). The judgments of His word convict us of sin and correct us in love (Acts 2:37-38; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). To discount and discredit the Bible is to despise the One who spoke it. If you intend to respect God, then respect His Scriptures with humble obedience, not willful defiance (Jno. 12:48-50).
3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets… (Ephesians 3:3–5, NKJV)
God miraculously revealed His gospel plan to Paul and the other apostles of Christ. You can understand what Paul knew about God’s great redemptive plan “when you read” what he wrote. To paraphrase Paul, “You can know what I know when you read what I wrote.” The Bible is not impossible to understand. Truly, it is a revelation, not a concealment. You are responsible for reading and learning it for yourself so that your faith will be in the powerful word of God and not in the will and wisdom of men (1 Cor. 2:4-5). Spend time reading the Scriptures every day. By doing so you will come to know God’s will for your life and, by then doing His will, you will please God (2 Cor. 5:9).
21 Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’ 22 And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!” 23 Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air… (Acts 22:21–23, NKJV)
Paul had told the crowd how Jesus appeared to him, commissioned him to be His apostle, and saved him from his sins (Acts 22:1-16). He told them how Jesus appeared to him again, warning him to flee Jerusalem (Acts 22:17-20). The people of Jerusalem continued listening to Paul until he said the word, “Gentiles” (v. 21). Their hearts were so filled with hatred and contempt that they would not even consider the thought that Gentiles could be in the kingdom of God. Their hearts were closed to the gospel, being hardened by prejudice. They were ready to kill Paul rather than hear the truth he preached. Have you already made up your mind about some Bible teaching without considering what the Scriptures actually have to say? You cannot learn and follow the truth unless your heart is open and receptive to examining the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). Be willing to listen and to live “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18)
A Christian is not immune from sin’s temptations. But, you have chosen to “walk in the Spirit” and not according to the flesh. You have chosen to follow the Spirit-inspired Scriptures. You have chosen to submit to God and to resist the devil (Jas. 4:7). Choosing to be “led by the Spirit” does not mean waiting for a mystical feeling to compel your daily decisions. You will not receive direct revelation from the Holy Spirit because He has already revealed His will to you in the Scriptures (Jno. 16:12-13; 1 Cor. 2:10-13). Take up the challenge today to “walk in the Spirit” and follow the guidance of the Scriptures.