>> (Phone ringing)
Hold on just a second. I’m sorry. Hold on. Who is this? You’re not going to believe who this is. It’s God? I’m sorry, God, you’re not coming in clearly. Oh, you can help me get a better signal? How’s that? Read the Bible? Okay. I’ve got that. Thank you.

Singing >> Blessed be the Lord God Almighty who reigns for evermore.

ROBERT >> No, God is not going to call you on your cell phone. We must listen to God through his word, the Bible. And I think most of us know how important this is to our connection with God. As the Psalmist said in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Or as Paul said in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 15:4 says, “The things written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Or as Paul said in Acts 20:32, “We commend to you God and the word of His grace which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Or James 1:21, “Receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls.”

But the question this morning is, are we really listening to God?

Let’s notice today that if you want to connect with God through his word, the Bible, that first of all you have to open the book. You see, the Bible, this book, is God’s word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Bible says that “All scripture is inspired of God,” literally, “God-breathed,” that it’s “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.”

No, we need no other revelation from God but the Bible. And though God once spoke directly to our fathers, the patriarchs of old like Adam and Noah and Abraham, though God once appeared to Moses and delivered his law for Israel, though God showed visions and dreams and inspired the prophets of the Old Testament, though he sent his own son, Jesus Christ, to speak to us, and though the Holy Spirit revealed God’s message to the apostles and to the prophets of the New Testament, now the Bible is complete.

Yes, we have in this book the faith that has been once for all delivered unto the saints, Jude 3. This book, God’s revelation, was delivered one time for all time. He’s not going to continue by inspiration and miraculous signs and wonders to reveal and confirm his word over and over again for each generation, no. He’s done that once and for all, and it’s been preserved for us here.

God no longer speaks to us in dreams and visions by inspired prophets and apostles, or through his son, but only through his word, the Bible. God will not appear to you, nor will you hear his voice. He will not speak to you by way of a dream or a vision. God will not send any more inspired prophets and apostles. His son will not return until the end of the world. And God is not going to call you on your cell phone. But God speaks to us through his word, the Bible.

So listen to God. To listen to God, we have to open the book. We must be like those noble Bereans, who as the Bible says in Acts 17:11, “received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily” to find out what God says.

You see, they were eager to learn, and they opened their hearts, their minds to what God had to say. Every day they were digging in, they were investigating, they were looking closely, they were searching God’s word, the scriptures, to see what God really said.

You and I must be as Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:15, “diligent to present ourselves approved to God, workers who don’t need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Every one of us must make great effort. We must be careful how we handle God’s word. We must strive to learn and to understand. And that takes diligent study on our part.

These passages that we’ve been looking at call us to read the Bible every day and to study it with all our hearts. Too many allow themselves, I’m afraid, to be spoon fed by teachers and preachers. They never really get into the book to see for themselves what it really says. And as a result, many are led astray from the truth.

Some have never progressed in their knowledge and understanding of the word. They are spiritually weak because they fail to keep this vital connection with the Lord that comes from listening to him through his word, the Bible.

Do you remember what Jesus said about the importance of God’s word to our souls in Matthew 4:4? When the devil came to tempt him on that occasion, he said, “Turn these stones to bread.” And Jesus quoted from the book of Deuteronomy these words: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

You know, most of us don’t want to miss even one meal a day, but some will go without God’s word for days, for weeks, for months, even years. But Jesus said that these words are more important than our daily food.

Don’t let your soul starve to death because you’re not feeding on God’s word. Feed on his word, the Bible, every day. This is how we listen to God through his word.

Something else this morning. You have to want to do his will. Jesus said in John 7:17, “If anyone wants to do his will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on my own authority.”

This helps us to understand the reason why many rejected Jesus. It was because they didn’t like what he said. They didn’t want to hear what he was teaching. He convicted them of their sin. He challenged their religion. He called for a change of heart and life. He called for humility and service and sacrifice. Because they didn’t want to do that, because they didn’t want to do what he said, they could not accept who he was, and they became deaf to what he was saying.

This still happens to many people today. They don’t want to hear what God says because it might convict them, and they’re unwilling to give up the pleasures of sin. Oh, it might mean they’d have to change their religion, and they’re unwilling to give up their long-held beliefs. They refuse to humble themselves before God, to serve him, to sacrifice their life in order to live for him, and so they never really listen to what he’s really saying.

Let’s read together Paul’s warning about this in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12. Here’s what he writes: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they may all be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

You see, this is why many are still being deceived today by Satan. Satan is lying, he’s got his powers, his signs, his lying wonders; he’s speaking untruths, he’s trying to deceive the people. But they do not love the truth, they don’t have a love for the truth, and this is why many are not coming to know the truth and doing what God would have them to do. They have pleasure in unrighteousness. They have turned a deaf ear to God. They’re not really listening to God through his word, the Bible; and thus they’re being deceived by the lies of Satan.

So if we want to really listen to God through his word, the Bible, we’re going to have to open up the book, and we’re going to have to study and give diligence and dig in and investigate, and we’re going to have to really want to do what God says. We have to desire his will and submit our hearts to these words if we really want to understand, to grow, and to be pleasing to the Lord.

But there’s a third thing that I want to mention today. You have to let his word dwell in you. You can’t just go around reading the Bible every second of every day; but God’s word can live in our hearts.

Listen to these words that Paul wrote in Colossians 3:16. He said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” You see, to truly listen to God, you have to let his word dwell in you, live in you, inhabit you, take up residence in your heart.

Look at this with me in the Old Testament scriptures in Psalm 119, where there is a tremendous tribute that’s given to the word of God. And in this great Psalm, we see how important it is and how we can allow God’s word to come and to live in our hearts, to make a home in our hearts. Let’s read it together here, Psalm 119, beginning in verse 9.

“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”

Can you see from this reading how the Psalmist truly made a home for God’s word in his heart? Did you notice some of the things that he said here about taking heed according to your word, truly listening to what God had to say, and how he’s talking about seeking God with his whole heart.

You see, he was willing to open the book and to listen, and he wanted to know what God had to say. He had that want, that desire for God’s will.

He said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart.” And the idea here is that he placed it there for safety, for security because it was valuable to him, like a treasure that the ancients might hide in the ground to keep it safe, to keep it secure. And so the Psalmist said, “I recognized how valuable your word is, and I hid it in my heart so that I might not sin against you.”

“Blessed are you,” he says. “Teach me your statutes.” I’m not sure that we’re all as teachable as was the Psalmist, that we come to the word of God asking God to teach us his will for our lives. I’m afraid sometimes we go to the word to find justification for what we’re doing or to find what we already believe instead of really trying to see what God has to say to us.

The Psalmist said he was going to meditate, he was going to contemplate God’s word. This is how it gets into our hearts. Rolling it over and over again, digesting it mentally, making it a part of our thought process. He said, “I’m going to delight myself in your statutes. I’ll not forget your word.”

Those who really love the Lord, who want to do his will, who value God’s word delight in it, and they don’t forget it. It’s always there in their hearts. The Psalmist had made a home in his heart for God’s word. And so must you and I.

If we go back to our original text in Colossians 3:16, Paul not only said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you,” but he said let it dwell in you what? “Richly.”

You know what that means? That means abundantly. That means fully. We must let God’s word take up all the room in our hearts, driving out anything contrary to it.

But Paul not only said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in your hearts richly,” but he said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in your hearts richly in all wisdom.”

This implies time and experience. That’s what the it takes to get wisdom. We must let God’s word live in our hearts all the time, and in every experience of our lives to determine our thoughts and our intentions and our attitudes, the decisions that we make, the judgments that we make, to determine our words and our actions, always letting God’s word be there to lead us in those things.

You see, when we let God’s word dwell in us richly in all wisdom, we become spiritually mature. Many passages speak of this kind of growth among God’s people. 1 Corinthians 2:6 speaks of those who are “mature”. And in verse 14 and 15 of that chapter it speaks of the things of the Spirit of God and how they are “spiritually discerned”. Galatians 6:1 speaks of “those of you who are spiritual”. And in Philippians 3:15 Paul says, “Therefore let, us as many as are mature, have this mind.”

Yes, you see, when we open up God’s book and we want to do his will, and getting into this book, we allow his word to dwell in us, and we are able like the Bible says in Hebrews 5:14, to “discern both good and evil”, it makes us wise. We’re able to “approve the things that are excellent”, as Paul prayed for the church at Philippi in Philippians 1:10.

Rather than being “conformed to this world”, letting this world press us into its mold, you are “transformed”, you’re changed by the renewing of your mind, “that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”, Romans 12:2. That’s what happens when the word of God dwells in you richly in all wisdom.

So what lives in your heart? Is it the truth of God or the lies of Satan?

Is it the sure and certain promises of God or the false assurances of Satan?

Is it the good and wholesome words of God or the bad and harmful words of the devil?

Is it the saving, comforting, loving, merciful message of the gospel, or the destructive, hurtful, hateful, cruel, mean message of the world?

Let us not forget today how much God wants us to connect with him and how much he wants to connect with us. You remember he went to the greatest of lengths. He sent his son, Jesus Christ, all the way from heaven to the earth.

You see, Jesus Christ “was with God, and he was God,” and he “became flesh”, and he “dwelt among us”, the Bible says in John 1:1 and 14.

He became one of us. And as a man, he was tempted and tried, and yet without sin, according to Hebrews 4:15.

And then that perfect one offered himself as payment for our sins upon the cross of Calvary. God raised him up from the grave to demonstrate his power over sin and over death.

You see, God wanted to have fellowship with us so much that he sent his son all the way from heaven to the earth, to the cross to pay for our sins, and then raised him back up again bringing him ultimately back to heaven to receive that glory he once had and then pour out the Holy Spirit, the power to reveal and confirm this good news of the gospel of salvation for all people.

What we’ve learned today is that he has preserved this message for us, this saving message in the Bible, that he still speaks to us today through that word, that he’s calling us to himself, he’s calling us home to heaven.

I remember when that Spirit of God was first poured out upon the apostles in Acts the second chapter when the Jews had gathered for the Pentecost feast there in the city of Jerusalem. And they proclaimed the death and the burial and the resurrection of Christ, and the people were cut to the heart because they had called for his blood in the streets of Jerusalem not many days before, saying, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

And then they called out on this day, “What shall we do?” realizing that they had put to death the Lord of heaven and earth, the one who came to be their Messiah, the Christ, their savior, their deliverer.

And Peter responded, and he said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you, for your children, for all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.”

You know that day about three thousand souls received that message gladly, they were baptized, God added them to his church. And he is still calling us to himself just as he called them. He’s calling us home to heaven.

Are you listening, and will you answer his call?

If so, then trust him for your salvation. Turn from your sins. And upon your confession of faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, be baptized for the remission of your sins.

You can be saved today.

I know some of you have answered that call, but you’ve turned away from Christ, and perhaps even this morning as you’re listening to this message you realize that your heart is not right with God.

You talk to God about it. You confess those sins. You come back to him. And let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.

Singing >> Be with me, Lord, I cannot live without thee.
I dare not try to take one step alone.
I cannot bear the loads of life unaided.
I need thy strength to lean myself upon.

Be with me, Lord, and then if dangers threaten,
if storms of trial burst above my head,
if lashing seas leap everywhere about me,
they cannot harm or make my heart afraid.

Be with me, Lord, no other gift or blessing
thou couldst bestow could with this one compare,
a constant sense of thy abiding presence,
where’er I am, to feel that thou art near.

Be with me Lord, when loneliness o’ertakes me,
when I must weep amid the fires of pain.
And when shall come the hour of my departure for worlds unknown,
oh Lord, be with me then.

Singing >> Boundless love, unending joy,
this is my life, it’s what I know.
I can’t believe that he selected me.
Jesus my Lord, it’s you I owe.

Boundless grace, because of Calvary,
his life he gave, his love outpoured.
I now can live with him eternally.
Jesus my Lord, it’s you I love.
Jesus my Lord, it’s you I love.

ROBERT >> Thank you so much for watching our program today. We have but one goal, to help us all towards heaven. This is the mission God has given us, to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ, baptizing and teaching them.

We know that the gospel of Christ is God’s power unto salvation, Romans 1:16.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by Me,” John 14:6. “There’s no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12. And so like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “We seek to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

Unlike so many other religious television programs, we’re not going to ask you for any money. Everything is provided by churches of Christ and individual Christians who support us so that we can bring it to you absolutely free of charge.

Feel free to let us know if you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you’d like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, whatever you need, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas, 76053.

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Again, remember that you’ll never have to pay for any of our materials and services. We want to thank the many churches of Christ who help support this program. And let me also encourage you to visit one of them in your area very soon. Their names will be scrolled on the screen at the end of the program.

We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please, join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

Singing >> The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord lift his countenance upon you,
and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, and be gracious;
the Lord be gracious, gracious unto you.
Amen, amen, amen, amen.

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