Does the Bible benefit you? Do you get anything out of it? Do you really feel like it’s helpful to you? I’m afraid that a lot of Christians are really not benefitting from the Bible the way they should and that we could all benefit more.

ROBERT >> Does the Bible benefit you? Do you get anything out of it? Do you really feel like it’s helpful to you? I’m afraid that a lot of Christians are really not benefitting from the Bible the way they should and that we could all benefit more. Stay tuned. We’ll be right back.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth,
speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Today I want us to go to James chapter 1, where James helps us to learn how the Bible can truly be of spiritual benefit, in fact, eternal benefit to our souls. The first thing that James tells us is that we’ve got to make room for the Bible in our hearts.

Look at James chapter 1 beginning in verse 21. Here he says, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

He says we’ve got to get rid of some things, we’ve got to lay it aside, we’ve got to put it away. We’ve got to get rid of sin in our hearts. He says it’s filthy, it’s disgusting, it’s sickening. Sin pollutes our heart. It’s kind of like weeds growing up in your garden.

And you know how it chokes out whatever plants you might place there?

You’ve got to take those weeds out. And so we need to remove those weeds, take them out of our heart so we can receive the word into our heart so that nothing but God’s word can grow there.

Look at a couple of things with me here. This requires a decisive commitment on our part. That’s what the tense of the phrase here, lay aside, really indicates. The idea is we’re going to lay it aside once and for all. You’ve got to commit and make up your mind about it. Commit to it.

How many of you have said you’re going to quit eating so much and start losing some weight, only after a while to go right back to your same old bad eating habits?

Well, that’s what we do so often spiritually. We put off sin for a while, and then we end up going right back to it. He says lay it aside, get rid of it once for all.

Let’s also notice that this requires a complete commitment. James said, all filthiness and overflow of wickedness. Somebody says okay, I’ll get rid of the overflow. No, that’s not what James means. He’s saying that if we don’t get rid of all the sin in our heart, that it will continue to take over our hearts.

Can you imagine an exterminator coming into your house saying, well, I’ve got most of the roaches, but not all of them?

You don’t want any roaches left in your house. You know that it wouldn’t take long, they’ll be multiplying, and they’ll be taking over the house again. You want him to get rid of all the roaches. And that’s the way it’s got to be with sin in our hearts. We’ve got to get rid of all of it. We’ve got to make that decisive commitment to take it out of our heart once and for all. Every bit of that sin, whatever it is, we want to get rid of it.

Why is it that we want to hold on to certain sins and won’t give them up?

You see, to benefit from the Bible, you’ve got to make room for it in your heart. Now there’s something else here. As you read on here in verse 21, we see not only must we make room for it, but we’ve got to welcome the word. We’ve got to welcome the Bible into our hearts.

Look what he says here again in verse 21. “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

That word receive is a hospitality term; literally, to openly welcome.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, I want to read this passage to you. “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”

You see, we must likewise welcome God’s word into our hearts before it can do its work. James already wrote how that God brought us forth by the word of truth in James 1:18. And Peter expounds on this.

Look with me in 1 Peter 1:22-23. Here’s what he writes: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.”

You see, when we’re obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ, our sins are cleansed, our souls are purified, we are born again of God’s word which lives and abides forever.

Jesus draws this out very clearly in Mark 16:15-16 when he told his apostles to go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation, and said, “He who believes and will be baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieves will be condemned.”

In Acts the 2nd chapter we see the apostles fulfill that great commission to go and preach the gospel. And when the people heard the message, they were cut to their heart. And Peter told them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

And you notice there that Peter went on preaching. But then I want you to notice what he says about them in verse 41 of Acts chapter 2, those that were listening to him, who were hearing these words, that were convinced of their sin and their need for a savior.

In verse 41 it says, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. And that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”

Yes, we must welcome God’s word into our heart. That’s what happened in the city of Corinth when the apostle Paul was preaching there.

In Acts 18:8, listen to what it says. “Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.”

Yes, they were ready to lay aside their sins and to come in obedience to the gospel to Jesus Christ. They welcomed God’s word into their heart and into their life.

And so you see as the apostle Paul said in Romans 1:16, “I’m not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

That’s the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to save our souls when we’re ready and willing to believe on Christ, to receive and to welcome that word in our heart.

In Romans chapter 10, the apostle Paul outlines this plan of salvation that God has for us. In Romans 10 beginning in verse 13, here’s what he says: “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?

And how shall they believe in Him in whom they have not heard?

And how shall they hear without a preacher?

And how shall they preach unless they are sent?

As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report? So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Did you see how people are saved in those verses?

You see how we must send the preachers?

You see how the preachers must go and preach?

And you see upon hearing that word, people come to faith so that they are obedient to the Lord?

This is God’s plan for saving our soul, for getting rid of our sin, for allowing that word to come into our heart to cleanse us. Every one of you who are Christians who are listening today has within your heart the implanted word which is able to save your souls, as James put it back in our text in James 1:21.

In James 1:25 he said it is the perfect law of liberty. You see, the gospel is a law that sets us free from sin to live for God. But in order for it to continue to work in you, Christian brother and sister, you must continue to gladly receive it just as you did when you first received it in becoming a Christian in obedience to the gospel.

Yes, salvation is a process that begins with the forgiveness of our past sins upon our baptism into Christ, and continues until we enter those eternal doors of heaven by a faithful life, by continuing in the word of God, by continuing to make room for it in our heart and to welcome it to work in our life.

In Psalm 119, David gives a beautiful tribute of 176 verses to God’s word. And I want you to notice a few of those verses that illustrate how David, the psalmist, welcomed God’s word into his own heart.

Let’s look in Psalm 119 together, and let’s begin in verse 10 and verse 11. Here he writes, “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.”

Yes, the psalmist says I have embraced God’s word with my whole heart.

And in verse 15 and 16 he says, “I’ll meditate on Your precepts and contemplate Your ways. I’ll delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”

That’s how we welcome God’s word into our heart.

Look in verse 33 and 34, and look at the attitude of the psalmist there. “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe with my whole heart.”

You see, his approach to the word of God is one of great delight. He’s seeking to learn, to understand, to be taught, to do, to observe what God has for us in his word.

In verse 92 of Psalm 119, here’s what it says: “Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.”

And in verse 97 he also writes, “Oh, how I Love your law! It is my meditation all the day.”

In verse 103 he goes on to say, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

You see how the psalmist loves God’s word, how he’s glad to hear it and to receive it?

In Psalm 119:111, look at verse 111 and 112. “Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart. I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end.”

Maybe part of our problem is when we come to God’s word, we don’t come there to really learn and to obey. But that must be our attitude of heart.

In verse 127, he goes on to write, “Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold!”

What about us?

Psalm 119:145, here he says, “I cry out with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord! I will keep Your statutes.”

And then these final verses. Look at verse 161. He says, “Princes persecute me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your word. I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure. I hate and abhor lying, but I love Your law. Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your right judgments. Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble. Lord, I hope for Your salvation, and I do Your commandments. My soul keeps Your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly. I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies, for all my ways are before You.”

Have you ever had someone over, and you had them over, and you were so glad when they came, but it wasn’t long until they wore out their welcome?

Well, I’m afraid that this is what happens to some of things about the word that we don’t want to live with, and it challenges us. We were so happy to receive the word when we were saved, but then we began to find out our own human thinking. It challenges the way that we think and those long-held opinions. It challenges our values because our values are not always those of God’s. It challenges our fleshly desires, what we want instead of what God wants for us. The word of God challenges our selfish ambitions, our pursuits instead of his purposes. God’s word calls for change and for sacrifice. After a while, some become hostile instead of hospitable towards the word. It’s no longer welcome in their hearts. But for the Bible to benefit us, we must welcome it with, as James said here again in James 1:21, with meekness. Welcome it with meekness. That means humility, to submit and surrender to the word, which brings me to this final point today.

You must obey it from your heart. Read verse 22 of James chapter 1 with me. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

He says we need to be doers of the word, not just listening to what’s being said, not just reading these words. He says if we’re just hearers and not doers, we’re deceiving ourselves. We’re fooling ourselves if we think the Bible will do us any good by just coming to church and listening to the preacher. You have to take it to heart. You have to do what it says.

Notice what he goes on to write here in verse 23. “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, he goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

Do you remember when you got up and you looked in the mirror in the morning?

Did you like what you saw, or did you decide to do something about it?

You ever seen that person that they looked like they just got out of bed, and you wondered why they didn’t fix their hair or wash their face or put on some makeup or something?

But how many times do we look into God’s word, and we see ourselves for who we really are, and then just go on our way and forget about it?

Well, James speaks of one who looks into the word. And the force of the language there indicates a good, long, hard look, not just a passing glance. Some of us I think are afraid to look too close, because we don’t want to see what the Bible says.

We really don’t want to know because we don’t want to have to do anything about it. That’s why some quit church. That’s why some give up on the Lord. The preacher just concluded a hot, blasting sermon on swearing. He stated several times that he knew one of his hearers was guilty. And when it was over, the people were filing out the door, and first there was a lady never suspected of using foul language, and she had this red, angry face. She said, I’ll never darken this door again. And before he could recover from that, he got another blast from a brother who said, If I’d known you were preaching this week on this subject, I’d have been more careful about my speech. And then there was a third one, said, I think you might have come to me privately rather than telling the whole church about it. And then came the real culprit that the sermon was really directed at. And he grabbed the preacher’s hand and he said with a smile, Brother, that’s what I call preaching. You really poured it on them today.

Yes, we’ve got to be doers of the word. James speaks of one who continues in the word, a doer of the work. There are a lot of church goers who come to listen, but not as many who go to work. But that’s where the blessing is found, in the doing of God’s word, the Bible.

In Ezekiel 33:31 we have this message from the Old Testament. I think it really emphasizes what we’re trying to say this morning. Here he says,”So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain.”

You may fool yourself about being a Christian, but most see right through those who are just church goers but fail to truly obey the Lord from the heart. And God certainly knows who you are: A hypocrite, a pretender.

Jesus once asked in Luke 6:46, “But why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things which I say?”

And again he said, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven,” Matthew 7:21.

Yes, to benefit from the Bible, you must obey it from your heart. Some of you may be asking today, why all the fuss about the Bible?

Well, because it’s God’s word. It’s how he reveals himself to us. It’s his message of salvation. It is the written word. So we can read it, so we can study it and share it and teach it and preach it.

It is in this book that we learn of the greater living word, Jesus Christ, that one according to John 1:1 who in the beginning was with God, who was God, and who then in verse 14 became flesh and dwelt among us, the one who was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin according to Hebrews 4:15.

As Isaiah went on to say, “All we like sheep have gone astray, and turned every one to his own way; but God laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

It’s that living word who paid the price for our sin. And God raised him up to show his power over sin and death, to give us the hope and the assurance of eternal life. So when you make room for the Bible, you make room for Jesus. When you welcome the Bible, you welcome Jesus. And when you obey the Bible, you obey Jesus. This Bible is the written word. It’s a book, but it is by means of this book that we come to know the living word, Jesus Christ.

Here’s my challenge for each of us today: Think about one thing that you need to change in your life, and resolve with God’s help to do that today. If it’s something you need to confess publicly, you come, and you let us know.

Let us know what we can do for you, how we can help you, if we can pray for you. If you’re hearing today this great message and you realize that you need to become a Christian, you need to be baptized into Christ and his church, let us know here at The Truth In Love. Whatever your need is, let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.

SINGING>> Pierce my ear, oh Lord, my God.
Take me to your door this day.
I will serve no other God.
Lord, I’m here to stay.
For you have paid the price for me.
With your blood you ransomed me.
Now I will serve you eternally.
A free man I’ll never be.
So pierce my ear, oh Lord, my God.
Take me to your door this day.
I will serve no other God.
Lord, I’m here to stay.
Lord, I’m here to stay.

SINGING>> I know that my redeemer lives and ever prays for me.
I know eternal life he gives from sin and sorrow free.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know, I know eternal life he gives.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know that over yonder stands a place prepared for me, a home,
a house not made with hands, most wonderful to see.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know, I know eternal life he gives.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.

ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you would like more information about the lesson today, or if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

Remember that all our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. 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>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream
of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

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