The Bible can be read religiously, academically, arrogantly. Jesus would have us read with a heart open to be changed by His Word. The Spirit can speak rhema from the pages and empower us to go and do what the Word says. (Luke 10:25-39)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Oleg Ciobanu
Sermon # 11727
6:30 PM on 8/4/2019
Luke 10 for a brief word to tell you about our message tonight. Luke 10:25 anyone know what a lawyer in our Bible is about? Pharisee. A man learned in the Bible and he understands the Bible very well by way of law, the five books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible. Very highly educated men. The man was looking for a dialog with Christ but arrogant in his approach to tempt the Lord and get him to say something they could jump on. The man was confident and well learned and capable. He did it to tempt the Lord. Notice his response, vs. 26. This is the Pharisee. How readest thou? How do you read the law? I like to talk tonight about how we read our Bible. How do we read our Bible? What spirit do we have? What is our attitude? How do you read the law he said to the man. How do you read it? That will be our message tonight. I’m excited about it because there are a few things to say about it. Many of us have been reading our Bible for decades. It doesn’t mean we outgrow what we want to say tonight. It’s a great subject. We are ending on that note to make you hungry to hear what we have to say.
My family is here tonight and as I said this morning, my mom passed yesterday. Our family was together. We feel very honored that God answered prayers and put us together and we could be there when my 97-year-old mom was healthy up until Tuesday and then in the decline. She had issues of course but – How readest thou? How do we read the Bible. Great subject for a person living this life in anticipation of passing into the next life. There is nothing better in the world than for a believer to have the Bible in their heart when they face life in the good days and in the bad days.
It says in Proverbs, righteousness delivers from death. I can’t help but think for all of us that the gift of God, the righteousness of God is our greatest asset. When someone is passing into the next world, we can bring out the photo albums and tell stories and have a picnic, but it doesn’t mean anything to the dying person. What means something to the dying person is righteousness. I will meet God soon. The Bible says we don’t have it. We have our own. The gift of God through Jesus Christ is his righteousness given to us. We have assurance, confidence and deliverance. Wow. Righteousness delivers from death. Look at Jesus on the cross. Righteousness. Dying. There is nothing you could say to him that would mean anything to him except what the Father would say to him. These words. How readest thou Jesus? How do you read the Bible. There are people who read it religiously, carelessly, and then people who don’t read it at all. Do you read it on your knees? Do you read it in humility? Do you read it like you know it all? Or do you read it in worship and say I don’t know. I need you the Holy Spirit to be my teacher. Prepare me and guide me.
We sat in the room after my mom passed and we can be together. I know my siblings were all thankful for the same thing. Our mom and dad didn’t teach us to lie or cheat or be arrogant or think we know everything. My cousin…said to Cynthia your parents never gossiped. Mom and dad were more like if you don’t have anything good to say about anyone, don’t say it. Gossip wasn’t in our house.
Later in Bible college, I understood more deeply what these things mean. We are relearning them also. How readest thou the law, sir, the lawyer? How do you read it? How does Jesus read it? What it meant to the lawyer was arrogance, self-righteousness, and religious pride, trying to trap Jesus in an arrogant… Jesus, teach us how to read the Bible because this book is life. It’s light. It’s answers for our lives. Wow. Thank you, Jesus.
Before we go on, I wanted to give a shout out. Is Ward here? How many years ago did we see each other? Fifteen years ago. He and I were on the west coast, Tacoma maybe. His family, Rebecca, John Douse’s daughter married Ward. They are great believers. They just drove from Washington state to be with us, to live here. That touches us a lot. Working for the U.S. military maybe, the VA, the whole thing and I wanted to give a shout out to you to thank you for being here. If there is anything you need whatsoever, just ask the person next to you!
For our introduction tonight, many of you know Oleg from Moldova. He just got his Romanian citizenship so he will live and work in France with the church in Montpelier. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s an awesome brother in the Lord. Welcome him.
Good evening. How are you tonight? Are we happy to be here? Joyful, thankful. Do we anticipate to hear from God? It’s an honor to be with you with some of the most amazing people in the whole world. It’s a privilege to be with you and to speak to you from the best book in the world. We come here by faith because we have faith in our heart that it’s God’s will to gather and come here.
Rom 10:17, we heard one day the word of God and had faith in him. Some of us heard from someone else, through radio or through television or some of us heard the voice behind the word we read so we have faith. The righteous live by faith. I wanted to tell you a story about a lady named Marcy. She’s 75 years old. She was crying because her husband died 8 years ago. I love him so much and miss him so much. They had this business making keys in the Maryland area. She was talking to me about this key on the back of the garage. Talking about many keys, souvenirs and what it means. I said I want to tell you about the greatest key we can have in this life. We can enter into the kingdom of heaven and that is Jesus Christ. What do you do? I am a missionary. I want to ask you some questions? Okay. She asked me, tell me, please, will we eat food in heaven because I like food. I said I think so according to what I know. The Lord asked to give fish after he was resurrected. She said that’s good. I love eating food. Then she asked me who should I pray to, Jesus or God the Father? I said you can pray, and she interrupted me. Is Jesus younger? I like younger men. I said, no, listen, Jesus is actually God. He’s the second person of the Trinity. He exists from eternity past not younger than the Father. He had a time and purpose to come into this world and through him we can have a relationship with the Father. She said I never thought about that. Neither did I until I read this book. Jesus knew he would die, and the Father knew he would be raised back to life, but I miss my husband. I haven’t seen him in 8 years. She is crying. I said if you believe, you will see him again. This is the assurance we have. She cried and says my husband was a very good man but never told me he loved Jesus. Isn’t it foolish we never thought about this. I didn’t say yes you are foolish. But think about this. Isn’t it foolish we know so many things, have so much stuff, do so many things but miss the most important thing. I said you can be sure of this.
I saw her later. I introduced her to Miss Virginia, P. Ray’s wife. She said I’m 75. Why did God keep me here? What is his plan? God has a plan for your life. You can thank him for good days and your children and God loves you. She said good to talk to you. I felt a weight off my shoulder. I said that’s why the Lord came. His yoke is easy and his burden light and find rest for our souls.
2 Cor. 6:10, all I want to say is we are truly rich. The greatest thing going on in the world we have this hidden treasure in our earthen vessel. We have something the world can’t give, and the world can’t take away. I was thinking of another song. I can’t get enough of your amazing love. No, I can’t get enough. We got this treasure. We cannot get enough. It’s the treasure everyone needs it and so many don’t know about it. She’s in America and she said no body every told me this. She said I believe God sent you to me. She said I feel so lonely. All my friends died.
Let’s think of the reality of the treasure that is ours. The world is alive, the Spirit is alive, the peace and joy is real. Fill me with your love and lead me. Lord, use us, our neighbors and workers and friends. So many haven’t heard and don’t know to live securely like we live. Let’s use this. It’s not only our privilege but our responsibility.
God bless you and thank you for your love and prayers and hospitality.
That was so sweet, wasn’t it. Beautiful. Wow. Okay.
P. Scibelli this morning preached about escaping both messages at 9 and 11. I shared a word on rhemas as an introduction. I want to read that to you.
I asked my sister Mary this afternoon if she remembered the movie, The Great Escape with Steve McQueen. Wasn’t it a good movie. She googled it and looked it up and she loved the movie too. He became a believer and she looked it up and at some time at the end of his life he came to Christ. Billy Graham met him. He was well known for his belligerence with the directors and producers. I said he must have been Irish. He came to the end in his heart and turned to Christ. He got cancer and met Billy Graham. Billy gave him his personal Bible. He flew to Mexico for a cancer operation but died. He died saying my only regret is I couldn’t tell more people about what Jesus Christ has done for me. Yeah.
When we become believers, one thing that happens to us it’s like turning on a radio and there’s frequencies and you get the equipment to turn on the radio and it says in Gal 4 that God sent his Spirit into our heart crying Abba, Father which means in Aramaic, daddy. We start to pray. We are humble because the Spirit of God who is God is humble. Like Christ. He is Christ but he’s a different person in the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Spirit. The Spirit lives in you and the Spirit wrote this book and the Spirit wants to speak to us from this book. I like to say to believers he can bring the words off the page and somehow you have a connection in your spirit like a radio signal you pick up. I don’t say you hear through the organ on the sides of your head. That’s not needed. It could be. But that’s not how we hear when the Spirit speaks to us. It’s called in the Greek the rhema or spoken word. Rhema is the Greek word for phrase or utterance is a verse or portion of Scripture that the Holy Spirit brings to our attention with application to a current situation or a need for direction. We live, the word of God, Christ said to the devil man does not live by bread only and a lot of times that’s the only way people live is materially and physically, bread. Their hormones. Their happiness and desires and pleasures govern their lives, their opinions and words. Get all you can. Live for yourself. You only live once. Go for it. Just do it and on it goes.
When we are born of the Spirit, we start to be more specific and we start to listen. He is the Good Shepherd. We are in the midst of wolves, lies, many voices or persuasions and personalities and influences, many temptations, many doors we could walk through. The rhema, the word that comes to us is how we live now. Jesus told Peter cast your net on the right side. Peter answered, master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless, at thy rhema I will let down the net. How many of you have had times when God gave you a rhema and that was an important and timely word for you?
I told the story I was walking in Budapest as a pastor very much blessed and I had this idea to go and drink and I don’t drink. The idea came like a flash of lightning. It wasn’t much of a temptation because I don’t want to. I had a Bible verse for it. It’s like in our bathroom in Belair, Maryland, we had our house and a small leak in the faucet bathroom shower behind the wall. How many can identify? Downstairs had been leaking for years and rotting behind the bathtub any minute someone could go down…. that’s what I thought of this proverb, the letting out of water like a small drip. I don’t know where some of my decisions could take me. That small little thing could destroy your life and my life. Rhemas are given to us when we are in church. And hear the preaching like Oleg talking about evangelizing in the Netherlands and meeting a woman with a divine appointment. Coming to church and hearing a message and hearing a word that will give my life some instruction and guidance.
I wrote down a couple thoughts about it. The dying man – nothing counsels a dying person better than a rhema, a word from God. Though you go through the valley of the shadow of death. Shadow. You have reality and shadow. You will not die but pass through the shadow of it. Christ said this. Jn 5:24 though you go through the shadow of death. How does it say? My rod and my staff. How does it go? I will fear no evil for thou art with me. Thy rod and they staff maybe we all have these stories we can tell where God gave us a rhema. I don’t believe God talks so clearly to the proud. I think when it comes to the Bible, the proud are not interested. I used to live in Sweden and in the university there, there was a Bible class and they are cutting the Bible to pieces humanistically speaking, analyzing and criticizing like they do all over the world. Can be analyzed by big minds and intellect people. I don’t have any interest in that. This book is like a love letter. This is a manual, instruction words. How can a dying man have comfort? By giving heed to his word. Long before I am dying, I’m learning the doctrine and getting oriented in my spirit and heart. Sometimes we do a six-week course in the Bible. We go through it in one year. We say I did it already.
I remember being in Europe evangelizing and they said I read the Bible. You read the Bible? Yes, I read the Bible. I know the Bible. I’ve been reading it for 40 years and I don’t know the Bible. If any man thinks he knows anything he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. He ought to know that he doesn’t know what he ought to know. What I need to know, I don’t know it until now. The rhema, the living word from God’s mouth for this situation is what I need.
If you go back to that portion, how readest thou? The lawyer gave off the litany of the Ten Commandments. He said the commandments. He said it is written and here is a good point. If you know all the Ten Commandments and he said he had done them or kept them from his youth, then why are you asking me what you need to do to have eternal life? Why are you asking the question? Because you don’t have the answer. You read but don’t know what you are reading. You don’t know what you ought to know. That can be said for all of us. Another group of people is young people. What can the Bible do for a young man? Ps. 119:10, the drug addicts in Baltimore city and Harford county, Carroll county. How can a young man who has learned to steal and lie and cheat, how can he cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word. How do I read it? How readest thou? Dads and moms reading the Bible. In the morning, opening the Bible with an attitude of faith and read a few pages and read prayerfully and in humility and say speak to me. I don’t need to understand the whole thing. I can ask the Spirit to speak to me and show me something. I write in the side and underline. This Bible is a few years old and I put it away and get another one and do the same thing. We can get Bibles all over the place but is it getting in us. Is it something I am looking for so I can do it. I can believe it and embrace it.
One person said I have 20 Bibles at home. I said is that a good thing. Yea, I have 20 Bibles. Give me some credit. Sorry to say you can have a million of them and it doesn’t mean a thing. What Jesus said to that lawyer. Let me go back to it. Luke 10:27-29, I don’t like it when we use the Bible to justify ourselves. Who is my neighbor? He has that attitude. Using the Bible. Who is my neighbor. You are so far away. You should be so fortunate, so thankful Jesus is even talking to you. You don’t have a clue. The way we approach this book is with great respect and we are looking for what God is saying in it because it is food. My words are spirit and life, Jn 6:63. This book can change a young man’s life. It can comfort someone with cancer, some one who has a problem at work, or a young teenager who is a little bit lost. I want to show you something.
Here’s a drawing. This is a trail on a cliff. I think you can get the three dimensions. There is a man walking this way on a narrow trail and he is going somewhere out here. This is kind of like life. Reading the Bible and I could fall off one way or another. I could use the Bible to justify myself and my pride. I can justify my arrogance and my position. I could talk back to God arrogantly. Who is my neighbor? The man has no humility. There are other ways to draw this picture. Jesus hits him right between the eyes. He told the story about a certain man in vs. 30. The good Samaritan story beat up and left for dead. That’s your neighbor. Change those words with Communist, Nazi, secularist, humanist. A humanist fell with thieves and they beat him up and religious people walk by and can’t have any time for him. This is the guy that’s your neighbor. The guy that hates you doesn’t like you. That’s your neighbor. Vs. 36- we’re not going into the detail of it.
Vs. 37. Go and do thou likewise. How readest thou the Bible. I’d like to read it and think I cannot really keep it. I’m not a legalist. I cannot do what it says by myself. It’s not a rule book. Yes sir. Yes, sir. You and I do not keep the law. We cannot do what he said. We cannot do this. I cannot obey what he said there. I don’t have that ability. There is another way people think about the Bible. It’s like group chat or group talk. It’s not a bad thing we meet in groups all the time. There is a value in it. But there is something more. It’s a sacred attitude that this is not just chatty Bible studying. This is anointed listening for what God has to say to me so I can obey it. I can do it. Through our new birth, we have the equipment to hear. If we hear, we get hungry for it. We keep it to ourselves. We hear from God and go our way without talking about what God has said to us personally. I want to do what he said. It’s in my heart. I want to obey him. I want to keep it in my heart. Yes, we have rap sessions and talk but I don’t want it to go to that level which is group think without it being imparted to me personally and I go away saying by your grace Lord that’s where I’m at. I respect what you say. I want to believe you and follow you. That’s the way we read our Bible.
We are reading it often. We are looking for things in it. Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. It will prepare us in our temptation. It will prepare us for life. It will help us in our relationship. It will help us to be quiet and our meditation is acceptable to God. You get fired up and going really fast and really doing a lot of it. You know how that happens at different times. Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them. My boss at work. My wife’s personal problem with me or mine with her or my kids or boss at work or my country and our government and decisions made and the left and the right and all the things we see happen. Great peace have they that love your word. Nothing will get deep in them and mess them up. Nothing will offend them.
All these folks that are missionaries going and coming and those raising families. I say there are so many times to quit. So many times to run away. The psalmist said if I take the wings of the morning and fly away, where will I go? You have the words of eternal life. I want to be able to man up and take my responsibility with God and hear from him. He will lead us. We will be surprised where we end up. The Lord will say you are walking and receiving and hearing from me and I was speaking to your life and guiding you and you end up drug free. You are not a liar. You are humble. You end up enjoying simple things in life. How did it happen? Jesus promised us. He said in Ps. 84. No good thing I will withhold from him who walks uprightly. I’ll lead you in and out. Jn 10 I’ll bring you besides green pastures and still waters. I’ll uphold you. Set my love upon you. Ps 62. Set me upon a rock higher than myself. Ps 62:8 thy word is a lamp and light.
I’m sorry we are all so busy and distracted. I have that problem. My secretary and I joke about how I have ADD. I can’t concentrate on one thing for more than seven seconds. I believe that about me except I have found this amazing spirit of concentration. I have found the Spirit of God helping me in spiritual concentration on the presence of God. I can read this for hours and think about it and write things down and enjoy it and read other books with it. I’m constantly hungry and thirsty for that kind of blessing. I’m honored to be healthy enough to do it and have the time to do it and have a church hungry for it. If the young people find this book. If you read it this way, it’s not fun. Legalistic, pride, empty. It’s not spiritual. If I read it this way, I read the Bible and have 40 Bibles at home that will end in a dead end. If you read it the way Jesus did, you will never stop reading it and hear what God says to you and leads you in your life. Ps 19 like honey and gold and silver, Prov. 4. It is the life, the way, the truth, understanding and wisdom.
Abraham Lincoln was an avid reader of the Bible. Everyone knows no body can talk like him. He told his stories and sometimes off color and had an amazing ability to communicate to people. In his second inaugural address, it was packed with Bible verses. He was a wise man. Americans would do well to learn about Abraham Lincoln and the kind of guy he was and awesome preaching in the Second Great Awakening in his era.
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