A question. When was the last time you picked up your Bible, read something in it, and thought “I need to change.”? Or when was the last time you listened to a message in church and walked away saying, “I’m going to do what the message said.”? Has it been a long time? Then you need to change. Change what? That. That resistance to hearing and then following through with life change.
The Bible, nor messages preached from it, have their final goal being to make you smarter. The goal is to make you like Jesus. It is to change you. Messages preached, too, have a goal of changing you. Every message preached, whether it’s me or one of the other ministers on staff preaching it, is constructed around two guiding questions we ask ourselves while preparing. They are: What do I want people to know and what do I want them to do. You are to do something. Listen hard for what that change is.
The Bible is full of this counsel. You’re studying James in Sunday School. James says we are to be doers of the word not just hearers. It says if we look intently into the word, and continue to do this, and do what it says we will be blessed in what we do, meaning our attempts at obedience will be helped. Jesus said that everyone who hears his words and puts them into practice is wise. He said everyone who hears but does not put his words into practice is a fool. Jesus said that members of his family were only those who “hear God’s word and put it into practice.” I am assuming that you want to be blessed, be wise, and that you certainly want to be a member of Jesus’ family. Then practice what is preached. Some might object, saying, “Yes, but the Sunday morning message isn’t Jesus’ words, they are your words.” At the risk of not being humble I object. Listen to what scholar Ian Pitt-Watson says, “The Word of God comes to us in three ways: first, In Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh; second, in the written Word of Scripture…, but third, is the Word preached….preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God.” Or listen to I Peter 4:11, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.”
Recently, in the series on Reconnecting we’ve been asking you to do some thing, to reconnect with basic habits. Pray. Are you having a daily time of prayer. Worship. Are you coming to worship together with us every week? Community. Are you showing up for Bible Study? Evangelism. Are you telling someone about Jesus? Service. Are you using your gifts to glorify God in serving the church? Stewardship. Are you bringing to God what is already his, the tithe? Doing these things is not the mark of super sainthood, meant only for the few. Doing these things is basic discipleship. It’s what being a member of the family is.