Good morning friends. If there is one bit of advice that I would ever give a follower of Jesus it is this: know the Word. Too many Christians get themselves into trouble because they stop studying or they never started in the first place. In teaching the Word I think we are failing big-time with our young people. My students are reading this right now and they all come from various churches. I have one group that I teach a certain Bible course with and I am surprised by how many of them are not aware of some of the more important facts and teachings from the Bible. However, I daresay they know more than most adults who faithfully sit in church each Sunday morning. Without the knowledge the Word gives us we are sitting ducks for those who would want to persuade us with their own version of things. The writer of Hebrews warned:
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. (Hebrews 13:9-10)
Do you realize there are Christians who check their horoscope everyday because they do not study the Word enough to know God said not to have anything to do with divination? They claim it is just a joke and it may be at first but then slowly they begin to rely on it because the Word isn't there to keep them on the path. What about superstitions? How many of you knock on wood, throw a pinch of salt over your shoulder when you spill some, become fearful when you break a mirror? I won't include the one about walking under a ladder because it is just plain stupid to walk under a ladder. People hold to these things every day because they have not consumed the Word to understand their folly.
Of course it goes beyond such simple matters with many believers. We constantly have the problem of present day witchcraft in the church. This is the group of people who set the Word aside and concentrate on the meaning of dreams and the many "prophetic" things that have been sweeping the Church. Some of this is very legitimate but the waters are being muddied because people do not know the Word enough to discern between the authentic and the heretical. Fact: The Holy Spirit will not communicate outside of the Word of God. If you have dreams that are contrary to the Word of God you can be sure that dream is not from God. Besides, we are a people of the Word not of dreams. If anyone claims to have a prophetic Word or even claims to be a prophet, check him or her against the Word. We fall for almost anything in the Church now because we are almost Biblical illiterate.
The thing to remember is that we do not need any intermediaries with God. We do not need to perform any special ceremonies or say any special words to have access to God. We do not need special clothing or special foods to commune with our God. We do not need to stand in any special temple or go out into nature to spend time with God. If we know the Word then we know that he is always with us through the Holy Spirit. We know that he is involved with us every day. We know that it is a relationship we have, as a child to a parent. We know that prayer is nothing more than conversation with our Dad but we have to have ears that are tuned to him in order for us to hear his replies. The Word trains us in all of this, helping us to understand the heart of the Father and helping us to know how he communicates with us.
There is no getting around it, you have to study the Word of God if you want to know him and live for him. It takes time and effort. It requires dedication and an understanding of the importance of it. But then again people know the importance of exercise and they still do not do it. The Word has to be something that becomes precious and important to you, that you could not imagine not studying it. You cannot exercise one day a year and expect you will remain healthy. In the same way you cannot read the Word once in a while and think you are spiritually fit. Do yourself a favour, decide to attend a Bible Study or enroll for a correspondence course from a Bible College. Do something to get into spiritual shape and decide to do something about it today. Stop being a sitting duck for other people's wrong teachings and interpretations.