Sermons and Worship Ideas 2

#2 An Imperative Regarding Spirituality

Margarida F. Sarli works at the Ministerial Association as researcher and assistant at Shepherdess International.

Theme —An imperative regarding spirituality

Read your Bible attentively, prayerfully, and be guided by its teachings. This is your safety.-E. G. W., Child Guidance, p. 465.

Thought for the day

Do not carry your creed to the Bible and read the Word in the light of your former opinions.

Do not try to make everything agree with your creed. Search the Word carefully and prayerfully with a mind free from prejudice. If ... you see that your most cherished opinions are not in harmony with the Word, do not try to make the Word fit these opinions. Make your opinions fit the Word. Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases Three, Miscellaneous Manuscript Items -PR- 01 -PG- 432.

Offering prelude

In 1959 a new king of Ruanda, Central Africa, was selected. One man of only moderate means was determined to bring a gift of such worth that it would attract the special notice of the king. To do this he sold all of his goats and almost everything else he had in order to buy a beautiful leopard skin for his sovereign.

"But you are a poor man. How can you afford to give so much?" his friends asked.

"But this is for my king!" the man replied. "What I give must be my best."

If we gave to our heavenly King as this poor heathen gave to his earthly sovereign, there would be no lack of funds to take His message.

Suggestions for scripture reading and hymns

2 Timothy 2:15

For Your Holy Book We Thank You     Hymn No. 277 

Give Me the Bible                                Hymn No. 272

Children's Story—Power in the Word

Lesson: "By the word of thy lips I have avoided the ways of the violent." Ps, 17:4.

Webb Garrison published an article titled, "The Joy of Memorizing Scripture." He related the story of returning from summer vacation to find his house in shambles. Someone had taken great delight, not in stealing, but in damaging and destroying the furnishings of his home. The chairs were slashed, draperies ripped and hanging in shreds. There were gashes in the furniture and bedspreads, mattresses were ripped and cut. Even many of his neckties were cut in half. The clothing in the closets was neatly trimmed. They called the police. They contacted their insurance agent, who said, "You're well protected for fire and wind-storm damage, but you are not covered for burglary or vandalism."

Garrison said, "Alone in that ripped-up house, I went upstairs to go to bed. I turned back the bed spread and sheet in which a huge X had been cut. As soon as I lay down, I felt the rough edges where the mattress had been slit.

"I closed my eyes and, speaking each word aloud slowly, began repeating Scripture I had memorized: Psalms 1, 8, 23; 1 Corinthians 13; John 14; Psalms 46, 90,91; Revelation 1; Psalm 121 ... I had to go through my repertoire maybe three times. But then I fell asleep and slept soundly till dawn."The greatest tranquilizing medicine available is faith in the promises of God. These promises can be made much more real to us if memorized. The Word means much more when it is hid in the heart. The Word is protection against discouragement. The greatest courage-builder in the world, and the finest spirit soother, is the Word of God. It works. Try it today.

Sermon Outline—An imperative regarding spirituality

I. Introduction

The New International Version translates this text, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." Philips translates it, "For yourself, concentrate on winning God's approval, on being a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, and who knows how to use the word of truth to the best advantage." Today's English Version translates it, "Do your best to win full approval in God's sight, as a worker who is not ashamed of his work, one who correctly teaches the message of God's truth."

While it is not necessary that one have a graduate degree from some school of theology before he can serve God effectively, it remains true that God places no premium upon ignorance.

In our text, the apostle is urging upon Timothy and all of his readers the importance of presenting ourselves to our Father God as competent workers who are skilled in doing the work of God's kingdom.

In Paul's epistle to the Romans, he encouraged them to present their bodies as living sacrifices unto God. It is in their body that they are to honor Him, to glorify Him. It is in their body that they are to demonstrate both the wisdom of God and the power of God. He affirmed this same concept in his epistle to the Corinthians in which he declared that the body is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, and consequently it should not participate in the immoralities that were so current at that time (1 Cor. 6:15-20).

In the words of our text, the emphasis is upon maturity, skill, and competency in the service of our Lord.

Paul appeals to Timothy's sense of pride in personal accomplishment, "a workman who has no need to be ashamed." Have you ever seen a carpenter who was ashamed of his craftsmanship? Have you ever known a bricklayer who laid a crooked wall of brick? Have you ever known a woman who made a dress and was then ashamed to wear it? The apostle is encouraging his reader to present himself to God and to do what is necessary in order that he might be a skilled worker who, "rightly handles the word of truth."

There are a number of very practical things that can help each of us toward spiritual competency in our ministry for our Lord and in our ministry to others.

The King James Version translates this verse, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Competency requires study and practice. Only as we study can we be skilled. Let us focus attention upon how we should study the Bible if we would rightly handle it so as to accomplish the purpose for which God intended it.

II. Let us read the Bible regularly

Some time should be spent every day in listening to God as He speaks to us through the Scriptures.

III. Let us read the Bible subjectively

It is not enough that we read the Bible merely as a record of what happened in the ancient past. God can and will speak to us in the present if we will but listen to Him.

IV. Let us read the Bible intelligently

There are certain guidelines that should be remembered as we study the Bible.

Let us try to understand what the Bible meant in its historical context.

A. This is when it was first recorded by man under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
B. Let us try to understand the language.
C. Let us study the Bible in a logical manner. Let us examine each phrase and verse in its context. Let us study the paragraph in the light of the chapter, and the chapter in the light of each book, and each book in the context of the whole of Scriptures.
D. Let us remember that the Bible is a record of God's self-revelation. Only the Holy Spirit can really unlock His secrets.

V. Let us read the Bible systematically

A good pattern would be to read five chapters in the Old Testament every day and three chapters in the New Testament, reading straight through both the Old and the New Testaments.

VI. Let us read the Bible prayerfully

Pray it into your heart. Memorize the great verses, particularly the great promises and the great warnings.

VII. Let us read the Bible obediently

As God reveals His truth to us, let us respond to it.

VIII. Conclusion

It is so important that the minister interpret the Scriptures correctly and apply them properly.

And it is equally important that every Christian study to show himself a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who uses the Word of God rightly.

If we will study diligently and present ourselves joyfully to our Lord, it is highly unlikely that we will some day be ashamed of ourselves or of our lives when we stand before our precious Lord.

IX. Illustration

If you would read the Bible at standard pulpit speed (slow enough to be heard and understood) the reading time would be seventy-one hours. If you would break that down into minutes and divide it into 365 days you could read the entire Bible, cover to cover, in only twelve minutes a day. Is this really too much time to spend reading about God? James S. Hewett.

Margarida F. Sarli works at the Ministerial Association as researcher and assistant at Shepherdess International.