Based on Biblical Text 2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth
Knowledge is the power that moves us forward in our quest for social advancement. I submit that for every one of us, education should be a process which continues all our lives. It is not true that education is for just our youth. Otherwise how can we explain the fact that half the things we know at the age of 20 are no longer true at 40? It is also true that half of what we know by age 40 wasn’t even discovered when we were 20.
Knowledge represents change and it is certain that many of us have a tough time with change. As a matter of fact some people reach an age when they refuse to change. As a result many people we know can’t program a DVR/DVD, can’t enter contacts in a cell phone, send an email, bank online or use an ATM.
The real truth is they can’t because they won’t. Some have ceased in their desire to learn and grow. Many use the excuse that “we don’t need to know everything.” People will tell you that we got along fine without these technological changes before, and we’ll get along fine without them now. The question for these people is simply, why would you want to crawl when you could walk upright?
A problem is that the rejection of knowledge is not germane only to the secular world. The Apostle Paul noted that this dilemma existed in the spiritual realm as well. In Hebrews 5:3, Paul writes, “For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.” Paul likens those who refused to learn to bottle-fed infants. He was trying to make the early believers see the need to embrace the whole of Christ’s teaching, that they might pass it on to the generations after them.
The problem Paul had then is the same problem we have today. The Church of Jesus Christ is filled with a lot of “baby believers.” Too many who claim to be believers are stuck right where they found Jesus. Some who have experienced little or no spiritual growth are still only singing “Jesus Loves Me” and quoting the 23rd Psalm. Their level of understanding is quickly exposed when anyone asks them too many questions about the Word of God and finds that they are just bottle-fed believers.
Jesus said, in Matthew 4:11, “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God…” God took the time to lay out for us, in the Word, the depth of His love for us and His will for our lives because He wants us to know and understand. However, like any good mystery, you have to read the book to the end.
In our scripture text from 2 Timothy, Paul lets us know that there are three things that studying the Word of God will give the bottle-fed believer. The first thing Paul says is, “Study to show thyself approved unto God.” In other words, ”If you want God’s approval, study His Word!” Paul could not spell out more clearly the benefits of studying the Word of God.
Clearly, we are approval-seeking people. From birth we begin to seek approval. Paul wants us to understand that studying the Word of God is a demonstration of our desire to seek approval from God. I think this begs the question, where are the overflowing Sunday Schools and Bible Study classes? Why do we refuse to study the “meat” of God’s Word, and instead remain content to be bottle-fed believers? Could it be that we really don’t want to please God?
Those who hunger for the knowledge of God know the answer. Not everyone who cries “Lord, Lord” is saved. We know that there are many who know of Jesus, but are not willing to discover the “know how” of discipleship, because they have not set their hearts upon it. But, if you want God’s approval, give Him your heart. If you give Him your heart, He will also have your ear, your mind, your whole being!
Paul says that the second benefit of studying the Word of God is that we become a “workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” Not only do we gain God’s approval, but we also become a fearless follower. Studying gives us the spiritual confidence we need to advertise our faith.
Could it be that is what’s wrong with the church? Is it possible that we have got too many Christians with no spiritual confidence advertising faith in Jesus Christ? Spiritually weak Christians give the appearance of soldiers in the Lord’s army, but they are not wearing any armor. Their faith is so lean that they scare the sinners away.
Spiritually inept, bottle-fed believers don’t say much for the Lord anyway. They keep their lean and shallow belief ‘bottled up’ because they don’t want to embarrass themselves. Paul says that if we study, we won’t end up an embarrassed workman for the Lord. A Christian who studies is not afraid to share what they have learned. New found knowledge makes a Christian a bold witness, because it gives them courage.
Paul says there is one more benefit to studying the Word. When we study we can “Rightly divide the Word of Truth.” Studying the Word of God gives us a testimony founded on truth.
Christianity is not a composite of our own ideas. We are not ‘selling’ a bunch of man-made theories. We are not sharing what we think, or what other people think. God wants men and women who will accurately teach His Word. We are challenged not to mishandle the Word, or twist it to meet our expectations. We are warned not to add anything to it, or take anything from it! We are just called to understand the mystery of the Word, so we can share it with others, and fulfill our duty to witness to the world.
As we approach the Sabbath
Sunday, April 28, 2013, is the Fifth Sunday of Easter (it is also Men’s Day)
Join our Worship Experience at 10:00 am.
Church School begins at 8:45 am.
Scripture Lesson for this Sunday
1 Peter 2:1-10
There is a Word from the Lord!
The Right Reverend John Hurst Adams