Preparation is a word that I really took away from the message that Bryan shared on this past Sunday. Before I dive into the 3 main aspects of preparation that I thought of, I would like to share a couple of great reminders that we should all remember about studying Scripture. In fact we should remember these things when taking personal inventory of how we utilize all of the spiritual disciplines in our Christian lives. Firstly, let us never think that the Christian life is a checklist, lest we think that somehow we can gain God’s favor by checking boxes. Our love for Christ and the desire to draw nearer to Him should be the impetus for the exercising of any and all of the spiritual disciplines in our lives! And secondly, Scripture is God’s Word- telling us how He has unfolded, is unfolding, and will unfold, His eternal redemption plan.
As you can see, I have titled this response “Be Prepared.” So let’s take a look at 3 ways that being “devoted to the apostles’ teaching,” (Acts 2:42) or studying Scripture, can prepare us to be a strong body of Christ.
1. Be prepared to speak truth to ourselves and other believers
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17
– As Christians, we should be teaching one another about “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) from the Bible.
– Our reproof, or “inner convictions,” comes from our knowledge of God’s Word.
– As brothers and sisters in Christ, we often times need correcting in our behavior or our theology. Scripture gives us our guidelines as to what needs to be corrected, and also how to make the necessary corrections.
– Scripture is breathed out by God, and studying it diligently is training Christians for righteousness.
– When we discipline ourselves in the study of the Bible, God will work the above 4 things in us. When He works them in us then we will “be complete and equipped for every good work.” (v. 17)
2. Be prepared to speak truth to unbelievers about our God
– 1 Peter 3:15
– As sure as death and taxes will come to us all, so will times of trials and and suffering. God, through His Word gives us comfort, but not only comfort. God instructs us how to “honor Christ the Lord as holy” during those times of trial.
– Therefore, by God’s grace, when we honor Christ in the toughest of times, we must be expecting questions from those outside of the faith. Dedicating ourselves to knowing God and knowing His Word is imperative to being prepared when we are “asked to make a defense for the reason for the hope that is in us.” (v.15)
3. Be prepared to speak truth to false teachers and those who oppose Christ
– Acts 4:11-12 & 1John 2:20-22, 26
– INDLUGENCES – People that were part of the Catholic Church in Germany began selling salvation and reduced time in purgatory. If the Catholic Church was deeply rooted in Scripture, then this type of heresy would not have been pervasive! Bryan mentioned that Dietrich Bonhoeffer would come to call this “cheap grace.” Man can never guarantee salvation to another person. God’s Word is clear about this. Acts 4:11b-12a tells us that Jesus “has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else.”
– The Rise of Hitler-The “cheap grace” that Bonhoeffer spoke about would play a part in the rise of Hitler to power. The fact is that the church was full of people who thought they were saved because they bought their salvation. If people thought that they were saved then why would they need to devote themselves to the study of the Bible? When Hitler came to the church and pleaded with them to join the movement to bring Germany back to a major power, they were unable to see that he was an antichrist. 1 John 2 says that we “have all the knowledge,” (v. 20) we know the truth, (v.21) he who denies that Jesus is the Christ is an antichrist, (v. 22) and John is writing these things “about those who are trying to deceive you.” (v. 26)
It is clear that the Word of God is an integral piece of the lives of Christians! The call here is to be devoted to studying and memorizing Scripture. Read Acts 2:42-47. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that the passage begins with, “and they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching,” and the last verse says, “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Nick Steinichen works at North Cobb Christian School where he coaches football and swimming. Nick is an avid runner and loves to eat. He serves on the Hospitality Team at VLC. Nick loves God’s Word and wants to be a preacher in the future!