There is a story I read, that I found to be very encouraging and emphasized our need to study the Bible. It is a story of two men. One, an immensely popular Evangelist preacher, who was articulate and successful in bringing new converts to Christ. The other man was a local Pastor who had come to a Revival the Evangelist was conducting!
The local Pastor was a great admirer of the Evangelist, having witnessed his dynamic preaching skills and great knowledge of scripture. On the last night of the Revival, 12 people accepted Christ and walked down the aisle to shake the Evangelist hand. It was after the last person had left the huge Revival tent that the two Pastors talked, and the Evangelist invited the Pastor to his home for dinner. The next evening the Pastor was welcomed into the Evangelist’s home, where they enjoyed a sumptuous meal and retired to the study to talk.
The Pastor assumed the Evangelist would have an outstanding library, considering how eloquent and well-read he spoke when he preached. He was quite surprised when he did not see any books in the Evangelist’s study at all! He asked in a disappointed voice, “You don’t have a library?” The Evangelist responded, “This is not my library! Come, I’ll show you my Treasured Library.”
As they climbed a flight of stairs, the Pastor’s heart beat fast with anticipation of what he was about to see. As they entered the library room the Pastor gasped, at what was before him. Looking in every direction, he saw nothing but empty bookcases. In the center of the room was a single rocking chair, and small table to its left. There on the table was a well worn, dog eared, open Bible! Now he was extremely perplexed! He managed to speak and asked the Evangelist “What happened to your Treasured Library of books?” In reply, The Evangelist quickly answered, “I gave them all away!”
Now even more confused, the Pastor could only ask “But why?” The Evangelist explained; “These cases were once filled with great books, on many subjects, by knowledgeable men in their fields! I found that I no longer needed all those books, because I had all their knowledge and insights in the One Book, My Bible! So, I gave all those books away and kept only my Treasured Library. . .. The Holy Bible!”
From this story, we see that God has given to us all that we need to study in His Word, The Bible. We come to church with our Bibles in hand and we loudly proclaim the truth of its contents, with voices of conviction. However, the sad truth is that for some of us, this is the only time our Bibles are handled or opened and read. How can a church be Bible based, when the believers do not study the very book their beliefs are based upon?
Pastors encourage and beg believers to attend a Bible study somewhere! It has become their main theme to the body of believers. Are they inviting you to join a social club or an Oprah style book club? No! They recognize that you cannot grow and develop as Christians spiritually, based on a 30-45-minute sermon, once a week. They know that for Christians to walk safely through the trials and tribulations of this mortal life, you need the knowledge and strength that only comes from God, through the study and application of God’s Word.
What do we come to church for? Do we come to hear a word from God, or do we come to quiet that nagging little voice of conscience that tells us “you know you should be at church today!” Do we come prepared to fully engage ourselves in praise and worship or do we sit and hold back the praise God deserves? Do we come eager to listen and learn from the sermon those truths and insights that will aide our spiritual growth? Or did we come to hear a “feel good” sermon we will not remember an hour later? If you came to church without pen and paper to write sermon notes and scripture references, then you are missing one of the key purposes of attending service . . . a better knowledge of God’s Word!
When a pastor looks out over the pews, he should see a congregant busy jotting down key points of the sermon and scripture references, for later Bible study, Either at home or at a formal Bible studies. Sermons are not designed to elicit your agreement from the “Amen Corner” of the church. Although that is too much the desire and style of some preachers. Sermons are designed to feed us with spiritual food and direct you from scripture where you can continue to feast during the week. Can you trust and rely on your memory to make note of the important points and scriptures of a sermon, for your later exploration and study? To be honest, most of us can barely remember a sermons title, an hour after leaving church!
Conscientious Pastors will invest countless hours of prayer and study, in the preparation of a sermon. They do not have sermon writers as a politician would have a speech writer. Sermons are God inspired and directed! Pastors must go to God in prayer and then deep into His word, before being blessed with the message and insights God intends us to receive. You are missing valuable, life changing, spiritual knowledge and instruction, if you do not take sermon notes. You are denying yourself the spiritual growth God intended you to acquire if you do not engage in follow-up sermon study with your Bible. We must take our Christian Walk, seriously! We are supposed to study and improve ourselves by the Word. This aides the indwelling spirit of God to create a new person of you. It is simple mathematics; No Bible reading, study and application; No spiritual knowledge, growth, and change!
The answers to all our troubling questions lay between the pages of The Bible. The solutions to all our problems are given to us from Geneses to Revelations. Commit yourself to serious study in your “Treasured Library, The Holy Bible,” and the rewards will amaze you. Your spouses, families and friends will be amazed about you also! You will take on more and more of the qualities of Jesus Christ. Christ will be expressed in all that you say and all that you do. You will truly have a life more abundant and become a totally new creation in Christ!
“A wise man has said, “If you want to hear the voice of God, read the Bible. If you want to hear the voice of God audibly, read the Bible out loud.” God Bless.