“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13
I read this verse in my devotions this past week and it immediately made me think of our church! I thank God for our church and it’s love for God’s word. It’s one of the constant remarks that visitors make about our church, “I’m so thankful to have found a church that teaches and loves the Bible.” You cherish reading the precious words of Scripture aloud. This is another way in which we strive to be like the early churches of the New Testament (Col 4:16, 1 Thes 5:27, 1 Tim 4:13, Rev 1:3). We read Scripture to begin and end every service – giving the Lord the first and the last word of all our gatherings. I rejoice that you want to hear sermons that are preached from the Bible to help you better understand God’s Word. I rejoice that you have embraced the idea of memorizing passages of the Bible as a congregation. I rejoice that our small groups are studying various books of the Bible, and our youth and children’s ministry are devoted to bringing God’s word to the next generation!
I encourage you toward daily personal reading of the Bible. I encourage you to make time every day to quiet your heart in prayer asking for the Holy Spirit to minister to your weary soul from His word. If you struggle to understand the Bible, you can check out a study Bible from our church library. I encourage you to get and use an actual paper copy of the Bible. I’m not against using Bible apps, but I am against distractions interrupting your time with the Lord. Our phones are nothing but distraction – texts, notifications, news, games, etc. Intentionally putting away technology to spend time with the Lord shows respect and intention toward building a real and personal relationship Jesus. Let’s give even more respect to our risen Lord than we would to other personal relationships.
I also rejoice that you are receiving this word! As your pastor I see much fruit of the Holy Spirit in you! I see a growing desire to obey God’s commands, a growing desire to love our neighbors and walk in holiness of character, and a willingness to forgive each other in Jesus name and not bear bitter grudges. I see a growing love for family, children, orphans, widows, and Christian marriage. I see sacrificial generosity and humble service, which indicates a love for eternal things over a love for this world. God’s words are living and active and are at work in us right now to convict, bring faith, and change our actions for the good.
I encourage you to continue in this love of God’s Word! I urge you to excel even more in seeking to know, understand, memorize, love, and obey God’s Word (1 Thess 4:1, 10). May our church be a light to our area, not because we offer many programs and much entertainment, but because people can come through our doors and hear the glorious truth of God. They can hear the Bible read, taught, loved, and obeyed as our source of life and joy.
Concerning memorization, we have completed our time in Psalm 37 and are going to move now to Romans 6:1-14. I invite you to join me in memorizing one verse per week for the next fourteen weeks.
Soli Deo Gloria,