Living According to the Word of God

Old Testament Times

Deut 30:15-20 (HCSB)
15 See, today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 For I am commanding you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and multiply, and the Lord your God may bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you do not listen and you are led astray to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I tell you today that you will certainly perish and will not live long in the land you are entering to possess across the Jordan. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20 love the Lord your God, obey Him, and remain faithful to Him. For He is your life, and He will prolong your life in the land the Lord swore to give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

In Old Testament times, God spoke through Moses to tell the Israelites that they could either choose in their hearts to live according to the Word of God or they could choose in their hearts not to live according to the Word of God.

Throughout the Old Testament and throughout the history of human kind in general, there have been many people who both chose in their hearts not to live according to the Word of God, examples:

1 Sam 15:10-11 (HCSB)
10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following Me and has not carried out My instructions.”

1 Kings 11:6 (HCSB)
6 Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, and unlike his father David, he did not completely follow the Lord.

1 Kings 14:22-24 (HCSB)
22 Judah did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes.

(and there are many, many more examples)

…and people who chose in their hearts to live according to the Word of God, examples:

1 Kings 15:5 (HCSB)
5 because David did what was right in the Lord’s eyes, and he did not turn aside from anything He had commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

1 Kings 22:43 (HCSB)
He [Jehoshaphat] walked in all the ways of his father Asa; he did not turn away from them but did what was right in the Lord’s sight.

2 Chron 29:1-2 (HCSB)
2 He [Hezekiah] did what was right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done.

(and there are many, many more examples)

New Testament Times

Matthew 7:24-27
24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”

In this passage, Jesus says that if we choose to put what He says into practice, we will be like a sensible man who builds his house on the rock and we will therefore be able to withstand the storms that come, but if we choose not to put what He says into practice, we will be like a foolish man who builds his house on the sand and therefore will collapse when the storms come. In other words, Jesus says that if put what He says into practice, we will live, but if we don’t put what He says into practice, we will perish. Sound familiar? (Hint: The Deuteronomy passage!)

In New Testament times, Jesus gives us all the same choices that God gave the Israelites through Moses in Old Testament times: We can either choose in our hearts to live according to the Word of God or we can choose in our hearts not to live according to the Word of God.

John 8:30-34 (HCSB)
30 As He was saying these things, many believed in Him. 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”33 “We are descendants of Abraham,” they answered Him, “and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus responded, “ I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.

In this passage, Jesus says that if we continue in his Word, we will be set free from the sins that enslave us.

In New Testament times, Jesus gives us all the same choices that God gave the Israelites through Moses in Old Testament times: We can either choose in our hearts to live according to the Word of God or we can choose in our hearts not to live according to the Word of God.

John 12:47-48 (HCSB)
47 If anyone hears My words and doesn’t keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects Me and doesn’t accept My sayings has this as his judge: the word I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

Jesus says that if anyone hears His words and doesn’t keep them, the very words He spoke will judge him/her on the last day. In other words, if we don’t keep the words of Jesus, we will be judged by those very words on the last day.

In New Testament times, Jesus gives us all the same choices that God gave the Israelites through Moses in Old Testament times: We can either choose in our hearts to live according to the Word of God or we can choose in our hearts not to live according to the Word of God.

Just like for the people in Old Testament times, every single one of us is going to go down in history as either someone who chose in our heart to live according to the Word of God or as someone who chose in our heart not to live according to the Word of God.

In order for us to live according to the Word of God, we would be wise to think ahead and consider things that could hinder us from living according to the Word of God. The following are just some of those hindrances:

The Hindrance of Loving Praise from Men More Than Praise from God

John 12:42 (HCSB)
42 Nevertheless, many did believe in Him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so they would not be banned from the synagogue. 43 For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

In order for us to live according to the Word of God, we must love praise from God vastly more than we love praise from men/women.

The Hindrance of Traditions of Men

Mark 7:1-13 (HCSB)
1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Him. 2 They observed that some of His disciples were eating their bread with unclean—that is, unwashed—hands. 3 (For the Pharisees, in fact all the Jews, will not eat unless they wash their hands ritually, keeping the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, jugs, copper utensils, and dining couches.) 5 Then the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why don’t Your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ritually unclean hands?” 6 He answered them,

“Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:

These people honor Me with their lips,
but their heart is far from Me.
7 They worship Me in vain,
teaching as doctrines the commands of men.

8 Disregarding the command of God, you keep the tradition of men.”

9 He also said to them,

“You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain your tradition! 10 For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother; and, Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is Corban ’ ” (that is, a gift [committed to the temple] ), 12 “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13 You revoke God’s word by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”

In order for us to live according to the Word of God, we must never allow traditions of men (even traditions of men that are supposedly ‘derived from Scripture’) to replace the actual commands of God.

The Hindrance of Hardening Our Hearts

Heb 4:12-13 (HCSB)
12 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart. 13 No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.

The Word of God is living and effective which means that the Word of God is alive in, or applicable to, our lives. It effectively and precisely judges the ideas and thoughts of all of our hearts. God can and will completely change our lives if we let Him use His Word to do surgery on our hearts.

In order us to live according to the Word of God, we must not harden our hearts when God uses His Word to judge and reveal the ideas and thoughts of our hearts. Instead we must allow God to use His Word to effectively and precisely show us how we truly are so that He can make us what He wants us to be.

Here is the deal: No creature is hidden from God, and all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of God whom we must all give an account. So one very convincing reason why we should allow God to use His Word to show us how we currently look in His eyes and to allow Him to use His Word to change us is because we will one day have to give account to God anyway. It is vastly better to allow God to use His Word to change us now then when its too late.

The Hindrance of Allowing Desires to Distort the Meaning of Scripture

2 Tim 4:3-4 (HCSB)
3 For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will accumulate teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. 4 They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.

In order for us to live according to the Word of God, we must not:

1. change the meaning of the scriptures to suit our own desires.
2. pick and choose to obey only the scriptures that suit our desires while ignoring the scriptures that don’t suit our desires.

The Hindrance of Pride

James 1:21-25 (HCSB)
21 Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.

In order for us to live according to the Word of God, we must humbly receive it.

The Hindrance of Hearing but not Doing

James 1:22-25 (HCSB)
22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; 24 for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts—this person will be blessed in what he does.

In order for us to live according to the Word of God, we must be doers of the word and not hearers only.

Decision: I challenge you to decide whether or not you are going to live according to the Word of God or not. If you do decide you do want to live according to the Word of God, then….

Acts 17:10-12 (HCSB)
10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea. On arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

I challenge you to eagerly examine the Scriptures daily to see if these things we have studied out are true. Specifically, I challenge you to read your Bible every day for at least 30 minutes a day. What say you?

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