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40 Days In The Word – Week 2 HOW THE BIBLE CHANGES US

The Bible is unlike any other book - we call it the Holy Bible. There are a lot of good books in the world. But this book is unlike any other book. It has a supernatural power, which no other book has, to change lives - because it is the Word of God. The power of God’s Word is that God can create things and bring them into existence. Jesus said that his words were more than just words - John 6: 63 “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” We’re talking about spiritual power and spiritual life, things that can change society, history and people. Hebrews 4: 12 “The Word of God is living and active. It is sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”Sharper than any surgeon’s scalpel. The Word of God has the ability to cut right to the heart of the issue - to point out what’s wrong in my life, what needs to be corrected in my life and what I need. It’s not a chain saw. It’s like a scalpel. It can do the fine work that needs to be done in my life. What do I need in my life? - the same thing you need in your life. Change - things in your life you don’t like - you don’t want. You’ve tried to change them, but they haven’t changed. The Word of God can change things that you cannot change on your own. D.L. Moody, famous pastor in Chicago 100 years ago, said the Bible was not given to increase our knowledge; the Bible was given to change our lives. Look at 7 specific ways God wants to change your life with his Word. So how does God’s living Word change me? 1. It recreates my life. When my life is falling apart - gone to the dogs - feel like it’s at the end of the rope, God comes in and recreates my life. He gives me a whole new life - fresh start - begin again. The Bible calls it being born again - you get a whole new life. James 1: 18 “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth…” Without the Word of God you couldn’t be saved. We wouldn’t even know there was a heaven, if it wasn’t for this book. We wouldn’t know about Jesus dying on the cross. We wouldn’t know how to trust him. God is not silent. He has chosen to reveal himself because he wants us to know him. God knows everything about us. He wants us to know about him. 2 Timothy 3: 15 “From a child you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise unto salvation.” It’s this book that’s going to show you the path to heaven. The Bible is like a seed planted in your life. Once it takes root in your heart it begins to sprout and it begins to grow and then it begins to bear fruit. Then you see all these changes for the good in your life. 1 Peter 1: 23 “You have been born, again not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,through the living and enduring Word of God.” “Living and enduring” - not just words - alive. James says, “Humbly accept the Word planted in you which can save you.” 2. It eradicates my guilt. Did you know that God doesn’t want you going through life carrying a baggage of guilt? God wants you to be free from guilt. God uses the Word to eradicate your guilt. Ephesians 5: 25, 26 “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word.”When I take the Word of God and I fill my mind with it, it washes my mind. It cleanses the dirt, the junk, the shame and the sin out of my life. Jesus once told his disciples - John 15 :3 “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” There’s a cleansing power in this book that when I read it, it removes the guilt out of my life by teaching me the truth. 3. It activates my faith. This gives me confidence. Most people are not confident - not courageous. Most people are scared to death - fear of failure - afraid of dying. They’re not walking confidently because they’re not people of faith. Faith is Word activated. Romans 10: 17 “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.” Have you ever read a verse in the Bible - all of a sudden it hits you - “I can do this!” You have just had your faith activated by the Word of God. Difference between the Bible and self-help books. Self-help books often tell you some good stuff - tell you the right thing to do – but they just don’t give you the power to do it. But the power of God’s Word not only tells what to do but it gives you the power to do it - increases your faith. Thousands of promises in the Bible - God says if you do this - I will do this. That increases my expectation - gives me confidence. 4. It stimulates my growth. Acts 20 - Paul says to the people in Ephesus “I commit you to God and to the Word of his grace,which can build you up [stimulate your growth] and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”An inheritance is what you get for being part of a family. When you become a follower of Jesus, put your life in Christ’s hands, trust him for salvation - you’re not just a believer - you’re a belonger - part of God’s family - get family privileges. There are family responsibilities and there are family privileges. What if you go through your entire life not knowing the power, the opportunities, the blessings and the benefits that are available to you as a child of God? That would be stupid. God says I want to stimulate your growth and give you the inheritance that you have as my child - rightly belongs to you. 2 Timothy 3: 16, 17 “All Scripture is God-breathed, and is usefulfor [4 things] teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so thatso that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The purpose of the Bible is to help you live out the purpose God has for your life. That you will be thoroughly equipped, that you will have all you need, you’ll be fully prepared, you’re ready to face life and you’re not insufficient for life. You’ve got everything you need to take on life. Teaching is God shows me the path to walk on. Rebuking is when God shows me how I got off the path, and I’m now in the ditch. Correcting is how I get back on the path, the right path for my life. Training is how I stay on the path and don’t fall in the ditch again. That’s the way the Word of God helps me grow. 5. It illuminates my mind. How does God turn the light on? Psalm 119: 130 “Understanding your Word brings light to the minds of ordinary people.” God wants to bring light to every single person. He wants to light up our minds with the truth of who he is, with the truth of the next step, the next direction to take in our lives, with the truth of how to handle the feelings I’m having, with the truth of how to handle the relationship difficulties or the relationship successes I’m having. He wants to bring light to our lives. How does he do that? Psalm 119: 99 “I have more insight than all my teachers for I meditate on your statutes.”Meditation is the key to turning the light on. When you soak your mind in the Word. Meditation isn’t losing your mind to the universe; it’s focusing your mind on the Word of God. God helps you to see things with a different perspective, a different way. Psalm 119: 105 “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” He turns the light on so that we can have direction in our lives – a lamp for our feet, a light for our path. To turn the light on in your life one of the great things you can do is pray prayers related to the Bible. One of them is our memory verse for this week - Psalm 119: 18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” 6. It elevates my mood. Some of us really need that right now - down in the dumps - feeling a little grumpy - like nobody cares. You’re having a pity party and inviting yourself. God gave us the Bible to encourage us. Romans 15:4 “Everything that was written in the pastwas written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”Everything in the Scriptures is for our encouragement and hope. The Bible has the power to change your life. That’s why everyday you need to spend a little bit of time alone with God. It’s where you get quiet and you spend time with God and you think about his Word, you read his Word and you talk to him and you just listen. This week in your small group, you’re going to get the essentials of how to have a time with God and steps to a quiet time. Psalm 119: 14 – Message -“You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me.” The Word of God is meant to renew you, encourage you and give you hope. 7. It liberates my potential. Only God, your Creator, knows your potential fully. You don’t even know the greatness inside of you. Only God knows what you are truly capable of. So you’ve got to spend time in God’s Word, to get out of the boxes that other people have put you in. Most people live for the expectations of others - approval of others – “what will other people think?” Only God knows the full potential of your greatness, the impact of your life. Only he can unlock that potential. Only he can set you free. Why? Because he’s got the truth. John 8: 31, 32 “If you continue in my Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” It will unlock you. It will liberate you. It will make you able to do things you never thought you could ever possibly do. It’ll set you free. Would you like to have your life recreated after it fell apart, your guilt eradicated for everything you’ve ever done wrong, your faith activated so you’ll have more confidence and courage, your growth stimulated so you’ll become all you were meant to be, your mind illuminated so you can make wise decisions, your mood elevated so you’re not down in the dumps, and your potential liberated? Is anybody interested in those 7 things? I am. So how do I gain these benefits? 1. I’ve got to learn it. Mark 12: 24 “Your trouble is that you don’t know the Scriptures…” What you think is your problem is not really your problem - Your problem is always your response to your problem. Every problem is an opportunity - opportunity for growth, for prayer, opportunity to trust God more, to develop in character, opportunity to see God do a miracle. The reason why we get into so many problems is we don’t know how to respond correctly to our problems. Proverbs -“There’s a way that seems right to menbut it always ends in death.” That’s why Jesus says, You know what your problem is? You don’t know the Scripture; because if you did then you’d know how to respond correctly - you wouldn’t be making the problem worse. You’d be making the problem better. You’ve got to learn. The Bible tells you how to act in every situation. 2. I have to accept it. I accept its authority in my life. There are things in the Bible I don’t understand, but I accept it. There are things in the Bible I don’t like, but I accept it. There are things in the Bible that are inconvenient but I accept it. There are things in the Bible I wish God had not said, but I accept it. Because God is God and I’m not. 1 Thessalonians 2 “When you received the Word of God, which you heard from us,you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, – the Word of God, which is at work in you who believe.” You’ve got to believe it for God to work it in your life. 3. I must act on it. John 13: 17 “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” You don’t get blessed for the parts of the Bible you know. You get blessed for the parts of the Bible you do. So I’ve got to learn it. Then I’ve got to accept it. Then I’ve got to act on it. Prayer: God, I want your Word to be the authority of my life. God, I not only want to accept your Word, I want to learn it, and I want to do it. As I learn it and do it, will you recreate my life? Would you make the rest of my life the best of my life? Would you set me free from the past by eradicating my guilt? Would you activate my faith as I study and read and learn your Word? Stimulate my growth; build me up with the Word of God. Lord, your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Would you illuminate my mind? When I get down and discouraged and when I feel like giving up, would you elevate my mood? As I look to your Word for encouragement, as I find the promises that give me hope, you be the place of quiet retreat as I wait for your Word to renew my life. Father, all the stuff that holds me back and hinders my progress, I want you to unlock my potential. Set me free as I continue in your Word. Amen. Psalm 119: 18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

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