Message from Dr. Bennett, Campus Chaplain
Question: What is the difference between Sympathy and Empathy?
THE MAIN THING IS TO KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING
What is the main thing in Mentoring? The Word of God. The way you treat the WORD is the way you treat God. To state more personally “the way you treat the written Word, the Bible, is the way you treat the Living Word, Jesus.” It is, therefore, understandable that the very first matter addressed in the very first book of the New Testament tells us the way we should treat God’s Word – James 1:18-25. In this passage, please note (write down) the Right Way to treat the Word:
- THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TOWARD THE WORD (verse 19-20).
1. We should be “quick” to hear the Word – be quiet and listen.
- Slow to speak – shut your mouth,
- Slow to anger – humbly consider the Word before responding – don’t argue with it, don’t rationalize it away. Ex: “Oh, I know that is what the Bible says, but I just can’t pray daily, memorize the Word, tithe.” “I don’t care what the pastor says, he does not understand my situation.” Illus: So often adults act like children regarding the Word.
a. You tell kids what to do – they just ignore you.
b. Then you have to say “Be quiet, stop talking and clean up your mess.”
c. They get angry, shrug their shoulders and start walking away until you summon them to the task. Such are the shenanigans of children which describes their response to your word. Alas the number of adults who treat God’s Word the same childish way. How about you?
II. THE RIGHT ACTION TOWARD THE WORD:
- The first thing to do is to REPENT of any filth in y our life. “Lay aside all filthiness.” The word “filthiness” was used of “ear wax.” Thus sin is what keeps us from hearing God speak through His Word. God the Holy Spirit speaks often to His children, but they cannot hear him because their ear is filled with sin – Sins like internet pornography, unforgiveness, bitterness, lying, cheating, lukewarmness.” Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” ( Isaiah 59:1-2.)
- The second thing is to HUMBLE ourselves before the Lord. Remember “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).
- Then we are able to “RECEIVE THE IMPLANTED WORD which is able to save our soul.” Borrowing from Jesus’ parable of the sower – Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23), James compares God’s Word to seed and our heart as soil. Jesus describes 4 kinds of hearts: the hard, the shallow, the crowded, and the fruitful heart, which receives the Word, allows it to take root and produce a fruitful harvest.
The final test of salvation is FRUIT This means a changed life, Christian character, and ministry to others to the glory of God. But the Word of God cannot work in our lives unless we receive it in the right way. Thus Jesus commands, “Take heed how we hear” (Luke 8:18), not just “what we hear” (Matthew 4:24). Many people “hear but hear not, neither do they understand” (Matthew 13:13. Example: They hear preaching, attend Bible classes, have devotions, but never grow. Is it the fault of the teacher? Perhaps but more likely they are “dull of hearing” (Heb. 5:11). If the seed of the Word is to be planted in our hearts and to bring forth fruit, we must get the Word in our head, heart, and hand. “We must know it in our heads by diligent study,” also “Stow it in our hearts by memorization and meditation,” “Show it in our lives by obeying its teaching, THEN we can SOW it in our world by our witness.”
III. THE RIGHT ATTENTION TO THE WORD (Verse 25)
- Do not merely glance at it. Many read it daily, but it is only a religious exercise that has no results.
- Do not forget what you see. Isaiah saw deep in his soul and cried out, “Woe is me, for I am undone” (Isaiah 6:5).
- Do not kid yourself, that is, Don’t just hear the Word and not obey the Word. Illus: James compares God’s Word to a mirror. We look in the mirror, see how we look, our tousled hair, unshaved dirty face, shabby clothes, and we then shave, comb our hair, etc. Likewise, we see ourselves spiritually in the Word, and then tend to forget how we looked and continue right on living in the mess and ugliness of our sin. Illus: A neighbor of mine arose before day, shaved just one side of his face and was horrified to discover what he had done when the light shone on it. Some persons repent of half of their sins, which is no repentance at all.
- FINALLY, A GLORIOUS AWARD IS PROMISED to those who “look into the perfect law of liberty, continue in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the Word. This person is blessed in what he does.” James calls the word, “The perfect law of liberty” (v. 25) because when we obey it, God sets us free from sin. “And I will walk at liberty, for I seek thy precepts” (Psalm 119:45). “If you abide in My Word, then you are my disciples indeed, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). And when we are set free from sin; the Holy Spirit enables us to overcome our FLESH (SELF) (Romans 8:3-4; Gal. 5:16) and to REIGN IN LIFE BY ONE, JESUS CHRIST” (Romans 5:17b). The fruit of such a life is amazing:
- The winning of souls to Christ – Romans 1:16
- Growing in holy living – Romans 6:22.
- Sharing our material possessions – Romans 15:28.
- Spiritual character – Galatians 5:22-23.
- Good works – Col. 1:10
- Praising the Lord – Heb. 13:15.
Just think – all this takes place when :
“THE MAIN THING IS TO KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING.” – THE WORD OF GOD. With all the love of my soul, I beseech every mentoree to do this in 2011!