In this message, we learn that food is to the body what Scripture is to the soul.
Alright. Hey, everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. We want to give a big welcome to our Denton campus and everybody online. Will you welcome them with me.
We are so glad that you guys are here. And if this is your first time at Valley Creek Church, welcome. We’re glad that you are here. I hope you enjoyed your extra hour of sleep so you’re all awake and happy and ready to go and meet with God. And I hope you had a great time being in the upside down church last night. Because as a church, we didn’t gather for our normal Saturday night services as the church. We went out to be the church. And I’ve heard great stories already of people being intentional, putting the love of God on display, creating conversations. We’re serious about being the church that turns the world upside down. And so I’m proud of you for taking the step into that. And being willing to just do something out of the box. Because we have to do different things if we’re going to get different results and be the church that Jesus died for. The church that Jesus dreamed of. And the church that Jesus wants to change the world. Okay.
One quick thing that I want you to be aware of and then we’re going to jump in is, this coming Saturday is the first official public launch of our freedom ministry. For the last year, probably, and a half, our team has been working really hard to develop what we wanted to create for our freedom ministry. And we believe that freedom is not a one-time event. But rather it’s a lifestyle. And so, we’re going to have a freedom ministry available a couple times a year. And it’s going to be a great opportunity for you to come and learn how to hear the voice of God. For you to come and get free from some of the brokenness of your past. For you to discover some ungodly beliefs you’re not even aware of yet. And replace those with Godly beliefs, to have an encounter with God, a declaration of your identity. And so that’s going to come this Saturday. It will be a few times a year. You can check it out on the website. And here’s what I want to say to you, my hope is that every person in our church at some point in time will go through it.
I know you think in your mind, you’re like, “No. No. That’s for the broken messed up people.” No, it’s not. Healthy people get healthier and free people get freer. It’s for people that want to be free in their life and walk with Jesus. Our entire staff has gone through it. Most of our leaders have gone through it. Healthy people get healthier. Free people get freer. And we’ve heard from people that have been in this church for years that have gone through the couple pilot rounds we’ve done, they’ve said that that was the greatest encounter they’ve ever had with God in their life. So I hope, at some point in time, you’ll check it out. It’s on the website. It’s going to be this Saturday but it’s going to be throughout the year as well. It’s going to be great. Okay. Joshua chapter 1. If you got a bible, Joshua chapter 1, we’re in a series called How. And we’re getting really practical. We’re talking about some basic things in our journey with Jesus and how do we actually do them. And we’ve said that we use a lack of understanding as an excuse for a lack of obedience. And so we’re trying to get some basic understanding so we can obey God and walk with him in a different way. Very practical. And as you’re turning there, I don’t know if you have ever been to a third world country like on a mission trip for instance.
But most of us, at least on TV, we’ve seen people who are famished and starving to death. We’ve all got a picture in our mind of somebody that literally is hungry, is starving to death, a third world person. You can probably picture that in your mind. It’s incredibly heartbreaking. Their eyes are sunken. Their bones are protruding. They’re sick. They’re diseased. They can barely walk. They just kind of lay there. Usually, the images we see, they’re not very well clothed. I mean they’re sick and hurting and dying people. They’re starving to death because they don’t have the nourishment of the food to eat. So I want you to picture that in your mind. And let’s just say, for example, that you went on a mission trip to one of these third world countries. And your ministering the people. And you walk into one of their huts or went into their little shacks and usually, kind of broken and rundown. And you walk in and here’s this grown adult starving to death. Shoulder bones are popping out. Eyes are sunken. They’re sick. They’re weak. They can barely move.
And you walk in and your heart is broken because you look at this person and you see the sickness that they’re starving to death. And as you look over here to the other side of the room, you see a banquet table full of food. I mean we’re talking rib-eye, we’re talking brisket, we’re talking fried turkey, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, broccoli. You go to throw in some apple pie and some cheesecake. Can you picture it? Come on. What else do you want in there? Some lobster, maybe. Some shrimp. You know, you throw in anything. I mean there is a banquet table set over, a feast for a king. And you look at the starving person and you look at all this food. What would you do? You look at this guy and you say, “Man, you’re starving to death. Why aren’t you eating some of this food?” And imagine if he looked back at you and said, “Because nobody is feeding me.” “Nobody is feeding you? The food is right there.” “Nobody is feeding me so I can’t eat.”
What would you do? You would look at this person and say, “Then just get up and start eating.” Right? Isn’t that what you would say? And imagine if he looked back at you and said, “I don’t know how.” “You don’t know how to feed yourself.” “I don’t know how.” You would probably say, “Then just get up. Walk over to the table. Take anything on the table. And put it in your mouth. And you will start to feel better.” Right? Okay. That is a very graphic analogy to describe the condition of most American Christians’ soul. Food is to the body what scriptures are to the soul. We are the most abundant nation on the face of this earth and yet we are some of the most famished. We’re the most abundant generation in all of human history with this.
The most abundant with this in all of human history and yet we’re some of the most famished. Jesus’s people are starving to death. They are sick and they are weak and they are diseased and they can’t move. All because they are not feasting on the food that God has prepared. You understand, this is a feast for a king. This isn’t like drive-thru McDonald’s. This is like a feast for a king. I mean everything you could ever possibly want, everything that you need to nourish your soul is right there. And yet, Jesus’s people are starving to death because they say, “No one is feeding me.” or “I don’t know how to feed myself.” So we need to learn how to feed ourselves. Can we do that together? Okay. We’re going to talk about how do we actually feed ourselves because the number one analogy the bible uses to talk about reading scriptures is feeding ourselves. Jeremiah 15:16, when your words came, I ate them. They were my joy and my heart’s delight for I bear your name, oh, Lord, God Almighty.
Ezekiel 3:3, then he said to me, son of man, eat this scroll that I’m giving you. Fill your stomach with it. So I ate it and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. Matthew 4:4, Jesus says, man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. The primary analogy the bible uses is feeding ourselves. I mean, you can think of the Israelites, for 40 years as they wandered the dessert, every day God brought down manna from heaven. Spiritual food. He made it fall but they had the responsibility to go gather it and actually put it in their mouth. And because every day they went out and gathered this manna for 40 years. They were nourished. They were strengthened. They won great victories. They flourished in a dry and weary land. The bible says, their feet never got swollen and their clothes never wore out. What that means for you and I is that if we would just feed ourselves on the word of God, that we will have an unending supply. You will have supernatural strength and you will flourish in a dry and weary world.
We have to learn how to feed ourselves. Let me ask it to you like this. What did you have for dinner on Tuesday? Like this Tuesday night, what did you have for dinner? Can you remember? Okay. How about this? How about breakfast on Wednesday? What did you have for breakfast on Wednesday? Can you think of actually what you had? Or maybe, how about last Sunday. Let’s just go to last Sunday. What did you have for family lunch after you left service? Do you remember what you had? Most of us are kind of like thinking, “No, you probably can’t remember.” But you ate all those meals. Why? Because you were hungry and you needed to nourish yourself. You can’t remember what you ate. But if I asked you this, what was the best meal you had last month? You could think of something. “Oh, we went to grandma’s house and she made this turkey.” Or “We tried this new restaurant and you got to go there, man. The chicken they make is incredible.” Or “We made these sandwiches at home. Pitas and we grilled the thing and, you know, the — you got to try it.” Right?
Come on. If I ask you your favorite meal for the last month, you could remember it. Okay. The same thing is true with the bible. We don’t remember everything we read but we read it because it nourishes us. And then every once in a while, when God speaks to you in this profound way, you will never forget it. You need to nourish yourself. I mean, you don’t know how food works, do you? Unless you’re a doctor or a chemist, you have no idea how food actually works. But you know, you need to eat it anyway. So you put it in your body. And you don’t really care how it works. You just know it does. We don’t need to know how the scriptures work. We just need to choose to eat it anyways. Hebrews 4:12 says, the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword penetrating between soul and spirit, joint and marrow, judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The Bible is living and active. It’s living food. And when you put it inside of you, it changes you from the inside out even though you have no idea how it works. We don’t work on scriptures. The scriptures work on us. You don’t need to work on this. When you get caught up in all this, we need to do these deep intensive bible study thing. We need to work on the scriptures. Scriptures don’t need any work. They’re pretty perfect. Scriptures work on us when we put them inside of us. And what a lot of us will say, “Well, men, I show up here every week or at least every other week. And I eat when I’m here.” Okay. Listen, church is like somebody taking you out for a meal and paying for it. It’s great. But it doesn’t last for six days. I love feeding you in this place. I want to give you the greatest meal that you can eat when you’re here. But just so you know, I’m always just trying to give you an appetizer. I’m trying to make you hungry so that when you leave this place, you want to go feed yourself a little bit and feast on the word of God for you.
The greatest barrier in our own spiritual health and our own spiritual growth is lack of engagement with the scripture. So we need to know how to feed ourselves. So we’re going to walk into the kitchen together and have one of those mom to her teenage son moments. Can we do that? Like “Here’s the peanut butter, honey. Here’s the jelly. Open the lid.” That’s what we’re going to do. Is that okay? Okay. Because we say we don’t know how so we’re going to deal with the how. Okay. So Joshua chapter 1. Joshua chapter 1, here’s what happening. Moses has died. Joshua has succeeded. Moses he is leading a million people to go and take the promise land. Verse 6, here’s what it says, Be strong and courageous. God talking to Joshua. Because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law of the scriptures my servant Moses gave you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left that you may be successful wherever you go.
Do not let this book of the law, the scriptures, depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you’ll be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous? Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Okay. Sticking with the theme of this series how I have five points for you and three sub-points. Just these series, we’re sticking with the points, okay? So here we go. Are you ready? Are we ready? Okay. I hope you’re really hungry because you’re going to have a good meal. Here we go. First thing is this, ask God to give you a desire for his word. Ask God to give you a desire for his word. If we’re honest at the end of the day, we don’t read the scriptures not because we don’t know how. But because we don’t want to. Freedom starts with acknowledging reality. So just acknowledge reality a little bit. Like, we just think it’s kind of irrelevant, kind of boring, it’s an ancient book. What does it really have to do with us? It’s really more of a desire issue than it is a how issue.
But what I want you to think about for a second is I want you to think about Joshua. He had some major things right in front of him. Like, he was going to have to lead a million people to cross the Jordan River. They were going to have to go and tear down the walls of the City of Jericho. He was going to have to deal with rebellious people, fight giants, have battle plans and strategies. And out of all the things that God could tell Joshua who has to step into Moses’s shoes, the only thing God tells him is verse 8, Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night. Be careful to do what’s in it then you’ll be successful. Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth. In other words, Joshua feed yourself on the scriptures. Then you’ll be prosperous and successful. In other words, God tells Joshua that everything you need for your destiny is written in that book. You need to choose to feed yourself on it. And that revelation gave Joshua the desire to engage the scriptures.
Do you understand the same is true for you. There are some amazing things ahead of you. There are opportunities and obstacles and trials and blessings. Things you know nothing about. But everything you need for your destiny is right there. I mean the bible, if we like the series on how, this is your ultimate book of how. Everything you need to know about how to do anything in life is in here. This book will tell you how to start a business. It will tell you how to pick a school. It will tell you how to be a good student. How to raise your kids. How to deal with difficult people. I mean it will tell you everything you need. This is your book of how. It’s your owner’s manual. Your instruction manual on how to live in the superior reality of the Kingdom of God. The problem is we just don’t like instructions. Can I get all the men to agree with me? We just don’t. I mean remember last Christmas, for Christmas, my son, Trey, he got a basketball net from my parents. And so it’s Christmas morning and he opens up the basketball and then he’s so excited. And then everybody wants dad to immediately put the thing together.
Which does not sound like my idea of a fun Christmas, putting toys together. And so I grudgingly carry the box into the garage and I get the toys out. And I open it up and there’s like a three-page instruction manual. But I’m like, “It’s a basketball net. How hard could it be?” So I grabbed my tools and I put the thing together. I kind of, you know, 15 minutes put all the parts and stand the thing up. And I stand the thing up. And I kid you not. I had built it backwards. How do you build it backwards? I don’t know. But I did. So the hoop and the backboard were facing the wrong direction. So you’re like, “Argh.” So I put the thing down. And if you have built kids’ toys you know that there really aren’t bolts that come in and out. They are stupid pieces of plastic that only go in one time, one way. And so now, you’re trying to figure out, how do I get it off without breaking it. And there’s no instructions for that. And so you’re messing around with it trying to get it out. And it takes me over an hour to tear the thing down so I could turn it around and build it back right.
I think that’s how we approach our lives if we’re honest. We say how hard could it be? How hard could it be to raise a couple of kids? Harder than you think. How hard could it be to have a good marriage? How hard could it be to pick the right college? How hard could it be to get a promotion? How hard could it be in five minutes of engaging instruction would save us years of heartbreak? We spend so much of our time tearing down the very things we built the wrong way. Psalm 1:1 and 3 says this, Blessed is the man or woman whose delight is in the law of the Lord. On his law, he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit and season whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
In other words, if you want to flourish in life, you need to feed yourself on this. And so ask God to give you a desire for it. Because God is okay if you say, “God, I really have no interest in that. Will show me my need for it and will you give me a desire for it.” And watch what he’ll do. Be honest with God. Don’t play religion with God. Be honest with God. He loves honesty, okay? Ask him to give you a desire. The second thing is this, schedule time to meet with him. Schedule a time to meet with him. God tells Joshua, Do not let this book of the law — verse 8 — depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night. He says, “Joshua, you need a daily portion. Just like you need to eat a meal every day. You need to eat on this every day. You need a daily portion.” So Joshua was going to have to schedule time for this because he’s leading a million people to take the promise land. You think you’re busy taking a couple of kids to activities? Okay. He’s got a million people he’s leading to take to the promise land. If Joshua can do it, you can do it.
Good intentions become good actions when they get on our calendar. You will always make time for that which you value. Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and everything else will be added unto you. Priorities will always find a place unto your calendar. And it’s easy to say that you prioritize God or you prioritize your family or you prioritize your health. You can say all that. But at the end of the day, all you need to do is look at your calendar and your checkbook. That will tell us everything we need to know about what you actually prioritize because the bible says how you spend your money and your time reveals what you actually value in your heart. And here’s what we say. We say, “I’m too busy to read the bible.” You’re too busy not to read the bible.
Joshua was too busy not to engage in the scriptures because he didn’t have time to tear down building things the wrong way. I know you’re busy. You travel. You got kids. You got life. You got activities. You got hobbies. You got interests. You got ministry. I know you’re busy. You’re too busy not to read this because you don’t want to tear down the things you’ve built the wrong way. So you got a schedule a time. Psalm 5:3, In the morning, oh Lord, you hear my voice. In the morning I lay my request before you and wait in expectation. Okay. Pick a time that works for you. You can do the morning. You can do the evening. You can do lunch. You can do your break time. It doesn’t matter. Pick the time that works for you. And remember you’re not meeting with a book. You’re meeting with a person and his name is Jesus. John chapter 5, Here’s what Jesus says, You diligently study the scriptures because you think that by then you possess eternal life. These scriptures that testify about me yet you refuse to come to me to have life. In other words, he looks at the Pharisees and he says, “Guys, the scriptures are the footprints that lead you to me.”
You’re not reading this to know about me. You’re reading this to know me. This isn’t about understanding content. This is about discovering Jesus. This isn’t a burden to bury — to bear. It’s a privilege to steward. And you have to remember, God has chosen to reveal Himself to us through the Bible. So if I actually want to know who God is, I have to engage the very way that He’s revealed himself to me. I don’t know about you, but I love making time for the people I love. I want to get to know them. Like I don’t want to know the surface, like superficial conversations with people I love. I want to know their heart. I want to get down like into it. Well, that takes time. And so I will gladly, like sacrifice, come home early, stay late, go to this thing, give that thing up to make time and space for that. And when I’m not around them, I miss them, like I actually want to be with them. Okay. Do you understand? That’s what God is saying to us.
Listen to me, this is like freedom for some of you. Don’t feel guilty by not reading the scriptures, instead you should feel like you’re missing God, relationally. God said, “I don’t want you to feel guilty if you don’t want this. I just want you to feel like you’re missing me because I’m missing you.” To consume the scriptures, what you’re doing is, you’re acknowledging you are desperate for him, dependent upon him and you desire to know Him. It is impossible to fall in love with someone that you never spent time with. 2 Timothy 3:16, it says, “All scripture is God-breathed.” All scripture is God-breathed. That means when you read these words, you are breathing in the very breath of God. If all scripture is God-breathed, then when you read these words, you are breathing the very breath of God. That’s how close He is to you, okay?
You got to schedule time to be with Him. Third thing, open your Bible. Sixteen-year-old, pull the knife out of the drawer. Open your Bible. Osmosis only works in calculus class. It doesn’t work with the Bible. You actually have to open it. Well, God tells Joshua, “Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth.” He had to open it to understand it so it wouldn’t depart from his — you have to open it, and this is where the how comes in. This is where we say, “Well, I’d love to but I don’t know — I’m kind of intimidated. I’m not sure where to start.” The Bible is a bunch of rules and I’m already not following the rules well. So why add some more into that mixture? Like okay, we’re missing, okay. Okay. So open your Bible. Three sub-points for you on how to do this. Open your Bible and have a plan. Have a plan. Bible roulette does not work. It only works when you’re first saved for like a week. You know how when you first get saved, God gives you like front row parking spots that week. It’s like, amazing.
You open the Bible and it’s like, “Oh yeah, right there.” No. Okay. That only works the first week. After that, it doesn’t work. I mean, if you don’t know a Bible roulette, it’s just like, “Okay. Lord, speak to me.” And then you open it up and point it to the passages. Like, okay. So everything you have, give it to the poor then you’ll have treasure in heaven, come follow me. Yeah. No. I don’t like that one. Okay, Lord. Let’s try it again, you know. You end up in the Old Testament somewhere and it says, “Do not trim your sideburns or the edges of your beard.” “Yeah. I definitely do not like that one.” Close that one up. Okay, Lord. I need you to speak to me today. God, whatever you tell me, I will do it. God, encourage my heart today. Judas hanged himself. Okay. That was a wonderful time. Great meal. Tips on the table. I’m out of here. If you don’t have a plan, you’ll sit there and half the time, you’ll think, what should I read? How many times have you thought, I need to read the Bible and you’re like, but I don’t really know what I should read or where I should start, so you don’t do it.
You have to have a plan. There are plans all over online. Go to YouVersion app. Every week, we put our sermon notes on there. You could follow along in here. They have great Bible reading plans. You need a plan, okay? And if you say, “Okay. Well, just give me a sample plan.” The sample plan will be this, just read the gospels. Every day wake up and read a chapter out of Matthew. Read the Psalms. Every day wake up and read a chapter out of Psalms or out of Proverbs. Stay out of Leviticus and Revelation. It would be what I’m telling you. You don’t need to worry about stoning people and goats being killed and you don’t need to worry about dragons and beasts, okay? Let’s — if we don’t read the Bible, normally, let’s stay out of there, let’s stay in the sweet spot, the gospels, the New Testament and let Jesus speak to us. You learned to read the Bible by reading the Bible. Not by taking a course, not by taking a class. You learn to read the Bible by actually reading it. And if you don’t get anything out of it, it’s still nourishing your soul. Like that bad baloney sandwich you had on Tuesday for lunch. It still nourished something inside of you even though you don’t remember it, okay? Have a plan.
The second thing is this, read for quality not quantity. Read for quality not quantity. There are no bonus points in heaven for how many chapters you read. No frequent flyer, no diamond status, none of that. You’re not trying to get through it, you’re trying to get it into you. And when you read a passage, read a chunk. And then here is what you do, observation, interpretation and application, okay? Read a chunk, observe what just happened in the text, interpret, what do you think the author’s intent was, what was he trying to communicate and then apply. What does have to do with me in my life today? Okay. We just did that with Joshua Chapter 1. We observed what was happening in the text. Moses is gone. Joshua is the new leader leading a million Israelites take the promise land. Interpret, what was God trying to say to Joshua.
He was saying, “Joshua, I have great things for you. You have an amazing destiny. But you need this to be able to accomplish that destiny and then apply.” What does it mean for me? It means God is probably saying there is a great destiny for me, but I need to know how to do some things and it’s written in there, okay? Observation, interpretation, application. If you hung out at Valley Creek Church, I do that for you every week. The reason I have you turn to a place in your Bible and read a chunk of text. Instead of just giving you one verse and giving you a bunch of piffy statements around it for the next 30 minutes, here is the Bible, let me walk you through it. That’s teaching you how to read the scriptures every single time we gather together, okay? So read something and stop when God speaks. When you feel God speaking to you, something jumping off the pages, it’s hitting you, stop, write it down and then meditate on it. So God tells Joshua, “Do not let this book of law depart from your mouth.”
Meditate on it. Meditate on it, which means like it’s like a cow, eats his food, brings it back up, chews on it, swallows it, brings it back. It’s kind of gross, but it’s a good analogy. It means talk to yourself. You already do that, anyways. We all do. If you’ve ever been in love, ever been afraid or ever been worried about something, you know how to meditate. That’s all it is. You’re bringing it up and it goes down. You’re bringing it up and it goes down. You’re bringing it up, it goes — do that with the scriptures. Like let’s say this morning you wake up, you read Philippians 4:19, my God will meet all your needs according to those glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Meditate on that throughout the day. You wake up and you go to school. Okay. My God, my God will meet all my needs. My God, my God. He’s my God. He’s not somebody else. He’s God. He’s my God and He knows me by name. My God. Okay. You go to practice. A few hours later, my God will meet all my needs, will meet all my needs, okay. Wait a second. He’ll meet all my needs, that means God knows my needs. He’s in tune with my needs and He promises He’s going to take care of my needs. I don’t have to worry.
A few hours later, you’re getting ready for bed. My God will meet all my needs according to the glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Glorious riches in — glorious riches, I’m rich in Jesus. And everything He has now belongs to me because I’m a full share inheritance as a son or daughter of God. So He is going to take care of everything I have in a way I don’t even realize yet. That’s called meditating. That’s when it does something to your soul and starts to change something inside of you. And if you don’t understand what you’re reading, skip it. That’s what I do. You’re like, “That highly concerns me.” It shouldn’t. You’ll read something and it won’t make sense. And then what do you do? You sit there and stare at it and say, “This thing doesn’t make any sense.” And you give up on it and you don’t come back to it, instead just skip it. There are things I have read 50 times and I still don’t understand it.
But every once in a while, they’ll be one of those passages that you’ve skipped a bunch of times and you read it and the Holy Spirit unlocks it. And you’re like, “Wow.” But I don’t stop reading the Bible because I don’t understand one thing that Jesus was saying, more importantly what Daniel was prophesying. You know what I mean? That’s really where we get trapped. Don’t get trapped in that, skip it. One good verse is better than 100 chapters. One verse, Philippians 4:19, meditating on it that way is better than you sitting there and saying, “I read through the book of Isaiah and Ezequiel.” Well, congratulations because I’m not sure you’re going to be able to do anything with that just for that, okay? Some of you are like, is he saying — no, no. I’m trying to help the average person that doesn’t eat at all, that’s famished. Isaiah and Ezequiel is not the place to start, okay? Read for quality not quantity. And the third thing for open your Bible is, let the Holy Spirit be your guide.
John 14:26, but the counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. The Holy Spirit is your good guide. He is a good guide. He doesn’t get ahead of you. He doesn’t lag behind you. He gives you deep insight. He’ll point out things you’ve never seen before and He knows what you need, so He will make sure it’s the perfect meal for you. When you sit down and you have a plan and you’re reading for quality and you open up the Bible, before you even read the thing say, “Holy Spirit, you are here and you are with me. Will you speak to me today? Will you show me Jesus and will you help me understand?” And you’d be amazed at what happens. To read the Bible without the Holy Spirit is to read words on a page not the words of life. The Holy Spirit who inspired the scriptures is the same Holy Spirit who illuminates the scriptures to you today. He was the one that worked in Paul as He was writing those letters, so He knows what it means.
And if you let Him be your guide, He’ll show it to you. I told you, we said, it’s observation, interpretation and application. That’s our part. The Holy Spirit’s part is illumination and revelation.
Illumination, did you ever read something and a verse jumps off the page at you or have you ever been sitting here and you feel like I’m preaching directly to you? That’s illumination. It’s the Holy Spirit illuminating something to you and He’ll bring revelation. He will uncover hidden things for you to understand. He is a good God. He wants you to understand it even more than you do. The Bible says in Acts 2 that everyone heard the voice of God in their own language. He speaks to you in a way you can understand. Are you with me on that? Okay. Two more and these are quick. Point four, look for Jesus. When you read the Bible, look for Jesus.
In Luke 24, real quick, Jesus has just been crucified. He’s dead and gone. The disciples think it’s over, their heart broken. It’s the road to Emmaus. These two disciples are walking defeated back to the road Emmaus, the resurrected Jesus shows up, starts walking with them and sees their heart break, has a conversation with them. And here is what He says to them, Luke 24:25 and 27, he said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory. And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself.” And in that moment, the greatest Bible study in all of human history, Jesus teaches us how to read the Bible. He says, “Read the scriptures concerning Him, not concerning you.” The Bible is not a book of what you have to do. It is a book of what Jesus has done.
Until you read it like that, it will be full of rules and regulations and you will feel like God is a kill joy and it will be a miserable experience that you will not want to engage. This is not about what you have to do. This is about what Jesus has done. We read this to discover who He is and to understand the finished work of Jesus Christ with the Jesus-focused perspective, not a self-focused perspective. I mean, listen to me, the Bible is not so small that it’s about what you have to do. The Bible is so big, it’s about what Jesus has done. We’ve got to learn to change our perspective on that. It’s about Jesus. The Old Testament, Genesis through Malachi, Jesus concealed. It’s all about Jesus. He is just concealed. He is hidden in the stories and the pages. Like Noah and the ark. It’s a real event that really happened, but a bunch of people got in a wooden boat and they were saved. It’s a prophetic picture of Jesus that when we grab ahold of the wooden cross, we will be saved. It’s all about Jesus. You just have to look. The gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. That’s Jesus revealed.
You can see his love and his compassion and his mercy on display for all to see and then the epistles. Let’s just call it Acts through Revelation, it’s about the finished work of Jesus. It’s about what’s done. It is not about what you have to do. It’s about what He has done. And so as Jesus opens it up and shows them, this is about the — this is concerning me, not concerning you. Verse 32, it says, “Were not our hearts burning within us.” As He opens the scriptures to us, as we talk to Him on the road. Were not our hearts burning within us, were we not nourished and transformed from the inside out, as He opened the scriptures to us because we don’t open the scriptures to Him. You don’t work on the scriptures. The scriptures work on you. And all of a sudden, they have energy to turn around and run seven miles back and they’re full of hope and life and joy. Why, because they read it concerning Him. When you read this and you look for Jesus, when you discover what He has done, it changes what you do.
It changes how you live. You say, “Where is the transformation.” This is about things we need to do. Those things will come when you discover what He has done. The more clearly you see Jesus, the more clearly you see everything else in your life, okay? And the last thing is this, apply it to your life. We’ve been talking about this a little bit around here lately. But this is actually — you actually have to do something with it. That’s the bummer. Joshua 1:8, he says, “Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it. Be careful to do everything written in it.” Be careful. Apply it, Joshua. Apply it to your life and you’ll be prosperous and successful. James 1:22, do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Apply it to your life. Like if you wake up and you read, John 13:34, new command I give you, love one another. Maybe that’s an invitation from God that day to love someone who is difficult to love. If you wake up and you read Ephesians 4:32, be kind and compassionate to one another.
Maybe that’s God’s invitation for you that day to give compassion and kindness to a total stranger. Maybe you wake up and you read Philippians 4:6 and 7, do not be anxious about anything, but in all things, through prayer and petition and thanksgiving, present your request to God and the peace that surpasses understanding will guide your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus. Maybe that’s God’s invitation to not be anxious that day, but to choose to pray and talk to Him about whatever you’re struggling with. You got to apply what He’s saying. Let me close it with this. A year ago, I was talking to a doctor and we were just having a conversation and he made the statement that just — I just thought was super profound. He said, “The American healthcare system is designed for disease control, not health.”
So the American healthcare system is designed for disease control, not health. And so I asked him, “What does that — what do you mean by that?” He said, “Well, the American healthcare system, nobody is really interested in health. They don’t really want to get to the root issues because it’s inconvenient. It’s costly. It takes sacrifice to get there.” We don’t want health. We want disease control. We want our symptoms to go away, so we want a pill. We want a prescription. We want a procedure to make the symptoms go away, control the disease. The thing that I don’t like, but we’re not really interested in the root cause that’s creating those symptoms. I mean, as we sat there, I thought — this light bulb clicked onto me. I thought, you realize American Christianity is really designed for disease control, not health. The whole American church system and structure, it’s designed for disease control, not health. We have no interest in getting to the root issues. Like if I talk about freedom ministry and you’re like, “Yeah. Yeah. That’s for somebody else.” That’s communicating. You’re not really interested in health. You’re not really interested in the root issues. We just want disease control. We want our symptoms to go away.
I’m tired of fighting in our marriage. Can you make that stop? I’m tired of my kids not listening to me. Can you make that stop? I’m tired of not getting promotions. Can you make that stop? I’m tired of the fear and anxiety in my heart. Can you make that stop? We want disease control. We want the symptoms to go away. The only problem is, this book is not designed for disease control. It’s designed for health. And so we read this thinking one verse today is going to make my marriage problems all go away. This is not a quick fix. And there’s a sign that hangs in my kitchen in my house that says, “Food is our medicine.” We have health issues in our family and we believe that food is the medicine. We want to go for health, not symptom control. And so we believe that eating good, living organic food inside of us will change our bodies from the inside out. It’s not a quick fix. But we’d rather figure out the root issues than just try to deal with symptoms the rest of our lives. This is your medicine for your soul.
And everything you need in here for your body or for your spirit, it’s there. You just have to choose to eat it, but it’s not a quick fix. It will bring you long-term holistic sustained transformation. But you have to eat it. All the encouragement you need, all the strength you need, all the wisdom and the healing and the restoration, it’s in here. But you’ve got to feed yourself. Jesus says, “The words I speak to you are spirit and they are life.” They’re life. And here’s what I want you to get out of this, if you don’t engage in the scriptures, don’t feel guilty. You should feel hungry. God is not mad at you. He’s not going to get you, but you’ll be hungry. The reason why I wanted you to picture that person in your mind at the beginning of this message is because if we’re honest, that’s what a lot of our souls looked like and here is a feast fit for a king. And Jesus is inviting you. Come read this concerning me and I will start nourishing and transforming you from the inside out.
You don’t have to be afraid of this book. You don’t have to feel obligated by this book. This is a feast fit for a king that’s been prepared for you, okay? So we close your eyes with me. And let me just ask you, what does the good Holy Spirit want to say to you? What does He want to whisper in your heart or in your mind? Ask God to give you a desire for His word. Ask Him to remove that intimidation and that doubt that you have. Schedule some time to meet with the God of the universe who wants to meet with you.
Open your Bible and just put some of it inside of you. Look for Jesus and then have the faith to do what it says. Lord Jesus, I pray that you would give this church a deep hunger for Your word, that we would love to feast on Your words of life. May they be honey to our mouths. May they be satisfying to our souls. May we be strengthened and built up from the inside out, living and active food getting deep down inside of us to transform us from the inside out. Lord Jesus, I pray that we would be people that are interested in health, not symptom control. And that we would let your goodness and your kindness transform us. And that we wouldn’t approach this book with fear and intimidation and you’re going to get us and all those things. May we come and find who You are and what You have done because that will change who we are and what we do.
So we love you, Jesus, and we choose to feast on this great meal You have made for us, your sons and daughters. We love you, Jesus. In your name, we pray, amen.