Food is necessary for bodily growth. If a child who is born does not feed on the right food and in the right quantities, he will not grow healthily. The Lord Jesus said,
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Those who read God’s Word and meditate on it more, are those who will make the most progress. Those who do not read it will starve. For many people to come to a saving knowledge of the Lord, there must be an increase in the proclamation and in the going forth of the Word of God. The Bible says,
“And the Word of God increased; and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).
We live in an era where people want instant things. There is instant tea, instant coffee, instant banking, and so on. However, there is no instant growth. All who will grow must continue in the Word. Without it the disciple will go nowhere.
The Word Must Be Loved
The Bible is a love letter written by the Lord Jesus to those who love Him. Just as a lover loves a love letter written by the one she loves, so all who love the Lord will love His Word. The measure with which a person loves the Word of God is a reflection of his love for the Lord. Those who love Him most love His Word deeply. They feed on it and find their joy in it. The Psalmist expressed his love for the Lord in the following words:
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul… More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalms 19:7-10).
“My soul is consumed with longing for Thy ordinances at all times” (Psalms 119:20).
“At midnight I rise to praise Thee, because of Thy righteous ordinances” (Psalms 119:62).
“Oh, how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalms 119:97).
“How sweet are Thy words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psalms 119:103).
The love for the Lord will produce love for His Word. This love for Him and His Word will lead to:
A) Study of the Word
Studying God’s Word goes beyond just reading it. It includes meditation, hanging on it and around it, waiting on God to explain it and applying the whole mind to it. Joshua was told,
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do accordingly to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success” (Joshua 1:7-8).
Joshua was to be one with the Word of God, by knowing it and obeying it. That was to be his secret to success. That remains the secret to success for all would-be disciples.
The tragedy of our generation lies in her love of superficiality. Where are those who will take God’s Word seriously? Where are those who will risk everything on it?
B) Memorisation of the Word
Those who meditate on the Lord’s Word soon find that they must memorize it. When the Lord was attacked by the devil in the wilderness He did not say,
“Where is my Bible so that I may read a verse of it to the devil?” He used the Word that He had stored in His heart. He quoted from memory and quoted correctly! The Psalmist said, “I have laid up Thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalms 119:11).
A German disciple was being tortured for his faith by religious hypocrites. They took his Bible and burnt it. He said,
“You can have it. I have stored all of it in my heart but for a few names in the genealogy of my Lord.”
Anyone who does not memorize scripture and store it up in himself will not stand in the hour of sudden attack by enemy forces. Before he has looked for his Bible, it will be too late!
Something more serious is this: we live on the eve of a major persecution of the lovers of the Lord Jesus. During that persecution, their Bibles will be taken from them and burnt. What they will have to war with during those bitter months and years will be what they have stored in their hearts. How prepared are you?
To continue in the Word is to continue in Bible memorization.
C) Sitting Under the Ministry of A Bible Teacher
The apostle considered that their primary ministry was the ministry of the Word. The early disciples
“Devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42).
Paul charged Timothy saying,
“What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
To make good progress with the Word, one should have sat under the teaching ministry of a Spirit-endowed Bible teacher. There are many preachers and evangelists but there are very few teachers the world over. There are many preachers who have seized the deep meaning of the Word of God, have worked out the practical implications of the Word clearly and applied them first to their own lives, and by the grace of God are committed to enabling others to understand it, work out the practical implications and, like the teacher, apply them without compromise to their own lives.
D) Obedience of the Word
The ultimate purpose of all true study of the Word is that it will lead to obedience. God wants people who obey. Theoretical knowledge must give way to practical knowledge. The servant of the Lord Jesus wrote,
“Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing” (James 1:22-25).
Obedience will lead to experience of the truth and all who experience the truth are free. If you will be a disciple, study the Word, know it, experience it and then you are free! If you do not do any of these, you have opted out of discipleship.
Before we leave this subject of continuing in the Lord’s Word, I want to bring two more thoughts for you to think about and meditate upon. The first one has to do with obeying the unwritten Word. The Bible says,
“But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a desert road. And he rose and went” (Acts 8:26-27).
The Lord spoke to Philip through an angel. He still speaks by angels, dreams, visions, different revelations, and so on. Although we must check to ensure that the voices, dreams, visions are not the devil’s lies, we are not to reject them. When you have sorted out that a certain spiritual impression is of the Lord, you should go ahead and obey and in that way satisfy Him. God bless you along that blessed but steep road!
The second thing is that the Word of the Lord, studied, understood, proclaimed and lived will inevitably lead to persecution. The Lord Jesus was persecuted basically for His words. The same thing applies to the first martyr Stephen and all those who were persecuted for the Lord. Persecution always comes because of the Word. Are you prepared for that? Continuing in the Word of the Lord implies that you continue in that which will lead to suffering and persecution. Will you yet continue in the Word?