Two weeks ago we began a series called “Well-Watered Women” diving deep into practical ways we can study the Bible! This week, we are going to continue this series with more ways we can not only study Scripture, but begin to live it out and arrange our life and our days around the truths of the Word. Today, we will focus on our response to studying God’s Word. We should not only be readers and studiers of the Bible, but we should also be doers.
I can’t remember the first time I went to church. It sometimes feels like I was there right out of the womb! My dad was a pastor of a church in Texas for the first decade of my life. Our church was small and didn’t have a children’s ministry, so I began attending “big church” at a young age. Not only have I attended and heard probably over 1,000 sermons but I have taken so many sermon notes that a box could not contain them. Recently, I was looking through old sermon notes that I have and was struck with my forgetfulness. Every sermon I have heard and every Bible study I have attended has been used by God as a chiseling tool to make me into the woman I am today. Though it may seem that thousands upon thousands of words have fallen to the wayside, God has used many of those words to mold my heart. The same is true for you.
The fact that I have heard over 1,000 sermons in my lifetime means nothing in the long run if there is no heart change with the hearing. We can hear something a million times, but change must be present. At the end of our life, Christ is not going to count up how many sermons we have sat through or Bible studies we have completed. He is going to look at what we did for His kingdom. How did we respond to the hearing and studying of the Word? How did we “take up our cross and follow Him?” (Luke 9:23) In 1 Corinthians 3:11-16, Paul describes the fire that “will test what sort of work each one has done.” When we stand before the throne of God one day, our lives will be tested by fire.
There are two foundations we can build our life upon that will go through the fire: 1. The foundation of gold, silver, and precious stones that withstands the heat of the fire or 2. The foundation of wood, hay, and straw that burns up. The foundation of “gold, silver, and precious stones” is a foundation that is built upon the life of Christ. This does not represent the life that merely talks about Jesus. This represents a person who is wholly abandoned to pursuing Christ with every fiber of their being. This is the person who sees the life to come as more valuable that this temporary one. This is the person who treasures Scripture and eats it up as if it is their food for survival, their greatest treasure, and their deepest love. This is the kind of life that “lives the Word.”
Bible study is a wonderful thing. However, if it is not coupled with action and obedience, it is merely knowledge. As we’ve studied in previous days, the Word of God is “living and active” and it has the power to change us. We must come with a changeable heart to our daily Bible study. We must come with the desire to know Christ and not simply to have more knowledge. We must come with open hands, ready to receive new instruction from the Lord and be changed by the magnificent power of the Gospel. We must come…and we must go.
The Great Commission is not just a call to come, but it is a call to go. It is not just a call to some, but it is a call to all. We are all called to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus is calling His followers to be “doers” of the Word. He is commanding us to take what we learn and to go, live it out, and share it with the world! James, who was one of Jesus’ disciples as well as His brother, taught this exact same truth in his letter to the church. James 1:22-25 describes the difference between a “doer” and a “hearer” of the Word.
A Hearer Who Hears
The hearer who only hears is deceived (verse 22). James describes this person as one who looks intently into their face in the mirror and walks away and quickly forgets what he/she looks like. I am not currently looking in a mirror right now, but I could describe to you exactly what I look like. We all look intently at ourselves in the mirror and know our specific facial features. To be only a hearer, is to look in the mirror and immediately forget what we have seen. This is not the way we were created. When we look intently at the gospel, we cannot leave unchanged. We cannot forget. This is James’ point. You don’t forget what you look like, neither do you forget the glory of the gospel that saved your soul!
A hearer who hears is forgetful. In the parables, Jesus describes those who have “eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear” (Mark 8:18). There were countless people who stood right in front of Jesus and heard Him teach, only to walk away as a hearer. Hearers who simply hear are not changed by the glorious gospel. Christ calls us to more. He calls us to be hearers who are changed into doers.
A Hearer Who Does
In order for us to obey the Word of God, we first must know the Word of God. We cannot obey what we have not heard. Romans 10:14 & 17 tells us “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Our faith is built upon our hearing. God’s Word always accomplishes what He set forth for it to do (Isaiah 55:11). Therefore, when we hear, when we read, and when we study, we are moved to action by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.
A “hearer who does” not only knows God’s Word, but believes it and stamps it on their hearts and minds.The purpose of Bible study is not to simply know more, it is to know God. It is to be changed by His wonderful Word. It is to become like Jesus and to know Him intimately. Bible study compels us to action. It challenges us to live for the life to come, different from this world, taking up our cross daily and following Jesus. We are not only to read the Word and study the Word, we are to live the Word.
To live the Word is to treasure Christ above all things – above our desires, our dreams, our pursuits, and our goals. It is to place Him at the center on His rightful throne. There is no greater pursuit in life than the pursuit of Christ. May this be the goal of your personal, daily Bible study.
God, make us not only hearers who hear, but hearers who do and follow Christ. Amen.
This past year I created the “Live Life Beautifully” journal with the intent on making Christ the center of my weeks and my year. This journal is designed to encourage women to be intentional each day to follow Jesus, serve others, pray for salvations, memorize Scripture, and watch for God at work. I created a fun, short video with my friend Taylor to describe the purpose of this journal!