Last week we ended the teaching with one of the points from the second paragraph of that article, which said: “Now, at any military boot camp you will learn the basics. You will learn to: 1) respect authority, 2) keep your mouth shut, 3) how to put on bulletproof vests to protect your vital organs during battle, 4) follow the written rules in your military manual, 5) exercise, and get in tip-top shape. You will learn the language of war, and hopefully by the end of boot camp you will be a different person and you will even look different; and you will talk different. When you move on to special ops, you will learn all about your enemy and who he is exactly. You will learn where he is, how he operates, and how to neutralize him (wipe him out) so that he is no longer a threat to you or to others.”
So, we ended the teaching with point #3 which is listed above: how to put on a bulletproof vest. We will now pick it back up with the next point.
Following the written rules – Whenever satan tempted the Lord in the wilderness, you’ll remember that the Lord shut his mouth each time by using the Word of God against him. He (The Lord) said to him all three times, “It is written”, “It is written”, and “It is written.” He was using the Word of God as a military manual. In other words, it was all “by the Book” (pun intended).
The Lord constantly defeated every lie, temptation, question, or accusation from those Pharisees by saying, “It is written”, or “Have you not read”, or “Go and search the scriptures.” This last one is my personal favorite because it is said that the majority of Christians will not spend more than five minutes a day in God’s Word!! Can you believe that? It’s true. How can anyone expect to come out the winner if they haven’t even read the military manual? A senior officer tells the new recruit, “If you want to learn how to break that gun down to change out the barrels then you’ll have to read the operation manual that you received upon admittance to this unit.”
No one wants to have someone on his team who hasn’t studied. Show me a man who doesn’t read the Word, and I’ll show you a man who is weak in faith, devoid of spiritual knowledge, and easily swayed by false doctrines, and most importantly, a baby Christian. Now who wants to entrust their lives to a child? No one!! Because when the bad-man (satan) comes to the house, it will take a man to take care of business. Friends, the bad-man is coming; and if he finds you to be a child, he’ll probably just kidnap you. For “it is written” in 2 Timothy 2:26, “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
This is a very powerful truth. These people are kidnapped by satan himself anytime he feels like it. Why? Because they have no spiritual strength, depth, or perception of who this enemy is; because they don’t spend time alone with God, nor do they search His Word for truth. The Word of God builds you up and sets your feet on solid ground. The Word of God equips you for war. But the sad truth is, is that most would rather watch TV, go to a movie, read books and newspapers rather than the Word of God. (An exhortation is needed here. Is TV in and of itself wrong? No. Is going to a show wrong? No. How about books or newspapers? No. But herein lies a problem: these things put worldly things into your mind and they in turn will vex you soul. 2 Peter 2:8 bears out that the Lord called Lot “that righteous man” and it further goes on to say that his soul was considered a “righteous soul” in the eyes of the Lord. But take special note of the verse and you will notice something: Lot vexed his own righteous soul from day to day in what he saw and what he heard. What you allow into your eye-gate and your ear-gate affects the heart gate, because it has to process through the mind. Dear reader, the mind is the doorway to the spirit. “All things are lawful, but not all things are necessary.”)
Why is this phenomena? Because the Word of God is spiritual. It has nothing to do with the natural man. And folks would rather build up the natural man and its fallen inclinations than submit to the authority of God’s Word. It is also because the Word of God will convict you of your living and your condition before God; it will shed light on all darkness. And we know what the Lord had to say about this…”it is written” that “Men loved darkness rather than light.” Because light exposes, and once something is exposed, a man is brought to a decision in his conscience as to which direction he will take.
I remember one time, just a few months ago, I was ministering to a lady over the phone about her spiritual condition and backslidden state, and I told her that certain ones (professing Christians who practice lawlessness – which is just simply sin as its outward form, and this being just the fruit of the spirit of lawlessness within) who did certain things would not be allowed into the Kingdom of God. She screamed at me, “Don’t say another word, Please don’t say another word!!” I asked her why this was, and read carefully her response: “Because if you tell me, then I will have a knowledge of it, and that knowledge will convict me.” Her words – not mine. You see, she loved her sin and she loved living in it; and this was a person who knew the Lord. She was running from the light…because the light exposes the darkness and brings you to the valley of decision in one moment.
The apostles were constantly quoting the Word of God, and they were studying the Word of God. Many well-meaning preachers and teachers are quick to quote Acts 6:4 which says, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” But it’s out of order, and it’s out of context; for please notice verse 2 which says, “It is not proper that we should leave the Word of God…” You see, they were in the Word first, and the Word caused them to pray. And one thing happens every time you mix the Word of God with prayer: you will begin to do “the ministry of the Word.” A man won’t pray if he doesn’t have the Word of God in him to cause him to pray. The Word of God drives you to your knees!! You can’t help but fall on your face as Ezekiel did when you see the Word coming your way.
Jesus said in Matthew 22:29 that all error is based upon a lack of knowledge of the Word of God. Just please consider those words from our Lord. ALL ERROR is from a lack of knowledge of God’s word!! Show me a man who is not is God’s Word, and I will show you a man who is in error. If you’re not studying His Word, then you have deemed yourself unfit for any type of war…and any type of relationship with the Commander.
“Study (not just read to read and get your 5 chapters in) to show thyself approved, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15). You’ll remember Daniel in chapter 9:2 getting his revelation of the desolation for Jerusalem for 70 years. But notice what he was doing…he was studying the book of Jeremiah. On New Years Day, Ezra left Babylon (to never return) with one New Years resolution on his heart and mind: and that was to “seek the Word of the Lord.” Wow!! He had set his heart to begin to search God’s Word for truth…and if you read the rest of Ezra, you will see that it was truth he found.
Exercise – Many want to spend so much of their time in the gym and out running so that they might build their bodies up and lose weight (I’m not saying exercising is wrong…in moderation); and they’ll spend hours a day doing this, yet they’ll neglect to exercise spiritually and build up their inner man!! God Himself said in 1 Timothy 4:7-8, “Exercise yourself unto godliness. For bodily exercise profits little.” So then we see that bodily exercise profits little, but he who exercises himself unto godliness profits much. Let’s see how Paul chose to exercise: “And herein do I exercise myself, to always have a conscience void of offence toward God, and men.”
So we can see that even in his day, men and women were into their outward form and looks. They were into rigorous exercising, etc. Paul saw the truth of it for what it really was…just another ploy of satan to steal men’s time and affections. Two hours in the gym, two hours in front of a TV, two hours reading books and magazines, and two minutes with the Bible. This should really show the spiritual condition that we have come to. I’m deeply saddened. I will speak to other ministers in person and over the phone and you can tell that they spend hardly any time in God’s Word. And these ones are leading God’s people. (Matthew 26:73, “thy speech giveth thee away.” – the mouth gives the heart and its affections away. Whatever occupies a persons heart will come out in their speech. This is why when you’re ministering to someone, always let them speak first, and let them speak much, and all will be made plain to you in under five minutes…every time.) The Lord had a lot to say about these ones (the ministers of the Word leading His people) in His Word.
The Word of God changes everything about a person. It changes the way they dress, where they go, what they give, how they love, their very countenance, their convictions, the way they speak to others, the way they treat their spouse and children. The Word of God governs EVERYTHING about a person. It governs all of their living. The Word of God gets you in shape as nothing else can. It prepares you for any and all events and circumstances.
Dear reader, how much value do you really place in God’s manual? Do you place enough value in it? Are you willing to sell all and buy the field that has the treasure hidden in it (Matt. 13:44)? We will all find out in that Great Day when all is made manifest. The day when many will rejoice, and many will be ashamed…for they just had no time (by choice) for God or His Word…but they had so much time for everything else that the flesh and the un-renewed mind craved and expected.