The Word of God is powerful and changes people. Isaiah 55:11 states, “it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to and will prosper everywhere I send it.” In 2 Timothy we read that “all Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” How do you respond to God’s word?
Today Blaine Butcher taught from Acts 18 and 19, outlining some different reactions to Scripture as Paul and others continued their missionary journeys. He challenged us to either: 1) be in God’s word every day, either reading, watching (movies*) or listening**, or; 2) choose something from the Bible to work on and apply to your life, such as gossip, anger, gluttony, etc. Blaine further encouraged us to write down our commitment and make a plan specifying the “when” and “how,” and then tell someone, or post on social media and PRAY for God’s help as you seek to press into growing in your Christian walk. AW Tozer says, “the man who would truly know God, must give time to him.”
*Word for word Bible movies such as The Gospel of Matthew movie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc8qOXeTsUQ, the Gospel of John movie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAAZ6HPXdMU, and the Acts of the Apostles movie – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp8twKj0Epc.
** Blaine recommended the Daily Audio Bible podcast at https://dailyaudiobible.com or an audio Bible.
INVITATION: join us this week as we study some various reactions to the Word of God that Paul and others encountered. People in today’s culture have similar reactions. Which reaction to you most identify with? How do you think of and view scripture? Do you think it is outdated? Do you pick and choose based on your mood or situation? Do you believe it is historical literature, but not necessarily the word of God? Do you allow it to pierce your heart and soul and speak to you? Are you willing to allow Jesus to speak to you through His word this week?
MONDAY: Acts 18:23-28: Apollos was “a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.” Even so, Priscilla and Aquila realized his teaching had some error and invited him to their home where they gave him further instruction in “the way of God.” A person or an entire congregation may have a wonderful pastor and teachers, but unless the individuals have a teachable spirit, nothing much will ever be learned and lives will not be changed. Do you have a teachable spirit in the ways of God? What about the words of scripture that are difficult to follow, and you might even personally disagree with? Do you trust yourself, or do you choose to step out in faith and trust God and His Word? It’s been said “it doesn’t matter if 99.9% of the world agrees with you if God disagrees.” (Gary Thomas)
TUESDAY: Acts 19:1-7: These verses describe very young believers who are eager to grow and learn. Hebrews 4:12 indicates “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” How do you react when you hear new concepts and teaching from scripture? What do you think it means by scripture being “living and active?”
WEDNESDAY: Acts 19:8-9(a): As Paul spoke in the synagogue he encountered some obstinance and people who refused to believe. Blaine used as an example someone who might refuse to go to the doctor because they don’t want to know if something might be wrong with them because they might have to make changes. Are you willing to make changes in your life for the cause of the savior who died on your behalf? Do you consider yourself the hero of your life or is your life a gift given to you by God to live for HIS glory and purpose?
THURSDAY: Acts 19: 9(b)-12: Paul seems to not waste time, energy and emotion on people who refuse to believe. By all appearances, God is not working in those situations. However, in these verses God does “extraordinary miracles” through Paul. God can still do miracles. Do you believe that and live like that? Do you pray as if you believe God can still perform miracles? What is a “miracle” to you? Might it be something as common as your next breath?
FRIDAY: Acts 19:13-15: In these verses we see an example of believing in your head but not your heart. I Corinthians mentions “knowledge puffs up.” What about the condition of your heart? Could it be your faith is mostly a cognitive exercise, but your heart is not really involved? Are you willing to pray for God to soften your heart and receive what He has to show you and offer you?
SATURDAY: Acts 19:16-20: Here we witness many believers “openly confess their evil deeds.” It is probably not a coincidence then that “the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.” Could confession and the receipt of forgiveness be something that might be preventing you from growing in God’s power? What would it look like for you to make your confession “public?” Perhaps to a trusted friend, mentor, Spiritual Director or pastor?