Rightly Dividing the Word

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God has given us scripture to prevent us being confounded.

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

4:14 That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

God has given these gifts, these talents, through his spirit to a company of people, his church the  faithful people.  These gifts are for the perfecting of the saints so we can be built up and so our mind doesn’t get thrown on the waves by this opinion and that opinion.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.  We want to look at scripture to rightly divide the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:14 Of these things put [them] in remembrance, charging [them] before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, [but] to the subverting of the hearers.

2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

What is God’s word telling us in these texts?  What are we not meant to do?  Get caught up over words.  To strive means to debate.  To come to the word of God to prove an argument.  To look at the words and not to study to show thyself approved unto God.  Sometimes we strive to prove a point so we go to the bible to look at the words and prove the facts of doctrine. The result of looking at the words alone is found in 2 Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.

We are not to strive about dry doctrine to prove points to say we are right and you are wrong.  It is not the purpose of the bible.  If we ever come to the bible with that purpose it will be a dry experience.  The Spirit of the word is what we need to not be ashamed.  It is not about the word argumentation.  The scripture declares my ways are not your ways. Argumentation, the letter killeth.  I want to give an example of how people can get caught up in words as it kills people’s faith.

1 Chronicles 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

2 Samuel 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

So who moved David?  The Lord.  These two texts over the letter of the word have killed many people’s faith.  When they read that, the bible contradicts itself and they come away from the bible seeing one book says Satan moved David, and the other said that the Lord had moved David to number Israel.  People have put the bible down and never looked again.  To study to show ourselves approved. We want to see what the purpose of bible study really is. What is the purpose of God’s word?  What is it profitable for?

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

The word of God has a purpose and that purpose is for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction.  To produce characteristics of morality and of pure Godliness.  That is the bibles purpose.  If we study to prove a point, to come to contradictions of words and throw up our arms and say it is all wrong, we are missing why the bible was written.  The bible was given to us that we may be men and women perfect in character.  That is the only reason for us to come to the bible for bible study. What can I learn, apply and open my heart to God about.  How can I repent and improve the gifts that God has given me.  How can I come to the exchanger and give my one talent and get more?  This is how I will be able to answer someone according to my faith. Jesus said there were two types of people who had 2 different types of foundation for their house.  One man built his house upon on the rock, that was the purpose of who heard the word and did it and the other built his house upon the sand.  He heard and didn’t do it.  It was for an argument only, to prove a point.  The purpose of the scriptures is so we can be thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Can we understand the scripture in all our natural capabilities?  Remember the letter of the word, if we come to the bible to prove doctrine and nothing else, we will never understand – never.  The bible needs inspiration to interpret it.

1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the Spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Sometimes you might talk and have you ever been misunderstood?  Especially if you have been in an argument.  If there is an argument going on, it’s so easy for words to be misunderstood. If you are trying to communicate in the right Spirit, you have a much better chance of understanding people’s words.  Words are an expression of thought.  The bible is words but what are they trying to express?  The thoughts of God.  If we don’t know God and don’t want to know God but read only for argument sake.

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Does that sound right?  Comparing a spiritual principle with a spiritual principle, rightly dividing the word of truth.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

Without the Spirits aid, our minds cannot pick up the thoughts of God.  If we look at the bible we will find many contradictions of numbers.  Especially when they numbered each tribe compared to Samuel or Kings in chronicles.  Sometimes even the gospels the way Luke and John write on the same thing you can say that doesn’t harmonise.  If we ever come to the bible with mans understanding, it is foolishness to us.  We need an ingredient to study Gods word and that is the Spirit of the word.  That we will compare spiritual things with spiritual. Luke gives us an example of individuals believing the scriptures but according to mans understanding.

Luke 24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed [together] and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

24:16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

24:17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications [are] these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

24:19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

They had misapplied the scriptures and it was a death experience, they were sad.  They reasoned together, we really hoped this was the redeemer.  They misapplied the scriptures.  They didn’t compare spiritual with spiritual.  Like Nicodemus expected to be redeemed by a king literally and Jesus said the flesh profiteth nothing.  That which is flesh is flesh and spirit is spirit.  There is a spiritual and fleshy understanding of Gods word.  These disciples were sad as they hadn’t understood Gods word.

Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.

24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

If we have our understanding opened, do we see glorious things out of Gods word?  Then when we come to word disputes like we brought up in Samuel and Chronicles, it doesn’t bear much weight. We shall answer these 2 questions.  The bible says Satan stood up and told David to number Israel and the other said the Lord.

2 Samuel 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

I’m not sure if your bible has a margin but my bible says he Satan.

1 Chronicles 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.  We don’t want to understand the letter but the Spirit.  What is the purpose in this?  The Lord and Satan, two opposite characters.  How can you mix them up?  What is there relationship? We will consider this relationship between the Lord and Satan because the relationship between the two has an impact.

Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

1:10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

1:11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath [is] in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

What is displayed before our minds eye?  Two opposite characters?  There was Job, he hasn’t made the anger of the Lord kindle upon him.  As far as we read, God is happy with Job but Satan said he only likes you because he is in a good situation. In verse 11 Satan tells God to disturb what he has.  What did God say?  He didn’t say no.  Everything you may touch but his life.  Here is displayed a relationship between the Lord and Satan.  Satan says to the Lord you go and destroy everything Job has, and God says, it’s in your power.  Basically God took away the hedge.  Is that how it would read?  Do we all have hedges around us?

Psalms 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

The angel of the Lord is the hedge around his people. You notice that David’s experience was that he numbered Israel but notice the cry of Israel. The following psalm is talking about how God had done all these good things.  Then in the last portion it talks about all the bad things and it appears God undid everything he did.

Psalm 89:40 Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin.

89:46 How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?

The hedges had come down from around David.  His throne was taken off him by his son and all these things were happening.  And he says to the Lord, how long Lord. Will thou what?  Hide thyself? What is wrath?  Anger.  God is angry, his faith is hidden, the hedge is down.

Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.

Psalm 59:1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.

2 Samuel 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

What causes this separation to take place?  This sin, wrong doing.  The hedge comes down, there is no protection, the margin says and Satan moved David against Israel. The hedge was down.  Israel had transgressed and there was a time where God removed his protection. What does Satan do when hedges go down?  He stands up.

1 Chronicles 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

The protection of God is there while we submit to him.  If we rebel, we are saying to God go away.  God being the gentleman he is goes away.  We suffer the results at the hand of Satan of our own actions.  Many people have something bad to them and they say why did God let this happen to me? People who pick on these words are showing their experience with God.

Psalms 9:16 The LORD is known [by] the judgment [which] he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.

God is not mocked, what a man sews he shall reap. The situation of David numbering Israel was a product of a transgression that God didn’t cause.  The numbering of Israel was from the direct hand of Satan because God withdrew from Israel for a moment.  As he withdrew, Satan stood up and did his damage.  As we study in the future, it is to clear up any contradictions that can be thrown at us to unstable our faith.  The ministry of God is giving so people are no longer tossed about with every wind of doctrine.  For those who say its flawed, it’s not, Gods word stands sure.  God does not contradict himself, humanity contradicts itself.  Have you ever been in a situation where you say why did I do this but you see the Lord allowed it to happen for a reason. Gods ability to let those he loves have an experience.  When we really want our way he says ok have your way.  The beautiful hymn that when you come back to him he is ready to receive you again.  We can have bad results from our sins, we can be attacked by Satan does it mean the hedge is down forever?  No we can come back.  When we come back to repentance and realise my thoughts aren’t Gods thoughts.

Amen.

Posted on October 22, 2009, in Missionary Studies, Sermons For Sabbath and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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