Hello and welcome to the West Side Church's Special Podcast.Speaker 2:
Well, good afternoon. Thank you so much for being here. If you don't have your Bible out already, take it out. Be turning over to Luke 24, Luke chapter 24. That's where we're going to begin here , uh, in just a few minutes. I'm so excited to be here and to break open the bread of life with you guys this morning. The , the talk about God's word together , uh, but I just wanna say a quick word of thanks for the opportunity to be here, to the shepherds, to mark for the invitation , uh, and also to the members here at West Side . Uh, the , the texts and encouragement, the emails and everything leading up to this week. It shows that you care about this event. You care about your young people, and that's such an encouragement to me, I'm sure with the other speakers as well, just knowing how much prayer has been going into this weekend leading up to it. So thank you for that. Uh , these youth lectures are awfully special to me. As Mark mentioned, I was born in Irving. I'm not sure I'm quite homegrown. You can debate that afterwards. But I moved away when I was around, you know , before two years old to Omaha, Nebraska. But despite that, some of my best memories are in this building. Uh , every summer, my family, we would drive down from Omaha to come to these youth lectures, and I made lifelong connections and so many friends, and maybe most importantly, I met my wife here. So that makes this just again, so special to me. Uh, and I say I met my wife here. I think it's important to clarify this. She's way more homegrown than I am. Uh, we were both born here, the same hospital, six weeks apart, and yet we reconnected at the youth lectures. So who knows, you could be sitting next to your , to your future spouse. I'll warn you though, I was not sitting next to her the day that I was here. So <laugh> , I'll let you think on that, but it's, again, it's so special to be out here with you guys. We , we learn a lot from the gospels when we open them up and we study the life of Jesus when we see how he interacts with the word of God. You know, John one tells us that Jesus himself is the word of God. And yet what did he do? He submitted himself to that word. Why did he do that? There's probably a number of answers to that question, but one reason being is he's pointing us the way He , he gives us an example to follow. And, you know, that's eyeopening for us. Then as people who we have a Bible. I hope you have one out in front of you. We , we have a Bible, we read it. We claim to be followers of Jesus. We can do all those things. And guess what? It may mean that I don't view scripture the same way Jesus did. And so this is a fundamental lesson for us this afternoon as we're going to be studying , uh, viewing scripture like Jesus viewing scripture like Jesus. And let me say this, I came to this lecture , youth lectures for like 10 straight years. I , I sat where you guys sat. I remember being in junior high and high school. If I would've saw a title like this, I would've been like, yeah , you know , why ? What does this mean for me? Right? This is the youth lectures, not the elderly lectures. I want something practical. You know, what does this mean for me? Well, if that's how you feel, maybe you look at that title being scripture, like, Jesus, this lesson is especially for you because this is gonna help us be like Jesus in a crucial way. And so I wanna give you three ways that Jesus viewed scriptures. Three observations from the gospels. Three things in particular. I wish I knew when I was younger. So that's what we're gonna be talking about this morning , uh, this afternoon. And the first is this. How did Jesus view scripture? Well, first scripture defined Jesus's direction. It defined everything about him and what he came to do. Think about the ministry of Jesus. Whenever he's questioned or he finds himself in a tight spot, where does he go to the scriptures? Have you not read or he'll say? It is written and into scriptures when Jesus uses that term for us today, that that's what we think about as the Old Testament. That is where he went. And Jesus did so because he viewed the word of God as the standard, the source of truth. It's how we framed arguments, claims, proofs in teaching. It all came from scripture. And so the Jesus, the word of God, it was, and it is authoritative words , not just the here , but words to live by. And I hope we understand that. And so in the same way Jesus allowed scripture that define his path, we clinging to God's word today as the standard that defines our path. At least we should, if we want to be like Jesus. If you're there in Luke chapter 24, we're not gonna read this whole chapter, but I'm gonna summarize part of this. Jesus is walking with two men on the road to Emmaus. And as he's talking with them, the text tells us that their eyes are kept from recognizing Jesus. Right? They can't see Jesus for who he truly is. They don't know that this is the same man that they're sad about, who is just crucified in Jerusalem. And eventually Jesus teaches these two men. Notice what he says in verse 27. And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures, the things concerning himself, drop down the verse 44 of that same chapter. Jesus is now talking with his own disciples, and what does he do with them? Then he said to them, these are my words, that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me and the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. So fundamentally, you wanna know how Jesus viewed the scriptures. Here's a great example of that. Maybe one of the most clearest that we have recorded in the gospels. Jesus points them to the whole Old Testament saying that it was all pointing to him that , that that's why he did everything the way that he did. Why he lived the life he lived, ultimately, why he went to the cross, even though he didn't want to, that that's something we sometimes forget. Re remember, Jesus didn't want to go to the cross. He did. We know that. That's the climax of the story, right? But Matthew 26, remember when he's in Gethsemane praying the night before, the night he's arrested the night before he goes to the cross. What does he say? Matthew 26 in verse 39 , if possible, father, let this cut past from me, not as I will, but you will all. And that's what Jesus was faced with. He didn't want to go to the cross, but guess what? God's will. And scripture demanded that he goes to the cross. So he went. So he went to the cross to fulfill the scriptures. You see, everything in his life was built upon God's word. A passage that's not on the PowerPoint. Maybe you want to jot it down. Psalm one 19 verse 1 0 5. Jordan mentioned this last night in his lesson, Jesus lived out the words of this psalm where it says, your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. That encapsulates how Jesus viewed scripture. But how he lived, it was his map, it was his guide. And I would argue that everyone has something that guides them, a map, a standard of some sort. Everybody does. And so what is it that's guiding you? My wife and I, we , we live out in Utah, and being Utah residents, we wanted to pass the state residency test when we moved out there. So we learned how to ski. And then we also bought a Subaru. And if, if a lot of you guys, more of you laughed at that than I thought, yeah, if , if you don't get the Subaru part , come to Utah will make perfect sense when you get out there. But I , being in Utah and learning to ski, I have a new found appreciation for the importance of maps. I picked up skiing rather quickly. I got pretty good. But let me tell you, there's a big difference from a , a blue trail and a double black diamond trail. And if you don't know exactly where you're going in Utah, it's very easy to get off the edge and all of a sudden you're on a blue groomer. Next thing you know, it's a rocky double black diamond shoot . There's a big difference there. You need to know where you're going. You need a map. You need to know the direction, the path that's in front of you. And so in the same way scripture guided Jesus' life, that should be the model for our lives today. I'm gonna put some scriptures up here rather quickly, but Matthew chapter five and verse 17, remember what Jesus said toward the beginning of the sermon on the Mount, right after the beatitudes, he kind of opens up with this. He , he says, do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them . Matthew five 17 is so important. This is a mission statement of sorts of what Jesus came to do, what he was about. You know , people questioned him and they wondered why he did the things that he did. Jesus, why are you here? Did you come to throw out the teachings of Moses? And he says, absolutely not quite the opposite. I came to fulfill them. And John's gospel records similar statements to this, A number of pastors, I'm just gonna read the first one there, John four, in verse 34, let listen to the words that Jesus says here. He said, my food is the do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Notice what these verses teach us about Jesus and his view of scripture, of God's authoritative word. What does he say? His mission was to always do the will of the Father. It was his food. That's how he viewed it. That's why he cared so much about scripture. That's why he wanted to please the Father, because he only wanted to do the father's will. And you get the John chapter six, and you learned God's will was that we might have life, that we might have life. And the only way that could be fulfilled is if Jesus went to the cross. So Jesus clung the scripture. He wasn't pressured by what the crowds wanted him to do, what his own apostles wanted to do, or even what his own desires we're trying to pull him away from doing. No, he clung the god's will and he clung to scripture. Scripture defined his direction in every sense of the word. So think about it for, for your life today, especially young people. Think about this. What , what directs the steps in your life? What defines the way that you live? Is it your friends? Is it your family? Is it the people at your job? Is it your heart? Is it what? Your body is screaming out to you and telling you what you should do? The impulses that you feel is that society? No , first, this is where we need to start . Fundamentally, if we wanna be like Jesus, we wanna be like Christ. We let scripture define our direction, let that be the standard for which we live. But a second way that Jesus viewed scripture is he expected scripture to be read and understood. Have any of y'all, just quick show of hands, have any of you guys ever heard a book it before? Book it ? No. No one knows. Book it . It must be a Nebraska thing, man. Sorry, <laugh> . Well, let me quickly explain what book it is. It's , it is a national campaign. And the intent is simple. It tries to get kids to read. And I did that every summer and I loved it. Well, let me clarify. I didn't love reading. I hated reading. But the incentive, the reward that came from it was worth it. If you read the certain amount of books every week, you got a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hutt. So you bet I was reading all the books I needed because I wanted that pizza, a free pizza. You can't pass that up. But here's why I use that analogy, because I'm afraid that sometimes we have the same mentality when it comes to God's word. We view it as the Bible, as just another book to get through, you know, a , a chore of the checkoff. And then we get to the next thing on our to-do list. You know, I , Hey, I wanna be a good Christian, so I guess I better read my Bible today. Ever thought of God's word like that? Ever feel that way? Sometimes? But if we wanna be more like Jesus, we need to understand what his attitude was. And it was nothing like that. Here's an example, early in the ministry of Jesus in Luke chapter four in verse 16. Jesus didn't just read God's word once and and call it good. Now what did he do? Look at with me in John , I mean in Luke chapter four, Luke chapter four, in verse 16, it says, and he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and he stood up to read notice. Luke tells us what his custom was here, his tradition, his habit was to go to the synagogue and read scripture. Simple point here, but is , is reading the Bible a hobby of yours? Is that a habit that you have in your life ? Maybe a simpler question for us. How much did you read your Bible this week? How much did you read God's word did you spend in it? And I know we probably would throw out the , the crutch, like, well, youth lectures was this weekend, you know, I'm , I'm gonna get bonus Bible time in the weekend. I don't , I don't really need to read. No . How do we view scripture? Is it something that we truly read? I mean, we need to get this. If Jesus, the living word himself had a habit of reading scripture, how much more do you and I need to be in God's word? That's something valuable for us that chew on. Because listen, I don't want us to take for granted that Jesus insisted that scripture could be read and understood. He , he said it this way before he began his teachings in Matthew chapter 15. He , he said, and he called the people to him. And this is what he said, hear and understand. That's how he prefaced his teachings. Hear and understand. And guess what guys? We have that capacity within us. Jesus expected it, demanded it from those who are listening. And it's expected and demanded of us today as people who claim to be Christians. And we see a great example of this in Luke chapter 10. I'll give you time to turn over there with me. Luke chapter 10. Can you be turning over there please? Luke, chapter 10. This is the context that sets up arguably the most famous parable that Jesus ever taught. The parable of the goods Samaritan. And what kind of sets that up is in verses 25 and 26 says, and behold, a lawyer stood up that put him to the test saying, teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said to him, what is written in the law? How do you read it? And pause right there. At the end of verse 26, This account begins right where Jesus' question. And as he masterfully does, in many instances, he turns the question on those asking the questions. He , he flips the script and and he asks them , well, no, how do you read it? The lawyer here, this is someone who would've been skilled in the Old Testament law. But the fact that Jesus asked that question, I want you to appreciate this. The fact that he asked that question implies that it's possible, that it's possible, that it should be done, that it assumes that God's truth and scripture can be read and understood, and what a blessing that means for us today. Continue reading. Verse 27, Luke 10 27. He answered, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself . It , it's told that the Jewish rabbis would go through and they tabulated all the laws of the Old Testament. They numbered them out . How , how many laws do you think that there are? Probably tough to guess a lot. I mean, we know there's the 10 Commandments, so it's more than 10 , uh, but the actual number is 613, 613 laws in , in the Old Testament in , in the law of Moses , the Pentateuch. And what does this lawyer do? He picks out two, two of those 613 laws, one from Deuteronomy six and the other from everybody's favorite book, Leviticus Leviticus 19. And he selects these two commands out as this is central to what it means. How , how you can have eternal life. And how does Jesus answer? Verse 28, Jesus said to him, you have answered correctly. Do this and you will live. Jesus says, correct you , you answered it right. And it's more than knowing too. He says, do this and you will live. But here's what I want you to see of the, the 613 commands in the law of Moses, the lawyer picked out two. And guess what? He answered the question right? He answered it right. He used discernment with God's word based off of what he read. And as he applied it and interpreted and he did it all correctly. And that means you can do that as well. I can. We have that responsibility on us today. It's something that's so important. Luke 10 also teaches us a wrong way to approach scripture. You wanna know the wrong way, the views scripture. And I'm afraid this is something we might be guilty of. It's verse 29. The lawyer wasn't content with that verse 29, but he being the lawyer desiring to justify himself said to Jesus, and who is my neighbor? We're gonna stop there. I would encourage you, if you've never read what follows, do that well . It will change your mind, though , what it means to be a neighbor. But what's the wrong way? The view scripture, when you try and use scripture to justify yourself. When , when you try and use scripture to get what you want to , to try and make the text say what you wanted , the fit , the the fit. My will, not the father's will. Jesus doesn't seem amused. And that's why he just begins by giving him a parable instead. But we need to learn this. It's possible to use scripture differently than Jesus. If you're trying to read God's word in a way that , that make it say what you want it to say, that's not how Jesus did it. You know what that is? That's user error. And we need to be warned about that. We read the Bible to learn what God said, what God means, what God emphasized. We need to be cautious to make sure we're not getting that backwards. But I do want to take a , a quick detour, a planned detour. Don't worry, I'm not gonna go long . I don't wanna take away from Caleb's time. I'm excited to hear what he has to say. But let's talk about this for a brief second. Why don't we read God's word, right? That that was one of the ways that Jesus viewed God's word. He expected that people would read it and understand it. So why today? One of the things that I find most commonly in the people that, that I talk to, I study with not just people of the world, but people in my own congregation, they admit like I just don't read God's word. I I I just don't read it. I'm not familiar with what it says. Why? Why don't we do that? I'm gonna give you two quick reasons. Something that I guess I would guess our young people know better than some of the old people. And that is because our phones are making us illiterate. We have a literacy problem. We are truly losing the ability to read. We , we understand reading is an art, it is an acquired skill. But guess what? It's a dying skill. Because if all the reading I do is convinced in the bite-sized forms like emojis and memes and three second snaps and 280 character limited tweets, that's gonna affect the way that I read. Not just books for school, but more importantly God's word that's gonna catch up to us. You know, everything on our phone, it's flashy, it's fun and everything's bright and all these things are happening. And then I try and sit down to read what some people, what we may even feel like this old book. And we look at it and say, where are the pictures? You know, we , have you ever done this? You're reading your Bible, right? And you go to turn the page, but instead of turning the page, you scroll like that. Some of you guys saw, I brought my iPad up here. I do that all the time when I have my hard copy Bible. Instead of turning the page, I scroll up and I'm like, why isn't it's affecting us? In addition to preaching, I coached soccer at the high school and collegiate level and I witnessed a lot of this firsthand. We implemented study hall to help them with their grades. And right away no one wanted to study. They had their phones out. So we took the phones away. Weeping and gnashing of teeth happened. Once we got that sorted out, we realized taking away the phones really wasn't the problem, because now they had 45 minutes and all they would do was sleep. They weren't being stimulated by their textbooks the same way. And when they had questions about Bible courses, oh that was a whole nother problem. 'cause then they would come up to me knowing I was a preacher and they'd say, Hey, can you just gimme the abbreviated version? I have to read Genesis one through 12 by Friday. I don't want to read this. Can you just tell me what it means? But that's what we want from preachers too, right? Hey, you , you sit down, you deep dive , you study, gimme some hot, fresh and ready applications on Sunday. Uh , I'll listen. You study, you do the reading for me. And I know that may not be the case everywhere, but I'm sure some of these other preachers can attest. You know what happens? You read more than 10 to 15 verses at a time. Heads go down and sometimes they don't come back up. People need to be resuscitated from life. They fallen asleep. Why? Because you tried to read more than two minutes worth of scripture. We can't do it. And that is a glaring problem. That is a glaring problem. We, we try and use excuses to cover up our illiteracy. You know, common expression, people say, well, I just don't have time to read. Come up and ask me that. A say that to me afterwards. I'm gonna challenge you on it. I'm gonna make you take out your phone. Doesn't matter if you're Apple or you use those icky androids, you know, take your phone out. Let's, let's look at screen time history, right? I typically do that with people together. I take my phone out too, you know, oh , it's been like four hours on e s , ESPN this week. Yeah. Need to give that up, right? But we look at it together and very quickly, all of a sudden it , they don't say that anymore. That they don't have time. It's quickly revealed, oh, I have the time. I'm just spending on other things, other things that are more important to me. Sadly more important than God's word. Jesus would commonly ask one of his go-to expressions in the gospels is, have you not read When Jesus would ask that question? It's a rhetorical question. He's implying that they have read. They just misunderstood it. I'm afraid today that maybe if Jesus asks that question, have you not read the answer, it would be, well, well, which book are you talking about? I haven't got around to all of 'em . I'm not familiar with most of the books. You know, Jesus quoted from nearly 20 of our Old Testament books. Have we read those? Have we read them to the point that we understand the context What ? That Jesus pulls a quotation from the , the grasp of significance of why he's using that passage. I'll admit that probably steps on more of our toes than we would like with the rebuke of the Sadducees be true of us. When they come up with this great concoction about the try and stump Jesus, about how the resurrection's gonna be, and Jesus simply responds to them , you are wrong. And why are they wrong? For two reasons. Because you know, neither the scriptures nor the power of God. Heaven forbid that be true among us. But I'll say this, it's hard to know what you haven't read, but another reason, maybe even more closely than what we're dealing with. Why don't we read God's words ? Well, yes, we're illiterate. We're struggling to read like we should, but also our phone phones are making us a literate. What does it mean to be a literate? That means we have the ability to read, but we choose not to. We know how to read. We just don't like it. So we don't, this is probably why we skimm read everything and we don't truly deep dive into text, into God's word like we should. I can't blame you though. Not just young people, old people as well. We have a flood of information coming at us. You , you google a Bible question, what happens? It's, it's like drinking from a fire hose . Thousands, hundreds of thousands of results come at you. Where do you even begin? And so we, we have this growing mentality among us. Hey , why do I need to read my Bible when I can just listen to a podcast when I can just read a shorter book on my, on my question or just a chapter of the book? 'cause I don't have time to read that whole book either. Or I've heard young people say this. Well, I've watched this guy on TikTok that I follow. He , he has some pretty good answers. Oh, or I heard this one most recently. I didn't even know how to respond. I put Romans into an AI bot. It , it told me what it means. Is that the direction we're going Now, again, hear me out there , there's nothing wrong with consulting the right resources, the right podcasts, things of that nature. But if it comes at the expense of reading God's word, that that is a problem. Huge problem. When my family moved from Texas to Nebraska, again, I was very young when that happened. So this story I'm hearing secondhand from my parents , uh, they , they eventually got Mark Roberts to come up for a gospel meeting in Nebraska. And like any good host, my parents had to take Mark to Lincoln to see the Memorial Stadium home of the Nebraska Corn Huskers. And as the story's been told to me, apparently when they got there that day, the gate was open, they were able to just walk onto the field. There was a football there, they started throwing the football around. Legend has it that day. Mark was almost persuaded to be a corn husker <laugh>. But in hindsight, mark, you made the right choice. Not jumping on that bandwagon, but it was on that field that day that they got to the 50 yard line. And you know, they're , they're on the Nebraska logo that Big n and my dad says, mark, he goes, mark, you , you know what that n stands for? Mark knew it was a setup and hesitated, but eventually took the bait and said, what? And my dad said, knowledgeSpeaker 3:
<laugh> ,Speaker 2:
We understand that's not knowledge, but you know, real knowledge, real wisdom, real enlightenment is found in God's word. Life changing, life giving knowledge that how you are dead in your sins. Yet through the sacrifice of Christ, you can be brought back to life. You can find salvation, you can be forgiven. And you know what? Shame on us. If for whatever reasons, whatever excuses we make, we don't read God's word like we should. Shame on us. Scripture contains the life that Christ wants you to have. And even more than that, the life Christ died for you to have. We need to appreciate the gravity of this. Uh , do we appreciate what we read about guys, our our whole faith is largely built on a book. And if we don't take the time to read that, we're gonna have a hard time being like Jesus. 'cause we don't even know what Jesus is like himself. Romans 10 17 tells us for so faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ, through the word of God. Our soul is fed by God's word. We become a people of resolve by what we read in the transformative power of God's spirit. So I don't know, there's a lot of reasons why we don't read like we should. And I would hope you could take some personal stock in your own life to recognize that and remove those, remove whatever obstacles stand in our way, whether it's a phone or something else. So anything that keeps me from absorbing the life, changing the life giving word. 'cause if we don't, that's gonna have devastating, devastating consequences on my walk with God. One major consequence being when we don't know and read God's word, it's gonna be tough even to know when we're following God, when we're following Jesus. Or maybe we've drifted into man's teachings. Here's a test for you. How you answer religious questions. How you answer spiritual questions reveals a lot about your faith. Someone, someone asks you a question and said, Hey, why, why do you guys do this? Why do you believe this? And your response to that is , well, I've always been sad . I've always been told, or well , well , my parents always say, my preacher says that's a great one. Right? Or we say, well, my , my church believes versus what if we answer this way instead? And we say, well, scripture says, well , well , Jesus taught how we answer. Religious and spiritual questions shows a lot about where our faith and what our faith rests on. And so let me shoot straight with you young people. I'm not exaggerating on this. I was embarrassingly old when I realized that there was no one passage in the New Testament where it listed the five steps of salvation. I just assume that it was in there. And that's not saying that there's anything inherently wrong with what we sometimes refer to as the , the steps or the five steps of salvation. I was embarrassingly old when I felt comfortable to say that we are saved by grace. And to put a period after that, not say well, and add on and qualify that I was way older than I wanted to be when I realized that we have God's spirit in us. The implications of Romans eight is if we don't, we don't belong to Christ. Why did that happen? Well, perhaps I was more concerned with what I was handed down rather than seeking God's word myself. And I need to add this. I think this is important to make. I , I look back on my childhood and my upbringing. I don't think I was force fed traditions down my throat or you heard even heard expressions like this is what the Church of Christ believes. I , I , I'm thankful I never really heard that. But I do know why I kind of fell into some of the systemic traditions that I latched onto , is I just didn't read or value scripture like I should have that , that's the simple solution. But therein lies the problem. And this is an issue that's taking place in Mark chapter seven. And Mark chapter seven, turnover there with me. It's one of the last passages will look at this morning, mark chapter seven. This is where Jesus is having a conversation with the Pharisees and they're not happy with them . The Pharisees are mad at Jesus because he is not following their traditions. And this happened often, you know, they would come up to Jesus and say, Hey, why don't you fast like us, you and your disciples? Hey, why do you go to this city? Well , why do you hang out with that person? Why do you not act like us? But here we are in Mark chapter seven, and I want you to notice what Jesus says here beginning in verse one. Now, the Pharisees gathered to him with some of the scribes would come up from Jerusalem. They saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is unwashed for the Pharisees. All the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders. And when they came from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there were are many other traditions that they observe , such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches. And verse five, in the Pharisees, inscribes asked him, why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands? And he said to them, well , did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, this people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me in vain. Do they worship me? Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men. And he said to them , you have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition. The these traditions that we read about here that the Pharisees are so concerned with, they probably came from a good place. Remember we talked about earlier, 613 laws in the , in the law of Moses. A lot of those dealt with cleanliness, how to stay pure , to not be defiled. And so to make sure that didn't happen, they , they added a few more, you know, added a couple extra onto that just for safekeeping. But you notice the extremes they take it even mentions the copper pots, the vessels, the couches they sat on. But here we need to get the point. God's word didn't say anything about those things, not the specific things mentioned in Mark chapter seven. That's why Jesus says in verse eight, you leave the commandment of God in hold to the traditions of amen. Jesus says, it was their addition to God's commandments that led to another problem. Neglecting the commandment of God, problem doubled. They left God's word for the traditions of men. And so it's interesting there in Mark chapter seven, they come to Jesus with this tradition saying, Hey you, why don't your disciples follow this? And Jesus, where we stopped reading, that's where it really gets spicy. 'cause in verse 10, Jesus is like, hi . It's funny, it's funny you say that about tradition , uh, because God's law has this tradition , uh, this command that you guys have forgotten all about, that you've wiggled your way out of because of your tradition. And that's where Jesus gives it to them straight. Who were they going to listen to God's word or their traditions? But Jesus shows us what they did. They left God's command and became experts in verse nine. They had a fine way at making room for their traditions. Let's be balanced in how we approach scripture. Tradition in and of itself is not inherently a bad word. It can't be because in the New Testament, we're called to be a people that follow traditions. But that is traditions that come from God, traditions that come from the , the apostles and inspired men. Those are the type of traditions we must be a part of today. And that's a big distinction we need to understand. But we need to be so careful, so careful, the the second we drift from God's commands under the guise of tradition, we can make scripture say whatever we want it to. And that happens so easily today. We must instead allow God's word to shape how we live. I want to be more like Jesus. And you know what that means? My mission is to follow God's words, not man's traditions. Several of you have been asking me about where I live in Utah. You got a lot of questions about that naturally, it's kind of a foreign place people don't really know about Utah other than the national parks. And this big thing in Salt Lake, Tim , uh, salt Lake City called the Temple. It's what everybody wants to talk about. I live in again in Utah and it it is predominantly l d s. Latter Day Saints are Mormons as they're typically nicknamed the county that my, my wife and I that we live in is roughly half a million people. And on the 2020 census numbers came back that about 85% of our county identified as l d s. So you wanna know what it's like to live in Utah. There's, there's just like a little snapshot of it. It's even higher if you go south like Provo in Utah County, nearly 95%. So it is a mission field in every sense of the word. But something that's unique about the L d Ss church, they claim that they believe in the Bible. That they believe in Jesus Christ. They even teach that you have to be baptized and worthy to be saved. And on the surface we use the same language, but we mean it in totally different ways. Two Corinthians 11 warns about a false gospel. Those that proclaim another Jesus of another spirit. That's what the l d s church is teaching there. But I've had the privilege of studying with individuals of that background. And you know what I've found to be really effective? It's nothing groundbreaking. It , it's letting them read scripture themselves, not having someone tell them what it says or interpreting it to them. I hand them a Bible. Most of 'em have never owned a Bible. They own a quad. You know what a quad is? It's the four holy books of the l d s faith, right? It has the Bible in there, but it's also the Book of Mormon pearl of great price and doctrines and covenants. And so you hand 'em a Bible, probably the first one maybe they've owned by themselves. And one of the places we sometimes read is this passage right here. I want you to imagine the person who is coming out of the l d s background. Maybe they have doubts about this, this L d Ss faith. And if you're not familiar with it, I'm sorry I can't go in depth about the origins, what they believe, but I want you to imagine reading this passage for the first time. So many people have never, they don't even know this passage exists. And then they read this and they , it says, I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel. Not that there is another one, but there are some who would trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. And verse eight is the kicker. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preach to you, let him be cursed. I've studied with people some very recently who we , we've studied this passage together and I have them read it. They can't even finish without having tears in their eyes. In some instances, they closed the Bible. One gentleman I studied with, I thought I was about to get punched in a study. He closed his Bible, he slammed his fist on his Bible. And I thought he was about to come out swinging. And he just started saying, he's like, how have I never read this? Verse eight describes exactly what Joseph Smith did and claimed the founder of the l d s faith. It's built on the premise of the first vision that an angel appeared to him with the restored church, the restored gospel. And guess what? The Bible already addresses. What do you do if someone says that? And so here are people that were able to teach and study who read passages like this for the first time. And the result is beautiful. Not in every instance, but in a majority of the opportunities I've had so far. It's been almost makes me cry just thinking about it. When you have these people who have never read this before and they read God's word, they read it for the first time they read and understand scripture, they , they develop a biblical faith in Jesus and his saving power. And praise be to God for that. But when you do that, and maybe there's some of you here, that you've never really studied the Bible on your own either. You're still trying to sort out what it means and what it means for your life. When you read scripture and understand it , you develop biblical faith in Jesus. You make your faith your own. You can truly give a defense of the hope that's in you, not because it's what my church has always done and , and this is what they believe, or this is what my parents believe. This is what's been handed down to me. No, this is what God's word says. My faith is placed in scripture. I follow God's commands just as Jesus did. So in a lesson, a lecture all about God's word. I can't think of a better place for us to end this morning than Matthew chapter seven. Matthew chapter seven, as Jesus ends the Sermon on the Mount, He says in verse 24, Matthew 7 24, everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house. But it did not fall because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand and the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds beat and beat against that house and it fell. And great was the fall of it . Reading and understanding scripture is not the climax of our faith . It is the bedrock of our faith . It is the foundation that we build our life on the words of God. It gives us the footing for how we live and what we do, why we behave the way that we do. And so, Lord, help us to view scripture like Jesus.Speaker 1:
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