INTRO: A number of years ago I read a book entitled Attitudes And Consequences. The book was basically a history of the "restoration movement" and the attitude toward scripture which gave rise to it ... and changing attitudes which ultimately caused division within it. Here is a simple and profound fact: attitudes have consequences. In many cases the consequences of our attitudes are of no grave concern. However, there are those attitudes which result in consequences which may cause us no end of difficulty ... even broken relationships ... maybe even the loss of heaven! In our thoughts this morning I would like us to examine attitudes toward the word of God and some of the consequences which might result.
I. SOME POTENTIAL ATTITUDES...
A. "I don't care what the Bible says!" - a life without immovable foundations
B. "I know that's what the Bible says, but..." - prejudices govern thinking
C. "I really don't think the Bible is relevant." - no authority over me now
D. "That's just your interpretation." - different messages to different folks
E. "People cannot see the Bible alike." - division among religious folks
II. THE ATTITUDE AND CONSEQUENCES IN OUR TEXT
A. A love for the law - deep appreciation for God's word
1. Ps 119:97,103
2. such an attitude will likely lead to very positive consequences
3. love and appreciation, however, require communion - the prerequisite here was no doubt some considerable time, thought and study
4. question: do you love the scriptures deeply? or, do you only think of them "in passing"?
B. Consequence: God's word had become his "teacher"
1. Ps 119:102b - "for thou hast taught me"
2. upon the word of God he meditated "all the day"
3. if we spend that kind of time thinking about the word, it will teach us!
4. Rom 12:2 explains what will happen when the will of God (His word) teaches one who loves and appreciates that word - "transformed"
C. Consequence: wisdom
1. Ps 119:98 - "...has made me wiser than mine enemies"
2. the "how tos" of life are addressed through wisdom imparted in the word
3. confusion, controversy, debate, uncertainty all resolve with this wisdom
4. Col 1:9,10 - knowledge of His word leads to wisdom which leads to our walking worthy of the Lord! but notice "for they are ever with me" (v. 98b)
D. Consequence: greater "understanding" than his teachers or the ancients
1. Ps 119:99,100 - "I have more understanding than all my teachers..."
2. "understanding" refers to enlightenment, discernment and such
3. my teachers and the ancients may have greater knowledge of math, science, geography, philosophy and such ... but because of my love and appreciation for and meditation in the word of God, I am more enlightened!
4. this understanding has to do with "real life" issues - moral & spiritual (see Eph 4:17-19)
E. Consequence: abstention from sin
1. Ps 119:101 - "I have refrained my feet from every evil way..."
2. an attitude of love & appreciation for the word of God will surely lead to greater discipline in ones life ... he will both identify sin and abstain from it
3. fearing God and respecting His word must lead one in this direction
4. 1 Thes 5:22 - without a proper attitude toward God & His word this imperative becomes very difficult ... even, perhaps, impossible over time
F. Consequence: constancy
1. Ps 119:102 - "I have not departed from thy judgments"
2. Mt 10:22 tells us "he that endureth to the end shall be saved"
3. "constancy" may be one of the most difficult Christian traits - love, appreciation, respect for God's word, however, give power to enduring
4. if you are having "constancy" problems, it may well be because of some defect in your attitude toward the word of God!
G. Consequence: "therefore I hate every false way" (Ps 119:104b)
1. this is not a hatred of people who are in error
2. it is, however, a hatred of the error which is leading these people away from truth and salvation
3. it is, too, a hatred of the deception of sin which easily overwhelms
4. one who loves God's word can make no compromises with any idea, viewpoint, behavior which violates God's word - His word is not open to negotiation
CLOSE: In your life what are the apparent consequences of your attitude toward God's word? You need to answer this question ... and it needs to be reviewed and answered from time to time. Your answer does have eternal ramifications.
Cecil A. Hutson
16 April 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)