"Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone"
Matt 4:4-"But He [Jesus] answered, "It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God." Jesus is letting us know the importance of God's Word in our lives as regenerated Christians. Two words are important in this verse: Live and Word. We know that bread can sustain our bodies for physical life; but as born again regenerated believers, our inner man (the soul and spirit) needs sustenance also! John 6:63-"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." Job 23:12-"I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food."
The truth is that many in the church today are malnourished and starving from a lack of personal study of God's Word. They get their sustenance from listening to false teaching on TV or the internet or from local false teachers -- who are all leading them astray. It is like eating the scraps out of a garbage dump which are not very spiritually nutritious! We as believers, are to search the Scriptures for ourselves like the Bereans did when Paul spoke the Word to them. Acts 17:11-"Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." If those who are listening to false teachers would earnestly study the Word of God for themselves, they would find out that what they are hearing (eating) is false and unbelievably poisonous spiritual food! When you study the Word for yourself, you will find incredibly good food! Jeremiah 15:16-"Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O Lord, God of hosts."
I had written an earlier blog on the "Famine of The Word". The famine of the Word is where the leaders in the church are not preaching and teaching the Word of God correctly. This famine of the Word in America has been going on for about 70 years; but in our day we are experiencing an extreme famine. There are false teachers, preachers and prophets who are butchering the Word of God as Jesus prophesied would happen in the last days (as described in Matthew 24).
But this blog is about the responsibility and duty of individual believers to take time daily to not just read the Word but to study and search God's Word like the Bereans did. This daily need of the Word is only for the truly regenerated believers who have the Holy Spirit living in them. 1 Peter 1:23-"Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God"; (1 COR 6:19). John 8:31-32-"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, "If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." As a matter of fact, Jesus says our desiring to be in God's Word is a sign of regeneration! We cannot understand and rightly divide the Word of God without the Holy Spirit showing us! Luke 24:45-"Then He [Jesus] opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,". Only people that have been truly born again have the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, the Holy Bible is just another book containing 66 other books that a person reads like a novel and yet gains no spiritual understanding and wisdom from God!
So, what do the Scriptures say concerning the "Word"? John 1:14-"And the Word [Jesus] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." The Word is Jesus! He is the very incarnation of God's Word and is God Himself. The Bible is a living document given to us by God. Hebrews 4:12-"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." I believe the Word is Light from heaven. Psalm 119:130-"The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple." Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12).
We need to study the Word to find out all we can about this awesome and wonderous Jesus! The study of the Bible is how we can know more about the Father and the Son. John 17:3-"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." The sad reality is that the majority of the people sitting in the church pews today are Biblically illiterate. Why? Because they only depend on others to teach them the Bible, and they do not do any searching of the Scriptures for themselves. They are too busy with the world, sports, hobbies, and comfort pleasures -- and they have no time for God and His Word! Everyone is looking for a quick and easy way! But the Bible says- Colossians 3:2-"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." Many are lacking knowledge of the Father and the Son because they have not taken the time to discover Them in the Bible. Unfortunately, the reality is that sometimes we do not spend quality time in the Word because we are just lazy!
The Word of God helps us to be sanctified and holy. After regeneration, the next wonderful gift to the believer, from Jesus, is the gift of sanctification. Psalm 119:9-"How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word'. Acts 20:32-"And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified". John 17:17-"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." Philippians 2:14-16-"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain." Ps 119:11-"I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You."
Sanctification and holiness are not taught or talked about very much in the American church anymore. Preachers and Pastors seem to be afraid to talk about sin, holiness, and sanctification because they feel it will scare away the carnal man they want to attract. They are partially correct in that the Word is going to either draw men to faith [Romans 10:17- "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ."] or scare them away and be an aroma of death. [2 Corinthians 2:14-16-"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him (the word-gospel) in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life…"] Paul Washer says that if you use carnal means to draw carnal men, you will need to come up with more carnal means to keep them!
The church needs Godly Pastors who are not afraid to preach and teach the hard Scriptures that melt and mold hard-as-a-rock hearts like a fire and a hammer. Just like the blacksmiths of old shaping and forming with fire and hammer, fire purifies and softens and the hammer pounds into shape. Jeremiah 23:29-"Is not My word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?" So, Christian -- you need to be in the Word of God yourself – especially so that you will not be led away by today's false teachers and teachings. Allow God's Word to form and shape you into the image of His Son! 2 Corinthians 3:18-"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit."
Is Scripture -- the Word of God -- relevant for our modern world and for our families? Many today have shared with me their concerns about the times in which we now live and how we are to know the correct way to conduct our lives. We live in a very dark and terrifying world filled with deceit and violence. How do we find sanity and light in this present darkness so we can walk safely daily? Psalm 119:105-"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." I have personally walked in some very dark and dangerous places at night and was very thankful to have a source of light to see any dangers that lay within the path. The Word of God is the light we need to show the correct way to go in this scary time. The world is constantly changing at a rocket-ship pace that makes the head spin with uncertainty. But the Word of God is eternal, constant, and unchanging! Matthew 24:35- "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." Isaiah 40:8-"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever."; Psalm 119:89-"Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens."
With so much uncertainty in the world, how can know what God is doing? Is God's Word really powerful? Will God's Word come to pass? Isaiah 55:11-"So shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." Is God's Word sufficient for today's world to instruct me? Is there hope in God's Word for our day? Romans 15:4-"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."; Psalm 33:4-"For the word of the Lord is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness." How do we use Scripture for problems with our children and daily struggles? 2 Timothy 3:16-"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." The Lord's Scripture is all- sufficient to meet the struggles and needs of our present day!
We as regenerated believers need to be in God's Word daily to strengthen our faith and to encourage our daily walk with Jesus. We study the Word; we hear the Word; but what do we do with the Word?? The Scriptures are not just for us to read and to hear BUT THEY ARE TO OBEY! Luke 11:28-"But He said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"; James 1:22-"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."; 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."; Psalm 119:2-"Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart,"; John 14:15-"If you love Me, You will keep My commandments." The Scriptures are clear that we are to obey the word of the Lord and use it to live out our daily lives. The Scriptures say that obedience brings blessings and disobedience brings curses. Deuteronomy 28:15-16-"But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country."
The lack of the knowledge and study of God's Word leads to a people with no fear of God and no sensitivity to sin. We find people doing what is right in their own eyes rather than doing what is right in God's eyes. This leads to God's Judgment on a people and a nation. America is under ALL the curses that are listed in Deuteronomy chapter 28 because the people of God have been disobedient to the Son of God! In John 14:15, Jesus says to His disciples: "If you love Me you will obey My commandments". To know what Jesus has commanded us to do, we need to know His Word.
Do you love to study and be in God's Word? Do you daily take time to be in the Word and prayer. Do you grieve when you sin against the Son of God? Do you repent of sin? Sin keeps the church's prayers from reaching heaven. This is the major obstacle for a true Word-based revival to come to the church in America. When we have disobedience within the church, then the prayers for revival are not being heard by God! 2 Chronicles 7:14-15-" and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. NOW My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place."
Revival can come -- but it comes God's way! God's people need to become serious about His Word. We need to study and become good Bereans. We need discernment from the Holy Spirit as we read and study and flee from the massive number of false teachers and teachings that are flooding the American church! We need to repent of any known sin revealed to us by the Spirit through the Word. We need to trust God and His Word. AND we need to OBEY THE WORD.
BELIEVERS NEED NOT ONLY TO LIVE IN THE WORD, WE NEED TO LIVE THE WORD!