Monday, August 22, 2016

Study, Obey, Teach - in that order

Let’s look at Ezra 7:10. In case you don’t have this one already memorized, here you go:

10 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.

Things to think about:
  • There are three things the prophet Ezra is modeling for us that bear closer examination
    • He studied the Law, he obeyed the Law, and he taught the Law
    • You can’t do right if you don’t know what’s right, and you certainly can’t teach what you don’t live (just ask your kids about that last one!)
  • So let’s start with Study
    • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
      • Notice it doesn’t say the seminary trained pastor may be equipped, but simply “the servant of God”
    • Psalm 119:11-12 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.”
    • How is your study time going today? If you’re on a roll, what do you attribute it to? If you’re struggling, what seems to be the barrier?
  • Obey
    • James 1:22-25 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
    • 1 Samuel 15:22 “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
    • Psalm 119:1-2 “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—“
    • I like how James says to “look intently”. Maybe we would benefit from slowing down and not trying to gulp down too much spiritual food in one sitting (maybe I should reconsider all of the scriptures in this email!)
    • King Saul disqualified himself by trying to pass off “pretty good obedience” as good enough. God says, “Be holy as I am holy”.
    • It is likely that all of us at the table this morning have good intentions and want to follow Jesus. At the same time, it is for sure that all of us fall short of the standard. Even Paul in Romans 7 talks about this “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
      • Do we have to be perfect to be called obedient?
  • Teach
    • Matthew 28:18-20 “ Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
    • 1 Corinthians 4:1 “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.”
    • Are you actively engaged in teach (discipling) anyone today?
    • Is God putting someone in your life that needs to grow in their understanding of who He is and how much He loves them?
  • Which of these three is the hardest for you? Why?

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