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Feed Yourself

November 15, 2015 | PB | From the series: Word of God

This last message in a short series on the Bible is meant to be very practical. It’s all about feeding yourself from the Scriptures and it isn’t as hard as you may think. The great Helper comes alongside us as the Author of the Bible to teach us great truths that are food for our inner person! Get full of God’s Word!

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Sermon Notes

God’s people in the wilderness needed provision. You can march millions of people out into a new life, but the practical matter is that you have to feed them! God sent Manna, a white crust that formed on the ground like dew every morning. It fed the Israelites for decades until they settled in the Promised Land.

It’s a figure, a picture of what God does for people He has given new life to. We’re taken out of the old and into the new. And there’s food that He provides so we don’t starve.

Deuteronomy 8:1-3

“Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”

Interesting! So God fed people with a physical food. But there’s a special lesson here. Mankind really lives by, not steak and eggs or manna, but at its roots, every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. As a matter of fact, God led them in a humble path (as in, I can’t survive without Your intervention) and let them get hungry. In their hunger He tested them, yes, but then fed them. They didn’t do well on the test, but He gave them food that originated in His Word.

Here’s the New Testament mention of this same Scripture verse:

Matthew 4:1-4

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

The Son of God was brought out to the wilderness and He passed that test perfectly. He was also hungry. When the devil tempted him to satisfy His hunger by His own means, He said these words we’ve just read.

Do we need physical food? Of course, but the Scripture here says that our souls need spiritual food. That food is hearing the Word of God and doing it.

John 4:31-34

“In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”

So health for the soul, your life, is found in feeding from the Word of God and doing His will as you hear it; the Bible is the Word of God.

You all know that Robin and I have 7 grandkids. I’ve gotten to see the progression of food intake in all the little guys. I came home this Thursday and Robin was babysitting two of the grandkids. The younger of the two has been eating since he was born, but his eating consists of milk from a bottle which someone has to prepare and give him. Robin had prepared his “lunch” and was giving it to him when I came home. The other one is older. Robin sat him down at the table for lunch. He had a plate full of food in front of him and he was shoveling it in by himself. But then one of our daughters was home at the same time. She prepared her lunch herself, sat down and ate it, then cleaned up the dishes. That’s the dream of young moms, if kids could just make their own lunch and clean up the dishes, they’d be in Heaven! The dream of dads is that they would do that and shop for and pay for their own food, along with the rest.

Where do you think most American Christians fall in that line of progression? Back in the first two stages.

My goal today is to convince you that you can feed yourself from God’s Word, and if you haven’t ever fed yourself before I want to put a spoon in your hand. If you have fed yourself but not well, I’d like to equip you to feed yourself more effectively. If you have fed yourself before but have stopped, I want to get you going again. There’s nothing like going to the cupboard or fridge, taking out ingredients, cooking them together and eating them hot.

What’s the first step in feeding yourself? Actually it’s not a procedure, it’s more than that. It’s what’s called  “margin”. How many of you cut it close getting out of the house on time in the morning? A little too close. What do you skip when that happens? Breakfast. Or you do what so many do, you grab a cold pop-tart out of the box and eat it in the car or on the walk to work. Think of the great breakfast you could have had if you just were able to plan in a bit more time.

  1. Establish a time. I know that your days are crazy, but each one of us is given the exact same number of hours each week. Establish a time. You will have to plan it in, with a place, the same every day; even if you vary it because your schedule varies every day.
  1. Target a Book of the Bible. That means that you’ll have to take a suggestion from someone else or decide on your own, but don’t read the Word of God like it’s a novel. I tell young believers to start with one of the Gospels. Luke is my preference. Does that mean that you can’t read from anywhere else? No! I’ve told you that I use a Bible reading program app and it sets out the chapters of the NT and the OT for me from different books of the Bible and attaches dates to them. I have a plan. You can have a plan.
  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Your Grandma told you that and I’m telling you that about the Word of God. I advise new believers to stick to reading one chapter a day. Slowly, like you’re chewing your food well, getting all that bacon-y goodness out of it. Can you read more? Sure. Many people who are new believers or just caught on spiritually will tell you that they can’t put the Bible down. But when you’re talking about a long term meal plan, settle down to a one chapter a day diet.
  1. Talk to the Author. Pastor Mark reminded us last week that the Bible is a book that the Author teaches us through. He’s there with you when you read and study. He likes it when we ask Him questions. So let Him teach you through what you read. The job description of the Holy Spirit includes His role as the Paraklete, the One who comes alongside, and the One that is to “lead us into all truth”. Ask Him to teach you something, feed your soul with something that will stay with you.
  1. Look for truth in what you read. Ask these kinds of questions: Can I see a truth about God Himself, His nature, His ways? Can I see a truth about life? Is something repeated, so that I need to pay special attention to it? Can I see a pattern in what’s written, going from smallest to greatest or the other way around, for example? Is there a person’s example I can appreciate and follow?  Or not follow? Is there a word that you can collect and focus on, even if you have to search for its definition? Observe what’s there and focus on what you DO understand. For questions you have, ask God to answer.
  1. Write down something about what you read. It can be a word or whole sentences, but write something down somewhere. I like to write in the margin of my Bible with a fine pencil. I’ve collected so many notes now, but it began with some underlining. The reason? It helps us to remember what truths we learned.
  1. Plan to do what it says. If it says to repent, repent. If it says to believe, believe. If it calls for a change of plans, change your plans. Adopt the attitude that if the Bible says it, that is the truth and everything else needs to conform to it.
  1. Meditate on something you learned. It can be a word, a phrase, a whole verse or a section of verses. Keep on chewing, reminding yourself of what the Holy Spirit revealed to you, what is sticking with you.

That all may sound like a lot. But it will become natural, and it’ll flow through you and feed you and never be tedious.

Our kids are older now and all of them know how to cook. But the first meal they prepared took forever. It wasn’t easy, clean, or efficient. We ate at 8pm sometimes. That changes when you’ve had practice. You just need to commit to the process and do it.

Adding wonderful extras is something that many do. Like Pastor Mark’s devotional. It takes one verse and builds a message around it. That’s like a rich dessert.

If you can feed yourself from God’s Word, read and study it for yourself and get life filled truth out of it that changes your attitude and actions, you’ll grow like you’ve never grown before.

Take one or more of those steps, put the spoon in your hand and start. There are people here who would love to help you!

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God!