[for Sunday 23rd March] [Notes]
Hunger for Jesus, for God and therefore for the word of God
Deuteronomy 8; John 1 [passage at end]
Are you hungry for the Bible, the Word of God?
What is hunger?
Are you Hungry?
How do you know when you are hungry or what you are hungry for?
We eat to have strength and energy, we drink to have life.
Other than food and drink what else can or do you hunger for?
Many in the world hunger for many things, power, wealth, position, happiness
What as Christians, should we hunger for?
“rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8
Deuteronomy 17 [instructions for the new king]
18 “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. 20 This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way.
We are told that we need scripture to live our lives not just food.
How often do you eat and drink in a Day?
How often do you read the Bible in a day?
Notice no mention of all the other things we think we need.
Jesus knew the importance of Scripture, he used it against temptation.
Mathew 4 3 During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]“
So do you have a hunger for God’s word?
John starts his gospel with – “In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
The Word is Jesus and Jesus is God.
I love this verse….
Do you hunger to know more of God, of Jesus, then you need to be hungry for the word.
I would read the bible, but I do not remember what I read.
Does that make a difference?
How many of you remember what you had for dinner last Saturday, or last month, or last year?
We eat because we need it for life, we read God’s word for the same reason, to grow and flourish, and just reading it is good for us even if we cannot recall it all.
We do it because we want to have Jesus at our centre, and know what God wants of us as his people.
Pope Francis told members of a suburban parish filled with people who commute to Rome for work.
If you get a seat on a crowded bus, you should use your travel time to read a few lines from the Bible,
“A Christian’s first task is to listen to the word of God, to listen to Jesus, because he speaks to us and saves us with his word,”
Everyone should carry a small Bible or pocket edition of the Gospels and should find at least a few minutes every day to read the word of God, Pope Francis said.
God tells the disciples and all followers of Jesus to listen to his son “to nourish our faith,” the pope said. “He makes our faith more robust and stronger with his word.”
People listen to the radio, to television and to gossip throughout the day, but “do we take a bit of time each day to listen to Jesus?” Pope Francis asked.
“This is important,” he said. “It’s Jesus who speaks to us in the Gospel. Think about that.”
He then challenged them to do it that week and come to church next week with that bible.
We can use our mobiles and tablets the same way.
From UCB Word for Today
Why does the Bible remain the world’s most widely read book? For one simple reason: you read every other book – the Bible reads you!
You say, ‘But I don’t get a lot out of the Bible when I read it.’
You are not alone; many people say the same thing.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. F. B. Meyer, one of history’s great Bible teachers, writes, ‘Read the Bible not as a newspaper, but as a love letter. If a cluster of heavenly fruit hangs within your reach, gather it. If a promise lies upon the page as a blank cheque, cash it. If a prayer is recorded, launch it as a feathered arrow from the bow of your desire.’
Why do we keep going back to the Bible? Because in a world where trust is in short supply, ‘…Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave…’ (1Kings 8:56 NIV).
‘…I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.’ Job 23:12
Psychologists are agreed on this point: people only keep doing what rewards them! So when Bible reading becomes unrewarding, we quit. As a result we feel guilty, and become spiritually weak and discouraged. Your soul can no more thrive without God’s Word than your body can thrive without a daily intake of food. The Bible says, ‘He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord’ (Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV). One of the dangers of the iPhone is that you begin to live on ‘hits’ of information and short messages limited to 140 characters or less. This creates spiritual ADD (attention deficit disorder). God cannot be reduced to a limited word count or a few hurried moments in your day. To prosper, you must meditate day and night on the Scriptures (Psalm 1:1-3). You say, ‘But I don’t have time to read the Bible.’ How much time do you spend each day watching television? Hours? If you find television to be rewarding, but not God’s Word, your soul is in need of intensive care! If you want to change your life, change your habits and start reading the Bible. Job, who had more trouble than any of us will ever see, said, ‘I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.’
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that…you may grow…’ 1 Peter 2:2
You say, ‘But I have a very busy life.’
Can you imagine telling a physical trainer you’d really like to be fit, but you don’t have the time to come to the gym? He’d say that you’re not serious!
Jeremiah said, ‘When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight…’ (Jeremiah 15:16 NIV).
Developing a love for the Scriptures requires three things:
1) Decision. You must establish Bible reading as one of your daily priorities or it’ll never happen.
2) Duty. You may not feel like going to work each day, or caring for your family, but you know it’s your duty so you do it. What about your soul? Don’t you have a duty to feed yourself spiritually and stay strong?
3) Delight. When you reach this phase, the battle over Bible reading is won. When business leaders are about to make an important decision, they say, ‘It’s time to pull the trigger’. Stop ‘dabbling’! It’s time to pull the trigger and give God’s Word its rightful place in your life. ‘Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up.’
…You received His message… And this word continues to work in you who believe.’ 1 Thessalonians 2:13
In the Bible you will find a solution for just about every problem you face in life.
Paul writes, ‘When you received His message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God – which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.’ God’s Word works – when you work it! But it only ‘continues to work in you who believe’. So don’t read it and then go out and say something different; get into agreement with God. Let His Word on the issue be your word on it too!
One day an atheist said to a believer that it was quite impossible to believe in any book whose author was unknown. The believer asked him if the compiler of the multiplication table was known. ‘No,’ he answered. ‘Then, of course, you don’t accept it?’ the believer asked. The skeptic replied, ‘Oh, yes, I believe in it because it works well.’ The believer replied, ‘So does the Bible.’ The greatest investment you can make in yourself is reading your Bible.
When you’re in love with someone, you want to spend every possible moment with them, delighting in what they have to say and responding to them from your heart. David said, ‘The law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold’ (Psalm 119:72 NIV). Again he said, ‘Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and Your servant loves them. Psalm 119:140
So do you want a hunger for the Word of God?
SO let’s look at a passage together Mark 4 1-8
We need an open Bible.
Before reading the Bible, pray.
Don’t go to Scripture looking for your own idea, go searching for God’s.
‘…Hunt for it like hidden treasure. Then you will understand…and you will find that you know God’ (Proverbs 2:4-5 NCV).
God seems to send us messages as He did manna: one day’s portion at a time. He gives us: ‘…A command here, a command there. A rule here, a rule there. A little lesson here, a little lesson there’ (Isaiah 28:10)
So Let us pray
Father God, send your Spirit to guide us as we read your word this morning.
In small groups together, ask each other and the Spirit what Jesus was saying to His listeners and what he is saying to you today?
Hunger for Jesus, for God and therefore for the word of God
Are you hungry for the Bible, the Word of God?
We were concerned at the lack of hunger to open the Bible among us – the opposite was true in Africa where people got them open and read them out loud too whenever they could. This also in some ways links up to and follows on from my opening talk of the ‘Kondoa strands’ series which was simply ‘Are you hungry for God?’ The 2 hungers are strongly related!
Deuteronomy 8 A Call to Remember and Obey
8 “Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. 2 Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. 3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. 5 Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.
6 “So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. 8 It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. 9 It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. 10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.
John 1 Christ, the Eternal Word
1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,[a]
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.[b]
6 God sent a man, John the Baptist,[c] 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn-not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.'”
16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.[f] 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God,[g] is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.