Practicing the Principles of Study 2
Sermon Summary
This message is the continuation of a message on the principles of studying God’s Word. In addition to desiring, meditating, understanding and obeying God’s Word, study includes being taught by the Master Teacher Himself, a greater taste for His Word, less appetite for evil things, and a realization that God’s Word lights our way. A person who engages in serious study of God’s Word will find all of these principles at work in his or her life and their study will bring about powerful changes for the good in their lives.

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. First discussion topic has three questions. Have you thought much about the privilege you have to enter into the very presence of God and be taught by the Master Teacher Himself? Does this excite you, intimidate you, or both? Why?

2. Can you give an example of how God’s Word has grown sweeter to you with time and why?
Psa 19:9  The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
Psa 19:10  They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
Psa 19:11  By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

3. When we study God’s Word we begin to see the lies and deceptions that exist in the world around us! When taken alongside the negative consequences of sin, we begin to hate evil paths. Read the following verses and discuss this truth.
Psa 119:101  I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.
Psa 119:102  I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.
Psa 119:103  How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psa 119:104  I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.

4. The Psalmist states that God’s Word is a lamp to his feet and a light for his path. How has God’s Word led you, protected you, or shown you the way you should go at some point in your past or present?
Prov 4:11  I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.
Prov 4:12  When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.
Prov 4:13  Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.
Prov 4:14  Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.


Full Sermon Notes
Practicing the Principles of Study
Psalm 119: 97-105
Part 2

Last week we began a look at the principles of study and how a study of God's Word can quite literally transform our lives. The Word of God is so powerful and when we apply the Word of God to our lives it makes a temporal and eternal difference for the good!! I want us to read our text again. It's just nine verses from the 176 verses that make up the chapter. Remember the Psalms are songs, so this many verses in one song constitutes a Jam Session and this jam session is all about the Word of God, and if you study it, it will rock your world!!

Our text for today is Psalm 119:97-105
Let's pray and ask God to rock our world today in a good way with His amazing and glorious Word!
PRAY!!

Let me remind you of the first four principles we studied last week. If you missed last week, you can catch the sermon on the podcast and you can read the full sermon notes. Very soon we will begin video cast of the messages and hopefully we'll eventually be able to live stream the messages for people who are sick, on vacation, or those who listen to the messages from different parts of the world. This way people can connect even when they can't be here in person.

Principle #1
You must yearn to learn!

97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

Principle #2
Don't just read, meditate!  

97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

Principle #3
God's Word will make you wise, give you insight and help you understand things!
 

98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.


Principle #4
Study must translate into obedience!

101I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.

This takes us to principle 5. It is a most powerful and very important principle. It is a principle that excites me and intimidates  me at the same time. It has to do with the teacher.

Principle #5
Study leads us to hear from the ultimate Teacher!

102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.

When you yearn to learn, when you take the time to meditate on the Word, when you desire God's wisdom, His insight, and His understanding, when you begin obeying the principles you discover in God's Word, God Himself takes over your tutelage! 16 times the Psalmist ask God to be His teacher! 11 of these times are in Psalm 119! I want to share with you one of the most profound teachings of our faith. People sometimes wonder why we are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and why we don't have Baptist in the name?
Two things...
First of all, we don't have Baptist in the name, not because we're ashamed of being Baptist, it's just that we're not pushing denomination. We're pushing Jesus!!
Secondly, there are many good reasons we are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. They hold tenaciously to the Bible as the Holy and inspired Word of God! Secondly, they have thousands of full time missionaries all over the world sharing the good news of Christ! And another big reason is their doctrines flow mainly from Scripture and not from man's opinions.

One such doctrine is the one I'm going to share with you now. It's called the doctrine of ...

"The Priesthood of the Believer"

It's wonderful to have Bible teachers to teach you! It's wonderful to have others pray for you! It's great to have counselors counsel you! It's helpful to have spiritual mentors. It's good to have others to whom you can go and confess you're struggles. But the most wonderful thing is this…

You have direct, 24/7, first class, full privileged access to the very throne room of God! Because of what Jesus did on the Cross, you can enter the Holy of Holies and ask God Himself to be your teacher, your comforter, your helper, your mentor, your confessor. Where do I get this? The Bible!!!

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

Then in Psalm 25...

4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;
5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Again, there's a place for pastors, ministers, priest, and other spiritual leaders, but the bottom line is this…
Every believer is not called to serve in a vocational ministry position, but every believer is called to serve God with their life. And as such we are all priest before God!

1 Peter 2:5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Then look down to verse 9...

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Jesus Himself declared to His disciples that they would be taught by the very Spirit of God...

John 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind

you of everything I have said to you.

 And now I'm going to read to you a Scripture that some preachers might not want you to no about! Ready for this?

1 John 2:26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.
27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

"Whoa, what a minute. Pastor Larry did you just talk yourself right out of a job? It says you do not need anyone to teach you. What was John saying here?"
Evidently there were false teachers telling people they had to get their truth from them. They were leading people astray.

John wanted them to know the anointing, or the Holy Spirit of God remained in them and would lead them and teach them truth. They did not have to go through a man to get their truth. They could go straight to God and His inspired truth.

John was not saying all teachers were bad or it was a bad thing to have teachers help you. He was saying, The Holy Spirit of God will help you discern the truth from the lies.
Let me put it this way. I always encourage people to take what Pastor Larry says and place it side by side with Holy Scripture! If what Pastor Larry says does not line up with God's Word, throw out what Pastor Larry says and stick with the Word of God! Always!! That's why I spend the time I spend praying and carefully preparing each message I bring to you. But please understand this...

I hope my teaching will help you understand God's Word, but, please, please, please, don't just rely on what I say. Go to God's Word. Let Him be your main, most teacher!! You have the same access to God and His Holy Word as I do! Read it, study it, meditate on it and ask the ultimate teacher to teach it to you!! What you get from Spirit led teachers will help you, but what you get directly from the Spirit of God when you study His Word will excite you, motivate you, and transform you in ways I can't explain to you.
You'll have to experience it for yourself! My goal is to inspire you to personal discovery of God's amazing truths.
And one such truth is found in Hebrews 10:19-22...

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Principle #6
The more you study God's Word, the sweeter it grows!

Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

The more you read and study God's Word, the more you will be astounded at how it applies to your life and how true it really is! You'll begin to experience the benefits of living according to God's precepts! And for those of you who might think once you've read the Bible through, it'll become stale...
It' will never become stale because it's living and breathing and has different application to every situation you will face. Remember the verse I read to you last week...

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

In other words, the Word's of God will have daily application to your life, every aspect of your life. From your thought life all the way down to very attitude of your heart! I can't tell you how many times I've read a verse and then later read it for the 20th time and I'll see something I've never seen before! I'll see an application I've never seen before! It makes me smile and sometimes I wonder why I never saw that truth that way. It may be I was not paying attention those other 20 times, but it may also be that the living God behind the living Word, is revealing something to me I need for today! It could be that a verse has more than one truth and many applications. God knows what you need when you need it and through Him those needs will be met. Notice, I said needs and not wants. Just sayin' … The writer of Roman's put it this way in Roman's 11:33-36 ...

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

So we have the ultimate Teacher, God, and His Words grow sweeter and more valuable every day, but their's another principle that comes from studying God's Word...

Principle #7
The more you love God's ways, the more you'll hate wrong ways!

Psalm 119:104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.

What a profound truth! Folks, if you're struggling with sin in your life, a study of God's Word will help you overcome. Why? Because as you study God's Word you begin to realize it was given to you because God loves you. It was given to help you not hurt you. It was given to you to help you see through the lies and deception of Satan. As you begin to trust God's motives and the truth of His Word, you'll begin hating the lies, the deceit, the consequences and the pain that is found along the wrong paths in life. You'll find yourself wanting to live the amazing life God designed you to live!! And notice, I said the amazing life God designed you to live! The writer of Romans picks up on the need to reject the destructive ways of the world and embrace the living ways of God… Romans 12:1-2 and verse 9

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.

And when we skip down to verse 9 we find these words...

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Hate what is evil and cling to what is good!!!
I can't tell you how powerful this wisdom is. Hate what is evil and cling to what is good!

Today, so many people have started loving what is evil and letting go of what is good!

This destroys individuals, families, marriages, children, communities and countries! You may not be a history buff, but if you'll take even a casual glance at history you'll find this to be tragically true! Paul gave Timothy this advise in his first letter to Timothy...

18 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight,
19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.

Before the modern days of GPS, ships once relied on lighthouses when navigating close to land. This light saved many a ship, crew and cargo. Spiritually we need the light of God's Word to show us the way. We must allow God's Word to be our GPS as we seek to navigate the troubled waterways and pathways of this world! And this leads us to our final principle of study today...

Principle #8
God's Word will light your path and direct your steps!

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

This book is a spiritual flashlight. It requires no batteries. It is always charged up and ready to use. The question is this, will we use it to light our path or will we stumble and fall in the darkness due to our unwillingness to admit our need of the light? The Psalmist knew of His need for light. He had stumbled in the past. He had made tragic mistakes that destroyed other peoples lives. He had paid the consequences and had decided he needed and deeply desired to know God's teachings so he could avoid the evil paths.

What I am going to do today is end in a  most practical way. I'm going to show you how God's Word can light your path by giving you an example of how God's Word teaches us what to think and what to do! Are you ready?

What to Think

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

What to Do

Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Verse 21 sums it up!

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

We know how to do that by practicing the principles of Studying God's precious Word!!
What I've given you today is just a tiny sampling of a book of books filled with the eternal truths of God which can change your life today and every day!
Let's pray!!