Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning, Aug. 13, 2000, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.
THE NEGLECT OF THE WORD OF GOD
By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
Scripture Reading: Matthew 12:1-8
Text: Matthew 12:3
Matthew 12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
Introduction: The best-selling book of all time is the Bible, the King James Bible. It is everywhere. It is not only in the library, with other books, but it has a place in most American homes. Many homes have several copies of the Bible. Most motel rooms have a copy of the word of God. You can buy a copy of it for $1.00. Organizations are giving copies of the word of God away to anyone who asks for one. It is available for free on the Internet.
In spite of the fact that most Americans today have access to the word of God, and in spite of the fact that so many of us own at least one copy of the Bible, MOST people have never read the Bible through from front to back. It is very obvious that most of our country’s leaders are ignorant of the word of God. College professors and their students mock the scriptures, but most of them have never studied them.
Perhaps we should not be too surprised that the people of this world do not read the Bible. After all, unsaved people do not have the ability to truly understand the spiritual truths of the word of God …
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
What is sad and shocking, however, is the fact that MOST CHRISTIANS are ignorant of the word of God.
I. FIRST, CONSIDER THE REALITY OF THIS NEGLECT
Matthew 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
A. People are ignorant of God’s precepts
B. People are ignorant of God’s people – Bible characters
- They don’t know Hosea from Hezekiah.
C. People are ignorant of God’s power
D. People are ignorant of God’s program
- God’s purpose today for His people
Illustration of ignorance – Lost man bet another $10 that he couldn’t say The Lord’s Prayer. Man prayed, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep …” First man interrupted him saying, “Here’s your $10.00. I had no idea you knew it!”
II. SECOND, CONSIDER THE REPLACEMENTS FOR READING THE WORD OF GOD
Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
The AVERAGE reader can read the Bible from front to back in one year in 15 minutes or less per day!
Here are some reasons why people don’t read their Bibles through from cover to cover. They have exchanged their Bible reading
A. For petty things
- That was Martha’s problem. What she was doing around the house was really petty, compared to the value of being able to hear directly from God!
- Newspapers, magazines, books, and email are PETTY. Don’t let them keep you from the word of God!
- “Holy Bible, book divine. Precious treasure, thou art mine. Mine to tell me whence I came; mine to teach me what I am.”
B. For profit
- Many Christians work so much that they are too tired to sit down and read the Bible without falling asleep.
- They are too tired to go to Sunday School, the evening services, Bible institute, or revival meetings.
- When they do make it to church, they fall asleep.
C. For pleasure
- TV, radio, music, computer games, sports
D. For people
- Some young people spend all of their spare time thinking about a boyfriend or girlfriend — talking on the phone, writing letters, etc.
- Get off the phone, and get into the word of God!
- GO HOME! Don’t stay at your friend’s house all night!
- By the way, you parents CAN make your kids go to bed and night and get up in the morning. You can also make your kids read their Bibles. You make them do their homework!
The Holy Bible and the TV Guide
On the table side by side,
III. THIRD, CONSIDER THE RESULTS OF THIS NEGLECT
1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
Timothy was already saved, in the sense of being born again and having eternal life. However, the word of God can save a person from other things.
A. Neglect of the Bible produces DEADNESS
- You won’t grow without the Bible – 1 Pet. 2:2.
- You won’t be strong without the Bible – Acts 20:32.
B. Neglect of the Bible produces DEFILEMENT
- Memorize it – Ps. 119:11.
- Take heed to it – Ps. 119:9.
C. Neglect of the Bible produces DECEPTION
- 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
- Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
- “Thy word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path alway, To guide and to save me from sin, and show me the heavenly way …”
IV. FINALLY, CONSIDER THE REMEDY FOR THE PROBLEM
Psalms 119:147-148 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. 148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
See my little book, “Read Your Bible Through”
A. See the need
B. Select a time
C. Set aside obstacles
D. Stick with it — set goals
Start now. Begin your day with God. Get your Bible before breakfast, if you need to do that to read the Bible.
God in the Morning
I met God in the morning
Ralph Spaulding Cushman