Read the Book

by: Bill Bratt

Email: info@icogsfg.org


"Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near" (Rev 1:3 NKJV). Jesus Christ inspired these words to be written by the apostle John. Jesus pronounces a blessing on you if you read and hear the words of this book.

The NIV Study Bible comments on the word: "prophecy". "Prophecy includes not only foretelling the future but also proclaiming any word from God - whether command, instruction, history or prediction."

Letís look at seven reasons why we should "Read the Book":

To Be Godís Holy People

As we have seen from Rev. 1:3, you will be blessed!

Websterís Dictionary defines "blessing" as: "a special favor granted by God." To be "blessed" is to be "sanctified" or "consecrated" which means to be made "holy".

Letís notice 1 Pet 1:15-16 (NKJV): ."but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, {16} because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy""

Why "Read the Book"? Because God wants us to be His holy people.

What Does God Require of You?

If you were being interviewed for a new job, you would want to know what your potential new employer would require of you. What would be your duties and responsibilities for this new job? What would the benefits be, such as salary, vacation time and retirement plan? If you were hired, your employer would give you an employee manual describing their benefits.

We might compare the Bible to this employee manual. The Bible tells us what God requires of us. Letís look at three examples:

1.) Micah 6:8 (NKJV) says: "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?"

2.) God wants us to be repentant: "Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38 NKJV).

3.) God wants us to keep His commandments: "And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. {23} And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. {24} Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us" (1 John 3:22-24 NKJV).

Now letís list a few of the benefits that God bestows upon His people: grace, mercy, protection, healing and eternal life.

Why "Read the Book"? To see what God requires of us.

Build Faith and Trust in God

The Bible is a legal document, a contract, an agreement between God and His people.

Letís read Matthew 4:1-11 and letís notice the phrase "it is written": "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. {2} And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. {3} Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." {4} 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.'" {5} Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, {6} and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'" {7} Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.'" {8} Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. {9} And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me." {10} Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'" {11} Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him."

The phrase "it is written" is used four times. Jesus was tempted by Satan three times and each time Jesus relied and trusted in the written word of God. Jesus put His faith in this "written document" which was the Old Testament scriptures. He trusted in what God said and promised in the scriptures.

When we "Read the Book", we are actually listening and hearing the words that Jesus read, studied and spoke. Our faith can grow by Jesusí faith. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom 10:17 NKJV).

We need to "Read the Book" to know what God has said and has promised to do for us. We need to read and study so we can trust God just as Jesus did.

Our faith and trust in God can grow when we "read the book".

Prove All Things

We are influenced by what other people tell us. Most of the time we believe what we hear. If I tell you something about the Bible, donít just accept it. Remember a Phrase: Donít believe me - Believe your Bible! We are commanded in the Bible to: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Th 5:21 KJV).

We may hear a minister or evangelist give a sermon. How do we know that what they are saying is true, unless, we "Read the Book"? There are many Bible related movies that we can watch. These movies generally are very "liberal" in their approach to the Bible. Many things are added and deleted from the Bible to make the movie more appealing to the audience and to increase ticket sales and revenue made from the movie. Again, how do you know that what you are seeing and hearing is true, unless you "Read the Book"?

We need to "search the Scriptures daily" just like the Bereans in the book of Acts, who "in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11 NKJV).

Letís look at an example where you can search the Scriptures to find out whether these things are so: There is a church in my local community that has a sign in the shape of a cross on it. On this sign are the words: "Saved by the Blood." This phrase sounds religious, it sounds scriptural and it sounds spiritual. Now you would think that by a church having this phrase on a sign that it would be true and Biblical. Only one problem, this phrase is not in the Bible. If we were to search the scriptures we would find the answer in Romans 5:9-10 (NKJV): "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. {10} For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." By searching the scriptures we have found the answer. The Biblical answer is: we are "justified by His blood" and we are "saved by His life".

Why "Read the Book"? To "prove all things" and "to find out whether these things are so".

Become More Like Jesus

The apostle Paul said: "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (1 Cor 11:1 NKJV). In order to imitate Christ we must "Read the Book". A good place to start would be the "Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew chapters 5-7. In this sermon, Jesus goes into much detail on Christian living. If we could apply all that Jesus spoke of in this sermon we definitely could become more like Jesus.

We should strive to "Read the Book" to have more of the mind of Christ: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus," (Phil 2:5 NKJV).

To have the mind of Christ is to be forgiving: "bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do" (Col 3:13 NKJV).

Jesus set a right example for us: "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (1 Pet 2:21 NKJV).

In order to follow Jesusí example and follow in His steps, we must "Read the Book".

Read the Book for Inspiration

What do you do if you feel down, discouraged, worried, lonely, depressed or tempted and you need inspiration?

The answer is: "Read the Book"! The Bible is a book of inspiration. The Bible tells us why we were born and that we were born to win. If we seek God and Jesus and follow after righteousness then God will take care of us in this life and in the future we will inherit the kingdom of God. ""But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Mat 6:33 NKJV).

An example of some of the most inspiring passages in the Bible are found in the book of the Psalms. Many of the Psalms were written by King David, a man after Godís own heart (Acts 13:22 NKJV).

One of the most famous passages is Psalms 23. Letís notice verse 4: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

Notice the phrase: "You are with me". God promises that even in the last moments of our lives, He is with us.

If we are repentant, God will forgive us: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9 NKJV).

The most well known verse in the Bible is probably the most inspiring verse in the Bible: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16 NKJV) .

If you need inspiration: "Read the Book"!

Wisdom and Common Sense

Have you ever pondered such questions as:

How can I have a longer life?

How can I be wealthy?

How can I be a better parent?

Have you ever thought about:

How can I increase in knowledge, understanding and wisdom?

How can I have more common sense?

Where would you find the answers to these questions?

The Bible is the answer, but where in particular would you look? There is one particular book in the Bible that answers all of these questions.

It tells us how to ACT in every circumstance. This book teaches us to do it God's way.

This book is the book of "Proverbs".

Let's read Proverbs 1:1-7 from the "The Living Bible": "These are the proverbs of King Solomon of Israel, David's son: {2} He wrote them to teach his people how to live - how to act in every circumstance. {3} for he wanted them to be understanding, just and fair in everything they did. {4} I want to make the simple-minded wise!" he said. "I want to warn young men about some problems they will face. {5} I want those already wise to become the wiser and become leaders by exploring the depths of meaning in these nuggets of truth." {7} How does a man become wise? The first step is to trust and reverence the Lord!"

Letís notice verse 7 in the New King James version: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Prov 1:7 NKJV).

The beginning point of gaining knowledge, understanding and wisdom is to have the proper "fear" and respect of God.

The book of Proverbs teaches us about: knowledge, understanding, wisdom, instruction, righteousness, justice, equity, prudence, discretion, learning, sound counsel, laziness, adultery, loyalty, hypocrisy, lying, business obligations and avoiding bad companions. (To name a few things!)

How do we gain wisdom and common sense? We must "Read the Book"!

In Conclusion:

Make time to "Read the Book". Set a goal of 30 minutes every day.

I would like to challenge you as you "Read the Book" to pay attention to what you are reading. You will be in for some surprises. Pay attention when you are reading about Godís 7th. Day Sabbath and Godís Holy Days.

Remember: Read the Book!

 


Notable Sayings about the Bible

Abraham Lincoln: "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated to us through this book." 

W. E. Gladstone: "I have known ninety-five of the world's great men in my time, and of these eighty-seven were followers of the Bible. The Bible is stamped with a Specialty of Origin, and an immeasurable distance separates it from all competitors." 

George Washington: "It is im- possible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." 

Napoleon: "The Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all that oppose it. 

Queen Victoria: "That book accounts for the supremacy of England." 

Daniel Webster: "If there is any- thing in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures. If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity." 

Thomas Carlyle: "The Bible is the truest utterance that ever came by alphabetic letters from the soul of man, through which, as, through a window divinely opened, all men can look into me stillness, of eternity, and discern in glimpses their far-distant long forgotten home." 

John Ruskin: "Whatever merit there is in anything that I have written is simply due to the fact that when I was a Child my mother daily read me a part of the Bible and daily made me learn a part of it by heart." 

Charles A. Dana: "The grand old Book still stands; and this old earth, the more its leaves are turned and pondered, the more it will sustain and illustrate the pages of the Sacred Word." 

Thomas Huxley: "The Bible has been the Magna Charta of the poor and oppressed. The human race is not in a position to dispense with it." 

W. H. Seward:. "The whole hope of human progress is suspended on the ever growing influence of the Bible." 

Patrick Henry: "The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed."

 Horace Greeley: "it is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom." 

Andrew Jackson: "That book, sir, is the rock on which our republic rests.,, 

Robert E. Lee: "In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength." 

Lord Tennyson: "Bible reading is an education in itself." 

John Quincy Adams: "So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society. I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year." 

Immanuel Kant: "The existence of the Bible, as a book for the people, is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity." 

Charles Dickens: "The New Testament is the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world." 

Sir William Herschel: "All human discoveries seem to be made only for the purpose of confirming more and more strongly the truths contained in the Sacred Scriptures." 

Sir Isaac Newton: "There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history."