Many of us embarked this week on our three-month reading plan through the New Testament and getting the most out of our Bible reading requires the right approach. The old English Puritan, Thomas Watson, gives us the right approach when he said the Scriptures show the Credenda, what we are to believe, and the Agenda, what we are to practice.
First, read the Bible with reverence. Think, in every line you read, that God is speaking to you. When Israel made the Ark of God and placed the law of Moses inside it, they overlaid it with gold, and it was carried on poles so that no one could touch it. Why? Because they reverenced the law of God. They approached it with a serious respect, and not in a flippant or frivolous manner.
You must also read the Bible with affection. Go to it like a fire that warms and ignites your soul. Read the Word like true history—but also read it like a love letter written to you from God so that it might kindle your heart.
Read the Bible with great expectations. The Word of God is the field where Christ, who is the pearl of price is hidden. The Word is a powerful medicine in times of distress. The promises of God are the water of life to renew fainting spirits. It is a sacred mine we dig, not for a nugget of gold, but for a weight of glory. It is the chart and compass by which we sail to the New Heavens and the New Earth.
Be Scripture men. Be Scripture women. Let ours be a church that is constantly saying, “To the Word.”
You have told us that if we cover and hide our sins we will not prosper, but if we will confess our sins and forsake them we will find mercy.
So, we come to you now confessing that not only are we weak and frail, we also confess that we are sinners. We have put our confidence in ourselves. In our own imaginations and ideas. We have thought of ourselves more highly than we ought. And, in doing so, we have not humbly read and believed your Word as the ground of all truth and wisdom.
Father, we confess that instead of directing our family and neighbors to your Word, we have often given them our own advice and wisdom. Instead of holding onto the promises of your Word, we’ve allowed ungodly fear to paralyze and control us. We confess those times we knew what your Word commanded of us, and we sinned anyway. We confess those times we knew you would show us mercy and we acted as if your grace was an excuse for disobedience.
Father, we confess that neglecting your Word is foolish and destructive to ourselves, our families, and our nation. We know that to disregard your Word is to choose deception and lies.
And we know Father, that ignoring your Word leads to all other kinds of disobedience, so hear us now as we confess our individual sins to you in silence. Receive our prayers.
Father, we ask that the bones you have broken in conviction would now rejoice in your pardon. We come confessing because we know you are a God who delights in grace to sinners. In Christ, give us the grace to put off the old man, which cannot understand the things of the Spirit, and help us to put on Christ. May the world be crucified to us, and we to the world, by the cross of our Savior. We ask all this in the strong and mighty name of Jesus. Amen!
ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.