Week 9 – Growing in Christ by Reading the Word

Introduction: Part of God’s plan for you is that you become like Jesus. A key ingredient in your transformation into Jesus’ likeness is the Word of God. In this lesson, our aim is to:* Focus on God’s goal for you to be like Jesus.

* Submit to the Word of God that transforms you.

* Apply the Word of God.

I. Focus on God’s goal for you-to be made into the likeness of Jesus.

A. Recognize God’s plan.

1. Part of God’s plan of salvation for us is to shape us into people who have the character and nature of Jesus.

“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). Paul told the Galatians he was travailing “until Christ be formed in them. (Galatians 4:19)

2. We are changed into Jesus’ image by looking at Him. “But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (II Corinthians 3:18)

James informs us that when we look into the “perfect law of liberty” and continue in it, we will be blessed. (James 1:25)

3. As we change, we are putting off the “old self’ and putting on the “new self.” To do this, we must “let the word of Christ dwell in richly.” (Colossians 3:16)

B. Make your plan.

1. Find a place and time when you can read the Word.

a) Consistent time and place help to make this “habit forming.”

b) Both early and evening times have advantages.

2. Develop a reading schedule.

a) Use the One-Year Bible.

b) Work out a balanced strategy for your reading.

II. Submit to the Word of God that transforms you.

A. Submit to God’s Word that purifies you.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)

  • Pure-free from mixture or contact with that which weakens, impairs, or pollutes; containing no foreign matter, uncontaminated; free from moral defilement.

1. Submit to God’s Word that purifies you from sin.

a) By knowing the Word, I know how to please God and keep from sinning.

“You word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11)

b) By knowing the Word, I know how to be forgiven of sin if I fall. (I John 2:1, 2)

2. Submit to God’s Word that keeps you pure in purpose.

a) Scripture warns us against “double-mindedness.” (James 1:8; 4:8; Ephesians 4:14).

b) Scripture helps to give us singleness of heart. “Seek first the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 6:33, Psalm 119:9, 105, 133).

B. Submit to God’s Word that renews your mind.

1. The Bible says that our minds need to be renewed.

a) This is the key to transformation.

I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable unto God, which is your spiritual service of worship, and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1, 2).

We can bring “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:5).

b) Our minds need to be re-formed to know how we ought to think.

“Have this mind in you…” (Philippians 2:5)

“Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good repute… think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8).

2. Right thinking leads to right behavior.

  • Our behavior will conform to Jesus’ image as our thinking aligns with the Word of God.

C. Submit to God’s Word that equips you for spiritual warfare.

1. The Word is called the “Sword of the Spirit.” (Ephesians 6:17)

2. Jesus modeled spiritual warfare using the Word. “It is written…” (Matthew 4:4, 7 &10)

D. Submit to God’s Word that equips you to do good works.

1. Through the Word’s teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, we are equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16, 17) Our lives can become a miniature picture of the kingdom of God.

2. Much of the New Testament is practical “how to” instruction.

III. Apply the Word.

A. Ask God to meet you in Scripture.

1. Believe that God will speak to you through the Scripture.

2. Ask the Lord to be your interpreter (help you understand what you read).

B. Read with a repentant spirit.

1. Determine to do what the Scripture asks you to do.

2. Don’t read just for information, but for trans-formation.

C. Meditate on a brief passage.

1. Saturate yourself in a few verses.

2. Read the passage slowly.

D. Take one thought or verse with you through the day.

1. The fruitful person meditates day and night. (Psalm 1)

2. What the mind repeats, it retains.

3. Memorizing Scripture is a powerful means of trans-forming our minds.

4. The Word of God is like water poured into a basket, not all of the water is “caught” but the basket is cleaned.

E. Be a doer of the Word, not a hearer only! (James 1:22-23)

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