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How to Profit more from God's Word?

Sunday English Service - 21 OCT 18

Transcript

Let's go to the word of God. Pastor Sam is not here today because he's preaching at the Hyderabad at the South Asia Emerging Leaders conference. And so he'll be back this Tuesday and he will continue his series next Sunday. So I'm preaching just this Sunday. And I want to speak to you today on how to benefit more from God's word, shall we put it like this. Let me elaborate that, how to benefit more from the word that you are already hearing and reading, that's the proper thing. One of the good things about this church, I believe, is that week after week, you have the privilege of listening to some amazing preaching, amazing messages week after week. It's not a privilege everybody has. And I think we should be thankful for that, we should realize that. But the thing is, what I hope to show you today is, it's not enough to listen to a great man of God speak a great message, you have a role to play. And that's what I want to talk about today. The way you benefit more from the word you're already receiving, I'm not talking about receiving some other word, already you are receiving a lot of words, a lot of messages, a lot of preaching, is there a way to benefit more? Can you benefit more from what you're already hearing and reading. Talking about the word? Yes, you can. The way you do that is you increase your role.

And I want to talk about today, your role. Specifically, your role after you listen to a message, after we say, “God bless you. Bye, bye.” Some people think, “That's it. It's over.” No, no, no, that time only your work is starting. We want to talk about what you need to do to get the maximum benefit, fruit, result, success, victory after the message is over. What should you do to gain maximum victory from that message that you just heard or from that passage you just read. These are the two main things. We come on Sunday here, we listen to preaching. And when we preach, the word of God goes into you. On the other days during the week I hope you are reading your Bible. I hope you are not saying, “Oh, I'll just get the word on Sunday. That's enough. That once a week filling the tank is enough.” No, no, it's not enough. On Sunday you come here, we preach the word, the word goes into you. But there's another way the word can go into you. You, in your own home, every day you can read the word. I hope you're doing that. So these are the two main ways the word goes into us. In church through the preacher, the word he preaches goes into us on Sunday. But during the week the word we read goes into us hopefully. Now what I'm talking about is, take the same word that is going into you already you can make it give you more fruit, more victory, more success. You can profit more if you do certain things. If you do a certain follow up work.

After I listen to a message or after I read a Bible passage, there is some basic things that I need to do in order to benefit from God's word more. That's what we're going to be talking about. What is the kind of things you need to do? What is the kind of follow up work you need to do. You have a role to play. We're going to be talking about your role in detail. And the reason we're doing this is so that you will bear more fruit so that you will experience greater success, greater victories. Imagine if the success you are experiencing increases by 100 times. Can you just imagine that? Success in whatever area you're already experiencing some I believe. Imagine if it just increases 100 times, what will that look like? Imagine if the love and the joy that you are experiencing in your home just increased 50 times, would you like that? Who wouldn't? Is that possible? Yes, it is. How's it going to come? If you play your role correctly, diligently. If you do that follow up work we're going to talk about today, you see the word that you are already hearing, reading will have a greater effect in your life.

So let's begin. Before talking about what are the kinds of things you should do after you read the Bible and close it, after you hear a message and leave the church, what are the kinds of things you should do in order to ensure maximum profit, result, success, fruit from the word? Before I talk about what you should do, I want to first show you how important and crucial your role is. I want to show you how important what you do after hearing the word is. I want to take you to a passage Matthew chapter 7. Jesus Himself teaches concerning this. I want to show you that you have a role to play after the message is over. You have a role to play after you have closed the Bible. I want to show you how important that role is, how crucial, how vital it is. Matthew chapter 7, Jesus tells us a wonderful story in verse 24 to 27, we all know the story. Most of us know the story. Two people built a house it seems. They both built houses. One man, he was a wise man, and he built his house on the good foundation, rock foundation. Another man, a foolish man, he built his house on the sand, not good foundation. And the rain came, the floods came and all that and one house fell and one house stood. The one built on the rock foundation stood firm, whereas the one built on the sand foundation fell.

So we know the story. We've heard the story. Generally, how people understand the story is well, so we should build our house on the rock, meaning what? We should build our life on the rock Jesus Christ. That's how it is most commonly taken. We should build our life, not house, life on the rock. Who's the rock? Jesus. If you build your life on Jesus, then your life will not fall. No matter what comes against you, you will stand firm. That's the way people have understood it traditionally, or commonly rather, but I want you to look at that passage carefully to see if that is what Jesus is actually saying. He's trying to make a point here. I want you to get His point. It doesn't matter whether thousand people think this is the meaning of the story. What matters is what is Jesus trying to convey here? What is the point that Jesus is trying to make? So one minute, put aside what you know about the story and look at the story with your own fresh eyes today.

Matthew 7 verse 24. Everyone then who hears these words of mine. What words of mine? What is He talking about? If you will remember, this is the end of the Sermon on the Mount sermon. The last three chapters Jesus has been teaching, it’s a sermon we call that preaching. It's one long sermon, we call it Sermon on the Mount, one of the greatest messages ever preached by anyone. Jesus's message, Sermon on the Mount. Began in chapter 5 and it comes all the way down to end of chapter 7. That's where the story comes. He’s ending the sermon with this story. And He says, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine.” So He's referring to the message He’s been preaching, full message. He’s saying, “You've been hearing this entire sermon.” Now, everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. So who is the wise man who built his house on the rock? Now look in the passage what it says. Jesus tells us very clearly, who is the wise man who built his house on the rock? It's everyone who hears these words of mine and does them. The ones who heard Jesus's words and does them. That's the wise man who built his house upon the rock.

Next. So He builds it like that. And then verse 25. The rain fell, floods came, the winds blew and beat on that house. All kinds of opposing forces are coming against that house to make it into nothing, to destroy it. The rain and the flood and the water and all, everything is coming, the wind beats on the house, but the house did not fall. It did not fall. And Jesus gives the reason why. Because verse 25, it had been founded on the rock. Why? It had been founded on the rock. Or another translation says it’s foundation was laid upon the rock. Okay? I’ll ask you a question. What does laying the foundation on the rock mean? What does building the house on the rock mean? Keep that question in mind, we’ll answer it. Let's move on. Verse 26. Now he talks about the foolish man. Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. Who's the foolish man who built his house on the sand? Jesus tells us very clearly, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them.” So now notice carefully the foolish man also heard the words of Jesus just like the wise man heard the foolish man also. In fact, actually the foolish man heard the same message that the wise man heard. They both are there in the crowd and Jesus is speaking to the crowd, listening to this long message. Both of them heard the same message. He says, “The wise man heard it and did it. The foolish man heard same message and didn't do it.”

What happened? Opposing forces came against that house also. Verse 27. The rain fell, the floods came, the winds blew and beat against that house. Did you notice the same opposition for this house? Exact same words He uses in verse 25 and 27. The rain fell, no change, the floods came, the winds blew and beat against that... exact same problem for this house also. Why does Jesus make it exact same problem? Think about that question. Why does He describe both their opposition the same way. They beat against that house, verse 27, and that house fell. Not only He says, it fell, he says, great was the fall of it. So what is happening here? I want you to notice the similarities between the foolish man and the wise man. If you don't notice similarities, you won’t appreciate the difference. There are many similarities between the wise man and the foolish man. They both heard the words of Jesus. In fact, they both heard the exact same words of Jesus, the same message. In fact, they might have been sitting next to each other. I don't know.

Here, Jesus at the end of one of the greatest sermons, He comes to the conclusion and in the conclusion tells this story. He splits the entire audience into two. He says, “Now my sermon is about to close and you're about to go. But when you go out, this crowd will split into two groups. One is the group that heard my words and does them, the other is the group that heard my words and does not do them.”

There's only one difference between the wise man and the foolish man. There is only one difference. What is that? The wise man does the word he heard. The foolish man does not do the word he heard. There is no other difference. That one difference makes Jesus to call him wise man, that one difference makes Jesus to say, this is building on the rock. That one difference makes Jesus to say that this house stands. Can you see that? Everything depends on that one thing. He did the word therefore he’s the wise man, therefore he built it on the rock, therefore, his house stood. The other fellow did not have that one thing. He had everything else that one thing, what one thing? He did not do. He heard he did not do and because he did not do, Jesus said, he's the foolish man. He built his house on the sand and his house fell. Even the opposing circumstances are the same. Very interesting. Very similar both of them except for one. One person does according to the word.

If you notice actually, few things you need to notice here in the story. One is that doing makes all the difference. And hearing alone makes no difference. Do you notice that? The man who only heard and never did he did not even get anything out of it. He built his house and the house fell, and Jesus says, “Great was the fall of it.” He doesn't say, half the house stood because he heard the... Does He say like that? No. He didn't say, “Oh, because he heard my long Sermon on the Mount message I made sure at least the ground floor remained.” No, no. He says, “The house fell and great was the fall of it.” In other words, the one who heard only got nothing. In fact, he became equal to the one who never heard Jesus' messages. There were people who never even heard Jesus' messages. What happened to his fate in the end became the same as one who has never even heard. What am I trying to say? I'm trying to say, hearing alone doesn't do any good. Hearing alone amounts to nothing in this story. Complete failure is what it amounts to. Hearing with doing amounts to total success.

And if you notice, Jesus, why does He make both the opposing forces-- why does He describe them the same way? Did you think about that? Why does He describe them in the same way? Well, before that, let me answer that other question. What is building the house on the rock mean then? People have said it is building the house on Jesus. Is that what Jesus is trying to say here? No, that's a very general answer that does no good here. I know Jesus is the rock and the Bible teaches us in various places. But what is Jesus trying to say very clearly here? There's only one point He’s trying to make, doing makes all the difference. Building your house on the rock is equal to doing the word. That's all. Building your house on the rock is equal to doing the word of Jesus. Everybody say, “Doing the word of Jesus.”

It's not just general answer, build your life on Jesus. No, no, that's not the meaning here. That’s not what Jesus is trying to convey. There’s one hard hitting point He’s trying to convey here, if you do the word it’ll make all the difference. It's like building the house on the rock. Why does He make both those opposing forces—Why does He describe them the same way? The rains fell, the floods came, the winds blew. Same thing He says for both the people. Why does He say that? We like to think of our problems as very unique problems. “I am going through some very special problems. You have no idea.” People, that's the way we usually like to think of ourselves. What we're going through? Oh, you don't have a clue about what I'm going through. But here, Jesus makes both their problems the same. The rains fell, the floods came, the winds blew and beat on the house. Why does He do that? He does that to show no matter how unique your problem is, no matter how great your problem is, it's not your problem that's going to make the house fall. It's not your problem that's going to make your life fall. Whether your life stands or falls doesn't depend on what kind of problems you have, what kind of situations you face, how impossible they seem, and how unique they are. No, no, no. That's why He says, no matter what they go through, it's basically the same. They both encountered problems. But one man's house, one man's life stood because he went and did the word that he heard.

It all depends on the doing. That's what I want you to see here. It's all in the doing. Jesus makes it very simple. After hearing you should go and do. If you don't do, no use. If you do, you get everything. But it's easy to say, “Go and do the word.” It's hard to go and do it. I can easily stand here and say, “Go do the word.” But it's hard. I know. Because when I try to do it only, I know. I realize the difficulties. I realize my own weaknesses. I realized my own temptations. I realize certain things in my life that are preventing me from doing the word. So that is why in other places in the Bible, the Bible kind of breaks down that doing. The Bible kind of gives us certain steps. If we can follow these steps it will help us to do the word. I want to talk about that today. If we can follow certain steps, certain simple things, it will lead us to do the word. If we simply say, “Go do the word,” that's not enough. That's not being specific enough. Jesus Himself, I'll show you today, He teaches in other places. Paul teaches in other places what are the different things we need to do. When we hear the word after listening or after reading the word, we need to do certain basic things. If we do those things, it will lead us straight to doing the word, obeying the word. So let me talk about that.

Step by step I want to show you what are the kinds of things you can do with the word so that you begin to obey it in your life. What should we do after hearing the word, reading the word. After you listen to a message, after you hear, bye-bye, after you close your Bible, in your Bible study in the morning, what should you do? Number one, I'm going to give you a series of steps. Receive the word as the very word of God. 1 Thessalonians 2 verse 13. When you receive God's word through preaching, or through reading, receive it as the very word of God. Let's read what Paul says here. And we also thank God constantly for this. He's writing to the Thessalonian church and he says, “We thank God for this for this.” For what? That when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 

Look at what he's saying. He's saying, “When you received the word of God from us, when you heard it from us, you did not accept it as the word of men but as what it really is.” What is it really? It is the word of God which is at work in you powerfully, another translation says. So, what is Paul saying? Paul is saying, “We came and gave you the word of God, we spoke to you, we told you certain things and when we told you, you did not take it just as man talking to you, you took it as God talking to you. You took it very seriously. And we thank God for that.” A lot of people were listening to Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount that day. I'm talking about the original day when Jesus preached it. But I don't know how many were listening to it as the very word of God. Very word of God means what? Notice that word very. Very means apadiyey That is, it's the word of God, through and through every word is from God. It is directly from God. It bears the authority of God. No difference between God's word and Paul's word. That's what he's saying. The word we gave to you, you receive it as the very word of God, not as my word. And that's correct. It's really the word of God.

But people listening to Jesus that day, Sermon on the Mount, think about it, they were not listening to it as the very word of God. They didn't receive it in that way, like the Thessalonians received it. There are some in the group that day pharisees, scribes, you know how they were listening? They were listening to find fault. Where is He going to make a mistake? Let's catch Him. Another group was listening. They were simply listening out of curiosity. Now, here's the latest teacher in town. So let's see what He has to say. And then there is the majority, you know how they are listening. We are told in Matthew 7, the last verse after the story of wise man and foolish man, there is a verse there. After Jesus closes His sermon completely the crowd is astonished, it seems. Why are they astonished? They say, “We have never heard somebody preach like this with authority.” That's what they say. So they are astonished, they’re amazed, they’re in awe, and they recognize this man has some kind of authority we've never seen before. But do they receive it as the very word of God? They recognize there's something different, something great is here. But do they receive it as the very word of God? I don't know, because they didn't know that the man standing in front of them was God in the flesh.

The words coming out of His mouth that day on the Sermon on the Mount were literally words from God, the second person of the Trinity. They didn't know all that. Even the disciples were still doubtful. They were doubting whether Jesus is the Son of God or not, whether Jesus is who He claims to be. So they were listening, like they were listening to a great human teacher, that's all. Not as the very word of God. And that's why I think most of them would not even have tried to do some of the things Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount. What are the things that Jesus said, you remember? He said, “The Old Testament says, ‘Thou shalt not murder.’ But I say to you, even if you're angry without a cause, that is like murder.” What else did He say? He said, “The Old Testament says, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, if you simply look at a woman to lust after her, you have already committed adultery in your heart.”

Now, imagine these people listening to this kind of teaching, they have never heard this. I think some of the people would have gone, “Now this is a bit extreme. This is too extreme. Who can ever follow this?” It's very extreme. It's interesting, they would have said, I think. He sounds very authoritative, seems to know what He is talking about. But see, they're not receiving it as the very word of God. If they receive it as a very word of God, then there'll be a fear of God. If God is saying, “This is how I want you to live,” there will be some kind of fear and at least you'll go try to live like that. You’ll go try to do the word. But here these people were listening to the greatest preacher, Jesus, preaching one of the greatest messages ever, the Sermon on the Mount, not listening to it as the very word of God. But here are these people, Thessalonians, listening to Paul, not even Jesus, and they receive it as the very word of God.

Why is it important to receive it as the very word of God? Because if you receive it as the very word of God, it will make you do it. It will push you to go and do it. If you recognize God is speaking to me, it will push you to go and do it. If the President himself picks up the phone, calls you today and he says, “I want you to do something for me,” will you do it? Probably, you will do it. Why? Because such a great man, the leader of the country calls you and he says something, do this. Because he said it directly to you, you will feel like doing it. That itself will give you the motivation to go and do it. What am I talking about? I'm talking about, if you realize that God is telling you something, that will give you the motivation and the power and everything, it will lead you, it’ll push you to go and do it. Many times people are not doing what the word says because they don't have a deep realization this is the very word of God. Sometimes people are opening their Bibles.

I'm going to apply today's message to two things. Bible reading and sermon listening.  Two things. When people open their Bibles, do they approach it with the awareness? Everybody knows Bible is the Word of God, so we can easily apply to this. Everybody knows every word is from God. But when people go for their daily Bible reading, do they approach it with the sense that, “Okay, now God is going to speak to me through this right now, in my room. I am going to hear the voice of creator.” How many people have that kind of awareness. Some people are just reading the Bible out of duty. Do they have the awareness that God is speaking and I'm listening, I'm listening to the very voice of God. And what He says now is what He is saying to me speaking right now. That awareness is missing sometimes. They will all agree this is the word of God. But you see how they read the Bible fast, two chapters, and they got to go, like a duty. And then if they miss Bible reading for two days, the way they're thinking is many times, “Oh, I missed it for two days, I better catch up soon, otherwise, something bad might happen.”

They don't think many times, “Oh how I missed an opportunity to hear the voice of the living God speak to me through the...” not many people think like that. Ordinary Bible reading can become a lot more powerful if you approach it very seriously as now, through this page, God is going to speak to me in my small little room, in my corner, in my room. Preaching also is the same way.  People listen to the preacher and sometimes they miss the entire message. And after the message, they'll go to the preacher and say, “Brother, I need a word from God. Please pray and give me a word from God.” One hour he was giving word from God only. It was a little tricky applying this very word of God, to preachers because you cannot say preachers are equal to the Bible, right? Preachers don't have the same authority as the written word. You cannot say, for example, all preachers in the entire world, all their sermons, all their words are the very word of God. We cannot say that. No preacher is perfect, they’re human, and yet God communicates through them. And so when you find a preacher who is anointed by God, who’s called by God, and who’s ministering the word week after week, and he's speaking from the word and he's showing you Bible verses, and you are convinced that this is the word of God, and the Holy Spirit is confirming inside of you, this man is teaching the right thing. Then what should you do? Receive it as a very word of God. When you receive it like that it will make you do things you did not do before.

You know, I've wondered, sometimes, I've seen people just two years, they come to our church, they listen to the word and they get a new house, their business is going well, they're out of their problem. They're experiencing great victory and success. And I have thought sometimes looking at them, “My goodness, how did that happen so fast?” Because I'm thinking, “I've been listening to my father's messages since I was 10 years old.” When he began Romans 1:1, I was in church, I stopped going to Sunday School, 10 years old, I listened here. I said, “How did that happen so fast?” And sometimes even a certain amount of bitterness comes in. Where should I be? I’ll tell you the problem. I'm listening to him speak, only problem is I am hearing it as a word from my father. That's the problem. I know him. I live with him. And so when he preached that familiarity, what happens? I don't think of it sometimes as the very word of God. Oh, I know him, he’s my father. No, no, no, no, no, he may be my father but when he preaches from the pulpit, God Himself is speaking through him. It is the very word of God, when you receive it like that. That's the reason I was not seeing enough fruit or enough success. Why I'm saying this is perhaps this might speak to somebody. Receive it as the very word of God, when you're listening to preaching. Not just as a good point, as a good example, as a wonderful joke. “Oh, what a nice sermon.” Yeah, all that is fine. But beyond that, he is speaking the very word of God, and that word needs to go inside of me. If you take it like that, when you go out of this church, you will begin doing the things he was talking about, you will begin implementing the changes he was... you will begin taking every little point more seriously. That's why we have to start with this point. Receive the word as the very word of God.

Number two. Mix the word you receive with your faith. Hebrews 4 verse 2. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. He’s saying, “The word which they heard did not profit them.” Who is he talking about? He's talking about the people of Israel, an entire generation who was roaming around in the wilderness under the leadership of the great Moses. That's who he's talking about. They heard the word from whose mouth? Moses’ mouth. What word was Moses preaching to them? He was preaching the very handwriting of God, what God handwrote in the Ten Commandments and gave to Moses. Moses then took and he explained to the people. The very word of God he was preaching and this verse says, the word they heard did not profit them. Look at that. The word they heard did not profit them. Great preacher Moses. Great message from the very finger of God. But the word they heard did not profit them. Why? It was not mixed with faith in those who heard it. Unless you mix the word you hear or read with your faith, it's going to do no good to you.

God's word is powerful. We all know that. But if you don't mix it with your faith, nothing's going to happen. Same Bible only says, the word that goes from God's mouth will not return to Him void. But, think about all the examples we're talking about, the wise man and the foolish man. Think about this word goes forth from Moses’ mouth, God’s word only goes forth, didn't profit them one bit, they all perished in the wilderness. So God's word may be powerful, but it's got to be mixed with our faith. So when you hear it, or immediately after you hear it, you got to mix it with your faith. Otherwise, it becomes useless. Today the largest churches they say, are in Nigeria, it's no longer in America or South Korea. I mean, the other churches pale in comparison, these are huge churches, many churches like this. And if you read about them, you'll see all kinds of miracles are happening left and right. Just unbelievable things are happening. Unbelievable move of God in that nation. But if you look at it carefully you will see those people the way they hear and receive the word, the enthusiasm they have, the faith they're showing, all that seems to be on another level. I've seen as a small child my father used to take me to meetings in the villages and these people, in the 90s we used to have these evangelistic meetings and they'll ask them, “How many of you heard the name of Jesus?” Most of them haven't even heard the name of Jesus even once. This is before TV and all got extensive. These people at that meeting, they hear the name of Jesus for the first time, hear the gospel for the first time, and then they'll pray for miracles. You know what kind of miracles happened? I've seen it with my own eyes, the blind see, the deaf ear, the lame walk, the demon-possessed people acting real crazy just healed like that in an instant. And I used to wonder, but then, I think perhaps they are mixing the word they hear with childlike faith. They've never heard about Jesus before, they’re hearing about Him for the first time and somehow, like a little child believes what you just tell them, they just believe, and it just happens like that for them.

But sometimes Christians who have been Christians for 10 years, 15 years, they have all this baggage, extra baggage and so… hindrances to believe. “Oh, but what about this brother?” Mix it with your faith. Everybody say, “Mix it.” Mix what? Mix the word with your faith. The word that is used there in Hebrews 4:2 they say is for mixing colors. You mix it, it becomes a different. Mix two colors now it looks like a different color. When God's word mixes with your faith, the result is explosive. Do you know how the sun gets its energy? I don't know about your EB bill. I know what the church’s EB bill is. But can you imagine if they put an EB bill or a power bill for the sun? The sun is the one that powers everything else. How do you think the sun gets its energy? They say it's by nuclear fusion, that is two nuclei fusing, it seems. Until they fuse there's not a lot of energy but when they fuse, as tiny only, the energy that comes is so massive, almost like unlimited. It powers the entire sun it seems.

Imagine if God's word, imagine the power there and your faith. Now, you've been learning about your faith. Last week also, you've been learning about how powerful your faith is. It is a parent force. Remember? It has more power than anything else in this world. Imagine God's word you received through preaching or reading the Bible mixing with your faith, can you imagine the explosiveness there? Nothing can stop you. And perhaps we need to mix a little more of our faith. Why am I saying this? I'm saying this only so that you can mix it more, you can see greater results. So number one, when you receive the word, receive it as the very word of God. Number two, mix it with your faith. Believe it will happen to you, it will happen for you when you hear the preacher preaching a promise and believe this promise will happen to me. As one person was talking to me they said, “When that preacher preached it I believed it's mine. There was no doubt in my mind.” My goodness, what an amazing statement. She was talking about getting an empty seat from MBBS she's studying MD and she said nowadays they don't give the seat in the same town in the same college, they give the seat somewhere. But she said it seems, “Well, I'm going to ask my God and He's going to give it to me.” And she happened to come to church at that time and preacher was preaching on faith and how just go and believe that it will happen for you and it will happen. While we're eating she looks at us and she says, “I believed it will happen. I believed that seat is mine and I went and applied only in one college, in the same town, in the same college where I did my MBBS,” and she got the seat. Amazing. She says, nobody else in her MBBS batch in that college got a seat there. They all were shunted somewhere else in the state and country.

See, why am I saying this? I'm only saying it to say you just mix it with your faith and see what happens. Mix more of your faith and see what happens. Number three. These are the steps you can take to see more results from the word you're already receiving. You may be wondering why so many steps, this sounds cumbersome, tiresome. Well, think about how many steps we take when we go to the doctor. We first find out who the good doctor is, then we get an appointment, that is another big step. Then we go and some people they wait three, four hours to see a good doctor. That is another step. And then the doctor gives them a prescription. And sometimes it's hard to understand the doctor’s handwriting. Only the pharmacist understands. So we go to the pharmacist and he looks at it and he gives the medicine, we take that. How many steps did you see? I just counted four steps. We take that medicine home, we keep the medicine safe. Then the doctor gives us specific instructions. 30 minutes before lunch, 30 minutes after lunch. We follow it to the end. We say even if we will forget we tell our husband or wife, “Please remind me.” How many steps we take to do the doctor’s word.

This is God's word we're talking about. And there are certain steps if you follow it will bring about a great increase in the victory and success and the fruit that you are bearing. Step number three. Make every effort to understand the word you receive. Let me show you the importance of understanding. You may think that's an ordinary word but let me show you how crucial it is. Matthew 13 verse 19. This is the parable of the sower. This is a detailed teaching by Jesus. Even in the parable of sower you remember what happens? One sower goes and sows one word. What does that mean? One preacher goes and preaches one message. People hear it and then people are divided into four groups. Three groups the word doesn't bear any fruit. They also heard the same preacher preach the same word only it doesn't bear fruit in their life. Only one group bears fruit in their life. And even in that one group, there is variance. Some bear 30 fold fruit, some bear 60 fold, and some bear 100 fold. The whole point is the amount of fruit and success you get doesn't depend on the preacher or the message. Once you have a good preacher preaching a good message, the rest is up to you.

I'm not talking about people listening to bad preaching, unbiblical preaching. I'm not talking about those people. Those people first need to listen to good preaching. But once you have a good preacher and a good message, the rest is up to you. Once you have the Bible in front of you, which is flawless, even more perfect than any human preacher, the rest is up to you. And so parable of the sower, verse 19. I want to show you the importance of understanding. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it. This is the word sown in the wayside. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. Look what it says. The devil comes and snatches away the word that was sown in his heart. But when does he do this? When we don't understand. That's what that verse says. This person heard the word of the kingdom and did not understand it. And that gave room to the devil to come and snatch the word away.

Now, what does that mean, understand? I'll talk about what it means. But let me just show you when you don't have understanding, the devil can snatch the word away. When you do have understanding look what happens. Verse 23. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty. So when you don't have understanding, the devil can come and snatch away the word you just heard. When you do have understanding, you will bear fruit, 30, 60 and hundredfold. What does understanding mean? We think understanding that word sounds like it has to do with the mental clarity, and it does, basic is mental clarity. If you're listening to me speak now at the very minimum, you should understand mentally what I'm trying to say. I hope you do. Forgive me if you’re not. Mental clarity is a very basic thing in understanding. But when the Bible uses that word, understanding, it means a lot more than simply mental clarity. It refers to a spiritual understanding. Look quickly in Colossians 1 verse 9. Spiritual understanding. Paul says, from the day we have heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you will be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Spiritual wisdom, not human wisdom, not natural wisdom, spiritual wisdom and spiritual understanding. So the Bible talks about a spiritual understanding, a spiritual wisdom. Why spiritual? Even last week, my father was saying, you need that spiritual wisdom and understanding to understand spiritual truths. And the Bible is full of spiritual truths.

Last week remember my father was comparing faith with fear. Remember that? And he’s talking about how the world understands fear so easily. But you try to talk to them about faith, they don't understand. Not only do they not understand, they make fun of it, they rebuke you for it. They can understand natural things, they cannot understand spiritual things. So to understand the spiritual truths of Bible, we need spiritual understanding. So it's not only mental clarity, it's spiritual understanding. But it's more than that. It's a lasting realization. Let me take you to an example in Mark 8 verse 14. You should understand the word means, the word should make a lasting impact on you. The word that you hear should make a lasting impact, a deep impact in your heart and mind and entire self. A lasting impact. Mark 8:14 is an interesting case where Jesus talks about this understanding. The disciples are not able to understand. I want you to see what He's talking about. Here it's very funny because the disciples have forgotten the bread. It's a big group traveling with Jesus and they're down to one loaf, they’ve forgotten the bread. They’ve forgotten that they have forgotten the bread also. And at that moment, in verse 15, Jesus says... Jesus finds strange occasions to teach spiritual truths.

Verse 15. While they have forgotten the bread, Jesus says, He cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Now they forgot the bread, they forgot that they forgot the bread, so when they heard the word leaven immediately they remembered, “Oh my goodness we forgot the bread.” They start discussing, “Oh we don't have any more bread.” Verse 16, they're discussing about the bread. Jesus was not talking about bread. He was talking about leaven of the Pharisees. Jesus gets upset. Verse 17, look at this. Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand?” In Tamil it comes – sinthiyaamalum, unaraamalum irukireergala? Do you not perceive or realize yet? Then look what He says after that. Are your hearts hardened? Lack of understanding is connected to a hardened heart, He’s saying. So it's a serious problem. Having eyes you do you not see, and having years do you not hear? Do you not remember? It's connected to not remembering? See, we will usually separate all these. We will say understanding is mental, remembering is... No, no, Jesus is connecting everything. This is Bible understanding. It's not just mental clarity, spiritual understanding is more than that. It's a lasting impact.

Jesus is saying, “Do you not remember?” What? Verse 19. “When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” He’s saying, “I fed 5000 with 5 loaves, how much was leftover? 12 baskets. Then He asked another question. “I fed 4000 with 7 loaves of bread, how much was left over?” Seven. And then look what He says in verse 21. He said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” You still don't understand. What’s He trying to say? He's saying, “It still did not strike you?” What's He trying to say? He’s trying to say, “Why are you fellows so bothered about the bread you don't have. I showed you, proved it you two times that when you don't have enough bread, I can make enough bread come and feed more people than you ever can dream of. With five loaves of bread I can feed 5000 and still get leftover with seven loaves of bread I can feed 4000 and still get leftover. Now you fellows are still thinking about the bread you don't have as though that is a big thing. I proved myself to you that I meet your needs in abundance and it did not make a lasting impact inside of you. The moment you have no bread you forgot about that incident, you forgot. That means it did not make a lasting impact on you. You did not realize it in such a way where it completely changed you... in the Tamil it comes unaraamal in English we say, “Oh, it finally hit me.” Jesus is saying, “ The truth never hit you.” It still did not strike you. We used to use that word strike.

No matter what He said, no matter what He did, these people they saw Jesus perform these miracles it did not make a lasting impact. What are we trying to say? Understanding refers to a lasting impact. Where you hear a message or you read a passage, for it to have maximum effect in your life, it needs to make a lasting impact to where you never forget it. We think forgetting is a simple problem but Jesus is connecting it to a lack of understanding. It's not as simple as forgetting. If we truly understand in the biblical way, if it has made a lasting impact, we will not forget. Understand. Now, how are you going to get this lasting impact? Now, this won't happen always as soon as you will hear the message. As soon as you hear a preacher preach, it will not always make a lasting, deep impact, deep impression in your soul. Sometimes that may happen but that's the exception. Usually it will not happen immediately. That's why we go to step number? Is it four? Yes. First is, receive it as the very word of God. Second is, mix it with your faith. Third is, make every effort to truly understand so that it makes a lasting impact on you, so that you are never the same again. But how will you get that lasting impact? Number four, you meditate on the word you received. Immediately it will not make a lasting impact. You've got to meditate on the word you received.

Today we are just covering some basic things which I think is useful for people. If you're the one who's experiencing hundredfold fruit, then the message is not for you. But everyone needs to meditate on the word, meditate. When we meditate, the word goes in deep inside of us. It's like marinating chicken with good masala. We put the masala in the chicken, we let it sit and then only fry it. Why? The masala has to go in. If it doesn't really go deep inside the taste won’t be great. If you just quickly put it and then fry it, I don't like that. Not good enough. Because I've had it when it's nice and marinated. Oh, it goes deep inside. Well, you see, just because we hear a message, just because we read couple of chapters in the Bible, that doesn't mean it has gone deep inside of us. We have something to do after the message is over. After the reading is over we need to meditate on what we heard and read so that it can go deeper and deeper. And as it goes deeper and deeper, that is when that lasting impact will come. Meditation. It will help you understand more, it will help you believe in it more, it will lead you closer to doing it.

Joshua 1:8. We know the passage. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth. You shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do. Why meditate? So that you will end up doing. That's what we're talking about. We want to be doers of the word and not hearers only, and one of the things that will lead you to doing is meditating. Everybody say, “Meditate.” So meditate on the word that you're already receiving through the Sunday preaching and through your Bible reading. Meditating means what? What does that involve? Your full focus and attention. In meditation, basically, you fix all your thoughts upon a certain truth or a certain verse or a certain point in the message and you just hone deep into that and think about that. So it's directing, focusing your thoughts upon one thing in the word, either a verse or a truth or something like that. But also it involves opening your mouth and speaking. The Hebrew word to meditate means to mutter softly, to open your mouth and just go like... People will think you're crazy if they see you doing it. But when they see others doing it, they don't think they're crazy.

Have you seen these Olympic divers before they dive they'll be muttering. Have you seen that? They’ll be going like... Nobody thinks they're crazy. In fact, one commentator is saying, “You know what they're saying? They are reminding themselves of what the coach told them just before they went out to the diving board.” So if they can remind themselves of what their coach told them for a dive, why can't we remind ourselves of what God told us for life matters. It's okay. They may laugh at us. But when the results come, they won't laugh. What is the result? Joshua 1:8. You shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. When you have good success, nobody's laughing. Blessed is the man, Psalm 1, who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that giveth its fruit in its season and whatever he does shall prosper.

You think anybody will be laughing when whatever you do prospers? No. Then they'll start thinking, “Oh, it's in the muttering. What is that fellow...?” You see, you want the word to have a greater impact on your life, to bring you greater profit, greater success, meditate on what you receive. Open your mouth, say it. Think it over again and over and over again. Maybe you can memorize one or two verses and just meditate that those two verses for an entire week. In the past you unless you memorized you cannot meditate day and night. What does God say to Joshua, “Meditate day and night.” Why does He put it like that? Because that meaning is meditate throughout. Let all your thoughts be governed by the word. It doesn't mean you cannot sleep in the night, sit down and meditate. No, that's not the meaning. But it means when you go to bed at night also let your thoughts be governed by this word. Maybe think about a verse, meditate on that. As David says, “In the night watches I think about you. I meditate on you.” Day and night. Everybody say, “Day and night.” Before you had to memorize the Bible if you want to do day and night meditation. So some people say, “But I don't know by memory brother.” It's okay, you don't have to know by memory also now. Today it's even easier. Still memorizing is very good but I'm saying for those who don't know many verses by heart, do you have this? It's a phone. You can put the Bible in your phone. And you're there waiting for the doctor for two hours. You have your phone, you have the Bible in your phone, you can do your meditation.

Don't be cribbing, “Oh, how long have to wait for this thing in the government office.” Take it as an opportunity to meditate on the word. You see, God has made it so easy today. We cannot say anything, even if we don't know it by heart we can just meditate using simple tools like this, my friend. Just take one verse and say it over and over and think about it over and over. Go deep into it. Analyze it. See how it applies to your life. Pray over it. That's actually my next point. Number five, pray over it. It's pretty simple. Pray over what? Pray over the word you receive. Meaning, if you listen to a message, try to take the points of that message and pray through those points. Have you tried doing that? If the preacher said, “Well, you need to do this.” Then pray is saying, “God help me do this.” If the preacher said you need to believe this and pray is saying, “God help me to believe.” If the word when you're reading in your daily morning, if God says, “Don't do this, do this. Speak the truth in love.” Well, right there quickly, don't just read it and go away. Take something from what you're reading and meditate and pray over it. Say God, “I want to speak the truth in love. Make me like that. Make me like Jesus.” Just say a small prayer and see what happens.

These are small things when you do it, your Bible reading will have a much greater effect. Your sermon listening will have a much greater effect. Pray over the message that you've got. After the message is over we pray here, but we hardly pray for one minute. That's all, it's all over. And then we send you off. No, no, no. You got to pray by yourself. Paul prays in Colossians 1:9, you remember we read that verse? What is Paul doing that? He's saying, “I am praying for you without ceasing.” He tells the Colossians. What am I praying for? That you will be filled with all spiritual wisdom and spiritual understanding. So this understanding thing doesn't come just by our own meditation, our own effort, our own decision. No. God has to help us. We need the help of God. God has to open our eyes so that this truth goes deeper into our heart. Everybody say, “Pray over it.” You have a point like last week faith is parent force. What a powerful point that was? Faith as a parent force. Now, there's a point you can take and meditate for an entire week. You do try that and then speak to the mountain and that the effect is much. Every day think about how faith is a parent force. Think about things that the speaker may have not said even. Take other verses in the Bible, go into it. The preacher has only one hour but you have the entire week. You can meditate on a point, you can meditate on a verse, anything.

Point number six. Guard the word. Let's rehearse the points. Number one, when you hear or read the word receive it as the very word of God. Number two, mix the word with your faith. Number three, make every effort to understand. Number four, meditate on it. Number five, pray over it. Number six, guard the word that you receive. Guard or keep it as our translations put it, keep the word. Let's go to Psalm 119. Psalm 119 verse 33. Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; I will keep it to the end. That word keep it really means in that place guard. Tamil translates it – naan athai kaathu kolluven protect. Keep has a lot of connotations. It can mean maintain it. It can mean take care of it, tend to it, keep it. If I say give me something, you say keep it. It can mean keep having it. In the Bible language keep many times means guard it. I can show you other verses. But I'll just go to the parable of the sower again, that's better than a verse. Matthew 13 again, it's an important passage for today because here we see the importance of guarding the word that you received. Matthew 13:19. The seed sown on the wayside, the devil comes and snatches away. You remember that? So, if the devil is coming and snatching the word away. He’s snatching what? He’s snatching the word. That means we got to guard the word from the devil. Does that make sense?

Why does the Bible say keep the word, keep the commandments, guard it with that meaning? Sometimes we don't fail to read keep as guard, but when you realize keep sometimes means guard, you will realize the devil is trying to come and snatch the word that you just received. So your job is to try to guard it. Guard the word from being snatched away. Look at verse 19. The evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown. The word that has been sown in his heart. So the devil comes, and we got to guard the word from the devil. Look at the next verse, verse 20. What was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. I want you to notice this. Look at that word. When tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word. Tribulation or persecution, troubles or persecution. I know troubles and persecution come in life sometimes. But here it says, they arise on account of the word. I want you to notice that. What does that mean? On account of the word means because of the word. Some translations puts it like that. Because of the word when tribulation or persecution, when troubles or persecution come, they fall away. How do you understand that? Think about it. Because of the word. What it’s saying is, because the word came to you, trouble also comes to you. That's right. That's what it just said. On account of the word, when trouble or persecution comes they... What does on account of the word mean? Because of the word. That means, because you got the word, trouble is coming.

 You say, what you're saying like that? Well, think about it. Jesus in another place He says, “On account of me, sometimes people will persecute you.” You remember that? Matthew 5:10. “When people persecute you, and say evil things about you falsely on account of me , because of me.” What does that mean? “Because you believe in Me, sometimes people are persecuting you, they're coming against you. They are saying things against you.” Why? You didn't do anything wrong. You simply believe in Jesus today. Sometimes our situation also here in this place has become like that. If you say you’re a Christian, because you're a Christian itself some people are upset. They're coming against. They're hating and they want to destroy you or something like that. I'm talking about cases where the Christian may have not done anything wrong. There are times when the Christians are doing something wrong also. They are saying hurtful things about other people. And because of that, other people are getting upset. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about good believers who don't say anything. They simply believe in Jesus. For believing in Jesus they are kicked at, they’re pushed, they are even killed sometimes. For no fault of their own, only believing in Jesus.

So because they believed in Jesus, on account of Jesus, persecution comes. Jesus in this place He says, “On account of the word, persecution comes.” What does that mean? Because the word came to you, trouble comes. Why does the trouble come? I'll tell you. Because the devil knows if he allows the word to remain in your heart, you will go off somewhere. There is no limit to what you can achieve. So when you get the word, when you get a powerful message, when you hear a powerful message, when you do a powerful Bible reading time, the devil doesn't like it. What does he do? He tries to send you trouble to take that word away. To make you doubt the word. I'll give you an example. Imagine you listen to a super message on healing. By His stripes we were healed. And you listen, you're full of faith and confidence, and you go home, healing is mine in the name of Jesus. I will experience good health. That’s Sunday. Monday, you get a fever. Imagine that happens. Has that happened? Now, how will many people take that? Some people, you know how they'll take that? “My goodness, I thought healing is mine. I just heard an amazing message on healing. Here I have fever.”

Sometimes people will take it as a confirmation that there is something wrong with the word. They'll start doubting the word. They'll think, “Oh, I thought when the preacher was going too far itself, I thought this is too much. But everybody clapped hands so I also got excited and I believed it at the moment. But look what happened. It can’t be true because I got a fever the next day.” The devil wants you to think like that. See, it's a lie from the pit of hell. Purposely the devil is trying to fool you. He's trying to say, “Look, the word is not true. You got a fever. So stop believing in the word.” His goal is only one. Not even to give you a fever and make you suffer. His goal is to make you stop believing in that word on healing. The fever is not the big deal. He's coming after the word. Tribulation and persecution arises on account of the word. It's the word he’s targeting. So how you should take it I'll tell you. If something like that happens you know how you should take it? Oh, the devil sees that I received a powerful word and he's coming after it. He wants to destroy my confidence in that word. And that's why this fever has come. But I recognize the craftiness of the devil and I am going to stand against this fever and I'm going to take the healing in the name of Jesus. I'm not going to believe in the word less because of this fever. In fact, I will believe in the word more because this has come because, this is a confirmation that the word I just received is too powerful and the devil can't stand me having it.

That's a different way to take it, isn't it? When tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word some people fall away but that's why Jesus is teaching. He’s giving us a clue. He’s saying, “Don't follow me.” It's on account to the word, recognize it. And the next verse, I don't have the time but if you go read it, verse 22 He talks about the cares of this world. You remember the seeds sown on the thorny ground? The thorns come and choke it. What chokes it? Jesus says, “The cares of this world come and choke the word that they have received.” There also the same thing is happening. Something else is coming and not choking the person, choking the word that they received. Cares of this world. Sometimes people get so bogged down with the cares. This is in verse 22. They start worrying and the worry just becomes too much. Their mind is fully occupied with worry only. “Oh, what am I going to do about my future, my work my family, my children? Am I going to have enough money 10 years from now? What's going to happen to my health?” Completely just pushed and just brought down by their own worries. What is happening? They don't recognize it. They don't realize it but their worry is choking the good word that they have received and making it unfruitful.

So we got to recognize worry and tribulation for what it is. It is coming against the word we have received. And it's trying to choke the word, make it of no use or make it of little use, reduce the fruit in our life. So what do you got to do? You got to stand against that worry. When the worry starts overwhelming you, you got to open your mouth and say, “I refuse to take this. I will go according to the word where it says, ‘Don't be anxious about anything but in everything with prayer and supplication, along with thanksgiving, let your request be known to God.’ I'm not going to worry. I'm just going to pray.” Forget about worrying. I don't care how big the problem is, I'm just going to pray. So what are you doing? You're taking away the choke. You see what happens? You're guarding the word. See this is all guarding the word. You're guarding the word from the devil snatching it away. You’re guarding the word from it being affected by tribulation and things like that. You’re guarding the word from being choked by the cares and worries of this world. Guard the word. How long do you guard the word? Until it bears fruit. If you guard it for long enough, it will bear fruit. That's all. That's the seed sown on good ground. They are guarding it. They understand the word, they do these things. What happens there? If you give enough time to the word you've got, it will bear great fruit.

But guard it until that, because the word is your greatest asset. The word you receive from the pulpit or from the Bible is your greatest asset in your life. Think about it. What is your greatest asset? You may have lands, you may have houses, you may have a big bank balance but what is the greatest, most valuable asset in your life today? It is the word in your heart. I’m going to close the service now. If somebody came and gave you 10 lakhs today, right now... just imagine somebody comes and gives you 10 lakhs. Can you imagine that? What are you going to do? Are you just going to take it and put it in the seat next to you and continue worshiping God? Are you just going to say, “Well, I forgot it.” Or are you just going to say, “Well, I got the 10 lakhs but let's go for lunch and let’s...” Oh, no, no. You got something very valuable. Your first and your full attention is on this. Forget about going out to lunch. Now the main business is to go from here to somewhere either a locker or some place and keep this valuable treasure very safe. You’re carrying so much money who knows who’ll come against you.

What is the value of the word? Not 10 lakhs, not 10 crores. You can add up all the money in this world and the word is more valuable, greater than that. The devil sees the word so valuable, Christians don’t. That's why the devil is coming after the word and Christians say that coming after him or her but the devil is coming after the word. Trying to snatch away the word, trying to send tribulation on account of the word, trying to choke the word with the cares of this world. He knows if it stays in you long enough and goes deep enough there is no height you will not reach. There is no limit to what you can do. Guard the word. Everybody say, “Guard the word.”

Six points. Let me rehearse the six points again. Number one, when you receive the word receive it as the very word of God. That will help you take it more seriously and do it. Number two, mix the word you receive with your faith. Number three, make every effort to understand until it makes a deep and lasting impact on you. Number four, meditate on it. Number five, pray over it. Number six, guard it until it bears fruit. Number seven. Well, I'm not going to elaborate but if you do the six you'll do the number seven also. The number seven is, do the word. Everybody say, “Do the word.” That's what Jesus was saying in the story wise man, foolish man. He who hears My word and does them. If you do these six, you will surely do the seventh which is doing the word. The reason I gave you these six is because it will help you to do the word. When you do the word, my friend, as James 1:25 says, “He who looks at the word and not a forgetful hearer, but a doer also, he will be blessed in his doing.” Your blessing sometimes is waiting for your doing. And it will come in great, great measure. Your life will stand because you are doing the word. Let's all stand up. Let's all give thanks for the word that we received. And if you believe it is in line with God's word, receive it right now as the very word of God. May God show you how to experience greater success. Greater victory. Bear more fruit from the word you received.

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