The Standard, The Agenda, & The Ultimatum
The American College Dictionary defines the word standard like this:
Standard – An authoritative model or measure, a pattern for guidance, by comparison with which the quantity, excellence, or correctness of other things may be determined.
• Railroad Standards 4 feet 8 1/2 inches
• Safety Standards OSHA – Ladders, Helmets, Goggles
• Construction Standards Stud Distance, Slab, Blueprints
• Electrical Standards Hot, Neutral & Ground
• Law Enforcement Standards Penal Code, Law
• Weight Standards Federal Commissions – gas pumps
When you violate standards that are in place for your safety, you enter an unsafe zone. The train comes off the tracks, your ladder won’t support you, you can get shocked, you can get arrested for violating the law, and your marriage can begin to unravel. All because we chose to violate standards.
Everyday we make decisions on how to act, how we form our attitudes and emotions. We set goals for ourselves, our family, and even our business . . . and we honestly attempt to meet them. And every one of our actions express an code of right and wrong, because all of life is ethical.
There are many moral values which are recommended to us. There are many codes of right and wrong. We go through every day life surrounded by viewpoints which are in constant competition with each other. Some people make pleasure their highest value, while others put a premium on health. Could be entertainment, or rest, or work ethic. There are those who say we should watch out for ourselves first of all, and yet others tell us that we should live to serve our neighbor. What we hear in advertisements usually conflicts with the values endorsed in our church. Sometimes the decisions of our employers violate laws established by the state. Our friends don’t always share the same code of behavior as our family. Throw in some standards on child behavior and discipline, and you’ve got a nice soup going now! Making ethical decisions can be confusing and difficult. Every one of us needs a moral compass to guide us through the maze of moral issues and disagreements that confront us every moment of our lives.
To put it another way, making moral judgments requires a standard of ethics. There must be a standard for life and for marriage! Have you ever tried to draw a straight line without using a straight edge, like a ruler? As good as your line may have seemed initially, when you placed a straight-edge up to it, the line was actually very crooked. Or have you ever tried to give an exact measurement of something by simple eyeballing it? As close as you may have come by guessing, the only way to be sure and accurate was to use a proper standard of measurement, like a yardstick or a measuring cup. Try baking a nice cake by just guessing at the ingredients, having no recipe to follow. And if we are going to be able to determine what kind of persons, actions, or attitudes are morally good, then you will need a standard here as well. Otherwise we will lead crooked lives and make inaccurate decisions. What should our ethical standard be? What yardstick should we use in making decisions, determining attitudes, or setting and keeping our marriages on track? How do you ever know and test what is right and wrong?
To the Believer, the Holy Bible is the only ‘Divinely Inspired’ Word of God; the Ultimate Standard of measurement for Christian conduct, Church order and doctrine. In Short, God’s Word is the Standard!
Don’t ever doubt the integrity or validity of God’s Word!
Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven. – Psalms ll9:89
For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. – Matthew 24:35.
Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. – Psalm 119:105
The Bible is a Divine Revelation. In the Bible we find out what God wants mankind to know about Himself and His plan. The Bible is the only written revelation of God to man. There is only One Mind Behind The Bible.
The Bible bears the seal of Jesus’ authority, as He quoted the Old Testament dozens of times and referred to it as the Word of God.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible Is The Word Of God – Our Standard!
- It has a Supernatural Origin
- It is a Witness of Fulfilled Prophecies Concerning Christ
- It is a Witness of Jesus’ Life
- It has a Witness in Archeology
- The Bible Is Scientifically Accurate and Correct
- The Bible Is Never Out of Date, never Out of Touch
- The Bible Is Completely Contrary To Human Thinking
- The Bible Holds The Highest Moral Standards
- The Bible Is Divinely Inspired
- The Bible Is Truly Recorded
So, What is the Purpose Of Bible?
The purpose of the Bible is to reveal God to mankind, and get us to come to God through Jesus Christ, so that we can know Him.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father . . . .
27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Think about that!
The devil’s Agenda is to steal the Word
The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. – John 10:10
And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. – Mark 4:15
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: - 1 Peter 5:8
Your adversary, the devil. That’s who we are talking about!
His agenda and aim is to get you to believe that you don’t need the Word of God, that you don’t actually need to read it. You can have the Word, hold the Word, and even occasionally quote the Word, and that really doesn’t bother him, because there is not much difference between him and you at that point! Have you ever heard that phrase that says “Ignorance of the law is not exemption from it?” He wants you to think that you have no responsibility for the Word – that not knowing it will not adversely affect you. That’s a lie!
His job is to sufficiently acclimate you to not reading the Word, so that you no longer require it to get through life? This can come at both ends of the spectrum. The poor, or down and out person sometimes believes that they are so unworthy that God wouldn’t do anything for them, and yet the person who’s highly successful can often times believe that they are so successful that they don’t need God to do anything for them. In both situations they lack the one thing they need the most, which is a need for God and a trust in Him. One person feels disconnected from God while the other person feels they don’t need a connection to God. But I’m telling you, you need God in your life more than ever before, you need God in your marriage more than ever before, you need God! It may not seem like you need him right now, especially if everything is going your way, but there will come a day that you will need God. You better not wait until you need God to learn how to connect to God, it may be too late at that point. I think it may actually be a more dangerous place to be to be a self-sufficient, self-made man, a prosperous person, that doesn’t see the need for God. “I’m doing just fine without God, why should I burden myself?”
Many of you need more grace in your life, and you’ve even cried out to God for peace in your home, but the Bible says “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” – 2 Peter 1:2
If you want more Grace and Peace, then you need to know Him better than you do right now! The primary way to know Him, is by reading His Word.
It is high time that we start placing a bigger emphasis on the eternal than the temporal. You see, the grass withers and the flower fades but the Word of our God’s shall stand forever. If you want to connect with something that will be everlasting, you better connect with the Word of God. Everything you can see, smell, touch, taste, or hear, is going to go bye-bye and will not remain. Only the things that are done in obedience to God’s Word will stand the test of time and eternity. This is why the devil so desperately wants to steal the Word that is being sewn in your heart. He hates you, he hates your success, he hates your marriage, he hates your children, and will do everything that he can to derail you and cause it to all come crumbling down around you. He would never want you to introduce your own children to God and His Word. It’s his worst fear! He wants divorce to run rampant in Christian households, so the children will walk into a confusing future void of His Word – void of power – void of grace and peace. His number one goal is to destroy you, to knock you out of the race, and ultimately kill you. If he can’t do it all at once, he will take it step-by-step and destroy your marriage, separate you from your children, cause mass confusion in your thinking, deceive you, and pull you off track as quickly as he can. Dangerous ground! It will always be dangerous when you don’t feel a need to trust entirely in God.
“If you don’t keep the Word of God as your marriage standard, your marriage cannot go the distance!”
You can only fake it so long! You can only skimp along with a mediocre marriage so long before things fall apart. In order to make it for the long haul, you must reposition the Word of God to it’s rightful place of preeminence in your life and marriage!
This is yours alone – you own this – this is the Ultimatum – your choice!
The promise of Jesus in John 8:31-32 is for you. If you continue in the Word of God, you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free!
• Don’t you want to be free? Free from guilt, shame and sin?
It takes only about 17 hours to read the New Testament and about 70 hours to read the entire Bible. That is at a casual reading pace allowing for moderate understanding. 70 hours is 4,200 minutes.
So, if you read the Bible for 11 1/2 minutes every day, you would easily read the entire Bible in a year.
To accomplish the same results in 5 days a week, you would need only about 16 minutes a day.
If you read for about 26 minutes a day, you’d have it read in only 3 days a week.
Every nightly TV show lasts at least 30 minutes, the average movie is about an hour and a half, and the average sports game is about 3 hours and so on!
You say, “Tony, are you saying that I have to give up TV and Sports and Movies?” What I’m saying is that our lives have veered so far off course regarding the Word of God, that any change at this point is going to seem drastic! What I’m saying is that it’s a shame that we have to seriously think about whether to pull back on some things in order to put the Word of God in it’s rightful place in our lives. What I’m saying is that it’s amazing to me that we give stronger consideration to the consequences of missing our entertainment than we give consideration to the consequences of missing the impact of the Word of God in our lives and marriages! What I’m saying is that we all face enormous and tedious decisions regarding our finances, medicine, jobs, education and our children and grandchildren, knowing that the answers to our questions are contained in the Word of God, and still we will not open it long enough to find an answer. We would rather Google it or ask someone else’s opinion than to go to God Himself. We need to know God better than we do. That’s what I’m saying! I’m saying it, because I’m not hearing it said too much! I’m trying desperately to help you in this meeting by telling you the truth.
The Bible Is The Word Of God, and His Standard will never change!
This world’s standards can change from time to time, but God’s standards never change. We have moved from LP, to 8-track, to cassette, to CD to MP3’s. We used to have huge hard drives, then came portable drives in the form of 5-1/4 floppy discs, then 3 1/2 inch floppy discs, then XD memory cards, then Compact Flash, and now SD cards are used for most things. Things have improved greatly over the years, and no doubt will for years to come, BUT God’s Word needs no improvement! – EVER!
The written Word is more reliable than all your supernatural experiences, dreams, visions, and prophesies.
2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2 Peter 1:17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
2 Peter 1:18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
What is this great spiritual experience that he’s talking about?
Matthew 17:1-8 Read this from NASB. Also seen in Mark 9 & Luke 9
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. – Romans 10:17
You see, God’s Word is alive! The more you expose yourself to it, the more it will expose itself to you.
To know God better you must spend time hearing what He has to say. The Bible is His message to you, His Love letter, His instruction manual for life, His written Wisdom, and His answer to whatever your question is. If you want Him to listen to what you have to say, you should also be willing to read what He has written down for you.
Although God can also speak directly to your heart, you need to know His written Word so you can judge whether God is speaking to you, or the enemy is trying to deceive you.
God will not love you more because you read the Bible. It’s for your benefit — it’s not required to make God love you. However, without reading the Bible, you will never know the depths of God’s Love, you will not grow spiritually, and you will be more easily deceived.
Prayerfully reading the Scriptures yourself is the only real defense against being misled.
God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). Don’t you want to know the truth? Why waste your time on lesser, unreliable things?
In Mark Chapter 4, the Bible refers to the Word of God as a seed that is planted. Verse 28 says, “For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself.” The earth was made to incubate seed, and to germinate and release that life. Your heart was made for the Word of God! God’s Word was created to be placed in your heart. Just taking a Bible and holding it close, putting it on your coffee table, or carrying it with you doesn’t have any virtue. It doesn’t release power in your life. You have to take the Word, make it a seed, and plant it in your heart. When you do that, your heart is designed to bring forth fruit of itself. It will automatically change the way things work in your life.
Only when you know the genuine can you really spot the counterfeit!
I know the Bible is a big book, but God had a lot to say! Reading the Bible should not be viewed as some terrible task that can never be accomplished, but rather a joyful encounter with the Word and Will of God.
There are currently more versions of the Bible than ever before. You can get Bible software for your computer, Bible Apps for your iPod, iPad or mobile phone. You can listen to it online, download it, stream it, or even still listen to it on CD’s. You can buy Bibles online, or you can simply visit any Bible Bookstore.
You can do this! For your self, your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your future children, your church, your future!