Every day the Lord shows us more and more the importance of studying the word of God and understanding its truth. We hope the reader too will understand the necessity of studying the word of God day and night in order to come out of the darkness that surrounds us and not perish in the famine of these last days. For Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1-18). Very simply, if we don’t know the Word of God then we don’t know Jesus. Even more, if all we know is a perverted word of God then all we will ever know is a false Jesus who can’t save. For if we don’t know the true Jesus, the Word of God, then we don’t know the Light of the World (Jn 8:12) and we will stumble in darkness and never come into the kingdom of light (Col 1:12-13); if we don’t know the true Word of God, then we don’t know the Bread of Life who nourishes our souls (Jn 6:35, cf. Dt 8:3) and we will perish in the famine (see Amos 8:11-13, and Rev 6:5-6).
Throughout the Bible the word of God is described as food for our souls. It is the manna that comes down out of heaven, the bread of life. Just as those who do not eat physical food grow weak and die so do those who do not eat spiritual food grow weak and die. To Joshua God said, “Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it, then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). One of the most sobering pictures in Scripture is that of the man who gave the wedding feast in Matthew 22 and Luke 14. God has prepared a feast for all who would come. He says in Isaiah 55:1-2,
Come! All you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy. Listen! Listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
But there are so few who will come. They will not take the time to come, for their hearts are weighed down by the deceitfulness of wealth and the worries of this life. They are the thorny soil of Matthew 13 who receive the word with joy, joy, joy, but when invited to the feast they will not come. They begin to make excuses, “I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it”, “I have bought five yoke of oxen and I am going to try them out”, “I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come”. They simply won’t come to the feast because something else has their hearts and they love the world and the things of the world more than they love God. And so God says “None of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner”. For, “Many are called, but few are chosen”. Those who are chosen are those who are willing to lay down their own fleshly lives, forsaking everything else if need be, and take the time to come to the living waters of God and eat at the wedding feast of His Son. As Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matt 13:44-46). In light of eternity there is nothing more important than to come to the knowledge of the truth that leads us out of the darkness into the light of salvation. Nothing else matters. “For what shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and yet lose his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Truly, unless one has a sincere love for God’s word and to be taught by His Spirit he will never come to the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness and salvation. Rather, it will be for him just as Jesus said it would be, just as it was in the days of Noah: “They were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away” (Matt 24:38-39). This is the same picture as in the parable of the ten virgins in Matt 25:1-13. The foolish virgins’ lamps were going out at an hour of great darkness so that though having eyes to see they could not see (Matt 13:14-16).
Of equal importance to studying the word of God is understanding it the way God intended it to be understood. This is the importance of being taught by His Spirit rather than by the carnal doctrines that have been handed down in the harlot churches through the traditions of men. For without the oil of the Spirit the lamp of the word of God will give us no light. In today’s darkness there are those who in their form of godliness can relate every fact of the Bible and quote it left and right. But like the man in Matt 22:11 they don’t have on the wedding clothes which are the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness (see Isaiah 61:10). They don’t have them on because in all their study they never came to the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness (Tit 1:1); the word of God never found a place in their heart to take root and bear fruit (Matt 13:1-9, 18-23) and they would not allow the bridegroom of the feast to cleanse them by the washing with water through the word of God so as to become a bride holy and blameless without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish (Eph 5:26-27). Concerning each of these who is naked and shamefully exposed the King is even now saying to his servants, “Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 22:13, compare this with Luke 13:23-30, esp. vss 26 and 29). “Therefore take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him shall more be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him” (Lk 8:18). This is just as Paul said it would be today:
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power. Among them are those who are always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3:1-5,7
Today we find that so little has changed since the time of Jesus and Paul. Just as all those who walked in a form of godliness in the first century didn’t recognize back then the Jesus the Scriptures spoke of because they had established their own righteousness and would not submit to God’s, so too do those today who walk in a form of godliness not recognize the Jesus about which the Scriptures speak because they too have established their own righteousness and will not submit to God’s. And just as they missed what God was doing then, so are they missing what God is doing today. They don’t hear it and they don’t see it because they don’t have ears to hear nor eyes to see. For it is only those who belong to God who hear what God says. The reason they do not hear is that they do not belong to God (Jn 8:24).
Jesus knows his sheep and His sheep know Him (see John 10). They hear His voice and follow Him where His Spirit leads them. Where His Spirit leads them is to Mount Zion and the City of the living God—the heavenly Jerusalem, that city with foundations whose architect and builder is God Himself—and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus (Heb 12:22-24, 11:10). But the only way there is along the Highway of Holiness (Is 35:8-10), for “without holiness, no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14). There aren’t very many who take this path. For it is a narrow way and not many find it. But for those who do it is a very peaceful, quiet way to go. Indeed, because it is so quiet one can hear the shepherd’s voice very clearly. They hear His voice and follow Him, but a stranger they will not follow because they do not know his voice. Even if that stranger should disguise his voice to sound like the true shepherd they will not follow him, but will flee from him. For those who walk this narrow path find it easy to recognize a stranger, because their voice never comes from upon the Highway of Holiness. They are down below, and it is by their fruit that they recognize them. For ourselves, when we began to hear the voice of Jesus and understood that it was really His, then we realized that so many of the voices we had previously been listening to were strangers, and we had to run away from them in order to follow the true Jesus. Since then He has been ever faithful to make us lie down in green pastures and lead us beside still waters (Ps 23:2), to give us each day our daily bread (Matt 6:11).
As we look around at the world in which we live we can hardly deny the lateness of the hour. It is spiritual midnight; darkness surrounds us. And just like those ten virgins in Matthew 25 we have been sound asleep as if in a drunken stupor. What if the shout should go forth? Have we ears to hear it? What if it has already? Are we prepared to go out and meet the bridegroom? Have we oil in our lamps to see the way? Or have we made excuses and refused to come to the feast God has prepared? Will we try to enter without the wedding clothes He demands? O how we pray that in His mercy it isn’t too late and the door isn’t shut. For it is just as Jesus said it would be, over and over and over again.
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