This is the manuscript of a message I’m delivering in Elmore Country today (May 3, 2015). Please allow for my personal notes to keep me on a flow of thought during delivery.

Scripture: The Mind Of Christ

Today is a holy & sacred time. It is a time for us to quiet our heart & soul to hear God. It is not a time for trivial thinking because this time is holy unto God Himself. Consider Neh 8:1… (STAND)

And all the people (30-50k!) gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men & women & all who could u’stand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men & the women & those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 4 And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, & as he opened it all the people stood. 6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, & all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads & worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. 7 Then (The Levites) helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. 8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, & they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God & profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, & for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

1 Cor 2:16 For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (The “Mind of Christ” IS God’s Word!)

Consider from Neh 8. It had been years since the people had heard God’s Word. So they insisted on hearing it. One of the hallmarks of genuine believers is a hunger for God through His Word. They won’t be satisfied with anything else. Stories & entertainment from the pulpit are unethical. Weeks ago we said if your next Pastor cannot preach or teach he is unqualified.[1] Your Search Team is diligently looking for a godly man who has a good command of the Scriptures. Now consider 1 Pet 2:2…

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation…

The spiritual life of a believer is tied to Scripture… God’s Word. From deep w/in they long for & desire to hear it. The desire will surpass the desire for food & water. Wtihout a regular intake the believer will atrophy… losing spiritual power & strength. So you must hear it (“Faith comes by hearing”).

Listen… it is impossible to effectively deliver God’s Word in 20 min OR by telling a bunch of stories vaguely related to the Bible for 30 min. Those are like going to a banquet, hungry, expecting a 7 course meal but getting ½ a PB&J on stale bread with dirty river water!

Q: Do we desire God’s Word? Do we scream for it like a baby for milk? Or worse… do we settle for bologna in place of fine steak? Listen! You have in this book everything you need… 2 Pet 1:3-5

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life & godliness, thru the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory & excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious & very great promises (Scripture), so that thru them (His Word) you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

The more you read & reflect upon God’s Word you will: Partake in the Divine nature! This means you will become more like Jesus… more godly… more holy… more loving, gracious, merciful, compassionate, & forgiving. The more treasures will be laid up for you in heaven!

Look at the people’s response in vss 6-7… “Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, & all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen,’ lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads & worshiped the Lord w/ their faces to the ground.” I’ve never witnessed or been a part of something like that…

That was just from the introductory prayer & reading of Scripture! Imagine!! Why? God’s people understood what was taking place. They heard GOD through His Word! THINK! When Scripture is read, we literally hear God’s voice! Thus they (We?!) worshipped.

When the Word was opened, the people stood… out of reverence & respect. This was a solemn occasion. They “were attentive” to what they heard for probably 4+ hours! Oh that we were so hungry… They were riveted to hearing God. What was taking place was too important… too significant to miss anything! Look at vs 3. They stood listening “from early morning to midday.”

This should take place every Sunday morning. There is no other time during your week that is like now. Not on TV or radio or SS. This is THE time God tells us to set apart to hear from Him through: 1) Scripture being read, 2) The Holy Spirit’s moving, & 3) The “foolishness” of preaching! Listen to God thru Paul at this point…

1 Tim 4:13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, exhortation, & teaching.

1 Cor 1:21 In the wisdom of God, the world did not know God thru wisdom, it pleased God thru the folly of what we preach (Scripture, The Gospel) to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs & Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews & folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews & Greeks, Christ (is) the power & wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, & the weakness of God is stronger than men.

“The folly (foolishness) of what we preach (of preaching)” points to two things. 1stWHAT is done… preaching (Not speaking, not talking, PREACHING). BTW, this runs contrary to our nature… being TOLD what is truth. Yet that is to be done every Sunday and is called “Preaching.”

2nd, Preaching is proclaiming TRUTH. God’s Truth. Things that aren’t up for debate or critique. Things that are not decided as true by you, me, or anyone else. Instead, ETERNAL truth (God’s Truth) is proclaimed & it IS to be embraced by His people.

When God’s truth is proclaimed, He contradicts our nature… what we like or want… & many times Scripture is difficult to understand. Thus it is written in Neh 8:7-8, “Then (The Levites) helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, & they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.” (Preaching)

Not everything in the Bible is easy to understand. That’s why what was read for those hours was also explained to them. That’s why it is written for today… (Please allow me to quote a few passages)…

1 Tim 3:2 An overseer must be… able to teach…

1 Tim 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself & on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself & your hearers.

1 Tim 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching & teaching

2 Tim 2:24 The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach…

I’ve just scratched the surface of what you need to hear & know about Scripture… God’s Word. I pray that you will have written the passages down to reflect on them later. I pray God will open our eyes to the importance of His Word, how we are to revere it, AND the importance of what your next pastor MUST be able to do WELL! Here is another passage for reflection regarding your next pastor…

2 Tim 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God & of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living & the dead, & by his appearing & his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season & out of season; reprove, rebuke, & exhort, with complete patience & teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 & will turn away from listening to the truth & wander off into myths.

Keep praying for your Search Team! It is easy for them to find a warm body who can give religious talks on Sunday & visit a bunch. But it is more important they find God’s man who is able to encourage you & help you grow by preaching & teaching God’s Word properly. Hear God from Jn 1…

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, & the Word was with God, & the Word was God. 14 And the Word became flesh & dwelt among us, & we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace & truth. 12 to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Yes, we’ve talked a lot about Scripture… God’s Word… God’s Truth. But I tell you plainly & clearly that JESUS IS The Word! The Gospel is Jesus & everything in Scripture points to Him… OT & NT. He calls you to repent of your sin & believe in order to be saved.

[1] 1 Tim 3:2, 4:16, 5:17; 2 Tim 2:24, 4:1-2