Lesson #2 – Passionate about the Word
This is Lesson #2 in the 10 Ways to be a Stronger Christian series. The second key ingredient to make you a strong, solid believer is being passionate about the Word of God. It adds consistency to our lives in all areas. Moreover, where the Bible is active, the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is active too.
Do Not Be Discouraged
The lessons in this study of 10 Ways to be a Stronger Christian are based on a study I worked through by Rick Renner Ministries.
The precious Word of God states in Romans 8:1 (MEV): There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Therefore, do not allow the Adversary to bring condemnation for areas throughout this study series where you may be weak. Ask your Heavenly Father to help you become stronger and He will!
Scriptures Referenced in this Lesson
- Acts 2:42-43
- Acts 8:6-7
- Matthew 4:23
- Matthew 24:35
- Mark 16:20
- 1 Peter 1:22-23
- 2 Timothy 4:2-4
Iran is Passionate About the Word of God
Iranian Christians are witnessing one of the “fastest-growing underground church movements” in the world, but are also under intense persecution.
Yet, Iranians actually have very little access to Christian resources. Churches have to stay in the shadows, though historical Christian churches are granted some limited freedoms. Still, it is forbidden for Christians to evangelize individuals of Muslim backgrounds. Consequently, church services in Persian (Iran’s national language) are not allowed.
The Islamic Republic is listed as number 9 among the world’s top persecutors of Christians, according to Open Doors USA.
Iran’s Intelligence Minister
Iran’s intelligence minister admitted publicly that Christianity is spreading throughout Iran as he was giving a speech in front of several Shia Muslim clerics.
According to the article, the intelligence minister told the clerics: “We had no choice but to summon them to ask them why they were converting.” “It is not the job of the intelligence community to find the roots of these conversions from Islam. But it’s happening right before our eyes,” he added.
China is Passionate About the Word of God
China has witnessed a significant increase in Christian believers. The number of Chinese Protestants has grown by an average of 10 percent annually since 1979. By some estimates, China is on track to have the world’s largest population of Christians by 2030.
Africa is Passionate About the Word of God
- First, Zambia with 95.5 percent
- Second, the Republic of Seychelles, with 94.7 percent
- Third, is Rwanda.
Is America Passionate About the Word of God?
The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In a Pew Research survey conducted in 2018 and 2019:
65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians, down 12 percentage points over the past decade.
Meanwhile, people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stand at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.
What about you? Are you passionate about the Word of God? Am I? Are we inspiring others to love it too? If we’re serious about being successful Christians, we will have to have the Word of God as the anchor of our lives. And we’ll have to become passionate about the Word of God.
The Early Church
The Early Church was passionate about the Word of God.
Acts 2:42 it states: All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
“devoted themselves” in the Greek language means to persevere consistently. This describes an intense focus, constant diligence, hard work, and effort that never let up. Carrying the idea of addiction.
It was as if early believers were addicted to the apostles’ teaching. They gave the Word of God their intense focus, applying every effort to not only hear it but also to put it into practice. They were passionate about the Word of God.
Their feeding on the Word was not hit or miss, it was continual and intense.
Supernatural Signs Accompany God’s Word
Matthew 4:23 states: “Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness.”
Jesus taught the Word of God. What were the results of the Word going forth?
The Scripture says, “…he healed every kind of disease and illness.”
The power of the Holy Spirit manifested Himself with the proclaiming of the Word.
Acts 8:6 states: “Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message ….” Philip was speaking the Word of God, and when he did, the people began to “see the miraculous signs he did”.
Acts 8:6-7 states: Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed.
Again and again, we see this pattern in the Early Church. Where the Word was taught and preached, the Holy Spirit was found working.
The Same Holds True For Us Today
Yes, the same holds true for us today. However the opposite holds true also.
If we remove the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, likewise, if we are not passionate about the Word of God, we remove the working of the power of God; the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
An article on beliefnet.com states: “Many feel like God has been removed from everything, especially when it comes to the public square. Courts have taken prayer out of the classroom and public institutions. The Ten Commandments have been removed from parks, schools, and courthouses. Through the banner of separation of church and state and political correctness, many institutions have succeeded in removing God …”
“The secular progressive agenda is antithetical to the principles of the founding of this nation,” Carson continued. “And if we continue to allow them to take God out of our lives, God will remove himself from us. We will not be blessed, and our nation will go down the tubes. And we will be responsible for that. We don’t want that to happen.”Ben Carson
Rev. Mirta M. Signorelli.MA. Ph.D. blogged on CC.org:
‘Our United States of America has been highly distinguished around the world as a Christian Nation. A nation known for offering freedom and opportunity to all people from all parts of the world regardless of race, color, or creed. Only in America do we truly experience our proclamation of freedom.’
‘Unfortunately, the God of the Judeo Christian Bible, the same God who has blessed America throughout the centuries, is under attack and has been “expelled” from all aspects of the “public square” here, in our country …”
‘Many Americans are unaware of the spiritual warfare that is currently going on in our country today.’ Read the full article here.
How the Devil Has Duped Many Churches
In many churches today, the enemy has successfully tricked the leadership into backing away from teaching and preaching the Word of God. Satan knows that where no one is passionate about the Word of God, there will be very little supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.
Regrettably, he has been effective in his efforts.
In place of the Word, many pastors offer inspirational and motivational messages to comfort and encourage the masses. This departure from teaching the Bible has created a large company of churchgoers who are biblically illiterate.
Dig Deeper Into His Word
God wants us to dig deeper into His Word, not pull away from it! He wants us to be intelligent, passionate people who esteem and embrace His truth at every opportunity. Believers who are full of the Word are full of Jesus and are empowered to live pure lives.
First Peter 1:22-23 states: “Since your souls have been purified by obedience to the truth through the Spirit….”
Without the application of the Word, our souls cannot be purified.
Moreover, we can’t even be born again without the Word. For in the very next verse it states:
“for you have been born again, not from perishable seed, but imperishable, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.”
The Early Church:
- Was addicted to the Word being taught by the apostles.
- Understood how vital it was for their spiritual well-being.
- Knew removal of the Word from their lives, would remove the all-powerful, spiritually transforming action of the Holy Spirit.
A Mini Greek Lesson
“Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” (NLT)
In the first half of 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul instructed Timothy (and the entire Church today) to:
- Preach – from kerusso [kā-rü’s-sō], meaning to proclaim, declare, announce, or to herald a message.
It is the picture of a message proclaimed by the official spokesman or herald of a king, whose job was to announce with a clear and unquestionable voice the desires, dictates, or orders of the king.
To publish or herald a message was a high, noble, and privileged responsibility. Therefore, there is no greater position or privilege than to be a proclaimer of God’s Word.
- Be prepared – from ephistemi [e-fē’-stā-mē], meaning to take a firm stand or a hard position. It is a term borrowed from the military that meant to stay at one’s post.
- In favorable – from eukairos [yü-kī’-rōs], meaning in good, happy, pleasing, enjoyable, or pleasurable times. It indicates something that is timely, suitable, or convenient.
A Mini Greek Lesson – Part 2
The Greek word meanings for the second half of 2 Timothy 4:2.
- Correct/reprove – from elegcho [e-le’n-khō], meaning to convict, to expose, or to cross-examine for the purpose of a conviction, as when convicting a lawbreaker in a court of law.
This means when the Word of God is declared, it brings offenders to a place of conviction. It exposes them and what needs to change in their life. It doesn’t just pat them on the back and say, “Everything will be fine.”
- Rebuke – from epitimao [e-pē-tē-mä’-ō], meaning to chide, to admonish, to warn, or even to correct. In this verse, it describes a frank, but an honorable way of politely telling a person that he or she has done something wrong.
Rebuking does not mean being rude, however, it does mean speaking the truth with such power and anointing that it brings the offender to a place of total conviction by the Spirit of God.
Exhort/encourage – from parakaleo [ pä-rä-kä-le’-ō], meaning to urge, beseech, plead, beg, or pray.
It is the motivational aspect of preaching. It is the picture of someone who has come closely alongside another for the sake of consoling him, comforting him, or assisting him with instruction, counsel, or advice.
This word “exhort” was used to depict military leaders who came alongside their troops to urge, exhort, beseech, beg, and plead with them to stand tall and face their battles bravely.
Good teaching/doctrine – from didache [dē-dä-khā’], and it describes the whole body of Christian teaching. When we teach, we are to teach the whole Bible, not just the selective parts we like.
2 Timothy 4:2 Could be Read
We could reword the verse to reflect what we have learned to say:
We as God’s official spokesman, must announce with a clear and unquestionable voice the desires, dictates, and orders of our King. As a herald of our King, we need to take a firm stand in good, happy, enjoyable times, or in unhappy times, to expose, in an honorable and polite way what a person has done wrong. Then we are to come closely alongside and console, comfort, or assist each other with instruction, counsel, or advice as needed from the whole of God’s word, not just the selective parts we like.
When all these things are done effectively the Holy Spirit will pull out His divine scalpel and slice into the human heart to correct us and remove from our lives what needs to be removed.
Using the Word, He does His surgical work on our hearts and souls like nothing and no one else can. In one moment, the Holy Spirit miraculously and simultaneously tailors the message and performs a unique work in the heart of every hearer.
No wonder the devil hates the teaching of the Bible. He doesn’t want these works of God to happen in us, in our friends, or in our church.
A Warning for the Last Days
The Holy Spirit explicitly warns us in 2 Timothy 4:3- 4:
“For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths.”
Knowing that this is a trend the enemy is baiting people — even believers — to buy into, we have to be careful that we don’t become a victim to the spirit of the age. We must be passionate about the Word of God!
Moreover, if we become addicted to the Word, the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit will be present in our lives.
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear” (Matthew 24:35).
Nothing will outlast the Word of God! God’s Word is eternal, impervious, unchangeable, immutable, and forever settled! We need to embrace it. It is an essential ingredient that will empower us to be strong, mature, and stable throughout our lives.
Questions for Consideration
Jesus said, “…If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
Stop and think about a verse or passage of Scripture that has brought great freedom to your life? Write it out and share how the Holy Spirit has used it to bring more light, liberty, and life to you and your situation.
One of the most amazing things about the Word of God is its inherent power.
Hebrews 4:12 communicates this clearly.
Take a moment and meditate on this verse in a few different Bible versions. Write out the version that impacts you most. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you in this scripture?
Throughout the early New Testament, supernatural signs accompanied the teaching, preaching, and sharing of God’s Word. Healings, miracles, and wonders of all kinds were manifested and witnessed.
Imagine for a moment what life would be like if these kinds of signs were present every time you declared God’s Word.
- How do you think it would affect unbelievers?
- How would it affect you personally?
Believers in the Early Church “continued steadfastly” in the Word of God. That is, they had an intense focus, constant diligence, and a sustained effort to learn and apply it in their lives. They were addicted to it.
- Have you ever experienced this level of passion for the Word?
- If so, what form sparked your excitement (written Word, audio Bible, sermon, etc.)?
- How can you create more space for hearing, receiving, and applying God’s Word in your life?
Scriptures used are from biblegateway.com and unless otherwise noted, I’m using the New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.