Wednesday, June 9, 2010

No More Excuses

To paraphrase the expression, “Excuses are like armpits; everyone has them, and they stink.”

Having thus set the tone for this article, there’s no need to skirt the issue or approach it delicately. You need to be in Bible Class.

Here come the excuses. I can smell them from here.

Seriously. Bible class is the place where we grow in God’s Word, where we wrestle with God’s Word, where we learn the content of Holy Scripture, where we learn more about our God who has created and redeemed us. God’s Word is a gift. The opportunity to study it is a privilege.

And yet old habits are hard to break. If you’ve been away from Bible class for a long time, it will be difficult to get into a new routine. If you’ve never been to Bible class, it will be even more difficult. But it’s worth it.

Your old sinful flesh will recoil at giving up an extra hour a week. The Old Adam or Old Eve will have no shortage of excuses. You will try to convince yourself that you don’t need to study the Word of God. In fact, however, studying God’s word is a part of being a disciple of Jesus, who promised, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” (John 8:31). The Word of God is Jesus, our very source of life. To abide in the Word is to abide in Jesus.

Consider the psalmist who penned these words in Psalm 119.

“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! (v. 25)

My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! (28)

Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise; then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me, for I trust in your word. (41-42)

My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word. (81)

Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants. If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. (89-93)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules. I am severely afflicted; give me life, O LORD, according to your word! (105-107)

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God. Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope! (114-116)

I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.” (162)

We rotate through several different types of Bible studies. Sometimes we study a book of the Bible verse-by-verse. Sometimes we study Holy Scripture as expounded in the Lutheran Confessions. Sometimes we study Scripture thematically. Our current Sunday morning Bible class is looking at the Lutheran Divine Service. How is that a “Bible” class? Simple. The liturgy is made up of Scripture. All the songs we sing, the words we speak, the words we hear: nearly everything comes directly from sacred Scripture. Even the actions, the non-verbal parts of worship, come straight from the Word of God.

Bottom line: excuses are lame. Bible class is for all members of Hope. If you’re not in Bible class, you are missing out on learning the Word of God, which gives life. The Word gives Jesus, our only source of life. Don’t let your excuses keep you from the full, free life in Jesus. Join us.

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