He was in his 90s and he had been in the church since we was converted at 14. I went to visit him at his humble home in Flat Rock. I wanted him to tell me his story. I wanted to know him and be a good pastor to him. He showed me his place and told me the story of each tree. The twin giant white pines in front of the place came home in a bucket from a church camp up north where he had helped dig the original drain field for the sceptic.
He said, “I went to church before I came to ours.”
“Yes, but once I came to our church I started to really understand the Bible and what God did for me and what God expects of me.”
“How did that happen?” I asked.
“Well, when I got to Sunday school the teacher did something I have never seen before. He stood up to teach and taught from an open Bible. When I went to youth group the leader taught from an open Bible. Every Sunday I noticed everyone carried a Bible and the pastor spoke plainly from an open Bible. Soon I was saved and baptized and I had my one Bible and I began to read it. Everything was base on the Bible and everyone who taught taught from an open Bible.”
Bethel is a church of Baptist heritage. It is a Baptist Church, but more than the baptist heritage, Bethel is a Bible-Church, A Bible-preaching, Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church.
We have classes and groups and prayer partners, mens and ladies Bible studies. We have Sunday School classes, a children’s club, a youth group. We have camps and retreats and in all of them the main feature is Bible-teaching. We ask, “What does the Bible say?” “What does the Bible mean?” “What does the Bible mean to me?”
That is what it is all about. We try to make it plain who God is, what he has done for us, and what he expects of us. All this happens before an open Bible.
You should keep that in mind as you decide you priorities for the new year. What place will the Bible have? Take a few minutes and read Psalm 119 or if you are pressed for time read Psalm 19 and give some thought to the place of good Bible-teaching in your life.
Maybe when you are in your 90’s you will smile and say, “Bible-teaching made all the difference in my life.”
We all aspire to the fulness of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit, but the means God uses will always involve the Word of God.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.” (Psalm 19:7–12, ESV)