Lesson 3: LEARNING TO EAT
A BATTLE RAGES
"For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do"
(Romans 7:19). "For to will is present with me; but how to form that which is good I find not" (Romans 7:18).
Many new Christians are surprised they have difficulty living the right kind of life. Their intentions are good. They try hard. Why do they usually fail?
A pig likes to eat garbage and lie in a mudhole; that is his nature. He is a pig. He does these things instinctively. A lamb likes to feed in green pastures and drink from clear, still water. That is the nature of a lamb.
If it were possible to take the nature of a lamb and place it in a pig, you would expect the pig to act like a lamb and feed in green pastures. He would still have the same body and look like a pig, but he would not act like a pig or enjoy the things the other pigs enjoy.
This illustrates what happened to you. You met the Lord Jesus and received Him as your personal Saviour. You were a sinner, but He has given you His life and His nature. You soon discover you have new interests. You want to do things you did not like to do before. This is the way it should be (II Peter 1:4).
Now suppose you find the pig has the new nature of a lamb, and he still has his old pig nature too. The chances are he will spend most of his time in the mudhoIe or eating garbage, because that is what he is in the habit of doing. Deep down in his heart, however, a battle will be raging. The nature of the lamb will be despising the filth and crying out for deliverance. The pig can never be happy in a mudhole again.
This is exactly the case with the new Christian. The old human, sinful nature is called the flesh. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit"
(John 3:6). You have the fruit of the flesh and the Spirit contrasted in Galatians 5:19-23.
The pig needs food. If he feeds in the pastures, we can expect him to act like a lamb. If he feeds on the garbage, we can expect him to act like a pig.
HOW CAN YOU GET HIM TO THE PASTURES?
IF you could have someone to shepherd or guide the new pig it would help. Even so a pig is a hard animal to guide. He is headstrong and unpredictable. If you could put a guide right inside the pig's heart, what a difference that would make!
Jesus promised this very thing in John 14:16-17. The Holy Spirit is dwelling in the heart of every Christian. He is to be "with you" and "in you" forever (Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 6:19).
It is through the power of the Holy Spirit you are able to live the Christian life In your own strength you can do nothing (Romans 7:18). The rule for every Christian should be Galatians 5:16; "Walk in the Spirit (his power and guidance), and ye shall not fulfill the lust (strong desires) of the flesh."
Old habits will be very strong. This is a battle that will continue as long as you are in this body. Christ has promised you the victory if you will fight in His power and strength (Philippians 4:13; I Corinthians 15:57).
To grow spiritually you must have food. You must let the Holy Spirit guide you into the green pastures of God's Word. This should become a regular habit, not haphazard sampling.
"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts" (Jeremiah 15:16).
Parents are always happy when a child begins to feed himself. He may need a lot of help, and he cannot eat every kind of food, but this is a sign he is growing. What a tragedy if someone had to feed him the rest of his life! Many Christians are in this very condition. Their growth has been stunted (Hebrews 5:11-14).
Several different utensils are used in eating. Each one has its particular use, but all for the one purpose of helping you get food into your body. You do not eat just because you like the taste of food. You know your body must have food for energy and growth. So you will use several different methods in feeding on the Word to grow spiritually.
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the More of God" (Romans 10:17). You are now a part of the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13). He has given the Body (the Church) evangelizes, pastors, and teachers to build it up and equip it for service (Ephesians 4:11-16). This is God's desire, that you meet other Christians. There is a place in your heart that can only be filled by fellowship with God's people (Hebrews 10:25).
You can hear the Word of God preached and taught several ways:
1. By attending a Bible-believing Baptist Church, not only on Sunday, but also during the week.
2. Through Biblically sound radio and TV broadcasts and cassette tapes.
3. Bible conferences, conventions and camps. Share in the blessings of years of study and experience of the great servants of God. Learn to take notes so you can keep and pass on the treasures you receive. Also, through the printed page you can sit at the feet of the great men of God of past ages.
Give attendance to reading (I Timothy 4:13). You should have a Bible-reading plan that will take you from Genesis through Revelation. After you finish the New Testament, start in at Genesis and continue to read through the Bible. This will:
1. Help keep before you the whole plan of God.
2. Give you an opportunity to review forgotten material.
3. Bring to your attention new subjects for study.
4. Tie all parts of your "feeding on the Word" together. You will find the passage the pastor preached on, the verses you memorized, and the portion used in your study courses. So in this way you get the bird's-eye view of God's program.
You should eventually try to read through your Bible every year. You can do this by reading three chapters daily and five on Sunday. (Keep this goal before you, but read to receive a blessing, not for speed.)
Children are trained to brush their teeth by using a health chart to mark every day. They are not expected to keep a chart the rest of their lives, but it is hoped a visible record will help them develop the habit of brushing their teeth.
Remember to mark your reading chart so you will develop the daily habit of "feeding on the Word." Take time after reading for God to speak to you.
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15; Acts 17:11). Many families try to make Sunday dinner an especially good meal. It is important that at least once each week you really "dig down" into the Word and study. This should not be confused with reading. To prevent you from getting "bogged down" in your reading when you find an interesting subject, list it on a page in your notebook under the title, "Topics for Future Study." Otherwise, you might spend weeks in a few chapters. Then study the subjects after you have finished reading the book.
As you study, be systematic, preserve the fruit of your effort, make it "pass-on-able," make a personal application to your own life. For example: This is what God's Word says--but this is what I am doing--so I will seek to change my life in this way.
TYPES OF BIBLE STUDY
1. question and answer (as you are now doing in this course).
2. By topics (prayer, temptation, love, Satan).
3. People in the Bible.
4. By book, chapter, verse, or words.
Lists of suggested studies are given at the end of this course. It is important first to lay a good foundation, meet your present needs, and develop good study habits.
You may want to devote an evening to your weekly study or portions of several days. Try to work on at least one Bible study each week.
A knife is used to cut food. Learn to rightly divide the Word (II Timothy 2:15). Are you looking up all the references given in this part of the lesson?
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee"
. In eating you use a fork to pick up bites of food. As you feed on God's Word you will find promises, commands, words of wisdom, or choice bites that you will want to remember. There are many reasons for hiding the Word in your heart where it will always be with you. It is automatic machinery that the Holy Spirit can use (John 14:26):
1. To meet the attacks of Satan (you have the first four verses especially for this). (I John 5:11-12); (I Cor. 10:13); (I John 1:9); (John 16:24)
2. To win another. (I Peter 1:23)
3. To help you grow. (Acts 20:32; I Peter 2:2,3)
4. To change your life. (Romans 12:2); (II Cor. 3:18); (Hebrews 4:12)
5. To set a standard. (Psalm 19:7,8)
6. To pray more effectively. (John 15:7); (Colossians 1:9-11)
7. To guide you. (Psalm 119:105)
Do what the Bible says: Hide verses in your heart, not your head. Spend the time necessary to Learn the reference so you can always turn to it in your Bible and use it with someone else.
As you read and study, you will find verses you would Like to memorize. List them on a page in your notebook, "Verses for Future Memory." Learn the verses with the lessons first before you go on your own. They are matched with the study section and are selected to give you a foundation and to meet your immediate needs.
The secret of memory work is review. In order to review you need some type of system. That is why the verse cards are used. Soon it will take more time for review than it will for studying new verses. Use odd moments, waiting for or riding the bus, washing dishes, ironing, walking to work. Try for a goal of two new verses a week.
"Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all" (I Timothy 4:15).
All the food in the world will not help you grow if your body does not digest it. It will just make you uncomfortable or sick.
Regardless of how much you hear, read, study, or memorize the Word, if you do not digest it spiritually so it can be applied to your life it will not help you. (You will not be able to start all of these things and do them the right way at first. Satan will try to keep you out of the Bible).
In Hebrews 5:11-14, it speaks of some people who had never grown spiritually. They were still babes and needed to be taught. Those who "by reason of use" had grown were ready for the "strong meat," the deeper truths of God's Word.
Throughout this course as you discover God's will, you will be urged to take little steps to apply what you have learned to your own life. This will in turn allow you to walk in closer fellowship with Christ and partake of the abundant life He offers.
SUGGESTIONS AND HELPS
Mark your Bible Anything that will make you more at home in your Bible ought to be encouraged. Underline precious passages, circle the numeral of each verse you memorize, write cross references in the margin, and add descriptive words or comments. But do it carefully and neatly.
A concordance is a book containing lists of all the words used in the Bible and the places where they occur. It is very helpful to find a verse when you remember only part of it or only a word. It is a valuable book, too, in the study of topics.
Hearing..... Romans 10:17. The easiest way to feed upon the Word is by hearing it preached or taught.
Reading..... (I Timothy 4:13). The easiest way to feed yourself is by reading the Bible for yourself.
Study..... (II Timothy 2:15). As you start reading the Word you will soon realize there are some things you will not be able to understand by just casual reading. You will have to stop and reread the portion and compare scripture with scripture. You will really have to study.
Memorizing..... Psalm 119:11. As you really study you will come across verses you will want to remember. These you will want to memorize so you will always have them with you and the Holy Spirit can use them to encourage and guide you. As you hear the Word preached and taught, and you read and study and memorize for yourself, you will want to meditate on all these things and apply them to your life so the Word of God can really change you into the image of Christ
Assignment: Extra Blessings:
Matthew 6:33 Jeremiah 15:16
Philippians 4:13 Romans 10:17
II Timothy 2:15 (I Timothy 4:13)
teaches that God's Word is more important than food.
2. II Timothy 3:16
teaches that all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for study. True False
3. Who helps you understand spiritual things
(I Cor. 2:9-12)?
(The Author knows more about His Book than anyone else. You will not understand everything but you can claim God's promise in
4. According to Psalm 119:18 you should begin to read the Bible by praying that God will
5. The Bible will some day pass away (Isa. 40:8). True False
6. God still allows men to add to the Bible (Rev. 22:18). True False
7. Your unsaved friends can understand and appreciate spiritual things (I Cor. 2:14).
8. II Timothy 2:15 commands you to pray. True False
9. The Word of God is able to:
(Match the correct reference with the answer)
Acts 20:32(a)help you to pray
John 15:7(b)guide you
Ps. 119:105(c)"build you up and give you an inheritance"
10. Psalm 119:11 teaches you should memorize Scripture so others will know you are a Christian. True False
11. Mark 7:21-23 teaches that the source of evil desires is the heart. True False
12. You should learn to study because Eph. 4:14 teaches there are false teachers waiting to deceive you. True False
13. What verse in all the lessons has meant the most to you (not only the memory verses)? ___________ Have you shared it with anyone? _______
14. How many chapters have you read this week? _________________ Since starting this course? ____________ (Speed is not the important thing, but regularity with an open heart.)
Can you say yes to (Psalm 122:1)? ____________ How many services did you attend this week? ____________
15. What are four ways we can feed on God's Word?
Hearing (a) II Timothy 2:15
Reading (b) Romans 10:17
Studying (c) Psalm 119:11
Memorizing (d) I Timothy 4:13
16. Most important you must apply the Word to your
17. By yourself you can do nothing for God (John 15:5). True False
18. Through whose strength should you live your daily life (Phil. 4:13) ?
19. Whom did Andrew find after he had found Jesus (John 1:41)?
20. Have you ever led anyone to Christ? __________ Would you like to? __________
Would Jesus like you to John 15:16? _______________
21. Have you memorized:
Matt. 6:33Yes No
Psalm 119:11Yes No
Phil. 4:13Yes No
II Tim. 2:15Yes No
22. If you want extra blessings learn:
Jer. 15:16Yes No
I Tim. 4:13Yes No
I Tim. 4:15Yes No
Rom. 10:17Yes No
23. To be used of God you:
I Cor. 1:26-29(a) should not set your affections on earthly things.
II Cor. 12:9(b) do not need to be wise, strong, or important.
Phil. 2:3,4(c) must work humbly.
Col. 3:1,2(d) work in Christ's power.