The Bible is My Guidebook

Title: The Bible is My Guidebook

Bible Book: Hebrews 4 : 12

Author: Jerry N. Watts

Subject: Bible; Christian Living



Anyone who has ever given served in the military recognizes the acrostic “UCMJ”. It stands for the Uniform Code of Military Justice. While still under the “common law of the land”, people in the military are held to a higher standard of behavior. For instance, you and I cannot be convicted for “conduct unbecoming of a citizen.” Conversely, a service person can be charged with “Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.” This is an act punishable under the UCMJ which, while not necessarily criminal under common law, reflects adversely on the government, the military service, and the officer corps and violates the standard of behavior for a military person. Excessive use of profanity or engaging in a drunken brawl might also be considered “conduct unbecoming.” Make no mistake this very real and is strictly enforced. Additionally, the Armed forces have a “Code of Conduct” (CoC) which also sets standards of behavior. staying home from work called “faking an illness” (if proven guilty) will result in forfeiture of pay, confinement, AND a DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE? While that might sound hard and harsh, the truth is this; after over 20 years of being around service people, I believe they have the highest character and moral integrity of anyone you can meet. Why? Because they know what is expected and they abide by it. Here’s the point, if you are to be in the service, you should know what’s expected of you because what you don’t know can hurt you.

Let’s develop this a little more. To be accepted into the Military an individual must pass certain tests. While I don’t know “all” the required tests, I do know there aptitude vocabulary test and a health test. Once you pass those tests, are accepted, and are sworn in, you are under the standards which are required for members of the Armed Forces. At this point, you better make it your task in life to know what is expected of you.

In the same way service people are called to a higher standard of behavior than non-service people, so are believers called to a higher standard of behavior than non-believers. The UCMJ and COC are guidebooks on how to behave for members of the Armed Forced and similarly the Bible the guidebook for believers in Jesus Christ.

Three years ago I took an entire summer to offer us a series of messages on HBC’S statements, core beliefs, and functions. Over the last couple of months I have sensed God’s leading to revisit our core beliefs.

Core belief #1 – THE BIBLE IS OUR GUIDEBOOK. I begin with a personal question for you; “Is the Bible the guidebook for your life?” It will never pass the test of being the guidebook for the church until it is YOUR guidebook. The two are inseparable.

Three years ago this message offered you three reasons which expressed the “WHY” it should be our guidebook; because it was inspired by God, it contains information about God, and because it gives us instructions from God. While each of these reasons is true, the practical question now is this: “HOW” does the Bible actually become my guidebook? We can say the Bible guides us, but how does the Bible impact us when the waiter gets our order wrong, the boss treats us unfairly, the conversation turns to gossip, or ‘the’ temptation which Satan knows rings our bell? How is it that in these difficult times can the Bible guide us?

Well, it can’t if we don’t know what it says. You and I cannot depend on our teacher, preacher, or leader to spoon feed us until we can handle the trials, tests, and even temptations which come our way. For the Bible to guide you, I offer you 4 truths to employ:

I. Admit My Need

I must admit my need. – In his book entitled, “The Power of Desperation” Michael Catt suggests that we will not do business with God until we are desperate. Candidly, until we believe we have a need for a guide, rarely will we adhere to any other guidelines than our own. The Bible tells us the real facts of life. It teaches us about sin, death, love, life, marriage, relationships, vocation, and in principle, it speaks to a host of issues which we need.

Our scripture tells us that the work of God is living. This means it can find any void or need in our life and fill it. It is just like pouring water into a glass filled with marbles. Everywhere there is an opening, the water fills the emptiness. God’s word will fill our emptiness. The greatest emptiness we have is in our heart. Why? Because our heart was designed for an intimate relationship with God. Adam was not only made in the image of God, but God blew into Adam His breath, His spirit, and HIS soul. It was all GOOD until Adam sinned. Picture it this way; God kicked them out of the Garden of Fellowship and this separation created a void. God immediately provided the animals skins and for the ultimate sacrifice to atone for sin, but the damage was done to all of mankind. When God sent Jesus to die for our sin, it was and is the only way that we could and can be restored into fellowship with the Father, find life to the fullest on earth, and spend an eternity with Him in heaven. It begins with an admission of our need for His word, His Life, and Him.

II. Accept Its Authority

I must accept its authority. – If the Bible is to be your guidebook, it must become your supreme authority for every decision, action, and behavior. I must stop looking to the culture (everybody’s doing it), emotion (If it feels good, do it), reason (it seems logical), tradition (we’ve always done it that way), or ego (what will they think of me). Our text says the word of God is POWERFUL and Paul writes to Timothy that all of it is inspired by God and is useful for all kinds of things. People argue that the Bible is nothing more than a work of mankind. Biblical evidence is strong:

Consider the 66 books which constitute the Canonized Bible. These were written over a 1500 year period, with over 40 authors, in 3 languages, and all point to one truth – “Jesus Saves.” Consider the four gospels. Matthew and John were disciples, Luke was a medical doctor who was given to investigative detail, and Mark was, well, who was Mark? He is the same John Mark who turned back from Paul’s missionary Journey and that Paul and Barnabas parted company over. Yet, he is the one to whom, quite likely; Peter told the story of Jesus only to have Mark write them out. Now, from these varied backgrounds one might expect there to be “glaring differences” and yet, the differences are minute.

Additionally, how is it that the Bible has been used to verify history, science, as well as many other of the academic disciplines? Also the attacks on the Bible are unprecedented, yet the Bible is a divinely protected book because it is a divinely inspired collection of book whose author and owner is ultimately God. (Side Note; we have more copies of Biblical manuscripts than we have of most (if not all) accepted historical documents). The word of God possesses power and authority; however, until I personally accept this authority as THE authority in my life, it will never be my guidebook.

III. Assimilate Its Truth

I must assimilate it truths. –Our text says, “The Word of God is effective.” But let me give you a disclaimer, “It will be only as effective in your life as you allow it to permeate your being.” It’s kind of like a vitamin. You body needs many different vitamins every day. However, having those vitamins setting in your medicine chest, your night stand, or even your kitchen table will not do you any good. Just buying and possessing those vitamins will do no good. It is only when you digest those pills that they begin the work of helping your body. Many people believe they are living by God’s word without “feasting” on its fruit. How do I make God’s word a part of my life? Here are 7 suggestions (from Rick Warren);

A. Receive It

I receive it – This means you hear and accept it with an open mind.

Here’s a huge question: When you hear a message from God’s word what soil would represent your heart? Would it be the calloused, cluttered, choked, or cultivated? A cultivated heart is one in which the word of God can sprout, bud, and blossom. It is one in which God can work and frequently does work. So, listen and hear God’s word.

B. Read It

I read it – This would mean that you take advantage of the privilege you have of reading God’s at any time. For centuries, only the priest had the written word so God’s word had to be READ to the people. Here’s a sad test: Compare the time spent each day reading the newspaper versus reading God’s word.

Cut out one 30 minute TV program each day to read the Bible and you’ll read the Bible through in one year. To read you Bible daily is to keep God’s voice in range. But simply reading isn’t enough.

C. Research It

I research it – This is Bible STUDY. May I suggest that when you read, you have paper and pen close so that you can write down your impression. Read a verse and ask the big 6 questions: “Who? What? Where? Why? When? How? Who?” Then personalize the questions and ask what is in it for me? I suggest you get a Study Bible and/or Bible Software to find the answers for these questions.

d. I remember it – Here the one thing people say they can’t do but I ask, “Who can give me their telephone number?” Social Security Number? The name of their favorite sports team (even their record and upcoming schedule). We all have the capacity to remember. The memory is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets. I suggest as you receive, read, and research the scripture there will be some verse which jump out at you. When this happens, memorize them. Not a church, just a verse or two that you can carry with you.

D. Reflect On It

I reflect on it – This is THE way to “meditate.” Meditation is not unfocused sitting and the clearing of the mind. Conversely, it is “focused thinking.” We are told to meditate on the precepts and principles of God. Honestly we meditate on everything else.

IV. Apply Its Principles

I must apply its principles. – This is where the water meets the wheel. The Bible is NOT my guide book until I act on it and live by it. The Bible says, “Be doers of the word.” This calls for our faith to become action.

A. The Obstacles

The Obstacles – When one decides to live by God’s word, they will find a fight on their hands. The enemy (Satan) will oppose this with all that he has. Because he will use every weapon at his disposal, you and I must put on the Armor of God. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of this world), but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Another obstacle is Self-deception. It is easy to think ourselves above falling into temptation and sin, yet we do and will. Also, we assume because we have studied, heard, and written down a truth, we have actually internalized it.

B. The Operation

The Operation – How do I apply God’s word and become a doer of the word? May I suggest this; when you study a Biblical principle, write out an action step to help you make it come to pass. Make it personal, practical, and provable. It needs to be something you can accomplish. Think about it; what has God told you to do that you know you have completed? “Let you talk be seasoned with grace.” Watch your words.

C. The Outcome

The Outcome – You’ll become more like Christ every day. People will find you to be a person of divine grace, peace, and love.

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