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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2011

Growing In The Word

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On the first Sunday of this New Year, I have written about reading through the Bible in the year 2011. I exhorted you to join me in this spiritual exercise as we, as a church, strive to be “mighty in the scriptures” (Acts 18:24). I am glad that some have responded joyfully to the challenge of reading through the Scriptures. As part of my effort to spur you on to read the Bible systematically and consistently, I have been interacting with some of you through my blog. Though blogging demands more of my time, I find it exciting to hear your testimonies and to answer your questions. (I may not be able to answer the questions immediately but I would try to answer on every Monday. I appreciate it if you would post your questions early so that I would have sufficient time to prepare the answers to be posted on Mondays.) It also gives me an opportunity to keep you challenged in your reading of the Word.

The following are two exhortations that I have posted on my blog (www.pastorkoshy.info). Today, for the benefit of every Gethsemanean and our friends, we publish them.

Delight in the Law of the Lord

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2).

Meditating on God’s Word is a Christian duty. Every godly individual takes pleasure in this daily practice. Thus he becomes conversant with the Holy Scriptures.

How do you approach the Holy Scriptures? With what sort of feelings do you view it? Let joy be your first emotion when you think of God’s Word. You must read His Word and yield to its counsel with great enthusiasm. In Psalm 119:47-48, the psalmist declared, “And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.” Likewise, the prophet Jeremiah affirmed, “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).

He who rejoices in God’s law will surely be affected by its wisdom and power. “He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season” (v. 3). His life shall be rooted in the richest of soils; he shall never lack resources; his soul shall delight itself in divine favour and great fruitfulness. In Psalm 119:92, the psalmist testifies,  “Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.”

So may we also say, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).

A fruitful tree by the water

About those who delight in the Word of God, Psalm 1:3 says that “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

What a beautiful illustration of the perpetual verdure and fruitfulness! When a man feeds on God’s Word, he receives nurture and vitality from the ever fresh wisdom and truth of God. He is then sustained and refreshed by the wonderful words of life, like the tree whose roots are refreshed by never failing streams of living water. This nourishment invigorates the whole tree - its roots, trunk, larger branches to the tiniest twig, leaves and fruits. What wholesome piety would pervade the life of a man who delights himself in the Word of God! Because his source of strength can never fail, his life will exude vigour, verdure and fruitfulness. Like the tree “planted” by the rivers of water, are we “planted” by the living water of the Word?

If your life does not bear “fruit in his season”, it is obvious that you have not been planted by the living water. Every person who is nurtured by the Word of God will produce the appropriate spirit fruit in his season. Childhood has its fruits; youth has its fruit; and old age has its fruits too. The Lord expects you to bear fruit in your peculiar season that He has appointed for you. Just stay by the living water of His Word.

Conclusion

If you have been reading regularly, according to the plan I have distributed at the beginning of the year, you would have already completed reading Genesis and 14 chapters of Matthew. If you are a little behind schedule, may I ask you to read more chapters on weekends, especially on the Lord’s Day.

If you have not started reading yet, I would like to encourage you to join all of us who have started. You are not too late. If you would spend more time on weekends, you can easily catch up with the reading schedule in about two to three weeks. “Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine’ (1 Timothy 4:13).

Pastoral Exhortation