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Pastoral 2012

Revision Sharpens Our Thinking


Revision sharpens our thinking. High achievers find wisdom in this proposition. Revision is demanding but it pays off. A second look is always a better look. When we work on our stored knowledge by way of revision, we are providing our mind with an opportunity to refresh our memory and more. As we sort out our ideas in our mind, our understanding of things is actually being refined, strengthened, deepened and broadened. That is why he who revises finds it easier to come up with good answers during examinations.

The concept of revision is also vital in our spiritual lives. If we are in the habit of revising the sermons that we hear in church, our souls will benefit from them greatly. There is a reason why God ordained the preaching and teaching ministry as central to our church life experience. God knows how much we need His Word. This knowledge of His Word must fill our minds so that we may learn to think, as God wants us to think. Our thought process is vital to our transformation. Unless we think biblically, we can never see a substantial transformation in our lives. Many years spent in church does not guarantee spiritual growth but revision of weekly sermons does wonders.

Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20). This tells us that the Lord wants us to learn more of Him. We must take every opportunity to listen to God’s Word being preached and do our level best to retain it by making sure we do our part to revise. This is our responsibility before God. Moreover, great blessing follow our efforts to retain the knowledge of His truth. The more we know God’s truth, the more we receive His grace: for the knowledge of God is the vehicle of His grace. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:2-3).

May I share with you three reasons why we should revise: Firstly, we are forgetful people. If we do not revise, we will soon forget what we have heard. I remember a pastor friend of mine who told his congregation to jot down notes. Otherwise, he warned, 80 per cent of what they heard would be erased from their minds by the next Lord’s day. Forgetfulness can be a natural weakness of our mind or a sinful habit we have developed. When life is smooth going, we tend not to pay attention to the things of God. The Bible warns us, “Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Deuteronomy 8:11-14). So let us be like David, who prayed, “My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes” (Psalm 119:48).

Secondly, if we do not deliberately make an effort to revise what we have learned from God’s Word, many things that call for our attention will crowd out the precious knowledge of His Word. We do not have sufficient mental prowess to attend to all the demands of this earthly life. Beware. The spiritual lethargy in our times is not often caused by the lack of preaching but rather the lack of revision. So it is important that we accept our limitations and let go of certain things in life for the best things. We must travel light as pilgrims of Christ. While daily devotion has its importance, on top of it, we must allocate a time to revise what we heard the last Lord’s day so that we may be able to recall easily and apply them to our lives as we face new challenges.

Thirdly, the lay people do not have the privilege to study the Bible systematically like those who go for full-time studies in the Bible college. Perhaps with time they will be able to set their thoughts systematically with the help of preachers. So we must all the more make an effort to retain what we heard through revision. As the saying goes: “There is no royal road to learning”, especially when it comes to the study of God’s Word. So we must revise. Be warned. Many have fallen because they do not make an effort to retain and apply what they have been taught.

John Calvin became the greatest theologian of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. It was customary for him to revise whatever he learned the previous day before he ventured to new areas of learning. In fact, he was one of the most brilliant men of his time and yet he did not trust in his mental power. Instead, he revised and revised and revised. God honoured him for all his efforts to learn and retain His Word. He was used mightily of the Lord. His book entitled Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion was instrumental in spreading the biblical truths known as Calvinism, which is today the most stable school of theology.

So revise.

first meeting on 14th January at TGCM


Pastoral Exhortation