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1 Corinthians 9:11
"If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?"

 

 

 

 

 

Evangelism:
The Time Is Now!

Section 4, Chapter 3

Daily Feeding On Jesus
Through The Word

Chapter Illustration

Back to chapter 2
Study Questions

Jesus said in John 8:47 "He who is of God hears the words of God." Jesus is saying here, Are you really interested in having relationship with Me and knowing My will and plan for your life and living on Me the Bread of Life? Then express this desire by daily reading My Word.

The important thing to understand here is that we do not daily read the Word to get saved, nor to find out what it says initially so we can try and conform ourselves to it. We go to the Word first of all because Jesus says if we want to have relationship with Him, if we want His Spiritual-Life for our healing needs, or if we are saying we want our lives to be centered in Him, then we will express this by reading His Word. Jesus says in John 14:21,

"He who has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and He who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him."

Jesus says in this passage that when we express our dependence on Him by obeying His admonition to daily read the Word, He assumes that we want His Spiritual-Life and to have relationship with Him and know His plans for our life that day. As a result of this action on our part, He promises to give us His Spiritual-Life to live the Christian life and for our healing needs and to reveal to us Himself and the answer to our needs. For this reason, I personally daily have a specified amount of time I have set aside to feed on Jesus and His Word and to seek His Spiritual-Life and Power.

When I get ready to read the Word I tell Jesus by my turning to the Word that I am interested in what He has to say concerning my life and His Lordship over my life and that I am dependent on Him to live that plan

through me in His power for that day. The days that I read the Word I find Jesus speaking to me in my heart and thoughts all day long as I come to different problems and concerns. I also notice I have greater power and strength to resist temptations that come my way during the day.73 On the days that I DO NOT expose myself to Jesus and His Word I find that I am confused and uncertain about my decisions and that my ability to resist temptation and keep from surrendering to it is weak, if non-existent.74

Why is this true? It is true because when Jesus created us He created us in His image. Part of what this means is having a free will. Jesus will not interfere with our free will, even after Salvation. Secondly, Jesus operates by faith just like you and I do. When you do not take the time to acknowledge Jesus in your day, He assumes that you do not want Him to rule over your life or your day and so backs off. Jesus honors the freedom of choice He created you with.

What happens though when Jesus does back off and leave us to ourselves and our choice of self-rule? Since now we no longer have Jesusí restraining grace over our sin controlled soul and flesh, the sin controlled soul and flesh take over and we find ourselves falling back into sin and again in bondage to sin. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:28, "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."

When a person receives Jesus as Savior and Lord, what happens? I gave my life to Jesus and he delivered me from . . . . For any of us who know Jesus, this is our story. Myself, before I knew Jesus, I had a four letter word vocabulary I could not get rid of; but when I gave my life to Jesus, the first thing He did was take away whatever the

driving force was that led to my cussing and swearing. Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying that I have not cussed since, but the daily ongoing habit of it is gone. In this way I am free. But what were to happen if I stopped seeking Jesus and his grace and strength to live for Him? What I am without Jesus would resurface and I would find myself with an uncontrollable four letter word vocabulary again. I have seen this again and again with Christians who leave their first love: all their vices return, whatever they may be, and even some new ones.

You see, you and I are no better than the people in the world. We are depraved sinners just as they are. Why is it then we do not practice the vices of the world? Is it because we are stronger willed and of better character of mind than they are? No. What is different about us and the world is that we acknowledge Jesus in our lives and days. What is the end result? Jesus gives us his restraining grace over our sin controlled soul and flesh and we find we are no longer controlled or enslaved to our sin controlled soul and flesh.

This is what is wrong with a do or don't Christianity; it is us trying to restrain our flesh, not God's grace through Jesus. Self-religious programs only produce strife, confusion and self-condemnation. Self will never corrected anything. Self-religious programs are not the answer to your vices and sin problems. Jesus is the answer to your needs. Only one self-will will give you the answer to your needs: the self-will to turn to Jesus for the answer to your needs.

In 1 Corinthians 15:31 the Apostle Paul wrote, "I die daily." Paul daily made a decision to acknowledge Jesus in his life and His Lordship over his life and to allow Jesus to have His way in his life. He daily died to self. Why? Because Paul knew that without Jesus he had no power over his flesh, the world or the devil. Paul recognized his total one-hundred percent dependence on Jesus. There is no deliverance from our problems and weaknesses except through Jesus. Do you want deliverance and answers from your problems and needs? Jesus is your only answer. Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. He is the only one who has the answer to your problems.

I must be honest and say that once I learned the importance of daily seeking Jesus through feeding on Him and His Word several years ago, I have not missed a day of spending time with him and reading His Word since. I consider it my absolute top priority of the day and will lose sleep if necessary to spend time with Him, because I recognize my total dependency on Jesus to live out His purpose and plan for my life and to maintain my healing needs.

Very seldom does the passage I am reading for the day have anything to do with my needs of the day. Nevertheless, either as I am reading the passage or sometime during the day Jesus will speak to me in my heart and tell me what the answer to my needs are whether the passage of the morning was relevant or not. This is because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

If the Scripture itself, you are reading for the day, is not relevant to your need of the day most of the time, then why does Jesus want us to daily express our need of Him through daily reading the Word? First, we need to daily read, memorize, and know the Word of God because it is the main tool by which Jesus leads our lives through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul commands, "and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." (Eph 6:17). The passage I am reading for the day may not be relevant according to my need of the day, but it may be tomorrow. Since I have read it and it is now in my memory banks, when needed Jesus is able through the Holy Spirit to bring it to my remembrance. Jesus said in John 14:26,

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."

Second, we also read the Word so we can discern what is truly Jesus' voice to our hearts and what is truly Jesus-dependence. As Jesus said, "He who is of God hears the Words of God. . ." (Jn 8:47). Jesus will never lead us contrary to the principles and truths of His Word. The character that the Word portrays of God and Jesus' character are one and the same. They will never contradict each other, never! The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 138:2 "You have magnified Your Word according to all Your name." Francis A. Schaeffer states in his book, Escape From Reason,

"It is not a question of God revealing Himself in Jesus Christ only, because there is not enough content in this if it is separated from the Scriptures. It then becomes only another contentless banner, for all we know of what that revelation of Christ was comes from the Scriptures. Jesus Himself did not make a distinction between His authority and the authority of the written Scriptures. He acted upon the unity of His authority and the content of the Scripture."68/83

When we think Jesus has spoken to us about something concerning our lives, the first question we want to ask ourselves is whether or not it lines up with the Word of God, Godís measuring stick for all truth and final authority on all issues whether objective or subjective, including what we may think is Jesusí voice or the Holy Spiritís voice. This is why just feeding on Jesus alone is not enough, it must be feeding on Jesus and His Word together. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:14 "And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."

Finally, it is through the Word that we learn fully what it means to walk in the Spirit, and be Jesus-dependent. You are walking in the Spirit when you are looking to Jesus for the answer to your needs, when you are making Jesus Your source.

I worked with Juvenile Delinquents for seven years. During that time I found that I could teach these boys about the Word of God until they were blue in the face, but real changes did not come into their lives until I started teaching them how to draw upon Jesusí spiritual-life and strength to live the Christian life.

A case example was a man I will call Pete. Pete came up to me in prison one day and said to me,

Pete: Dale, I am a born again Christian, but I have a drug problem I cannot seem to get victory over. I do not know what to do?

Dale: Pete, do you have a daily time of feeding on Jesus and His Word?

Pete: Well, I read the Bible once in a while.

Dale: Pete, try this for week and lets see what happens: Forget about your drug problem and just focus on doing this for the next week: Every day you get up, for the first fifteen minutes of your day I want you to spend time feeding on Jesus and His Word. When you start this time, pray this way and say, "Jesus, I am here because I want what You have to say concerning my life and Your will and Lordship over my life and because I recognize my total onehundred percent dependence on You and Your spiritual-life and strength to live the Christian life. Lord Jesus, please speak to me." Then write down the things that are concerning you and ask Jesus for wisdom about what to do with them and for His spiritual-life and strength to live it out. Then spend the rest of the time just reading the Bible. Donít spend any more time than fifteen minutes, don't spend any less time. When done, forget about the problems you mentioned to him and go on.

A week passed and I came into the prison. As was my custom I started off going around the prison talking to the different boys, saying hello and seeing how they were getting along. Finally, I came up to Pete.

Dale: Pete, how are you doing?

Pete: Just great! I took your advice and have been getting up every morning and spending time feeding on Jesus and His Word. Boy! He has been showing me this about my life and this about my life and this! And O Ya, He just took my desire for drugs away!

Another example I would like to cite happened a few years later at a prayer meeting. A woman came in one night I will call Sally. Sally was a born again Christian and a reforming alcoholic. When we began taking requests for prayer, Sally spoke up and said,

Sally: I am a born again Christian, but I have a drinking problem I cannot seem to get victory over. Would you please pray for me that Jesus would give me complete deliverance.

We had Sally sit down in a chair and we all formed a circle around her and began to look to the Lord in worship and praise for wisdom about how to pray for her. As we did, the Lord spoke to me in my heart and said, Dale, her problem is that she is trying to overcome this problem in her own strength rather than relying on Me and my strength to overcome. Share with her how to daily feed on Me and My Word and draw upon My strength to overcome.

Dale: Sally, do you have a daily time of feeding on Jesus and His Word?

Sally: What do you mean?

Dale: Sally, your problem is that you are relying on your own strength to overcome this problem rather than Jesus' strength. The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:10 "Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might." Just as you daily need to eat to keep your body healthy and strong, so you daily need to feed on Jesus and His word to stay healthy and strong spiritually. Try this for a couple of weeks and see if there is not a difference in your life. When you get up in the morning, start your day off spending time feeding on Jesus and His Word. When you start this time pray, "Jesus, I am here because I want what You have to say concerning my life and Your will and Lordship over my life and because I recognize my total one-hundred percent dependence on You and Your grace, strength and power to live the Christian life. Lord Jesus, please speak to me." Then list the things that are concerning you and the problems you need victory over. Ask Him for His wisdom and his strength and might in these areas and then spend the rest of the time reading His word.

We did not see Sally for a couple of weeks after that, but when she did come back she did not have a heavy look on her countenance as she had had two weeks earlier. Instead, she was beaming with the love of Jesus and had a healthy glow about here. We could not help ourselves,

Dale: Sally, what happened? You look so happy and healthy!

Sally: I decided to take your advice. I went home and the next morning I got up and did just as you suggested and had a time of feeding on Jesus and His Word. He showed me this about my life and this... and I have not had a drink since. I have been doing this every morning since.

What is your problem or need. No matter how big or small it is, Jesus is the answer to that problem and need. Jesus said about Himself, recorded in John 14:6 "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life." The Apostle Paul wrote about Jesus in 1 Corinthians 1:30-31, "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written, ĎLet him who boasts, boast in the Lord.í" Christianity is not a self-sanctification or salvation program; it is relying on Jesus for salvation and for sanctification. It is true that we only go to Jesus once for salvation, but then just as we need to daily eat food to keep healthy physically so we need to daily feed upon the bread that has come down from heaven, Jesus, if we are to stay healthy spiritually. Let me share with you now how to establish your own daily feeding on Jesus and His Word.

HOW TO ESTABLISH YOUR DAILY FEEDING ON JESUS, THE BREAD OF SPIRITUAL LIFE, AND HIS WORD

If you have never established a daily feeding on Jesus and His Word or are presently doing it but are not sure whether you are approaching it as Jesus would have you to approach it, the following will explain to you how you can establish a daily feeding on Jesus and His Word through relationship with Jesus through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Remember that Christianity is relationship with Jesus. It is not our trying to live the Christian life in the power of the flesh, but allowing Jesus to live it through us in the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if there is to be any value or life in what we do it must be established first through relationship with Jesus.

Hebrews 11:6 states, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." Jesus is and He has a unique plan and purpose for your life. Because He does, how you use your daily feeding on Jesus and His Word is important because it is during this time that Jesus will be speaking, revealing, and teaching you to prepare you for His daily plan for your life. Therefore, before you even try to begin a daily feeding on Jesus and His Word, you first need to approach Jesus through worship and praise, asking Him first how much time each day He wants you to spend in the Word; and then second, how he wants you to approach the Word in your daily feeding on Jesus and His Word. What I mean by approach is, does He just want you to read it? And, if so, where does He want you to begin reading: in Genesis, Matthew, or Revelation, etcetera? Or would He have you to begin with a word study with the aid of a concordance? Do not compare yourself with how another brother approaches it. That is Jesusí plan for him. Our concern here is what is Jesusí plan for you.

To give you an example of what I mean, I had a friend, I will call Jim, I was teaching about the importance of daily feeding on Jesus and His word. He called me up one day and said,

Jim: Dale, I have been reading 1 Corinthians in my time of feeding on Jesus and His Word, but I am not getting anything out of it? What do you think I should do?

Dale: Jim, I think you should pray and ask Jesus what He wants you presently reading in the Bible and read that.

Jim: I did ask Him, but he told me to read the Gospel of John. I have already read the Gospel of John in the past, but I have never read 1 Corinthians before.

Dale: Jim, if Jesus is telling you to read the Gospel of John again, there must be a reason. There must be something in this Gospel you need right now in your life. Why not humor the Lord for a few days and try reading in the Gospel of John and I will get back with you to see how you are doing.

Jim: Okay. I will take your advice.

A few days went by and I called Jim to see how things were going.

Dale: Jim, how are things going and how is your daily feeding on Jesus and His Word going?

Jim: I decided to take your advice and read the Gospel of John. Boy! Jesus has been showing me this about my life and this about my life and this about my life. I am really getting a lot out of my feeding time on Jesus and his Word!

Faith and obedience are one and the same thing. We are walking in faith when what we are doing is in obedience to Jesus through the initiative of the Holy Spirit. The writer of Hebrews states concerning the Israelites who were not able to enter the promised land,

Hebrews 3:18-19 "And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief."

Notice the discussion of the word rest here. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30,

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

When we try to approach the word through our own reasoning, like in the case of our brother above, the word becomes heavy and legalistic and we get no life out of it. Jesus is the source of Spiritual-Life and when what we are doing is in obedience to Jesus, we are entered into His rest and we are walking in faith and we receive His Spiritual-Life. Jesus said in John 6:63 "It is the Spirit who creates-spiritual-life130, the flesh prophets nothing."

Christianity is relationship with Jesus. It is not a heard of cattle all following the same rules for an intended outcome. Christianity is a relationship with a person: Jesus Christ. Only as we relate to that Person and obey his commands to each of us personally and individually does it become a living relationship and do we grow in that relationship (John 14:21). Only when we obey Jesus in our approach to him does He promise to reveal and manifest himself to us concerning ourselves, problems and needs. This is why we are not to compare ourselves with what others are doing (2 Cor 10:12).

When Jesus got through telling Peter the way he was going to die, Peter looked over at the Apostle John and said to Jesus, "Adonai, what about this man?" Jesus said to Peter in response, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!" (John 21:21). Jesus says to us in this passage that we are not to concern ourselves with how He leads our brother or sister. What we need to concern ourselves with is how He is leading us. What is He telling You to do? That is what you need to do and be concerned with.

Only when what you do is out of Jesusí initiative through the Holy Spirit will you then find spiritual-life in it and Jesusí strength and might to overcome the problems in your life. Christianity is not a self-sanctification program, it is allowing Jesus to live His life through us through the power of the Holy Spirit. When you do what you do as a result of Jesusí command to you personally, you are assured His spiritual-life and strength to carry it out and to find life and meaning in what you do.

Without exception every person that I know who has approached Jesus in this way about their daily feeding on Jesus and His Word has been given a specific amount of time and in some cases a specific way Jesus wants them to approach Him and His Word. Jesus will give you a specific amount of time, but He may leave it up to you to decide how you want to approach the Word in your use of that time. In my own life, when Jesus first taught me this principle, He had me start with a half-hour a day in the Word; and He had me using a method of reading that got me through the whole Bible in one-hundred and twenty days. A year later He led me to increase it to an hour and just do Scripture memory for that hour. Now I am memorizing one day and just reading the Scriptures the next day for forty-five minutes. Fifteen minutes of that time is spent in prayer.

A half-hour a day to some people may seem like a lot to start with, but you must understand that before I sought the Lord about how much time He wanted me to spend in the Word, I was spending an average of three hours a day in the Word and getting nothing else done. I did not find it easy to cut down to half-an-hour because in those days I thought how long I spent praying and reading the Word determined how spiritual I was; but I had to learn that Jesus was the answer to my needs not how long I spent in the Word. Jesus may only have you start with five minutes a day depending on who you are and His individual plan and purpose for your life. Jesus said to the Scribes and Pharisees who were claiming to base their lives on the Word of God, which they were using as a bases for rejecting Him,

John 5:39-40 "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life57; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me that you may have Life."

Jesus knows our limits of endurance and how much time, at present, we can handle faithfully in His Word. Once Jesus gives you a specific amount of time, obey Jesus in this. Do not spend less time or more time. When the Israelites went out into the desert to collect manna, a food substance that daily came down from heaven in the form of a dew, God gave them specific instructions not to collect more than what they needed for the dayís provision.75 If they disobeyed God and collected more than what they needed, the extra would rot and breed worms. Jesus said in the Gospel of John,

John 12:26 "If any one serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him."

When Jesus gives you a specific amount of time to spend in the Word, He is telling you He will be present in that time to anoint and bless it. Beyond that, He does not assure His blessing. He is telling you that, that amount of time is sufficient for your needs and His present plan and purpose for your life. Anything outside of what Jesus tells you to do for your daily feeding on Jesus and His Word will lead to religious strife, and humanismó flesh. "It is the Spirit who creates-spiritual-life, the flesh profits nothing." Jesus said, "the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life" (Jn 6:63). This is what Jesus means when He says,

Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

Christianity is not religion. It is not our praying hard enough, long enough and reading the Word long enough to gain Jesus' acceptance. Christianity is accepting the fact that we are already accepted by God through Jesus and resting in Jesusí Lordship and only taking upon ourselves what Jesus Himself lays upon us. He says, My yoke is easy, and My load is light. Jesus is infinite and can communicate just as much information in five faithful minutes as He can in a faithful hour.

Jesusí concern is not how much time you spend daily feeding on Him and His Word, His concern is that you spend this time daily as directed by Him. Jesusí promise is that if we will obey Him, He will manifest Himself to us; not if we beg Him through long religious ritual.76 Since Jesus created us, He knows us intimately; therefore, He knows best how to manage our lives and what the present limits of our endurance are. The Bible says He who is faithful in little will be faithful in much.77 Jesus says, if we are faithful in little, in His time He will add more to our lives; but at present, concerning our daily feeding on Jesus and His Word, He only wants us to be concerned with the amount of time He has presently instructed us to use, and how He wants us to use that time. This is because it is a part of the working out of His over all, long range plan for our lives, and it is also His way of making us more dependent on Him.

Interestingly enough, when I began to obey Jesus in the use of my daily feeding on Him and His Word, I found I was also getting ten times more done in a week in the other areas of my life than I had before. Why was this? As I obeyed Jesus in the use of my daily feeding on Him and His Word, I found that I was able also to obey His restraints over the other areas of my life. This is part of what the Bible means when it says, He who is faithful in little will be faithful in much. This makes perfect sense. Why? if we cannot restrain ourselves and obey Jesus in our daily feeding on him and His Word, we are not going to obey Him in the other areas of our lives either. If we can obey Jesus in taking the time to acknowledge Him in our day, we will then be able to obey Him and His leading in our life in the rest of our day. This is what the Writer of Proverbs means when he says Proverbs 3:6 "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is allowing Jesus to be Lord of Your life.78 Walking in the Holy Spirit is allowing Jesus to be the source of your life in every detail and in every respect. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is allowing Jesus to be Savior, Lord and Source of Life to others through your life.79 What we have discussed in this Chapter is an aspect of what it means to walk in the Holy Spirit. When you daily feed on Jesus and His word in obedience to Him and make Him Your source, you are walking in the Holy Spirit.

Study Questions
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