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by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, June 2, 2019

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”
(Psalm 119:105).

Our text says, “Thy word [the Bible] is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” If you stay close to the Bible and follow it, you will not go wrong. The Psalmist wrote, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). Just two verses earlier in the Psalm we read, “Wherewithal [how, with what] shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9). The Bible will keep you from sin. It will help to cleanse your mind, your soul, and your life if you read it and follow it.

Young people, if you’ll spend more time reading the Bible and less time fooling around on the Internet playing video games or wasting your time with social media, you’ll be a better person! If you spend more time reading the Bible and thinking about it instead of thinking about friends who went wrong, you’ll be a fine Christian. You’ll make it through thick and thin! If you read and memorize and follow the Bible, you won’t sin against God. The evangelist Dwight L. Moody said, “The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.” He was right! We have seen that happen over and over again. People who stayed close to the Bible and obeyed it have remained strong Christians even through hard times. People who disobeyed the Bible – a few simple verses – and listened to the voice of sin, have lost their way. Why is the Bible such an excellent guide?

The Bible is the written Word of God. Because the Bible is God’s Word, it is absolutely true. It is truth without error on every subject on which it speaks. Jesus said to God the Father, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Again, Christ said, “The scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). The Apostle Paul said,

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17).

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The Greek word translated “given by inspiration” in our text is theopneustos, which means “God-breathed.” Every word of the Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek was breathed out by God, given through the prophets and Apostles. The book of Second Peter tells us that “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:21). The Greek word translated “moved” comes from the verb pherō. The same word is used in Acts 27:15 to describe how the wind moved a sailing ship. God moved the prophets and Apostles to write exactly the words He wanted them to write.

And the Bible is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible is profitable (useful) to you for doctrine. It will tell you the truth about what to believe. The Bible reproves and corrects. It tells you what is wrong in your life. The Bible tells you how to live the Christian life, for it gives “instruction in righteousness.” You can live on the Bible. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Following the Bible will make you a mature Christian, for the Greek word translated “perfect” means “mature” or “complete.” You will be ready to do “all good works.” The Bible is God’s Word to you, whether you are not yet saved, or a new Christian, or a Christian of many years. Today I want to tell you what the Bible did for me, and how the Bible can help you.

When I was in college, I was not a Christian. But someone gave me a Bible and I read it through – even though I was still lost. I was greedy for money, but the Bible told me, “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death” (Proverbs 11:4). I was on the same road as other lost people, and I thought it was the only way to live. But the Bible told me, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). I might think I was right, but be wrong all the time! God gave me those Bible verses long before I was converted. Without them I might never have been saved!

If you are still lost, let the Bible be “a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path.” You can’t trust yourself. Listen to the Bible. Listen when it says, “in me... dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18). Listen when the Bible says, “I am carnal, sold under sin” (Romans 7:14). Think of the sin of your heart.

You can’t trust yourself. You’ll never be saved looking at yourself. That’s what the Bible teaches. The Bible says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved” (Isaiah 45:22). The Bible says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). The day when the Prince of Preachers, C. H. Spurgeon, got saved as a fifteen-year-old boy, he heard a man preach, “Many of ye are lookin’ to yourselves, but it’s no use lookin’ there.” Then the man said to young Spurgeon, “Young man, you look very miserable. And you will always be miserable – miserable in life and miserable in death – if you don’t obey my text. But if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.” Spurgeon looked to Jesus then and there, and was saved forever!

If you are a young Christian, let the Bible be “a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path.” Long ago God gave me my “life verse,” I John 2:17. It says,

“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:17).

That verse became the theme and guide of my life. The world is passing away. But if you trust Jesus and do the will of God, you will live for ever!

As a new Christian, the Bible told me to come to church. The Bible says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” (Hebrews 10:25). Let the weak new-evangelicals fool around. You get into “the church, which his body” (Ephesians 1:22, 23). The Bible told me to win souls, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). The Bible told me to listen to the pastor, for it says,

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).

God gave pastors and teachers to the church to help the Christians grow and make them ready for the work of Christ. If we listen to them, we will become perfect (mature, complete) Christians, built up into the fulness of Christ. Isn’t that what the verse says? If you listen to the men God has given you, you will become a strong Christian. If you don’t, you won’t!

The Bible taught me to be steady and self-controlled. The Bible says, “Be ye stedfast, unmoveable” (I Corinthians 15:58). The Bible says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22, 23). The word “temperance” can be translated “self control.” I remember that well! The fruit of the Spirit is self control! People who are walking with Christ have self control. People who do not have self control are backslidden or lost.

If someone asked me to give the secret of the Christian life in a few words, I would say, “Staying power.” Your gifts and abilities are not as important as that. Your head knowledge is not as important as that. Staying power – staying and going on even if life is hard or sad – is what you need to make it in the Christian life. Keep going. Put one foot in front of the other. Live one day at a time. You’ll make it. You’ll get through it. And you’ll grow stronger!

As an older Christian, I have had sad times in my life. There was no way to make things better. I just had to live through it. But someone gave me this Bible verse, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). And the Bible said to me, “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:5, 7). There was nothing else to do. But God’s Word is true!

And one more thing. I have been comforted and blessed many times by a Bible verse about prayer. Each year when I come to that verse, it surprises me as though it were new. Yes, I know the verse is there. Yet it comes to me just when I need it. The verse is Hebrews 4:16,

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Oh, what a comfort, what a blessing that verse has been to me! We can come boldly to God in prayer. He will give us mercy and grace to help in time of need. That verse does a lot for me every time I read it. May it do the same for you! And I so often claim God’s Word in Hebrews 10:19,

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19).

I am not a great Christian. I am weak. I get depressed. But God’s promise is true! Even in my weakness and failure, by the Blood of Jesus I can go right into the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Heaven and present my prayer to God, just as if I were already there, just as if I were clean and pure – not because of myself, but because of the Blood of Jesus. What a promise!

I have told you what the Bible did for me. Now let me talk about how you can get the most from the Bible.

First, be sure to read the Bible every day. Try to do this at the same time each day. Most people do this in the morning, but if your schedule is hard, you can do it at another time. In our church we give you a chart of Bible reading every Saturday. If you follow that chart, you will read the whole Bible through in a year. Many of us read the Old Testament portion in the morning and the New Testament portion in the evening.

If that’s hard for you, why not just read the New Testament part twice? It will take you less time. More important, you will understand it better because you have gone over it twice. Read it in the morning. During the day, think about what you read. Then read it again in the evening. God will bless you through His Word.

Begin your Bible reading with a short prayer. The Psalmist prayed, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psalm 119:18). Ask God to show you something in His Word that day. Perhaps you will want to pray in the exact words I quoted from the Psalm.

After you have finished, try to think about what you have read. You may also want to do this later in the day. Turn it over in your mind. The Psalmist wrote, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). This refers to meditating on the Bible. This means thinking over or “chewing on” something you saw in God’s Word so that it “gets into” you and stays with you. The Bible says, “The entrance [into the heart] of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130). The Bible will give you light and understanding – just fine!

What if you don’t understand what something means? Don’t give up! Don’t be upset with yourself. Read it even if you don’t understand it. Do not stop to research it in a book or on the Internet. That will interrupt your reading, take a lot of time, and you may still not find the right understanding. You may get frustrated and feel like giving up. Don’t do that. Just read through the passage. As you grow in Christ and spend more time in the church, you will learn more. The next time you read through the Bible, you’ll understand more of it, and understand it better.

Now listen – what I just said about reading the Bible at home applies to hearing the Bible in the sermons at church. The Bible is the same at church as it is at home, isn’t it? Before the service, or before the sermon begins, ask God to show you something through His Word during the message. Don’t just sit through the sermon. It’s not just something you do while you’re waiting for lunch or dinner. It’s a message that the preacher worked to prepare – and that God can use. Don’t say, “That’s just a sermon. I already know that, so I don’t have to listen.” Whether you are saved or lost, pray for God to speak to you. Listen carefully to the sermon when it is preached. In our church we give you a word-for-word manuscript to take home. Why not take it home and read it? Why not think about it? Why not pray about it? That’s what it’s for! When you hear it in church, or when you read it afterward, think about what was in the sermon. It’ll do you good!

You don’t have to know a lot of theology to succeed in the Christian life. You don’t have to know everything in the Bible. You just have to get hold of a few simple verses, like the ones I have given. If you can learn only one Bible verse – or even part of a verse – and keep it in your mind, and let it be part of your life, you’re on the way. If you can get five or ten verses into your head – and into your life – you’re doing great! Five or ten verses that you obey are worth more than a thousand verses that you don’t obey! What do you need to know to live the Christian life? Not much. Salvation. Prayer. Evangelism. The local church. Stedfastness. If you’ve got those things, you’re a great Christian. If you don’t, no matter what other things you know, you will fail. Grab hold of the Bible – even just a few verses. A little bit of God’s Word will do you more good than a day of sitting around and fiddling the time away – more than a week, more than a year, more than a lifetime. Just a few verses, that’s all you have to know. Learn them. Memorize them. Think about them. And most of all – obey them. Live them. Let the Bible be a lamp for your feet and a light for your path.

No matter how you feel, stick with the Bible. A few verses are enough if you have them in your heart, if you live by them. That’s all you need. No matter what happens, let those few verses of the Bible be your compass. Let them be your lamp and your light. You don’t have to know everything. It’s faithfulness that matters! May God bless you as you follow His Word.

Some of you have never trusted Jesus. You can still listen to the Bible and let it guide you to conversion. The Bible says,

“The holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:15).

If you obey what the Bible says about salvation, you will trust Jesus. The Bible tells you that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3). The Bible tells you, “The blood of Jesus Christ...cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7). The Bible tells you that Christ rose from the dead and “we shall also live with him” (Romans 6:8). And the Bible says, “Believe on [trust] the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). I pray that you will obey the Bible and trust Jesus. If you would like to speak with me about trusting Christ, please come and sit in the first two rows. Amen.