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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

Rightly Dividing The Word Of Thruth - December 31, 2006


Sermon of the Week #200652 – December 31, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Apostle Paul gave the evangelist, Timothy, some good advice that can be applied to all Christians when he said, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” However, some may complain, “How can we find time for such discipline in our busy lifestyle?”

This brings to mind what the Lord said to Martha when she complained that her sister, Mary, spent too much time listening to Jesus, and not helping her prepare the dinner. Listen to Jesus as He says to her in Luke 10, “Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and cumbered about many things: but one thing is needful: for Mary hath chosen the good part and it shall not be taken away from her.”

Many times people pick up the Bible and open it up anywhere and start reading, and then wonder why they don’t understand it. The example of the Church in Berea in Acts 17:11 should be followed by modern-day Churches, “They searched the scriptures daily whether these things were so.” God approves this practice; that is why Paul said, “Study to show thy self approved unto God.”

Now the Word of God needs to be rightly divided. If you want to know about the life of Jesus don’t turn to the book of Genesis; turn to the section in the New Testament that tells about His life. If you wish to learn about the establishment of the Church don’t turn to the book of Romans; turn to the book of Acts. To learn about the duties of Christians, read the epistles. While you can learn something of these things anywhere in the Bible, there are certain sections that specialize in various areas. So rightly divide the word of truth. The first division in the New Testament is the life of Christ found in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.


As with all great men we are always interested in when they were born and when did they die? We read in Matthew and Luke that Jesus had an unusual birth. He was born of a virgin. The angel told Joseph that the child that would be born of Mary thy wife would be of the Holy Spirit. Gabriel told Mary that the power of the Most High would overshadow her and the Holy thing that is begotten shall be called the Son of God. After His birth we are told how He appeared at the age of twelve and confounded the scribes at Jerusalem with His questions and His answers. Until the age of about 30, He was engaged in the carpentry trade, and He began His ministry of a little over three years, going about doing good, healing all that were oppressed of the Devil.

As to His death, Jesus died young. He was only about thirty-three years old and He died a horrible death. He had a police record in Jerusalem; He was numbered with the transgressors, and died the death of a drunkard, an adulterer, a murderer, a dope addict, and a thief. Actually Christ died for our sins. He was made to be sin who knew no sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. After He died on the cross He was buried in a borrowed tomb that belonged to a rich man named Joseph of Arimathaea; and on the third day an angel announced to Mary Magdalene and the other women as well, that He was risen from the dead. One reason it was a borrowed tomb was because He did not need it for very long. Three days would be enough and Joseph of Arimathaea could have it back, and use it himself later on. Jesus had predicted several times that the chief priests would deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, scourge and crucify, and the third day He would rise again. That is exactly what happened. Jesus arose early on the third day. After spending 40 days on earth after His resurrection, He went out to the Mount of Olives and gave them final instructions and lifted up His hands and blessed them, and then slowly and with great majesty, He ascended into the heavens to sit down at the right hand of the Father.

We need to note that before Jesus ascended to Heaven He gave the Apostles the Great Commission. He said, “All authority hath been given unto Me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you, and lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world.” And He said unto them, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned.” The Great Commission is the greatest document ever given on planet earth. It is far more important than the Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Emancipation Proclamation all rolled up in one and multiplied in importance by a number so infinite that no man can imagine. Adherence to the Great Commission guarantees spiritual freedom from the tyranny from the Devil. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.


The next division in the New Testament is the book of Acts. The book of Acts is the book that tells us about the history of the church that was established on the Day of Pentecost. It is the story of how a rank bunch of amateurs took the gospel of Jesus, and preached it all over the world in one generation. They did it in spite of the fact, with the exception of Paul, they had no degrees. There was no Bible College, no radio, no television, no publishing house, no computer, no airplane and no church building. Acts gives us the basic account of the conversion of sinners to Christ and also the account of some of the non-conversions.

There are several examples of conversions. It is important to notice that before they preached the plan of salvation they first preached the Man of salvation, then the plan of salvation. Some today preach the Man of salvation and leave off the plan of salvation. Others preach the plan of salvation and leave off the Man of salvation. It is a mistake to do either one.

The first example of conversion is the Day of Pentecost, the day the Church began. Here are several statements that Peter made in that sermon regarding the Man of salvation, “Ye by the hands of lawless men did crucify and slay. God raised Him up having loosed the pangs of death. This Jesus did God raise up whereof we are witnesses. He is at the right hand of God exalted. God hath made Him both Lord and Christ this Jesus whom ye have crucified.” When they heard about the Man of salvation they were pricked in their hearts and asked the Apostles what they must do? At that point Peter gave them the plan of salvation. He said, “Repent ye and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Many responded, and were baptized and there were added to them about 3,000 souls.

Another example of conversion is the event where Philip preached to the Ethiopian eunuch, a man of great authority. He is what we would call the Secretary of the Treasury of Ethiopia. Philip preached unto him Jesus from the text about a sheep being led to the slaughter and like a Lamb dumb before his shearer. He preached to him about the Man of salvation. When they passed by a place of water the Secretary of the Treasury said, “What hinders me from being baptized? Philip told him if he believed with all his heart he could, and they went down into the water and he baptized him, and then came up out of the water.” When Philip preached the Man of salvation he must have included the plan of salvation, or the Ethiopian would never have asked about being baptized.

Another example of conversion is the Philippian Jailer. The Jailer brought Paul and Silas out of the prison and asked them, “What must I do to be saved? They said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.” Now don’t leave the Jailhouse too soon. The jailer at this point did not say he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ because this was the first time he ever heard of Jesus. How could he believe on someone he had never heard of before? In fact this was Philippi, the first time the gospel had been preached on the European continent. That is why Luke tells us, “They preached the word of the Lord unto him with all that were in his house.” When they preached the Word of God, the jailor washed the stripes of Paul and Silas, and then they took him and baptized him the same hour of the night. It was then he rejoiced greatly having believed in God. Believing included hearing, and obeying the gospel.

Now there are other examples in Acts about the Man of salvation and the plan of salvation, but Moses said that by the word of two or three witnesses shall every word be established, and we have given you three witnesses from inspired writers in the Word of God, and that should suffice. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.


The next division of the New Testament is the 21 epistles. The epistles were all written to the churches in various localities and three of them were written to evangelists such as Timothy and Titus and Jude. The Epistles were written to tell the Christians how to live the Christian life.

In Romans Paul speaks to present-day conditions when he tells us that God gave them up to uncleanness that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves, and exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.

In Corinthians he speaks to a Church that has as many problems as any modern-day Church. They had problems of division, problems where one man was having an affair with his stepmother. Some worshipping idols much like today’s Christians worship millionaire ball players. Some had a problem with the resurrection; they said there was not going to be any.

In Galatians Paul warned the Christians about believing any other book but the Bible as inspired. He said, “If any man preach unto you any other gospel than that which we preached unto you let him be anathema”, that means accursed. In Ephesians is Paul’s seven-point program for the unity of the followers of Christ. He said, “There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.”

In Philippians he reminds the Christians that to depart this life, and be with Christ is very far better than living in this world. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

In Colossians he instructs among other things the husband and wife relationship, and in Thessalonians he had much to say about the Second Coming. One thing of great interest is when he tells us, “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds and meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

In the epistles to Timothy and Titus is advice to evangelists. His charge to Timothy is noteworthy, “I charge thee in the sight of God and of Christ Jesus who shall judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His Kingdom, preach the word.” In Hebrews contains the solemn warning, “Neglect not the assembling of yourselves as the manner of some is, and so much the more as ye see the day drawing nigh.” He says to neglect this obligation is to trample underfoot the body of the Son of God, and count the blood of the sacrifice an unholy thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit of grace.

James tells us that our lives are like a vapor that appears for a short while, and then vanisheth away. And Peter adds to this thought and says, “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the grass. The grass withereth and the flower falleth: but the word of God abideth forever.”

The Apostle John writes three short epistles and instructs us that when Jesus comes we shall see Him as He is and we shall be like Him.

I like the way Jude winds up the epistles with this statement of assurance for final victory, “Now unto Him that is able to guard you from stumbling, and to set you before the presence of His glory without blemish in exceeding joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and power, before all time, and now, and forevermore.” Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”


And now the last division of the New Testament is the book of Revelation that tells us of the future and the final triumph of Christ and His Church. In the first chapter the Apostle John tells us that the Lord Jesus is the first-born from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. He tells us that Jesus washed us from our sins in His blood, and made us to be kings and priests unto His God and Father, and to Him be the glory forever and ever. Then he reminds us of that victorious day when the Lord will return with the clouds and every eye shall see Him, and they that pierced Him, and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over Him.

Between the first and last chapters is the prophesying of the future. The reader of Revelation is impressed with the number of times the number seven is mentioned. We read of seven Spirits of God, seven candlesticks, seven churches, seven stars, seven angels, seven lamps, seven heads, seven mountains, seven kings, seven trumpets, and seven bowls of wrath. Many and varied are the interpretations of these signs. The best way to put the whole thing in perspective is what the Lord said about the seven thunders, “When the seven thunders sounded John was about to write down what he saw and the Lord told him to seal up the things the seven thunders uttered and write them not.” For this reason no one will ever be able to predict the future with accuracy. Revelation is like a jigsaw puzzle. We can never complete the picture because the events of the seven thunders are always missing. There will always be something we do not know. It is enough for us to know that in Christ we are victorious, and in the last chapter of Revelation Jesus promised to return, and he made that promise three times, “Behold I come quickly, Behold I come quickly, Surely I come quickly and the Apostle John responded, Amen, even so, come Lord Jesus.” So study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Virgil Brock, a singing evangelist in the Church of Christ wrote this gospel song, “Wonderful book called the Bible, guide of my feet day by day.

Light on the pathway to glory, guide book to show us the way.

First the Old Testament scriptures, told how the prophets foretold.

How Jesus would come to save us, and that story will never grow old.

Read then the gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tells us too;

How Jesus would come to redeem us, and give us all life anew.

See how the Church was founded, Acts of Apostles will show

It is the book of conversions; we all must read it to know.

Twenty-one letters will follow, telling us all how to live.

Adding to faith Christian virtues, faithfully then we can live.

Last of all comes Revelation, telling of Heaven so fair

How we will meet the dear Savior, together His glory to share.

So open the Bible and read it, ponder its message so true.

You will find the great plan of salvation, why Jesus died for you.”

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.