BY CHARLES WOODRUFF
(The following article I wrote in 2007, and placed it on Cybermeditations as a very early effort. Upon reading it again, I felt there are some things that need to be repeated. So with a little "tweaking", here it is again. I always want my emphasis to be the Word of God above all other writings, of any sort.)
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9).
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).
What shall we study and meditate on? There are many books in the world -- some are good, some are bad. This is true of sermons you can hear and read -- some are good, some are bad. We could suggest, as some have, that you read nothing other than the Bible. Yet being men and women in a modern world, we are not likely to limit ourselves to that, especially if we are good readers. God gave us a desire for knowledge in many areas, and we sometimes fulfill that by reading.
A number of years ago, in another state, I was asked to preach in a particular church on several different occasions. I suppose I was 39 or 40 then, and the pastor there was considerably younger than myself. I got to know him pretty well, and stayed with him and his young family each time I was in the area. He told me that he read at least one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons every day. I said, “Very commendable. Spurgeon was a great preacher and left us a great body of work." This pastor also put a Spurgeon sermon in his church paper each week. He had it all organized very neatly. It was very helpful.
The last time I was there, I met another young couple from his church that was staying in the pastor’s home until their house got repaired. They seemed like a nice couple. A short time later I got word that this pastor fell into sin with the other woman, and left his lovely wife and two little children for the other woman.Two homes were broken up! A ministry was destroyed! All because of sin!
What brought about this awful situation? This minister was surely not following the teachings of Spurgeon when he did this! You can’t blame Spurgeon for this, for he was a godly man. It does show that no matter how much a person is claiming to follow sound doctrine, he can err if he is not obeying God’s word. Spurgeon preached the word. Some others he read from like Arthur Pink also preached the word. He read his Bible regularly. But it doesn’t matter. He could have been reading John Wesley every day. Or J.C. Philpot. Or David Wilkerson. Or Billy Graham, or whoever. There had to be something much deeper to this than which ministers were influencing him. This minister himself studied, and preached the word. He seemed to have good Bible knowledge. Why did he put another black mark on the cause of Christ? “But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul“ (Proverbs 6:32). We are all flesh and blood, and I have to say “but for the grace of God there go I”.
However, there is an answer. Many, as James says, are only hearers (or readers), of the word. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). You see, it is not enough to just hear, or read, or be religious, the word must be in the heart to cause the manifestation of doing good works. James also said:
“ …To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
This man knew all this. Everyone thought him to be a true brother---- God alone knows that for sure. He surely does not appear to be God’s chosen, unless he repents. Beloved, as the verse I quoted at the beginning says, we must hide God’s word in our hearts. As our theme verse says, it is a lamp to guide our path. But we must be doers of the word. Remember in Ephesians, that great scripture mountaintop, it says: “For by grace are ye saved. Through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).