RECEIVE - RETAIN - RELEASE
[The 3 R's of God's Word]
I Corinthians 14: 40 -- Let all things be done decently and in order.
In the Church of the Body of Christ, in the Grace Administration of which we are a part, God has set in His Word a perfect plan for each of us. In every part of our renewed mind walk with God, He has made available a BALANCE that we must strive to achieve. God wants things done decently and in order as He states so clearly in His Word.
I Corinthians 14: 33 -- For God is not the author [a God] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
So confusion must come from another source and it does. We should only be concerned in doing what God's Word says we should do and not what the world suggests that we do. In everything that we do concerning God's Word, we are renewing our minds.
Ephesians 4: 23 -- And be renewed in the spirit [life] of your mind;
The word 'mind' is the Greek word nous and means the entire mind where we collect data and make decisions. A committed Christian walking with power must continually renew their mind by studying or receiving the Word, by retaining it in their heart and memory and by releasing or sharing the Word with others. These are the 3 R's of a balanced renewed mind walk. In this teaching we will focus on three verses of Scripture which set like diamonds in God's matchless Word to clearly teach us this important concept.
I. RECEIVE -- The Bible clearly states that we are to receive God's Word and how we are to receive it.
James 1: 21 -- Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted [implanted] word, which is able to save your souls.
Now let's do some Biblical Research and examine the verse as carefully as possible.
To "lay apart" means to "put off". Put off the works of evil in all forms in our lives by renewing our mind to the Word. Then we are able to receive God's Word to the degree that we look to it and desire it, realizing that His Word is greater than we are and is the perfect blueprint for life.
It is very important to understand the word "meekness". This does not imply a lack of strength or being a wishy-washy Christian. We must understand the meaning of words as they apply to the time period in which they were written. "Meekness" here means 'free from haughty self-sufficiency, tender of spirit, gentle.' It is the exhibition of that tenderness in dealing with others. The best and most simple definition of meekness considering the context of this verse is ‘TEACHABLE’. If you are full of pride, heady and high-minded, you are not teachable and therefore will not be able to receive God's Word. You must be humble -- you must be teachable before God can teach you anything. Henry made the Ford -- the Ford did not make Henry.
In the verse, the term "engrafted word" means the totally implanted Word of God which God plants so close to us that we can absorb it until it becomes a part of us. We receive it IF we are MEEK -- IF we are TEACHABLE.
JAMES 1: 21 -- RECEIVE THE ENGRAFTED WORD WITH MEEKNESS.
II. RETAIN -- Once we receive God's Word, we must know what to do with it.
Titus 1: 9 -- Holding fast the faithful word as he had been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
The key to understanding how we are to retain the Word of God once we have received it is in the words "Holding fast". [If you would like to do some research and work the Word of God on your own, you need A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament.] A Lexicon defines these two words as meaning "cling to". Obviously, if you 'hold fast' or 'cling to' something, it has meaning and great value to you because you are convinced and persuaded of it's validity and reliability. This is also the definition of conviction (i.e. "a fixed or strong belief"). The verse is saying that if we hold fast to God's Word in our hearts and minds and act accordingly, we may be able by this right doctrine, to exhort and convince the gainsayers.
'Gainsayers' are those who will speak against you and attempt to contradict you -- better known as thorns in the flesh. Since I stand for God’s Word, I run across thorns in my flesh often. These are people sent by Satan to buffet or hinder me. I have religious people in my neighborhood, an alcoholic, and others that have made fools out of themselves by disliking me because the light of God’s Word brings into manifestation the darkness in their lives. But I still "cling to" God’s Word and my feet are ‘dry’ in spiritual cement. God tells you to marvel not if the world hates you. The apostles in Christ’s time and the prophets of the Old Testament put up with the same thing. Don’t get me wrong -- I love the person -- it’s the spirit that I dislike. Satan does have ‘religious’ spirits and an alcoholic is possessed by a spirit of ‘leviathan’. Remember, greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. The devils believe also and tremble.
You need to be ready with the Word at all times or the world will do it's best to talk you out of it. We need to study God's Word and meditate on it so when we approach a situation designed to put doubt in our mind and defeat us, we can DO what Titus 1: 9 says. Now we will do some research on the word "convince" since it is most important in understanding the benefits of holding fast the Word of God.
The word "convince" means "to disgrace, shame, to convince, refute, confute, and so put to shame." Now isn't that something? That's what will happen IF you RETAIN THE WORD WITH CONVICTION. The enemy cannot stand the light of the rightly divided Word of God. It says so in the Word of God as I mentioned previously.
James 2: 19b -- . . . . . the devils also believe, and tremble.
When you are in fellowship with the Father and doing your very best to renew your mind and walk by the spirit, NOTHING can defeat you. If you have the idea in your mind that you must allow yourself to be manipulated by this world and that poverty and sickness is a virtue, you're not only in the wrong pew, YOU'RE IN THE WRONG CHURCH. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The god of this world wants people to believe that lie so that they do not turn to God's Word and get set free. Many people who are born again and even those who are not believe that they must become religious and 'give up something' to become a faithful Christian. Instead, the exact opposite is true. Take a look at Psalm 70: 2 if you want to see what happens to your enemies.
Psalm 70: 2 -- Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt [mentally].
They are 'turned backward' and 'put to confusion' and are 'ashamed' and 'confounded'. That's what will eventually happen to those who seek after your soul and desire your hurt. God Almighty won't allow it. He 'allows' the god of this world to inflict those people. The true God never hurts anyone if you believe what the Word says.
I John 1: 5 -- This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
If you RETAIN the Word that you have received with CONVICTION, the Word of God says that you are not just a conqueror, BUT MORE THAN A CONQUEROR.
Romans 8: 37 -- Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that [who] loved us.
Romans 10: 11 -- For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed [disappointed in his expectation].
God will never have you do anything that makes you appear foolish. On the contrary, people will 'read' your life and will want what you have although some will never admit it. And those who oppose you will be put to shame and eventually disgraced. These "thorns" will always exist and they will do their very best to steal the Word from your heart. God strictly forbids fellowship with darkness in the Bible. Stick with the Christians who are making an honest attempt to know and apply God's Word.
II Corinthians 6: 14 -- Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Ephesians 5: 11 -- And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Let the Word do the reproving. Hold fast the faithful Word and get rid of the gainsayers. Hold the Word in your heart, the innermost part of your being, and don't ever let it go. Cling to it for it's value is far above rubies and diamonds -- it is life and life more abundant.
TITUS 1: 9 -- RETAIN THE WORD OF GOD WITH CONVICTION.
III. RELEASE -- Now we have received the Word with meekness, we've retained it with conviction, and now we’ve come to the final step.
Philippians 2: 16 -- Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Once a believer gains an accurate knowledge of God's Word and applies it, he or she begins to manifest the more than abundant life. It then becomes a believer's responsibility to hold forth the Word of God to others. God's people will hear His voice but the Word of God will never move unless we open our mouths and speak the Word to others. Many times in the Bible you will see the phrase 'he opened his mouth' in reference to the subject of witnessing. Sometimes we need to search for "open doors" when witnessing God's Word. Remember, the Bible was written for the believer -- not for the unbeliever. You can be deceived into witnessing to the 'goats' but they will never hear. Witnessing/sharing/RELEASING God's Word is an art and needs to be developed. In all things, God wants us to act without fear and that is the accurate meaning of the word BOLDNESS. 'Boldness' does not mean that we are rude or intrusive as we may refer to a child with a behavior problem. Boldness simply means acting without fear. When you RELEASE God's Word, always do it for God first. That way you will not get hurt, especially when you come across the 'unbelieving believer' that is looking for an argument instead of looking for answers. Never argue the Word with anyone. Truth needs no defense -- it can only be witnessed to.
Philippians 2: 16 says that when we witness, we will rejoice in the day of Christ [at his return] because we know we did the best we could for God Almighty. What is this life to all eternity? It's not even a drop in all the oceans. Why not live your life for the Creator? Remember, God Almighty sees your labor and He will bless you mightily. God has committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
II Corinthians 5: 18, 19 -- And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
If we don't hold forth the Word of life, others will not have the opportunity to hear the truth. Think of the person who shared God's Word with you. Where would you be today if that person did not 'open his or her mouth' and speak God's Word?
Once you learn to speak God's Word with confidence and believing, you will experience many benefits for your efforts. One of the most noticeable benefits is the peace of God which will pass all your understanding. And also, there is a necessary spiritual process that is allowed to take place when you Receive, Retain and then RELEASE God's Word. A simple illustration will make this clear to you in the concluding section of this teaching. In summary, how does God expect us to release His Word to others? He wants us to be bold and to release His Word without fear.
PHILIPPIANS 2: 16 -- RELEASE THE WORD OF GOD WITH BOLDNESS.
In summary, we must:
1. Receive with MEEKNESS
-- James 1: 21
2. Retain with CONVICTION
-- Titus 1: 9
3. Release with BOLDNESS
-- Philippians 2: 16
When we receive, retain and release God's Word, a spiritual balance/process is allowed to occur. Consider the following analogy:
You have an empty glass. This empty glass represents our mind immediately after we are born again. Our mind does not change and must be renewed. So now we must put aside our pride which the world taught us and realize that God knows more than we do. We become humble and teachable to God's Word and we RECEIVE GOD'S WORD WITH MEEKNESS. For the sake of this example, picture God's Word being rivers of living water being poured in the glass. The more you study and learn, the more the glass becomes filled with the whole thoughts of the Word and the more sound your mind becomes.
Now if this glass is tipped over, you will lose the water (new man thoughts) and will have to start over again. So you make sure the glass STANDS and you don't allow yourself to be "blown about with every wind of doctrine" by the world. You decide, by your own free will, to secure the water (His Word) and to be steadfast and unmovable. You HOLD FAST to this precious liquid as you know it represents a more than abundant life and also eternal life. You watch over your renewed mind and protect it. If there are any cracks in the container, you quickly see that they are taken care of. The precious liquid that you pour into this glass represents the new man thoughts and YOU RETAIN GOD'S WORDS WITH CONVICTION.
Finally, you have become adept at RECEIVING God's Word and RETAINING it. So you keep pouring God's Word into your mind until THE GLASS BECOMES FULL. Then what happens? When you continue to learn God's Word, your glass which represents your mind, is filled to the very top. What will logically happen if you pour more water in the glass? That's correct. It will pour off the sides. THAT'S WHY YOU MUST RELEASE SOME OF GOD'S WORD TO OTHERS.
You can actually reach a point where you can't learn anymore from God until you RELEASE what you know. Now, in the analogy, if your pour out some of the water by witnessing to someone, God can then teach you more. It's that simple.
Isn't that just tremendous how God has set up this balance for us? I know of a great man of God who studied more than anyone I ever knew. Many times at 2:00 AM in the morning, he would call a friend to tell them what God had taught him that day. Then the next day God could teach him more. He had to pour some out -- he had to RELEASE so that God could fill him up again.
This sets the tremendously important balanced principle of
RECEIVE - RETAIN - RELEASE from God's perfect Word.