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What would you suggest as a Bible study for someone who fears having a "heart for God" because there are too many sacrifices involved?
Well, first of all, I would take them through one of our new 40-minute Bible studies. They do not require any homework, but you dig into the Scriptures together as a group, as you observe the text, mark the text, and discuss the text. I would start with the one called, How Do You Know God's Your Father? It will explain that if you are living in habitual sin, if you don't have a love for other Christians, if you don't have the witness of the Holy Spirit, if you're not walking as Christ walked, then in all probability you've got a religion and not a relationship.
Then I would take them to Having a Real Relationship with God. People have all sorts of relationships with God but they're not always genuine. From there I would go to Being a Disciple: Counting the Cost. This one is going to challenge you. Jesus said, "If any man's going to come after me and be my disciple then this is what he has to do ... " He made it very clear. And he said that not to Christians, he said that to multitudes. "If any man will come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me." In Matthew 7, Jesus said, "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, have I not cast out demons in your name? Have I not done miracles in your name? Have I not prophesied in your name?'" Jesus is going to look at them and say, "I never knew you," which means they never were truly born again, because when Jesus says "never," it's a "never, never."
What these people have done is built their house in sand instead of on a rock, because they knew the Word but they didn't use it. Today, we think it's enough for me to believe it intellectually but we don't have to commit to it in lifestyle. And that's not true. So I believe there's eventually going to be a great shock. I don't think there's going to be anybody in heaven that is surprised to be there. But I think there are going to be people cast into hell who are shocked that they ended up there. They had a religion and not a relationship.
It's very sobering, and not very popular. But how many people do you know who can explain to you the doctrines of justification, sanctification, propitiation, expiation, and redemption? How many people can tell you what Ephesians, Galatians, or Philippians is about? How many people can walk you through the Word of God? No, they know a verse from here, they know a promise from there, but they don't know the context from which they got that verse and so, they really don't understand what Christianity is all about. And our goal at Precept Ministries is to teach them.
Have you personally grown more comfortable with people turning to you for answers rather than theologians from the past?
You know what? Those who study with me don't turn to me for answers. Those who study with me know how to go to the Bible and get their answers. Sometimes they'll ask me, "What's your opinion?" But they really don't turn to me. In fact, they often say, "Kay, are you sure that you've seen this right?" It's the real priesthood of the believers, you know. We teach people how to uncover God's truth themselves and to hear God through His word.
Now, if they quote me and they say, "Kay Arthur says this," it's because they've done one of these 40-minute studies or they've done A Silver Refined, or Our Covenant God, or uh any of my Lord books cause then they would quote me. But if they've done Precept, they won't quote me because if they've done Precept (inductive study) they've done the studying themselves. In our Precept courses I never tell them anything, they discover truths on their own. Then in my lecture I teach but then they can evaluate whether I got it right or wrong.
For people today, if I announced a study where I was going to teach on Romans 6 - 8, nobody would come. But if I said "I'm going to teach you how to get free from a slavery to a besetting habit or sin" they'd come. Most people are not interested in knowing the Bible, they're interested in the cure. My prayer is always we take people from these 40-minute studies, made for people who won't do homework, all the way up to driving the Rolls Royce of our Precept Inductive Study courses.
When you say Beloved, what does that mean to you?
Beloved means that you are loved by God and precious to God. I get letters all the time saying, "No one's ever told me I was Beloved." Or they'll ask me to sign their books and address it to "Beloved." And that's what Paul calls those that have come to know Him, "Beloved."
Kay Arthur provided more advice about improving your personal relationship with God during our live chat. To read what she had to say, click here: Kay Arthur Chat Transcript.