Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered DATE by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

The Great Separator

Jeremiah 23:29, "Is not my word like fire," declares the Lord, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? The hammer separates the Diamond from the rock. Like a hammer the Bible separates the Christian from the world. If you are not enjoying a daily dose of Bible study you are not being separated from the world.

2 Corinthians 6:17, "Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord. How are you going to be separate from the world? From Creation God's word has always separated. It was God's word that separated the waters above from the waters below in Genesis 1:6. And it was God's word that separated the light from the darkness in verse 18. Today it is still God's Holy Word that separates.

If you want to leave behind your old ways, only the power found in the Bible can separate you from them. The Bible is the Great Separator, like a combine running over the field of wheat separating the precious wheat from the chaff. That is what the bible is like.

Look at Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

This is an amazing machine. The Bible separates. That is what the sword does. It separates. A surgeons scalpel separates you from the cancerous tumor, and likewise the Bible will separate you from sin. Now imagine a surgeon in the surgical unit of a great hospital who leaves his scalpel untouched on the sterile trey. His patient will not be healed. His patient will die. If your Bible sits unused you are going to die in your sins. Unless you expose yourself to this holy scalpel you will never be separated from the cancer of sin. It is not going to happen.

"God has revealed sacred and holy truths, to separate his people from the ungodly, and purify them unto himself." 1 "We should diligently search for the hidden treasure, (in the Bible) and seek wisdom from heaven in order to separate human inventions from the divine commands."2

It is The Bible that separates the children of light from the children of darkness. If you want to separate yourself from the evil of this world then you must make the precious truth of God's word a part of your everyday life.

Like a powerful flashlight, the Bible will expose the way of truth to you. And reveal for you the way of safety and lead you from destruction and leading you the other direction into the haven of safety.

Come over here to Psalm 119. This is a familiar verse, Psalm 119:105. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. So we don't have to be quibbling over which direction we are going to go. The Bible will show us the way to go.

Not until the Bible was printed in the language of the people did the Reformation begin. Remember the Gutenburg Bible? There is a museum in Germany that contains the first printed Bible in a glass case. When this great Bible was first printed the first copies were placed in churches and chained to a pillar. The people gathered in throngs, standing on the hard stone floor and listened for hours attentively.

If the reader paused too long they would cry out, "Read on! Read on!" They wanted to hear the Word of God. Finally enough Bibles were printed to begin to supply the common people and the powerful Word of God and it brought about the great reformation. And I would submit to you that Now, If there is a great need of reformation today, what do you suppose is the cause?

1 Timothy 4:13, Until I come, continue to read the Scriptures to the people, strengthen them, and teach them.

How do you get the power of the Great Separator into your very life? How do you tap into this wonderful tool? I am going to metion ten keys of how you can get the power of the Bible into our life.

1. Realize its potential.

When you sit down with you Bible you are actually entering into audience chamber with God Himself. Until you realize that, you just think your are reading a good book. No, you are entering His presence. John 5:39 says, You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me.

Do you realize that you actually listen to Christ's voice when you read your Bible? You are in the presence of God. Every word in the Bible has its source in Jesus. "Fill the whole heart with the words of God. They are the living water, quenching your burning thirst. They are the living bread from heaven. Jesus declares, 'Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.' And He explains Himself by saying, 'The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.' John 6:53, 63.3

Here is one of the greatest verses in the Bible: 2 Peter 1:4, "Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. Do you want the divine nature in your life? Do you desire to have that; the nature of Jesus in your life? Then here is how to get it. Through this, you might participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption of the world hat is caused by evil desires. Do you have evil desire that are hounding you? Can yo escape them? Yes you can! This is how to do it. Through the Word of God. Take advantage of it. Use it. In other words, in plain everyday language, if you study your Bible you will Partake of the very nature of Jesus. It is going to happen. You will avoid the corruption of the world. You will only become like Jesus to the extent that you utilize the latent power found in the Word of God.

A minister sent a number of books to be rebound, and in them was a Bible. It was only the New Testament and it was very thin. In fact it was so thin there was no room on the spine of the book to spell out The New Testament. So the bookbinder sent it back with a label in gold letters that said: T.N.T. I think that was pretty good! Powerful!

2. You need to form a daily habit

How many of you have a habit of eating every day? Most of you eat every day, or at least once a week. You need to form a daily habit of reading the Bible! Most people own a Bible. Actually the whole Bible is full of precious Gold. However the only gold most folks ever see in their Bible is on the edges of the pages and where their name is printed. Approximately 100 million Bibles are printed every year but the Bible is still one of the most unused books. The Devil is never afraid of a Bible that is covered with dust. But you are personally in danger of being lost unless you can form a daily habit of thoughtfully studying the Bible. 4

The Devil used to get zealots to burn the Bibles. Now he just keeps us so busy that we don't have time to take them off the shelf.

Fred W. Cropp, president of the American Bible Society, received a letter asking a question: "What do you recommend for keeping the leather on the back of Bibles from getting stiff, cracking and peeling?" His reply was, "There is one oil that is especially good for treatment of leather Bibles. In fact it will insure that your Bible will stay in good condition. It is not sold, but may be found in the palm of the human hand." Palm Oil!

I probably should not say what I am going to say but I question whether or not all these new Bibles are good or bad. We have a Bible for students, one for mothers, a Bible for teenagers, the list goes on and on. I suppose there is a Bible for backpackers, and one for Railroad buffs. Maybe there will soon be one for Sky divers and Alligator hunters. Where does it all end? Get a real Bible that is translated as close as possible to the meaning of the original Bible languages. I like the New International Version or the New King James Version. And then make a personal daily Habit of Bible study.

In Acts 17:11, Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

3. You need to meditate on the Bible.

In Psalm 119:15, David wrote, I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. Don't swallow the rich food of the Bible whole. Chew on it. Concentrate on the meaning of just one verse. Take time to think of its meaning for yourself. Immerse your study in prayer. Read slowly until something really hits home to you. Then stop and write it down. Think about it. Underline it. Pray about it. Glean all you can before you go on. Psalm 1:1-2 says, Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.

4. Memorize as much from the Scriptures as you can.

Colossians 3:16 says, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly... Let it dwell in you. Let it be right here in your mind, and not on your shelf. Plant the Word of God in your mind. What you plant in your mind no one can take away from you.

5. Always begin with prayer.

I want the same Spirit Who inspired the Bible to be by my side when I read the Bible so that I might get the correct understanding from it for my needs. If you skip prayer you might learn many facts from the Bible but you will never fall in love with its Author, Jesus.

6. Share Bible truth with others.

Sahre the Bible with someone else. Jesus quoted the Scriptures over and over. As we help others with God's Word we gain even more strength from it ourselves.

7. Read the Bible slowly.

This might not be the time to speed read. One university student claimed to have read 500 books through in one year. Abraham Lincoln in his whole lifetime concentrated on reading four books well and number one was the Bible. Don't always start in Genesis 1:1 and go to Revelation 22:21. Walk or stroll through the Bible. The cows don't always start at the South fence and work their way across the pasture like a giant mowing machine. They nibble here a little and there a little. Try beginning with the book of Mark. Read it through in one sitting like a short story. It will let you see Jesus in a special way.

8. Practice what you learn.

You will never advance in understanding and knowledge unless you practice what you learn. You have to practice it. You will never get to the New Jerusalem unless you practice what you learn. "The Scriptures... can be understood only by those who are humbly seeking for a knowledge of the truth that they may obey it."5 Isn't this an amazing statement? You can't understand the Scriptures unless you are willing to obey.

And as follow what you discover you will be led to higher and higher understanding and joy. Superficial Christianity is as inadequate for getting you to heaven, as a tricycle would be for running the Indianapolis 500 race. No good. Get into the Word of God.

9. Study the Bible.

Don't just read it: Study it. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Study the Bible.

A man was sitting on a park bench when a small boy sat down near him. The little boy began to wind a new watch that he obviously valued very much. The man said, "What a pretty watch. Does it tell you the time?" "No Sir," replied the boy, "you gotta look at it." The Bible will never tell you anything unless you take the time to study it. You've got to look at it.

Orville and Wilbur Wright were excited. On December 17, 1903 they had finally succeeded in keeping their homemade airplane in the air for 59 seconds! Immediately they rushed a telegram to their sister in Dayton, Ohio relating the great news. The telegram read: "First sustained flight today. 59 seconds. Hope to be home by Christmas."

Their sister was so excited that she rushed to the newspaper office and gave the telegram to the editor. The next morning the paper caption said: "Popular Local Bicycle Merchants to be home for Christmas." One of the greatest stories of the twentieth century was missed because an editor did not stop to think about what he was reading.

When you read the Bible, read it slowly. Let it's words sink in. Study it carefully, You might learn something special. "Superficial students of the Bible will eventually turn away from Christ." 6

There are three stages of Bible Study:

  1. CASTER OIL STAGE... You take it like bad tasting medicine only because you know it is good for you, so you do it.
  2. SHREDDED WHEAT STAGE... Dry but nourishing.
  3. PEACHES AND CREAM STAGE... Much to be looked forward to. A real treat to study the Bible.
Have you reached the third stage yet?

10. Let the Bible change your life.

Don't resist it. A New Hebrides Chieftain sat peacefully reading his Bible when he was interrupted by a French Trader. "Bah," said the trader. "Why are you reading the Bible? I suppose the Missionaries have got hold of you....you poor fool. Throw it away! The Bible never did anybody any good" The chieftain calmly replied: "If it wasn't for this Bible, you'd be in my kettle by now!"

Let the Bible change your life. It will change you from being a heat hunter to a witness for Christ.

Hebrews 4:12 says, For the Word of God is living and active.

We need that living Power. "None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict."7 We fortify our bread and even our candy bars. Why not fortify our minds with the Word of God? We fortify our bread and even our candy bars. Why not fortify your life with the Word of God?

In 1969, an active Christian worker in a communist country was arrested and put in jail. From there he was led to the Secret Police Interrogation Room. There was a Police officer and a doctor sitting at the desk. Lying open on the table was a Bible. "Do you believe that this book is God's Word?" He said "Yes!" The secret Police official then thrust the Bible into the m,an's hands nd told him to read Mark 16:17, 18. Let's see what that says. Mark 16:17,18. "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadkly poison, it will not hurt them at all; and when they place their hands on sick people, they will get well."

"Do you believe this part of the Bible too?" "Yes." Then the officer placed a filled glass on the table. "In this glass there is a strong poison. If the Bible is true it won't hurt you." Then they brought in a very large dog and gave the dog some of the liquid in the glass. In a very few moments the dog was lying dead on the floor. "Do you still claim that this Bible is true?" Yes! "Then drink the entire glass of poison."

The Christian knew that this was the supreme test. He asked for permission to pray. He knelt with the glass in his hand and prayed for his family and for the communist officer and the doctor that they might find God and be converted. Then he prayed for God's will to be done to his life. With that he drank all of the poison. The communist officer and the doctor were surprised. They had thought that he would break first. They waited for him to collapse as the dog. Moments passed into minutes. Minutes seemed to be hours. All was silent. All were waiting for his death. The doctor made the first move. He took the Christian's pulse. Normal. He looked for other symptoms. There were none. He was astonished. He could find no trace of harm whatsoever. As the examination continued the doctor became more amazed. Finally he slumped into his seat, paused a moment, reached into his pocket and removed his Party Card and tore it in half and threw it on the floor. Then he reached out for the Bible, held it, and said, "From today, I will also believe this book. It must be true. I, too am ready to believe this Christ who did this thing before my eyes."8

How is it with you? Are you so acquainted with God's Word that you would believe in it like that? The devil believes in the Bible, but He has nothing to do with it. I believe in Okra, but I have nothing to do with it. But the Bible must fully capture our heart, life and entire being. We must accept it as the very Word of God. Trust in it and follow it.

11. We should read the Bible to be Wise. We should believe in it to be safe. We should practice it to be holy.

It would be nice if there were a food that if you ate of it once-a-day you would never die. There really is such a food: the Bible. It's words are words of life to us. There is real life in the Bible. Stronger than the strength of a thousand poisons is the eternal life found in the Bible. Are you eating of the words of life every day? Christ says that if we don't eat of His words we have no life in us. In other words we are dead and don't know it.

John 6:53, Jesus said unto them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. John 6:63, "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." If you don't partake of the Word of God every day, are you really alive?

A black snake slithered out of a cave and the old timer from Tennessee watched it go a short distance to a plant and take a few bites and wend its way back into the cave. This was repeated several times. "I'll venture the black snake is fighting with a deadly rattler in there," he thought to himself. "He comes out here and bites that certain plant to offset the poison." So he thought of a test to make sure. The man uprooted the plant and removed it and got back to his hiding place to watch. He regretted his deed, but his idea was correct. He watched the heroic snake search in vain for the plant and finally curl up and die. A specific remedy has been provided for the bite of that old serpent...the Devil. It is the precious life- giving Eternal Word of God, the Bible. Many a Christian has run to the Word of Life and found the antidote to be victorious against the old serpent. Next time the devil comes to do battle with you, go for the antidote!

Did you know that:

But the record is that of a "Christian" lady who went for many years without a meal; a spiritual meal from her Bible. This lady showed the minster her beautiful Bible. She carefully removed the cover of the box and unwrapped her treasure. "I want it to be in just as good condition when I die as when my son gave it to some years ago" she said. Her Bible, kept hidden away unread, spoke only of her love for her son. She could have gleaned precious words of comfort from its blessed pages. But she went without the real power of the Word for many years. Don't be a Turtle Christian.

If you really want power in your life, then take daily time to put the Bible in your daily schedule. The Bible will keep you from sin: But of course Sin will keep you from the Bible. Daily Bible study is a barricade against temptation. David said in Psalm 119:11, I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.

Here is an amazing quotation from Ellen White: "By studying and obeying the directions (of the Bible) not one soul would lose its way to heaven."9

Satan cannot overcome the weakest person who every day hides the word of God in his heart. When Christ was on the earth the only way He was able to resist Satan's temptations was by using the Bible. Can we do it any different today?

The Bible is part of the armor of a fully equipped Christian. Ephesians 6:17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The reason we fall into sin so much is that we don't take daily time to read and study God's word. We should understand this. We know that if we don't eat food we will get weak and fall victim to any germ carried our way. When we don't daily feed on the world of God, we will easily fall at the first temptation. Patrick Henry said before his death: "Here is a book, the Bible, worth more than all others that were ever printed, yet it is my misfortune never to have found time to read it."

What an awesome responsibility to own a Bible. Too often we Christians are living on crackers and cheese when God has prepared for us three square meals a day. What a great treasure the Bible really is and yet we are living on crackers and cheese. To own a Bible and feed on the newspaper is to be rich and live on rags. We read the newspaper to find out what people are doing, but we read the Bible to find out what people ought to do. The newspaper informs but only the Bible will transform. There is a big difference in the books that men make and the book that makes men.

Two men were partners in Chicago. They bought an old trunk of junk. They stored it for years. In 1941 they cleaned it out. When they got to the bottom they found some metal disks. "These must be old beer checks" said one man. At the federal building a specialist said that they were old gold coins dating back to 1842 and worth well over $6,000.

The Bible is full of rich gems of promise. Many are far below the surface. We must dig of jewels of the Bible as a miner digs for precious ore.

I urge you, and even beg you to begin a daily habit of serious meaningful Bible study. "We are not safe if we neglect to search the Scriptures daily for light and knowledge."10

Matthew 4:4, Jesus answered, "It is written: 'man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"


1. Vol. 1 of Testimonies for the Church, by EG White, p. 405.

2. Review and Herald, September 11, 1894.2.

3. Steps To Christ, by EG White, p. 88.

4. See Vol. 1, Selected Messages, by EG White, p. 359,360.

5. Christ's Object Lessons, by EG White, p. 112.2

6. Vol. 6, Testimonies for the Church, by EG White, p.132.3

7. Great Controversy, by EG White, p. 593.

8. Underground Evangelism, September 1969.

9. Vol. 1, Selected Messages, p. 16.

10. Vol. 1, Selected Messages, by EG White, p. 359.1.

 Hymn of Praise: 17,  Lord of All Being, Throned Afar
Scripture:  John 17:14-17
Hymn of Response: #329,  Take the World but Give Me Jesus


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