1175 Leaves on the Tree of Life

Sermon delivered June 1, 1996

by Pastor Don Gettys, McDonald Road SDA Church, McDonald, TN

We live in a strange age! Life is fast. Life is ever more and more compact and condensed. We condense our milk, Readers Digest condenses books, including a condensed Bible. Backpackers have dehydrated food, we continually squeeze more and more out of time and life.

I have here a can of DEHYDRATED WATER! This is what they use to make DRY Ice. It can be used in Dry Cell Batteries, or for watering your Cactus or in Dry Cleaning clothes. Because it is so light weight, Backpackers like to carry it on a hike. This makes gallons of pure water.

Dehydrated Water! You know there is one thing you cannot skimp on or condense. That is your spiritual health and well being. Just like there is no such thing as Dehydrated water, there is no such thing as a Dehydrated Christian. A Christian without the water of life-(Jesus), is not a Christian at all. It takes time to be a Christian. No skimping here.

One thing it takes to be a strong Christian today is food. The Word of God is concentrated spiritual energy. Our heavenly Einstein invented the Bible for His people to feed on. When you listen to a sermon it ought to be a Biblical Christ centered sermon.

A young preacher just out of the seminary said: "Must I confine myself in my preaching to the Bible?" WHEW!!!!!! What an attitude! Like a SHRIMP who would say: "Must I confine myself to roaming the Atlantic Ocean?" What a preacher! As if his intellect would exhaust God's word in three sermons!

We do not have access to the tree of life.  If we did we would never
die.  When Adam & Eve sinned in God had a problem.  Genesis 3:22  And God
said, The man has now become like one of US, knowing good and evil.  He must
not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and
eat and live forever.  
23- so God banished them from the Garden of Eden.

3:24 God placed angel guards with flaming swords to guard the way to the tree of life.

The power of Carrots and Broccoli are nowhere near the power of the fruit and leaves on the tree of life. Beans and corn are great but they pale in comparison to the awesome power of the great tree of life. If we could just eat of that tree we could have real life! But we can't. But we can! Here is how:

II PETER 1:4-- "(God) has given us His great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the Divine Nature..." God has eternal life. WE can get it by feasting on these promises. The very life of God is in the Book.

"The word of God is our sanctification and righteousness because it is spiritual food. To study it is to eat the leaves of the Tree of Life!" Evangelism 138.

Until that grand day when we all get to heaven and with our wings, we fly down and land on a great branch of the tree of life and pick one of those sccullent varieties of fruit growing there.... until that moment we must come to the Bible.

The Bible is the book of Life.  It begins and ends with a reference to
the Tree of Life. (Genesis 2:9; Revelation 22:2)
The Bible is similar to a tree.  Books once claimed kinship with trees.
  
----The Latin word LIBER from which we get Library originally meant the Bark  
       of a tree.  
----CODEX meant the Trunk
----BOOK comes from Beech (many books were made from Beech trees in Saxon     
       times)
----We still speak of binding books in BOARDS
----The word LEAF is common to both books and trees.

Our Bible is the "Tree of Life" for us today. My Bible has 1175 pages or leaves in it. As in Adam and Eves time, angels were posted to guard access to the tree of life... they are still guarding it. Evil angels guard against you spending time with your Bible. You try to study your Bible and other things seem to prevent it. Satan must invent ways to keep us from feeding on the Scriptures. It is dangerous to neglect God's saving communication with us.

A park ranger in Yellowstone National Park was leading a group of hikers up the steep trail to a lookout tower. It was a beautiful day. The ranger was intent on describing the beauties of the flowers and pointing out interesting animals along the way to the tourists. His two-way Radio became distracting and so he switched it off.

As they neared the tower the ranger was met by a nearly breathless lookout from the fire tower itself. "Why haven't you responded to your messages on the radio?" A GRIZZLY BEAR had been seen stalking the group, and the authorities had tried to warn them of the imminent danger.

Whenever we tune out the messages God has sent us we put endanger not only ourselves, but those around us. It is absolutely vital that we never turn off God's saving communication. Listen to it.

JOHN 5:24 "Whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me HAS ETERNAL LIFE..." Very clearly the Bible is like the tree of life. Gods word produces eternal life. The Bible is like an eternal life factory. Come every day to the Word and you will gradually be changed.

---Don't read the Bible as you would a newspaper but as a letter from
        home.  
---If in its pages you find a cluster of heavenly fruit hanging within your
        grasp, gather it.  
---If a promise lies upon the page as a blank check, cash it!
---If an example of holiness gleams before you, ask God to do as much for
        you.
---If a prayer is recorded, appropriate it for your needs.

JOHN 5:39 Search the scriptures...they testify of ME!

An elderly saint liked to read the Bible. But her memory was almost gone. Moments afterwards she could not recall much of what she read. She decided to stop reading it. That night she had a dream. She was standing on the bank of a stream holding a loosely woven basket in her hands. An angel told her to fill the basket with water. Over and over she tried. But the basket would not hold water. It all drained out.

She was about to give up.  The angel said: Look inside your basket.  She
saw that the basket which had been dirty & dark was now clean and white. 
That is like the Bible.  You might forget much of what you read but you keep
filling your mind with the living water.  It will clean you up.  You may say:

       I will never be able to quit drinking...
       I will never conquer pornography......
       I am stuck with this bad temper forever.....

But you keep exposing your mind to the living Word of God.  Over time you
will be changed.  

Don't skimp or take short cuts. We want quick solutions. We want drive- through, quick, fast, easy. But you don't get a well fed church by serving fast food! Only by daily saturation of the mind with the Bible will our thought process be transformed.

The Bible is both Baby food and Adult Ensure concentrate. It is both Diet Food and Body building food. The Bible is a stream where any elephant can swim and any lamb can safely wade. God's word is for everybody!

Our life is lived in our mind. More than 10,000 thoughts pass through that gray matter each day. Your thoughts not only show what you are but what you are becoming. By daily studying the Bible God reprograms our mental computer. As we think we do. If you want to change behavior, change your mental diet. The Bible is meant to be bread for daily use and not just cake for special occasions.

The Bible can be used in different ways. You can use it to grow strong or you can use it to beat others over the head. As you know I like a daily walk. On my walks I lift a small six pound barbell. I wanted a heaver one. My wife and I were looking at several on the shelf of the store. Suddenly a package of two 5 pound dumb-bells fell off the shelf and landed on my wife's toe. By the next day the toe was as dark as the sky of an approaching spring thunderstorm. Dumb bells can either build you up or tear you down. The Bible is not a club to beat others over the head with but a tool to make you strong.

ACTS 20:32 says the Bible can BUILD YOU UP! It can also clean you up. Like water going through a dirty basket, the water of life will cleanse the sinner of all sin. It will build spiritual muscles. It will lead us to Jesus. We need it!

I don't understand why it is that in America our children can't read a Bible in School but they can if they go to prison? Something is very wrong with that.

RUSSIA used to be a land of Bibles. But in the 1930's Stalin came along. Stalin knew that it is impossible to mentally or socially enslave a Bible reading people so he ordered all Christians sent to prison camps and all their Bibles confiscated. Thousands of Christians died in those cold cruel slave camps. But ironically most of the Bibles were NOT destroyed.

In 1994 missionaries arrived in STAVROPOL. They had asked to have Bibles shipped in but they were held up in red tape. Someone told them about a large warehouse outside of town where confiscated Bibles were still stored.

By some miracle they were granted permission to distribute them. Hiring several local Russian workers, they began to load the trucks. A young Agnostic was hired to help. Not long after they started he disappeared. He was found in the corner of the warehouse weeping. He held a Bible in his hands. He had intended to steal it for himself and somehow he had picked up his own grandmother's Bible off the pile. Her signature was on the front page. Think of the odds! Of all those thousands of Bibles and he got the very one that would change his life. Today he is being transformed by the same Bible that his grandmother was persecuted for. - (Christian Reader, Sept/Oct 1995, p. 57)

DEUTERONOMY 11:18............. fix my word in your heart.
11:19............teach them to your children, talk about them.
11:20............write them on your doorpost
11:21............if you do your days will be as long as the                   
              heavens are above the earth

If you want to live a long life, get into the Word. God infuses eternal life into those that love His word.

To feed on the tinsel of the world while neglecting the Bible is like drinking a can of dehydrated water. Jesus said in JOHN 6:58.... "Our forefathers ate manna and died, but He who FEEDS on this BREAD will LIVE FOREVER!"

"There is nothing more calculated to strengthen the intellect than the study of the scriptures. No other book is so potent to elevate the thoughts, to give vigor to the faculties, as the broad, ennobling truths of the Bible. If God's word were studied as it should be men would have a breadth of mind, a nobility of character and a stability of purpose rarely seen in these times." Steps to Christ page 90.

The Bible is not dehydrated water. Gods word is living water. Pray for thirst. Go get a drink. See how good and refreshing the Bible really is.

( Can of real Dehydrated Water is from Bernard Food Industries, Inc. Evanston, Il, 60204, 1-800-323-3663)



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