BYOB (Bring Your Own Bible)

Psalms 119:11

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against 

thee.

This morning I want to take you back.  I would like to take a trip back in time.  I want to take a stroll down memory lane.  Now some of you may or may not want to take this trip with me.  There were a lot of good times in the good old days, but there were also a lot of bad times in the good old days as well.  Some of y’all may not remember the good old days because of the good times you had, or because you have been trying so hard to forget about them.  But lets take this stroll down memory lane anyway.  How many of y’all remember getting excited because the weekend was near, you just got paid, it was Friday night; you were party hunting, and feeling right.  You had some money in your pocket and you were ready to get down.  You were ready to party.  I think that’s why most kids like college so much because you don’t have to wait until weekend to have a good time.  Every night is a potential party night in college.  Anyway, don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.  We all looked forward to the weekend so that we could have a good time.  But how many of you remember getting that invitation to the party, whether it was a paper invitation or word of mouth.  And on the bottom of the invitation or in a lowered toned voice you would read or hear the letters BYOB!  Which meant that you had to bring your own bottle.  If you wanted to get your drink on you had to bring it yourself.  And this always reminded me of my daddy because he always brought his own bottle.  He liked a specific type of vodka and that’s what he always had in his brown paper bag.  Now don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about you had your favorite thing to drink, whether it was Seagram’s gin in the bumpy bottle, E & J, Hennessy, Crown Royal, Scotch, or maybe you liked that malt liquor old English, St. Ides (special brew), Colt 45 (in my Billy Dee Williams voice), or you may have been a beer person Bud-weis-er, miller genuine draft, or Heineken, or you may have been one of those who drank whatever you could get your hands on, mad dog 20/20, Ripple, night train, or cough syrup.  Oh, you still are trying to play the kid.  Maybe it wasn’t a bottle that you brought to the party.  Maybe you brought the blunt, joint, or sack of weed.  Maybe you brought the vile of coke, the pipe, or the needle.  Maybe your party pleasure was sex and you just brought a three pack of Trojans.  Nonetheless you brought your own to the party. But today in this party of life we do not need to bring our own bottle.  We do not need to bring our own bag, sack, pipe, or needle to get our swerve on!  If we are going to get through this thing called life, and do it the way that God intended for us to do it we will have to BYOB bring your own Bible.   

With all that is going on in our world…

I cannot believe that I am saying this again, that another unarmed black man has been gunned down.  Another unarmed black man by the name of Jacob Blake was shot seven times in front of his three children last Sunday and the police are walking around not arrested, but on paid administrative leave.

The racism and social injustice in our nation is at an all time high and completely out of control.

This pandemic, this COVID-19 that has our nation so twisted that we are sending our kids to school, placing them in front of computer screens, but yet we still want to send them unprotected onto sports fields.

And I don’t even want to bring up politics, but both sides have totally lost their minds.

And on top of all this…

We still have poverty.

We still have homelessness.

We still have hunger.

We still aren’t taking care of our veterans.

We still have unequal education.

We still have racial issues in the church.

We still have crime.

We have to BYOB.  Bring your own Bible.

We have to bring our own word.  

We can’t bring what momma and daddy said about the word.  

We can’t bring the bible verses that grandma and grandpa use to quote.  

We can’t even bring the passages that pastor preaches on Sunday.  

We can’t bring the empowering word we heard from T.D. Jakes on the radio.

You have to bring your own word.   You have to bring what you know.  You have to BYOB.  You have to bring your own bible.  And I’m not talking about the actual holy book in its physical form, what you literally carry in your hand.  Whether it is fancy leather bound bible with the gold trim with four different translations in it or a paperback New Testament only bible with Psalms and Proverbs. Or any bible app you may have on your phone, tablet, or computer.  I’m talking about knowing the word for yourself.  What good will a weapon do in war if you don’t know how to use it?  The word is our spiritual weapon of warfare that is why you need to know it.  That is why David could not fight Goliath in Saul’s armor.  Not only was it way too big, he did not know Saul’s armor.  He was not familiar with Saul’s armor.  

He was not comfortable with Saul’s armor.  

He was not confident in Saul’s armor!  

And let me say parenthetically on the way to where I am going that is why many of us are stuck on stupid waiting on dumb because you’ve been trying to get by in someone else’s armor.  

You’ve been trying to win the battle with someone else’s armor.  You’ve been trying to fix the situation with someone else’s armor.  You’ve been trying to work through the circumstance with someone else’s armor.  

You are not genuine.  

You are a fake and a phony and the enemy knows it. 

You have no power because you do not know the word for yourself.  

Oh, I’m sorry baby did I hurt your feelings.  You’ll be okay because the bible says that the word of God is sharper than any two-edge sword.  That means you will get cut, but you’d know that if you knew the word instead of trying to fake the funk and use someone else’s armor.  

Look at your neighbor and say ouch, I just got cut! But don’t get offended I’m not talking about you unless I’m talking about you!

Now this is exactly what the author of the 119 division of Psalms knew.  He knew that to get through this journey of life that he needed the word of God to make it.  Now the 119 Psalm is referred to as the longest Psalm for the simple fact that it is indeed the longest Psalm and the largest chapter in the bible.  And in each of the psalms’ 176 verses is devoted to the importance of Gods word in the life of the believer.  Now no one is sure of the author of this Psalm.  Many believe that it was David.  Others believe that it was Daniel.  And some believe that it was Ezra.  To me it’s not that significant because either one of these men, the king, the prophets could attest to the power of God’s word through any trial and every situation.  Take David for example that killed a bear and a lion with his bare hands, killed a giant with a sling and a stone, and was anointed king of Israel when he was the least qualified for the position according to the laws and customs of the time.  And then there was Daniel, who was taking from his land and imprisoned in Babylon, told not to worship his God by King Darius, which he refused to do, tossed into a den of lions only proving his God’s power all the more when he was unharmed in the morning and rising to power in a foreign land.  And then there was Ezra who was able to assist in the rebuilding of God’s temple after he returned to Jerusalem from captivity amidst a ton of opposition.  So any one of these great men of God could attest to the important power of the word of God.  The verse that I read for your hearing this morning was only one of 176 that I could have used, but God brought this verse to my attention, and I believe that it is important to know what the author was saying when he wrote in Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.  The author was saying that I will meditate on your word to the point that it is a part of my being.  It will be in my heart, and if your word is in my heart it will be difficult for me to sin against you.  If God’s commands are embedded to the very fibers of my soul and my heart how could I possibly break those commands?  Keeping God’s word is not a work of righteousness.  It is external evidence of your faithfulness and love towards God.  So you see by analyzing this verse we can see the importance of BYOB.  We can see the life altering power of bringing your own bible, the power of knowing the word for yourself.  And how do we get the power of knowing the word for ourselves?  How do we BYOB?  How do you bring your own bible?  How do we bring our own word?  I am so glad that you asked.  

The first way that we bring our own word is to learn the word.  You and I must learn the word.  In the bible the word is referred to as HIS commandments, statutes, laws, precepts, testimonies, judgments, and ordinances.  No matter what it is called you need to know it for yourself.  So that means you need to learn it.  That is why God told Joshua before he led the Israelites over the Jordan into the promised land “This book of the law shall not depart from thy mouth, but thou shall meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein.  For thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and thou shalt have good success.  You have to learn the word.  This does not mean to just read the word, but to think about the word.  Not just memorize scripture, but also think about the word.  Get a dictionary to look up words you do not understand.  Read a commentary that will break the scripture down so that you will understand exactly what God is trying to say through his word.  You need to know who wrote the scripture.  Where he was when he wrote the scripture?  When did he write the scripture?  Why did he write the scripture?  How did he write the scripture?  And by answering all these questions through learning and thinking about the word with guidance from the Holy Spirit you will know what the word is saying.  

But you have to learn the word to bring your own word.  

You have to learn the word in order to BYOB.  And you learn the word in three ways.

First, You learn the word through studying it.  Studying means to devote time and attention to acquiring knowledge, especially by means of books.  To look closely in order to observe or read.  To make and effort to achieve or take into account.  Ask your neighbor are you really studying the word.

Secondly, You learn the word by staying in it.  You have to constantly read your word.  It cannot be an every now and then thing.  How else can you study it if you do not stay in it.

Thirdly, You learn the word by standing on it.  Standing on the word means that you have faith in it, but you can only have faith in what you know.  It is impossible to have faith in the word if you do not know the word.  Remember you did not have faith in God until you were introduced to him and got to know him.  In order to bring your own bible you have to learn the word, and you learn the word by studying the word, staying in the word, and standing on the word.  This is exactly what the author of Psalms 119 did!

So not only do you need to learn the word, everybody say learn the word!  You also need to labor with the word.  Everybody say, labor with the word!  Mathew Henry’s commentary put it this way, those that make the word of God their rule and conscientiously walk by that rule shall both do well and spread well, and this entitles you to the best blessings.  In other words, once you learn the word, you can labor with the word, or shall we say work the word.  And when you work with the word you will live a blessed life!

You cannot say greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world if you are not working the word.  

You cannot say no weapon formed against me shall prosper if you are not working the word.  

You cannot say that you are more than a conqueror if you are not working the word.  

You cannot say I can do all things through Christ Jesus if you are not working the word.  

You cannot say that you are standing on the promises of God if you do not know the promises of God.  

You cannot say all things work together for good to those that love God who are called according to His purpose if you are not working the word.

You have to work the word.  You have to labor with the word.  You labor with the word in three ways.  

You labor with the word through your witness.  Who are you telling about the word?  How are you sharing the love of Jesus Christ with through the word?

You labor with the word through your work.  What are you doing in the kingdom?  Are you doing your part, or are you falling apart?

You labor with the word through your worship.  Now everyone cannot do worship.  Only children of God can worship.  Those of us that are members of the fraternity or sorority of the twice born can worship God.  For God is spirit and those that worship him must do so in spirit and in truth.

You have to labor with the word!  And you do so through your witness, work and worship!

Labor does not mean that you sit back and relax.  

When you labor you have to get your hands dirty.  

When you labor you can’t look cute.  

When you labor you have to expect to mess up your nails and your ponytails.  

When you labor you’re going to perspire.  

When you labor you will have some pain.  

When you labor you will have to push, but what comes out of you through the perspiration, pain and pushing is a power that can only be attained through laboring with the word.  

You have to labor with the word to bring your own bible.

So in order to bring your own bible you must learn the word.  Everyone say, learn the word.  You must labor with the word.  Everyone say labor with the word.  Last but definitely not least you must love the word.  Everyone say love the word.  A few years ago I had the opportunity to spend two days with Bishop T.D. Jakes at his Project Gideon Conference.  Over 300 pastors, aspiring pastors, and ministry leaders were in attendance.  And he shared his heart with us.  One of the most important things that he told us was that we need to love the word.  And I was instantly convicted because I knew that I was not treating the word the way that it deserved to be treated.  And I know that some of you may have felt that I was beating you up in this sermon, but the truth of the matter is, I’ve been preaching to myself as well.  The word whipped my but in the preparation process!  But we don’t love the word like we used too.  Remember when you first got saved and all you wanted to do was read the word because you wanted to know as much about God as possible.  What happened?  Why don’t you read the word like you used to?  Remember when you met your spouse for the first time.  All you wanted to do was spend time with them.  Get to know them. Every waking moment was spent thinking about them or trying to be with them. You would talk on the phone to the wee hours of the night.  Neither one of you wanted to hang up the phone.  You hang up, no you hang up.  Okay on the count of three we’ll both hang up at the same time.  1, 2, 3!  You still there?  Yes!  Why didn’t you hang up?  Why didn’t you hang up?  You were so in love that you never wanted to say goodbye.  That is what God longs for with us.  We need to return to our first love.  And we need to return to our first love, loving Him the way that He deserves to be loved.  We can’t half step.  We have to be all in because when you learn, labor with, and love the word you are learning, laboring with, and loving God.  John 1:1 states clearly that in the beginning was the word, the word was with God, and the word was God!   So when we are learning, laboring with, and loving the word we are learning, laboring with, and loving Jesus.  

We must love the word in three ways.  

We must love The Lord completely. In Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  

You have to love the Lord with every ounce of you your being.  You have to love the Lord with everything that you’ve got.  

You have to love the Lord like He loves you, unconditionally!  

You have to love God more than a kid loves candy.  

You have to love God more than peanut butter loves jelly.  

You have to love God more than sugar loves kool aid.  

You have to love God more than Joanie loved Chauchie!  

You have to love God more than you love your spouse.  

You have to love God more than you love your car.  

You have to love God more than you love yourself!

You have to love the Lord completely.

We must love the Lord continually.  This is a nonstop love affair. 

You cannot fall in and out of love with God.  You have to love him 

at all times.  That is why Psalms 34: 1 says that I will bless the 

Lord at all times and his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 

You cannot take a break from loving God.  There are no time outs, 

and there are not any half times.  You have to constantly, always, 

frequently, regularly, habitually, repeatedly, recurrently love God.  

There are no “ifs, ands, or buts” about it!

We must love the Lord consistently.  You may not agree with

what the Lord does and how He does it, but you still have to love 

Him.  You can’t love Him one day and not love Him the next day.

Just because He does not give you what you want when you want 

it does not give you the right not to love Him.  

In spite of every situation you have to love God.  

In spite of every circumstance you have to love God.  

I do not always agree with my wife.  

I do not always agree with my children.  

I do not always agree with my family.  

I do not always agree with my friends.  

But I will always love them.  

And we must always love God.

Always and forever, each moment with you, it’s just 

like a dream to me that some how came true. And I know 

tomorrow will still be the same.  Because we have a life of love

that won’t ever change.  Everyday love me your own special way,

melt all my heart away with smile.  Take time to tell me you really 

care and will share tomorrow together.  I’ll always love you 

forever!  I told you I wanted to take you back today!

We have to come back to our first love!

We have to love the Lord like the author of the Psalms 119 when 

he stated…

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the 

Lord. 

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with 

their whole heart.

They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy 

commandments.

I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have

learned thy righteous judgments.

I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed 

thereto according to thy word.

10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander 

from thy commandments.

11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against

 thee.

You have to love the word of God so much that it saturates every 

aspect of your life.  That no matter what comes your way you can 

face it because you have brought your own bible and you know 

that God is on your side.  And greater is he that is in you than he 

that is in the world!  

In other words, you have to bring you own bible…

Trouble on the job?

Problems in you marriage?

Kids getting on your nerves?

Struggling at school?

Issues with your health?

Pain in your body?

Drama in your family?

Dealing with addiction?

Fighting against depression?

Having a hard time feeding your family?

Going through a storm?

Losing your mind?

Lost and out of control?

Down to your last dime?

Stuck between rock and a hard place?

Hit rock bottom?

Bring your own bible and you will know that…

The king of kings!

The Lord of Lords!

The alpha and omega!

The beginning and the end!

The author and finisher of your faith!

The lily of the valley!

The balm of Gilead!

The rose of Sharon!

The bright and morning star!

The great I am!

Has your back, but you have to bring your own bible!

You have to learn the word.

You have to labor with the word.

You have to love the word, and when you love the word you love God.  

When you love the word you love the true and living God.  

When you love the word you love the worthy lamb.  

When you love the word you love Jesus!

Does anyone in the room love Jesus this morning?

I love you Jesus.

I worship and adore.

Just want to tell you.

That I love you more than anything!


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