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Becoming a FAT Hog for Jesus
Teachable!
Psalm 25:4-5
 
Once again we are learning how to become a FAT HOG for Jesus, and I when I mention that I always feel this need to very quickly explain what I mean by that.  We are exploring how to be faithful, available, teachable, holy, obedient and growing so that we might be like Christ. 
 
And while the title may be a little off putting, the objective is worthwhile because I don’t know anyone who is committed to their faith that doesn’t want to be more like Jesus! I feel sorry for those who are stuck in the mud in their Christianity. 
 
They’ve gotten saved, got themselves a little bit of fire insurance and that ‘s as far as they want to go. A little bit of Sunday morning activity is plenty, a token in the offering plate is all that’s necessary.
 
They don’t need a daily devotion time or any fellowship with other believers. They would never dream of coming to Wednesday night Bible study or church visitation. And unfortunately, they have no idea how much they are missing.
 
As we’ve already seen, any commitment to follow Christ always begins with faithfulness.  I mean by that, we decide to stay true to our commitment to Christ, no matter what it costs us.  That commitment always expresses itself through our relationship to the church.  There is no faithfulness to Christ apart from faithfulness to His body, the church. 
 
And for most all of, apart from certain extenuating circumstances, anybody can go to church.  That is rudimentary and foundational if we will be like Christ.  I would challenge you to name just one person who ever accomplished anything for Christ outside of a relationship with His church. 
 
Once we are faithful, it naturally follows that we will be available to Him for service.  We saw that through the response given by Isaiah to the call of God.  Isaiah went to church one day, found Himself overwhelmed by the power and presence of God and was forgiven of His sin and called by God to serve.  His immediate response was to make himself available. 

Today I want us to think about what it means to be teachable.  Now when I went to the concordance and looked up words such as teach and teacher, I was immediately overwhelmed by how many times the subject occurs in Scripture. 
 
There are at least 235 references to teaching in the Bible beginning with God promising to “teach Moses what he should say” when he went to Pharaoh.
 
Over and over, the Israelites were instructed to teach God’s way and statutes and laws to their children and grandchildren. 
 
The word “teach” is used 12 time in the book of Job alone as God and Job dialogue about what’s happening in his life.
 
As you would expect, the Psalms are filled with the requests of the Psalmist as he asks God to teach him the way he should live and walk.
 
In the New Testament focuses on Jesus and his reputation as a Teacher and the power and authority of what He taught.  And even outside the gospels, we find numerous mentions of the responsibility to teach the Word of God and the responsibility that carries.
 
So obviously, there is no lack of material when it comes to presenting a sermon of being teachable.  In fact, the challenge is not in what to say, but what to leave out. 
 
I want to tackle the subject by focusing on Psalm 25.  Listen to what we read in these verses, and please note how many times the psalm references teaching.
 
Verses 4-12
 
So what can we learn from these verses about having a teachable spirit?  Let me suggest three things to you this morning:
 
First I want you to notice
 
  1. What A Teachable Spirit Longs To Learn
 
Psalm 25:4-5a
 
Obviously, there is a deep longing in his heart and soul to hear from God. He longs to be taught and learn God's paths.  He understands the safest road he will ever travel is the path of the Lord and he deeply desires to know those paths.
 
And I find it interesting that as he prays, he sees himself as a student and that if he is to know the paths of the Lord, God will have to teach him.
 
The story is told of Pietro Mascagni, composer of the famous Cavalleria Rusticana. As he was leaving the opera house one evening he heard strains of the "Intermezzo" from his opera being played at a galloping speed.  He followed the music until he found an organ grinder at the curb cranking away on the handle. 
 
Mascagni took the handle from the operator and began turning it in the correct tempo. The grinder protested most vehemently until a second person, coming from the opera house, stepped in and told him who was playing the organ.
 
Mascagni encountered him again the following day. He was playing the "Intermezzo" again, but this time in correct tempo. And on the side of the organ was a large placard reading: "Pupil of the Illustrious Mascagni."
 
Well the Psalmist was the student of the God, the greatest teacher who’s ever lived.  And the amazing thing is He invites and encourages us to sit at His feet and learn also. Do you desire to be taught of the Lord? Do you desire that He teach you His paths? Are you a student of the glorious and majestic God? Is your prayer "teach me?"
 
So when the psalmist asks that God to teach him His paths, what is it he has in mind?  Well, a couple of words help us to know.  For instance, in verse 4, he says, “show me Your ways”.  
 
The word "ways" simply speaks of the path that is traveled. The word is most often used to refer to a pattern or conduct of life.
 
In Deuteronomy 8:6 we read, "Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to fear Him." David said in 2 Samuel 22:22, "For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God."
 
So his first request is a lifestyle request.  Lord, show me how to live my life.  Teach me what is right and acceptable and God-honoring. 
 
Then he says, “teach me Your paths”. The word "paths” means a specific path or road or highway.  Now the request is not just a general application, but a specific, personalized request. He’s talking about individualized tutoring for the specific details of his life.   
 
So both words speak of how someone lives. The Psalmist desires to live a godly life and make good decisions, and he seeks God’s instruction for the specific things he encounters as he lives that life. And his prayer is that the Lord would teach him godly ways and godly paths so that he could walk accordingly.
 
The state motto of Hawaii is Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono.
 
 
It has been a motto of Hawaii for over 160 years and was officially adopted on May 1, 1959.  Now historians will try to tell you it became the motto of the Kingdom of Hawaii when King Kamehameha III spoke the words on July 31, 1843. This was the day that sovereignty was restored to Hawaii by Queen Victoria following a five-month-long British occupation.   
But the words were first spoken by Queen Ke'opuolani in 1825.  She was led to the Lord by Protestant missionaries who first came to Hawaii in 1820 and as she was baptized, she said these words.
 
(oo-ah mah-oo key ey-ah oh kah ah-ee-nah ee kah poh-noh)
 
The words means, "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness."
 
The prayer of the Psalmist was that he would learn godly ways and paths so that he might continually and perpetually walk in righteous and he desired to be taught how to live such a life.
 
And by the way, notice the request is to be taught “Your ways” and Your paths.  In other words, the psalmist wanted to walk like God.  He wanted to travel in the same traffic patterns as God Himself. 
He desired that God's ways and paths be reflected in his life.
 
That’s what Peter had in mind when he wrote in 1 Peter 2:21, "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.”  When we walk in his ways and follow His paths, we will reflect the character and nature of God
 
The story is told of an old fellow from way back in the woods who decided he would go to town and see the sites. He had heard about it ever since he was a little boy, but he had never been anywhere or seen much of anything.
 
When he got to town, he went in one of the stores and saw a little pocket mirror for sale. He had never seen a mirror before.
He picked it up and looked at it and saw his face reflected in it. "Well," he exclaimed, "what do you know. It is a picture of my old granddaddy right here in the market."
 
He purchased the mirror and took it home. All evening long he would pull out the mirror and look at it and murmur to himself, "Imagine that. It is granddaddy."
 
His wife kept noticing what he was doing and asked him, "What have you got there?" "Never, you mind," he said putting the mirror back into his pocket.
 
The wife waited until her husband went to bed, and then she looked in his pants pocket where she found the mirror. She then looked in the mirror and gave a snort of disgust, "Why, it is nothing but a picture of some old hag he met in the market."
 
As a Christian, we should desire to be as much like our heavenly Father as possible and reflect Him in our life. George Whitefield prayed, "Lord, if I am going to be like Thee someday, help me to be like Thee today."
 
The Bible says of Enoch that he "walked with God" (Gen. 5:22). To walk with God is to be going in the same direction God is going. It is walk a walk that is reflective of God's "ways" and "paths."
 
The Psalmist longed to be taught of God, His "ways" and "paths." He was asking God to show him His "ways." He was asking God to teach him His "paths." Do we have the same longing? Do we have a deep desire to know God's "ways" and "paths" that we may walk in them as well?  It is one of the indicators of a teachable spirit.
 
That raises a question. How does God show us His "ways" and teach us His "paths?" Notice secondly:
 
  1. WHERE A Teachable Spirit LOOKS TO LEARN
 
verse 5
 
The Psalmist understands that the source of seeing and learning was God's truth. Where does a believer learn how to live right and do right?  Where do we learn the ways and paths of God? We learn from the Word of God which is the source of all truth.
 
There is nowhere else in the world to find truth.  Any truth there is roots back to God’s Word and there is no truth outside of it. It is where we are to look for truth, it is where we look for light and it’s where we look for understanding. 
 
It is the textbook used by our glorious Teacher. In it we learn the ways and the paths of life.
 
Elsewhere, the Psalmist said, "Your law is the truth" (Psa. 119:142) and "all Your commandments are truth" (Psa. 119:151). In fact, Jesus said, "Your word is truth."
 
As "truth" God's Word is totally, absolutely, entirely, and continually true. Its words from the beginning to the end, from the first to the last are truth. Every word in its sacred pages can be believed with absolute confidence.
 
Thomas Paine came as an immigrant to America in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin. His gift of writing lifted him from poverty and obscurity to fame. He inspired the American colonists to rise against England and achieve independence in the American Revolution. However, at his high point of success he wrote what he considered would be his masterpiece, the Age of Reason, a book he expected would replace the Bible.
 
He made the prediction that his book would destroy the Bible by exposing it as a myth and legend. He believed that within 100 years after the publication of his book, Bibles would only be found in museums or in the musty corners of secondhand bookstores.
 
I think time has proven that it was Paine's book that was nothing but myth and legend. It is his book that we find in museums and musty secondhand bookstores. As for the Bible, time has done nothing to disprove it truth, but only enforced it as the only source of truth.
 
No wonder the Psalmist prays, "Lead me in your truth." The word "lead" is a verb meaning to tread, to bend. It refers to walking on, over, pressing as in trampling something under one's feet. The word takes on the sense of subduing something.
 
The Psalmist is asking for more than guidance. He is asking that the God's truth rule over him and expressing his desire that he be under the authority and control of God's truth.
 
Vance Havner said, "More Bibles are bought and fewer read than any other book." I would not disagree. How many Bibles do you own or have in your home?
 
 
 
According to one source, in the United States, 92 per cent of households own at least one copy of the Bible. Among households that own a Bible, the average number is three.
 
However, it is not how many Bibles we own that is important, but what those Bibles mean in our life. It has been well said that it is not just that we get into the Bible, but that the Bible gets into us. It matters not how many Bibles we possess. What matters is that we are possessed by the Bible.
 
Like the Psalmist, we should desire that every action and reaction of our life be controlled by the Bible-God's truth! It is more than a book to decorate our coffee tables or a part of our Sunday wardrobe. It is a book to control the whole of our life.
 
We can believe it's every word. We should let all it says affect all we do. If you want to be taught, then look to the Bible to learn the "ways" and "paths" of God.
 
Lastly, we see:
 
  1. Why a Teachable Spirit Loves to Learn
 
As we’ve seen, the Psalmist possessed a deep longing to be taught the ways and paths of God and he looked to God's truth as the source for learning the ways and paths of God. So where did such a longing come from? What created the desire in him to be taught the paths of the righteous?
 
I think we find an indication in the second half of verse 25. 
 
 
He is simply expressing his gratitude for his salvation and his adoration for the God of his salvation. His desires root back to his love for His God. They were all the overflow of a heart full of love for the God of his salvation.
 
It is obvious that the Psalmist is deeply in love with his God. He is captivated with who He is and all He has done for him. That is always true about love. When one is deeply in love with someone they are captivated with that person.
 
Someone who had fallen in love wrote:
 
I climbed up the door and I shut the stairs.
I said my shoes and took off my prayers.
I shut off my bed and I climbed into the light,
And all because she kissed me good night.
 
When someone is in love they think about that person all the time. They can't wait to be with them and talk to them. The Psalmist said "on You I wait all the day." His heart and mind were on the Lord all through the day.
 
Are you so in love with the Lord that He is on your mind continually and you cherish the moments you are able to spend with Him?
 
Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your, soul, mind and strength”. So do you? Does that describe you? He was speaking of someone so in love with Him they were consumed with being in His presence every moment of every day. 
 
 
 
And it is that love that becomes the motivation for learning. The same motivation that led Isaiah to be available is what leads David to be teachable. His             desire to be taught by the Lord flowed from his love for the Lord. His love for the Lord motivated him to walk in His ways and paths.
 
Loves will always motivate. It motivates one to do things for others. As one said, love is a verb, not a noun. It always prompts action. It will motivate us to serve God. It will motivate us to want to live for God. It will motivate us to want to walk our Lord ways and paths.
 
Do you have a deep desire to walk the paths of the righteous? Do you have a deep desire to be taught the ways and paths of God? I can answer that question by whether or not you love the Lord. If you love Him you will desire to be taught His ways and paths.
 
Eliza Hewitt was born June 28, 1851 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She grew up in the Presbyterian church. She attended the Girl’s Normal School. During the Civil War her family lived only about 140 miles from the action at Gettysburg.
 
She always demonstrated a love for learning, first by graduating as valedictorian of the Girl's Normal School that she attended and later becoming a teacher in the public schools of her city.  For a few years at least, all went well. Then an incident happened that forever changed her life. 
 
While disciplining a male student, he became angry and picked up his slate board. He swung it at his teacher, striking her hard across the back. The doctor put Eliza in a cast.
It limited all physical activity for the next six months.
Her career screeched to a halt as she was forced to bed. The day the doctor removed her cast, he told Eliza to take a short walk. After being confined throughout the winter in her room, immobilized in a body cast, each step she took that spring day filled her heart with gratefulness to God. When she returned home, Eliza put her thoughts into a poem.
 
The words of her poem, “Sunshine in My Soul,” point to Jesus as the source for her joy, not only for momentary happiness but for the eternal perspective.
The fourth stanza includes, “For blessings which He gives me now, for joys ‘laid up’ above.”
 
A fellow Pennsylvanian, Gospel music tunesmith, John Sweney, added fitting upbeat music to Eliza’s words. He published the song in a hymnal in 1887 and thus began her career as a composer. 
 
Eliza’s back never completely recovered. She had to quit teaching school. There were more periods of bed confinement. But her suffering drew her closer to God and she plunged into studying the Bible.
 
I find it interesting to consider had she never been bed-ridden, she might not have ever written those songs. 
 
One of her best-known hymns is "More About Jesus Would I Know”. 
 
More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love who died for me.
 
Refrain:
 More, more about Jesus,
 More, more about Jesus;
 More of His saving fullness see,
 More of His love who died for me.
 
Those words, more than any other, expressed the greatest desire of her heart.  But in truth, those are the words of any Christian who wants to draw closer to the Savior. It states, “More about Jesus would I know, More of His grace to others show, More of His saving fullness see, More of His love who died for me.”
 
I find the second verse very insightful, because it is there we discover that the teacher had become the pupil. 
 
More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.
 
Eliza Hewitt had a teachable spirit.  Do you?  If not, would you ask God to give you one? 
 
Now, having a teachable spirit must first begin with become a student and becoming a student simply means being saved. . .
 
Let’s pray. 
 
 
 
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