The Power of the Word of God

 

II Timothy 4:1-2 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

 

Introduction:

 

            Paul in his writing to the young preacher, Timothy, charged him, urged him to preach “THE WORD”.  Some have adopted the position that they will teach and preach the “Word of God, nothing more, nothing less and nothing else.”  Our elders at Sunset and no doubt this congregation here as well holds to that same determination.  But why would Paul give us such a warning?

 

2 Timothy 4:3-4For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

 

1 Timothy 4:1-2Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”

 

Don’t men know that when they accept false teachers and false doctrines that they are turning their backs upon the very God that they profess to serve?  Don’t they realize that they become just as much idolaters as Israel became under it’s evil kings.   What are those attributes of the Word of God that makes it so vital to mankind?  Why are we admonished throughout the sacred scripture to hear and to heed to Word of God?

 

The Characteristics of the Word of God

 

            First of all the Word of God is like a burning fire.  If we are indeed his faithful children it will burn within us until we teach it to others.  It will be a desire that we have to fulfill.  It will be as Jeremiah described even in his situation of despair and trial because Judah would not hear the word of God:

 

9Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” Jeremiah 20:9

 

Peter and John when faced with punishment for preaching the gospel simply told the Sanhedrin:

 

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 20:4

 

            But the Word of God is like a fire in another sense too.

 

Jeremiah 23:29Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”

 

Deuteronomy 33:2And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.”

 

Jesus said that:

 

I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?” Luke 12:49

 

The Word of God Will Endure Forever

 

            Through the prophet Isaiah God tells us that His word will last forever:

 

Isaiah 40:8The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

 

            The words of men fade and most pass away over time; few are preserved.  Most of the things that men build decay and fall or outlive their usefulness and are torn down.  Even the mountains and hills are worn by the ravages of time and weather.  At the end of time, all will disappear, even the earth itself, the universe that causes us to stand in awe realizing the insignificance of man will pass away as well.  But what about the Word of God?  The Son of God assures us not just once but three times:

 

 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33

 

            John in the gospel record that bears his name uses the Word of God as a synonym for the Son of God and describes it this way:

 

John 1:1-2In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God.”

 

And Peter tells us as well:

 

I Peter 1:25But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

 

Indeed the Word of God will endure forever.

 

God Exercises His Power Through His Word

 

Genesis 1:3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

 

            As we read the inspired record written by Moses at the direction of the Holy Spirit we find that everything that exists came into being because “AND GOD SAID”.  God spoke and there became a “FIRMAMENT IN THE MIDST OF THE WATERS”, God spoke and dry land appeared and brought forth its fruit, God spoke and the sun, moon and stars came to be.  Nine times in the Genesis record “AND GOD SAID” and this universe and all that was created came into existence.  The Psalmist verifies and certifies the words of Moses:

 

“BY THE WORD OF THE LORD WERE THE HEAVENS MADE; AND ALL THE HOST OF THEM BY THE BREATH OF HIS MOUTH.” Psalms 33:6

 

            The Hebrew writer tells us that it is by faith; by hearing the Word of God that we understand how the worlds were made:

 

Hebrews 11:3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

 

            None of the things that we see, that have physical existence, that we can touch, feel, or taste were made from something that already existed.  This is one thing that men who oppose God will never be able to explain.  Men who refuse to believe God, men who refuse to accept the proofs found in true science continue to deny God, continue to deny that this earth, this universe could have been created by a Supreme Being that men call God.  But these men have never, nor will they ever be able to explain the source of life or the beginning of the physical universe without turning to God for their explanation.

            They claim to be, and are, the most highly educated of men that we can know and they probably are in the ways of men; but they “WILLINGLY ARE IGNORANT” of the ways of God.  They are like those whom Peter described:

 

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.” 2 Peter 3:5

 

They have become the very thing that Paul urged Timothy to avoid:

 

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:” I Timothy 6:20

 

Regardless of what the science created by men claims but cannot prove, the worlds were created by the Word of God just as the Psalmist assures us:

 

“BY THE WORD OF THE LORD WERE THE HEAVENS MADE; AND ALL THE HOST OF THEM BY THE BREATH OF HIS MOUTH.” Psalms 33:6

 

            The power of God is exhibited in other ways as well.  Do you understand or can you discern the difference between the soul of a man and the spirit of a man?  Can you quickly understand the thoughts and intents of a person’s heart?  Oh, there are some that claim to be mind readers, there are couples that have been married so long that they can complete each other’s sentences and thoughts.  But can you read someone else’s heart like a person reads a book?  God can.

 

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (ASV)

 

            And lastly one other example of the power of the word of God: Satan tempted mankind and caused sin to be brought into this world.  Sin that would condemn man’s souls, sin the consequences of which only God can remove because:

 

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4

 

By God’s definition, sin is the transgression of God’s law and there is only one remedy, blood sacrifice.  But the blood of animals could not remove sin as we’re told in Hebrews 10:4.  The remission of sins comes only through the sacrifice of the most precious blood ever known to mankind, that of the Son of God:

 

Colossians 1:13-14Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

 

And by what power of God do we know about and are drawn to partake of this blood offering for our sins?  We’re drawn by the power of the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 1:16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

 

How God’s Word Benefits Us

 

            The all powerful word of God that will endure forever benefits us in many others ways as well.

 

II Timothy 3:16-17All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

 

Completely, “THOROUGHLY FURNISHED UNTO ALL GOOD WORKS”; the word of God gives us everything that we need to know; it teaches and encourages every practice that we need to learn in order to be a doer of good works.  It gives us everything that we need In order for us to be a productive, faithful, useful citizen of this world.

 

            The Word of God given through his divine power gives us everything that we need that pertains to life and godliness as the Apostle Peter tells us:

 

II Peter 1:3According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:”

 

But we have life someone might say but those who know the scripture know we’re talking about true life, life eternal with God.  The gospel was given so that mankind would know that:

 

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”  John 17:3

 

For we have a God:

 

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”  II Timothy 1:9

 

            The Word of God makes us wise unto salvation.  The apostle Paul, writing about the training that Timothy received:

 

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” II Timothy 3:15

 

It is the only source of true wisdom that exists in this world.  The Holy Spirit through the Proverb writer reminds us:

 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7

 

            The Word of God gives us faith. 

 

Romans 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

 

The New English Standard translation of this verse tells us that “FAITH COMES FROM HEARING” plainer wording than the time honored Authorized Version.  And in the faith hall of fame in Hebrews chapter 11 we see the great examples of true faith:  by faith Abel’s worship to God was acceptable, Cain’s was not; by faith Enoch was “TRANSLATED”, changed and did not see death; by faith Noah “MOVED WITH FEAR”, saved his household and became the physical source of all mankind for the rest of time.  There are many more but these serve to illustrate the point being made.

 

            The Word of God gives us hope.

 

Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

 

It is through the Word of God that we are begotten, born again, spiritually as the children of God so that we are:

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,I Peter 1:3-4

 

It is through the Word of God that we can have that undying hope for eternal life with him because we know that since Jesus was resurrected that the promise is true that all mankind will be as well.

 

            The Word of God converts us.  Belief in the Word of God turns us to think about our inner being and its ultimate destination.  It causes us to change our thinking, our actions and our relationship with our Maker, our fellow man and our view of ourselves.  As the Psalmist was instructed to write:

 

“THE LAW OF THE LORD is PERFECT, CONVERTING THE SOUL: THE TESTIMONY OF THE LORD is SURE, MAKING WISE THE SIMPLE.  THE STATUES OF THE LORD are RIGHT, REJOICING THE HEART: THE COMMANDMENT OF THE LORD is PURE, ENLIGHTENING THE EYES.  THE FEAR OF THE LORD is CLEAN, ENDURING FOR EVER: THE JUDGMENT OF THE LORD are TRUE and RIGHTEOUS ALTOGETHER.”  Psalms 19:7-9

 

            The Word of God makes us free from sin.  The Word of God is truth, the primary source of absolute truth and the truth that will make us free:

 

John 8:31-32Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

 

When sin entered into the world mankind became slaves to Satan.  The devil owned their souls.   There was no means of removing or redeeming man from his sins.  But the Word of God assured us that a time would come when this would no longer be the case:

 

Isaiah 53:10-11Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”

 

And the herald sent by God to prepare the way for Christ the king confirms the words of the prophet:

 

John 1:29The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

 

The removal of man’s sins was confirmed further by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul:

 

I Corinthians 15:3-4For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

 

            Through our acceptance and obedience of the truth, the Word of God regenerates us.  We are purified, regenerated, renewed; our spirits restored to the perfect condition they enjoyed when God provided them in our conception.

 

I Peter 1:22-23Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

 

The Apostle Peter testifying before the apostles and elders regarding Gentile Christians used these words:

 

Acts 15:8-9  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

 

Purifying their hearts by faith, faith that we know comes from hearing the Word of God.

 

            The Word of God sanctified us. 

 

John 17:17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

 

            To be sanctified is to become a saint, we become saints by the power of the word of God.  In order for us to be sanctified we must be made pure from the stains of the sin of this world.  We who are citizens of the kingdom of Christ, members of the church of the Living God become such:

 

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  Ephesians 5:26-27

 

The Apostle Peter records that:

 

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:” I Peter 1:22

 

            The Word of God is a light unto our feet.  The Psalmist writes:

 

“THY WORD is A LAMP UNTO MY FEET, AND A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH.”  Psalms 119:105

 

And if we walk in that light then we have fellowship with God.

 

I John 1:5-7This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

 

            The Word of God causes us to grow.

 

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby:” I Peter 2:2

 

            And lastly; after having cleansed our souls, after having provided all that we need to live a life acceptable to God;  the Word of God is also that which will be used to judge us at the throne of God.

 

John 12:48-49He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.”

 

            Are you ready for that judgment?  Invitation.

 

William L. Schwegler – Mansfield church of Christ, Mansfield, Louisiana; February 15, 2009; Sunday Morning