Sunday, 2 June 2013
SUNDAY SERMON: THE POWER TO CHANGE
How would your life change if you committed to meeting with God everyday?
The writer of Hebrews tells us the Word of God “is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
God’s Word is power. God watches over His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). His Word is His plan, and His plan is something He makes happen. And so He promises, “So will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). God’s Word never fails! The writer of Hebrews says the Word is “active” (energēs: energy, power, Hebrews 4:12).
According to 2 Timothy 3:16, God’s words are “God breathed” — not in-spired, meaning some kind of vague power or ghost breathed into man’s preexisting words, but literally breathed or spirited out of the mouth of God. So these words did not originate in the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).
God’s Word is precious, valuable, a treasure. Psalm 138:2 says, “Thou hast magnified thy Word above [KJV; modern translations read the Hebrew al and Septuagint Greek epi as “according to,” but both roots mean “upon” or “above”] all thy name.” That means God ranks His revelation of Himself above His name. (It’s interesting that Jehovah’s Witnesses reverse this order with their low view of the Word as “a god” [John 1:1] and their high view of the name “Jehovah.”)
A clear, uncompromised, persuasive proclamation of the Word is the essential ingredient in effective evangelism. Think of how this was demonstrated time and time again in Billy Graham crusades. So it has been demonstrated, too, in Jesus’ life and in the early Church. God regenerates by His Word of truth!
The Word sanctifies (purifies, cleanses) — “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). No wonder the apostles gave themselves to undistracted prayer and the Word of God (Acts 6:4).
Take time this month to read Psalm 119 and mark every occurrence of word and its synonyms. You’ll see the truth, power, life, and treasure aspects of God’s Word shine forth. It’s a lamp for our feet, a restraint on our sin, a sustainer, a comforter, a reviver; it’s wisdom in our mouth for answering those who reproach us. Just think, Beloved, what would happen if we breathed the Word, lived it, and proclaimed it when we were jostled, stabbed, or shot at by the world. It would make a lasting difference, a difference that can stem our nation’s Word crisis!
There are several things you can do to become part of this lasting difference that can alter the destructive course of our nation:
First, commit yourself to reading and passionately learning the whole counsel of God, book-by-book, and live in accordance with it, no matter the cost. I say “book-by-book” because that is the way God spoke, not in random verses without contexts. If we do this together, we will lay a foundation that can’t be shaken, a foundation that will give us a biblical understanding of God and His ways. We will understand true, biblical prayer, experience deep spiritual revival, introduce the world and reintroduce our nation to the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Technology can actually help you in this endeavor. I don’t play video games or watch a lot of television. But I do take every opportunity to listen to the Word of God. I listen when I put on makeup in the morning. I listen when I cook. I listen during extended car trips. I constantly practice feeding myself on the Word. If you haven’t been doing this, I urge you to start. Take every opportunity to plug in to the Word to learn about God’s character — His thoughts and intentions, His will — to discover His ways. Apply this knowledge of God, this wisdom, to every part of your life — your church, your marriage and family, your job and career.
Second, make pursuing God your number one, daily priority. Set aside some time from each day to study and pray in a place with minimum distractions. Take it slowly and savor the Word as you study it; let it seep into your mind and change you. It’s best to proceed slowly and meditate. You’ll miss a great deal if you read quickly.
Beloved, I exhort you to make knowing God and His Word the top priority of your life so that you will have the wisdom and courage to be His spokesperson wherever He places you. This is the hour for the Church; we must not miss it. As children of the day (1 Thessalonians 5), we must not sleep, but be about our Father’s business — the redemption of mankind. Remember that wherever you are, you are God’s salt for that place, His light to dispel darkness and bring hope.
Rekindle the fire of God’s Word in your life, and don’t be dismayed by the opposition. And remember: those who oppose us the most usually have the most desperate needs.
Beloved, the God of the universe wants you to know Him. Won’t you join us in the pursuit of Him through prayer and His Word? You — and our world — will never be the same.
Host, Precepts for Life
Co-CEO, Precept Ministries International