THE POWER OF THE WORD
HEBREWS 4:10-13 PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH 16 JULY 2023
God has spoken to people through His Word. And He is still speaking to us today through that same Word. He has spoken, and we cannot disregard it, or ignore it.
God told the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 55:11) that His Word would not return to Him void (or empty), but that it would accomplish what He sent it out to do.
Leaders, in the history of our country, have spoken words that live on in our minds. They have helped to change our minds and our thinking.
Patrick Henry – Give me liberty or give me death.
John Kennedy – Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.
If the words of mere men are so able to go out from them and make such an impact or impression on us, how much more ought the Word of God to make a greater impact on our lives?
The writer of the Hebrews letter describes the Word of God in several ways. READ Hebrews 4:10-13.
In this passage, he is encouraging us to remain obedient and serious about God’s Word, so that we might enter into the rest which God has promised to His faithful followers.
Let’s look, then, at the Power of the Word of God as it is described here in these verses.
I will list them here, and then look at each one a little more in-depth.
1. The Word is full of life
2. The Word is effective
3. The Word is penetrating
4. The Word is before God
First, the Word is full of Life. Other versions call this fullness of life – Quick. The Word is Quick.
Most of the books we read today have some entertaining value or even some qualities which can enhance our lives. But most don’t have the effect of life-changing elements. Some books cover issues of things of interest which next week will be old news—no life in them. There is little or nothing which would benefit us over the long haul.
The Word of God, however, is a Living Issue. It is so for people of all times, for ages past, or right now, and for ages in the future. The Word of God teaches us about situations that we all will face and provides solid ways to overcome or survive those situations.
And, as we read the Word of God, or hear it spoken, we all have a choice to make. Are we going to accept it or will we reject it?
This Word has withstood the ages of time. Even though in some areas of the world, God’s Word is forbidden even to be owned or read. It still lives on.
God’s Word is like Jesus – the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). It has never changed and it ever will. Although many will try to change it, to twist it to fit their ideals and preferences, that never changes the power of the Word of God.
Secondly, the Word of God is Effective, that is, it is Powerful.
When we take it seriously, things begin to happen. Look at history. The Pilgrims desired something better so they left their homeland so they could worship God in His pure sense. Martin Luther, although we would see some of his theology not quite to our understanding, brought the Bible back into the hands of the people. This was at a time when the hierarchy of the "church" told the people what the Bible said, rather than allowing them to read it for themselves.
The Restoration Fathers – the Campbells – Alexander and Thomas, Barton W Stone, Raccoon John Smith – and so many others looked only to God’s Word, rather than to those who would take the Word and make it a philosophic guideline. They led a movement, which we are a part of today – The Restoration Movement. They returned to the simple teaching of the Scriptures. The Scriptures were their only Guide.
The Word of God is more than it appears to be. Some see the Word as a religious list of laws and rituals we have to follow.
But it is food for our souls. It is meant to be read, studied, and written about.
When we see Christians who are not growing in the faith but are standing still, stagnating, we can be sure there is a lack of Bible study going on.
Scripture is not simply a list of rules and regulations, it presents something to be done. It is our lifeline to our eternity with God and with our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is Good News from God.
Thirdly, the Word of God is Penetrating. We all have used a knife at times. A purpose of a knife is to cut something. How does a knife cut? What causes it to work? Simply because it is sharp, it can cut through whatever material we need to cut.
That is what the Hebrews writer is telling us here about the Word. The Word is penetrating. It penetrates our hearts and our lives because it is sharp. It lays it out open to be seen and used.
The writer says that it divides soul, or spirit, like the bone from the marrow.
It produces the spiritual lifelong term. It is more than just a superficial experience. Some will believe a superficial experience proves that they are approved by God. The Word penetrates the physical life, the earthly life.
As it penetrates, it examines our desires and intentions. Desire is the emotional side of mankind.
Intention is the intellection part of mankind. They perceive the thoughts and intent or interests of our minds.
The Word probes deeply. It sees more than the surface. In that probing and penetrating, the Word provides spiritual light.
Fourth, the Word of God exposes us before God.
Look at chapter 4, verse 13 again. It says all things are open, nothing is hidden. We are exposed before God by His Word.
Outward disguises we might try to put on are stripped away.
Nothing we have done or said, or even thought about will remain hidden from God. All our secrets are laid open before Him.
Being in the Word of God provides the nourishment that we need to sustain both our physical and spiritual bodies.
Everything is compelled to meet God’s eyes. We must meet Him face to face and give an account.
He is not deceived by our sometimes-hypocritical faith. He sees the secrets of our hearts.
What happens when a light is turned on in a fully darkened room? That light exposes what is in the room.
That is what the Word of God does – exposes who we are and what we are.
This passage speaks about a rest. The rest He promises will be achieved on His terms.
He requires sincere obedience and faithfulness to His Word.
The Word of God seems, to many people, to be out of date today. But when we really study it, we can see that it is still very much alive and applicable to us today.
It is so powerful that it leads us to obedience to God – if we use it. It leads us to faith in God if we will allow it.
We are promised rest with God. But we cannot claim this promise for ourselves unless we are obedient.
Unless we exercise the necessary faith.
And these come from knowing the Word of God. Knowing that it is alive, effective, penetrating, and laying bare all our most secret desires.
We cannot learn these things by having the Bible lying on the shelf or hidden in a drawer. It must be taken in hand, dusted off, and read. And if you really want to get serious, carry it out of the house. Take it to lunch with you and take in some spiritual food as you nourish your physical body.
A young lady once read a novel. She found it dull and uninteresting. Later she met the author of that book, and still later she became his wife. Then she read the book again. Now she found something valuable and worthwhile in those pages she earlier found to be dull.
The book had not changed. The change was in her. She now knew the author.
It is this way with God’s Word. We may read it, but if we do not know its Author, it will be lifeless to us, weak, and uninteresting to us.
But, when we meet the Author and know Him, it will come to life and mean everything to us.
The greatest thing we can know about God’s Word is that that is where we meet Jesus.
And when we meet Jesus there, our life changes.
Today, meet the Author of the Book of Life.