23 FEBRUARY 2020 THE WORD AT WORK For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 A mustard seed is very small, yet there is life in it. As long as the seed is kept dry, it remains dormant but plant it in the ground, give it warmth and moisture, and it germinates, grows, and blossoms according to the laws of nature. It grows into a great tree in which the birds take refuge. Jesus said that the Word of God is like a seed. Taking it from storage, the sower casts it forth upon the field. With proper nurturing, it springs to life in a receptive heart. The Word produces powerful results and is life-changing. These effects are what we can see in our lives when surrendered to Christ. Although the effects are evident, the work of the Word remains somewhat mysterious. The only credible explanation to the mystery is that God gives the increase, 1 Corinthians 3:7 Jeremiah was prophesying at a time when Judah and Jerusalem were facing a hostile invasion because of their disobedience to God’s Word, he boldly delivered the message from the Lord. Even while he spoke false prophets in Judah, claiming God’s approval, were brazenly proclaiming victory over the enemy and a pleasant life ahead. They offered false hope and security and we can see manifestations of that in some who proclaim to be committed to the cause of Christ leading nations today. The difference between a false and a true prophet is as vast as chaff from wheat. The worthless chaff blows away with the wind, but the wheat nourishes many people. We often think of the law as a list of rules that deny us the pleasurable things of life. It may seem to be a negative and forbidding presence, and we may feel it is nearly impossible to keep the law however is able to keep us from evil if we obey it. The Word warns us of many dangers and converts us from our evil desires. It gives us wisdom and saves us from foolish decisions. It causes the heart to rejoice and renews spiritual vision. God’s laws are safe guidelines and shine a light upon an unknown path as we journey through life. While witnessing or teaching, endeavouring to lead others to God, our words will not be wasted or fall fruitlessly to the ground. Though many may scoff at the message of the Word and ignore it, the words of Scripture will not return void. (Isaiah 55:11). The message carries the power of God and will either redeem those who hear it or cause their condemnation to be evident. Its radiant light uncovers the unfruitful works of darkness and causes evil to tremble; it reveals truth with purity and simplicity. It points to repentance as the remedy for sin and leads us to a saving faith in Christ Jesus. It would be a serious matter to omit the crucial factor of repentance. It may seem appealing to stress the importance of faith rather than repentance in order to avoid self—denial and the rigours of the cross. If we do not present the complete truth when we witness, we expose our hearers and ourselves to the peril of heresy that has brought many to a destructive end. Heresy feeds on fallacy, offering false interpretations in place of true doctrine. Every false teaching undermines a scriptural principle. False teachers live in a state of delusion and are not realistic in their profession or practice of Christian virtues. Lacking true knowledge of God’s Word, they twist the scriptures to their advantage. Often their messages offer false hope to sinners or confuse and misguide the hearers. Assuming false authority will bring condemnation to the hypocritical message bearer. We must not underestimate the power of the written or spoken Word. The individual who carries it may feel weak and insignificant, but the word spoken by God’s humble messenger can cause a substantial impact upon the hearer. There is a hidden element in the message that has often brought surprising and unexpected results in the lives of those who receive it. Like the small mustard seed that sprouts and then grows into a large tree, the Word delivered in a humble way can result in the miracle of a regenerated heart. Another interesting quality of the power of God’s Word is that it can convey to the hearer an interpretation of which the bearer had not thought. God knows every heart and its desires; therefore, He can intensify or diminish a particular portion of the message to fit the need of the recipient. If the Word of God is to be effective in our lives, we must study it and live by it. We need to use it for its intended purpose. Although the Bible contains a lot of information, its main goal is to transform our lives. Reading it only will not bring the desired effect; it must be obeyed. Memorized scriptures are an instrument which the Holy Spirit can use to good effect when we are called to witness. True interpretation of any scripture will never contradict any other statement of the Bible. Sceptics have justified their unbelief by pointing out scripture verses that appear, at first view, to be paradoxical or even contradictory. However, when these scriptures are studied carefully, it will be found that they reveal the same truth, only from different viewpoints. Paul writes, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16, t herefore, when we use the Word, we must avoid omitting portions of it or using scriptures out of context to support our position or idea. We must remember that scriptural truths never change to support prevailing, modem thought. The proclamations of God and Jesus Christ contain the same values and have the same unchanging application as they have had in previous millenniums. It is always safe to look for biblical examples in order to discern God’s will for our time. Let us be careful and diligent in interpreting and using the Word of God, may these verses be a constant reminder and determination: Psalm 19:7-14 (ESV) The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Courtesy of Gospel Publishers, Moundridge Kansas
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