God's word is alive, energetic, penetrating. That God's Word and God's Spirit, working together, contain in them the total creative power of God. The results God's Word produces in us depends on the way we respond to it.
It’s good to be with you at the beginning of a new week, sharing with you out of truths that life has taught me—truths that have made the difference between success and failure in my life, and can do the same for you.
Let me begin by saying “Thank you” to those of you who have been writing to me. Before I finish this talk, we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. Feel free to share with us your personal needs, your problems, your prayer requests.
Today, and for the rest of this week, I’ll be sharing on the theme, “What God’s Word Will Do for You,” the results that God intends His Word to produce in you, the results that you may expect to experience as you open yourself to God’s Word. In fact, as you listen to this talk of mine today and in the days that lie ahead.
So open your heart right now, and receive what I have to say with an attitude of expectancy. Expect to receive something good and positive in the next moments, as you continue listening.
First of all, we need to understand the nature of God’s Word because it is unique, it’s quite different from anything else that we ever encounter all through our lives. God’s Word is not just black marks on white paper, there’s a great deal more to it than that. The only source of information for God’s Word as to what it is, is to be found in the Word of God itself. So I want to show you, first of all, some of the things that God’s Word has to say about itself.
I’ll begin in Psalm 33:6, which says this:
“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.” (NAS)
Now, where the translation says “breath,” the Hebrew word is actually “spirit.” Of course, there is a close relationship between the words for “spirit” and “breath” and the Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit) is called in Scripture “the breath of the Almighty.” But we need to see that the two things here spoken of in this verse are the Word of the Lord and the Spirit of the Lord. By the Word of the Lord and the Spirit of the Lord working together the heavens and all their host were made. Actually the entire created universe was brought into being by these two things working together—the Word and the Spirit of God.
There are certain principles that we need to understand. First of all, God’s Word and God’s Spirit always work together, they work in perfect harmony. Right in the beginning of the Bible we have the statement in Genesis 1:2, “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Then in the next verse it says, “God said”; that is, God’s Word went forth. So we have there, right in the beginning of creation, the Word and the Spirit of God. And when the Word and the Spirit of God were united in that way, the result was creation. God said, “Let there be light,” and light came into being.
So the creative power behind the entire universe is the Word and Spirit of God working together. It’s important to understand this because it means that when you receive the Word and the Spirit of God in your heart and life you’re receiving the total creative power of God. The power that brought this entire vast universe into being is made available to you through the Word and the Spirit of God.
And then in Isaiah 55:11, God declares that His Word will never fail in its purpose. He says:
“So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty; Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (NAS)
In other words, when God’s Word goes forth, it accomplishes what He desires, it succeeds in the purpose for which He sends it. So you can absolutely rely on the Word of God, that we may say there is a written guarantee that will do what it’s sent out to do. If you were to buy some form of equipment from one of the big stores in the United States today, almost invariably the manufacturer will give you a written guarantee with what you buy. Well, this is God’s written guarantee with His Word it will accomplish exactly what He says it will do.
And then in the New Testament, Jesus, when He was speaking, said in John 6:63:
“The words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life.” (NAS)
They’re not just sounds in the air, they’re not just marks on paper, but in them is spirit and life, the very Spirit and Life of God Himself.
And then in Hebrews 4:12, we have this statement about the Word of God:
“For 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.” (NAS)
The word that is translated “active” is in Greek the very word from which we get the English word “energetic.” I think that is a vivid picture of God’s Word. It’s alive, it’s energetic, it’s penetrating, and it reaches into every area of the human personality—into the mind, into the spirit, into the soul, and even into the physical body. And wherever it comes, it comes with a written guarantee that it will do you good. That it will accomplish in your life the very purpose for which God sent it.
Now I’m going to turn to the other side of the coin. It’s not merely a question of what God’s Word is or what God’s Word will do for you—that’s guaranteed and that’s unvarying as unvarying as God Himself. But the results that God’s Word will produce in you or in me, depend on the way we respond. So now I’m going to explain to you briefly how we are required to respond to the Word of God in order to receive from it all the benefits and blessings that God desires for us to have.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul writes these words to the Christians at Thessalonica:
“And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” (NAS)
See, there are two requirements there. When God’s word comes to us we do not treat it merely as some kind of human writing or human message, but we acknowledge that it is a message direct from God. It is God’s Word, not man’s word.
Secondly, we have to receive it in faith. We have to believe it. and then when we receive it as God’s Word and believe it, Paul says it perform its work in us. It does what God intends. So bear in mind the two requirements there. You have to receive it as God’s Word, not just a message from man, and you have to accept it with faith. Then it does in you what God requires.
However, there are also moral requirements in our lives to receive the full benefit of God’s Word. In James 1:21, James says this:
“Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” (NAS)
Notice the word is “implanted.” It is something that has life in it that will grow. So if you receive it, plant it into your heart and life, it will take root there. It will grow and it will bring forth like fruit the results which God intends.
But God says there are two requirements. First of all, the negative: we have to put aside filthiness and wickedness. We have to have our lives cleaned out. It’s no good holding on to sin and rebellion and other evil things in our hearts and minds and expecting God’s Word to do what He promises, for it will not do it.
Secondly, we have to receive the Word with humility. One of the important requirements in receiving God’s Word is that we are humble. We are teachable. We don’t act like a naughty child and answer God back and try to tell Him what He had ought to have said. But we receive humbly what He is actually saying to us.
I want to point to you as I bring this talk to its close that God selects His students. And if we want to be one of God’s students, one of those who learn from God, we have to meet His requirements. His requirements are stated very clearly in Psalm 25. There are a few verses there that I want to read.
“Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way. Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know His covenant.” (NAS)
You see, there are two character requirements if God is going to teach us His way and make us understand His covenant. The first is that we should be humbled. The second is that we should fear, or reverently respect, the Lord. So there are two absolute requirements if we are to receive from the Word of God what God has sent it to do in our lives. If we are to learn, if we are to be initiated into the marvelous secrets of God, if He is to share His deep and wonderful thoughts and purposes with us, we have to meet the character requirements. And they are: humility and reverent fear of the Lord.
See, there are a lot of people who are enrolled in Bible schools or seminaries or theological colleges who get a lot of head knowledge. Maybe they emerge with degrees. But God has never accepted them as His students because they haven’t met His character requirements. The character requirements of being humble and having a reverent fear and respect of God.
Now, I’m going to be talking on this theme for the rest of this week and the following week. But right in the beginning of this week I want to challenge you. I want to ask you this. Will you decide right now to adopt the required attitude toward God’s Word? Will you be humble and reverent in your approach to God and to His Word?
Well, our time is up now. But I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. I’ll be speaking on the first specific result which God’s Word will produce in you, that is faith. I’ll be sharing with you one of the most precious secrets God has taught me about how faith comes.