Part 1: What God’s Word Will Do For You
The impact of the Word of God upon our lives can be dynamic—if we will line up with its promises and conditions. In this six-part series on the theme, What God’s Word Will Do For You, we will be studying specific aspects of what God’s Word will produce in us. In the first installment, we learned about the nature of God’s Word. We discovered that it is alive, energetic, and penetrating. In addition, we observed the way God’s Word and God’s Spirit complement one another. Working together, the Word and the Spirit embody the total creative power of God.
In our first lesson, I pointed out that the results produced in us by God’s Word will depend on the way we respond to that word. To receive the results God intends, we must put aside filthiness and wickedness and receive it with humility. We must treat God’s Word as a message to us from God Himself—far superior to a message of merely human origin.
How Faith Comes
In this part of our series, we are going to highlight the first specific result God’s Word will produce in you. That result is faith. I will begin by sharing with you out of personal experience how I myself learned this lesson.
In World War II, while I was serving as a hospital attendant with the British forces in North Africa, I became sick. As I languished in hospital month after month, I began to realize that the doctors did not have the means to heal me in that climate and in those conditions of Northern Africa.
Just prior to this hospital stay, I had come to know the Lord in a personal way. Through my conversion, I had come to believe that the Bible was indeed the Word of God. Even so, there were still many concepts and truths in the Bible that I did not yet understand. So, as I lay in that hospital bed week after week, month after month, I really plummeted into what John Bunyan calls the “Slough of Despond”—the dark lonely valley of despair.
During this long, drawn-out stay in hospital, I kept thinking to myself, “I know if I had faith God would heal me.” However, the next thought that always followed would be: “But I don’t have faith.” In essence, making that statement “I don’t have faith” removed all hope of healing for me, plunging me right back down into the valley of despair.
But one day, as I was sitting up in bed with my Bible propped up on my knees, a brilliant piercing ray of light from God penetrated that darkness. The revelation He gave brought enormous hope to me. Would you like to know where that ray of light came from? It came from the tenth chapter of Romans, the 17th verse—the passage God illuminated as I sat there looking at my propped up Bible.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (NAS)
As I read this verse, two words leapt off of the page at me: “faith comes.” I repeated those words over and over again: “Faith comes... faith comes.” God was telling me that if I didn’t have faith, I could get it. This is what He was showing me: there is a way that faith will come.
As I went back and read that verse again and again, I analyzed what it was saying to me. I’ll share with you what I began to understand. In God’s dealings with us, He brings us to faith through three successive stages. Stage one: God’s Word—we need to have access to God’s Word. Stage two: Hearing—we have to truly hear God’s Word. We have to open up our whole heart and mind. We have to listen to what God is saying to us, even to the exclusion of everything else. We have to allow God to speak to us through His Word. Stage three: Faith—as a result of this process of hearing, faith comes. These are the three stages: God’s Word, hearing, and then faith.
I want to encourage you by saying that if you follow this process, the result is guaranteed. If you do not have faith—if you are struggling for faith in that dark and lonely valley—I want to tell you this amazing truth: faith comes.
A Deeply Personal Word
With that wonderful realization, let’s now explore one more aspect of that verse. You need to know that the word used there for “the Word of Christ” is the Greek word rhema. From my many years of studying Greek, I have learned that the word rhema means specifically“ a word that is spoken.” This truth is obvious when you look at the following words in this verse: “hearing by the word.” The meaning becomes obvious, because if a word isn’t spoken, you can’t hear it. So this principle is not about simply reading your Bible and seeing blackmarks on white paper in front of you. Somehow those black marks must be transformed into a voice you can hear. Faith comes by hearing—not just by reading the Bible.
What is able to transform those black marks into a living voice that speaks to you personally? The answer is the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit quickens God’s Word, He makes it real and personal to you. As you listen to that imparted word given to you by the Holy Spirit, faith comes.
The Holy Spirit is so wise! He knows just the word you need at any given moment. He directs you to God’s Word and then He makes it come alive for you. When that happens, you can hear the very voice of the living God speaking to you through that word. As you listen to that voice, faith comes—faith for what you need, and for whatever God wants you to have at that time.
A Message From God
At this point in our lesson, I want to give you one of the most beautiful examples in Scripture of how faith comes through hearing the Word of God. We are going to look at the life of the virgin Mary. I’m sure the story is familiar to you—how she was living in the little village of Nazareth, and one day an angel appeared to her with a message from God. Let’s readjust a part of that incident in Luke 1, beginning at verse 30:
“And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus’... And Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God’... ‘For nothing will be impossible with God.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (NAS)
Some may disagree with my assessment, but I believe this incident is the key to the most remarkable miracle that ever happened in the experience of mankind. When the virgin Mary experienced the birth of Jesus, she was part of one of the greatest miracles that has ever occurred. We will see this more clearly in the section that follows as I show you how Mary was able to receive this great miracle.
First of all, the angel came with a rhema word from God. (Remember rhema is defined as a spoken word.)This word was something Mary would never have prayed for herself. She probably would never have dreamed of it. Since Mary was an unmarried woman at this time, these words from God would not have entered her mind. We can only conclude then that the initiative of this word was with God. God’s purpose for her was much higher than she could ever have imagined or worked out for herself. God’s plan came to her in the form of a rhema word—that is, a spoken word.
In the first step in this experience, how did Mary respond to this word? First and foremost, she received it. She opened her heart. She didn’t resist. She didn’t argue. She didn’t protest that it would be quite impossible. She simply said, “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” Mary opened her heart to God’s rhema word—His spoken word.
In the second step of her experience, what happened next after Mary received this word? Faith was imparted to her. Do you remember what Romans 10:17 stated? “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” When we open our hearts and allow the Word of God to take root in us, faith is imparted to us.
In the third step of her experience, what was the result of Mary’s willing response? Her faith released the miracle-working power that was in the word God had given to her. The angel said, “Nothing will be impossible with God.” The literal Greek translation of that verse says, “No spoken word of God will be void of power.” To put it another way, turning it to the positive: “Every spoken word of God contains in it the power for its own fulfillment.” This means that when we receive a word from God, it imparts faith. In turn, our faith unlocks the miracle-working power of God contained in that word.
Responding In Faith
The story of the virgin Mary is a most beautiful and perfect example of how faith comes. Faith comes through the rhema word—one which the Holy Spirit quickens to us. What does that mean? The Holy Spirit makes this word alive, real and personal. As we receive this word, it imparts faith. Our response of faith then releases the power in the word God gives us. This release allows the word of God to fulfill what He has promised. Every spoken word of God that comes to us directly from God contains in it the power of its own fulfillment.
As we close this message, let me ask one question of you. Why is faith so important? The answer to this question is stated in Hebrews 11:6:
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (NAS)
God demands faith—and He will not vary on His demand. But thankfully, the Lord is very gracious and merciful to us. He shows us how to receive the faith that He demands. He makes that faith available to us, and thus enables us to fulfill His demands.
Make It Your Response
How does faith come? Let’s review this process once more as we close this message. Here are the three steps ensuring that faith comes. Step one: Faith comes by hearing the word which God speaks to you. Step two: The Holy Spirit makes this word individual and personal to you. Step three: If you will receive this word, it will impart faith to you. What is the final result of these steps? Your response of faith then releases the power that is in God’s word to accomplish what He promises.
Have you ever taken these steps? Would you like to respond right now as we bring this message to a close? If you’re ready to do so, please make the following prayer your own expression of faith:
Lord, Please speak your rhema Word to me. I'm listening to hear it. Thank you for making it real and personal to me through the work of the Holy Spirit. I receive your Word even as Mary did; and I say, be it unto me according to your Word. I believe as I receive your Word that my response of faith is releasing the fulfillment of your Word to me - unlocking your miracle-working power contained in it to accomplish every promise in your plan for my life.
Thank you, Lord, for all that your word will do in my life from this moment forward. Amen.
Part 3: What God’s Word Will Do For You