26 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM –THE POWER OF THE WORD
It is fitting that we should conclude our studies on the powers of the kingdom, at least for a while, with a closer look at what the Bible has to say about itself. After all, if this book is not authentic, then everything we believe and live by is a lie, and we are all witnesses to something that is not and never has been true.
Every religion has an originator and sacred writings that claim to be the truth. What makes our faith unique? We claim to have a written record of what God has spoken that is infallible, indestructible, powerful, and eternal.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12 NLT
This is the witness of God’s Word about itself and the reason for people’s differing responses to this book.
The Bible is either loved and revered by those who believe it and are transformed by its truth or hated and feared by those who claim allegiance to other gods.
The story of the Bible is amazing. Despite every attempt to destroy this book, God has protected it to the extent that its words and influence have infiltrated the entire planet. Since it has been translated and disseminated across the globe in written and digital form, it would now be impossible to eradicate it from the earth.
During the most repressive of regimes, especially in China and Russia, the Word lived on and even single pages of the Bible have brought people to living faith in Jesus.
We call the Bible God’s Word. According to Hebrew scholars, the Word is a manifestation of God in another form. In other words, God has revealed Himself to us in written form, using the words that people can understand to explain what we need to know about Him in order to believe in Him.
The Bible contains words in three forms
- The LOGOS
In essence, the “logos” is everything God has revealed in written form, that enables us to connect with Him.
- The RHEMA
Rhema is the Greek word for “word” which reflects the spoken word or utterance. The whole Bible is God’s “logos” but there are times when God speaks a specific “rhema” word to our situation or need. The Holy Spirit quickens the Word that is in us to give us light, or to provide wisdom or a weapon against the devil’s lies.
“But Jesus told him (Satan), “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word (rhema) that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4 NLT
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’ ” John 16:13-15 NLT
- JESUS, the living Word
God spoke words through His prophets in the Old Covenant, but His final word came in the form of a person, Jesus, who is the embodiment of everything God has revealed about Himself. Jesus is the living LOGOS, God’s final word.
“Long ago, God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.” Hebrews 1:1-3 NLT
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ITSELF?
Apart from the many millions whose lives have been changed by reading the Bible, we have the witness of the Bible itself to its power to work in people’s lives, either to judge and condemn or to save and transform.
PROPHECY AUTHENTICATES THE TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE
Let’s start with prophecy because prophecy is God’s trump card that witnesses to the Bible’s authenticity.
Many so-called prophets, both in and outside the Bible, claim to speak for God. How do we know that what they say is the truth?
“I have not sent these prophets, yet they run around claiming to speak for me. I have given them no message, yet they go on prophesying. If they had stood before me and listened to me, they would have spoken my words, and they would have turned my people from their evil ways and deeds.” Jeremiah 23:21-22 NLT
False prophets tell people what they want to hear. True prophecy speaks the truth whether it is palatable to the hearer or not.
“Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.” Isaiah 46:10 NLT
“Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘You must die. Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the Lord .’” Two months later the prophet Hananiah died.” Jeremiah 28:15-17
Jesus is the final proof is the truth of Old Testament prophecy . Since everything that was prophesied about His first coming was fulfilled, we can safely believe that everything prophesied about His second coming will also be fulfilled.
“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.’ 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 NIV
GOD’ S WORD IS PERFECT
“And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.” Psalms 12:6 NIV
There is nothing we can add to or take from the Bible to make it a better revelation of God. If we do so, we only bring judgement on ourselves.
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” Revelation 22:18-19 NIV
THE BIBLE IS SPIRIT-INSPIRED
“Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:20-21 NLT
THE BIBLE IS FOOD FOR OUR SOULS
“And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” Ezekiel 3:1-3 NIV
“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. “Psalms 19:7-11 NIV
THE WORDS OF SCRIPTURE HAVE THE POWER TO EXPOSE THE HEART
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” Hebrews 4:12-13 NLT
“Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord . “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord , “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:28-29 NIV
FAITH COMES BY HEARING THE WORD
“So, faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” Romans 10:17 NLT
WE ARE BORN AGAIN THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD
“For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23 NLT
WE ARE WASHED BY THE WORD
3″You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” John 15:3
“…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…” Ephesians 5:25-26
THE BIBLE IS A MIRROR IN WHICH WE SEE OURSELVES
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:22-25 NLT
ALL SCRIPTURE IS PROFITABLE
“You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:15-16 NLT
GOD’S WORD GIVES US HOPE
Two promises that I cling to that I know God will keep
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Phil. 1:6 NLT
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT
The Bible has so much to say about itself that we could go on discovering the treasures of God’s Word forever.
Since we can’t do this here, I would like to conclude this series with what the Master Himself has to say about His Word.
- God’s Word is truth
“Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.”John 17:17 NLT
- God’s Word is authoritative
“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4 NIV
- Jesus’s words give life
“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” John 6:63 NLT
- Jesus speaks God’s words
“I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.” John 12:49 NLT
- Jesus’ words are the standard of judgement
“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.” John 12:47-48 NIV
THE GLORY OF JESUS, GOD’S FINAL AND PERFECT WORD
“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3 NLT
“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God.” Revelation 19:11-13 NLT
NO OTHER BOOK CAN CONFIDENTLY PROCLAIM A MESSAGE LIKE THIS ONE
“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31
“And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9 NLT
All Scripture quotations in this series
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.