Mission Insight 4
Missions Insight 4: The Word Of God Is More Powerful Than We Imagine
It’s no surprise, especially to the members of Thrive Church, that Hebrews 4:12 is my favorite verse. I quote it all the time. It says…
Hebrews 4:12 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.
As Christians, we know the Word is powerful, because the Word says it is powerful. We know it has the power to change lives and draw people to Christ. We know it is unlike any other ancient book, and that it is alive and active. We know it is the very word of God. This is traditional, historic, and sound doctrine. The problem is, even though we give this theological truth lip-service, our actions say something else. (I’m speaking broadly of the majority of Christians. Without a doubt there are many who believe and behave rightly in this regard.) If you were to determine what we believe about God’s Word based solely on our behavior, then I think what you would discover most often is that we believe the Word is helpful and good, but ultimately inadequate to meet all our needs, particularly in the area of evangelism.
If my perception of the American church is true, then two things are necessary. First, it is incumbent upon the church to equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11-13), but I fear we’ve confused the work of equipping the saints, with the work of producing curriculum, or creating programs. Programs and curriculum are most certainly helpful when it comes to equipping the saints for evangelism, but they are not what ultimately produces an equipping ministry. Only the Word of God can do that. Teaching, preaching, exhorting, rebuking, and applying the Word of God to the lives of men and women is the very best tool we have for evangelism, because in the Word of God is power. As my father is fond of saying, “The power is in the proclamation.” Should I be able to share my testimony in two minutes? Yes. But more importantly, I should be able to share the Gospel in two minutes. I should be able to explain and apply the Word of God to the lives of my friends, neighbors and coworkers, because it is the Word of God that has real, lasting power. Your testimony is good and important. The record of what God has done in your life should be shared with others, but you must remember that what He did in your life is only a tiny part of His ultimate plan for Redemptive History. So if given the option of sharing a thin sliver of what He’s done (your personal testimony), or sharing the broad strokes of Scripture (the Gospel), we should opt for Scripture, because Scripture is powerful. This means, as I shared with our congregation last week, that we must make the study of God’s Word a priority in our lives. We must make knowledge of God’s Word central in our focus. If we are unable to share the Gospel, which necessarily consists of Scripture, then we are ill-equipped as believers, and we are not doing the very thing we were created to do. But let me caution you not to use your ignorance of Scripture as an excuse not to evangelize. What we have to realize is that making disciples of the whole world is a command of God. So not sharing the Gospel isn’t an option. Thus, we must better prepare ourselves to handle the Word.
Secondly, we must reestablish our commitment and faith in the Word. You see, for many Christians, that we should share is a given, but how we should share the Gospel is not. Again, your personal testimony is great and powerful, but it is not ultimately what is most powerful. Ultimately, there is no greater force in the universe for the work of heart transformation, than the Holy Spirit of God, through the Word of God. In an individualistic, subjective culture like ours, our testimony is easily dismissed. It’s easily forgotten. “Well that’s good for you. That’s your truth; it’s just not mine.” But the Word of God is different. Of course people can try to dismiss it. They’ll say it’s just an old book. They’ll say it’s not for today. They’ll say we take it too literally. But what they cannot say, in their heart of hearts, is that it is untrue. They may say it with their mouths, but Paul tells us in Romans 1, they cannot dismiss it in their hearts, because they were created to hear and understand it as true. We were created to hear from God. As humans, even stained with sin and dead in our trespasses, we cannot dismiss the Word. It is power. It is authority. And when we share the Gospel, it is essential. The Word of God is more powerful than we ever imagined, and if we would train ourselves to apply it to the lives of our unbelieving friends, we would see a harvest the likes of which we cannot imagine. If only we would be faithful.