THE ETERNAL WORD
Without God there is no Word, and without the Word there is no church. I fear that many millions who adorn evangelical pews stand in great jeopardy concerning their eternal souls while they listen to soothsayers who make a great living tickling their ears. If God’s Holy Word does not come forth from the pulpit then you are left with a religious thespian standing on a stage and reciting the soliloquies of men.
The world lives in darkness, but when the church becomes dark what hope do they have? When the salt has lost its flavor and the light is under a bushel and the heart is hardened then those in darkness wait in vain for a gospel witness. Look around and see how so much of the church not only walks in darkness but embraces it.
Heb.4: 12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
If the sword does not cut then it is the butter knife of men and not the Sword of the Spirit. There is a double-edged crisis within the western church. We need a return to the Word of God without cultural dilutions, and we need a return to the life which imitates Jesus who is the Word. If you have ever listened to the likes of Al Sharpton, or Joel Osteen, or Rick Warren, you should now be aware that men can use parts of the Scriptures and make it sing most any song they wish. And cults like the Jehovah’s Witness and the Mormons do the very same thing. So we must be very careful because there are slick and reasonable theologies out there which are camouflaged falsehoods.
Men like Joel Osteen begin every sermon with a joke, and then a meaningless mantra that makes everyone feel good about themselves. Seducers throughout the land manipulate people and convince them of their goodness and worth and potential. And the Word of God is destroyed in the midst of the people and the congregation loves to have it so. You can mark this down. In this day and age if you have a large church you are almost assuredly a false teacher. We are living in a time of great apostasy when men and women are making merchandise of the people and truth lies slain in the streets.
In reality God was never obligated to communicate with mankind after the fall. We had betrayed Him and became our own god, and after we had been given paradise God could have just washed His hands of us and destroyed mankind. But not only did God communicate with us, but He gave us His eternal Word. It was in this Word we found who God is and whom we are and where we could find redemption. It is called the gospel and the Redeemer’s name is Jesus. All this was in this precious Word. This was more than information. It was inspiration as well.
But this Word is more than just a communication of knowledge even though that is of great value indeed. Jesus said His words are spirit. And in these spirit words there is power. In a wonderful mystery these words contain a power which can infect and affect a human heart, mind, and life. They can and do completely change a sinner, redeem his soul, and begin a process of transformation which is observable to others and which is glorious to us who have been changed and are continuing to change. We did not change by pulling up our own bootstraps even though we sometimes entertain that falsehood.
When a believer is changed it is always by the power of God’s eternal Word. Our part is to surrender to that power by a steadfastness and diligence to that Word. Oh it may seem to us that through our own efforts we have turned over new leaves and molded our own lives, but that is not the case at all. All the glory goes to Christ and His Word which in another mystery are one. When we say such things we are dancing on sacred pinheads that deal with the most delicate of mysteries. The things of the Spirit can never be understood by human eyes and human minds. That kind of communication can only be transmitted through the Spirit and carried invisibly upon the wings of God’s Holy Word. It is then and only then can we understand genuine truth to which the mind attaches human words, but the Spirit disseminates it with a knowledge and an enlightenment which transcends words. No unbeliever can understand such foolishness, but to each of us who have experienced the grandeur and life altering power of that process it will always be glorious indeed.
Following Jesus can never be done without a love and obedience and hunger for His infallible Word. Every true disciple can only gain strength through the life giving manna of that Word. Like plugging in an electric car, when a believer sets his being to read and eat of God’s Word not only does he gain strength, but he partakes of life itself.
Like someone looking for Cairo while reading a map of China, so is the poor sinner who looks for meaning and redemption without reading the path illuminated in God’s Word. Of course that Word has been dissected and made into neat theologies and argued over and translated and retranslated and paraphrased and abused and compromised and a legion of other assaults upon its integrity, power, and truth. But none of them individually or as a company of attackers can create one single breach which can reduce its power and majesty and eternal glory. Even the earthenware teachings which instruct us in morality and everyday behavior soar with eternal glory.
But how many professing believer stop at the earthenware and leave the unfathomable majesties contained in that Word undiscovered? You see all the treasures are within that Word if we are so hungry that we are relentless and will not be denied. To dig for that kind of treasure is a labor of love indeed. And in another wonderful mystery the more treasure you find the more you want…the more you need. And can I lead you into a sacred place where most never enter nor even know exists?
This spiritual treasure, immeasurable in its worth, not only fills us with wonder and amazement and thrills the soul beyond words, but each nugget of this treasure undoes us. Yes, it is true. But who among enjoys surgery? I have had several surgeries upon my body and I would have avoided them if I could have. But when the Spirit cuts us it is painful and yet wonderful all within those same cuts. These spiritual treasures come with their own scalpels. While we are exhilarated by their incandescence we are being circumcised once again, and with each cut we are being set free and the burdens we have embraced are now lifted by the power and grace of His matchless Word. Oh the glory of it all! Call us madmen and we will agree. Call us unbalanced and we will pray for more. Call us fools and we will gladly own it as a moniker for Him.
But suppose a man is looking for buried treasure. He has dug many holes and has found some but he knows there is much more to be found. In fact someone has told him there are many different caverns beneath the ground, but there is one colossal cavern in which all the treasures he is searching for exist. So he digs and digs and digs until finally he sees a hole which seems to lead to an enormous opening. He sends down a mirror into that opening and he cannot believe his eyes. He has found that colossal cavern and as he turns and twists the mirror he begins to shake. The treasures he is seeing are beyond his wildest dreams, and as he attempts to see just how large this cavern is he realizes that the treasure goes on with no end and there is no horizon in sight.
But oh my dear friends, that is but a story. But in reality that cavern of profound and endless treasure can be found in Jesus. If you would take every true Bible ever written and ever printed and placed them in a magnificent compacter which was as large as the ocean, and if you squeezed and squeezed and squeezed until finally you could squeeze no more. And if you opened that vessel and looked down you would see a Person had been formed. His name is Jesus. And in that Person were all the Scriptures and all the truths and all the promises and all eternity itself. Everything of eternal value can be found in Jesus. And if you took the entire Bible and all the translations and all the commentaries and all the systematic theologies and all the organized doctrines and imputed them all into a divine computer and pressed the print button, out would come the word Jesus.
Col.2: 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Do you see? The Spirit said ALL. This is a great and deep mystery into which the Spirit has granted us access. Please read that sentence again. This is a great and deep mystery into which the Spirit has granted us access. Perhaps, after salvation, there is no more revelation of grace than that. Not only has Jesus redeemed our souls, but He allows us, yea beckons us, to come and dine with Him and be nourished by the fruits which fall from His lips. Oh my, what kind of love is this? We were all Charles Manson’s of sorts, and yet the Holy Lamb invites us to His table?
But, you say, I cannot find that table. How can I get there? Where is the path? Well, the path is clearly marked by Holy Writ and Sacred Revelation. The Scriptures not only point to Christ, but inside them is the power to uncover more and more of His eternal majesty. This is much more than holding up a Bible and shouting “I believe this book!” and waving it in the face of some unbelieving sinner or moral miscreants. This is a path that with every step unveils more and more of the Risen Christ and reveals more and more of our desperate need for Him even after we were redeemed. If this path does not consistently humble you and strip you of your disgusting pride then you are on the wrong path.
The Word is not a self righteous tool wielded in order to prove our orthodoxy and to morally bruise the lost. No, never. This is an instrument of the Spirit which must be used to build up our inner man while crucifying that which rears its ugly head against the things of Christ. The Word is the transfusion given to us in order to kill the flesh and nourish the spirit. But those who read it cannot gloss over it in order to find that which seems to always comfort and reassure you. Those things indeed will come, but if that Scriptural mirror does not often disturb your spiritual sensibilities then I suggest the steam of your own desires and pride have clouded the clarity of your reflection.
We must never use the Word for our own purposes, but we must seek to let the Word use us for the purposes of God. And within the spiritual pages of that Word we will not find things that serve us. But will find things that serve Him, and the more we see of Him the less we see of Him. We must decrease and He must increase. Amen.