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Summary: This message addresses the importance of heeding the Word of the Lord.

SERIES TITLE: The Book of Jonah

Sermon Title: THE WORD OF THE LORD

Sermon Text: "The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying" (Jonah 1:1).

The phrase "the word of the Lord" gives what was received and revealed divine status. A word from heaven increased the value of any verbal communication exponentially.

It was prophets like Jonah who heralded the word of the Lord. It was what gave them great importance. Their word wasn’t valuable because they were smarter or more intelligent than other people. Their word was important because it was a word from God. They were men in touch with God.

When David was fleeing from Saul, he was joined by Abiathar, a priest and a son of Ahimelech (1Sam. 21:1). The thing that was unique about Abiathar was that he came to David wearing a "linen ephod" (1Sam. 22:18; 23:6). When David needed direction for his life he would have Abiathar bring the linen ephod and then he would inquire of the Lord.(See 1Sam. 23:9-13.) It was this access to the word of the Lord that became a turning point in David’s life.

A word from God was an authoritative word that was invested with divine power, power to bring it to pass.

Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Mary’s statement, "be it unto me according to Thy word" indicates that she knew that every word spoken by God comes to pass.

Take the word of the Lord out of the mouth of the prophet and what he has to say is without PROFIT.

The Bible isn’t valuable because it’s about God, but because it is a word from God. Remove the word of the Lord from Bible and it is no different than any other book. The heart and value of the Bible is the word of the Lord.

The Church is valuable to the community and world only as long as it is the place of His presence and the proclaimer of His word. The world could care less about our fund raisers, our music, and our conventions.

R. T. Kendall, in preaching to the congregants of Westminster Chapel in the late ’70’s had this to say: "What is missing in the church today is the note of authority. The word of authority is not here; the church has lost it and the world outside has rejected the church. The church has ceased to command the respect of the world; the church has lost its authority because it is not preaching the message that God gave her to deliver to that world."

Where do we go for...

* a word of authority

* a word from beyond

* a word that transcends man’s intellect

* a word that causes men’s hearts to burn within them like those who encountered Jesus on the

Emmaus Road

* a word not from man, but from God.

* The word of the Lord.

Shouldn’t we be able to hear the word of the Lord in the Church?

The Laodicean Church boasted, "We are rich, wealthy, and have need of nothing," but Jesus’ word to that Church was, "you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich..." (Rev. 3:17, 18).

Material wealth is no replacement for true riches-spiritual wealth-a word from the Lord.

The Psalmist said, "The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, which has gone through the purifying process seven times" (Psalm 12:6).

The pure word of the Lord is of inestimable worth to the people of God and to the world. It is more valuable than silver and gold. The Psalmist declared:

Psalm 119:72 - "The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and

silver."

Psalm 19:9-11 - "The judgments of the Lord [or His words] are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than hone and the honey in the combs. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward."

Apart from "the word of the Lord," we are left to depend upon the foolishness of our own understanding. Again, it is the Psalmist who speaks to this issue when he said:

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