Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: A sermon focusing on the power of God’s Word to change our lives.

The Powerful Word of God

Hebrews 4:12-13

“The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E!” Remember that chorus from your childhood? I do. I don’t remember ever attending V.B.S. without hearing that song. As Baptists, we have proudly declared that we are “people of the Book,” that is, the Bible. But are we really? Do we really understand this book? Do we really love what it shows us about our God? Is it a part of our daily living? Or, is it shelved until Sunday, when we dust it off for “church time?”

The Word of God must, I repeat, must be part of our lives, if we are to be the people God called us to be. This book is God’s love letter to us, the place where we encounter him and learn to love him back. If we neglect this Book, we do so to our spiritual danger.

The writer of Hebrews understood the nature of the Word of God. To a people who were in danger of walking away from the faith, the writer pointed out the power of the Word of God to bring them to where they ought to be.

This morning, let’s open ourselves up to the powerful Word of God. Let’s do so by examining, and receiving the truths of this text.

I. The Word of God is alive.

A. The writer of Hebrews understood that the words spoken by God were more than just ideas to ponder.

1. In general, Hebrew people understood words to have a power in themselves.

2. So, if God were to speak, through the prophets, and more particularly, through his Son, then these words had life and power.

B. So much of what we read and think about will be “dead and gone,” so to speak, before very long.

1. It has been pointed out that Plato was one of the greatest thinkers of all time, but that there is hardly a need for a daily study in Plato’s life or thought for the average person (Barclay, DSB, p. 39).

2. Some “futurists” in the past envisioned and wrote that we would have cured cancer, colonized the moon, and done away with warfare by now.

3. William Barclay has correctly written:

“The great fact about the word of God is that it is a living issue for all men of all times. Other things may pass quietly into oblivion; other thins may acquire an academic or antiquarian interest; but the word of God is something that every man must face, its offer something he must accept or reject.” (Barclay, DSB, 39).

C. You see, my friends, the bible is a living book because in its pages, people encounter the living God.

1. A little girl’s mother was startled to find her five-year-old going through a new Bible storybook and circling the word God wherever it appeared on the page. Stifling her first reaction to reprimand the child for defacing the book, she quietly asked, “Why are you doing that?” The little girl’s matter-of-fact answer was, “So that I will know where to find God when I want Him.” (Illust for Bib. Preach., 34).

2. Folks, God is all around us, speaking to us, reaching out to us—but it is primarily in the Word of God that we find his clearest message, in which we find him.

3. The Word of God is living!

II. The Word of God is effective.

A. The writer of Hebrews wanted to express that the Word is effective in the lives of God’s children—but he did so in an interesting way.

1. The term translated “powerful” in KJV, and “active” in the NIV can be understood in different ways.

a. It could make reference to the potency of a venomous snakebite.

b. Or it could make reference to the potency of medicine.

2. The writer understood the principle God spoke through his prophet Isaiah: “so is the word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isa. 55:11.

B. Whenever the Bible is taken seriously, changes in heart and society begin to take place.

1. The story has been told of a South Sea Islander who proudly displayed his Bible to a G.I. during World War II. “We’ve outgrown that sort of thing,” the soldier said. The native smiled back, “It’s a good thing we haven’t. If it weren’t for this book, you’d have been a meal by now!” (Ill. For Bib. Pr., 29).

2. C. S. Lewis, one of this century’s great Christian thinkers, was an agnostic, who wanted to disprove Christianity. He did so by going to the Bible and trying to prove it faulty. Instead of finding the errors that would discredit the Christian faith, he found the living God, and became an able defender of the faith.

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