Summary: The Word is alive and powerful because it is also a word of warning. It is better for the Word to judge us now than for God to judge us later.
Opening Video: Written On Your Heart (2:48 video ilustration available at Sermon Central)
Psalm 119:11 (NKJV) Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
What have we done with the word of God. Have we really read the Word so that it is in our hearts?
Illust: The man who smoked the Word. The preacher stood on the street corner preaching to anyone who would listen. A man approached him who looked like he had lived on the street forever. "Can I help you" asked the preacher. "I think you can" said the bum. "Would you like me to tell you about Jesus?" "No." "Would you like me to pray for you?" "No." "If you don’t want me to tell you about Jesus, and you don’t want me to pray with you, how can I help you?" "You can give me your Bible." "Why would you want my NT Bible if you have no interest in knowing more about Jesus?" "I noticed that the pages of your Bible are very thin; I can use the pages to wrap a cigarette (or a joint)."
Wisdom came suddenly to the preacher, who said, "I’ll give you this NT Bible, if you will agree to read each page (of the NT) before you smoke it." The bum agreed, took his NT, and left. The preacher thought he had seen the last of the bum, but he could get another Bible.
Several months passed, and the preacher was on the street corner once again. A man came up to him dressed in a three piece suit. "You don’t know me, do you?" said the man. "No. I’ve never seen you in my life." "Yes you have. I’m the man you gave a Bible to (about four months ago)." The preacher couldn’t believe his eyes and ears. "What happened? Tell me what happened." "Well, I smoked Matthew, and then I smoked Mark, and then I smoked Luke--and then John smoked me."
Today we will read that the very Word of God is alive and powerful. The word touches lives. When I was a Gideon (before I was ordained) and spoke in churches, I had many testimonies from many different people from many different walks of life, tell how the mere reading of God’s word changed them. You see the Bible does not merely contain the Words of God, it is the Word of God.
Why should we trust the Word. Why should we have any faith in the Bible? We can trust the Word because The Word is Alive and Powerful.
Hebrews 4:11–13 (NKJV) Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
When we read the words of scripture, it not only brings to light the promises of salvation, but it also brings warnings of judgement. In context, our passage today comes at the end of a discussion of how the children of Israel, as Moses led them out of Egypt during the exodus, how God did not allow them, including Moses, into the promise land. The promise of rest of denied, why? For disobedience. The children of Israel willfully disobeyed the Word of God and the word from God.
Hebrews 4:11 (NKJV) Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
The writer of Hebrews is sounding the warning. Do not be like the Children of Israel who died in the desert. “be diligent to enter that rest” the HCSB and the NIV says to "make every effort to enter that rest.” What is that “rest” for us today? Being in the will of God. Being a true follower of Jesus.
Matthew 11:29–30 (NKJV) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Being in Jesus, following His will in our lives, may not be easy at times, but we are to live in His power, and His Grace, not our own, and our souls will find rest by being at peace with God.
Romans 5:1 (NKJV) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
But to not be there in Jesus, and even for those are in Christ, but are not in His will (we would say, have backslidden) is to be subjected to judgment: “lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” You see, God is not to be mocked: