Summary: The words of God are powerful and able to Inform; Transform; and Reform us.
1. Power of God in Okinawa
It was early in 1945. As United States forces pushed deep into Okinawa they came across a village unlike any they had ever seen. Here at Shimabuku they were met and welcomed by two old men who invited the troops in as "fellow Christians."
Correspondent Clarence W. Hall described the hamlet like this: "We'd seen other Okinawan villages, uniformly down at the heels and despairing; by contrast this one shone like a diamond in a dung heap. Everywhere we were greeted by smiles and dignified bows. Proudly the old men showed us their spotless homes, their terraced fields, fertile and neat, their storehouses and granaries, and their prized sugar mill."
Searching for an answer as to why this one village was so different from all the rest. Hall uncovered an incredible story. Some 30 years before, an American missionary on his way to Japan had paused at Ahimabuku and stayed only long enough to make two converts and leave a Japanese translated Bible. These new converts, with only instructions to read the Bible and live by it, began sharing their faith with neighbors. Before long the whole town had accepted Christ and for 30 years had been following the Bible completely.
They had adopted the Ten Commandments as their legal code, the Sermon on the Mount as their guide in social conduct. In their schools they taught the Bible, and in their courts made decisions on what God's Word said.
Hall noted that they managed to create a Christian democracy at its purest. The result was that there were no jails, no bars, no drunkenness, no divorce, and a high level of happiness!
On leaving the town, his jeep driver had said, "So this is what comes out of only a Bible and a couple of old guys who wanted to live like Jesus." Then with a glance at a shell hole, Hall recalled the driver murmuring, "Maybe we're using the wrong weapons to make this world over!"
2. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1.16-17
3. Dunamos = Power
a. Dynamite – Destructive; Dynamo – Constructive
b. Electricity – Capital punishment; Lighting houses
c. Nuclear Power – Hiroshima; Energy for our cities
4. Gospel is intended to be “good news” – can be used to tear down or build up
a. The same message saved the Hebrews and drowned Pharaoh’s Army
b. The same message will save the faithful and condemn the disobedient
I. The Good News Is God’s Power to Inform
A. The Facts of the Gospel – 1 Corinthians 15.3-4
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
1. Most here – grew up in church, knowing these facts
2. Some of us did not grow up with these facts
3. Either way these are the crucial, essential foundation of our lives
B. Facts Bring Understanding
A freshman at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the greater Idaho Falls Science Fair, April 26, 1997. He was attempting to show how conditioned we have become to alarmist practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical "dihydrogen monoxide."
And for plenty of good reasons, since it:
• Can cause excessive sweating and vomiting.
• It is a major component in acid rain.
• It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.
• Accidental inhalation can kill you.
• It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.
• It has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients.
He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical. Forty-three said yes, six were undecided, and only one knew that the chemical was H20 (water). The title of his prize winning project was, "How Gullible Are We?" He feels the conclusion is obvious.
1. While facts are important, we do not have to have a complete understanding of everything God commands us to do
2. Baptism – Naaman – 2 Kings 5; [A. Campbell – translated NT and discovered baptism meant “immersion” – so, he asked a Baptist preacher to immerse him; 15 years later “baptism for the remission of sin”
3. Reenact the DBR; Pre-enact our DBR
C. Understanding Brings Action
1. Change occurs when we LEARN enough