If you had read my Morning Message yesterday, you would know that I was rereading the fourth chapter of Hebrews. I also reminisced about the time I taught the entire letter in one night! I ended that message yesterday at the 11th verse. Now I hate breaking any of the New Testament letters because they are indeed, letters. Let me explain what I mean. Imagine you find a letter from a friend, but several pages of the letter are missing. All you can read is, “Then I stumbled over that snake and heard the tell-tale signs that I disturbed a rattlesnake . . .”
You would have no idea what was going on! How did they end up stumbling over a rattle snake? The last you knew, they were living in an apartment in New Rochelle! Well, that’s the problem we have when we break up the New Testament letters. We miss the meaning and intent of what we are reading. But then again, I am also a realist. Whenever I write a Message that is too long, I receive emails complaining about it.
But as I was saying, I began reading the fourth chapter of Hebrews and shared some thoughts when I reached the 12th verse:
God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions. 13 No creature can hide from God. Everything is uncovered and exposed for him to see. We must answer to him (Hebrews 4:12-13)
Right before this, we were reading that after the Hebrews had left Egypt, life was pretty tough and, well, they started grumbling and complaining to Moses. As a result of their whining, Yahweh wanted to wipe his hands of the whole lot of them and ignore all of the promises he had made to them.
That’s when the writer started describing God’s Word. The writer declared that God’s Word is “Alive and active,” and if you have walked with the Lord any amount of time, you know that is true! In fact, just the fact that you heard the message, the Word, and it was able to change your heart, which lead you to be “born afresh!” You have changed. Your values have changed. Your language has changed. I will so far as to declare that every aspect of your life has changed. That is, you heard the Word and put that Word to work in your life.
The Truth is that not only is it “Alive and Active,” it is a revelation from God Himself! It provides us with, as one writer declared, “a lens to correct our sin-distorted vision, and a map to allow us to negotiate Reality as God wants us to.” Amen, to that!
The Scriptures tell us what life is. And it comes to us from the One Who made and sustains that life. That is important. For instance, whenever I read a story, or listen to a song, I much prefer the original author or composer. The reason is quite simple: it came from their heart, their vision, their passion.
This was proved to me several years ago when Amy Grant released a song called, “El Shaddai.” A very dear friend of mine loved that song. But when I happened to play the original version from Michael Card, my friend almost had tears in his eyes, when he asked me, “Did he write that song?” You see, in my friend’s mind, Amy Grant sang the song (quite well, I might add). However, because Michael Card wrote the song, he “felt” the music; for him it was a song of worship. So it is with our Lord. Because He is the Originator and the Creator of our life, He is able to clearly see the Reality He has made in all its facets.
You know, I bet most Evangelicals own at least one Bible (many of us have several). Most of them neither know nor understand the Scriptures. Why? Because of laziness and bad theology. If that offends you, I apologize. But I assure you our God is offend.
Jesus told a story about someone who went out and threw out some seeds (that symbolized the “Word of God.” Some of those seeds were choked about by weeds (symbolizing the cares and concerns of life); some seeds fell on the side of the road and birds came and ate them up. Meaning, of course, that someone heard the Word, and Satan didn’t wait until a commercial break, he came “immediately” and took whatever Word was planted. I saw this many times when I was witnessing on the streets. I had someone just about to accept the message of Christ, when a buddy would speak up and make some snide remark, and the first guy decided his friend was right.
Other people are like seeds planted on rocky ground. They hear the word, get all excited, run down to the front of the church; pray with the prayer team and start shouting and singing. But they don’t develop any roots. They last for a few days, go to work and tell their coworkers what happened and guess what? That’s right; they start making fun of them, and they fall from the faith. Other people are like seeds planted in the thorns. They hear the word, but then the bills come in, or they see the new sales catalogs and all of those things choke the word. You get the point.
But sometimes, that Word is planted on good ground. The person hears the word, accepts it, and produces crops—thirty, sixty, or one hundred times as much as was planted! Praise God! THAT is what it means by the Word being “Alive and Active!”
Now that part, where it describes the Word as being, “sharper than any two-edged sword.” It can certainly be applied to the written Word. But don’t limit the power of God’s Word. It also (and often I believe, more accurately) applies to the spoken Word, or more specifically, the Words our Father speaks directly to our spirits. What we call the RHEMA of God’s Word. When the Spirit of God speaks a specific Word to your spirit, faith to grasp hold of the Word comes along with it. I can’t fully describe it, but when it happens, you will have a complete understanding. This is so important, I want to cover it some more in tomorrow’s Message.
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.