Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Word of God P8 (02-23-21)
The word of God points to Jesus Christ. Inasmuch as Jesus is alive, His word is alive. You cannot separate those because when God says something, it is a total reflection of His being, unlike us. So God is living and God is active. He is alive and so God’s word is living and is active.
The word of God had to be confirmed and it was, but all scripture points to Jesus, in what He came to do for us through His death, burial and resurrection for us, so we may live a new life. All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, correction, rebuke and training in righteousness. The word of God that we hold in our hands will teach us. Teach us what? Truth. That will do what? Set us free. It is teaching for rebuking what is taught. We have gone off the road, and it tells us we are off the road. It is useful for correcting. What is that? Getting you back on the road. Training for righteousness. What is that? Keeping you on the road. So the word of God truly is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, and Christ in us reveals to us the meaning of the word of God so we may live a new life.
So as we ponder over all the truths that were written through the apostle Paul, we think of the implications of the word of God, which is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword, dividing soul and spirit. The word of God goes underneath the skin to the attitudes of the heart. For from the heart are what flow all the awful human behavior we see, not only in others, but in ourselves. The word of God addresses our thinking, for as man thinks within himself, so he is. If our thinking is off, so is our behavior.
Where are we going for our teaching? Where are we going for our rebuking? In this day and age, God forbid you would ever rebuke anybody because nobody is guilty of anything. What is being said is essentially this. “I am not guilty. It is mom and dad and my dysfunctional family. Do not rebuke me, as I am not to blame.” With that kind of improper thinking and attitude, what do you expect would happen? The word of God is set aside to the thinking of this world. But that points to a deeper problem that Jesus came to address.
At the core of the problem of mankind is that he is born dead to God. It is like a light bulb without electricity in it. The light bulb can be affected externally by the world. A rock can be thrown at it to break it, but it is also useless until electricity is in it. So too, a human being is created by God to have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside. Man is not born with the Holy Spirit at physical birth ever since the fall of mankind in the garden of Eden. That is why Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in John 3 of his need to be born again.
The apostle Paul, as an apostle to the Gentiles, spent his life explaining the gospel, explaining truth to a dying world. We read that in 1 Corinthians 15 of the primary importance of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And we read in Colossians, the amazing gospel message of Christ in you, your only hope of glory.
Why would I need to be born again? To be born again of the Spirit, is to be born again, to be made alive. God came to restore man to true humanity. What we lost in Adam was restored in Christ. I was dead to God in Adam. I am alive to God in Christ. Christ came to restore me to true humanity.
For us to think that we are not totally affected by what we put into our mind and what we believe, again, is a total denial of the reality of human nature. So when it talks about the word of God dividing soul from spirit, it is saying to man to not confuse soul from spirit because they are two separate entities. Until you have the Spirit, your soul is dead as a hammer. But when you do have the Spirit of God, you come alive and now have input into your own soul, your own human personality. That is what affects behavior.
Today, as in the past, no one is dealing with human behavior and action. You are dealing with attitudes under the skin. Unless attitudes under the skin are changed, what good does it do to change your action? But when attitudes are changed, your attitudes will change your action. Without the Spirit of God, I have my soul, but the only place the soul has to go for information is the world, people, places and things. When I am born again of the Spirit now there is a downward input into my soul. Now, my mind, my emotions, and my will has input from God. The natural man cannot understand the things of God. It is considered foolishness to him. But the man with Spirit discerns all things, having the mind of Christ, being made into a new creation. So, a man must be born again.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
How much scripture did Paul say was God-breathed? All of it. Once again, folks, if Paul was just an ordinary guy, if Paul had not received direct revelation from God, and that is not the kind of revelation that people are talking about today, where people get a phony revelation. This is a revelation that was confirmed, and had to be confirmed, by those who walked with Christ, called the apostles. Those men were set apart for that distinct purpose, to confirm everything that Jesus said was true, to have the Holy Spirit of God given to them, revealed to them, and in so doing teaching them everything that Jesus Christ wanted them to know and remember.
So all of that had to be confirmed and Paul was saying, “All scripture is therefore God-breathed and is useful teaching. The word of God that we hold in our hands will teach us. Teach us what? Truth. That will do what? Set us free. It is teaching to rebuking what is taught. We have gone off the road, and it tells us we are off the road. It is useful for correcting. What is that? Getting you back on the road. Training for righteousness. What is that? Keeping you on the road.
So the word of God is useful as a light unto our path, of not only showing us where to go, showing us when we are getting back into the dark, but getting us back into the light and keeping us in the light. It is teaching us truth about ourselves, about God that will absolutely set us free. So scripture is totally profitable for us. When something is useful and profitable, it is because God knows us, and He knows what is useful for us and profitable to us.
Folks, today, take a look at it. Where are we going for our teaching? Where are we going for our rebuking? In this day and age, God forbid you would ever rebuke anybody because nobody is guilty of anything. What is being said is essentially this. “I am not guilty. It is mom and dad and my dysfunctional family. Do not rebuke me, as I am not to blame. The butt does not stop here. It never got here.” We are talking about all of these types of things.
Look at this kind of reasoning. How can the word of God be active in your life to do what it says it is to do, and that is to teach you truth, when the world is saying that is not truth but this is truth. How can I ever be rebuked when I am never guilty of anything? Correcting me? Why would I need correction when I am not at fault to begin with? If I am going to be corrected, it is to see myself as not as guilty but as a victim of some kind. So I will just need to go back and forgive everybody for all the bad things done to me. That is supposed to be a correction. Then look at training in righteousness. Who needs to be trained in righteousness when you can just be trained in some behavior modification. I do not need to be trained in righteousness. All I have to do is get my behavior modified.
All this type of thing that goes on, teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, is underneath the skin. No one is dealing with human behavior and action. You are dealing with attitudes under the skin. Unless attitudes under the skin are changed, what good does it do to change your action? But when attitudes are changed, your attitudes will change your action.
We have to realize, my friends, we act according to what we believe. If a child believes or does not believe there is danger in playing in the street, then he is oblivious to it and will run right out into the street. He does not know. He has not been trained in truth. If you and I believe that the whole world is against us, if we believe that somebody of a certain race hates us, then we are going to enter into that community with fear and trembling because of our belief. It has no validity at all as to whether that is true or not. It is just true in my mind, and because it is true in my mind, I am going to be scared to death to enter in.
If I believe something as a child, I can act on it being true even though it is not true. I can remember walking from school to home. I would go by some woods. When the winter months came, it would be dark before I went though there. I was convinced there was some burglar in there. So I learned to run track through that place. I flew by that thing. Have you ever noticed when you think someone is behind you, he is breathing down your neck. But nobody was there, but I believed there was. We will act out what we believe. I do not know why that is a mystery to people.
If we are going to believe in order to correct action, that is God’s way. But if we are talking about changing action without changing the belief system, that is not God’s way. Scripture is used to teach me, rebuke me, correct me and train me, to show me where I have faulty thinking, to correct that with truth, and then train me with righteousness. That is the bible’s testimony about what the word of God is for.
When Paul tried to persuade the multitudes, what did he do? Paul tried to persuade the multitudes. If I was trying to persuade anyone of anything, which I can’t, the Spirit of God has to do that, but it would be to convince people that this word of God is true and it is a testimony about Jesus, who is true.
23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus.
Paul used the Old Testament and his knowledge of scripture to understand that everything in the law of Moses, and everything spoken through the prophets, was a testimony about Jesus Christ. He spent his life testifying of the truth, and was abused, beaten, mistreated, and everything else. He was spending his life trying to convince people that Jesus was sufficient. And entered into objection, which is still taking place to this very day.
We were talking about everything you think you will act upon. You can see that in a little child. I could not help thinking about watching grandchildren growing up. There are a terrific number of programs on today, children’s cartoons. Many times the people producing them are really trying to help children out. You do not have to fear monsters. Guess what that does? “You do not have to fear monsters?” The child says, “What is a monster?”
I remember when I was a child. It was my sister’s birthday. My sister was ten years older than me. At that time, she might have been sixteen. That means I was six. I can remember she was playing the piano one day, and I was sitting next to her and her birthday was coming up. I said, “Eileen, you will not get a new bicycle for your birthday at all.” Mom and dad had a bicycle planted in the closet. “There is no bicycle in the closet.” I was telling her what there wasn’t and she immediately knew what it was. So obviously she did not get surprised on her birthday.
So someone says, “You do not fear alligators under the bed.” And the child says, “What alligator under the bed?” “You do not have to fear this.” That is the same thing Paul is saying about the power of sin is the law.
7 Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.
So when I say, “You do not have to fear monsters”, sin ceases that opportunity and stirs up any fear in regard to monsters. You do not have to fear because you were now told what you do not have to do, fear. That stirs up what I do not have to do. Although the intent was good, it would be a lot better not to talk about monsters to begin with because their aren’t any. It is amazing how we have forgotten that putting in that input would change the behavior of a child. What kind of behavior? Go to bed and be scared of a shadow.
There is a night light in grandma’s bedroom and there is one of those open-back chairs and light reflects back there and puts stripes up there. A child looks up and gets scared. Why are they scared? Because they had fearful thoughts put into their minds. You go to a movie and see psycho in the shower, and the next time you get in the shower, you will be looking around a little bit. Fear is created in our minds through the input into your minds by this world and also by the word of God.
So what we are talking about here is for us to think about that input and what we think and our attitude toward things does not affect human behavior is absolutely ignoring the truth of something that is as obvious as the nose on our face. That is exactly why the word of God, which is God-breathed, not man-oriented, is what is useful. The only thing that is profitable for proper teaching of the mind, of rebuking of thoughts that are not true, of correcting those thoughts with truth and training us in righteousness.
Now Paul, again, testifies about the gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
He went ahead to explain the gospel. In every one of those cases, as he talked about Christ’ death, s burial and resurrection, that all of those things took place according to the scriptures. What scriptures was he talking about? The Old Testament, whereby the prophecies in the Old Testament were pointing to the event of Christ the Messiah, his death, burial and resurrection. So, Christ’ death, burial and resurrection, even though it could have occurred without that declaration, but the fact of the matter is, if it had not been for the Old Testament, how would you have ever known for sure that was Jesus, because anyone could have died on a cross as a martyr. But the fact that there were over 300 prophecies connected with Christ’ life, and His death, burial and resurrection, is a fact that is an absolute mathematical impossibility for those things to have been fulfilled in any one man.
We are talking about the fact that Jesus and the confirmation of who Jesus is, who He was and always will be, was confirmed in the Old Testament scripture and, therefore, we can know that those scriptures are absolutely true.
I think it is worthy of stating another thing. That even though scripture is true, and that is indeed true, that through, as an example, you had an Old Covenant and a New Covenant, and when you have an old, the new makes the old obsolete. That does not negate the truth of the old. It just says it is no longer in existence for you. It is obsolete.
13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
So, we do not live by the same covenant today that you lived under with the old covenant. Under the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit of God came upon people for divine service and then left them. Under a New Covenant after Jesus completed His work on the cross, and in His resurrection, the Holy Spirit comes to live in you forever and says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Under the Old Covenant, if you do not forgive your brother, neither will your Father in heaven forgive you.
23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Under a New Covenant, forgive one another even as God has forgiven you.
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Under an Old Covenant do those things or you will die.
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
Under a New Covenant, do this and you will live.
1 John 3:24
The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
So does that negate the truth of the old? No. It was absolutely true for that day.
As an example, was it true that when my little daughter, when she was a little baby, and Amy tried to feed her, and tried to put that food in her mouth, she would just spit it out. Was that true? Absolutely that was true. Now, if we went out and had dinner today, in a restaurant, and sat down, and Debbie took a bite of food and just spit it out on the table, I would think she is an imbecile. But back then, was it true? Of course it was true. But she has outgrown that. Thank God she has. It is obsolete.
A child for a certain time has to have diapers. Now he does not have diapers. Thank God for that as well. Was it true that he had them? Yes, but today he does not need them. It does not negate the truth of something but it does not mean that everything is applicable today that was applicable before Christ came to this earth in order to usher in a New Covenant.
Now, in the testimony about the word of God, I believe the book of Hebrews explains that truth more than any book in the New Testament. So we have the testimony about the word of God from Jesus Himself. We have the testimony of the apostle Peter. We have the testimony of the apostle Paul. Now we have the testimony of the writer of Hebrews. This is what he had to say about the scriptures.
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Why would the word of God have to judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart if the thoughts and attitudes of the heart did not have some kind of a reflection on human behavior? So people today are sitting around saying the word of God is not applicable today and is outdated. You have one group of people professing to be Christians saying we do not believe the word of God is a hundred percent truth. In other words, they are saying it is not inerrant. They are saying that there is error there and we cannot trust it.
There are many people who do not believe the validity and inerrancy of the word of God. So that is one group over here. Then you have another group over there that says, “No, this bible is absolutely true, every word of it. Even the maps are genuine, and even the leather is genuine. It is just true.” They just pound down so proud that the word of God is inerrant. Many times, tough, they do not have a clue what it means but believe what it says. “It is totally inerrant.” Then in the midst of saying it is inerrant they then say it is obsolete today. In other words, they are saying that the word of God does not deal with modern day problems. It is like saying, “It just came up to the year 1970, and then it started fading. It is not applicable today. It is true, but it is not applicable.”
So you have one group saying it is not true. So obviously if it is not true, how could it be applicable to daily living? Yes, it is absolutely true, but it is not applicable. Does that sound familiar? “Surely, you do not think this is what God says? Do you think God really meant that when He said His word is sufficient in all things? Surely God could not mean that?” That is what is going on today in multitudes of Christian teaching under the guise of Christian teaching. That is not Christian teaching.The word of God is living. I am living. So if the word of God is living, guess who it wants to deal with? Me, who is living. But people will say, “Not in this modern day society. That is not applicable.” But man has never changed and the same problems that I have today, they had 2000 years ago. The same word of God that is active and living 2000 years ago is just as living and active today.
Another thing the word of God does. It is sharper than a double-edged sword, penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit. Today people say there is no difference between soul and spirit. If you go to somebody like Rogers, that is spook language.
Going back to Hebrews 12, about the word of God living and active, you cannot separate the word of God from the person of God. Inasmuch as Jesus is alive, His word is alive. You cannot separate those because when God says something, it is a total reflection of His being, unlike us. So God is living and God is active. He is alive and so God’s word is living and is active.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;
1 Peter 1:23
23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
Some people act like that God is dead, that God is inactive, not interested and is not involved in the current affairs of His children. It is kind of like He sent us to a foreign land, and He is off in Hawaii and hoping we are doing okay. It is like the vantage point when people were talking about the great commission, to go into the world and make disciples, and God is standing on a hill, saying lots of luck, like He is standing far away.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Or it is like the idea of God that He is way out there and I am reaching with my hands, and looking upward trying to find God. Yet God is saying, “I came to you. I came to live within you. I am alive, living in you right now on this earth. I am your only hope of glory. I am not up there in some place. I am down here. I am living in you.”
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
To realize that, that is the security that we have. So the word of God is living. It is active. It is sharper than a double-edged sword. That means it divides when it cuts in between the soul and spirit. It divides the soul and spirit. Both edges. Yet there are people who act like there is no difference between soul and spirit and also act like there is no effect of the Spirit upon the soul.
Why would I need to be born again? To be born again of the Spirit, is to be born again, to be made alive. God came to restore man to true humanity. What we lost in Adam was restored in Christ. I was dead to God in Adam. I am alive to God in Christ. Christ came to restore me to true humanity. It is like a light bulb without electricity in it. All of a sudden there is electricity in it. Now the bulb can function. That is life. That is what life is all about.
Before that light bulb was affected internally by electricity, the only thing that can happen to the light bulb is being affected outside of itself by the world. The world could bring it to decay. The world could throw a rock at it and break it. You can do all kinds of things to it. But it had no use from the inside because there was nothing in there to make it useful. That is the same thing with the Spirit.
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
When saying we have been born again, but saying it has no effect on our soul, we are denying the very dynamic of spiritual birth that is living and active. My spiritual birth is alive and active, is sharper than a two-edged sword, when we have the divine power of the word of God in our lives. Otherwise, we have denied the power of the gospel, the power of truth in our lives.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Without the Spirit of God, I have my soul, but the only place the soul has to go for information is the world, people, places and things. When I am born again of the Spirit now there is a downward input into my soul. Now, my mind, my emotions, and my will has input from God. Why else would it say the natural man cannot understand the things of God? It is considered foolishness to him.
1 Corinthians 2:14
14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
Why else would it say in scripture that truth will set you free if there was not a by-product to truth?
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
If there is not a by-product to truth, then there is no by-product to error. So go teach people error. If there is not an adverse reaction to reading playboy, how can you say there is a good reaction to reading the bible? If good cannot affect you, then bad cannot affect you. And if bad cannot affect you, the good cannot affect you.
So for us to think that we are not totally affected by what we put into our mind and what we believe, again, is a total denial of the reality of human nature. So when it talks about the word of God dividing soul from spirit, it is saying to man to not confuse soul from spirit because they are two separate entities. Until you have the Spirit, your soul is dead as a hammer. But when you do have the Spirit of God, you come alive and now have input into your own soul, your own human personality. That is what affects behavior.
16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.
Again, you can go out with behavior modification. You can stick drugs in people’s minds to try to adjust people’s behavior, and sure enough you can. You can get somebody so numb he just walks around so peaceful. It is so unbelievable. It is much easier to be around it. It is much easier to live with yourself when you are numb and do not even know you are there. You can be pleasant around people when you cannot even think. But that is altering what God made. That is not renewing what God made, but altering what God made.
So, we have to understand that the word of God is what is active. It is living. It is sharper than a two-edged sword. It divides the soul from spirit to let you know there is a difference in the two, and in so doing, is able to judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. That is where we live. Attitude always precedes action. You act because you have an attitude toward something. God sees those attitudes of our hearts.