Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Word of God P33 (04-21-21)
What is the effect of the word of God on men? When you read the word of God, how is it different from reading another book, one that is written by men? The word of God is God’s word to men to change lives, to set men free. You cannot separate the word of God from the person of God, who is the way, the truth and the life.
The only way to the Father is through Jesus Christ. There is truth that sets men free from bondage to sin and error and lies. That truth is the person of God in Jesus Christ, and has been written down for us, that we may know Him, who is eternal life. In knowing Him, we come to know His thoughts and attitudes of heart. This is a dynamic relationship with the living God, and we get to know Him, who is true, through His word that He has given to us, as we rely on Him to teach us all that He has freely given us, as a born again child of God.
When man is overcome with depression, what is man’s initial inclination? Is it not often to go see a psychologist. But a psychologist is another man. Does He know God? Is not the wisdom of man is as foolishness to God.?If he were speaking truth, how would you know? And if he is speaking truth from the word of God, and Jesus said the truth shall set you free? Do you even have confidence he will speak truth to you from what he learned from the Spirit of God, assuming he is even a believer? Is he born again? Is he even using the word of God, which is truth from God, to help you, correctly applying the word of truth?
Why do we quickly go to people, places and things to try to meet our needs? How many people turn to drugs or alcohol to meet a need that can only be met in Christ? What about marital problems? What are you doing that is in direct response to trying to get your own needs met by our spouse, who is unable to meet that need, and is, therefore, draining all the energy out of your spouse?
So let us look into the word of God, and what Jesus has said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. The word of God is living and active, dividing soul from spirit, judging the attitudes and thoughts of the heart.” So how is man made? With a body, a soul and a spirit, each with different needs. There are needs of the soul, for the mind, will and emotions. Anyone who has been confined in a prison cell knows the great lack of intellectual conversation with another human being, not to mention the emotional needs of comfort and companionship from people. Those are needs of the soul. And of course the body needs, water, food, clothing and shelter to live.
But the reason for the division between the soul and the spirit is that mankind has spiritual needs that cannot be met by the world. The need for purpose and meaning to life and answers to the questions of why I am here and where I am going when I die, those are examples of spiritual questions whose answers can only be found in Jesus Christ. The need for unconditional love and acceptance is a spiritual need that no man can meet. Satan tricks us into thinking that the soul and the spirit are the same and that you can get your spiritual needs met through the world, through people, places and things. But when you try to get unconditional love and acceptance from a spouse, you suck all the energy out of your spouse to meet a need of yours that your mate could never meet. The majority of marital problems result from this<.
So the word of God is truth for our entire being, our body, soul and spirit. Since He created us, why is it that He is the last person we turn to for understanding how we are to properly function. In regard to our body, He tells us not to worry as the world does, since He takes care of the lilies of the field and much more valuable are you than they. In regard to the soul, He tells us to lean not on our own understanding, but in all ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths. In regard to our Spirit, He says He has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through His Spirit alive living in us.
God made the body, the soul and the spirit, and He knows how they are to properly work together. The word of God changes our stinking thinking, replacing error with truth, which in turn changes our attitudes of heart, in which we form policies in our lives and which results in actions through our body, expressing love toward one another.
Jesus came to give us life, that we may live as God intended man to live. But without the Spirit of God living in you, you are left to look to the world for the problems you face. You cannot discern the things of God without the Spirit of God living in you. To be alive spiritually, you need to be born again, to have the Holy Spirit of God placed in you, so you can walk in the new way of the Spirit, to come to the point of having your mind renewed, with the ability of God to form in you new attitudes of heart like His.
Jesus, when He walked the earth, He walked in total dependency on the Father. His attitude was “Not my will, but yours be done.” There is this attitude that God will never let me down and can supply all my needs according to His riches in glory. I am no longer draining others to get my needs met but am now free to serve others, knowing I am amply supplied, and now I can choose to allow the love of God to be lived in me and through me. So love expresses itself into the lives of others as I allow God to do that through me. And I find that when I am weak, then He is strong. For when I am weak, realizing that I am, that apart from Him I can do nothing, then that is when I am relying on the power of God to do something through me I could never do. God is honored by my faith in Him, and that is what pleases Him.
It is exciting to go through this series on A Closer Look at the Word of God. Turn to chapter 9 (not 11), The Effect of the Word of God, in our study guide. If you have a copy of this study God, you can go through this study on your own. You can work through the booklet, answering the questions, and by allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you, you can come to the conclusion as to what the word of God is saying.
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.
That is a whole mouth full. You have something to all of those things. You have something going for you. The word of God is, first of all, living. Is it a living word? How can something written on a page be living? Because it was written and inspired by the Spirit of God. You and I cannot understand what it means apart from the Spirit of God living in us. The Holy Spirit, who is alive, made us alive through spiritual birth. When we are reading the word of God, it is like the living Christ standing there speaking to us, and teaching not only what something says, but the Holy Spirit of God living in us is teaching us what it means. So it is alive. It has living applications to it. It is not a dead piece of literature. It is not a book that is dead. It is living. It is going to do something in your life and my life, in our daily life. It changes us inside out.
When it talks about being a two-edged sword, dividing soul from spirit, it also bears out the fact, as far as the bible is concerned, that man has both a soul and a spirit. We have a body. So does a carrot. We have a soul, and a body. So does a dog. A dog has emotions. A dog has a mind. That is debatable sometimes, but they do. But for sure, we know that a dog has a will. That is the animal kingdom. So you have a vegetable kingdom with a body. And you have an animal kingdom with a body and a soul. Then you have the human kingdom that has a body, a soul and a spirit.
And the word of God divides those two. The reason for the division of the two is because there are needs of both the spirit and the soul that are independent of one another. The soul and the body is how we relate to one another here on this earth. My body is a visible expression of what is going on inside. My spirit is what God intended to control the entirety of my being, to feed my soul with truth, setting me free, that ultimately would affect my exterior behavior that is expressed through my body.
Returning to Hebrews 4:12, the word of God being living and active, being sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit. As we were talking about that, that is one of the things vitally important for us to understand, that your soul, consisting of the mind, emotions and the will, all three of those things have specific needs. I have mental needs. I have emotional needs. I have willful needs. You isolate me in a concentration camp, as what happens with prisoners, where you will and your emotions are taken away, where there are no feelings or intellectual conversation with another human being, you dry up like a bone. The same thing with my body. My body has specific needs. It has to have air, food, water and shelter. You rob me of those things, and this body of mine is going to die.
What we do not realize is there is a spiritual part of man, and that spirit also has needs. The need of the spirit is to be loved and accepted unconditionally. It is a need man has built within for meaning and purpose in life, a reason to get up in the morning. A dog is not thinking about or asking questions like, “Why am I here?”, “Where did I come from?” or “Where am I going?” But man does. It is the spiritual part of man that separates him from the animal kingdom. You rob man of that, you just robbed him of his humanity.
There are people who sit around saying that man is so depraved that he could never seek God. That is ludicrous. Man, even though dead spiritually to God, that vacuum has been created in man, and that is why that even in the remotest part of the world, there are people who are incurably religious. Why? Because of the human spirit, the human part of man that has been vacated by God, and is constantly longing to be filled by what has vacated him. So you have the human spirit there.
When I do not understand what is a spiritual need of unconditional love and acceptance, Satan comes along and says there is no difference between the soul and the spirit. Satan says, “You can get that need met here on earth.” Because we do not realize that is a need that can only be filled through Jesus Christ our Lord, that need for unconditional love and acceptance and meaning and purpose to life. The world cannot give me the meaning and purpose and life. There is no one in the world who can love me unconditionally and there is no one in the world who can accept me unconditionally. When we do not realize that we go to the only place to go to get that need met, which is people, places and things. That is what the world is. You go to your wife. If you are a child, you go to your parents. If you do not have a wife, you go to boyfriends and girlfriends. If you are not going to turn to the Creator to meet that need, then you go to creation to meet that need, which is us. If the creation is not going to meet that need, then you go to created things, made by the creation, like drugs, booze or alcohol, or anything else, to get that need met. Why? You refuse to go to the only one who can meet that need. That is the Creator, not to creation or created things, but only in the Creator. When we do not understand that, then we go to the soul. Satan tells you to meet it at that level. You cannot. Your wife cannot love you unconditionally. Your husband cannot love or accept you unconditionally. We wish we could. We cannot. My job or my marriage or my children, or anything else cannot bring me meaning and purpose to live. That is a spiritual need that can only be met spiritually through Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is like saying this. You got a body, take care of it. I am not going to eat for you. I am not going to eliminate for you. I am not going to exercise for you. At Dallas, there is a big exercise center of the world, Dr. Cooper’s aerobic center. I used to watch those people jog every day. I never lost a pound watching them jog. “Bob, you want to lose weight, then you need to go out there and jog.” Nobody can do that for you. You cannot go enjoy meat without feeding it. “It is your body, Bob. So take care of it. That spirit of yours is mine, Bob. That is mine, and only I can meet that need.”
When we allow Christ to meet that need, it frees us on the level of the soul, which is the invisible part of me, whereby we communicate with our mind, emotions and will, and with the body, which is how we communicate here on this earth. When we do not understand that a spirit divides soul from spirit, and the reason for the division is to let man know that that spiritual hunger that you have cannot be met in the world, only in Christ, but when it is met in Christ, it frees you on the level of the soul and the body, to now serve one another in love. Until we come to grips with that in marriage or other relationships, we are like ticks on a dog to suck the life out of somebody, in order for you to do for me in order to meet my needs. The very moment I am counting on you to do something for me, I have now become your slave. I am a slave to your choices. That, quite frankly, is the problem of 90 percent of marital problems I have ever dealt with, the fact that mates are trying to get their mate to do something for them that only Christ Jesus can do. If I am sitting around waiting for my mate to do something for me to make me happy, I have now become as a slave to the choices of my mate.
That is why the Spirit of God divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow; and judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. That is why Christ came. That as a child of God, my friend, it says this.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
What is the renewing of your mind? It is your thoughts. What does the word of God do? It judges your thoughts. It is what says, “Bob, that is stinking thinking. That is man’s viewpoint, but it is not mine. If you want wisdom, you will have to come to me, because I am your wisdom. The wisdom of the world is foolishness to me. You cannot go to the world for wisdom. I am your wisdom. I know your thoughts and they are contrary to mine.”
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your paths.
So the word of God is what judges our thoughts. It is what points out that we are not thinking according to the word of God, but thinking in accordance with our own wisdom, which is foolishness to God. And those thoughts are what forms our attitudes. Actions are what follow thoughts. I form an attitude and then I form a policy about it. What does He say about our attitudes?
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!
Christ, when He was here on earth, He walked in total dependency on His Father. That was His attitude. “Not my will, but yours be done.” Now that is our attitude. That takes the renewing of our mind, the renewing of our thoughts, until we realize that God will never let you down. It is to realize that when we are weak that He is strong. His grace is sufficient for you.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Where are you going to find that in a positive thinking book? You are not going to find it there. You will not find that through positive confession and positive thinking. That is man-made stuff. You will find that in the word of God. Do not worry about being weak. For when you are weak, you are strong. Why? Because I am relying on the one who is strong, who is Christ Jesus our Lord. That is the reason for the word of God. It will change your life. It will change your thoughts. The result of getting your thoughts changed is you are going to have your attitudes changed.
What then is the effect on the word of God?
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
That is the evidence that you are. You will hold onto My teaching, and then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. What does the bible say that the truth will do, the truth out of the word of God? It says that it will do something for you. It will set you free.
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free
Would it not be desirable for people to be set free? In countries like America, people had to fight at the expense of thousands upon thousands of lives in order to keep a nation free. Here we are in bondage to our own selves, in psychological and religious bondage. He says He will set us free. Yet people say, “I would rather hold onto my tradition.” “I would rather hold onto my denominational persuasion.”, “I would rather hold onto my philosophy.” “I would rather hold onto my psychology.” Well, hold onto them if you want to remain in bondage the rest of your life. But if you want to be free, you will have to hold onto My teaching and My truth. And when you do, that truth will do something for you. It will set you free. If truth is what sets you free, what is it that puts you in bondage? Error and lies. If I am in bondage, and I know I am not free, it is because of error. What is the solution to error? Truth. Error corrected. It is not complicated.
A guy went into the doctor. Every time I lift up my arm, it hurts. What should I do? The doctor said, “Quit lifting up your arm.” It is not complicated. You have to understand that if you are in bondage, you are in error. What is the solution to error? Hold up the truth. Go into the word of God and ask Him to reveal truth to you.
48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.
You saw the Pharisees saying, “I do not believe you.” Jesus replies, “The very words I am speaking to you are the very words that will judge you on the last day.” What is the world’s sin according to Jesus? Unbelief in Me.
9 The world’s sin is unbelief in me
You believe the words of Moses are going to save you or your denomination will save you. Those words of Christ that says, “I alone am the way to God is going to condemn you on the last day.”
Continuing on with the effects of the word of God on your life, Jesus is the one who said these things.
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Apart from me you can do nothing
Acts 4:12 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Those words that were spoken by Christ, God here on this earth, are the very words that are going to condemn the man that says, ”I do not believe that.” Those words will be the condemnation.
He went on to say to his disciples.
3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
When we have been cleansed of all unrighteousness, we have been made clean. We have been cleansed of all that we were, unrighteous. This is as a born again Christian. At the cross is where Christ cleansed us of all unrighteousness. The apostles, prior to the cross, were clean until they were cleansed. If you can understand that, it is the word up to that point that had cleansed them, not of all unrighteousness, but cleansed them, until the point whereby we were cleansed of all unrighteousness. Why? So we can be indwelt by Him and His righteousness. That is what took place at the resurrection when we accepted Him into our hearts. It is because at the cross we were cleansed of all unrighteousness, forgiven of all sins, so there was nothing left to do on man’s part except to accept what we did not have, which is life. The reason we died not have life is because we were dead.
Now the word of God is what sets us apart. That is why we read this in John 17:17.
17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
Now people are sitting around trying to sanctify themselves by what they wear and how they care and everything else. The fact of the matter is that is not sanctification. It is not progressive. It says you were sanctified when you came to Christ. You have been set apart. What sets you apart? You are a child of God. What does that set you apart from? The entire world who are not children of God. The vast majority of the world are not children of God. They are not born again. When you and I are born again of the Spirit we have been set apart by the truth about Christ Jesus. “Thy word is truth”, He said. What does the word of truth point you to? The one who is truth, Jesus, who said He, the truth, would set us free.
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Quit trying to set yourself apart. If you are a Christian, you are already set apart. Just realize that. You have been set apart by the truth. The truth about what? Christ, the one who set you apart and the one who set you free.
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
So the message is heard through what? The word of God. So faith comes through the word of God. As you listen to the word of God, there is something inside of us called an ability to have faith. That faith to the humble heart is stirred up from hearing the message of Christ. Faith then comes through the hearing of the message and the message is heard through the word of God.
Now in Ephesians 6:17.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Once again, the word of God is talking about being a sword. It is an offensive weapon. In that lineup of the armor of God, that is the only offensive weapon that there is, the sword of the Spirit. That is our offense. Everything else was defense. The shield, the helmet of salvation, all of those things, were defensive, to protect us. But the sword is the aggressive weapon that we hold in our hands. So take it up. It is the word of God.
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.
The flowers fade, but the word of God is going to go on forever. It is enduring. It is living, as we talked about earlier, sharper than a two-edged sword. It is not perishable. It is imperishable.