“Power belongs to God.” (Psalm 62:11)
In Psalm 62:11 we read that, “Power belongs to God” and the great reservoir of His power is His Word the Bible. God Himself has said, “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces” (Jeremiah 23:29). If we want to know the power of God’s Spirit operating in our lives then we need to be studying and reflecting on His Word everyday and applying it to our lives. There is nothing like God’s Word that can discern the thoughts and the motives of our hearts. In Hebrews we read, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and the attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Longing for Spiritual power?
Many believers today are longing for spiritual power in their lives but are neglecting God’s Word. Many are going in for all kinds of spiritual experiences or chasing after so called prophets for a word from God instead of going to the Word of God. Many earnest and sincere believers want God to use them in reaching others but forget that the spiritual seed for the soil of the human heart is God’s Word. (Luke 8:11) To preach the Lord Jesus Christ is to preach His Word and to preach His Word is to preach the Lord Jesus Christ because He Himself is the Logos made flesh. He Himself is the co-author of the Bible along with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. If we do not preach God’s Word people will not have a personal encounter in their lives with the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior from sin because “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Neglecting the Word of God
The reason so many believers have little or no spiritual power in their Christian life and service is because they are neglecting to study and obey God’s Word. Only the power of God’s Word can break down people’s stubborn hearts towards the good news about Jesus. There is nothing like God’s Word to break “a heart of rock” to pieces and to replace it with a responsive “heart of flesh.” Only God’s Word accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit can change a person’s heart from a Christ hating, Christ rejecting attitude into a Christ loving, Christ accepting attitude.
The Sword of the Spirit is God’s Word!
God’s Word is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses to bring people to faith in Jesus. Paul tells us that, “the sword of the Spirit is God’s Word” (Ephesians 6:17). God’s Word and the Holy Spirit are inseparable in the work of convicting and converting sinners. If we want to know ‘the fire of heaven’ in our souls then we must be regularly feeding everyday on the nutritious spiritual food of God’s Word. If we do not eat nutritious food regularly then our physical bodies will become weak, likewise, if we do not feed on the spiritual nutrition of God’s Word we will not have spiritual strength. God’s Word is all the spiritual nourishment we will ever need. There is more wisdom in the Bible than in any other book because it is God’s wisdom. If we do not take time out to read and study God’s Word then we will not have spiritual power that moves heaven and earth.
No ‘Short Cuts’ to spiritual power
There are no short cuts to genuine spiritual power. Today multitudes of professing Christians are seeking all kinds of spiritual experiences, attending conventions, listening to top name speakers or doing seminars on evangelism and church growth but neglecting to diligently study God’s Word. They are not capable of rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Instead of studying the Bible for themselves they only listen to what others say about what the Bible says instead of being like the Berean’s, “who searched the scriptures everyday to see if what Paul said was true.” All of the Great men and women of God that He has used effectively have been diligent students of His Word. The truth of the Bible has shaped and molded their lives in such a way that they have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to fulfill God’s good, acceptable and perfect will for their lives.
“Do not turn from it to the right or to the left”
Joshua succeeded Moses and he had the task of leading the people into the Promised Land. Moses was a hard act to follow and Joshua felt his own inadequacy for such a job but God told him how to be successful. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth: meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified or discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7-9)….What does God’s Word have power to do?
1. God’s Word has power to convict people of sin.
(Acts 2:37) “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter had been preaching the Lord Jesus Christ to the crowd assembled that day in Jerusalem. His sermon was the Word of God from beginning to end and the Holy Spirit took that sword of God’s Word and drove it home into the hearts of the listeners causing them to be thoroughly saved. In the book of Acts we see the believers using God’s Word to bring people to faith in Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord. They were preaching God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit and seeing wonderful results in their evangelism.
No strategies or programmes
There were no strategies for evangelism or programs for church growth they just went out and preached God’s Word concerning the Lord Jesus and saw people saved and added to the church (Acts 8:4). When Phillip went down to Samaria he preached the Word of God (Acts 8:5). When Paul brought the Philippian jailor to Christ he gave him God’s Word (Acts 16:32). The Lord Jesus Himself used God’s Word when He was talking to Nicodemus about the necessity to be born again. (John 3:10-14)
Taking personal evangelism seriously
If we really took personal evangelism seriously we would stay in God’s Word until the fire of the Holy Spirit falls on the altar of our hearts. In the Old Testament the fire from heaven only fell when the whole of the sacrifice was laid upon the altar with nothing held back. When we diligently study God’s Word and submit ourselves unreservedly to its authority and allow God to use us in whatever way he sees fit then the fire of His love will flare up on the altars of our heart to see sinners saved and saints sanctified. We must never think that witnessing one on one is not very significant because Phillip witnessed to a man in the desert and through this man God opened up the whole of Ethiopia to the gospel.
The Word accompanied by the Spirit
God’s Word accompanied by the Holy Spirit is the spiritual weapon and ammunition we need in our witnessing and our testimony is the trigger. If we want to see the Holy Spirit convict people about their need to be saved then we must be able to show them from God’s Word how to be saved and rely totally upon the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin. The whole reason the Lord Jesus Baptizes a believer with the Holy Spirit is to empower them to be His witness. (Acts 1:8) We can know God’s Word but unless that Word is accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit it people will not be convicted about their sin. Paul understood this when he said, “Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
2. God’s Word has power to impart spiritual life.
(1 Peter 1:23) “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (2 Peter 1:4) “Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (Romans 10:17) “so then, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
In these verses we are told that God’s Word is the instrument that the Holy Spirit uses to produce the New Birth in us. When we receive God’s Word into our hearts we are receiving the Lord Jesus Himself who is the Living Word of God. By His Word He constantly supplies us with spiritual strength and power through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. The Holy Spirit Himself takes the words of the Bible and makes them a living and active reality in our daily lives (John 6:63).
An impartation of God’s Divine nature
Through the Word of God the Holy Spirit will reproduce in us God’s very own Divine and Holy nature and enable us to be set free from the spiritual corruption and sin that so easily besets us (Galatians 5:22-25) (Ephesians 5:9). God uses His Word like a mirror in that it shows us our true spiritual condition and applies the Law of God to our hearts showing us very clearly our total inability to do anything worthwhile for God and as we continue in His Word it shows us God’s grace and the ability to set us free from sin and rebellion (James 1:22-25).
“If you continue in My Word”
So often you will hear Christians quote the saying of Jesus “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” but they miss out the first part of this verse, which says, “If you continue in My word then you are truly My disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Continuing in the Word will make us disciples and eventually set us free from the lust of the flesh, from the lust of the eyes and from the pride of life. Jesus goes on to say, “So if the Son shall make you free you will be free indeed!” Through the power of God’s Word the Holy Spirit will enable us every day moment by moment to crucify the flesh with its passions and desires and to flee youthful lusts, which are at war with our souls!
God’s Word is living and active, a double-edged sword!
When we take the time to study and reflect of God’s Word God renews us spiritually and produces in us the likeness and image of His Son. Through meditating and studying God’s Word we will grow in ever increasing likeness into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ making our calling and election a sure thing (Romans 8:29-30) (2 Peter 1:5-11). God’s Word itself is a living and active spiritual agent that can radically change us deep down on the inside. “For the word of God is living 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” (Hebrews 4:12).
3. God’s Word has power to produce faith.
(Romans 10:17) “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
We can read God’s Word from cover to cover but never be spiritually changed unless that word becomes a personal revelation to our hearts. A person can hear that Jesus died for everyone but that won’t change them unless they have a revelation that Jesus died personally for them. Faith only comes when the Holy Spirit takes God’s Word and makes it a living reality deep down on the inside of us. Jesus is the “logos” i.e., The Eternal Word of God made flesh but that still won’t enable us to believe in Him unless that Word becomes “Rhema” i.e., a personal revelation to our spirits.
Knowing how and what to believe
The Bible says that no one can truly say, “Jesus is Lord” unless they can say it by the revelation of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). This is why we must be born again if we want to enter into God’s eternal Kingdom (John 3:3). When a person believes in Jesus it is important to not only show them how to believe but show them from God’s Word what to believe. Paul did this with the jailor at Philippi whom he led to faith in Jesus. Paul didn’t just tell him to believe but gave him something to believe in. We read what Paul and Silas did, “And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house”(Acts 16:32). Faith itself must have a solid foundation upon which it can grow and develop in our lives and that sure foundation is God’s Word.
God’s Word does not change
Our feelings rise and fall, our circumstances change but God’s Word will still say the same thing tomorrow as it does today. As the scriptures say, “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 119:89-90) and again it says, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8). God is as faithful as His Word. He will never contradict or take back what He has said and He can be trusted to do exactly what He has promised to do. God never changes and He is always perfectly consistent in everything He says and does (James 1:17).
4. God’s Word has power to build us up spiritually.
(Acts 20:32) “Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
Paul was about to leave the believers at Ephesus and spoke these words to the elders. He knew that false prophets and teachers would come and that even some would come from their own number to pervert the gospel and deceive the true believers. What was his remedy against this spiritual seduction soon to immerge in the Church at Ephesus? His remedy was to commit them to God’s Word. Why did he do this? Well for two reasons. Firstly, he wanted to build them up spiritually so that they could take a stand against sin and against spiritual deception and seduction coming into the church. Secondly, he wanted to enable them to see what their spiritual inheritance was in Christ both in this life and in the next.
God and the Word of His Grace
It is only when we know who we are in Christ and what He has promised in His Word that we will be able to stand against the spiritual deception coming against the Church in these last days. If we know our spiritual inheritance from God’s Word then we will be able to discern truth from error. Paul did not commit them to anything else other than to God and to the Word of His grace. Today most of our shepherds are no longer committing their flocks to God and to His Word but instead committing them to psychology, psychotherapy and to the philosophies of man. In other cases they are encouraging them to become ecumenical and in some cases embrace the inter-faith movement. The only way for us not to be deceived is to have a thorough knowledge and revelation of God’s Word.
Building up the capacity for faith
If we would increase our faith and build up our capacity for faith then we must diligently, persistently and prayerfully study God’s Word, the Bible. Many in the church today crave signs, miracles and wonders while others crave to have gifts and blessings but how many crave after God’s Word or hunger and thirst after righteousness? Not many! Listen to what Peter says, “Like newborn babies, crave the sincere milk of the word, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2).
5. God’s Word has power to cleanse our lives.
(Ephesians 5:26) “That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.” (NKJV)
There are three great spiritual cleansing agents God uses in our lives to keep us free from spiritual defilement and sin. He uses the blood of Jesus His Son. He uses the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit and He uses His Word. Just as water washes away physical dirt from our bodies so God’s Word, when studied in the Spirit’s power, will wash our inner attitudes, values, desires and dispositions that resist God’s will. Apart from the blood of Jesus there is no cleansing agent more powerful in our daily lives than God’s Word. Kind David understood this when he said; “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word”…“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9, 11). As we regularly study God’s Word He is able to keep us clean from all filthiness of flesh and spirit and perfect in us that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. We need to wash our bodies everyday otherwise they will become smelly and polluted by our daily activities. In the same way we need to be washed spiritually everyday to keep ourselves from becoming defiled and stained by the deceitfulness of sin.
If we open our lives completely to be examined by the searchlight of God’s Word then we will not only have the dark areas of our life revealed but also removed. Through the washing and cleansing of God’s Word we will find new strength, new desires after God, new attitudes and new values being formed in our hearts and lives. Consequently we will find our characters being shaped into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we cultivate regular Bible study and prayer in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit we will find our attitudes and desires lining up with God’s attitudes and values and find real satisfaction in doing His will (Romans 12:1-2).
Changing the way we pray
Studying God’s Word will change the way in which we pray. Our prayers will be increasingly based of God’s Word consequently we will know how to pray in the will of God and in the Holy Spirit. According to His Word we will receive from Him whatever we ask because we are asking according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). God’s Word is God’s Will. If we really love God and the Lord Jesus Christ then we will love the Bible because it is God’s Word. So then God’s Word will cleanse us and keep us from all and every sin if we seek to study and obey it in the power of the Holy Spirit everyday.
6. God’s word has power to make us wise.
(Psalm 119:105,130) “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 19:11) “By them (God’s Word) is your servant warned: in keeping them there is great reward.”
Just as the headlights of a car keep us safe on the road at night so God’s Word is able to guide and keep us in the light of God’s perfect will and plan for our lives. Jesus is the Light of the World and His Word is His Light. If we turn off the light of His Word then we will be walking in spiritual darkness and ignorance. There is more wisdom in the Bible than in any other book for those who hunger and thirst after God and seek to be taught from His Word by the Holy Spirit. If we want to know God’s wisdom in every area of our daily living then we need to know His Word.
God’s Word is His wisdom
While God has given us human wisdom we need to be careful not to allow it to usurp the place of God’s wisdom. God’s wisdom is vastly different than the wisdom of the world (James 3:13-17). Human wisdom at its best is still permeated and defiled by the selfishness and sin of the fallen human nature. If we want to know God’s wisdom then we need to diligently search His Word as we would search for hidden treasure. Only then will we understand the fear of the Lord, find the knowledge of God and understand what is right and just and fair-and every good path (Proverbs 2:1-9).
Receiving God’s wisdom
How, then can we receive God’s wisdom? James says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:5-8).
Firstly, we need to ask God and this means being specific when we ask. We need to know what we actually need from the Lord and ask Him according to our need. Secondly, we need to recognize that the Lord is more than willing to give us His wisdom and He delights in giving it to us when we honor Him in this way. Thirdly, we must not doubt that we receive it when we ask Him for it. (Mark 11:24)
Doubt will de-stabilizes faith
If we doubt when we ask we will never be able to make confident decisions consequently we will de-stabilize ourselves spiritually and not have the wisdom we need. Once we have asked the Lord for it we need to thank Him for giving it to us and then act as if we have received it. At that point God will intervene and gives us a generous supply of the wisdom we need.
7. God’s Word has power to bring us the assurance of eternal life.
(1 John 4:13) “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life”
Our assurance of salvation as believers is based on God’s Word. God has spoken and He never goes back on His Word. Once His Word has gone forth from His mouth it will never return to Him void but accomplish the purpose for which it was sent. Isaiah the prophet says, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). John the apostle tells us that he who is believes in Jesus alone for salvation has eternal life from the moment he believes. When we are spiritually reborn into God’s kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit Himself gives us the inward assurance that all of our sins have been forgiven and cleansed and that we have been reconciled to God (Romans 8:15-16). Yet in giving us assurance the Holy Spirit always points us to God’s Word because He knows that God’s Word is the Divine record given to reassure us that God has “accepted us in the beloved.”
Repenting, confessing and believing
If we have thoroughly repented, confessed Jesus as Lord and have believed in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead then we are saved according to God’s Word. The Apostle paul tells us this when he said; “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the scripture says, ’Everyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.’ For whomever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:9-11,13).
“He who believes has eternal life”
God wants us to have the assurance of eternal life. Jesus Himself said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. For my Father’s will is everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 5:24 6:40). Believing involves accepting the testimony God Himself has given concerning His Son. “We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony (record) is greater because it is the testimony (record) of God, which He has given about His Son. And this is the testimony (record): God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:9-12). According to God’s Word he who believes has eternal life and he needs nothing else!
8. God’s Word has power to protect us from doctrinal error and sin.
(Acts 20:29-32) “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
When Paul was leaving the believers at Ephesus he spoke these words to the elders of the church. Paul knew that as soon as he had departed that the devil would infiltrate the church with false teachers and even raise up some from within the church itself. Down through the history of the church there have always been false teachers and prophets and in these last days they have multiplied in the church. Peter warned us about these false teachers when he said, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute” (2 Peter 2:1-2).
Mingling truth with error
False teachers do not tell out and out lies but mingle truth with error, in fact Peter tells us here that the heresies mentioned describe these men laying truth along side error. This is why false teaching is so deceptive. Many believers today are ignorant of basic doctrine consequently they are being spiritually seduced and led astray by these false teachers and prophets. One in particular is Benny Hinn a proven false prophet. Much more could be said about the nature and character of these kinds of teachers and prophets. Both Peter and Jude describe them at some length in their letters. Ptere tell su that false teachers lay truth and error side by side and peter calls them “destructive heresies” which Satan uses to de-stabilize the faith of believers.
The Word of His Grace
Notice that Paul committed the elders to God and to His Word so that they might know accurately the spiritual inheritance they had as true believers in the Lord Jesus. Paul knew that right doctrine was important because if the believers didn’t have right doctrine then they wouldn’t have right conduct. In fact Paul says that he warned them day and night with tears for three years because he was so concerned for their spiritual survival.
“My people perish for lack of knowledge”
Today many false teachers seem to be supernaturally endowed but when you examine their doctrines and lifestyles they disqualify themselves from being genuine ministers of the gospel. The only sure way of testing every prophecy and teaching is to know what God has said in His Word. God Himself says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” God’s Word will not only guard us from wrong teaching and doctrinal error but also keep us free from the power and grip of sin. King David spoke about God’s Word to keep us from sin when he said, “By them (the scriptures) is your servant warned; in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:11). Another Psalmist said, ”Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). Either God’s Word will keep us from sin or sin will keep us from God’s Word.
“It is written”
When the Lord Jesus Himself was tempted in the wilderness three times He answered the devil with, “It is written.” Every time Jesus used God’s Word to resist the devil. Satan was twisting scripture and quoting it out of context just like the false teachers and prophets are doing today.
Hidden in our hearts and active in our lives
If we do not have a true knowledge of God’s Word hidden in our hearts and actively at work in our lives then we will not have the genuine power of the Holy Spirit. Remember that Peter says that the Holy Spirit is only given to those who obey Christ (Acts 5:32). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, not error, and He will never endorse anything that goes contrary to God’s Word. If we claim to love and obey the Lord Jesus then we will love and obey His Word because He Himself is the Living Word of God made flesh. If we do not love God’s Word then we do not love Jesus!
The Reservoir of His Power
If we want to remain continuously filled with the Holy Spirit then we need to be continuously filled with God’s Word or we will soon run out of spiritual power. We cannot remain filled with the Spirit unless we are engaged in a prayerful, deep and diligent study of God’s Word. In other words if we want to remain filled with God’s power in our Christian life and service then we must be constantly and diligently feeding on God’s Word everyday! Power belongs to God and that great reservoir of His Power is His Word!
Adapted from the book “Power from on High” by R.A. Torrey.