Thursday, February 16, 2012
The Power of the Word of God
I am a huge fan of Revive Our Hearts radio broadcast/podcast www.reviveourhearts.com. I have gleaned so much from the Bible teaching of Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Here is part of the transcript from today's broadcast. She relayed a story John MacArthur told about the power of the Word of God. Sadly, in our culture many have forgotten the POWER of God's Word. Many are trading in the Word of God for entertainment trying to lure the lost through human ingenuity. We need to get back to the basics and teach the Word of God which is "living and active."
English Standard Version (ESV)
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
"The Word of God is powerful enough on its own to break down all human resistance and opposition. In Jeremiah 23 God says, “Is not My word like a fire? . . . and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (v. 29 NKJV). The Word of God is powerful. It can take the hardest heart and break it down, bring it into submission.
We think we need all kinds of things, plus the Word of God, to change people’s lives today. So many of our church programs have so many activities and so many efforts to get people to change their lives. We’ve got to have great big impressive programs and music and dramas and messages and great orators and communicators—and you know what? We’ve lost our confidence in the power of the Word of God to transform people’s lives.
One of the greatest stories I’ve ever heard along that line is told by Dr. John MacArthur in his book called Our Sufficiency in Christ. And I want to read this story. As I’ve shared with women before, they have told me that it’s been so meaningful to them, so let me just read about this exchange.
Pastor MacArthur says:
Not long ago a man I had never met before walked into my office and said, “I need help. I feel strange coming to you because I’m not even a Christian. I’m Jewish. Until a few weeks ago I had never even been in a church. But I need help from someone, so I decided to talk to you.”
I assured him I would do my best to help him. The conversation went something like this:
“I’ve been divorced twice,” he said, “and now I’m living with a woman who is my lover. I don’t even like her, but I haven’t got the courage to leave her and go back to my second wife.”
“I’m a medical doctor,” he continued. “Worse, I’m an abortionist. Last year in my clinic we did nine million dollars’ worth of abortions. I don’t do only therapeutic abortions; I do abortions for any reason. And if a woman doesn’t have a reason, I give her a reason.
“Six weeks ago I came to Grace Community Church on a Sunday morning, and I’ve been coming every week since. Last week you preached a message called ‘Delivered to Satan.’ If there was ever anyone on earth who was delivered to Satan, it’s me. I’m absolutely miserable and unhappy. I’m continually seeing a psychoanalyst and I’m not getting any help at all. I can’t stand the guilt of all this. I don’t know what to do about it. Can you help me?”
Dr. MacArthur says,
I said to him, “No. I can’t help you.” He looked at me startled. Sheer desperation was evident in his face. I let it sink in. Then I said, “But I know Someone who can help you: Jesus Christ.”
He said sadly, “But I don’t know who He is.”
I said, “Would you like to know who Jesus Christ is?”
He said, “I would if He can help me.”
I reached over and took a Bible off my desk and opened it to the Gospel of John. I said, “I want you to take this book home and read this part called the Gospel of John. I want you to keep reading until you know who Jesus Christ is. Then call me again.”
Later that week I was recounting the incident for the pastor of another church. He said, “Is that all you gave him? Just the Gospel of John? Why didn’t you give him some help, some tapes, some questions to answer—something? Just the Bible?"
I said, “Don’t worry. The Bible is like a lion. You don’t need to defend it. Just open the door and let it out. It’ll take care of itself. If his heart is open at all, the Bible can do more to reach him than I could do with reams of other study material. What could I possibly give him that’s more powerful than the Scripture itself?”
The next Friday I received a telephone call. The doctor wanted to see me again. We made an appointment. He showed up precisely on time, came into the office, walked past me as if I weren’t there, sat on the couch, dropped the Bible beside him, and said, “I know who He is.”
I said, "You do?"
He said, “Yes, I do.”
“Who is he?” I asked.
“I’ll tell you one thing—He’s not just a man.”
I said, “Really? Who is He?”
“He’s God!” he said with finality.
“You, a Jew, are telling me that Jesus Christ is God?” I asked. “How do you know that?”
He said, “It’s clear. It’s right there in the Gospel of John.”
“What convinced you?” I asked.
“Look at the words He said, and look at the things He did! No one could say and do those things unless He was God.” He was echoing the apostle John’s thesis perfectly.
I nodded enthusiastically.
He was on a roll. “Do you know what else he did? He rose from the dead! They buried Him, and three days later, He came back from the dead! That proves He is God, doesn’t it? God Himself came into this world!”
I asked him, “Do you know why He came?"
“Yes. He came to die for my sin.”
“How do you know that?” I asked.
“Because I liked John so well, I read Romans. And as soon as I clean up my life, I’m going to become a Christian.”
I said, “That’s the wrong approach. Receive Him as your Lord and Savior now, and let Him clean up your life.” Then I asked the man, “What would such a decision mean in your career?”
“Well,” he said, “I spent this afternoon writing my resignation letter to the abortion clinic. When I get out of here I’m going to call my second wife and bring her to church with me.” And he did.
“Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” The Word of God is alive, Hebrews tells us. It’s powerful. It’s sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of the joints and morrow; and it’s a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12 paraphrased).
So often today in our efforts to reach people, we underestimate the power of the Word of God. And when we do, we’re forced to rely on our human efforts, our ability to talk, to impress, our strategies, our resources, and our methods.
Those things can be helpful, but they’re no replacement for the power of that great Lion, the Word of God."