How we receive God’s word means everything in our lives!

Posted: September 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

Our text:  1 Thessalonians 2:13  – “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”

Paul rejoiced greatly over the Thessalonians, and one reason that he did so he explains here was because of how that they ‘received’ the word of God.  They didn’t treat the word of God like it was really ‘the word of men’, not like it was just Paul’s ideas, or any man’s ideas.  They treated the word of God like it came from the very mouth and heart of God, and contained the very oracles of God. 

What a difference how we view the word of God makes in our lives.  How we view the word of God means everything in whether or not it can work in our lives as God intended it.  If we question the word of God, or don’t accept its authority or power in our lives, then it cannot have the desired effect in us that it could otherwise.  On the other hand, if we reverently and gratefully accept the word of God as containing the very oracles of God, then the word can change our hearts, motive us to carry out God’s will, enable us to be able to fulfill what God has commanded and made known to us, and give us victory in every situation and over every single foe we face, both in this realm and with the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.

There are a number of passages of scripture that speak to the type of attitude that we ought to have towards the word of God, as well as good examples of people who had a good view of the word of God, including:

  1. Psalm 1:1-3, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.” 
  2. Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” 
  3. Psalm 19:7, “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” 
  4. Matthew 5:6, ““Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”.” 
  5. In the book of Nehemiah, we learn the story about how after the Judeans had returned to Israel after being in captivity for 70 years in Babylon where they had grown very dead spiritually, that revival occurred in their land when the priest Ezra read the entirety of the books of the law to the people gathered together in the center of Jerusalem:  Nehemiah 8:1-8, “And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel.  Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month.  He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law.  Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand; and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam on his left hand.  Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.  Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God. And all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.  Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, explained the law to the people while the people remained in their place. They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.” 
  6. Luke 8:15, ““But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance”.” 
  7. Acts 10:33, ““So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord”.” 
  8. Acts 17:11, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” 
  9. James 1:25, “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” 
  10. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

It is said that there is an ancient inscription on the Cathedral in Lubeck, Germany, that says:Ye call me master, and obey me not. Ye call me Light and seek me not. Ye call me Way and walk me not. Ye call me Wise and follow me not. Ye call me Fair and love me not. Ye call me Rich and ask me not. Ye call me Eternal and seek me not.  Ye call me Gracious and trust me not. Ye call me Noble and serve me not. Ye call me Mighty and honor me not. Ye call me Just and fear me not. If I condemn you, blame me not.

Yesterday, one of the Calvary Chapel pastors shared a very moving video clip with me from this past week at his church, and this is sort of an illustration of  what having a proper attitude towards God’s word ought to look like.  This clip is such a blessing, please view it now by clicking here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtQrCV42g4Q

Concerning God’s word, I admonish you that we should always have this attitude:

  1. Approach it with respect.
  2. Recognize it as infallible.
  3. Believe it to be sufficient.
  4. Be willing to be guided by it.

The ‘word’ that the Thessalonians had accepted for what it was, the word of God, was the gospel message itself.  Yet surely, they also accepted all of the teachings of God’s word with a similar attitude.  The word of God brought conviction to their hearts and produced a desire to obey it and serve God with all of their lives.

God says that His word will not return void but will accomplish what He intends it for, Isaiah 55:11, and by viewing His word properly for what it is, that word is able to bring life and blessing, and not be a curse and a judgment upon us, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”   

Notice here that Paul says that the word of God performs that work that God intended it for in our lives if we “believe”.  Tragically, if we do not believe the word of God when we receive it, then that word can only be a word of judgment and condemnation to us…  How important it is how we view the word of God in our lives.  As I said at the beginning, the word of God can change our hearts, motive us to carry out God’s will, enable us to be able to fulfill what God has commanded and made known to us, and give us victory in every situation and over every single foe we face, both in this realm and with the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.  But, it can do this only if we received if for what it really is.

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Comments
  1. Jim Goodman says:

    That was a cool video – it amazes me to see such an act of faith being acted upon in simplicity. Jesus saw Peter and Andrew called and called them to follow Him and “They immediately left there nets and followed Him.” Sometimes we miss so many good things the Lord wants to do for us because we don’t act with such simple faith. Trust and obey.

    Approach, Recognize, Believe and Be Willing – I like that.

  2. JimB says:

    Thanks Jim,

    I was blessed by the video and in my heart I yearned for more people to sell out to Jesus like that young woman!

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