"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Saturday, June 3, 2023

The POWER of the WORD (a sequel to The POWERof the HOLY SPIRIT)

A sequel to The POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

JOHN 1:1-5
 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

We as Christians when facing temptations or spiritual attacks have this idea that if we just quote a Scripture verse, that the temptation will cease, the spiritual attack will be thwarted.

Yet the Holy Scriptures are not a grimoire, that is, a book of spells where we can recite the proper incantation and then power will issue forth to bring about the desired effect. Please understand, what I am NOT saying is that there is no power in the inspired Word of GOD – there MOST ABSOLUTELY IS!! – rather, that in order to make the power of the Scriptures effective in our lives against temptations, worries and frets, spiritual attacks as well as walking in holiness and victory is something beyond mere recitation of the Word.

The Word first of all must be mixed with faith:

For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it

The word for “mixed” is sugkerannumi in the Greek, and it refers to “a combining, to assimilate (to take in information, ideas, etc. and to understand fully)” – one could say “blended”. We understand that GOD is a GOD of Truth and whatever He declares is the absolute truth, worthy of our trust, and may be embraced wholeheartedly; ingested and digested fully so that it becomes a part of us (just as what happens when we digest food). Abraham did this very thing: He didn’t just “believed in GOD”, he “believed GOD” (ROM 4:3; GAL 3:6). He took GOD at His Word – literally!

We believe from the heart that which GOD has declared to us in Holy Scripture, particularly in regards to the resurrection of Jesus Christ (ROM 10:9-10). But that belief doesn’t remain by itself (JAMES 2:17-18); it has a result – one’s belief leads one to action which verifies that belief as genuine.

Abraham believed GOD in GENESIS 15:6, and it was then and there that Abraham was declared righteous – by faith alone. And yet that faith was perceived as legitimate seven chapters later when he willingly offered up his son Isaac as a sacrifice to the LORD (GEN 22).

From the previous article POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT we have the following:
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Think about those wages of sin that is death-causing. The single sin committed by any human being would be more than enough to incur eternal death. Even more so an entire life time's worth of sin. What about the cumulative sins of two people? Or a neighborhood? Or a city or nation?

What about all the sins of the entire world? How about all the sins of the entire world, through the entire history of the world? How much death are we talking about here? That's the length and breadth and height and depth of sin and death that Christ took upon Himself; He wasn't merely dead, He was 'mega-dead' as it were.

Yet the Spirit raised Him from the dead, and not merely restored life, but all of the power of an endless life! It's that kind of power that shall also "quicken" those of us who believe on Jesus Christ Who is Himself the Resurrection and the Life (JOHN 11:25-26).
That is A LOT of resurrection power that we have access to, isn’t it? But yet, as the previous article continues:
I don't think we fully realize the depths of this truth, nor do we truly understand the magnitude of the power of the Spirit Who dwells in us! How different would be our lives if we were to mortify the sinful nature's actions that so easily staunch the work of the Spirit in our lives, by the enabling grace of God!

I think we would be seeing a lot more power of the Spirit as the LORD mentioned to His disciples after His resurrection:

LUKE 24:49
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

ACTS 1:8
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

And yet I wonder: can the church here in America that is given over to carnality, to excess, given over to [the things of] this world, that is living a compromised life expect to endure [such a time of future persecution]? A church which is so 'clogged up with carnality' that the Spirit cannot manifest with the power that He would like to? We require purging of carnality, we have need of sanctification, and to flee sin and follow righteousness and be greatly used by the LORD in such days as these!

2 TIMOTHY 2:21-22
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. 22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart
The GO-TO passage that everyone turns to as our role model in how to be an overcomer for Christ is found in both MATTHEW 4 and LUKE 4. These are the accounts of the temptation of the LORD Jesus in the wilderness.

We all know these accounts very well, don’t we? The LORD Jesus Christ was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to face a trial with His opponent, the devil.
Three times the devil tempted Christ – first with food for His flesh, then with an appeal to demonstrate His power by casting Himself down from the Temple, obligating angels to catch their LORD; then the devil appealed to His (assumed) pride in offering Him all the kingdoms of the world with a simple act of worshiping Satan (these same three things that Satan assails us with; “lust of the eyes and of the flesh and the pride of life” 1 JOHN 2:16).

The last of these three temptations would have been fiercest I think, because after all, He did come to redeem mankind, and to be offered all the kingdoms of the world without going to the Cross would be – at least in one respect – tempting.

Yet the LORD knew that if He ever did such a foolish thing, He would still only be Number 2 after the devil himself (who would retain his title as the god of this world (2 COR 4:4)). Ultimately, all that such a thing would accomplish would be the LORD ruling over sinful, rebellious mankind.

The LORD knew that in order to achieve the purposes of the Father, He had to go to the cross – there was no other way than this to redeem mankind and bestow in all who trust Christ the new nature (MATT 26:39)!

Yet every time Satan came at our LORD with a temptation, the LORD Jesus Christ quoted Scripture. 
Interestingly enough, every time He quoted Scripture, it was from the book of DEUTERONOMY. Why was that? That book was written to the generation of Israel that would enter into Canaan land, and GOD wanted to remind them to be holy unto the LORD Who brought them out of Egypt.
As the “ultimate Jew”, the Messiah King and representative of His people He would always do His Father’s will, and so, the reason for His quotes from this book become apparent.

So, since we have this example from the Word of GOD, what’s wrong with simply quoting Scripture? The LORD Jesus did!!

Let’s examine those verses that the LORD quoted, shall we?

When Satan tempted Him with turning stone to bread, the LORD’s response was:
LUKE 4:4
But Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'
Not only did the LORD quote this verse, but He lived out this verse:
JOHN 4:32,34
32 But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." 34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
GOD the Father’s will had been written down in Scripture for over 1400 years up to that point. And the LORD was intent on obeying the Father in every prophetic word that outlined the Messiah’s mission! He lived His life in obedience to the Father!

When Satan took Him to a high mountain and offered Him all the kingdoms of the world, the LORD’s response was:
LUKE 4:8
And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'
To worship GOD is to serve Him, love Him, obey Him, to please Him. This, the LORD Jesus did at every available opportunity! His obeisance to the Father was a devoted life of service and worship!
JOHN 8:28-29
28 Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 "And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.
The third temptation – but certainly not His last, was when Satan brought Him to the pinnacle of the Temple and tried to persuade Him to cast Himself off. The LORD’s response was:
Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.'
Putting the LORD GOD to foolish tests (a popular example is to throw oneself onto a busy freeway and shout, ‘Save me LORD!’) is showing a decided irreverence to the LORD, expecting Him to bend to our will and foolish conduct.

Yet the LORD was always and ever meek and lowly (MATT 11:29), never asserting His will over the Father’s, but submissive to GOD’s will:
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered
(see also MATT 26:39).
The Scripture has power in itself, but in order for that power to be demonstrated in our lives, we have to first know the Word (can’t quote what you don’t know), believe the Word (by faith) and follow through that faith with obedience (by the power of the Spirit and a yielded heart).

This is what it means to "continue" in the Word: not just continuing to read the Word (a must!), not only to believe, and study the Word (also a must!), but to obey the Word by submitting to its truth and make it a part of our lives, our conduct, our character:

JOHN 8:31-32
 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
See also: ROMANS 6:14,18, 22; 8:2; JAMES 1:25; 2:12.

There is a definite connection between believing GOD’s Word and then obeying it; the very idea of “obeying the Gospel” is synonymous with “believing” (see it in it’s negative example here: 2 THESS 1:8). The Spirit is able to do a work in us as we die to self and allow GOD to live not only in us – but through us.

By this means, we begin to “unclog” as it were, the spiritual junk of the old self. The more we obey the Word by the power of the Spirit, then more we unclog, and the more freely the Spirit can live through us, exhibiting the kind of power He desires.

Think of a faucet that’s clogged up; with the right equipment, one can gradually open up the faucet, freeing it of all the junk, and water can flow more freely through it.

You see how the power of the Spirit and of the Word work in conjunction with us who are born of the Spirit? We as saints read, learn, understand the Word of truth, then by the Spirit of truth, we live out the truth in our lives.

What sort of spiritual junk did the LORD Jesus need to clean out in order for the Spirit to flow freely through Him? He didn’t have any! That’s why we see Him operate in such power. The reason for His anointing of the Spirit, and accomplishing all He did by the Holy Spirit’s power – not His own power (which He easily could have done) was so that He could be a proper example for us!

Who of us could live and work the godly life and ministry by our own power? None of us! But we can follow the LORD’s example, as He depended on the Holy Spirit, so can we! Can we ever expect to be as powerful in ministry and in our lives as the LORD Jesus? No – only because we will always have a sin nature to contend with, but as we grow in sanctification, so will we grow in the power of the Holy Spirit.

And as we turn to the power found in the Word, learning – and applying its truth to our lives, we can expect to do “great exploits” for the kingdom of GOD!
LUKE 4:17-19
17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.
Incidentally, if you notice where our LORD stopped reading in ISAIAH, He stopped halfway through a verse: the passage He left out was:
ISAIAH 61:2-6
2 [To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD] … And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified." 4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. 5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, And the sons of the foreigner Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. 6 But you shall be named the priests of the LORD, They shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, And in their glory you shall boast.
The chapter continues with verses that describes the Millennial Kingdom, which follows immediately after “the day of vengeance” when He comes to rescue His people Israel from the forces of antichrist’s armies as the kinsman redeemer and the Avenger of blood.

Just as we should be intent on fulfilling all of the purposes that GOD has for us, we see that in the right time and proper manner, our LORD Jesus will complete His mission as outlined in ISAIAH 61.

As we keep in the Word and in prayer, walking in the Spirit, we won’t have to ‘hunt down’ those purposes GOD has for us. I believe we shall walk right in step with Him and find them at our feet, just as GOD ordained!
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
The WORD of GOD is likened unto a seed. Seeds are remarkable devices, full of genetic information to replicate the specimen it came from. Just so, the WORD of GOD as we plant it into our hearts will work in us that spiritual germination that will produce good fruit (1 THESS 2:13; GAL 5:22-23). In a sense, the WORD carries the spiritual ‘genetic code’ as it were of JESUS nature of holiness, truth, love, all of the fruit of the Spirit and it is replicated in the prepared hearts of the humble saints.

2 PETER 3:18
but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
(See also EPH 4:15,22-23; COL 2:12; 3:10; 1 PET 2:2).

ROMANS 6:3-13
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God

For more on this, check out “AFTER HIS KIND

An excerpt from the above article:

The LORD Jesus Christ taught in the parable of the sower of the seed, that the seed is the Word of God; and like physical seed, this seed which is the Word of God, produces “after its kind”.

This is not to say that the Word Who is God, God made flesh – the LORD JESUS CHRIST, produces other ‘Gods’ “after His kind”, but the Word of God will enter into the heart of a repentant sinner and begin re-writing their spiritual program and upload the Holy Spirit Who will over-ride the sinful nature incrementally; the Word of God will likewise produce in the lives of born again Christians the godly nature “after His kind” which we read about in 1 CORINTHIANS 13th chapter:

1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-2, 4-8
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

4 Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; 6 Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.


22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

It’s vital that we sow good seed into our hearts: the truth of GOD’s WORD and not the misperceptions and faulty understanding of our own minds, to say nothing of the lying and deceptive seed of the enemy!

For more on this aspect of sowing, have a look at “SEEDS of FAITH, SEEDS of FEAR”!

An excerpt from this article as well:

Think of your mind as a garden, and thoughts are the seeds that are planted there. They then grow and bear fruit in accordance with the type of seed they come from.

We need to be aware of the sort of seeds that are planted and nurture the good seed while rejecting those that will bear bad fruit.

Essentially, we need to take every thought captive that is contrary to the will of GOD in our lives:

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

As Christians we must acknowledge that the thoughts that enter our minds are not always of our own making. Satan and his legions of lying spirits will attack us with the sort of thoughts that inspire fear and trepidation and will grow doubt and despair in our lives if such seeds aren’t rejected, or once having taken root, are not uprooted (a much more difficult task than the easier task of sweeping seeds out of the garden of your mind)!

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