<< Previous | Index | Next >>
                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

                     God's Powerful Word (4:12-13)

INTRODUCTION

1. In He 4:11, we find a succinct summary of all that has been said
   in He 3:7-4:10...
   a. We need to be diligent to enter "the rest that remains", our 
      heavenly rest
   b. Or we may fall short of our rest, just as many Israelites fell 
      short of their Canaan rest...

   "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone
   fall according to the same example of disobedience." - He 4:11

2. To stress the need for diligence, we are reminded regarding the Word
   of God - He 4:12-13
   a. That Word which provided the example of the Israelites' 
      disobedience
   b. That Word which is now warning them not to emulate the 
      Israelites' example

3. In this passage, the Word of God is described in amazing terms...
   a. It is "living"
   b. It is "powerful"
   c. It is "sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the 
      division of soul and spirit"
   d. It is "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart"

4. At a time in which God's Word is so often neglected, even by some 
   Christians, it never hurts to contemplate the wonder of God's 
   Word...
   a. And so we take this opportunity to reflect upon what is said in 
      this passage
   b. With a desire to renew and increase our appreciation of the power
      of God's Word!

[We begin by noticing...]

I. THE WORD OF GOD IS "LIVING" AND "POWERFUL"

   A. GOD'S WORD IS NOT SOME "DEAD LETTER"...
      1. Not only in this passage, but elsewhere we read of the abiding
         nature of God's Word
         a. Notice Peter's description of it - 1Pe 1:23-25
            1) It "lives and abides forever"
            2) It "endures forever" - cf. Isa 40:8
         b. Jesus said "my words shall not pass away" - Mt 24:35
      2. The "life" of God's Word is due to the nature of God Himself!
         a. God is eternal, He is "the living God" - cf. He 3:12; Jer
            10:10
         b. He cannot lie, so what He says will come to pass - He 6:18;
            Tit 1:2
         -- Thus His Word will never perish!
      3. As Jesus said, "...the words that I speak unto you, they are
         spirit, and they are life." - Jn 6:63

   B. THAT GOD'S WORD IS "ALIVE" IS SEEN IN ITS "POWER"...
      1. It has the power to accomplish its intended purpose - Isa 55:
         10-11
      2. The gospel in particular has the power to save - Ro 1:16-17;
         Jm 1:21
      3. Through God's word we can be born again - 1Pe 1:22-23; Jm 1:
         18
      4. It works effectively in those who believe - 1Th 2:13; cf. He
         4:2
      5. It can build us up, and give us the inheritance that is ours 
         - Ac 20:32
      6. It can make the man of God complete for all good works - 2 Ti
         3:16-17
      -- How could anything with such power be a "dead letter"?

[With such a "living" and "powerful" word at our disposal, we would be
foolish to neglect the blessings it offers, or the warnings it gives!

It's power is seen further as we note how...]

II. THE WORD OF GOD IS "SHARP" AND "A DISCERNER"

   A. SHARPER THAN AN "TWO-EDGED SWORD"...
      1. The Word of God is often likened to powerful objects
         a. Here it is described as a sword - cf. also Ep 6:17
         b. Elsewhere it is it described as fire, and a hammer - Jer 
            23:29
      2. To illustrate its sharpness as a "sword", the Word of God is
         said to pierce...
         a. "...even to the division of soul and spirit"
         b. "...and of the joints and marrow"
         -- i.e., the divine word is able to cut through everything 
            that is in man (Lightfoot)

   B. A DISCERNER OF "THE THOUGHTS AND INTENTS OF THE HEART"...
      1. With its sharpness, it is capable of sifting through and 
         revealing the heart of man
      2. It's effect on man reveals his true heart...
         a. In some cases, that one's heart is sincere and open to 
            change - e.g., Ac 2:36-37
         b. Other times, that one's heart has no desire to change 
            - e.g., Ac 5:33; 7:54
         -- One cannot hear or read the Word of God without being 
            affected!

[As stated earlier, the "life" of God's Word is due to the nature of 
God Himself.  In a similar way, the "power" of God's word is due to the
nature of God...]

III. THE POWER OF GOD'S WORD IS DUE TO HIS OMNISCIENCE

   A. GOD IS OMNISCIENT...
      1. The word "omniscient" means "all-knowing"
      2. David extolled the omniscience of God in Ps 139:1-12
      3. Solomon also wrote of God's omniscience - Pr 15:3
      -- That is why "there is no creature hidden from His sight, but
         all things are naked and open" to His eyes

   B. THEREFORE NO CAN HIDE FROM THE JUDGE...
      1. As David counseled his son Solomon - 1Ch 28:9
      2. It is before this Omniscient Judge that we must one day give
         an account
         a. There is a judgment day coming, in which God will judge the
            world through His Son, Jesus Christ! - cf. Ac 17:30-31; Ro
            2:16; 2Co 5:10
         b. We read of that Judgment Day in the last book of Bible 
            - cf. Re 20:11-15
      3. The standard by which we will be judged are the words spoken
         through His Son
         a. As stated by Jesus in Jn 12:48
         b. Which should give special force to the warning found in 
            He 2:1-3
            1) If the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and
               every transgression was justly punished...
            2) ...then how shall we escape judgment if we neglect the 
               words spoken through God's Son?

CONCLUSION

1. Yes, the power of God's Word is derived from God Himself...
   a. God is omniscient, able to see into the hearts of men; therefore
      His Word is able to cut to the hearts of men and reveal their 
      true nature
   b. God is living, eternal, who will one day judge the world; 
      therefore His Word that abides forever will be the standard by 
      which we will be judged

2. In view of the power of God Himself and His powerful Word...
   a. How dare we neglect the warnings given in it, such as those found
      in He 4:1,11?
   b. How dare we neglect to even read about the warnings (as many do
      by not reading the Bible)?

3. And remember, how we react to the Word of reveals our true 
   character...
   a. Some are so "dull of heart", that they react with indifference
      and say "so what?"
   b. Some are "cut to the heart", angrily resist the Word, and blame
      the messenger - Ac 7:54
   c. Some are "cut to the heart", and cry out "what shall I do?" 
      - Ac 2:37

What kind of heart do you have?  If your heart cries out "what shall I
do?" in response to the gospel message of salvation in Christ, then I
encourage you to heed what Peter said:

   "Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be
   baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;
   and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." - Ac 2:38

If you have so responded to God's saving grace, then I encourage you to
heed the warnings found throughout the Scriptures, especially here in
the book of Hebrews, and in the words of our Lord Himself:

   "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."
                                         - Rev 2:10
<< Previous | Index | Next >>


Home Page
Have A Bible Question? | Want A Free Bible Study Course? | Looking For A Church Near You?
Want To Talk With Someone By Phone? | Want To Discuss The Bible By Email?
Search The Outlines

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

eXTReMe Tracker