Jeremiah was a prophet who warned the people of Judah for many years concerning their eventual destruction because of idolatry and sin. He was ignored by the people, and in order to negate his preaching many other "self-appointed" prophets preached that all was peace and prosperity. Jeremiah's response to these false prophets is found in the 23rd chapter of his book where he says:
"Is not my word like fire?" declares the Lord, "and like a hammer which shatters a rock? Therefore behold, I am against the prophets," declares the Lord, 'who steal my words from each other.'
- Jeremiah 23:29-30
In other words, only the true word of God has any power, and God opposes men who simply quote each other and attribute it to Him. History shows that Jeremiah's prophecies were indeed true. And like the fire and hammer that crushes the rock, the Babylonian army marched in and destroyed Jerusalem — exactly as God's word had predicted. This story illustrates why I am not afraid or ashamed to say, "Because the Bible says so," when questioned on certain issues or challenged to defend my reasoning. You see, it's not just any knowledge that will result in experiencing God's power — only the knowledge of His word can lead a person to the true knowledge of Him and consequently His power.
- General or scientific knowledge won't do it.
- Knowledge of various religions won't get you there.
- Studies about God, Christianity, or theology can't provide the experience of God.
Only knowledge based on God's word will produce a genuine experience of God and His power. The reason for this is that the power of God is revealed and experienced in His word. To know His word is to know and experience His power. So that you can know what to look for, here are seven powers contained in God's word.
1. Power to Reveal — Genesis 1-2
The word of God has the power to reveal to us certain things that we could not know in any other way. For example:
- How and when the world was created.
- The reason man is the way he is - sin.
- The true nature of God.
- What happens to us after we die.
Human beings could study and speculate on these things for a thousand years and come up with many theories, but that's all they'd be, just theories because no one could really know. God's word, on the other hand, gives us an eyewitness, truthful, and detailed account of things about God and human existence that we could never know otherwise.
2. Power to Refute — 2 Timothy 3:16
God's word is a standard against which all philosophies, ideas, and proposed solutions for the human condition can be measured for accuracy. If God's word approves it, we can run with it; if the Word rejects it, nothing we can do will make it work, make it acceptable, or make it right.
Note that moral standards and spiritual ideas are always compared to the Bible in order to define and judge their value. For example, we don't compare butter to margarine, do we? Think for a moment, you've never heard a commercial say, "...this spread tastes just like margarine" have you? Butter is the definitive spread, not margarine. In the same way, spiritual concepts, morality, and Godly living are tested by searching the Scriptures because God's word is the standard for comparison, not human ideas.
The Bible cannot eliminate immorality, but it is the standard by which we judge and prove if something or someone is moral or immoral, worthy or unworthy.
3. Power to Reproduce — Luke 8:11
Jesus said that the word of God was like a seed. The analogy was that the Word had the power to grow or cause growth to happen. The Word planted in an honest and obedient heart can produce physical acts which can be seen and felt. God's word, planted in human hearts generation after generation, has produced Christians and the New Testament church century after century. The only way Christianity has survived for 2000 years is because of the reproductive powers contained in the Word. The only actual thing we hand down from generation to generation is God's word contained in the Bible. People die and buildings fall apart, but His word unfailingly produces the same thing every century - Christians who want to establish the church.
4. The Power to Re-Direct — 1 Peter 2:25
Peter says, "For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls."
Every complete life-change, every turn-around that I read or hear about has one common element — God's word.
- Someone began reading God's word (my own case).
- Someone started a Bible study with someone else.
- Someone heard a lesson or received encouragement based on God's word.
Many people have improved or changed their lives in a significant way based on a desire to improve. History shows, however, that only God's word has the power to completely transform and re-direct one's life in a totally opposite direction. For example, C.S. Lewis was a brilliant writer and professor at Oxford University in England. He was also an avowed atheist but was converted and eventually became one of the most prolific Christian writers, especially in the area of Christian apologetics. His experience is just one example showing that God's word has the power to transform and redirect our lives.
5. The Power to Revive — Psalm 138:7
The psalmist says, "In the midst of trouble, You will revive me." The word of God is able to bring comfort and hope, as well as strength and encouragement to those who are in sorrow and are suffering. We could not count how many times or how many people have read Psalm 23 ("The Lord is my shepherd...") in times of trouble and have been comforted by David's inspired words written almost three thousand years ago but meaningful for every generation. Whatever faith or faithfulness a person has, I have learned from experience that when they are at the point of death the family expects and needs to hear words of encouragement that come from God's word.
It is interesting to note that hospital patients, grieving widows, and lonely shut-ins rarely request Darwin's Theory of Evolution or the TV Guide to be read to them in time of pain and sorrow. God's word is what they ask for and need.
6. The Power to Reward — Hebrews 11:6
"For he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." The Bible tells us that the creation and our conscience are two different ways we can use to find God (Romans 1:19-20). Yes, we can discern that an intelligent and powerful being designed and created this universe, and our conscience helps us understand that this God, creator of humans, is a moral God, One who is pure and good. There is, however, no comfort or joy in knowing God only in this way, simply an understanding of how we fit into the whole.
The Word, however, reveals who God is, what He desires, and what He is preparing to give to those who believe and obey Him. The Hebrew writer says that God rewards those who look for Him, and the way to look for Him is to look for Him in His word. The rewards for seeking Him there are that:
- We find the real Him, there.
- We find what His will is, there.
- We find a relationship with Him, there.
- We find salvation, there (Romans 1:16).
God's word is the bonding mechanism between Himself and His people. It is our greatest and most precious reward.
7. The Power to Get Us Ready — Luke 12:40
Jesus said in Luke 12:40, "You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming..." The Bible says that we will all meet God in one way or another. Either we die before He comes and face Him in judgement, or Jesus returns and we all face judgement. Either way, we must be ready (ignorance and disbelief will not exempt us from the judgement).
The word of God is the only source of information that can help us prepare for this sure event in our lives. It has the power to do this because God, in His word, shows us how to prepare for the "great day" in our lives:
- He explains how Jesus has redeemed us. The Bible explains that death and condemnation are caused by sin, and how Jesus has redeemed or paid back our moral debt to God for sin by dying on the cross. This is the core message of the gospel.
- He calls us to receive Jesus. Our debt for sin is paid and our souls are saved from hell when we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord by believing in Him as the Son of God (and this belief is expressed in repentance and baptism - Acts 2:37-38).
- God encourages us to repent. His word is full of examples of those who received great blessings because of their humble obedience and repentance. The Word tells us that true faith is demonstrated by sincere repentance (Matthew 5:8).
- The Word demands that we re-live the cross. To prepare for the day of judgement one must re-live the day of atonement by being buried in the waters of baptism. For every person who has asked, "What must I do to be saved?" the Bible answers in Acts 2:38, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
- The Word provides regeneration. The Word enables us to receive the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit provides the strength and ability to live the Christian life faithfully and productively. The Word is made alive in us through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13).
- The Word prepares us for our resurrection. By announcing the resurrection, the Word draws us to Christ. When we are in Christ, the Word educates us concerning our own resurrection. Without the Word, we would only speculate about life after death. The Bible actually prepares us for that life.
- The Word fashions our lips for rejoicing. Who knows how to act or what to say as an eternal being, fitted with a new body and looking forward to a very different existence in the heavenly realm? God's word gives us the words of praise and the songs of joy that enable us to begin rejoicing in the life that we now have in Jesus, and the eternal life we will experience with the Lord when He comes for us.
Only the word of God has the power to prepare us for a world we cannot see and hardly imagine, but one which is swiftly coming upon each and every one of us.
Tapping into the Power
Of course, the fact that there is power, realizing what that power can do for me, and knowing where that power is found are not enough (i.e. I have many electrical outlets in my home that provide power, but they are useless unless I tap into them).
It is the same with God's word. Unless we tap into the power in the proper way, all of that tremendous power will do us no good and produce nothing in our lives. This is the connection between knowledge and power. If we know the Word, we then experience its power. When we experience its power, we are experiencing God's power. Tapping into the power of God's word, therefore, requires three things that everyone can do:
1. Read the Word
The basic connection that begins the power to flow is made by reading the Word. Our goal, therefore, should be to make reading God's word a regular part of each day, like having breakfast or brushing our teeth. Once you feel the power of the Word surging through your life, reading the Word will come naturally as part of your every day lifestyle.
2. Respond to the Word in Obedience
There is a danger in thinking that if we read the Bible we have done God's will. We read the Bible in order to know God's will. Obedience, however, is what transforms knowledge into power, and power is what creates change. Powerful living is produced by powerful obeying.
3. Spread the Word
Obeying the Word brings power into your life. Sharing the Word multiplies that power in the lives of other people. We share the Word by example, by teaching others, by sharing both our faith and the gospel with non-believers and by serving others as the Word directs us. When we share the Word, we lead others to know God and enable them to empower others to do the same.
The Bible is the most printed and distributed book in the history of the world and yet millions remain unconverted. In addition to this, many who claim to be Christians are lukewarm and unproductive. I believe that even though the Word is out there, the majority of people have not yet tapped into it.
I think that most people would conclude that this lesson is mostly informational. A short book that highlights the various elements of power contained in God's word and how to access that power. In closing, however, I would add that in addition to information, this lesson also asks the readers to reconsider their own experience with the word of God to see if its power described here has been felt in their own hearts. If not, then maybe the simple reason is that they have not properly tapped into this power through the knowledge of His word.
Perhaps the true purpose of this little book has been to move you in some way, and the proper and Biblical reaction or movement would include:
- Reading your Bible on a regular basis; there's no power without knowledge and there is no knowledge without the study of God's word.
- Perhaps the proper reaction is not in the reading part, but in the obeying part. Let God's power to redeem, restore, and regenerate flow through your spiritual veins by obeying the Word! Obey the gospel and be baptized; obey the Spirit and start living a Holy life; obey the Lord and be faithful.
- Finally, maybe it's time to take a step forward in your maturing process and begin serving, giving, or leading more as God would have you.
Whatever the proper response, do it before closing this book!