Meeting God in His Word
Meeting God In His Word
Rom 4:14-7 GW If those who obey Moses' Teachings are the heirs, then faith is useless and the promise is worthless. (15) The laws in Moses' Teachings bring about anger. But where laws don't exist, they can't be broken.
We talked about the heirs last week, how it is those who believe God and it is then accounted to them as righteousness by God. They are the meek who will be inheriting the earth. Not just this old worn out version but a brand new re-created perfect Paradise
It is faith, not just in God, but faith that believes His every Word that saves. It is an observable phenomenon amongst all born again believers. They cherish and believe God’s Word to be true.
Do they understand it perfectly? Of course not!
Do they believe its promises perfectly? Of course not! (But we would be so much more better off if we did)
Do they obey it perfectly? Of course not! (Again we would be so much better off if we did.)
Do they seek to believe His promises and to obey what they understand? Yes they do. The believer realizes that a reading of Scripture always involves an encounter with God through the Holy Spirit.
What does Heb. 4:12 say?
Heb 4:12 GW God's word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God's word judges a person's thoughts and intentions.
God’s Word judges a persons thoughts and intentions. It separates believers from unbelievers. The Holy Spirit uses the Word to place Jesus before us and asks us, “what are your intentions.” What do you intend to do with this God-man and what He has just spoken to you?”
Jesus said in Jn 12:48, The one who rejects Me and does not receive My Words has a judge. The Word that I have spoken will judge him on the last Day.
“Abraham believed God, he believed what God told him and it was accounted to him as righteousness.” You just can’t separate what you do with God’s Word, what you do with this personal encounter with Jesus Christ from your salvation!
It’s clear that obedience to God’s Laws will not bring salvation, rather it is belief in His gospel promises that bring salvation. If we could keep His Laws, we wouldn’t need faith, but none of us can and that’s why we need faith in His promises.
The laws in Moses teachings bring about anger. When God’s laws or rules are broken it brings about His wrath. Lawbreakers must be punished! That’s what makes God a just God! He told Adam, don’t eat of the tree! But Adam ate. He broke the Law and God’s justice demanded wrath against Adam. So He kicked him out of Paradise. God is just!
However, God is also a loving God and so He promised that He would raise a seed from Adam and Eve that would restore them and the rest of the world to Paradise, that seed of course was Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve believed God and it was accounted to them as righteousness. God is love.
This dual character of God, (just and at the same time loving) is very difficult for people to comprehend. Yet it is very real. He stated this dual part of His character when He revealed Himself to Moses:
Exo 34:6-7 GW Then he passed in front of Moses, calling out, "The LORD, the LORD, a compassionate and merciful God, patient, always faithful and ready to forgive. (7) He continues to show his love to thousands of generations, forgiving wrongdoing, disobedience, and sin. He never lets the guilty go unpunished, punishing children and grandchildren for their parents' sins to the third and fourth generation."
You can feel the love as you read the terms, “compassionate, merciful, patient, faithful, ready to forgive,” But then in the next breath you can feel His wrath against disobedience when He says, He “ never lets the guilty go unpunished, punishing children and grandchildren for their parents’ sins to the third and fourth generation.”
How puzzling this is to us, but it is simplified when we realize that God is just and therefore must punish rule breakers, and that God is also love and therefore desires to spare us from His punishment and so He gives us Jesus. He is ever ready to forgive the sinner who comes to Him believing in His promises (in faith,) and ever ready to punish those who reject His promises, and refuse to come to Him in repentance.
Now, let’s talk about this idea of no law! Hey, I’ve got an idea for the world! Why not just do away with God’s Law completely? Then we don’t have to worry about this wrath thing. No Law, no sin! No wrath! Problem solved once and for all!
Several years ago it was suggested by the Surgeon General in the Clinton Administration to legalize drugs in order to reduce the crime rate. What she meant of course was that in legalizing drugs the “criminal element” of our society would be dealt out of the drug picture.
In a sense she was quoting this verse, “Where laws don’t exist, they can’t be broken.” What a beautiful world this would be if we would have no more laws against drugs. There would be no more drug crime! Oh, there would be more people hooked on drugs but the crime rate would drop.
Why not apply this philosophy across the board?. If we had no laws, we would have no crime! Of course not many people would like to live in a place like that ....it wouldn’t be safe! The only people behind bars would be the ones in their own homes .....hmmm, sounds like some of our cities today doesn’t it?
Why not return to the days of Gideon, when every one did what was right in their own eyes. What a wonderful time that was for the people as they were forced to live in caves to protect themselves from the lawless deeds of the current ruling gang .
Lawlessness is a bad enough problem in society but when the philosophy of doing away with the Law creeps into the church we have a very serious problem. When churches ignore the Law and only speak of grace, they are preaching their own death knell.
Because without the Law, there is no transgression, and without transgression, there is no need for forgiveness or grace. Grace becomes meaningless, hollow, cheap.
Make no mistake about it, the Law is real, not one jot or tittle shall pass away and the Law brings the wrath of God. The wrath of God was poured out on His Son on the cross at Calvary and every transgression of the Law from Adam to the last sin before judgement Day was paid for by Jesus.
He took the blows, He took the wrath. He took it for everyone who will believe God and put their trust in Jesus. The only way to escape the wrath to come is to live by faith in Jesus. To believe what God has said about His Son, then it is accounted to you as righteousness..
Here’s the point that Paul is trying to make here. Faith wipes out the power of the Law to bring down God’s wrath. The law is still in effect and it serves a very useful purpose. It curbs sin, prevents anarchy and also teaches those of faith how to live!
But in the matter of God’s judgement, faith makes it appear as if the Law doesn’t exist, and if it doesn’t exist, it cannot be broken. And by faith we are home free, there are no Laws to be held against us.
(16) Therefore, the promise is based on faith so that it can be a gift.
The promise of salvation is based on faith and not obedience to the Law! Salvation comes from what God does and not what we do. It must be a gift of God and not something that is earned. We dare not stand before our Creator one day and insist that He owes us anything. That would be like you or I creating a flower pot and then listen to it tell us what we owe it.
“Consequently, the promise is guaranteed for every descendant, not only for those who are descendants by obeying Moses' Teachings (The believing Jews) but also for those who are descendants by believing as Abraham did. He is the father of all of us, (Abraham is the father of all who believe God’s Word.)
(17) as Scripture says: "I have made you a father of many nations." (Not just the Jews) Abraham believed when he stood in the presence of the God who gives life to dead people and calls into existence things that don't even exist.
Here we must pause and reflect on the power of God who “gives life to dead people and calls into existence things that don’t even exist.” This is a powerful statement! A God who brings life out of the loins of a 100 year old man and the shriveled up womb of a 90+ year old woman is an awesome God!
While Jesus walked this earth, He raised three people from the dead. Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter, and a widow’s son. He was raised from the dead Himself! Our God brings life from death, from nothing! He is an awesome God!
Further, God calls things into existence that don’t exist. It is how He created the world! God said, over and over, “Let there be....and out of nothing there was.
I always like the story of the evolutionist/scientist who believed that he had come to a point where he could create a man just like God did. A contest was arranged. A ball of dirt was placed between God and the scientist. The scientist reached for the dirt to begin the task, but was slapped on the hand by God who said, “Hey, make your own dirt!”
“God calls things into existence that don’t exist! This is the heart and soul of faith. What does Hebrews 11:1-3 say?
Heb 11:1-3 GW Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see. (2) God accepted our ancestors because of their faith. (3) Faith convinces us that God created the world through his word. This means what can be seen was made by something that could not be seen.
We cannot see our salvation but we are convinced of it’s existence because of what God says in His Word. Some look at the cross and see a Good teacher senselessly killed. The Christian looks at the cross and sees salvation by faith!
This same kind of faith saved our ancestors of Abraham’s day and saves us today as well. Faith convinces us that God created the world through His Word.
Oooh, Wait a minute! Are you listening evolutionist? Faith convinces us that God created the world through His Word. Another earmark of the Christian, the Born-again believer in Jesus Christ is faith in the creation account of Scripture.
Before I came to faith, I struggled with this business of Creation vs evolution. Even after I came to faith I wrestled with it. I believed it because God’s Word said it, but I needed to understand it better than I did. So I read books on it, and commentaries, and I am convinced more than ever that the biblical account is true.
It’s always interesting to read the “Letters to the Editor” when the debate comes up concerning the teaching of evolution and creationism in schools. The truth is the subject isn’t debatable, both are matters of faith. You either believe God’s account, or you reject it. For the evolutionist, you believe the missing link will one day be found or you reject it.
It’s ironic, the evolutionist has a problem because they cannot find a fossil record of the missing link in their evolutionary chain, and as Christians we also are missing a fossil, we are missing the bones of Christ because there aren’t any! He is risen! He is risen indeed! The evolutionist will look forever but they will never find either fossil record because they don’t exist!
In my opinion, if you are going to teach evolution or creation, teach them in a religion class because that’s where they both belong, because it is faith that convinces us that God created the world through His Word. One belongs in the Christian religion class and the other in the secular humanism religious class.
As we look at the world today we have the physical evidence of the something that was called out of nothing and just as sure as a rock is or a tree is, so sure is His promise of your salvation if you just believe what He says. Because your salvation is a matter of Him calling something out of nothing. You were dead in your trespasses but by grace through faith He calls you to life.
But don’t stop with your salvation! God has so much more for you! Understand the power of God in this passage. When we exercise faith in His Word, He can produce results that you and I can’t even dream of! There is nothing He cannot do! With God nothing is impossible!
Learn to “feed on His faithfulness” the faithfulness and reliability of His Word! Ps. 37:3,4 from the New King James says,
Psa 37:3-4 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
What does it mean to “feed on His faithfulness?” It means to trust His promises spelled out in His Word. We ought to be on His Word like piglets to the sow. With a great hunger to believe and obey our God! Take Him at His Word! To delight in the Lord is to make yourself pliable in His hands....like clay. Respond to His commands in Scripture! And He promises to give you the desires of your heart.
In other words, God will call those desires, (if they are in His will) which do not yet exist (they have not yet been realized) as though they did! Abraham desired children, and God called that desire (which did not yet exist, indeed was beyond the realm of human possibility) as though it did.
Abraham believed God in the midst of these impossible odds and God delivered. God is faithful! Start trusting God’s promises in His Word. Act as if you believe His Word, respond to it and watch the power of God get unleashed in your life!
This may or may not be a big deal to you, but let me tell you what happened to me this week. Thursday morning and Thursday night at the mens Bible study and the Spiritual Travel guide, I kind of went off on Hebrews 3:12,13
Be careful, brothers and sisters, that none of you ever develop a wicked unbelieving heart that turns away from the Living God. Encourage each other every day while you have the opportunity. If you do this, none of you will be deceived by sin and become stubborn.”
Here’s the deal. If I profess to believe that I am encountering Jesus through the Holy Spirit when I read His Word, I have to do something with that passage! Jesus places it before me and says, “What do you intend to do with this?” I have to find a way to encourage others on a daily basis.
By the way, can you imagine what God would do with a congregation that practiced this daily? An e-mail of encouragement, a phone call, a message on the answering machine, even a face to face visit! Well there’s no point in imagining it, because it doesn’t matter what God does with it, what matters is our doing it! Leave the results up to Him!
Anyway, I was very much convicted by my own preaching and on Friday I wondered, “Who can I call to encourage today? I decided to call Jenni Rieth. Josh answered the phone and it seemed like a long time for Jenni to come to the phone. Finally she was on the line and said she didn’t have time to talk right now, she was on the other line with Mike.
It seems their daughter Becky who is practice teaching in the Milwaukee area was just taken to the hospital after ingesting some poison from a tainted latte’. I told Jenni I would hang up immediately and get the Living Word prayer chain going and that’s what I did.
I’m sure Mike and Jenni would’ve let us know sooner or later, but isn’t it interesting how I managed to call her at that particular time? Was it my idea? Hardly. I was just trying to be obedient to God’s Word. The results were up to Him!
And did you notice that the Hebrews verse is not addressed to “pastors” it’s addressed to all of us. We have a directory with phone numbers and e-mail addresses......let’s use this to the glory of God our Father! Lets become a people who believe in the power of God’s Word and let’s learn to feed on His faithfulness.