As we prayerfully expose ourselves to the Scriptures, we begin to understand what God’s will is regarding our conduct and character. And then as the Holy Spirit applies His word to specific areas of our lives, and as we are obedient to His promptings, we begin to develop Bible-based convictions. Our values begin to change so that God’s standard becomes our delight and our desire.
The amazing thing is that everyone who reads the Bible has the same joyful thing to say about it. In every land, in every language, it is the same tale: where that Book is read, not with the eyes only, but with the mind and heart, the life is changed. Sorrowful people are comforted, sinful people are transformed, peoples who were in the dark walk in the light. Is it not wonderful to think that this Book, which is such a mighty power if it gets a chance to work in an honest heart, is in our hands today?
God’s Holy Spirit creates His people by His Word. We can create a people by other means, and this is the great temptation of churches. We can create a people around a certain ethnicity. We can create a people around a fully-graded choir program. We can find people who will get excited about a building project or a denominational identity. We can create a people around a series of care groups, where each feels loved and cared for. We can create a people around a community service project. We can create a people around social opportunities for young mothers or Caribbean cruises for singles. We can create a people around men’s groups. We can even create a people around the personality of a preacher. And God can surely use all of these things. But in the final analysis the people of God, the church of God, can only be created around the Word of God.
In opposition…to all the suggestions of the devil, the sole, simple, and sufficient answer is the word of God. This puts to flight all the powers of darkness. The Christian finds this to be true in his individual experience. It dissipates his doubts; it drives away his fears; it delivers him from the power of Satan.
God’s Word does not merely impart information; it actually creates life. It’s not only descriptive; it’s effective too, God speaking is God acting.
Strangely, church leaders get caught up in all kinds of power for building their churches… But does any power in the universe match God’s power to breathe out worlds or dismiss death simply with words? “Let there be light!” and “Lazarus, come forth!”? No there is nothing like it. Yet this same power is available to the preacher through God’s Word.
I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word: otherwise I did nothing. And then when I slept or drank Wittenberg beer with my friend Philip of Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing: the Word of God did it all.
A layman who has the Scripture is more than Pope or council without it.
The Reformation was the inevitable and explosive consequence of the Word of God crashing like a massive tidal wave against the thin barricades of man-made tradition and hypocritical religion. As the common people of Europe gained access to the Scriptures in their own language, the Spirit of God used that timeless truth to convict their hearts and convert their souls. The result was utterly transformative, not only for the lives of individual sinners, but for the entire continent on which they resided.
The more that God’s Word is removed from our lives, the more inhibited our spiritual progress becomes. Nothing else can do the work that the truth does. There is no sanctifying power in human wisdom, intuition, insight, or experience. It is only in the Word of God. Only the truth revealed in Scripture sanctifies – sound teaching accurately interpreted, understood, and applied. As divine revelation is embraced, spiritual progress is made. There are no alternative routes to godly character and holy living.
God’s Word is His supernatural power for accomplishing His supernatural work. That’s why our eloquence, innovations, and programs are so much less important than we think; that’s why we as pastors must give ourselves to preaching, not programs; and that’s why we need to be teaching our congregations to value God’s Word over programs. Preaching the content and intent of God’s Word is what unleashes the power of God on the people of God, because God’s power for building His people is in His Word, particularly as we find it in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16). God’s Word builds His church. So preaching His Gospel is primary (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
God’s Word has always been His chosen instrument to create, convict, convert, and conform His people (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
The Word of God is creative. It is a hammer that crushes the hardness of our insubordination. It is medicine that heals the broken-hearted. And it is light that gives us guidance and hope on our way.
The true Christian was intended by Christ to prove all things by the Word of God, all churches, all ministers, all teaching, all preaching, all doctrines, all sermons, all writings, all opinions, all practices. These are his marching orders. Prove all by the Word of God; measure all by the measure of the Bible; compare all with the standard of the Bible; weigh all in the balances of the Bible; examine all by the light of the Bible; test all in the crucible of the Bible. That which cannot abide the fire of the Bible, reject, refuse, repudiate, and cast away. This is the flag which he nailed to the mast. May it never be lowered!