Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Around the Word


The church I am currently serving has identified its purpose in this way, “We exist to glorify God by sharing the gospel, teaching the Word of God, and fellowshipping with each other.” The primary way in which we intend to do that is by “connecting people around the Word of God.” Why around the Word? The simple answer to that question is that the Word of God is transformative. We live in a broken world. Covid-19 and the devastating and infuriating death of George Floyd are just two immediate examples of the immense need for healing and transformation in our world. We seek to connect people around the Word of God because it is there that we find healing and transformation.

The Bible is transformative because it is the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” The Bible is not man’s ideas about God. It is not a record of people’s encounters with God or with the supernatural. It is “breathed out by God.” That phrase is the translation of a single Greek word that means the divine inspiration or inbreathing of God. He is the source of the Scriptures.


As our creator, he know us. He knows how we are designed. He knows how we are intended to function and why. And he knows our brokenness intimately. As the omniscient God, he saw us choose to place our will above his. With a broken heart he has watched us destroy all that he created and that we were supposed to oversee and care for. He knows our brokenness, and he has given us his Word to bring about our healing and transformation. The Word is transformative because it is the Word of God.

The Word of God is also transformative because it is the revelation of God. By that I mean not only that God reveals truth in the Scriptures, but that he reveals himself in the Scriptures. Theologians talk about both general and special revelation. General revelation is that which we see in creation and in our own consciences. Romans 1:19-20 says
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Psalms 19:1-4 says,
[1] The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
[2] Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
[3] There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
[4] Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
God has revealed general truth about his existence and his power through creation and conscience. We call that general revelation. Special revelation is when God specifically speaks. That special revelation is the Scriptures, the Bible. It is in general revelation that we learn that God is and that he is powerful. It is in special revelation that we learn that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, gracious, patient, loving, merciful, but also just, holy, and unapproachable. Having been created in the image of God for the purposes of God, his Word is transformative because it is in his Word that we learn who God is. His Word is transformative because is it the Word of God and the revelation of God.

It is also the power of God. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” The word “active” is a word that means full of energy, or energized. God’s Word is energized to discern even our thoughts and intentions. 1 Peter 1:23 says that believers are “born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers
And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers (1 Thess 2:13).
It was the Word of God that was at work in their lives. God says in Jeremiah 23:29 “Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” Romans 12:2 challenges believers to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. Psalms 119:9 asks, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” It then answers, “By guarding it according to your word.” Renewal and transformation occurs through the Word of God because it is the power of God.

We choose to connect people around the Word of God because it is transformative and life changing. It is transformative because it is the Word of God, the revelation of God, and the power of God. People love to connect. They need to connect. It is as they connect around the Word of God that lives are transformed to the Glory of God.

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